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Jaebum, Alpha - Deadly Actions

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Got7’s new manager was not working out. None of them had to say anything, there was no need for discussion – all of them knew. They had loved the manager their group had debuted with, but when his wife’s pregnancy wound up having serious complications, none of them could begrudge the man looking after his mate. Still, where they had dug up a replacement was anyone’s guess.

It was obvious that the man had never worked with a group at all, and never been around a Bonded Pack for that matter. He had challenged their alphas nonstop, had bullied their betas, and made inappropriate moves towards their omegas. He’d undermined their obvious Bonds every step along the way. It had gotten to a point that Bambam, Mark, and Youngjae avoided the man whenever possible.

Even worse, all things considered, was the man had obvious issues with foreigners, and had turned his temper to Jackson, Mark, and Bambam regularly. It was much worse for the omegas, given the manager’s obvious alpha status. Jackson deliberately tried to step in as often as possible to keep the man’s attention on him instead.

On one hand, Jaebum was proud of the younger, and the instinctive way he protected the others – Jackson had always been possessive – but he didn’t like the man’s attention on Jackson much better. The younger male was still his, alpha or not.

At the moment, it was all Jaebum could do to keep calm and in control. The unease carried through the other members – Jaebum could read it, practically radiating off of them. Youngjae was sandwiched between Yugyeom and Jinyoung on the couch, the latter petting the omega’s hair gently. Their youngest rubbed Youngjae’s back, but was obviously unsure, glancing up towards Jaebum for some kind of direction.

Jackson was boiling over with energy, cursing in a blend of Chinese and English, pacing a small area on the floor. The younger alpha barely held onto his tenuous temper, entire body tense, muscles visibly contracted. Usually, he would enjoy the sight, but not right now; not with these circumstances.

Mark was tucked in close to his side. Though the omega was older than him, he still turned to him for comfort. The redhead’s arms were wrapped around his waist, and Jaebum had one draped around Mark’s back, fingers rubbing soothingly at his nape. The elder’s chin was on his shoulder, nuzzling against him to try to soothe his own unease.

“It’s been too long,” Jackson bit the words out, fists clenching and loosening at his sides. “Why the hell would he need Bambam so long? This feels wrong, hyung.”

For the most part, Jackson was right. Jaebum glanced at the clock on the wall again, the grip he had on Mark tightening. Twenty minutes had already passed since they’d gotten back to the dorm – and thirty since their so-called manager had said he needed to talk to Bambam alone – that he would bring the omega back to the dorm when they finished. They had tried to argue, together; Jackson deliberately lingered behind, but had been pointedly shoved away.

“He’s not in his cycle, is he hyung?” Yugyeom spoke up cautiously, a frown flickering over his features when Youngjae made an upset noise beside him. Immediately he pulled the smaller figure closer, nosing into his hair.

“No,” Jaebum said firmly, nearly growling as a flush of rage slipped through him at the mere idea of the man being near any of his omegas in so vulnerable a state. “I would have smelled it, and he would never have stayed with manager-nim if he was. Bambam’s a smart kid.”

“I’m going to go back to the studio,” Jackson said bluntly, arms crossing over his chest as he finally stopped pacing, turning to look at Jaebum. There was an angry, stubborn look on his face, but not quite challenging. Jackson had no urge to challenge his alpha – he just wasn’t meant for standing around and waiting. There was still a request for approval in the statement. A request Jaebum knew he had to deny.

“No, Jackson. Not yet. We’ll give him a little more time to get Bambam home. He’ll want you if he’s upset.” Maybe it was a low blow, using their closeness against Jackson like that, but loyalty was the only leash he had over Jackson’s temper in the moment. And he wanted to keep his pack together as much as possible. Especially not knowing what was going on.

“Ten more minutes?” Mark prompted from his shoulder. “I have a bad feeling, too.” The Taiwanese boy spoke softly, not wanting his voice to carry or to scare the others. “Manager might hurt him.”

The words made Jaebum bristle protectively again. “I’ll kill him if he does,” he growled the words, clutching reflexively at Mark, and suddenly wanting Youngjae closer, too. “Ten more minutes,” he bit out the agreement. Jackson nodded in agreement, resuming his pacing again.

They only needed five before the door opened and Bambam stumbled in. All six of the others froze in place as the Thai boy actually tripped onto his hands and knees. Jackson moved first, closest and already on his feet, but before his hands could reach the younger, Bambam scrambled to his feet, and bolted deeper into the apartment, flying into the bathroom. Almost as one, the pack followed, pausing at the sound of retching.

Jaebum made to go into the room, but paused when he felt Mark’s hands pressed flat against his chest, stilling him. “No,” he said, shaking his head gently. “He needs a moment. Let me see if I can’t calm him down.”

For a moment, Jaebum wrestled with his temper, angry at the insinuation that he couldn’t handle one of his omegas. He understood reason, though, and the soft query in Mark’s eyes helped calm him. He couldn’t bring himself to say the words, so he nodded once, knowing he couldn’t stay away for long. Not when it was so obvious how upset Bambam was.

He watched the redheaded omega slip into the bathroom – Bambam hadn’t even managed to close the door. Jaebum could see him fold down to settle beside the younger male, reaching out to comb through his hair. Bambam pulled away, vomiting again, a whimper pulling from his throat. “Jinyoung, come here,” Mark called. The beta had a maternal streak a mile wide, and it made perfect sense for him to help. Youngjae was summarily transferred into a worried Yugyeom’s arms before he went into the bathroom as well.

The beta only made it a few steps inside the room before he hesitated, an uneasy expression on his face. “Guys, go back to the living room,” he said – his voice was gentle, but there was a hard undertone to the words that promised he meant the instruction. “We’ll come back up in a few minutes.”

Jaebum found all eyes on him at the instruction, except Mark and Bambam. He wanted to argue, to pull the upset omega into his arms until he could find out exactly what had happened and fix it. But he trusted Jinyoung and so he nodded instead. Yugyeom wrapped an arm around Youngjae and led him back into the shared space, no matter how worried he clearly was about Bambam.

A little reluctant himself, he turned on his heel to go into the living room as well. Jackson hadn’t moved an inch, practically vibrating in place. Jaebum recognized trouble when he saw it, and he reached out to grab the younger alpha by one arm before dragging him into one of the nearby rooms instead. The last thing he wanted was to be away from the others, but he could see that Jackson was losing control and he had to do something about it. They had enough problems as it was.

He shut the door behind him – then shoved Jackson against it. The smaller alpha seemed startled at the rough contact, but that was entirely the point. Jaebum was the alpha of his pack and he knew how to keep order. It didn’t help that his temper was so hard pressed, either. “You need to calm down,” he demanded.

He expected the younger male to fight him – to shove him away. Instead, the younger male grabbed his shirt and hauled him closer, shoving his nose into his alpha’s throat. A rough, unusual whine escaped the muscular male. “He did something,” the muffled words were barely distinguishable. “To Bambam. I could smell him – and blood.”

The admission sent a chill through Jaebum. He wrapped his arms around Jackson, pulling him closer. It was unusual at best to catch the younger male being so vulnerable willingly, and it made something unfurl in his chest. He pulled the boy flush to him, nosing into his hair. “He won’t touch Bam again – he won’t touch any of them.” The words were a promise. One hand lifted, threading into Jackson’s bleach-blonde hair, before his lips found the shorter male’s forehead, then nose, then lips, kissing him gently.

Jackson’s hands fisted into his shirt, arching into the kiss, licking his way into the elder’s mouth. Jaebum returned the kiss roughly for a moment before pulling away to break the contact. He cupped the younger’s face, watching him nuzzle into his palm. The younger wasn’t happy, but he was calmer at least. “Good boy,” Jaebum praised, the words meant gratefully, genuinely. “Now come on. Mark and Jinyoung will help Bambam, but we need to be ready.”

Jackson rubbed at his face for a moment, collecting himself, but then nodded. They left the room before turning into the living room to rejoin Yugyeom and Youngjae. He glanced at the bathroom door, knowing the trio were still in there, but the door was shut, and he knew he wasn’t welcome; at least not yet. He could hear the shower running and soft voices – Jinyoung and Mark’s, but nothing from their youngest omega.

When he walked into the living room, Jackson had already joined the beta and omega on the L-bend of the couch. Youngjae had been the last to join their pack and was the least confident about reaching out. They were all bound to one another, and all of them most intimately with Jaebum himself, they had more or less been paired off before the omega’s arrival – Jaebum and Jinyoung, the parents, Mark and Jackson, the foreigners, and Bambam and Yugyeom, the youngest.

There was something about the dark-haired boy that Jaebum had liked right away, but it was a slower thing for the newcomer to trust them. He remained snuggled close to Yugyeom, but when Jackson reached out, Youngjae leaned into the contact. Jaebum wanted to join them, but instead went to make sure that the doors and windows were locked, latching the chain-lock. Their manager had a key to their dorm, and while the chain wouldn’t stop someone determined to get in, it would at least give them warning. Jaebum would not let another of his pack be hurt.

When he felt secure that the dorm was as safe as possible, he went to rejoin the others. He couldn’t relax well enough to sit, feeling too impatient and fidgety. He was already up on his feet when Mark and Jinyoung returned, Bambam standing between them. The younger male had never looked so meek – so frightened – before, and it pulled at Jaebum.

Bambam was freshly showered, his hair still damp, wearing one of Jaebum’s oversized shirts, so the skinny male was all but swimming in the fabric – and the alpha’s Scent. The boy had been crying, his wide eyes still sad and red-rimmed. Jaebum’s arms opened for the younger on an almost primal, instinctive level, and immediately Bambam filled them. The alpha pulled the smaller form entirely up against him. Both of Bam’s hands fisted into his shirt, face burying into his throat, as Jaebum slipped one arm around his waist, the other into his damp hair. Bambam offered a whimper into his skin that made Jaebum want to rend someone into nothing – a very specific someone.

He could see Jinyoung and Mark exchange a look before turning their attention back to him. He understood the pair without needing them to say anything at all – they needed to talk to him, and it would be better if Bambam wasn’t there. Part of him wanted to deny the request, wanting to keep the omega as close to him as possible. But he also knew that he needed to know the truth of what had happened.

Without asking, Jaebum scooped up the slender figure into his arms, closing the distance between him and Jackson. Tenderly, he pushed the boy into the younger alpha’s lap. Bambam clung to him for a moment, but relaxed back when Jaebum kissed him impulsively. “Stay here with Jackson for a little, okay baby? I’ll be back for you. Trust me?”

Bambam paused, but then nodded in agreement. He and Jackson had been closer than ever recently, and Jaebum was glad to see the skinny omega wrap himself around his hyung, snuggling close. Jaebum ran a hand through each of their hair, then bent over Yugyeom and did the same, pressing a quick kiss to Youngjae’s lips. Afterwards, he turned, frowning at the look that Jinyoung and Mark seemed to share. They led him into the back bedroom – the last he saw of the rest of his pack was Youngjae and Yugyeom pressing closer, protective and worried for their injured packmate.

Once the door shut behind them, almost like a switch was flipped, two bodies impacted him all at once. Jaebum held on reflexively, not wanting to topple over at the force of the impact. Their upset was nearly a tangible thing to him, and he braced himself for what was coming to follow. “Jinyoung – Mark – what happened? Tell me?”

“You won’t like it,” Jinyoung said quietly, as Mark sniffled, clearly distraught.

“I already don’t like it,” he said flatly, feeling his temper beginning to spike. “Tell me what happened to him.” He knew that the beta and omega knew. He could have all the suspicions in the world, but that meant nothing to what the pair knew.

“He tried to Mark Bambam,” Jinyoung said quietly, drawn a bit into himself as he looked up at their alpha.

Jaebum couldn’t help the snarl that tore free from his chest, grateful that he didn’t lash out physically at the pair that were with him. He wished he had something in hand that he could tear apart – just because he wanted to destroy something. The fury that tore through him was almost impossible to control. Their pack was Bound, and that fucking meant something. No other alpha could Mark any of them.

That the man had tried was infuriating, and insulting, a complete denial of the Bond to his pack. It took a long moment for him to calm down enough that he wasn’t afraid of hurting the pair. Unable to help himself, he took a shaky breath, but turned when Mark’s grip tugged harder at his arm. “What?” he demanded, unable to help himself. It was bad enough, but there was more. “Fucking tell me, Jinyoung.” He chose the beta solely because he wasn’t sure Mark could.

“He threatened Bambam,” the beta said softly, obviously braced for the fury that his words would cause. “He told him that if he told you what happened, he would knot him when he fucked him. H-he said he would fuck him ‘properly’ the next time he got him on his own.”

Jaebum slowly, very carefully pulled the younger pair off of him, turning on his heel as an alien, inhuman rage tore through him. He could very nearly hear his teeth wanting to snap as they ground together, eyes refracting as they pinned on the beta. “What?” he hissed – breathed – the word.

Mark shivered, eyes wide and looking terribly uneasy, eyes flickering between Jaebum and Jinyoung for a moment. It was a very rare thing that their alpha’s temper was truly riled, but for what their so-called manager had done, there was no way that Jaebum could stop the anger. He was already panting softly, body tensing, bristling in place. He knew that the pair needed him, but Jaebum didn’t trust himself not to lash out at the moment.

Jaebum barely realized that he had moved before his fist was buried into the drywall, needing an outlet for the anger that was tearing through him. Mark hung back a little, watching the display with wide eyes, unused to seeing the anger in the younger male – especially in a situation that he was struggling to control it. Jinyoung was the one to move, slipping up to the alpha and gently pressing his body flush to the larger male. He stroked one hand down Jaebum’s arm and gently pulled his fist from the wall, slipping himself in front of the elder to stop him from lashing out again.

To his credit, even recognizing the reason for the movement, it worked. Jaebum felt himself calm as the beta’s soothing presence there. It did nothing for the alpha side of him, howling fury in his own mind, but physically lashing out at the moment would’ve been a worse thing. Even a room away, the others would be able to hear it, and Bambam was skittish enough.

Jaebum took a shaky breath, calming himself further. “Alright,” he breathed the word on an exhale, glancing between the pair for a moment. “Is there anything else that I need to know?” He almost didn’t want to ask – what he’d heard already was bad enough, and he could infer even more from what he’d heard.

If the man had tried to Mark Bambam, he would have to corner or pin the omega. Jaebum wasn’t stupid – the man had lashed out at the boy – his temper had proven so short to be nearly nonexistent and Bambam was spirited – he would have blatantly refused what the man was trying to do. The Thai boy had a mouth on him, and as soon as the man tried to do anything – tried to put hands on him inappropriately, he would have mouthed off and fought with all the strength in his skinny body.

It was also only logic that if the man had tried for something so intimate as Marking the omega, he wouldn’t have hesitated to molest him further if he had the opportunity. What, specifically, had happened to the younger, he didn’t know. What Jaebum couldn’t figure out was whether it was better or worse to know rather than how his mind was trying to fill in the blanks.

Mark and Jinyoung exchanged a glance that answered his question rather eloquently. He shook his head, curling an arm around Jinyoung. “I think it would be better if you tell me everything,” he decided quietly. “I can’t promise to keep my temper and if I hear it the first time from Bam, I might scare him.” It was the last thing he would want to do, but the risk of it was real.

Neither of the others could argue with the instruction, or the reasoning behind it. Mark moved a little closer, leaning against the wall that Jaebum had previously been attempting to destroy. “At first he was telling him off for his pronunciation again; I guess so Bambam would think that he actually had a proper reason for keeping him,” he began softly. It was a common complaint directed to all three of their foreign members, and a bullshit complaint, so far as Jaebum saw it.

“Bambam said he just said he’d work harder; he knows it’s not true and he just wanted to get back home to all of us. Then the manager said that he wasn’t dancing well enough, and was asking him about our diets, since you and Jackson have bulked up so much. Bambam’s just growing so fast he’s staying so skinny. He told Bambam to strip; he said he wanted to look at him.” The words spurred a growl from their alpha.

Mark’s lips twitched. “That was more or less Bambam’s reaction. He said that if manager-nim had any complaints, he could talk to you, since you were our leader. He tried to leave then.”

“He said if he got in trouble for being rude, he’d just say that he didn’t understand how it works in Korea,” Jinyoung piped in, adopting a small smile for the boy’s ingenuity. If the man was going to claim that his foreign nature was some kind of detriment, damned if Bambam wouldn’t use it for his advantage if he wanted to. “But he didn’t get that far,” he continued softly, a troubled expression coming over his face. “He grabbed Bam when he tried to run.

“He grabbed at his clothes, I think he was looking to see if he was Marked, if you ask me.” The beta swallowed roughly. “You know Bambam, though; he fought him. Manager-nim hurt him, tried to subdue him; he’s got bruises starting already. I know he was talking, but Bam didn’t want to tell us exactly what he was saying. Accused Bambam of trying to seduce him, at least; he cornered him – kissed him. Then grabbed his hair – tried to Mark him.”

Jaebum took a shuddering breath at the snips of knowledge that were coming, growing more and more uneasy. He was inches from snapping, but forced himself calm for the moment. “Where?” he asked roughly, voice a shade deeper than normal as he struggled with his temper.

Mark hesitantly gestured to the hollow of his throat, and Jaebum saw red.

He turned on his heel and left the room, without a word to the duo, or do the rest of his pack when he stormed through the living room. “Jackson, watch them,” he managed to snarl the words as he paused in front of the door; without waiting for a response, he tore the chain lock free from the wall as he wrenched the door open. He stalked out into the night, trusting that the younger alpha would look out until he returned.

The night air did nothing to calm his temper, but Jaebum didn’t want calm. He walked in a haze, rational thought an entirely separate creature. He knew where their faux-manager was staying, the same as he knew where they were. It was an obvious thing, to know where they were, wasn’t it? And Jaebum was grateful for it. It wasn’t close, but there was nothing – no one – that would stop him.

He found the building, knew he was recognized when the door was held open for him. He gave no second look, no consideration, an alien calm nothing more than a façade over his rage. He stood in the elevator completely blank-faced, not moving an inch, until he’d reached the proper floor. He could smell the bastard, and zeroed in on his door. He knocked, unsurprised when the door opened quickly.

There had been – or still was, maybe – someone else in the apartment, but Jaebum didn’t even hesitate. At the sight of the alpha’s face, he snarled, reaching up and grabbed him by the throat, shoving him further into the apartment, not letting go. He heard the man choke, felt blunt nails digging at his wrist, but it was barely worth acknowledging. His lips curled in a snarl as he found a wall, bashing the man’s head back, nails digging crescents into his throat.

The man was bigger than Jaebum was, but weaker, confused by the sudden appearance. “What the fuck are you doing?” the man spat at him. His attention didn’t seem to catch on Jaebum very often, keeping his focus on the others instead. Jaebum understood – the man felt like he had power over them, where he was nothing to their leader.

“You touched my omega,” the words were growled, but in the same deadly calm that had taken over for the moment. There was poison in the words, and the only way this could end well for the alpha before him was to submit – to beg forgiveness.

“That little whore has been begging for my attention from the first second I showed up. If only he wasn’t so ugly, I could’ve gotten it up and given him what he wanted.” The lewd, lying words were spouted in response to both his temper and the unease he was trying to hide, obviously with the intention of angering Jaebum and making him slip.

His fingers only tightened and he pushed closer, face a hairsbreadth from the man. “You tried to Mark my omega,” he said in the same cold tone. “I don’t think you understand, and I’ll explain this once. I’m not their leader. I’m their Alpha. My Pack. Mine.” Jaebum knew that there was nothing human left in his eyes, and at that moment, embraced it. “You’re fired. You don’t so much as think of my boys from this point on. Do you understand me?”

“Who the fuck do you think you are, kid? You think you’re bad? I’ll have that little fucking brat hanging off my knot and begging for more – I’ll even give you a front-row seat. You’ve got a lot to learn if you think you have a chance of scaring a real alpha. Maybe I’ll just take the whole lot while I’m at it. Probably have to beat down that wannabe alpha you let hang on your shoestrings, or just kill him, the stupid Chinese bitch. I bet I could teach your betas how to properly respect an alpha, but you can damned well bet I’ll teach those omegas more than a thing or two. Maybe I’ll keep ‘em in heat – they’re so much sweeter that way –“

Jaebum blanked. For a moment something wild – primal – tear through him. A howl of outrage building in his chest, every muscle in his body feeling momentarily stronger by a thousand-fold. The idea that this man would even think to touch what was his – what he had Marked and claimed – and loved. In the next moment, with complete, calm clarity, his eyes focused on the man again.

His eyes were open, but lifeless, and Jaebum’s eyes flicked down to his throat, where the alpha’s fingers had torn through skin and muscle alike. The man’s chest was awash with blood, as were Jaebum’s fingers. He pulled his hand away, watching the man crumple. He flicked his hand idly, feeling tissue and blood fall away. He turned on his heel, instantly calm, idly lapping at one finger. He made no move to close the door behind him.

No one stopped him as he walked. But no one would dare try to interfere – the conflict of alphas was often without rule. And Jaebum’s pack was fully Bonded – any threat to them was to be dealt with as he saw fit. He stepped into a convenience store to wash his hands completely, not wanting the smell of blood to upset the boys. He would call their proper manager in the morning and make sure that he was personally responsible for the new replacement. They still had work to do.

The door of their dorm had been closed, but wasn’t locked. As soon as he opened the door, the alien calm melted away, replaced by a possessive warmth as Bambam flew into his arms, whimpering again. Jaebum hefted him up, feeling the boy’s long legs cling to his waist. His fingers rubbed his back, sliding up into his nape, fingertips tracing the ridges of His Mark, obscured deliberately by his hair. That Mark was for him, for his pack. Not for anyone else's validation. The contact made Bam squirm a little against him, a whimper sounding in his ear. He glanced over to the rest, seeing that all of them were watching – worried, but trusting, loving him right back. Youngjae was being cuddled by Mark and Jackson and Yugyeom and Jinyoung were half-wrapped up in one another. They left a spot between for him to slip into.

The warmth in chest unfurled, deeper and truer, and he tipped his head down and stole Bambam’s lips in a gentle kiss. “It’s okay,” he promised. “I took care of it. It’s done, baby. He won’t touch any of you again, okay?” He locked the door, carrying Bambam effortlessly before taking the spot kept for him. Instantly, they pressed closer, and Jaebum let them – let their closeness soothe the monster, still snarling in lingering upset, back to rest again, calm and surrounded by what was most important to him.

 

(a/n: Brand new to Ao3. I've never written A/B/O or anything like that before, so please let me know what you think and if it's something readers would like to see more of! Thank you for taking the time to read and review my work!)

Chapter Text

“Mark-ssi, we’re going to need you on set in about five minutes,” Yijeong, his “designated” PA, chirped, sticking his head into the room. The sandy-haired omega had barely realized how much time had passed that he’d been waiting, attention pulling from his phone, but he was grateful for the reminder. He had seen quite a bit of the shorter male over the past two weeks since filming had begun. Jang Yijeong was less than a week younger than him, and the smaller omega had been extremely helpful from the first moment and exceedingly sweet.

Mark felt, at this point, that he had made a real friend there. Even for that, he was more than ready to go back home. He’d never really gotten used to sleeping alone again, and he missed the rest of his pack – missed Jaebum. He had been in pretty much constant communication with the rest, but texts, even video messages just weren’t the same thing. He wanted to be back home with them, or wanted them here with him. Anything to bridge the distance.

He felt bad to complain; they all had their times that they had to travel, and it was an honor that he’d been chosen to take part. He was also lucky that his schedule had never been so busy as some of the others, like Jackson, who seemed to be gone as often as not. Mark had always been especially close to the younger alpha and knew very well how much he hated being away. Since the incident with Bambam, he had been even more reluctant to leave, and wasn’t the only one.

Their youngest omega had become even cuddlier since the assault, and while Jaebum had gotten the bulk of his neediness, it really extended to all of them. He had to fight a smile when his phone pinged in his hand, quickly reading a message from Jinyoung demanding that he come home soon, even if it wasn’t something that any of them could control at the moment. He replied quickly, that he would be back, gladly, as quickly as he could.

At least they seemed like they were almost done, and he hoped to do a good job. How a small series of four-minute commercials could take so long to film was completely beyond him. At least the director said that things seemed to be wrapping up. He seemed happy with everything that they’d done, and Mark was hoping that maybe by the weekend he’d be back home again with the others where he belonged.

There was another knock on the door, and this time Yijeong slipped inside as Mark pocketed his phone. He dredged up a more genuine smile for the shorter male, frowning a little when there was a slightly concerned look on his face. “What’s wrong?” he asked, tone caught between teasing and genuine concern. “Is it Kyungil-sunbae again?”

Even the mention of the tall alpha had Yijeong blushing hotly at him, taking another step into the room and looking back over his shoulder as though expecting to see the man there behind him. Mark was neither dumb nor blind, and he would have to be both to miss the way that his new friend looked at the older male. Kyungil was on staff, and while Mark hadn’t been formally introduced to him, he had certainly seen enough of the elder, the alpha usually seen organizing set pieces – usually in a wife-beater that showed off a stunning body. In another life, Mark wasn’t sure that he would be able to ignore him the same way.

Maybe that was part of being Mated, belonging to a pack, it shut off that aspect of his mind in some ways. He could realize that someone else, perhaps especially alphas, were attractive, but he had no urge to look for anything. Kyungil was polite, usually offering a greeting nod, and treating Mark with respect, despite being so much younger. He hadn’t missed Yijeong’s moon-eyed staring, nor the way that Kyungil always seemed able to spare a little attention to the omega.

He wasn’t a match maker by nature – he’d give that to Jackson or Jinyoung, who would be more willing to impose their will on someone else – but that being said, Mark didn’t feel so much as though he was making matches as he was just being aware. He could tell that there was something in the way that Kyungil watched the omega when he wasn’t paying attention. Admittedly, that wasn’t a huge window; Yijeong was hyper-aware of the elder.

“No!” the omega bit out, something of a pout tugging at his lips. “I think that there’s been some kind of change. The director said that he wanted me to take you to his office instead of down to the set.”

The words made Mark stiffen, not even meaning to. He liked the director of his shoot, despite never working with him before. He didn’t like the idea of being on his own with someone in a position of authority. He genuinely believed the manager that had been assigned to them had been some bizarre fluke of nature, but at the same time, he didn’t want to put himself into a bad position. For one thing, Jaebum would kill him, and then, debatably, someone else. While nothing ill had come from their alpha’s action at the time, Mark didn’t see any need to stir up more trouble for any of them.

“I’ll be with you,” Yijeong said confidently in turn, summoning a comforting smile. “I think that it’s something about Hongbin, but I’m not sure what. I’m afraid they don’t tell me things until they’re certain I need to know.” There was something almost frustrated about the omega’s words, but they made Mark smile again anyway.

Without complaint, he nodded and began to follow the younger male. He hoped that there wasn’t anything wrong with Hongbin. The beta was preternaturally gorgeous, and if anything, Mark felt a little unprepared to share a set with him and that stunning smile of his. With the amount of time that they’d spent together, it was hard not to at least get along with the younger male. It was worlds better than hating the job that he’d been assigned.

He didn’t have long to think about it before Yijeong had pulled him into the director’s office. Mark was quickly settled in the seat designated to him, with the younger standing by his shoulder, holding a PDA in one hand. There was an unhappy look in the older man’s eyes, and Mark hoped momentarily that it wasn’t directed towards him. He never liked disappointing anyone, but that was especially true for projects like this, where he’d been chosen and there were expectations for him.

“Mark, I know that you’ve been working hard,” the man began bluntly, making the omega hesitate a little. His praise did seem genuine; Mark just wasn’t quite sure where it was coming from. “And we still want you – but there’s been…a hiccup with Hongbin’s label. He was our first choice, and we hate to lose him, but we don’t have more time to tie up into negotiations. We’re going to recast him to proceed forward at a pace that we’re able to work with.”

The words genuinely confused Mark for a moment, brow furrowing, glancing up at Yijeong, almost hoping that the younger could explain, before he looked back at the director again. “But…that means everything we’ve been working on so far…?”

“Unfortunately, that means that we would have to reshoot.”

The words hit Mark like a train, and his mouth worked for a moment. Two weeks of work down the drain really wasn’t much in their line of work. Mistakes and reshoots and new ideas was just part and parcel to the life and the job. But he hesitated to accept. He swallowed, biting his lips, unsure what to say in response. He could tell that the director read his hesitance.

“Please consider it,” the director said, eyes looking earnestly towards Mark’s. “We still want you. It’s just something that couldn’t be helped. We even have an alternative in mind and if you’re willing, we can begin re-shooting as soon as this afternoon.”

“Could…could I make a phone call first?” he asked. He didn’t want to disappoint the director, as he’d genuinely been nice to work with. But at the same time, he wanted to be home again and he wasn’t thrilled about having to go maybe another two weeks between seeing the rest of his pack. He wasn’t sure what Jaebum would think, but he wanted to ask the alpha’s opinion.

“Of course,” the man said, gesturing towards the door in indication that he could step out and make the call privately if that was his choice. Mark stood, bowing politely as he stepped backwards out of the room, fishing his phone from his pocket as he went. He wasn’t even entirely out the door before he was dialing, pulling the phone up to his ear.

Jaebum answered on maybe the second ring. “Mark?” the younger male’s voice was instantly like a balm to the omega. “Is everything okay?” The question wasn’t surprising. If Bambam had gotten unusually needy and cuddly, their alpha was that much more overprotective of the whole group of them.

Mark ran a hand through his hair, feeling tension beginning to leave his body, leaning back against the wall behind him. “Yeah,” he promised quickly, not wanting to worry the younger male. “Everything is fine, but there’s been a problem with the filming.”

“A problem how?” There was a sort of aggression to the question that sent a shiver through Mark, and he had to smile at the words.

“I’m okay,” he promised again, stressing the words and hoping to calm him. “It’s Hongbin; according to the director they’re having to recast him because of some kind of conflict with his label. They said they still want me, but if I agree, that means that we have to restart everything all over again. I know everything I have to do so I don’t think that it would be quite so long, but he said we can’t begin until later today for a replacement to arrive.”

“Isn’t it the manager’s job to make sure that things are set before the contracts are signed?” Jaebum asked rhetorically, before he sighed. Mark could practically see him drag a hand through his hair, and wished that he was close enough to do it himself. “What do you want to do?”

“I don’t know,” the omega practically pouted back, wrapping an arm around his middle. “I like the director, and I don’t want to put him in a bad position having to find two replacements instead of just one. But at the same time I miss everyone and I wish I could be home.”

“We all miss you, too, babe,” Jaebum’s voice deepened slightly at the words. “Miss touching you.”

Mark swallowed at the words, something warm in his chest unfurling. “Me too,” he agreed softly, fighting a pout as he continued. “But I feel like I should stay. I don’t want to put the director in a bad place just because I’m feeling a little homesick. Besides, I’m sure that you have your hands full.”

There was a moment of silence before Jaebum practically growled down the line. “Don’t you dare say something like that. You’re never a burden, and I will never be too busy to not want you with me.” The words made Mark blush a little, cupping the phone he held a little closer to his ear, as though it would somehow let him reach through. Jaebum seemed satisfied with the silence, then continued after a moment. “Do you have your suppressants, babe? If it takes too long –“

If anything, the question made Mark blush more darkly. “Yeah,” he agreed. “I made sure to bring them with me just in case. Hopefully we’ll finish up before then.” He didn’t want to say more than that, and knew that Jaebum understood without him having to. It was always a risk when they were out or working on projects, so they did their best to always be prepared. He didn’t like the idea of going through his cycle when he wasn’t at home – he was very used to having Jaebum’s knot when he needed it, and the pack had always been very attentive to his heat.

“Call me if anything happens,” he demanded, and Mark nodded again, though he knew that the alpha couldn’t see him.

“So I’m staying,” he said, summing up the conversation for both of them. “I’ll make sure to keep in touch and as soon as I have an idea that we might be going home I’ll call.”

“You do that,” Jaebum replied. “Make sure you call tonight anyway, I know Jinyoung misses you, too, and the boys will want to talk to you. Jackson’s been requested for another project, so he’ll be away, and Youngjae is working on a solo song.” The words made Mark perk up a little again; while he hated when they had to be separated, he thought it was a good thing to see any of his packmates celebrated the way that they deserved. He knew that Youngjae was not always the most confident in his own skills, though Mark thought the younger omega was amazing.

“I’ll make sure to text him,” he promised. “And Bambam and Yugyeom are with you?” he asked, not feeling any rush to end the call and return to the room though he knew the director was still waiting. He wanted to hear his lover’s voice and to assure himself that everyone was still okay even though they were too far away.

“Yeah,” Jaebum agreed. “Jinyoung went with Youngjae, and I’m on maknae-duty.” The final words were said affectionately, and Mark could practically hear the love in his tone. Even though Yugyeom was the youngest, he had somehow grown the tallest, and he had gotten almost as protective over Bambam as Jaebum and Jackson had – the beta definitely had alpha tendencies at times, but it also made his vulnerable moments even more sweet.

“Tell them I love them, ‘kay?” Mark asked, blinking up when he saw Yijeong’s head perk around the corner, expression a little worried. The Taiwanese male flashed him a prompt thumbs-up gesture, making Yijeong grin brightly at him. The boy really was pretty when he smiled, and he ducked back into the room to forward the message, letting Mark wrap up the conversation he was having.

“I will,” Jaebum agreed. “And don’t forget that I love you, baby. I can’t wait to have you back here with me again.”

Mark nodded dumbly into the silence, fingers curling a little tighter again around the phone that he was holding. “Me, too. I’ll Skype you guys when I’m back in the dorm tonight. I can’t wait to see all of you again. Forward a kiss from me,” he demanded.

“Will do. Love you,” Jaebum’s words were final enough that Mark knew that he had to hang up before he got too reluctant to do so at all. He ended the call and then took a deep breath before he slipped back into the manager’s office, bowing again as he went in, an apology on his lips already. The man was already smiling at him, as Yijeong had been prompt issuing the agreement.

“I’m so glad that you’re willing to work with us,” he said, voice bright and almost boastful. “Please, why don’t you two go and relax this morning? I’ve got a few phone calls to make and we’ll let you know as soon as Hongbin’s replacement has arrived and we’ll get to work. Maybe get something to eat or something, whatever you’d like. You deserve some time to rest, and Yijeong knows the area well enough to find whatever you’d like, at our cost, of course.”

Mark demurred that it wasn’t necessary, but the director insisted. Yijeong then led him out of the room, shaking his head a little at Mark’s lingering protests. “He always takes care of everyone,” the PA explained kindly enough. Perhaps Mark shouldn’t have been surprised by that; after all, he knew Yijeong by name and that was fairly rare in the industry, as PAs were frequently considered little more than interns. “Why don’t we go somewhere for lunch. There’s an amazing dim sum place nearby, or a burger joint if that’s more your style.”

Mark practically felt his eyes triple in size at the offer, and Yijeong clearly didn’t miss it for the way that he giggled. “I’ll take that as your answer,” the slightly younger omega answered. “Let’s just run so that I can put this stuff away and we can go.” The words practically had Mark bouncing on his heels as he dutifully followed the shorter male.

It wasn’t long before the pair were walking down the sidewalk, Yijeong leading their path as Mark followed dutifully along. He had never spent so much time on a project, nor put himself into a position where he was able to really befriend someone. He had to admit that it was nice, but he was almost a little sad, knowing that it would be hard to keep in touch as they continued on. He was distracted from his upset as he was lead into what was obviously a restaurant.

The pair were promptly led to a table and brought water and their menus. At the sight of the options, Mark nearly bounced in place again. “It’s…beautiful,” he said, wide-eyed, looking over the options. The words earned him a giggle from Yijeong, who advised their waitress that they would need a few more minutes to decide what they wanted. Mark’s mouth was already watering, flicking through his options, so was more or less unaware of anything going on around them until he heard a voice speak up, tearing him from his thoughts.

“You should go for the classic if you’ve never been here before,” said a husky voice. “Especially if you like American style burgers. I’m surprised to see you here, Yijeong-ssi, I thought that you liked the dim sum place best?”

Mark blinked up to see Kyungil standing at the end of their table, wearing a half-grin, and a fitted, pressed shirt that accentuated both his broad shoulders and slender waist. Yijeong was blushing already again, mouth working for a moment. “I-it was Mark’s choice,” the younger said softly, though it was obvious to Mark that he was mostly flustered that the tall male remembered his preferences.

“Well, I hope you two enjoy. I’ll see you both in the evening.” He tipped his head politely at Mark, but actually reached over to ruffle Yijeong’s hair. Mark hid a smirk behind his menu seeing the small omega practically arch up beneath the brief contact, the flush on his cheeks darkening again. After a moment, the alpha slipped away and Mark promptly dissolved into giggles; Yijeong threw sugar packets at him in retaliation, but it was hard for the elder not to keep laughing.

“He likes you,” he said promptly, watching as Yijeong called the waitress over in lieu of answering. It wasn’t as though the younger could avoid the topic for long, and Mark wasn’t just trying to tease him. Once she’d taken their order – and Mark ordered the recommended classic – he grinned at the younger again. “Is he always so affectionate with you?”

Yijeong pouted back at him. “It’s not like that,” he finally said. “He’s close to a lot of other people, and omegas in the studio are pretty much falling over themselves to get closer to him. And they can offer him a lot more than I could. Kyungil is just really kind, that’s all.”

Mark couldn’t help a smile. “I bet he doesn’t like any of those other omegas though,” he said. “You shouldn’t sell yourself so short, Yijeong.” The gentle chiding made the slightly younger male pause again, but the conversation was forestalled by the arrival of their food. And while Mark rather liked Yijeong and was sure that he was right about Kyungil, he wouldn’t have been himself if he ignored a burger placed in front of him. And the alpha has been spot-on, the food was absolutely delicious and he dug in with relish.

By the time they’d finished eating, Mark had let the subject drop, not wanting to make Yijeong uncomfortable, though he was still sure that he was right. Afterwards, they made their way back to the studio together. It hadn’t taken Yijeong long to figure out that Mark was bound to his pack and the younger male had what seemed like a hundred questions to ask about Jaebum and the rest. It wasn’t like Mark didn’t enjoy the opportunity to brag on his family, and he almost couldn’t contain himself.

Feeling embarrassed to talk about himself so much, and in lieu of teasing him further about Kyungil, he began asking how Yijeong had wound up in that realm of work, given how young he was. Shyly, the shorter omega explained that what he really wanted to do was to sing, but anything that he could do to get a foot in the door was a good start. That being said, Mark promptly demanded that the other sing for him. Honestly, he expected Yijeong to be shy about that, too, but obviously it was a point of confidence and the younger obliged him.

He listened, watching in wide-eyed amazement for a few minutes. Yijeong went quiet after a moment, looking concerned as the elder watched him, head tilting to one side. “What?” the question was shy, as Yijeong tucked a wayward lock of hair behind one ear, blushing again.

“Well, you’re already tiny, so I’m trying to figure if I can get you my carry-on or if I’ll have to put you into my suitcase to bring you back to Seoul with me,” Mark replied conversationally. “Your voice is amazing – why are you a PA again, instead of performer?”

Yijeong rolled his eyes, but couldn’t help a smile at the elder. “Come on,” he muttered. “Let’s get you back to set before you say something else crazy.” The words only made Mark laugh, but he didn’t make any complaint as he was pulled along, hoping that whoever Hongbin’s replacement was, he got there soon. New friends were awesome, and he would like as many as he could get. But it wasn’t home, and he was beginning to miss it too much.

*~*~*

A week later and Mark wasn’t sure that he much liked Hongbin’s replacement. The man was Chinese, like Jackson, but the resemblances ceased immediately thereafter. And like Mark, he'd been raised in North America, from Canada instead of California. Initially, he wondered if their similar backgrounds would foster a friendship, but even still, the omega wasn’t really comfortable. His name was Wu Kris, and unlike Hongbin, he was several years Mark’s elder. He was also much bigger, so where Mark had been used to looking Hongbin in the eye, Kris felt huge, and the omega found himself having to look up to meet his gaze. Add to that everything about the muscular newcomer screamed alpha, it left Mark uneasy.

He didn’t think he was overreacting; Yijeong didn’t seem precisely thrilled about the elder, either. He never said anything outright, which Mark understood, given the position that he was working, and that he had to remain carefully neutral, but Mark could tell. He could also tell that on the few occasions that Kyungil had sized Kris up on more than one occasion.

Mark certainly hadn’t made any progress with the duo, but he was more sure than ever that they were equally infatuated with one another. He wasn’t sure what he would do yet, but he was determined that he would do something before he headed home again. He had been hesitant to tell Jaebum about his discomfort with Kris. It wasn’t that he thought his alpha would discount his opinion; if anything, he was more concerned that the younger would try to bring him back home.

And they were almost done, and he just wanted to finish. He did his best to keep his distance from Kris. He didn’t want to offend the male or cause any trouble with anyone else there. He did his best to maintain a cool, but still polite attitude. If the older male was offended, at least Mark hadn’t heard anything of it, and he made a point not to answer any of the personal questions that the man had asked him.

Kris had a habit of being a little more…physical than he was used to strangers being. Mark made sure to keep his distance, and the most the alpha tended to get out of him was a hand on his shoulder or arm before the omega managed to squirm away and turn his attention to something else. It didn’t seem to annoy the elder, so Mark more or less assumed that it was a habitual sort of contact for him. So long as he didn’t try to persist, there didn’t seem to be much point in complaining.

He had hoped that they would be able to wrap up more quickly than the original two weeks, but it seemed as though it would be the full month before he was able to get back home. He was in nearly constant contact with Jaebum and the others, but the longer he was away, the more it felt as though that couldn’t possibly be enough.

He couldn’t help but feel a little guilty when Bambam sent him pouty snapchats about missing him and how he and was lonely without him. It didn’t help that he knew that Jackson was away, too, the alpha himself had barely enough time to send anything at all, but every quick text was a promise that Mark was missed and loved and that Jackson couldn’t wait to see him again. Jinyoung tried to mask it better, but he and Mark had been thick as thieves, and while he spent a lot of time with Youngjae, he made several passing notes that he wished they could all be together.

Jaebum had sent him short videos of Yugyeom being cutesy and several candid moments of the others, just so Mark wouldn’t feel so far away. The intentions were good, and always brought a smile to his face, but at the same time, it only made him miss them even more. He did his best not to let himself get distracted, though. The sooner that this was wrapped up, the better it was going to be.

It was three weeks into his absence that he woke up with a headache already pounding, grateful that Yijeong had been swinging by in the morning to walk with him. The younger could obviously tell his unease, and went with him to get a coffee and something to eat before they headed back onto the set. Mark didn’t want to complain, but he knew Yijeong could tell, the smaller male bringing him a pair of aspirin to fight off the worst edges of it.

It wasn’t until midday that Mark realized that it wasn’t just a headache that was wrong. He had forgotten his lines, lines he had long since memorized, for the fourth time, and felt Kris reach out, touching his cheek. There wasn’t really worry on his face, instead there was something almost knowing in his gaze, something predatory. He felt a rush of relief when the director called a momentary cut, allowing the pair to slip away from the set and recollect. Mark assumed it was because of his missteps, but he was too relieved to feel guilty.

He moved quickly, heading towards the dressing room that had been assigned to him for the last three weeks. If nothing else, it would give him a moment’s privacy and the ability to get himself together. It was unlike him to be scatterbrained, and it made him feel more uncomfortable in his own skin. He jerked up when the door opened behind him, Yijeong slipping in behind him, a worried look on his face. The younger omega looked concerned, and he was carrying a foil packet and a bottle of water.

All at once, it made perfect sense to Mark, and his eyes went wide. “Oh hell,” he breathed the words, the realization like a lightning shock to his system; he closed his eyes, nearly swaying in place for a moment, clutching for the vanity that he was standing beside. “I need to call Jaebum –“

“Your Alpha?” Yijeong asked, pressing the bottle of water into Mark’s hands as he went to open the packets of suppressants. It might be too late for them to do much good, but anything was better than going into a full-blown heat while he was there, separated from all of his pack. He nodded, trying to twist the cap off of the bottle that he held, but his hands were beginning to sweat and he fumbled with the plastic.

Yijeong successfully opened the packet and handed Mark the pills, before taking the bottle to open it for him. Mark could tell at the smaller male was affected by his heat, by the way his hands had started shaking and the way that he bit at his lips – it wasn’t a surprise, considering that he wasn’t Mated; it did make a certain kind of sense after all. An omega’s heat would draw the attention of alphas, it caught on from one to the next, leading to more Mating. At least that was one thing that he didn’t have to worry about with Bambam and Youngjae.

The pack was fully bound, and it was amazing to have such a group to care for him through his heats, to a point that he didn’t even so much mind the loss of control. But having three omegas in heat all at once would be too much; the differences brought them closer, and why it didn’t spread to bonded omegas. “I’m sorry,” he said the words aloud, feeling bad for bringing Yijeong into this with him when the younger hadn’t done anything but tried to help him.

“It’s okay, it’s better that you’re not alone,” he said softly, but Mark could tell that he was more affected than he was trying to let on. “Sit, Mark, I’m going to go get your phone. It’s better that you stay in here right now.” The elder omega wanted to respond, knowing that Yijeong was getting to a point that he wasn’t much better off, but the thought of being able to talk to Jaebum was more pressing. He felt like it would all be better if he could only talk to the alpha.

He didn’t have the time to make an argument before the boy was gone again and Mark was left sitting in front of his vanity. He glanced up, unable to help faint embarrassment at his own reflection; he was already flushed and beginning to warm, the sensation building from the inside out. He reached up, dragging his fingers through his hair, the strands sticking messily out of place when he did so. He took a shuddering breath, fingers grasping at the arms of the chair he was settled in.

Now fully aware of what was actually going on, he had to admit that it hitting him harder, faster. He bit his lip, closing his eyes and focusing on breathing. He heard the door open again, glancing over, relieved that Yijeong was back so quickly, but felt his breath catch in his throat, finding Kris standing there, leaning back against the open door.

“You shouldn’t be here,” he blurted the words almost reflexively, shaking his head.

“But you were calling to me,” the elder’s words were nearly crooned as the alpha slipped into the space, letting the door swing shut behind him. His eyes closed, breathing deeply for a moment before opening again, pinning on the younger male. “And you smell so sweet.”

The words made Mark’s breath catch in his throat, something in his chest getting tight. This was wrong. It wasn’t Jaebum. But the male was an alpha, and there wasn’t any denying it, and the feel of it was something that was crawling over his skin. He could feel his guts clench in want, feel the shiver on his skin when the broader body walked closer to him. It didn’t help that it had been so long since he’d been touched, and he wasn’t used to being so deprived.

“You need to get away from me,” he managed evenly, forcing himself to glare up at Kris, though his hair stood on end.

“I don’t think you mean that,” the elder said, stepping closer. Mark swallowed thickly, wishing his body wouldn’t respond to the tall male, but that was beyond his control. A smirk curled the alpha’s lips as he closed the distance, turning the chair while Mark remained in the seat, feeling curiously small, biting his lip roughly in hopes the pain would stop him from responding. A broad hand gripped his chin, pulling his gaze up. “Pretty little omega, all alone, aren’t you?” He pressed closer – too close, nose nearly touching the omega’s neck.

The contact was enough to make Mark shiver again, body sending a rush of the slick through him, wanting – but his mind railed against it. “I’m Mated,” he bit out the words, fingers clutching harder at the armrests.

“Funny,” the chuckle touched him like a physical force. “I don’t smell another alpha on you.”

Mark growled, eyes flashing up at the elder, hand instinctively moving towards his nape, fingers touching his own Mark that Jaebum had left. He’d been deliberate, given what they did, that they had to maintain discretion. And while being Mated – being Marked – didn’t mean that another alpha wouldn’t touch them, it did give fair warning that it was exceedingly stupid to do. “Jaebum can’t be here, but that doesn’t change –“

He got no further in his protest, a rough hand gripped his hair, pulling hard, sending a shock of raw need through him. Omegas were submissive by nature, and the contact was one that shot straight down his spine. “The only name I want to hear from those pretty lips of yours is mine,” the alpha crooned at him, tugging again at his hair, making Mark whimper beneath the contact.

Despite Mark’s inherent submission, despite the pain/pleasure tearing down his spine, he couldn’t help himself, squaring his narrower shoulder, angry eyes snapping to the alpha’s. “I belong to Im Jaebum,” he nearly spat the words, but got no more than that out before he was torn from the chair he’d been in, bodily thrown back to the wall beside them. He tried to scramble to his feet, but he was no match for Kris, the tall male – furious – stalking towards him, grabbing him by a fistful of hair and to his feet. In the next instant he was pinned between the alpha’s hard chest and the wall behind him.

“Mistake, pretty little omega,” the elder crooned into his ear. “Gonna make you fucking beg now.”

 

 

(a/n: hopefully haven't offended any Kris/Exo fans out there - that boy just works for evil for me. Also moving forward, the rating of this might go up, so please be forewarned. Also if people are adverse to noncon touching and/or later smut, let me know! I don't know if people like/don't like cameos from other groups, but it is something that will likely happen - Kyungil & Yijeong (from History) showing up here. I don't have plans for others yet, but I'm about positive that is something that will continue. If any readers have requests for things like that (or any requests at all), I promise nothing, but will be happy to consider them [my only condition being that I know and like the members/groups requested!].

Thank you for taking the time to read and review!)

Chapter Text

At the obvious rage from the alpha, Mark made a mental note to leaving the mouthing off to Jackson in the future. He opened his mouth, unsure of what he was going to say, but the bigger male promptly backhanded him. A sharp gasp of pain escaped him, almost of its own volition, and Mark pushed himself back further into the wall, trying to create some distance between them. His cheek and jaw ached faintly from the blow, but it was the bigger male’s proximity that scared him.

“Leave me alone,” he protested again, but got no more out as Kris’s larger body pushed up against his own. A muscular thigh was forced between his legs, spreading them, letting Kris closer. Mark felt bile rise in his throat, realizing that the tall male was already half-hard, a low chuckle pulling from the alpha’s throat in response to the protest. Mark’s skin prickled and crawled when Kris’s nose pressed to his throat, drawing slowly to the junction of his shoulder.

Mark clenched his eyes, feeling Kris lick a slow strip up his neck to the edge of his jaw. Both hands found Kris’s broader chest, but he failed at trying to push him away. If anything, his struggles seemed to amuse the alpha. A broad hand threaded into his hair, and Mark instinctively braced himself for the pain of his hair being pulled again. Instead, the fingers drifted back, carding through, fingertips brushing over Jaebum’s Mark. The contact made the omega go boneless in the same instant that his stomach twisted and dropped.

It was worse because he knew that the older male couldn’t mistake what it was – what it meant, he’d just decided that he didn’t care. Kris shifted, mouth slipping up towards the smaller male’s ears, fingertips toying over the sensitive patch again. It wasn’t the same as Jaebum’s touch, which could undo him entirely, but a small, almost whimpering sound escaped him at the contact. Mark couldn’t help but try to clench his thighs, trying to avoid the reality of his body’s response.

He felt Kris’s tongue sweep up the shell of his ear, blunt teeth nipping at the tip. “Don’t try to fight it,” he crooned down at the smaller male. “I can smell your wet. I can’t wait to have a taste –“

“You have no right,” Mark argued, trying to land a blow, but it was nothing for the bigger male to grab his wrists, pinning them back against the wall behind him.

A dangerous smirk answered him. “That’s the beauty of being an alpha – I have every right to take what I want. And if your so-called alpha isn’t even here to look after what he’s claimed, well maybe he doesn’t deserve it.” Mark growled reflexively in response, angry initially at the slight against Jaebum, but that anger only grew. It wasn’t the first instance he’d heard of an alpha speaking of omegas like possessions, instead of people, but it was the first time it had been directed so bluntly at him.

“I’m not an it,” he bit the words out, anger building in him, but also the cruel helplessness, twisting his wrists in Kris’s bruising grasp. He felt tears prickling at his eyes, and considered, briefly, trying to call out for help or scream. He didn’t know who might be nearby, and part of him was afraid – the heat was still building, almost full-blown. And Kris wasn’t the only alpha there, and he was afraid of being found in such a vulnerable position. It was humiliating, but base instinct warred with his mind.

He swallowed, tensing, ready to scream for help if that’s what it took, but he didn’t manage before Kris’s mouth crushed down onto his. It was rough, too forceful, too much teeth, and Mark recoiled, head slamming into the wall behind him. The alpha only pursued, his thigh grinding up between the omega’s legs. It was obvious that his struggles only aroused Kris further, and while one hand kept Mark’s wrists pinned up against the wall behind him, the other slipped down to his throat.

The implied control in the gesture was unnerving, especially as blunt fingers dug a little harder into his skin. It was impossible to say whether it was better – or even worse – when the hand slipped down, fingers slipping beneath the collar of Mark’s shirt. It was nothing for Kris to yank back, tearing the fabric as though it was no more than paper, baring half of the omega’s torso. The alpha’s hand felt uncomfortably hot pressing flat against the newly bared skin, drawing an absent path as the bigger male nearly purred down at him.

Mark bit his lip, cringing back and trying to tear his wrists free from the grasp. He gasped out again when Kris’s head ducked, mouth finding his collarbone, nipping and licking a rough path over his chest, deliberately moving towards the omega’s peaked nipples. The heat closing at the sensitive bud made Mark clench his eyes shut harder, unwanted, alien arousal answering the too-intimate contact.

“Stop,” he almost hated himself in that moment for wanting to beg, but he couldn’t just take this. And he knew damned well that he wasn’t strong enough to fight the alpha. “Please, just stop – I don’t want this – I don’t want you –“

The words gave Kris a moment of pause, but there was no consideration in his expression. If anything, he only looked more furious after a moment, and Mark stumbled dizzily as Kris released his hands only long enough to strike another blow. Reflex had him trying to stumble away, but he was grabbed again instantly. He tried to brace himself as he realized that he’d been thrown at the wall, bringing up his hands to protect himself. The alpha was on him instantly, Mark’s chest shoved flush against the wall, a hand buried into his hair promptly wrenching his head back.

“You little bitch,” the alpha snarled into his ear. “Little slut like you should be begging for my knot. I don’t know what kind of pathetic alpha has made you think that you’re worth anything. But I know exactly what you are – a pretty little omega, just like the rest of them, good for one thing – worshipping my cock.” Mark’s body shuddered at the vicious aggression, horrified at the way the man spoke to him, furious at the way he spoke about Jaebum.

He shuddered, eyes burning as he heard the door open, and then recognized Yijeong by the boy’s gasp of shock. “What the hell are you doing?” It was obvious to Mark that he was trying to sound angry, maybe even intimidating, but his voice was trembling.

Kris straightened behind him, not letting go of Mark’s hair as he turned to see the intruder. A sick smile curled his lips as he recognized the small omega standing in the door frame, Mark’s cell in his hand. “Looks like your little friend isn’t doing much better than you are,” the deep voice crooned into his ear again, before his attention flicked to Yijeong again. “Put that phone down and come here,” he demanded.

Mark wasn’t sure if the younger’s heat was influence enough, or if it was the compromising position that Kris had him in – but Yijeong shakily put the phone on the vanity beside him. His eyes seemed huge as he looked towards the alpha, moving closer, dark eyes flicking worriedly between the pair of them. “You shouldn’t,” the smaller omega stumbled over his words. “You know he’s Mated; that’s wrong!”

Mark could read the unease in Yijeong’s expression – and the almost angry disapproval. He could also tell that the younger would be even more helpless to the alpha than he was proving to be. He tried to catch his attention, hoping that the younger would understand – to go get some help. He was even more unnerved when it was obvious when the protest only spurred more amusement in the alpha, and he reached out, fingertips brushing against Yijeong’s cheek.

The omega’s eyes fluttered a little at the touch, swallowing thickly before he cringed away. “That’s cute,” Kris chuckled lowly. “You offering to take his place? Or maybe you’d just like to join in. Wouldn’t complain to have both of you –“

Yijeong shook his head rapidly; Mark understood instantly, realizing that the omega couldn’t help but think of Kyungil. The secondary rejection infuriated the alpha, dropping Mark to instead grab the smaller omega by the front of his shirt. The difference was obvious, though, where Mark’s body had instinctively responded, his Bonds to Jaebum and his pack railed against it. Yijeong whimpered at the hold, hands moving to Kris’s wrists, but only clung to the bigger male rather than try to push away.

“I think I misunderstood you,” Kris’s voice remained thick with fury, and Mark felt a mix of guilt and anger for the way Yijeong went limp. The Taiwanese male had been there before, knew the fugue that the heat could cause – Yijeong wouldn’t even be able to think with the alpha’s proximity. When the bigger male buried his hand into the omega’s long hair, Yijeong’s head rolled to the side, baring his throat submissively.

“Stop it!” Mark snapped the words, knowing this wasn’t what the younger wanted, and that he was helpless to what Kris was doing. He knew it was stupid, but couldn’t help but try to separate them and try to shove the alpha away. Kris didn’t so much as twitch at the assault, momentarily releasing Yijeong, sure that the boy wouldn’t try to move away. He smirked, turning towards Mark, and landed a violent punch to the brunette’s cheek, sending him reeling, then to the floor.

Yijeong lurched, as though intending to run to his side, but when Kris growled at him, he froze in place. Mark could read every sign like a siren, the flush on his face, the way he trembled, starting to pant. He was affected more deeply than Mark was, and if the elder hadn’t any chance of standing up against Kris – Yijeong was worse than helpless. And in a moment of painful clarity, he realized that there were only two options he had at that moment; he could submit to the alpha and try to protect the smaller male. Or he could run – get help – but leave the small omega completely to Kris’s nonexistent mercy.

The sad reality was that he was no match for the alpha, and the idea of letting the man touch him made him feel sick. There was also no saying if he did submit to the elder that it would do anything to keep Yijeong safe at all. There was only one real choice, and the omega hated himself for having to come to terms with that reality. His body ached, from the heat and the alpha’s abuse, but he forced himself slowly to his feet.

Kris seemed thoroughly distracted by the panting omega in his arms, pleased by the submissive behavior. Yijeong’s eyes were hazy and unfocused, his head lolling to one side, but even with every instinct screaming in the omega to respond to the alpha, Mark knew the younger would never want this. And it was his fault – if it wasn’t for him not paying attention and the heat getting too bad – Yijeong wouldn’t be in this position at all.

Even worse, Mark was going to have to abandon him, because he had to get help. He had to get Kyungil – the alpha would be able to stop Kris. Another alpha might try to intervene, but the risk was inherent that he might try to claim the omega for himself. Kyungil was the only choice at the moment.

Body still cramping faintly, Mark wrapped his arms around himself, and he waited for a moment for Kris to be completely focused – then bolted. He had never felt so graceless in his life, stumbling over his own feet. He heard Kris yell something loud and indistinct behind him, but couldn’t let himself stop. There were some few people milling around, and the stumbling omega had to hurry. The longer he was gone, the worse it would be for Yijeong. He knew Kris wouldn’t follow him – why should he when he had Yijeong there, helpless and all but begging for it?

Mark scanned the room, finding it devoid of the alpha he was searching for, and hurried on. He had only a vague idea where the elder would be, and headed close towards his usual set. Though he had been inherently athletic, he felt as though he’d been running a marathon; he was sweating and panting, painfully aware that he was leaving a trail of pheromones behind him that would be impossible to miss. He almost perked up when he saw the bay dock for their costuming, set, and the technical crew came into sight. He hurried on, slipping through the staff door, feeling his stomach drop again when he felt a strong hand grip his arm, stalling and turning him in place.

Mark didn’t recognize the alpha, but could feel himself under his unfamiliar scrutiny. “And what is someone like you doing in a place like this, smelling so good? And looking like this?”

“Let go of him, he’s Bonded,” a firm voice said. Mark whipped his head around and could have wept with relief.

“Kyungil!” The word practically exploded out of him. The alpha holding his arm reluctantly released the omega, and Mark immediately stumbled forward to Kyungil, panting for air. The bigger male frowned down at him, before he ushered the smaller male safely out of the way.

“Are you insane?” the alpha demanded, visibly struggling to instate some distance between them. “You shouldn’t be out here like this – I know you’re Mated, but your alpha isn’t even in this city you haven’t got anything of his Scent on you – and some people don’t have any respect for your Bonds. Hell, you’re half-dressed –“ Mark had forgotten about his torn shirt entirely, but couldn’t bring himself to care.

“Had to,” Mark blurted out the words, trying to maintain some calm. “Yijeong needs you – Kris –“ Turned that he didn’t need to say anything more than that – at Yijeong’s name, Kyungil had gone rigid, his eyes going dark.

“Where?” He growled – the aggressive display enough to make Mark shiver.

“My dressing room –“

The alpha grabbed Mark by one wrist, clearly not willing to leave the vulnerable omega on his own – but the knowledge that Yijeong needed his help was too much to ignore. Mark struggled to keep up, unable to run properly – but the sad reality was that it had taken him nearly fifteen minutes to get to Kyungil, and even rushing directly back would still have the omega abandoned for twenty-plus minutes.

The older male obviously felt that urgency, moving faster when the door to the room came into sight. Kyungil had no hesitation, storming into the room without so much as knocking. Part of Mark didn’t want to go back inside – he was afraid of Kris, and he was scared of what might have happened to Yijeong while they were gone.

He followed, though. He had to.

When he walked through the doorway, the omega felt like he’d been punched all over again. Kyungil was frozen momentarily in place, but Mark had been similarly struck dumb. Kris had his shirt off and the slacks he’d been wearing tugged hastily out of the way. Yijeong had been stripped entirely and Kris had forced him to his knees, holding a fistful of the boy’s hair, not unlike a leash, forcing him to kneel upright. Kris also had his cock stuffed down the omega’s throat.

The boy had tears running down his face and his chin was slick with a mix of saliva and cum. Mark could tell that Yijeong had been hurt. There were scratches visible on his skin and dark patches on his chest and throat and face that clearly were going to bruise. Even for that, the poor omega was hard, though it was clear that the alpha had given no consideration for the younger male’s pleasure.

The sight made Mark’s guts clench in a wave of guilt and sadness and alien anger. That was nothing for Kyungil’s reaction. All at once, the alpha had gone tense as a wire, the visible muscle along his arms, back and shoulders bunching and shifting. The alpha wasn’t as tall as Kris, but there was more bulk to his muscles, and Mark felt sure that Kyungil could take the taller male on if it came down to a fight. Granted that was more than anything because of his love for Yijeong.

Mark had suspected it before, but he knew for sure, now. The possessive fury on Kyungil’s face could have been a mirror for Jaebum. The thought of his lover was enough to make him ache, but he had to keep himself aware. This wasn’t anything he’d ever done before and he knew this situation could be dangerous for him and Yijeong, too. Mark moved along the outskirts of the room, sure to move calmly and carefully – anything too much too soon might bring him back to their attention.

Kris was anything but unaware of them, he simply chose to ignore the alpha. An insult – and one made more pointed as he yanked the omega by his hair, choking him and making him whimper helplessly, trying to breathe. Kyungil growled at the action. “Let him go.” The words were snarled, not spoken – it was enough to make Mark shiver just hearing it.

“Fuck off,” Kris retorted, almost lazily. “I’m busy.”

“Get your filthy hands off of Yijeong,” Kyungil demanded. Mark understood why he fought to remain calm instead of lashing out. Kyungil had no Claim, no Mark, no Bond with Yijeong. The laws were a muddled thing for an unclaimed omega. There was nothing that said that Kris, for his unwelcome actions, was in the wrong.

“Is that what he’s called? I’ve just been calling him my new little slut. He seems to like it – not half as much as he likes my cock.” The mocking words were deliberately meant to anger Kyungil. It worked. Kyungil’s eyes flashed with an animalistic fury, but he held himself back.

“I’m issuing a formal challenge – Alpha.” The acidic words were laced still with fury unlike anything Mark had seen – except in his own alpha when Jaebum got protective of his pack.

“What, in front of two omegas so stupid with their own heat that they can’t stand – can’t tell one alpha from another to fuck?” The tall man practically laughed the words, rolling his eyes.

“In front of a formally Bonded omega and the omega I wish to claim. A formal challenge in front of any and every one if that’s your preference. To last blood.”

The final words made Mark freeze in place, jaw dropping. Kris, cocky and completely overconfident to that point, suddenly went still. He pulled himself away from Yijeong for the first time, throwing the omega away by the grip he'd had on his hair before tucking his still hard member into his pants. The naked omega whimpered and fell back onto the ground, but Kris immediately disregarded him as insignificant, facing Kyungil instead.

“Obviously, you’re kidding,” he said. Mark glanced over his shoulder, grateful that had more than a few extra outfits in his room and he slipped over to grab something – anything – at random before slipping up to Yijeong. The black-haired boy was crying still, but watching the pair, visibly shaken, shaking his head slowly in protest.

It was obvious why. An alpha’s challenge was no joke, and there were different considerations of severity. Last blood was, perhaps, the most serious, at least it was in a one-on-one challenge. He saw Kris scoff again, pressing closer to Kyungil in an obvious attempt to intimidate him. The shorter male didn’t blink – didn’t flinch, hands balled into fists, muscles ticking in an obvious want to lash out.

“You think that fucking whore is worth that?” Kris growled again.

“Either accept or fucking leave,” Kyungil said evenly, eyes not so much as twitching from the taller male’s. “I’ve lain my challenge.”

“No fucking omega could ever be worth it,” Kris spat the words out. But, miraculously, he moved to grab his shirt, spitting angrily at the pair of omegas, watching Mark curl an overlarge shirt around Yijeong’s small frame, masking his nakedness. He tried to keep himself upright, to keep a strong front – the man had no rights to do anything to him, after all – and gently petted the smaller male’s hair back. For a cold moment, Kris regarded them, before he pulled the garment on, storming out, and leaving them alone.

Yijeong was shuddering, losing against an attempt to control his sobs, and it was only a moment before Kyungil swept down, taking him entirely from Mark, hefting the smaller male up as though he weighed nothing. “Y-you shouldn’t – w-what if he said yes?” The words were barely decipherable.

Kyungil brushed matted hair from his forehead, reaching to wipe away the mess from Yijeong’s face, nuzzling at him. “If he won, I’d rather be dead then know he could touch you,” the alpha said, and kissed his forehead. “I meant every word, Jang Yijeong.” He took a shuddering breath and tucked the smaller male’s head under his chin. Mark could see the struggle on his face – with Kris receding, the smell of the omega’s unsatisfied heat must have been affecting him horribly. “I need to get Mark home safe; I don’t have any hope that he’ll be safe on his own. And then I promise, I’ll take care of you.”

Yijeong sobbed softly again into his chest, but nodded blindly, clinging to his shoulders. “Please?” he managed the word around another shuddering breath, to have another gentle kiss pressed to his crown.

Mark wanted to object; that Kyungil take Yijeong home now, but one look at the alpha’s face dissuaded him. And it was less than half an hour before he was brought back to his – and only his – hotel room. He had his phone, and the heat was tearing at him, but Mark didn’t call Jaebum. He could only remember what he’d abandoned Yijeong to deal with on his own, and felt he deserved every inch of the misery.

*~*~*

Im Jaebum was worried. Mark was supposed to have called him after he had finished filming for the day – but nothing. It was very uncharacteristic for the omega to break a promise when he said that he was going to do something. He didn’t want to come across as overbearing, and since it was past midnight already, he didn’t want to call the older male if he was sleeping. The worry kept him awake though. Mark had seemed alright when they’d spoken, but something felt wrong now.

Since Jackson and Mark were the only members away for the moment, it seemed logical that his unease was in relation to them. Jackson had managed to squeeze in a video call after a busy day of filming. The younger male had put on a happy face for the pack, but Jaebum could read the exhaustion in him. The only benefit was that it was a brief project – just a two days for a variety show and Jackson would be heading back after one more day.

Jaebum was proud of the younger alpha. Considering he’d joined the company with no training in any kind of entertainment – rapping, singing, even dancing was alien to him – and yet had become wildly successful. The only downside was that it meant the younger male was frequently pulled away and there was more on his plate than any other member of Got7.

One part that concerned him was the genuine fatigue from too many obligations and not enough hours in a day. Jackson was terrible at refusing requests, and he wanted to make sure that he never let anyone down. He was overworking himself, and Jaebum kept careful tabs – he didn’t want to try to dictate, but at the same time if it came to a point that he had to sit on the younger male, he certainly would. The other concern was every bit as distressing. Jackson missed them.

Jaebum had made it a point to be a good alpha to his pack; he loved them, and he knew them. Jackson, despite his alpha status, thrived on the attention of the people he was closest to. It was Bambam and Jackson, primarily, that were the most physically affectionate, and of all of them, it was Jackson that needed the contact. Bambam had been growing more and more dependent on him, but at the same time, Jaebum didn’t try to dissuade him. Perhaps it was selfish of him, but he couldn’t help the way he melted when the omega pleaded for him or wanted him closer.

Which was only part of the reason that the Thai boy was snuggled up close to him, his head and one arm resting on Jaebum’s chest. Yugyeom wasn’t far, sprawled out a little, but one hand was entangled with Bambam’s, just to make sure that he was close and okay. Jinyoung was on his other side, sitting half-upright with Youngjae curled up on his lap.

Jinyoung was still awake with him, combing his fingers through the omega’s hair and humming slightly. It was obvious to Jaebum that the beta was tired, but wouldn’t sleep yet. They had been friends so long that no words were really necessary; that helped, since he didn’t want to take the others when they needed their rest. He knew Jinyoung could sense his unease and wanted him to know the alpha didn’t have to deal with it on his own. He also knew that while Jinyoung could tell he was upset, he didn’t have the same concern.

Jaebum wasn’t sure if he was just being over-reactive and overprotective or if it was his instincts telling him that there really was something wrong. Either way, there wasn’t much that he could do about it without having to disturb the majority of his pack (and possibly wake Mark as well). He blinked when he felt soft fingers brush hair from his forehead, glancing over to see a small smile on Jinyoung’s face.

Jaebum had to return the expression, reaching up and taking Jinyoung’s hand into his own. He brought it to his lips, gently kissing the beta’s palm. There weren’t any words for the sudden swell of affection that he felt for the younger male, but when Jinyoung pulled their entwined fingers back and returned a kiss to the alpha’s knuckles, Jaebum knew he understood.

He also knew that the younger male was urging him to go to sleep. He might have been the alpha of his pack, but that didn’t mean he wouldn’t be mothered by Jinyoung when the beta decided that he needed it. The thought made him smile and he let himself relax. Jinyoung’s thumb gently stroked along the back of his hand and the soft humming overhead followed him into a peaceful sleep.

*

By the next evening, Jaebum no longer felt as though he was overreacting. He had called Mark six times over the course of the day and hadn’t received any answer. Not even a text that he was on set or otherwise engaged and unable to reply. Bambam had sent a snapchat and Jinyoung had also called – and nothing. He had called Jackson to see if the younger alpha had been in touch with Mark, but only succeeded in worrying the younger male and learning that when Jackson had tried to video chat the elder, after he’d spoken with Jaebum and the rest, he hadn’t gotten any answer.

It was only a few minutes before Jackson was pulled back, but he made a prompt demand to be kept aware of what was going on. Jaebum promised to keep him informed, sensing the younger male’s frustration, especially at being away. As hours passed, though, there was nothing more to tell.

He called their manager to see if he had heard of any problems or disruptions with Mark’s filming, but it was another dead end. He gave Jaebum the director’s personal number (after making him promise to behave himself), but when he called it, it went straight to voicemail.

Frustration and worry had considerably shortened Jaebum’s temper. The other members of his pack could feel his tension and gave the elder wide berth. Youngjae and Bambam were cuddled together on the couch, pretending to watch something on the television, but were paying far more attention to the others. Yugyeom was helping Jinyoung in the kitchen, even though none of them were hungry at all.

When his phone rang, from an unknown number, Jaebum answered without thinking. He didn’t really mean to growl down the line, but he knew it was not Mark and at the moment anyone besides him or Jackson wasn’t anyone that he cared to speak with. “What?” he demanded in lieu of a proper, or polite, greeting.

“You must be Im Jaebum,” a soft voice answered, so calm and at odds with his own flaring temper that he almost wasn’t sure how to respond for a moment.

“Who is this? This isn’t a good time.” In perfect honesty, Jaebum was proud of himself that he got the words out without cursing. There was something in the stranger’s tone that promised he wasn’t bad, but in the moment, the alpha really didn’t care.

“I’m Jang Yijeong, I don’t know if Mark mentioned me –“

“Where is he?” Jaebum growled the words, knowing he had gotten the attention from the others, but too focused to care. Mark had brought up the PA on more than one occasion over the past few weeks. He knew Mark considered Yijeong to be a friend, and hoped the boy could tell him what was going on. “Did something happen – is he okay?”

“Well, that’s why I’m calling you.” Right away, Jaebum decided he didn’t like the sound of the omega’s answer. “I think maybe you should come to Busan. Mark won’t answer me and after what happened –“

The three words made his stomach drop like a stone, and Jaebum bristled. “What do you mean – ‘after what happened’?” he demanded, unprepared for the boy on the other end of the line to falter suddenly.

“He didn’t tell you?” He asked quietly, sounding, if anything, more worried than he had a moment before. “D-did you speak with Mark at all yesterday?”

“Just tell me what fucking happened!” Anger, driven by fear, spurred the snarled words, and he felt a distant guilt for a small, uneasy sound from the boy. He heard the phone shuffle, transferring hands, and he felt himself tense again. He didn’t know who would be on the line, but he damned well knew that it wouldn’t be Mark.

“Im Jaebum?” The new speaker’s voice was deeper, stronger – and had an edge to it that Jaebum recognized easily. This man was an alpha, and he obviously did not like how he’d spoken to Yijeong.

“I haven’t heard from Mark in almost three days,” he blurted the words, dragging a hand through his hair as he fought to control his temper. “He won’t answer my calls – any of my pack’s calls. Just please – please, tell me what happened.”

“His heat cycle started early yesterday,” the alpha explained bluntly. “I guess it took him by surprise. Yijeong brought him his suppressants, but by then, it was too late. The first problem was that it hit Yijeong, too. The second was that Kris noticed as well.”

“The alpha that replaced Hongbin?” Jaebum asked, mind whirring for a moment, trying to put everything together. “Mark said he wasn’t a huge fan of his, but that at least he was keeping his distance for the most part.”

“He stopped keeping his distance. Since you weren’t with him, he decided that your claim wasn’t, either –“ The blunt words made Jaebum’s temper flare, rage rushing through him. “He had cornered Mark and Yijeong in his dressing room. When he was focused on Yijeong, Mark came to get me to help. He knew that I would protect Yijeong. When we got back – Kris had hurt him. Mark was upset. I made sure to get him back to his hotel room safely, but at the time Yijeong needed me more. We both assumed he’d call you.

“We went to check on Mark today, but he wouldn’t answer us either. Yijeong has a key to get in to his hotel room, but he thought maybe Mark would need you guys. Especially if he’s still in his heat.”

Jaebum took in the stranger’s words, mind filling in the blanks with a thousand things that made him want to scream or alternatively tear something apart. It took a moment to realize he was panting, and he closed his eyes and took a careful breath. “Where can we meet you?” he asked softly, wrestling his wayward temper back. “To get the key?”

“Depends on when you’re leaving.”

“Now. We’re coming now.”

*~*~*

Chapter Text

When Tuan Mark woke in the morning, it wasn’t to the same aches that he’d fallen asleep to.  He felt the same guilt – responsibility – for what had happened, but something else had changed.  As of the night before, his heat had apparently been trying to drive him mad.  His entire body had felt about twenty degrees too hot and he’d been simultaneously sweaty and shaking.  He felt weak with it, legs struggling to support him when he’d tried to stand.  He’d managed to lay in the running shower for a while, hoping the cold water would help fight off some of the ache – but to nothing.  He remained rocked by the heat, which was only growing worse in intensity, not better.

He’d crawled back into the hotel bed afterwards, still trembling, but now for yet another miserable reason.  He hadn’t bothered drying off, just pulled the plush blanket around his damp body and willed himself back to sleep.  Going through his heat like this was wretched, but it was no less than he deserved – he would figure out how to apologize – to make it up to Yijeong (if that was even possible) after it ended.  He didn’t know how bad it would get – even before he’d found the others and been Bound to his Pack, he’d taken enough suppressants to get through.

Furious with himself, he did nothing to lessen the symptoms and through the last twenty-four hours, it had only gotten worse.  It was very confusing, then, to be so comfortably warm when he woke up.  Not sweating or feverishly hot – just a gentle warmth, softly resonating through him.  He didn’t have long to wonder about that, because he was thoroughly distracted with lips pressing against his throat, suckling gently at the sensitive skin, mapping a path up from his shoulder.  He pushed the lingering fugue of sleep, realizing that gentle fingers were stroking at the soft skin beneath his navel, drawing teasingly south to the base of his member, but stopping short.  Still other fingers were drawing over his cheek and jaw before soft lips pressed to his.

The confusion melted away slightly, even with his eyes closed he knew that kiss – those hands.  Jackson – and Jaebum.  But he must have been dreaming because none of them were together and how could they have gotten into the hotel room?  The confusion took a backseat as Jackson’s kisses grew more demanding and Mark melted.

Jaebum’s lips grazed his shoulder, and the omega, stuck between them, arched his throat for the younger on a whine.  The alpha’s nose drew obligingly up the column of his throat, nipping just behind one ear before nuzzling at the Mark on his nape.  The contact sent a surge of pleasure through the omega.  “Jaebum,” he breathed the word, whimpering at the heat drawing down his spine, able to feel his body growing wetter again.

The past two days had been exhausting – painful – and ignoring his heat had made it so much stronger.  He couldn’t help but melt at the alphas’ hands on him, desperate for more – desperate for anything from the pair.  Even his conflicted feelings ceased to matter in the face of their closeness.

“You’ve gotten yourself into quite a state, haven’t you, baby?”  Jaebum crooned into one ear.  Mark quickly sorted out that it was his fingers teasing just beneath his navel as Jackson’s lingered at his side, the other cupping his cheek.  “Were you just planning on suffering through on your own?  On ignoring me?  All of us?”

The questions, the almost hurt tone of Jaebum’s soft reprimand made something in his chest ache.  “It’s my fault,” he said weakly.  “I got Yijeong hurt.  I deserve it – to hurt, too.”

Almost in unison, Jackson and Jaebum growled at his words.  Mark felt tears prick at his eyes as Jaebum reached over to catch his chin, turning the omega’s face to look at him.  Mark swallowed thickly, seeing the hard expression on the alpha’s handsome face.  “You do not deserve to hurt – not ever.  Yijeong is okay – Kyungil’s Claimed him, and they both wanted us to tell you thank you.  Everything you said is wrong.  And don’t you dare forget – it isn’t your heat.  It’s mine.  I Claimed it.  I promised you I would always take care of it.  And that’s what we’re going to do.”

Tears fell from his eyes, though Mark tried to fight them.  Jackson brushed them away, softly petting the omega’s hair.  “No, Markie, don’t cry,” he cooed at the elder, dropping kisses along his neck and throat.  “Nobody’s mad at you – you didn’t do anything wrong.  More than that, you did it exactly right.”

“The only one who did anything wrong is the asshole who tried to touch what isn’t his.  He hurt what’s mine.” Jaebum’s voice was dangerously soft, but even the tone made Mark shiver again.  He knew the bruises had darkened on his face from Kris’s blows, knew that his lips had been split at the corner.  That pain felt distant, now.  “And he’d better hope I never meet him, because I will be more than happy to explain to him why he shouldn’t touch what doesn’t belong to him.”

At the angry, possessive words, Jaebum’s arms tightened that much more around Mark, and the omega swallowed back a knot in his throat.  He realized, nestling back, that while he was still naked, Jaebum was wearing a tank and boxer-briefs – Jackson only the latter.  His eyes almost reflexively traced the contours of the youngest alpha’s bare chest, biting his lip that much harder as he tried to focus.  “I don’t understand,” he managed, faintly breathlessly.  “When did you get here?  Y-you were in China, Jackson.”

“You needed me,” the younger replied simply, as though that explained everything.  In fairness, to Jackson, it probably did.  He managed a smirk to the elder, perfectly aware of his focus, reaching out to capture Mark’s hand and placing it against his chest.  Instantly, the omega’s fingers began to move, needing more of – anything.  It didn’t help much that he knew the alphas knew it.  He could’ve purred when Jackson returned the favor, hands finding Mark’s bare skin.  It lasted only a moment before he heard the door to his bedroom open, someone slipping inside before the door shut again.

Hazily, he glanced over, feeling Jaebum sit up behind him to do the same.  The elder alpha seemed caught between irritation and concern.  “Bambam, what are you doing in here?  I told you to stay with the others until I came to get you.”

“I heard you talking – and I was worried about Mark,” the younger omega said stubbornly, almost defiantly, arms crossing in front of his slender chest.  For the bold words, the omega looked unsure, shifting a little from one foot to the other.  “I remember how scary it was, and Mark’s in his heat –“ the words were softer now.  Their youngest omega had all but refused to talk about what had happened with their interim manager, for him to bring up now meant he was more upset than he wanted to let on.

“Come here,” Mark said, knowing that Bambam needed it, and knowing Jaebum couldn’t stay upset with any of them.  Heat or no heat, Bambam was part of his Bound pack and Mark could not turn him away.  He held out one hand for the younger, and Bambam glanced towards Jaebum pleadingly.  The alpha sighed in resignation, but didn’t even have the chance to voice the consent before Bambam was climbing into the bed as well.

The tall omega squeezed his way between Mark and an amused Jackson.  There was a look of immediate shock on the younger male’s face at the obvious bruising on his cheek and jaw.  Physically, Mark knew that Bambam had been more badly hurt and he said so, hoping to make the younger feel better.  There was something that ached in his chest to see Bambam upset.

“Who does that jerk think he is?” Bambam demanded, reaching out and running his fingertips over the elder’s cheek.  Mark’s eyes slipped closed, rather enjoying the sensations from the soft contact.  It wasn’t the same balm that the alphas’ touch would cause, but it was still good, and Mark still wanted more, impulsively leaning forward and pressing his lips to the younger omega’s.

He wasn’t terribly surprised that the younger male submitted beneath the contact, squirming closer, full lips parting, inviting Mark to deepen the kiss.  He could also tell that both alphas were watching them – and from the hardness pressing against his back, he would wager Jaebum was enjoying the show.  He could feel the alpha shift slightly, nuzzling at Mark’s nape, making the omega squirm, wanting more contact from the younger male and Bambam both.

It was obvious that Jaebum understood, and he shifted momentarily away.  Mark could hear him stripping, but didn’t break away from the deepening kisses with Bambam, tongue pressing into the younger male’s mouth, shivering a little at the sweetness.  Mark wasn’t very aggressive usually, but of their pack’s omegas, he was definitely the most dominant, and he liked the way Bambam, for all his mouth and sass, melted, pliant against him.

When Jaebum resumed his place in bed, Mark couldn’t help a shiver at the press of bare skin against his.  Despite the heat, Jaebum felt deliciously warm, and Mark arched back against the younger.  “You don’t mind that Bambam is here, do you?” the alpha’s deep voice made Mark squirm in place, managing a small whine – both of them already knew the answer to that.  Frankly, the whole pack could cram into the bed and Mark would be delighted, so long as Jaebum would still fuck him.

“Well, that’s good,” Jackson mused, nuzzling at Bambam’s neck.  “Because I think I can guess at least one reason why it’s not the best idea to ignore your heat.”

Mark didn’t have much chance to be puzzled – he realized that Bambam had begun softly panting, his pupils blown out and rather intensely focused on Mark’s lips.  “Oh, fuck,” he muttered, swallowing thickly when Bambam made a needy sound in response to the curse, the younger’s heat had obviously started triggering by the proximity to Mark.

Jaebum paused for a moment, eyes flicking over the scene in front of him.  “Jackson, get him out of those clothes,” he instructed the younger alpha.  “We need to get them taken care of before Youngjae comes in here, too.”  The final words were, faintly, teasing, but obviously also genuine.

Jackson didn’t object.  To the contrary, he seemed more than pleased to oblige the alpha’s request.  Bambam was in much the same opinion, helping the elder strip him down to nothing.  The Thai boy was eager for more – as soon as Jackson had tossed the final garments to the side, he was moving to pull the boxer-briefs off of the older male.  Not that they were doing much to hide the prominent bulge of Jackson’s arousal straining against the fabric.

Mark had become so focused watching the duo that he was taken entirely by surprised when he felt Jaebum’s fingertips draw down his spine, tracing down the cleft of his ass, stopping only to press against the omega’s slick entrance.  Mark bit his lower lip hard, more than aware of the wetness down his thighs, feeling a helpless shyness at his own vulnerability.  He opened his mouth, unsure what he might say, but didn’t get the chance.  The pads of Jaebum’s fingers pressed against him before both were sinking into the omega.

A small strangled sound escaped him as he felt the paired digits sink further into him – Jaebum always knew just how to touch him to make him unravel, and he saw stars as the alpha deliberately sought his prostate, pressing hard against it.

“Jaebum, please,” Mark couldn’t help the words.  Every inch of his skin was burning with need again, and he couldn’t help the way his body trembled.  Two days of the building heat and the only thing he wanted was his alpha’s knot tearing him open.

His desperation must’ve rang clear through to the alpha.  Jaebum shushed him, but obliged the need, pressing another digit into the shaking omega.  Mark whimpered, but pressed back against the contact, willing his body to open faster for the younger male.  Jaebum wouldn’t rush, wouldn’t risk hurting him, even if he almost wanted that in the moment.  He didn’t realize that he’d started crying until he felt kisses peppering the falling tears away.

He could hear Bambam practically cooing at him, punctuated by soft moans as Jackson, kneeling upright behind the omega, was obviously preparing the younger male.  Mark and Jaebum were spooned together on their sides, the younger catching beneath one of his legs, pulling his knee up along his side to open him further – Bambam was resting on his knees, hips high for Jackson, shoulders low to keep close to Mark.

The elder omega, still panting softly, pulled Bambam back into another eager kiss.  The younger shouldn’t feel responsible for comforting him.  As though to continue the thought, his hands moved, one curling into Bambam’s soft hair – the other made a deliberate path to the omega’s leaking member.  The breathy sound of pleasure from the slimmer male earned prompt response from both alphas – and even Mark felt his own cock twitch, leaking more precum without any direct contact.

“Do that again,” Jaebum demanded, and Mark had no intention to disobey, parting Bambam’s lips with a gentle kiss, urging the younger male to make more of those helpless, sinful noises.  Bambam had a tendency to be vocal, and truth be told, it was hot as hell.  It was hard sometimes to resist the temptation of finding out what sounds the younger omega could be driven to make.  It definitely helped that Jackson knew exactly what he was doing – it took only a moment before his fingers found what they had been seeking.

Bambam’s fingers curled into the bedding, pushing his hips back against the pressure, a keening sound escaping him as Mark nipped at his lips.  Jaebum’s breath caught for a moment, and Mark’s body shuddered, feeling the blunt head of the alpha’s cock press against him.  There was no word, no warning, just the immediate stretch and pressure as the younger male sank forward into his channel.  Exactly as Mark wanted it, Jaebum didn’t pause until he was buried entirely into the older male.

There was some pain mixed with the sensation, but something in Mark reveled at the feeling.  His eyes drifted shut, focusing more of his attention on every minute sense, Jaebum’s fingers digging into his thigh, shivering as the younger male bottomed out, his chest pressed flush to Mark’s back.  Just as slowly, as steadily, he withdrew, angled just right that his member pushed against the omega’s prostate, making him see stars.

“You’re so wet, Mark,” Jaebum groaned softly into one ear.  “So tight – you want it so badly, don’t you?”

The omega could do nothing but whimper and nod desperately in agreement, biting his lips at Jaebum’s slow movements.  It felt unbelievably good, but it wasn’t enough.  He pushed his hips back as the alpha thrust forward, wanting more friction.  The grip around his thigh tightened and Jaebum went still; it was a prompt reminder that he was the one in control and Mark would take what the alpha chose to give him.  “Stop,” he demanded huskily.  “You don’t need to rush.”

But Mark did want to rush – nothing was going to ease the desperate heat except his alpha fucking him through the mattress.  “Please, Jae, move – I need more.  I need everything.”  It was hard to get the words out coherently; gasping softly and trying to arch his neck enough to be able to see the alpha’s face.

“You want my knot – now, baby?”  The alpha’s tone had dropped a full octave, and the words were full of both arousal and tenderness.  It wasn’t how Jaebum normally did things.  He was always attentive to the pleasures of his pack mates; normally he wouldn’t knot him before having Mark coming entirely undone at the very least once or twice beforehand, not wanting to cause him any pain or discomfort.

“Yes – alpha, please?” the words fell past his lips before he could help them.  Jaebum thrust forward, the movement just a little rougher, leaning forward to kiss him.  Mark arched up into the contact, shivering again when he felt a hand catch his chin, keeping him firmly in place.

The alpha didn’t tease him any further, clearly understanding how far gone the older male was.  A low growl of pleasure pulled from Jaebum’s throat as he buried fully into the half-wrecked omega – the sound affected the smaller male as much as the sudden pressure on his prostate did.  Lips and teeth mapped a trail from his mouth down his throat and shoulder, biting roughly at the edge of his clavicle as his knot grew quickly.  The paired sensations hurt, but the pain made Mark whimper, nearly keening in pleasure as Jaebum’s teeth sank deeper into his skin.

It made the omega come all at once, causing another surge of that same pain-pleasure as his body wrung, tightening more around the alpha’s still-growing knot.  He had no idea how he could be so affected by such a small thing – maybe it was just his nature, but he liked to be bitten and marked, and he liked biting back.  Jaebum cursed lowly behind his ear, and the younger male’s fingers dug with bruising force into his skin.

Mark gasped, startled, when soft lips roughly met his own.  He certainly hadn’t forgotten about Bambam and Jackson, but had gotten somewhat sidetracked by Jaebum.  Bambam’s kisses were half-desperate, open-mouthed and needy, and the elder had no reservations about giving him what he wanted.  The younger omega was squirming, panting softly – his fingers were wrenched into the bedding beneath them as he tried to hold on, rocking back against Jackson.  There was no question as to why – Mark had been fucked by the younger alpha often enough to understand the pleasure that Bam was caught in.

Jackson liked to make his lovers come apart at the seams – for that, he was generous and attentive; he would indulge them in whatever it was that they wanted – however they wanted it.  At its basest, getting them off was what got Jackson off.  He liked nothing more than to have them needful and begging for him.  Mark, though usually on the other end of that, shared that enjoyment.  Which was why he reached up, threading his fingers into Bambam’s hair, kissing him harder, and twisting his fingers, pulling roughly at his roots.  It was Jackson that reacted, grunting as his hands tightened at Bambam’s hips, a low curse tumbling past his lips.

“Good boy,” Jaebum purred into his ear, making Mark shiver again.  “You like that, don’t you Bam?” he asked, the omega’s enormous eyes flickering up towards the elder, a faint flush coloring his cheeks, but Mark would wager it was more from desire than embarrassment.  “I know you do.  Do me a favor, baby, why don’t you lend that fantastic mouth of yours?”

Mark shuddered, biting his lip at the almost too-full sensation of Jaebum’s knot.  He knew exactly what the younger male was insinuating from Bambam – as did Jackson, who stopped the slow, rough thrusts, at least for a moment.  In the next moment, they had moved, and Mark shuddered, feeling Bambam’s mouth meet his skin, lapping away the remnants of his prior release.  It was more than enough to make him grow hard again, and Bambam was always eager.

Mark’s hands drifted into the boy’s hair, gripping harder at the dark locks as thick lips wrapped around him, slowly taking more of the elder’s cock into his mouth.  The paired stimulation was enough to make him dizzy with pleasure, and he watched – Bambam liked to be watched – the younger male slowly work to open his throat to take Mark in.  At a particularly eager thrust, Bam gagged, and Mark could’ve sworn that Jaebum’s knot grew that much bigger.

Jackson resumed fucking the boy, keeping his motions even, and slow, broad hands drawing over the boy’s bare skin.  There was heat in his eyes as he glanced over the scene set in front of him, and Mark wished for a moment that there was a way to kiss him in the moment.  He was brought away from rational thought altogether as Jaebum slid one hand to join his, tugging on Bambam’s hair and forcing Mark’s dripping cock further down his throat.  Bambam’s fingers dug into Mark’s skin, eyes focused upwards on the pair, throat distended visibly, a sight that only turned him on more.

He was utterly unprepared for Jaebum to come for the first time, and Mark followed suit, Bambam swallowing ropes of the thick fluid with a pleased moan.  It took a long moment before Jaebum released the omega’s hair, and Bambam slowly pulled back, licking his lips.  Mark couldn’t help but reach down, tugging him up and kissing him hard, tasting his own release in the boy’s mouth, licking further to try to take up every trace of it.

“Fuck, that’s hot,” Jackson groaned, eyes flickering over the pair again.

“Jackson, please,” the younger omega barely managed between kisses, voice cracking slightly.  “Knot me please!  I need it – fuck –“  Mark kissed him again, more softly now.  He didn’t miss the way that Jackson glanced at Jaebum.  The elder alpha smirked, but nodded.  Jackson pulled Bambam up, his back to the elder’s chest, and without pulling away, he pulled the younger into a spooning position, as close to the other pair as he could.

From the younger’s soft gasp, Mark could tell exactly when Jackson began to knot him, finally seeing to satisfying the omega’s new heat.  Bambam came quickly, too worked up to fight the sensation long, a loud cry tearing free from his throat as Jackson stroked him to completion.  Jaebum had released Mark’s thigh, instead reaching to turn Mark’s head and kissing him slowly again.  Mark couldn’t help but melt in his arms – this was exactly what he had been needing.  He understood the need to keep the others separated, but at the same time, he wished that they were there with them.

He lingered in the slow kisses with his alpha, feeling Jaebum’s thumb stroke over his nape, the action both gentle and possessive.  He barely moved, but Mark felt every shift of his knot as though he’d been rocked by an earthquake.  He let himself half-drift away, taken by the pleasure.  He fell into the rhythm easily, the familiar, complete feeling of being knotted to his alpha.  He relaxed, pulling Bambam into lazy kisses, watching the boy’s blissed-out expression.

It felt as though it could’ve been hours later before Mark became more aware of Jaebum’s hands, winding around his body, drawing along his sides and around his torso, hips rocking gently forward, putting more pressure again on his overstimulated prostate.  He shivered in pleasure as blunt finger dragged over his chest, catching over his nipples.  At the response, Jaebum repeated the action, pinching the hardened nub gently.  He continued the action, his other hand drawing down and curling around the elder’s half-hard member again.  It didn’t take much before he was fully hard again.

Jaebum nuzzled at the back of his ear, nipping gently at the lobe.  “I want you to cum for me,” the younger instructed softly, kissing his nape again.  “Can you do that?”

Mark flushed, biting his lower lip, but nodded in agreement.  Frankly, he would do anything that Jaebum asked of him at that point.  That was the way it always was.  And with the proximity of Bambam and Jackson, and Jaebum’s hands on him – his knot buried into him, keeping him full of cum and slick – it didn’t take much for him to obey the command.  He came messily into the alpha’s fingers, gasping, feeling his toes curl when the younger came again, his release burning hot inside of him.

It took another few minutes for Mark to be coherent enough to realize Jaebum’s knot was coming undone, and the younger male slowly pulled free.  Mark couldn’t help but blush at the lewd sensation of the fluid leaking out of him – the smell of sex was overwhelming, but couldn’t help but find a strange comfort in it.  He lay bonelessly back in place, watching Jaebum crawl over him to the couple still locked together.

Mark watched the alpha gently kiss Bambam, fingers stroking the mark at his nape affectionately.  In the next moment, he’d pressed himself up and kissed Jackson as well, nipping a path up to his ear before growling something Mark couldn’t quite make out.  What he could tell was in the next moment, Jackson came again, and Bambam’s body shuddered hard before he followed suit.  The pair half-collapsed together, Bambam making no complaint for Jackson’s bigger frame draping over him.  It would be a little longer before Jackson was able to actually separate from the omega, though he spent the passing moments petting and murmuring soft words to Bambam. 

Jaebum looked rather pleased and proud of himself as he stood, shamelessly, glancing over the trio, a smirk curling his lips as Mark was pulled closer to them.  “I’m going to let the others know they can come in,” he said simply, and Mark blushed a little, despite himself, head ducking shyly.  He remembered why they were all there, suddenly, the things that had happened with Yijeong and Kris.  He felt guilty for the whole situation, but knew that he’d made his pack mates worry, and he couldn’t hide from them.

Bambam mewled a little when Jackson finally pulled free – if anything the scent of sweat and sex grew stronger.  There wasn’t much time to worry about that, because when Jaebum had returned, he wasn’t alone.  Mark managed to half-sit upright, biting his lip when he saw that Jinyoung had made sure to bring a tray of food along.  He hadn’t eaten anything the day before – couldn’t stomach it – and the simple familiarity that the younger male had for him touched him.

There was barely a moment before Youngjae and Yugyeom had crawled into the bed, ignoring everything – the scent, their obvious nudity – everything but their eldest omega, wanting to be closer and make sure that he was still okay.  Mark couldn’t help a shy blush, but when Youngjae snuggled up to one side and Yugyeom planted himself between him and Bambam, stealing a soft kiss, he returned it.  He could feel the worry from the beta without the youngest needing to say a word, swallowing a knot of emotion as soft fingers pushed hair behind his ear, dark eyes searching his thoroughly.

“I’m okay,” he promised, feeling it for the first time.  No matter what, if he had them, he would be okay.

“Have something to eat,” Jinyoung said firmly, putting the tray down, pointing a glare at the two newcomers who promised to distract Mark again.  The eldest had to fight a smile, reaching up and curling a hand behind Jinyoung’s nape.  The younger hesitated, glancing down, but when Mark pulled him forward, kissing him gently, the beta seemed to forget what he’d been saying.

“Be nice,” he chided back, mostly teasing.  “I’m the one who’s caused all the drama – they’re just checking on me.”

“You didn’t cause anything,” Jackson grumbled in complaint.  “I’m just happy to know he’s not going to have the chance to do anything like that to another omega.  At least not in Korea.  Hopefully that will teach him something.”

The blasé way that the alpha spoke made Mark hesitate, curious and confused, glancing over the faces of the rest of his pack.  “What are you talking about?” he demanded, looking at them, before his attention inevitably found Jaebum, who was sitting on the edge of the bed, almost thoughtfully keeping an eye on all of them, watching as they drew protectively closer to Mark.

“Hyung had him blacklisted,” Bambam piped up, quite as though he expected Mark to know that already.  “Before we even came to get you.”

Mark’s eyes went wide, flicking immediately to Jaebum, barely believing the words.  He wasn’t sure that he’d ever seen their alpha actually blush, scratching at the back of his head as six pairs of eyes focused on him.  “I have a few connections,” he shrugged idly, but wasn’t quite willing enough to meet their eyes.  “I wasn’t about to stand aside and let someone hurt anybody – hurt you – like that.”

The smile found Mark’s lips before he meant it.  “I love you,” he said simply in answer, feeling Yugyeom’s arms wind around his bare waist and Youngjae nuzzle beneath his chin.  The almost shy smile from Jaebum was enough to make Mark blush in answer.  “Thank you.”

“We’re family,” Yugyeom pouted next to him.  “There isn’t any thanking.  But you’re supposed to call when you need us, not hide from us.  We were worried.”

Mark hesitated at the gentle chiding from their maknae, but reached up and stroked his fingers down his jaw.  “You’re right,” he agreed softly.  “I was wrong.  I was scared – and I needed you, but I didn’t know how to ask – what to say.”

“You say you need us,” Bambam teased, kiss-bruised lips perking up in a smile, though he continued to lean bonelessly into Jackson, who’d shifted into an upright position so the Thai boy could rest more comfortably against his chest.  “And Jackson tears China down to get to you and we’re all here the next day because we love you, hyung, and we can’t deal with the idea of you hurting.”

Mark had to smile at the blunt response – blunt as Bambam always was, and direct, and he felt a rush of affection to the younger.  “Thank you,” he said again.  “And I think I’ll be better next time.”

“No more next times,” Youngjae said softly, the first he’d spoken.  Mark nuzzled back against the younger omega, nodding promptly in promise.  He had been so overwhelmed it seemed almost impossible to remember how much strength his pack gave him.  He genuinely needed them, needed their closeness.

“I promise.”







(a/n:  Um, I hope you liked it!  As fair warnings, there may be inclusion of various kinks in future chapters if they lend to smut, mostly there will just be cuddles and fluff, and I will absolutely put notes of where/what smut will be so no one is surprised by it.  As ever, if there are requests [for people, I mean to say, not kinks, although I consider all requests XD] please let me know!  I'm trying to get better at writing everyone.  I believe the next chapter might be Youngjae focused!  Please stay tuned and I will try to write faster next time!!)

Chapter Text

At first, Choi Youngjae had told himself that he was imagining things – overreacting. If anything, since the incident at the beginning of the year, with Mark – and Bambam a few months earlier – their pack had been closer than ever. In the months immediately after, Youngjae could hardly go more than a couple hours without someone demanding cuddles or outright hauling him closer. It was a little overwhelming for the usually more reserved omega, but he couldn’t help but come to enjoy it. It was nice – that there was always someone to nestle up to, if he felt so inclined, and he couldn’t honestly say that he didn’t like Jaebum or Jackson or Yugyeom’s habits of pulling him close.

He was still, of their pack, the most tentative about reaching out, and did so more rarely. Maybe that was where things had begun to go wrong – at least, so far as he was able to tell, he’d definitely done something wrong. He was the only one being pushed away. It wasn’t all the time, or every day, but Youngjae wasn’t stupid – he noticed when the others made a point to exclude him. Even worse, he was perfectly aware when he was passed off like a Youngjae hot-potato.

The first few days of it, he just assumed that they were up to something, but it didn’t stop. If anything, it was getting worse. He’d tried to bring it up with Jinyoung, but the older beta shook his head, promising that they weren’t doing any such thing. Youngjae wanted to pout at him, even though pouting was outside of his usual methods. It wasn’t as though he had much time, though, since promptly thereafter, the elder had to beg off – but not without leaving Youngjae with Yugyeom and giving their maknae significant looks – as though Youngjae wouldn’t see it. He wanted to say something scathing, but it wasn’t in his nature, and he didn’t want their attention on him because he was lashing out.

It had been Jaebum’s rule that none of them went anywhere on their own; the most that they were alone was when someone was at the dorm when the others might otherwise be occupied. Even then, it was a rare thing, Jaebum really didn’t trust much of anyone anymore that was outside of their group. Even friends that they’d had for a long time, he was still wary of anyone outside of their pack. Youngjae understood, to a degree – seeing the aftereffects of what had happened with Mark and Bambam had been scary for him. He’d never been in a position like that, and he loved them, and hated to see them so scared and shaken.

It had to be worse for Jaebum, who had taken on the responsibility to keep them all safe and whole. He and Jinyoung had squirreled away for a long while to help organize and make sure that everyone would be covered. Jackson, who usually had the most on his plate, had taken a step back from his activities. It was obvious that he wasn’t thrilled with it, but the younger of their alphas was always a people-pleaser and he didn’t like saying no. There had almost been an argument, with Jackson complaining that he was perfectly capable of taking care of himself. He’d been shut down quickly when Jinyoung had pointed out that it wasn’t about protecting Jackson, but about Jackson being able to protect the rest.

Youngjae knew that wasn’t the whole truth, but he was glad that it helped reign in the older male. He didn’t like to see Jackson upset, and certainly not at odds with Jaebum. It was wrong – it felt wrong when their pack wasn’t in harmony. He had been the last to join them; the other members had been training together for years before he’d shown up. They weren’t a Bonded pack, of course, that hadn’t happened until after his arrival. But even so, from the first minute, they might as well have been. They were seamless, unhesitatingly completing one another. For the first little while, he just watched.

He'd always known what he was – an omega – that in many ways his life couldn’t ever be his own. Sure, there were some alphas who respected an omega’s choice as well, but there were more that were like Kris had been. They treated omegas like property, to be controlled and owned. If he was being honest, seeing the way that the others interacted, he’d always considered it too good to be true. Jaebum and Jackson, alphas, had always treated the others with complete deference. They looked after the pair of betas and omegas with protective affection.

Youngjae had heard stories like that, but had never once thought that he would wind up with a group like them. Pack Bonding was rarer than Mating – a lot of alphas didn’t like to share. He had always assumed that was the sort of situation that he would wind up in, finding an alpha, or an alpha finding him – being claimed. And that would be it. But there was something in him that needed to sing; he couldn’t fight it – didn’t want to. He had made up his mind, before he had applied, he would do whatever he had to, so long as he would be able to sing. So, perhaps, the most disturbing thing, was that he had been drawn into the group.

Yugyeom and Bambam, younger than him, had been the first to push for genuine friendship. The Thai omega was more charming than he realized, and Yugyeom had actually pouted at him until he conceded to spend more time with them. It was impossible to be afraid of Mark, but Jackson and Jaebum unnerved him. The older of the alphas had been the more willing to respect the distance that Youngjae had needed at the time, but quick to praise and smile. Jackson was the one who reached out, but it was never too much, never without giving Youngjae every inch to refuse or get away. At the time, Youngjae hadn’t even really understood how the others were bridging the gap.

It wasn’t even so much that they were deliberately subtle about it; it was more that everything came so naturally. If Youngjae stumbled during choreography, Yugyeom helped catch him and get him back on his feet with a cheerful wink. When the first seasonal change had come, allergies hitting him hard and leaving him bedbound, Jinyoung was perched at his bedside, gently pressing his lips to the younger’s forehead before declaring the blushing omega fever-free, but still lingering to nurse him back to health. Bambam fell asleep on his shoulder driving home from a recording, nuzzling into his neck and cuddling closer, and Youngjae couldn’t bear to make him move. When they were filming, Mark pounced, claimed him for a teammate, the redheaded omega wrapping both arms around his shoulders from behind, adopting a pout that Youngjae could hear when Yugyeom pouted that he wanted Youngjae.

Even from the outreaches from the others, from the first moment, he’d felt like an intruder, somehow stepping into their perfect world and shoving his way in. He had always, always been slow to trust, slow to reach out. It was easy to hide behind a veneer of cheer and silliness, but at the heart, it was frightening to him to open himself up. He tried to work out their dynamics, but it was useless. Initially, he’d assumed it was obvious – Jackson and Mark were attached at the hip, and Bambam and Yugyeom weren’t much better. He, of course, had known about Jaebum and Jinyoung working together before, and the pair fit together seamlessly to keep everything working smoothly, especially taking care of the other members.

But then, he’d walked in to a dance practice early and Jackson, despite being shorter, had Yugyeom trapped between his body and the wall of lined mirrors, devouring their maknae’s lips with his own. He would have thought Mark with Jackson – or Bambam, who screamed submissive and faux-innocence. But Yugyeom was just as eager, pulling the muscular male closer so that their bodies were flush. It was obvious when they realized that they weren’t alone, pulling reluctantly. Yugyeom panted softy, dark eyes a little hazy as they glanced over, smiling at the sight of Youngjae. Even the expression confused him. Shouldn’t he be upset to be interrupted? He had more than a vague idea that the others had moments of intimacy, but he still felt confused.

Jackson’s expression was unusually gentle as his eyes met Youngjae’s. “Come here,” he instructed softly. Youngjae knew he didn’t have to – he could bolt the other direction entirely and Jackson wouldn’t be mad at him. It was part of the reason he obeyed, knowing that he didn’t have to. He glanced between the pair, tongue-tied and confused. What did one say when they’d interrupted two of their groupmates in that sort of situation? He blushed a little when he saw Jackson’s hand slip from beneath Yugyeom’s t-shirt, instead gently reaching to guide him closer. He had mostly gotten used to Jackson as he was in the group, loud and dynamic. On his own, away from the cameras and attention, there was a quieter aspect of him. It surprised Youngjae that he seemed somehow stronger that way – it was the first time that Youngjae had really seen the alpha side of the elder. Usually he was happy to let Jaebum have the reigns.

“I-I didn’t mean –“ Youngjae blurted the words, hoping that they weren’t upset with him. Nothing in their expressions would indicate that, but he couldn’t help that fear; that he would do or say something and they wouldn’t want him around anymore. “Sorry.”

Jackson’s smile was softer than usual, and Youngjae blinked, eyes flicking up when he felt the elder reach up, cupping his cheek and drawing his thumb gently along his cheekbone. “You don’t have anything to be sorry for,” he said simply. “We’re happy you’re here – I feel like we don’t get to see very much of you when we’re not working. C’mere,” he said again, taking Youngjae’s hand and pulling him closer to himself – and Yugyeom. The maknae was watching quietly, head quirking a little to one side, watching intently, and as Jackson had said, not seeming at all upset.

“I should’ve knocked,” Youngjae replied instead, hanging onto his apology as though it was a barrier from the conversation that the others wanted to have.

“Jae, you have as much right to be here as we do,” Jackson refuted simply, surprising the younger. He had come to understand that Jackson was a lot more intuitive than people generally gave him credit for, but to name his own reservations so baldly still left him a little bit surprised. “When we say that this is our space, that means it’s yours, too. You don’t ever have to ask if you’re welcome here. We want you.”

The final words hit Youngjae like a physical thing, and his mouth worked in helpless uneasiness for a moment. It wasn’t as though he had much time to linger on it. Jackson’s fingers slipped away from his drawing down his jaw and throat instead, and Yugyeom’s had brushed down his arm, slipping into the omega’s smaller hand and pulling him a little closer. Without thinking, his head tilted away from Jackson, shivering a little at the contact. He wasn’t used to the touches, but that didn’t mean that he didn’t like them. It seemed second-nature to press himself closer into them – so long as he wasn’t thinking, it was like his body knew exactly what he was supposed to do. He felt a little off-center and hazy as Yugyeom pulled him closer, and Jackson stepped back just a little.

The alpha moved slowly as though checking to make sure that the younger male was okay each step of the way. “Yugyeom,” he said softly, drawing the maknae’s attention, but not his eyes. “Do you want to kiss him?” Youngjae’s eyes went wide, a blush stealing over his cheeks, flicking between the pair. But he could have left; there was nothing that was keeping him – except the way that Yugyeom’s eyes were fastened to his own, dark and definitely wanting. It was a slow realization that it wasn’t because of Jackson, but because of him. “Youngjae?” the alpha asked, his fingers drawing against the omega’s slender waist. “Nothing you don’t want – you just say the word – okay?”

Youngjae swallowed, unsure what the word was, yes? No? Was he afraid? A little, but only in the best way, skin almost itching anywhere that they weren’t touching, wanting more. He was afraid to say the wrong thing – that they would stop, or leave, or push him away. “Please?” he managed instead, uneasy with this shift, but finding himself wanting. He was glad that he didn’t have much more time to think about it, because Yugyeom had closed the distance, the taller male leaning over him, and lips pressing gently to his own.

It was nothing like the rough kiss that Jackson and Yugyeom had been sharing a moment before, instead the contact was gentle, tentative. Even so, Youngjae felt as though he couldn’t quite breathe – couldn’t quite think – and wasn’t quite sure if he wanted to. Youngjae had never been kissed before, and had always secretly wondered, in the midst of singing love songs, why it was such a big deal, mashing your lips and face against someone else’s.

The reality was infinitely better – and infinitely more complicated. Yugyeom’s lips were full and soft against his, warm, neither too wet nor dry – the pressure there was gentle, as was the arm that slowly wound around his waist to pull him closer. He was very much aware of Jackson’s proximity, though for the moment, the alpha didn’t touch. Youngjae’s thoughts snapped back to the beta at the tentative brush of his tongue at the seam of his lips.

A small gasp escaped the omega, unprepared for the sensation, and Yugyeom took full advantage, deepening the kiss. The motion was abrupt, but not rough, and Youngjae felt something pleasantly warm and fluttery, building in his middle. It was caught solidly between anticipation and apprehension, and he couldn’t say just what he felt. He arched into the younger male’s bigger, broader form without really even thinking about it. Instinctively, he wanted more of that closeness with their maknae, as the soft kiss deepened, he wanted to feel more.

Yugyeom pulled back after a moment, eyes drawing almost worriedly over Youngjae’s face, a soft blush heating his cheeks. Still, he didn’t let go of the elder yet – for which Youngjae was grateful as his knees felt a little unsteady beneath him. As unexpected as the kiss (and his own reaction) had been, he was no more prepared for the way that Yugyeom suddenly grinned at him. He slowly unwound his arm from Youngjae’s waist, but picked up his hand, holding tight as though he wasn’t quite sure if the elder might run away.

He could feel Jackson watching him, and felt his own blush deepen at the look on the alpha’s handsome face. He had seen that look before, focused on Mark or Junior or Bambam, but never towards him. At this moment, he had to admit the likelihood that it had been pinned on him before, but he had just been unwilling to notice it. If nothing else, he was hyperaware now, eyes going wide and breath quickening as Jackson pressed in, without the hesitation or caution that Yugyeom had shown, Jackson’s lips found his. And Youngjae melted.

It didn’t seem fair that both actions could share the name – a kiss – Yugyeom had been soft, gentle. It was the physical sensation of a lazy morning sunrise drawing over him. It was a slow awakening, the omega coming minutely aware of his body, of Yugyeom’s slow, natural warmth sinking into him. Even now, he could faintly feel the maknae’s fingers brushing against him.

Jackson’s touch was wildly different – like being struck by lightning. It was exhilarating, his pulse racing instantly. The older male was less gentle, fingers threading into his hair, guiding him. Youngjae made no argument, helplessly submitting to the contact, barely aware of his back being pushed into the mirrored wall behind him, and Jackson’s muscular chest. It seemed as though the alpha had stolen his breath from him, leaving him dizzy and almost whimpering as the elder’s tongue skillfully explored his mouth, tangling with his own, despite Youngjae’s inexperience. The sensation was like fireworks for a moment, and Youngjae pushed eagerly back against the elder’s lips when he pulled away – chasing the feeling.

Youngjae panted, flushing when he realized, very quickly, that now both Yugyeom and Jackson were looking at him as though they rather wanted to devour him. More alarmingly, he didn’t mind. He leaned back against the cool mirror, panting to catch his breath. He wasn’t sure what he would’ve done, but in that moment, the door opened again. Im Jaebum stepped in as though he owned the room – perhaps that was just the supreme confidence of the alpha, but Youngjae felt himself almost perk up in a way he hadn’t before. At the same time, he couldn’t help but blush when he realized, instantly, that he was the focus of Jaebum’s attention.

He sank back a little against the mirror. “Jackson, off,” he instructed gently. The younger alpha only grinned, and grabbed Yugyeom’s hand before pulling him away. They made a quick note that they would get water and towels for the group and would be back, leaving their newest omega alone with Jaebum. For a moment, he was genuinely uneasy, somehow afraid of the elder lashing out at him or being angry. Instead, he found the elder’s hands cupping his cheeks, stealing the most chaste, gentle kiss he’d ever known. The contact, worlds softer than either Yugyeom’s or Jackson’s made his head spin.

It wasn’t long, after, that he’d been pulled entirely into the beautiful mess that was Got7’s dynamics. He’d learned, then, that the others had been holding off, only assuming he hadn’t wanted them. They’d been respecting the distance they’d thought he’d wanted, but the moment that they’d learned it was reciprocated, the occasional pulls were just a simple fact of the every day. And Youngjae, who’d always kept things at arm’s length, realized just how much he wanted that. He fell into place with them and flourished for it. It wasn’t long, even before their official debut, before they’d gone through – Bonded fully as a Pack. It was unusual; unusual to the point it was nearly unheard of, but it kept them together through every possible disruption that had come along.

Except, suddenly, everything seemed to change, and Youngjae just didn’t understand why.

Bambam and Jackson had left around eleven, presumably to get something for lunch. Youngjae had asked if he could come along, but Jackson said something about Amber and Bambam added something about a surplus of cucumbers before the duo bolted. Youngjae pouted at their receding forms, but didn’t bother following them – they obviously didn’t want him along.

Mark was the only other member without a schedule that day, and so far as Youngjae knew, the elder omega was camped out in the living room, catching up on some bad television while he had the chance. The younger omega went to join him, almost wanting to pout, even though the expression wasn’t usual for him. The older male perked up at his closeness, at least, and shifted so Youngjae could sit beside him.

A small, sad sigh pulled from him as gentle fingers began carding through his hair. “Are you feeling okay, Jae?” Mark asked, sounding genuinely concerned. It helped the younger male feel a little better, and just being asked made him feel like he could say all the things he’d been feeling out loud. When he opened his mouth, though, Mark’s phone rang, as though cosmically timed. Youngjae’s teeth closed with an audible click as Mark glanced at the phone with an apologetic glance.

Even from his angle, Youngjae could see it was Yijeong. “Go ahead,” he said, fighting a sudden flush of tears. “I’m just going to grab a shower – tell Yijeong and Kyungil I say hello.” He didn’t wait for a response, instead moving towards the bathroom, where he could have a moment of peace and privacy.

He lingered in the shower for a long time, no longer fighting the tears, letting them fall and be washed away. He used Jinyoung’s shampoo, liking the sweet scent, and stayed in the shower for too long. After he got out and dried off (taking additional care to make sure his hair was fully dry), he padded into the group’s bedroom. He dressed quickly, but then stripped right out the shirt again, fishing through Jaebum’s instead.

He deliberately found an oversized, long-sleeved shirt – the fabric was well-worn and soft as sin – and it smelled thickly of the alpha. Youngjae pulled on the article, hugging it eagerly around himself. As upset as he’d felt, he felt soothed by Jaebum’s scent around him, rich and chocolatey and achingly familiar.

Initially, he thought he’d lay down, but instead he realized that he wanted to get some air. He would be quick, knowing Jaebum wouldn’t like it if he went off on his own, and knowing Mark would worry. But that would only happen if he noticed, and Youngjae knew that Yijeong had auditions that week, applying to a company to sing – Mark was likely going to be on the phone for ages. And Youngjae had no intention of being out for long – he just needed to get his thoughts together.

*

He knew better than to go out on his own at night, and the mid-afternoon sun felt nice. He felt a little bit lighter, even for the thoughts weighing heavily on his mind. It felt a little strange to be out on his own, but he was glad for some room and time to think.

He knew that he needed to just talk to them. While part of him wanted them to notice, it wasn’t really fair, either. Even if he was just being silly and insecure, they would always be willing to listen and let him feel better. The omega chewed on his lower lip a little as he walked, careful not to get too far away from the dorms.

It was a strange mindset to be in – half upset with his pack, and half angry with himself. He should’ve just said something when he first noticed that things were weird, not waiting until he felt so overwhelmed that he wasn’t thinking straight.

He nearly leapt clear out of his skin when he felt someone slip up beside him, a strong arm wrapping around his shoulders. He jerked in place, but couldn’t escape the grip, instinctively turning to see who had hold of him. A rush of relief crashed over him like a physical force when he recognized Nichkhun’s smiling face. He swatted reflexively at the alpha’s chest as his heart slowly calmed. “You scared me!” he complained, good-naturedly.

“Sorry, gorgeous,” the elder said, entirely unapologetically, the charming grin not wavering for even a moment. The easy compliment made Youngjae blush a little again, but he no longer fought against the half-embrace from the elder. He had met the elder years before, pre-debut, and even then the elder had said that he was the visual of Got7. It was cheesy, but somehow it always made him smile. Then again, it was flattering to hear something like that from someone like Nichkhun.

“What are you up to, wandering around on your lonesome?” the alpha asked. “I swear Jaebum’s been locking all of you away for months. Missed seeing you lot about. Everything’s okay?” The words were accompanied by a ruffle of his hair, making Youngjae smile, ducking his head a little at the gesture.

Jaebum had pointedly kept what had happened just to them; Youngjae wasn’t entirely sure why, but he trusted that the elder had good reason for it. He wouldn’t do anything that would put any of them in a bad situation. “Just a lot going on, I guess,” he replied instead, blinking when he realized that he was pinned in a much more focused gaze from the alpha.

“Not buying it,” Nichkhun retorted, shaking his head. “And not with that sad face you were wearing a minute ago. You’d tell hyung if they weren’t treating you right, wouldn’t you?” He asked pointedly. Jae couldn’t help another flush, hugging himself a little tighter.

He’d wanted to feel like someone cared, but not like this. “Just a lot of things going on, that’s all,” he promised instantly, forcing a smile.

“Nothing should be more important than making sure you’re okay, Youngjae,” Nichkhun replied pointedly, tugging the younger male a little closer. “Why don’t you come hang out for a bit and clear your head? Surely that blockheaded alpha of yours would be okay with that? Besides, if he’s squirreling you out of the way there’s got to be a reason for it, and that way you won’t be all out and vulnerable to the big bad world.”

“Hey!” Youngjae couldn’t help the protest, initially displeased at the passing commentary at Jaebum before being quite distracted for being called vulnerable. He might have been, but that didn’t mean that he needed a reminder. “Not if you’re going to tease me the whole time,” he said, jabbing one finger into the alpha’s side.

“You drive a hard bargain,” the answer made him half-smile, relaxing a little again. “Only for a couple of hours, hyung, I don’t want anyone to worry, and I need to send them a text to let them know.” He barely fished his phone from his pocket before Nichkhun grabbed at it and bolted, turning on his heel and waggling it in Youngjae’s direction. “Hyung!” he whined, but couldn’t help the grin before he gave chase.

*

Youngjae pounced when he saw the opening, wresting his phone away from the alpha, cradling it protectively to his chest as he stuck his tongue out at the alpha. He realized that they were in 2pm’s practice rooms, the lounge that attached to both their dance and recording studios. Obviously none of them were there that day, but the space was still faintly homey and familiar. He yelped, giggling, as Nichkhun responded quickly for his loss, wrapping both arms around the smaller omega. “Give up the phone! I do know where you’re ticklish!”

The threat made Youngjae bite into a semi-hysterical giggle, squirming in the elder’s arms. He knew the elder wouldn’t hesitate to take advantage if he was so inclined. He relinquished his phone for the time being, knowing that the alpha wouldn’t do anything to cause harm, and saw it tossed safely to the side before he was half-tackled down onto the overstuffed couch that lay behind them. Squashed beneath the bigger male’s weight, Youngjae panted with laughter, squirming again.

“Get off me!” he protested, trying to catch his breath from the weight that was pinned down on him. “Ugh, you weigh a ton.”

“That’s all muscle,” Nichkhun pouted in return, pulling at the neck of his shirt to look down at his chest and abs. Youngjae couldn’t help a blush at the show, looking pointedly away from the alpha’s body. It wasn’t like he was blind and didn’t realize that the elder was stunning, but the proximity was messing with his head a little, and he shoved ineffectually at his broad shoulders.

“Stop,” he said, rolling his eyes. “No fangirls around to impress today, hyung.”

“Aww, but what if they’re not the ones that I care about impressing?” the alpha pouted down at him. He drew quiet after a moment, and Youngjae wondered if he was becoming just as aware of their sudden closeness as he was, with Nichkhun’s body pinning him back, legs and arms caging him in place. Rather than get off or say anything, his head tilted to one side, eyes pinning on the younger male’s. “Tell me the truth, Jae,” he said firmly. “Why were you walking around with your face like a wet weekend? You were upset about something.”

The sudden, genuine question sent tears to Youngjae’s eyes without meaning to. “It’s nothing, really,” he said, earning a flat, not-buying-it expression from the elder. “I just need to talk to the others. I just feel like they’ve been acting weird around me lately and I just don’t know if I’ve done something wrong.”

“Not possible,” Nichkhun retorted teasingly. “Come on, tell a neutral ear, it’ll make you feel better.” In addition to the soft command, gentle fingers brushed hair from his forehead, and with the knot too-tight in his chest, Youngjae found himself obeying. Telling the elder about all the moments that he should’ve been spending with his Pack either alone or being foisted off. There was something going on, and it felt like he was being left behind. And it hurt.

It helped that the alpha listened to him without interrupting, or arguing, or trying to stop him. He looked pensive for a long time after, and Youngjae cleared his throat, feeling suddenly awkward in the position in which he’d found himself. “Anyway,” he concluded. “I know I’m being dumb by not just talking to them; I know that they love me, it’s just frustrating to feel like I’m outside of them suddenly.”

“How can you say that they care about you if they’re treating you like that?” Nichkhun asked quietly, a troubled look in his dark eyes, pinned unflinchingly at the younger. “I mean, I get if someone has an off day, but you said they’ve been like this for weeks, Jae. You deserve better than that.”

In the same moment it felt nice to have someone in his corner, Youngjae was already shaking his head in denial. “It’s not like that,” he protested softly. He blinked, startled, when he was cut off, Nichkhun’s finger pressing against his lips, silencing the protest. It was one thing for him to feel insecure, to worry that something was going on with his pack, but he didn’t like the look in the alpha’s eyes. He looked upset – angry – and there was something else lurking there that he recognized, but couldn’t quite put a name to.

“It obviously is. They’ve made you cry, Youngjae,” the words were spoken quietly, but with a hard edge to them, and he swallowed when he felt the alpha’s dark eyes comb over him. He pressed a little closer, eyes going half-lidded as he inspected the omega’s face, nuzzling a little at his nose; it was more intimate a contact than he was used to from the alpha, but affectionate still. It wasn’t until his lips brushed against the smaller male’s that he realized exactly the position that they were in. His voice was husky when he spoke again, “I wouldn’t ever hurt you like that.”

“Hyung,” Youngjae argued, pushing up against his chest again, suddenly needing to garner some space, entirely aware of how wrong their closeness felt. “Get off, hyung. I didn’t mean to give you the wrong impression. My Pack takes care of me, and I know that they love me. Me feeling insecure for a moment doesn’t mean that isn’t true.”

“I don’t want to,” the alpha’s words were edged in something hard. “I could be so much better to you, Jae, you just have to open your eyes.” Youngjae would’ve said something, refuted him – no matter how mixed-up he felt at the moment, he didn’t want anyone else. But then Nichkhun was kissing him, and he wasn’t able to say anything at all in protest, and the world swam dizzily around him. When he pulled away, blunt fingertips teased at his jaw, down his throat.

“They don’t deserve you, Youngjae, none of them do. Jaebum has his hands too full as it is – you’re the most precious of all of them, and that idiot is too busy pandering to Mark and his little whore Bambam – hell, how much of an alpha can he be if he can’t keep control of his own omega? That little brat flirts with anything that moves, and Jaebum and Jackson turn around and treat him like he’s made of glass?”

Every word sent more range flaring through Youngjae. The older male had no idea what he was talking about, and the insults to his packmates made him growl. Sure, Bam had always been a flirt (and had a deliciously naughty streak to him), but after his assault, something had changed in the omega. For the first time, he shied away from strangers, refused to speak up unless pressed – and Youngjae couldn’t help but remember, after Mark had been hurt, how Bambam had hunted him down in tears, citing that he’d had a nightmare that someone had hurt Youngjae. The younger was inconsolable, even to Jackson and Jaebum, until he saw first-hand that the older omega was okay.

His anger was enough that he’d lashed out, but couldn’t say whether he was more surprised, or if Nichkhun was, when he actually landed a blow to the alpha’s jaw. He was more surprised that it actually made him reel back, but before he was able to try to get away, rough hands pinned his wrists back against the couch behind him.

“Stop that, Youngjae,” the alpha’s tone was rough and demanding, voice deeper than before. There was visible anger in his eyes for a moment, but Youngjae felt even more uneasy when it was masked away. He was too good at hiding his emotions. “I know this is hard for you to hear, Jae, because you’ve got a big heart and you care about them. But they don’t care about you – they’re just using you. I’m just asking you to open up your eyes and see that there are better options for you. A better alpha.”

Nichkhun’s eyes were dark, almost too intense as they burned into his own. Jae’s stomach flipped, as it had many times before at the elder’s flattery, but this time it was from sheer anger and unease. “I don’t want another alpha. I love Jaebum – I love my pack! Get off of me, Nichkhun, I’m going home!”

“You don’t know what you’re saying, baby,” the elder said, completely ignoring the omega’s protests and discomfort. “I would take such good care of you, Youngjae. No having to share attention, no useless betas or other omegas taking what you deserve away from you. You’d never have to share your heats or wait. I’d be so good to you, baby. I’d knot you for days.

“And really – how could you breed for Jaebum? With how he treats you?”

The question made Youngjae bristle with new fury. “That’s none of your business!” he snarled. “I would never let you knot me or breed me – You damned well know I’m Marked and Bound. My heat is Im Jaebum’s – I don’t know what’s wrong with you but it isn’t going to change.”

“But it can be changed,” Nichkhun crooned into his ear. “Those Bonds can be broken, and sometimes they should be.”

A distinct horror Youngjae had never felt before flooded through the omega. His mind screamed, trying to find a way out of the situation – no one knew where he was, or who he was with. He could hardly believe how seamlessly he had been manipulated by the man he’d considered a friend for years – how easily he’d taken advantage of his upset. “I would never Bond with someone like you.”

“Of course you would,” Nichkhun said, almost sweetly, nuzzling at Youngjae’s nose. The abrupt shift in his demeanor made Youngjae’s skin crawl. Deceptively gentle fingers began stroking down his throat. “To keep them safe, you’d do whatever I told you to, Jae. And sure, I know Jaebum is always on those little omega pets of his, but you know…Jinyoung isn’t all that tough for a beta. Honestly, I don’t think he’d be that hard to break. Yugyeom would be more of a challenge, but for all that brawn he's been getting – he’s still so innocent. And he’d trust his hyung. Just like you do.”

Youngjae’s eyes went wide, feeling his guts clench in the same moment there was a faint burn of unwelcome tears. “You wouldn’t dare hurt them.” He couldn’t make himself believe the words, even as he said them. There was something seriously wrong with the alpha hovering over him. He was not the hyung Youngjae had thought he’d known. This stranger in familiar skin felt even more alien as Youngjae remembered how much he’d trusted him.

“I wouldn’t even hesitate,” he growled down at the smaller male. “You don’t get it – I’ll do whatever it takes to keep you. So maybe that little Mark of yours makes it so I can’t issue a formal challenge to your alpha, but you can request to be released, can’t you? He’ll break the Bonds if you ask.”

“Why?” Youngjae demanded, in a renewed spike of anger and sadness. “Why would he do that if he didn’t love me? You-you’re wrong about him, and you know it!” He felt instantly sure of the words. Even for his own upset earlier in the day, Nichkhun knew very well how his pack felt about him, and had blatantly lied to try to control him.

“I don’t give a fuck about Im Jaebum or how he feels or what he thinks,” the alpha nearly snarled the words. “I don’t give a fuck about any of them. I tolerated them because it allowed me to be closer to you. Until that fuck up of an alpha starts secreting you away. Couldn’t get near you for months. This isn’t how I wanted things to go, Youngjae. I wanted time. I wanted the chance to win you properly. If you’re upset right now, be upset with Jaebum, he’s the one that forced my hand.”

The man was delusional, and Youngjae realized with alarm that he genuinely believed that he was in the right. That he had some kind of feelings for Jae, and that gave him the right to own him? Like a child who saw someone else’s toy and wanted to claim it for their own. There was nothing Jae could do about it, nothing that he could say to dissuade the man. He needed to figure out a plan if he was going to get out of this unscathed.

His heart felt like it was beating twice as fast, but he forced his expression to calm down, taking a slow breath. “Nichkhun,” he managed, and had to force himself to say the next word. “Hyung.” The honorific was one that immediately drew the elder’s attention. “I need – I need to think,” he managed, twisting his wrists, somewhat feebly, in the alpha’s grip. “This is so much all at once.”

He tried, deliberately, to make his tone pleading. If Nichkhun was going to manipulate him – he would damned well to return the favor if it meant that he was going to get out of this situation in one piece. He bit his lip, unsure if the elder had bought it, holding his breath when Nichkhun pulled back a little, his eyes searching the younger male’s. “Okay,” he said, stunning Youngjae, and slipping back to let the omega sit up.

Youngjae swallowed again, scooting back to brace against the armrest, reaching up to thread his fingers through his hair, fighting to get his thoughts back into order. He had to figure out how much leeway he could get. Whatever else; he had to get back to Jaebum. It was just judging whether the man would let him go, or if he would have to try to get his alpha to come to him.

Either way, he would have to play his cards very, very carefully. He might only have one chance to do this.

 

(I meant to have this whole thing resolved in one chapter, but it just got too long. I'm already working on the next part! And sorry Nichkhun - I really do like you! Taec-biased tho. >_> I'll have the next part up just as soon as I can! I hope everyone is still enjoying! These boys could earn medals in getting-into-trouble. D:)

Chapter Text

Park Jinyoung couldn’t help but lean a little into Jaebum’s side as the alpha settled down next to him. At the moment, Yugyeom was in the recording booth, working on some final touches for their latest track. The maknae was good, but he was still doubting himself, and wanted to record again. Jinyoung wondered if Jaebum knew that their youngest was feeling a little unsure, or if the natural ease he’d comforted him was just part and parcel to being leader. Usually, it was Jackson that was the one who was best at reading all of them, but Jaebum had only ruffled the beta’s hair affectionately and told him to give it one more go before they’d go on home again.

A strong arm wrapped around his shoulders, and Jinyoung snuggled close, letting his head rest on the elder’s chest, taking in his familiar scent. It was only a moment before gentle fingers were threading into his hair, running circles against his scalp, lips pressing against his forehead, just for a moment. Jinyoung’s hand fisted absently into the elder’s shirt, blinking up to meet his eyes, managing a faint smile. “If you even try to do anything for my birthday, I will kill you,” he promised, lips quirking in a smile. “He’s onto us.”

“Jackson and Bambam will be broken hearted if their surprise is ruined,” the alpha said, his tone was warm, affectionate. “Honestly, I feel like Jackson cashed in favors that nobody even owes him, but he’s charming enough to convince them they do. But I promise, no surprise party for you, baby. I figure we’ll steal a couple of days with the boys, and then I’m stealing you for a weekend by myself.” The words made Jinyoung’s cheeks heat in a flush, but he couldn’t deny that was exactly what he wanted. He loved his Pack, and would do anything for them, but moments that he could spend one on one with Jaebum were a rare, precious thing that he couldn’t help but cling to.

“Best birthday ever,” he responded. “I know that it’s a big birthday for Jae, but I can tell that he’s upset. He knows we’re hiding something from him; I’ve tried to reassure him, but now he knows I’m lying, too.” A pout pulled at his lips, even without meaning to, and he couldn’t help a blush when Jaebum leaned over, gently kissing the pout away.

“Just another week,” the alpha promised, and kissed his forehead again. Then his expression went stern for a moment. “How was I talked into any of this this again?”

“Because Bambam pouting could actually be considered criminal? And we’ve all wanted to do something for Youngjae. He gets skittish sometimes.” Jinyoung frowned a little at that, and he pulled his knees up to his chest before glancing at the alpha again. “I wish he didn’t feel so uneasy with us, Bummie.”

“If any of them heard you call me that, I’d have to kill you,” the alpha retorted, nipping roughly at his earlobe, sending a shiver down the beta’s spine.

The affectionate threat was one that Jinyoung had heard countless times before, but it made him smile, still. “Of course, hyung,” he promised sweetly. In his defense, he had no intentions of sharing the nickname. Not because of Jaebum’s insincere threats, but because he liked the way that the alpha’s eyes would crinkle up when he failed to fight off a smile. It was something that was theirs, and Jinyoung didn’t want to share it.

Most people wouldn’t be able to understand. Bonded Packs weren’t exactly common, and he knew there were a fair share that looked down on the whole idea. Just like there would be some that wouldn’t like that there were two alphas in a pack, or that they had packmates from China and Thailand – Jinyoung had learned that there were plenty that felt foreigners were somehow lesser than native Koreans. Like their replacement manager had thought.

It seemed almost popular opinion that packs were selfish or disloyal – that an alpha was weak or somehow twisted to submit to another. Their omegas and betas were promiscuous at best and at worst considered shared-out whores. It was all wrong, and Jinyoung despised it. He hated knowing the extra weight that it put on Jaebum, who bore the brunt of everything for them, shielding them from the judgement and blind hate thrown their way.

Their celebrity status afforded them some protection, but it had also made hiding the true nature of their relationship almost impossible. None of them had made formal acknowledgements, and instead just let people come to whatever conclusions that they wanted. And, if nothing else, for every scrap of negativity thrown their way, there was a pile of kindness and praise that more than made up for it. He wished that they could have his relationship with his packmates more public, without having to hide how much he cared about them. He hated having to hide.

At the heart of things, he knew the lack of tolerance was sourced in misunderstanding. Most people didn’t understand that in a properly Bonded pack, love was the heart of everything. There were always floating horror stories about alphas Bonding to several omegas out of purely selfish desires – wanting to claim and possess. It could be a thing worse than slavery, and the thought of such things turned Jinyoung’s stomach.

For some, it went against their personal beliefs of how relationships were meant to work. Alphas and omegas were meant for one another. Betas had a bit more freedom, relationships with alphas, omegas, or even other betas were perfectly acceptable. But omegas and omegas – alphas and alphas – people called it wrong. Perverted, almost.

That frustrated Jinyoung. Love was love, wasn’t it? And shouldn’t love be the thing that mattered? Why strangers got so up in arms about someone else’s relationship was beyond him. It wasn’t anyone’s business except for the people involved. If there was a small mercy – while pack bonding was rare and rather frowned upon, at least it satisfied the arbitrary requirements for the general public – that at least they had both alphas and omegas prior to Bonding.

He remembered what had happened with Peniel and Sungjae, a couple from another group whose paths had crossed – and the hell that had been raised when their relationship had become public. There had been outrage and threats promised that made Jinyoung feel sick. How people could say such disgusting, twisted things was sickening – and for what? Because they were two omegas that had fallen for one another instead of trying to find an alpha instead? If nothing else, at least the rest of their group had taken care of them, refusing to let the poisonous response change them.

It wasn’t helped that Peniel was a foreigner – fully Korean blooded or not, he’d been raised abroad and that superseded anything else. Sungjae was mouthy and bold and had no interest in hiding his feelings for the elder – and the public had not been kind. Even despite the support of their group, their careers had been badly shaken, the two omegas specifically had fallen out of favor. And Jinyoung knew that there was a risk of the same happening to them. Their careers were important, but he knew nothing mattered so much as them keeping safe and staying together.

Jinyoung had known Jaebum longer than any of the others, and in perfect honesty, had been pretty much head over heels since the beginning. Im Jaebum was stunningly gorgeous, but more than anything, the pair had always just clicked. They were fast friends as they went into training together, spending almost all of their time together as they were brought into the industry, debuting as JJ Project. They’d been the first to be pulled for Got7, and the first to be settled into the dorm where all of them were going to wind up.

It wasn’t anything orchestrated or deliberated, but as the others joined them, one by one, it was up to the duo to help them adjust and become comfortable with everything. He remembered meeting them – how tiny Bambam had been – how shy Mark had been – how overwhelmed Jackson was, how little he’d known, but the bravado that he’d put on anyway – Yugyeom’s enthusiasm, and years of training later, Youngjae’s inclusion just a few months before they’d Bonded – then debuted as a group.

There were a lot of things that were potentially scary when it came to meeting up with the rest of what would become Got7. There were a lot of idols who were great, and there were still others that were arrogant or unwilling to work, or a thousand other things. But instead, they were amazing. He couldn’t quite define what his relationship with Jaebum had been initially; they’d never had to put a name to it, so things had just developed naturally. Both of them were fairly affectionate with one another, and if they wound up staying up too late, and Jinyoung woke curled up in Jaebum’s bed, neither made any complaint about it. Just the same that he hadn’t made any complaint when his best friend had stolen his fist kiss.

The part that seemed a little strange was that while he adored Jaebum and relished the time that he got to spend with the elder, he wasn’t at all bothered when he had to share. Even more to the point, as often as their newfound members went to Jaebum, he found that they went to him just as much for comfort or guidance. And it seemed every bit as comfortable to reach out for them.

He wouldn’t lie and say that everything had always been smooth sailing. There were days, as the group came together, that they had fights and confrontations. Seven young men, going through rigorous training, crammed together in one apartment, figuring out the industry that they’d been pulled into…fights were inevitable. But at the end of the day, all of them cared more about one another than any of that. And as much as he cared about Jaebum; he cared about all of them.

Jinyoung jolted when he felt a warm hand draw against the bare skin of his side; blinking up to see that Jaebum was watching him with an amused expression on his face. It wasn’t entirely unusual for the elder to catch him deep in thought, and Jinyoung was notably fairly quiet, but he still blushed a little. “Sorry,” he blurted.

The alpha only smiled at him, eyes crinkling at the corners again. He hesitated when his phone rang, Jinyoung perking up when he saw a selca of Mark, pouting, flash over the screen. The alpha smiled again, this time the obvious affection in his eyes for their eldest omega, but Jinyoung realized that he’d instinctively smiled, too, at the sight. Jaebum answered the line, as Jinyoung leaned back against him again. Even from where he was, he could immediately hear the panic down the line, and Mark’s voice about half an octave to high. Jaebum jerked upright, fingers curling tighter around his phone. “Mark, slow down,” Jaebum practically growled down the line. “I can’t understand you, take a deep breath.” His brows knotted, frustration obvious on his face. “Mark, baby, you’re speaking English, I don’t understand.”

Something was definitely wrong. Jinyoung could tell that much right away, and he felt his stomach flip in worry. Had something happened with Bambam and Jackson? Mark and Youngjae weren’t meant to leave the apartment until after they’d gotten back. He stood up, feeling a sudden rush of nervous energy, glancing up at Jaebum as the alpha’s expression darkened. “I’ll call you back in a minute, don’t you dare leave the apartment,” he demanded. He pulled the phone away from his ear, hanging up without another word to the omega.

“Hyung?” Jinyoung asked, tone cautious.

Jaebum flicked through his phone for a moment, sending a call through before bringing his phone to his ear. “Mark said that Youngjae’s gone,” he said flatly. The younger beta hesitated at that, before his brow furrowed, shaking his head.

“They were at the apartment together – what could’ve happened?” he asked. He had to wait for a response, Jaebum clearly getting the omega’s voicemail, leaving a succinct 'Youngjae, you call me as soon as you get this,' on the line.

“Mark said that he’d gotten a call from Yijeong and Kyungil, and that Youngjae went to take a shower. When he didn’t come back, Mark checked to see if he’d gone to sleep or something, but he’s gone. He’s checked the apartment and called and texted Jae a dozen times, but he hasn’t gotten any response. He said nobody came to the door that he knew of, and he promised that the alarm had been set after Bam and Jackson left to go meet up with Amber.” They didn’t take any chances – their alarm was always enabled, and the only people that had access to the code were the members themselves and their original manager, who was mostly back to his duties. He had an assistant to help him, especially for the times that he had to attend to things with his wife and new baby, but she wasn’t given access to their apartment.

If Youngjae had gone somewhere, and the alarm hadn’t gone off, that could only mean that he went somewhere on his own. “Go get Yugyeom,” Jaebum told him, tone hard, flicking through his phone again for a moment. Jinyoung simply nodded, sure that the elder was calling Bambam and Jackson to make sure that, somehow Youngjae wasn’t with them, but also to tell them to get home as well. He slipped to the recording booth, peeking his head inside. Their maknae was focusing, eyes closed, hands pressing the headphones against his ears to block out any extraneous sound. Jinyoung didn’t want to startle him, slipping around in front of him and turning off the music rather than touch him unexpectedly. As soon as he’d muted the music, Yugyeom’s eyes opened, confusion on his features.

“What’s wrong, hyung?”

Jinyoung almost could’ve laughed, but for the uneasiness that was pulling through him. He must’ve been incredibly obvious for the younger male to know so quickly. “We’ve got to head back to the dorm,” he explained. “Mark called Jaebum – he says that Youngjae isn’t in the apartment, and he’s not answering his calls. He didn’t answer Jaebum’s, either.” Yugyeom nodded, eyes widening in worry, before pulling off the headphones, and immediately reaching for his phone. Jinyoung didn’t feel much hope as he watched the younger beta attempt the same call – and had the same response. Youngjae either didn’t have his phone or he was ignoring them for some reason.

By the time that the duo had returned back to Jaebum, the alpha was on the phone again, quickly promising that he would see them at the dorm. “Jackson and Bambam haven’t seen him,” he said, without preamble. “Yugyeom, Jinyoung, you’re ready to go?” Both nodded; Jinyoung had a feeling even if they hadn’t have been ready the hard edge to the alpha’s tone would have been enough to assure that within the next minute – they were.

Jaebum had practically run the entire way back to the dorm, with Jinyoung and Yugyeom on his heels. They made it back before Jackson and Bambam did, and they found Mark nearly a wreck, the omega pacing and wringing his hands. His head snapped up as they walked in, Jinyoung punching in the alarm code as Jaebum approached Mark – intent on finding out more of what had happened as well as calming him down.

There were tears already forming in the omega’s eyes and when Jaebum pulled him into a hug, the eldest almost immediately began babbling, explaining again what had happened. It was unusual to hear, as Mark was generally quite quiet, but he was obviously upset. It took some coaxing but the alpha managed to convince Mark to sit down on the couch and to take a few deep breaths. Jinyoung watched Yugyeom for a moment as the younger beta sat down to join the pair, before he began to walk around the dorm, hoping to find some kind of a clue for what had happened.

He headed back into the common room when he heard the unmistakable sound of Jackson and Bambam coming back. When he slipped back into the living room, Jackson was worriedly joining the trio already situated on the couch. It really wasn’t much of a surprise; Jackson never did well when one of the others were upset, but especially when it was Mark, who was usually in calm control.

“We both tried calling him on the way,” Bambam spoke up, his words uncharacteristically soft. Jinyoung couldn’t help a frown as he saw the youngest omega for the first time. His body language screamed the unease he was hesitant to voice; both arms were crossed, hugging himself, and he fidgeted where he stood, unable to stand still. He was scared – the emotion didn’t suit the usually bubbly Thai boy, and Jinyoung shifted closer, wrapping an arm around his slim waist. The motion startled Bambam, who jumped, eyes going wide and round as he jerked to look at the elder, calming after a moment, realizing who he was after a moment.

Jinyoung felt a little better when Bambam leaned against him, returning his attention to the others before he continued. “He didn’t answer either of us. Jackson even had Amber try and reach him – just in case, but he didn’t answer her either.”

“I’m going to find him,” Jaebum promised back, running his fingers through Mark’s hair in an attempt to calm him down. “I promise I will.”

Jinyoung nodded, attempting to seem confident, but he was still worried. Youngjae could be anywhere, and if he had left of his own accord and was deliberately hiding from them – that was going to make finding him even more difficult. He couldn’t make himself doubt Jaebum. If he said that he’d find him, then somehow, he would. The real worry then, was when, and what state Youngjae might be in.

Mark was still visibly upset, and Jackson took the reins with him quite naturally, pulling him back into their bedroom to lay down and talk to him. The alpha shared significant looks with Jaebum before telling the elder to call as soon as they found Youngjae to let them know he was okay. Jinyoung watched the younger alpha pull Jaebum close, the elder responding with a brief, telling kiss, before Jackson slipped away to stay with Mark and help keep him calm.

It had been nearly three hours since any of them had seen Youngjae, and Jaebum was heading for the door. Jinyoung had Bambam and Yugyeom working on dinner, though he had to admit that he was a little worried about the result, as both of them were obviously more concerned with their missing packmate than trying to assemble a proper meal. The beta was torn, but he knew that he should go with Jaebum. The older male was more than capable of handling himself, but any of them being alone at the moment felt like a bad idea. He needed to know what was going on, and a phone call or text wasn’t good enough.

They were on their way out of the building when Jaebum’s phone rang. Jinyoung knew, though he couldn’t say how, it was Youngjae. The alpha’s instant answer – a terse, “Where are you” in lieu of a proper greeting – was proof enough for Jinyoung. There was a long moment of silence and then a quiet, flat, “We’re coming” before he ended the call. There was a stormy look on the alpha’s face that screamed an anger that the beta wasn’t used to seeing.

“Jaebum,” he said, reaching out to touch his hand, searching his face for some kind of an explanation. “That was Youngjae, wasn’t it? What did he say, is he okay?”

“He wasn’t alone,” the alpha said quietly after a moment. “There was someone there that didn’t want me to know that they were there. Jae told me where he is – he wants us to go meet him.”

“Us?” Jinyoung asked, glancing back up at their dorm.

“Just you and I,” Jaebum replied, with a look on his face that promised that he wasn’t thrilled with the words. “You and I specifically.  He’s downtown – near an hourly hotel.” The elder frowned again, and Jinyoung echoed it. There wasn’t a reason for Youngjae to be near a place like that, and it wasn’t exactly a nice part of town. If someone caught sight of them there, it could cause real backlash for Got7. They didn’t need the scrutiny that a scandal would bring them.

“Let’s go then,” he replied pragmatically. They could talk about possibilities for hours and get no closer to the truth. The smart thing to do would be to talk to Youngjae and get the whole story. He felt Jaebum take his hand and began leading him. Neither really spoke, each too wrapped up in his own thoughts and concern about the situation. Jinyoung wondered how Jaebum had deduced that someone else was there, but couldn’t help but trust that the elder was correct. And if someone else was there, who was it and what did they want? Strangely, he didn’t really feel like Youngjae was hurt – not like when Bambam or Mark had been attacked. But he did feel sure that something was wrong.

They made good time, walking hand in hand, pausing once they reached their destination. There was no sign of Youngjae – or of anyone else for that matter. Jaebum looked less than thrilled, glancing around the street, wondering if someone was waiting to leap out at them.

After a moment, the pair saw a door open – revealing Youngjae standing behind it. Jinyoung frowned, quickly realizing that the omega was wearing a shirt that he didn’t recognize, and the beta knew just about every piece of clothing all seven of them owned. It was oversized, which Youngjae tended to prefer in his clothes, dwarfing his frame. Even so, seeing him sent a wave of relief through Jinyoung, and he knew very well that Jaebum shared that feeling, the alpha immediately moving for their wayward packmate. Jinyoung followed closely, more than prepared to throw his arms around the omega before he throttled him for scaring them.

Jaebum stopped short, making Jinyoung run into his back, not quite paying enough attention. He pulled back, rubbing his offended nose before peering up at the taller male. The alpha’s eyes were flashing, nostrils flaring for a moment, an almost animalistic look crossing over his handsome features. Jinyoung understood after a moment – smelling it, too. There was a reason that Jinyoung didn’t recognize the shirt Youngjae was wearing – it wasn’t his. It wasn’t any of theirs – and it smelled strongly of another alpha. Weirdly, Jinyoung could almost call it familiar.

He might have tried to puzzle it out further, except the alien scent on his omega obviously riled something in Jaebum, and Jinyoung’s attention was quickly brought back to the situation at hand. “Youngjae,” the alpha nearly growled out the word, an unspoken demand to know what was going on.

Jinyoung could have leapt out of his skin when he felt a hand clamp down on his shoulder. He jerked around, one hand flying reflexively to his chest (as though the gesture would be enough to keep his heart in place where it belonged). The beta couldn’t help a spike of confusion when he saw, of all people, Nichkhun standing there, wearing a charming smile.

“Jinyoung – Jaebum! It’s good to see you,” the Thai alpha practically chirped. He didn’t sound surprised, which was alarming in and of itself.

The pair exchanged a quick look, both of them confused by the man’s presence. They had known 2PM’s members for years, and liked and respected the elder group, but there was nothing that made sense about the older male’s presence. Nor, it seemed did he his alpha appreciate the man’s hand lingering on Jinyoung’s shoulder. “It looks like you two have plenty to talk about, Jinyoung – why don’t we give them a little room?”

“Excuse me?” Jaebum asked, his voice was quiet, but his tone dangerous. His eyes flicked momentarily between Nichkhun’s hand and his face, and Jinyoung had a sinking suspicion that the elder was simply debating whether he wanted to tear off the alpha’s arm or punch him in the face first. “Your hands, off Jinyoung now.”

The beta would be lying if his stomach didn’t flutter a little at the protective tone of the elder’s voice. What he didn’t expect was for Youngjae to take a step out, gently reaching out and touching Jaebum’s hand. “Please – can I talk to you? J-just inside? For a few seconds, that’s all.” There was something deeply troubled in the younger male’s face, and both of his packmates could read it loud and clear. Jaebum, though, didn’t seem inclined to agree, tensing as he looked at the other alpha again.

“Fine,” he conceded, before he looked at Nichkhun, eyes narrowing. “But you don’t touch him. Period. And you tell me if he does.” The latter was directed to Jinyoung, who nodded obediently. It wasn’t as though the elder wouldn’t be able to read it on him anyway – as often as not, they didn’t even really need words, he would be useless to try to hide anything from his alpha. Even for the agreement, Jaebum didn’t seem pleased, reaching up and stroking his thumb up along Jinyoung’s cheekbone before he moved to step forward, following Youngjae into the relatively small room.

The beta resisted the urge to follow, trusting that Youngjae had his reasons, but in the same breath, couldn’t quite trust the alpha beside him. He couldn’t even explain the feeling, but it was impossible to ignore. Nichkhun stayed just a bit too close to him; it was hard to say whether he actually respected Jaebum’s command, or whether he simply wasn’t willing to challenge him. He remained close enough to touch, and for that Jinyoung simply couldn’t make himself relax. He chewed on his lower lip, trying to figure out what, exactly, was going on.

“I’ll take care of him,” Nichkhun said suddenly.

The words surprised the beta, brow furrowing, looking up at the tall alpha. “Wait, who?” he asked, confused and worried. Take care of Jaebum? Of Youngjae? Neither made any sense. “What are you talking about?”

“You shouldn’t have taken him away from me,” he continued, adopting almost a smile as he glanced down over Jinyoung. “He was supposed to be mine in the first place.” There was, then, a trace of anger to his voice that unnerved Jinyoung, and the beta had the sinking feeling that he was talking about Youngjae.

“We haven’t taken anything from you,” he said quietly, brow furrowing.

He didn’t expect the immediate fury that flashed over Nichkhun’s face, but even less, the hand that clutched too roughly at his throat, shoving him back against the wall behind him.  The alpha shifted, turning to stand facing the younger male, putting more force on him as he pinned him. Fear flushed through him; the alpha’s anger, even to a beta, was imposing. “Let go of me,” he demanded, trying to sound more threatening than he knew he looked. “Jaebum will –-“

“Jaebum will release Youngjae to me,” Nichkhun snarled the words into his ear, making his stomach drop to his feet.

Panic followed the unease as strong fingers tightened more around his throat, cutting off his air abruptly. His hands moved reflexively, clawing at the alpha’s fingers and arm in a desperate bid to be released. Nichkhun growled in irritation, but didn’t let go, and Jinyoung kicked out at him, lashing and trying to squirm free of the hold.

The exertion didn’t help his breathless state, and Jinyoung lost against a pleading whimper as his body went lax. There was an alien look of anger – and almost pleasure on the alpha’s face. There were a lot of alphas that got off from controlling or dominating betas and omegas, but never in a hundred years would he have attributed it to Nichkhun, or any of the others that he’d befriended in the industry.

Movement caught his attention, and relief crashed through him, recognizing Jaebum had left the room and had seen what was happening. His lips had pulled into a flat, thin line, and his eyes were almost black with anger, and Jinyoung watched him grab Nichkhun by his nape, fingers digging ruthlessly into the sensitive skin. “I’m fairly sure that I told you not to touch Jinyoung,” he said icily – the false calm around the alpha made Jinyoung’s skin prickle.

“You – all of you – have been with Youngjae.” The words held a note almost reminiscent of a whine, cutting into what was obviously meant to be a growl, and Jinyoung could see Jaebum’s lips curl in distaste.

“That’s none of your business. Youngjae is mine, and he’s part of my pack, who touches him is my concern, not yours.”

“You don’t deserve him – you hurt him – you made him cry,” Nichkhun growled back. The words gave Jinyoung a moment of pause, unsure where he was coming from, and worried they were true. He’d known Jae had caught on to their party planning, but to be so upset that he would turn to Nichkhun? It made his chest ache, and he immediately looked, trying to catch sight of the omega, wanting to reassure him, somehow, of how much he meant to them.

To his surprise, Youngjae looked serene, calm, and he managed an only slightly wavering smile for the beta. “I know,” he said, very softly, a warmth in his eyes that Jinyoung hadn’t seen in a little while. If nothing else, Jaebum’s grip had loosened Nichkhun’s hold on Jinyoung enough to allow the beta, not only to breathe, but to squirm entirely out of arm’s reach. He moved up to Youngjae, searching his eyes worriedly for a moment. Youngjae huffed and threw his arms around the elder.

Nichkhun’s scent was still unpleasantly strong around the omega, but Jinyoung had no urge to pull away, clinging tighter to the younger. At the moment, though there were a thousand thoughts ringing through Jinyoung’s mind, neither spoke. Both of them still watched Jaebum and Nichkhun, neither one really sure what was going to happen, but more than capable of feeling the tension rising between the two of them. At that moment, Jaebum looked every inch the alpha that he was, his jawline more pronounced than usual as his teeth clenched, eyes, dark and angry, still focused on the older male.

Jinyoung couldn’t help but think of all the possible repercussions in the moment. It wasn’t a good situation. Nichkhun wasn’t just some random alpha on the street overstepping his bounds and trying to touch what wasn’t his. He was a celebrity, and Jaebum wasn’t free to deal with this situation like he normally would. They all worked for the same company – label mates – if they had any real confrontation, there could be equally real consequences. Even for that, Jaebum wanted to lash out. Jinyoung was more than familiar with his best friend’s temper, and nothing got him more upset than a perceived threat to one of them. Every instinct in an alpha would scream to protect his pack as aggressively as possible, to completely get rid of the threat, and assure that would be the end of it.

“I’ll say this once,” Jaebum spoke lowly, the words half a growl. “You come near any member of my pack again, and I will tear you apart. I’ll have JYP himself be witness if I have to. I’m not going to release Youngjae’s bond, not for you or anybody else. Jinyoung, call Minjun, have him come collect his friend. By all means, explain what’s going on if you need to.” As he spoke, he still refused to look away from Nichkhun’s eyes, challenge in every word. He was younger, but there was no question in the moment which of them was in charge of the situation.

The beta nodded, knowing better than to try to challenge or argue with Jaebum at the moment. Instead, he went through his phone contacts, grateful that he had the elder’s phone number; he couldn’t remember ever needing to use it before. He glanced up at the pair of alphas, but then pulled Youngjae into the hotel room. Some distance might be better for the moment. It wasn’t usual for the groups to get into contact too regularly (except maybe for Jackson and Taecyeon who were fairly close), and he felt some relief when the line connected almost instantly.

Jun K, as he was more colloquially known, was definitely a bit surprised to hear from the younger male, but he listened with growing disbelief as Jinyoung quickly paraphrased what was going on. Most of 2PM’s members were alphas, and took potential challenges very seriously; Jinyoung wasn’t sure if it was made better or worse for the complete lack of omegas, but they’d never been anything but kind to all of Got7’s members. The beta chewed a little on his lower lip again, watching the continued staring-match that was going on between Jaebum and Nichkhun. “Can you come?” he asked, then. “I think Jaebum is trying to avoid everything escalating more.”

“Yes,” the alpha replied firmly, with a sound of voices in the background. There was a pause that made Jinyoung hesitate, feeling as though waiting for something. “Youngjae is okay, right?” the alpha asked quietly. “Nichkhun didn’t hurt him? Or you?”

Jinyoung shook his head, though the elder wasn’t there to see. “No, we’re both fine, hyung.” The affectionate title came without even really thinking about it, and he could almost hear the elder smile in response. He glanced up again, seeing that Nichkhun had tried to move, and Jaebum had growled, shoving him back into the same wall he’d pinned Jinyoung against. “But…please hurry?”

*

It wasn’t until Nichkhun was carted away by Jun K (and Taecyeon and Changsung) that Jaebum had really been able to relax. Jun K had promised that there wouldn’t be any repeats of this situation, and he hoped that the older male would be able to keep his word. He knew he wouldn’t be able to keep his temper in check if the older male made any further action against Youngjae – or any of the others.

Jinyoung approached him first, acting as a buffer (as though Jaebum wouldn’t recognize what he was doing), but the elder had no protest. Once the beta was close enough, Jaebum gently tilted his head back, dark eyes combing over the pale column of his throat. Red splotches marred his milky skin, promising to develop into bruises, and Jaebum felt his anger spike again at the sight. He let his thumb stroke along the discolored skin, before his eyes found the younger male’s. “You’re okay?”

“I promise,” the dark-haired beta answered. “Honestly, it doesn’t even really hurt – it just startled me more than anything. I’ve never seen Nichkhun like that before.”

Jaebum hummed in agreement, deliberately keeping his attention on Jinyoung rather than what Nichkhun had done. Rationally, he knew that they had done the right thing, calling Jun K. The older male had responded appropriately and he was glad that there would be others keeping an eye out that Nichkhun continued to keep his toes firmly in line. Rationality wasn’t the hallmark of an alpha, though, and he wanted to beat the elder down for threatening to take what was his. That he had let the elder walk away felt like an affront to his instincts – like he’d lost something.

He pulled from his thoughts when Jinyoung’s fingers curled around his – Jaebum hadn’t really noticed that they had continued stroking along the beta’s neck, wrapping behind his nape to tease against his Mark. The beta’s eyes had gone a little hazy, and there was an almost rueful smile on his lips. “We should get home, hyung. It’s been a long day for all of us.”

Jinyoung, practical as always, neatly pulled the in the alpha’s runaway thoughts, and Jaebum nodded. He looked for Youngjae, finding the omega lingering close by, but out of arm’s reach. Too far, in Jaebum’s opinion. He held a hand out for the younger, gesturing him closer. He felt his nose wrinkle at Nichkhun’s scent on his omega, and resisted the urge to tear the fabric from the younger male’s body.  There would be a time and a place for that, which wasn't there.  Jae had explained that he accepted wearing it to convince Nichkhun to call Jaebum and Jinyoung right away. The younger had been quick-thinking, but if he had obeyed Jaebum’s rules, he wouldn’t have needed to be.

“After we get home,” he said quietly, “You need to apologize to Mark – you really scared him.  But first we need to talk, okay?"  There really wasn’t a request tied in with the words, but Youngjae nodded in agreement anyway, head ducking, but accepting the alpha’s hand when he reached for the younger. Jinyoung moved to flank the omega without needing any instruction from the elder.

The walk back was quiet, but not uncomfortably so. Jaebum felt better to have Youngjae’s hand still in his, to know he was safe and whole, but knew he would still feel guarded until he was back at the dorm, with the door locked behind them. At least it didn’t take too long to get back home again. As soon as Jinyoung had opened the door, Bambam and Yugyeom had practically flown over to join them, both of them clearly wanting to launch onto Youngjae, but restraining themselves, unsure if the older male was okay. Jaebum wasn’t altogether sure he wanted them to smell Nichkhun on the omega, and he guided Youngjae forward with a hand at the small of his back.

“Go take a shower,” he instructed the younger. “Then go to my room. I’m going to check on Mark and then I’ll meet you in there, okay?”

Youngjae nodded, sparing a reassuring smile to Bambam and Yugyeom, before he moved obediently off to do as he was told. Bambam turned to Jaebum, a pout already pulling at his lips. The alpha couldn’t help a chuckle, reaching over to ruffle the tall omega’s hair. "He’s okay,” he promised. “he’s not hurt, he just needs to get cleaned up. I just need to talk to him for a little and then we’ll be back. Did you two get dinner sorted while we were gone like Jinyoung asked?”

Twin, guilty expressions answered the question. “We were too worried,” Yugyeom said, looking deliberately sad at the elder. Jaebum fought off a smile, and glanced at Jinyoung, who laughed softly, nodding.

“We’ll take care of dinner,” the beta promised, patting Jaebum’s chest affectionately. The alpha smiled back down at him, feeling a rush of familiar affection for his best friend. Jinyoung smiled back at the alpha, pushing up and pressing a kiss up to his cheek before dragging their maknaes back into the kitchen, scolding them affectionately, and giving Jaebum some room.

Knowing Jackson and Mark would want to know that Youngjae was home safe, he headed for them. He knocked on the door gently, but walked in without waiting for an answer. Jaebum wasn’t in the least bit surprised to see the pair curled up on the bed (or, rather, Jackson resting against the headboard and Mark nestled up to his chest). The younger alpha looked up, perking up at the sight of Jaebum there. Mark remained asleep, a peaceful look on his face. There was the faint scent of sex and sweat in the air, which didn’t surprise Jaebum in the least – to the contrary, it turned him on a little (even if he unfortunately couldn’t do anything about it at the moment).

“Youngjae – he’s okay?” Jackson’s voice was gentle, not wanting to wake Mark, but still earnest. His fingers petting softly through the omega’s hair and Jaebum would wager that the younger was wholly unaware that he was doing so.

“He’s fine,” he promised, watching the younger male relax into the bedding behind him. “He was with Nichkhun,” he continued, watching confusion drawing on his face. “I don’t have the full story yet, but he got it into his head that we were mistreating Youngjae and that I would release his Bond so Nichkhun could have him for himself.” He knew he wasn’t imagining the sudden, uncharacteristically angry expression that Jackson adopted.

“Jun K and the others came and got him. Said they would talk some sense into him, but I’m going to follow up with JYP anyway. I don’t need anything like this happening again. He put his hands on Jinyoung when Youngjae was trying to tell me about what was going on.” Jaebum couldn’t help the anger in his own words, remembering the fear in the beta’s eyes when he’d left the room.

“Is he hurt?” Jackson asked – his tone was quiet, but there was no missing his upset, not to someone that knew him well. At Jaebum’s promise that the beta was fine, Jackson relaxed again. His gaze slid down again to Mark, asking the younger alpha if the omega was feeling any better. A soft look immediately took over Jackson’s expression, looking down at the at the taller male slumbering on his chest. “Mark feels responsible,” he said simply. “He said he knew Youngjae looked a little upset, but then he got a call – if anybody’s hurt, he’s going to blame himself.”

“I can see you got him calmed down?” Jaebum’s tone was just slightly teasing, his gaze flicking down at the older male again. Mark’s lips were visibly red and swollen, even still, and there were love-bites on his neck. Jackson’s chest and Mark’s back, where visible, were bare, but he could guess that beneath the blanket, they wore no more clothes than he could see. Their legs were tangled together, about as close as they could be.

Jackson was guileless at the words, fingers stroking down Mark’s bare back. “Well, you know,” he said. “He was panicking and not wanting to listen, so I helped him focus on the situation and got him calm. He could talk better after, but he was worn out, too. Once he has a chance to see Youngjae and talk to him, he’ll be just fine.”

“I’m going to talk to him first, but then he’ll have his chance. I might have to spoil your surprise, but I need to know what was going on with him and why he would go out on his own like that.” Jaebum wasn’t precisely angry with the omega-in-question, but he wasn’t happy with him, either. And while Jinyoung had mentioned that the omega had spoken to him, not once had Youngjae even tried to talk with him. As the alpha of his pack – any of them neglecting to speak with him in a situation like this was intolerable to the elder. Especially considering his response was to wander off into nowhere, or to turn to another alpha. It turned his stomach with worry.

Jaebum didn’t want to disturb Mark from his well-deserved sleep, so only leaned over for a moment, carding his fingers through Jackson’s hair. He returned the smile the younger gave him, grateful again that the younger always had his back and would always step up if he ever needed anything. He knew some people considered Jackson irreverent or shallow, other still treated him as though he was stupid (which Jaebum despised), but he didn’t want to imagine what life would be like without the younger alpha at his side.

He slipped from the room – the communal bedroom that they all usually wound up in, and instead moved to the room that was, technically, just his own. Really, he didn’t normally use it except for situations like this, when he needed to speak with one of his pack mates, or if they needed him, with some privacy. Because of that, there really wasn’t much there – a neatly-made bed, a small desk with a chair, and a few promotional posters for their group framed on the walls. While he waited, he lay back, propping up on the pillows, unsure how long Youngjae would be, eyes drifting closed.

He must’ve started dozing, because he started as he felt the bed shift beneath him. Before he had the chance to do more than open his eyes, he realized that Youngjae was crawling into his arms, the omega’s smaller body blanketing his own. The shirt he was wearing was Jaebum’s, and his hair, just slightly damp still, smelled like Jinyoung’s fancy shampoo. The alpha’s arms curled around the smaller male, nuzzling a little at his hair as Youngjae’s nose lodged against his throat. “I’m sorry, hung,” he heard the younger murmur into his skin, voice trembling. “I’m so sorry.”

“Start at the beginning,” he instructed, petting his hair back, curling the omega closer – any trace of anger vanishing at the apology, unable to keep his temper at the vulnerability the omega was showing him. “I’m not angry at you, baby, but I need to understand.”

Youngjae found himself a comfortable position, curled up to Jaebum, but positioning himself so he wouldn’t need to look the alpha directly in the face. It was obvious that the boy was still feeling guilty, evidenced even more by the way the omega’s fingers toyed at the fringe of Jaebum’s shirt, unable to keep still. There was a moment of silence before Youngjae began to speak softly. Despite the urge to argue, at parts, Jaebum kept quiet, though his fingertips found their way under Youngjae’s shirt to stroke along his bare waist.

All of them; his group members, lovers, his mates, all of them had moments of insecurity. The lifestyle they lived, the scrutiny they dealt with – it would be a scary thing for anyone to deal with. But when he understood that Youngjae’s fear wasn’t towards the world, but towards them…it hurt. The omega pulled no punches as he told the elder what he’d thought - that he didn’t belong with them, that he wasn’t as talented, that he didn’t fit, and they’d be better off without him.

Then he was almost glad the younger couldn’t see his face, because tears built in his eyes, hearing the younger male catalog everything in his life that felt as though it wasn’t good enough. Jaebum kissed his crown, pulling the smaller male even closer, wishing that he knew the right words to say – as though there was a magical phrase that could show Youngjae how much they all loved him.

He felt a little bit better when Youngjae began talking about the events of the day – how Bambam and Jackson blew him off and Mark had gotten distracted when he was trying to explain where he was coming from. The omega admitted that going out alone, without telling anyone where he was going, hadn’t been a good idea. Jaebum privately thought it might have been for the best. If Mark had been with Youngjae, would Nichkhun have done something to hurt him, or to try to use him to manipulate Youngjae? Normally, he would say no, but it was evident that he didn’t know as much about the older alpha as he thought.

But when Youngjae mentioned how Nichkhun had wanted him to have Jaebum release his Bond, the alpha couldn’t help but hold onto him tightly. He couldn’t imagine having to let any of them go – they were too precious to him. As rare as a pack Bonding might be, breaking away was even less so and would have a backlash on all of them. As hard and tough as Jaebum tried to be, he felt as though it might break him, in a way, to lose any of them. Their Bonds went both way – they needed him, and needed one another, but he couldn’t live without them. So long as he could keep them close and safe, then he would manage with everything else.

But Youngjae apologized again, and admitted that when he really thought about things, he knew instinctively that they loved him. “The way that Nichkhun was looking at me, that just isn’t what love is. I don’t know what he saw, but it wasn’t me. Not the way that you see me.” Youngjae’s voice was a little stronger then, and he swallowed a little before deliberately meeting Jaebum’s eyes. The omega’s were red-rimmed, having shed a few tears as he’d been speaking. “But it was when he was telling me how he knew you didn’t love me that I knew you did. So that has to count for something, right?”

Jaebum couldn’t help a smile at the attempted joke. He reached up to brush the remnants of tears from his cheek before pulling the younger male into a kiss. He was glad that Youngjae expressed no hesitation, returning the contact almost eagerly, parting his lips for the alpha. Jaebum took advantage – the memory of Nichkhun’s scent on the omega made him even more inclined to replace his own. Both hands cupped the boy’s cheeks, guiding him closer, claiming his mouth with slow, lingering kisses. Youngjae surrendered a small, breathy gasp of pleasure as Jaebum’s tongue traced along his own, the alpha adjusting their position so Youngjae straddled his hips, letting their bodies shift flush together.

Jaebum’s hands both slipped up underneath the younger’s shirt, fingers trailing paths over the omega’s cooler skin. He couldn’t help a soft, throaty groan, nearly a growl, as the younger male’s hips rolled forward, harder against his own. The younger male was instinctively returning his contact, looking for more.

“Hyung,” the younger panted into his ear, only serving to make more blood go south, making the alpha harder, all at once begrudging the jeans he was wearing. His lips made a path, drawing from his lips to his jaw, tracing a path down his neck, nipping at the sensitive skin, tongue teasing at the pulse points. Jae’s skin was almost addictive, and Jaebum wanted more, leaving a sharp nip at his collarbones as both hands pushed down on his hips, grinding up against the smaller male to increase the friction. The action served to make Youngjae whimper again, head rolling submissively to the side to invite more of the contact. “Hyung, wait –“ he managed softly.

That was the last thing he wanted to do at the moment, but he would never push or take without consent. Both were panting a little into each other’s lips, but Jaebum obediently leaned back, looking up into the omega’s flushed face. “What’s wrong, Youngjae?” His fingertips stroked again at his waist, hoping to coax an answer from him more quickly.

“I-I did something you won’t like,” he said softly, expression looking guilty. Jaebum sat up a little, brow furrowing as he examined the younger’s face, feeling worry spike in his chest. The omega chewed on his lower lip for a moment. “But I can’t lie to you and I don’t want to hurt you anymore. …You’re going to be angry with me.”

“Tell me, Youngjae,” he demanded, not liking to see the younger so uneasy, and even less liking that there was more with the situation. His gut promised it was something more to do with Nichkhun.

“Wearing his shirt…it was my idea,” the omega said softly. For a moment, Jaebum felt only confused, before the anger followed. It wasn’t just the garment, or even the other alpha’s scent on his omega. It was that Youngjae would’ve been undressed, even if only partially, near another alpha – an alpha that wanted him. “And I let him kiss me.”

The final words did made Jaebum growl, eyes flashing. His fingers gripped, bruising, then at his hips. “You let him –“ he echoed, trying to make sense of the words, trying to fight his temper back into place. “Why?” Anger warred with a sense of betrayal that gouged at him. Part of him wanted to push the younger male away, not wanting his closeness in the midst of not understanding. One of his let someone else touch him like that?

Youngjae had tears in his eyes, but kept them locked to Jaebum’s. “He said that he was going to take me somewhere else. He said he would call you there…and if you wouldn’t release the Bond –“ the boy’s voice cracked, leaving the rest of the statement unfinished, but Jaebum had several guesses what was meant to follow; Nichkhun obviously threatened to do something to him. It would’ve made him scoff if the omega’s fear wasn’t so real. “So I told him that I liked him, that all of it was overwhelming. I asked him to let me call you and Jinyoung to come and meet us and I would ask you to break the Bonds. I said I would wear his shirt – his scent – to prove it. But he said he needed more proof. He wanted me to kiss him. So I let him. I was afraid of what would happen if I didn’t. I’m sorry, hung. It’s my fault, and it’s my fault Jinyoung was there and Nichkhun tried to hurt him. And I shouldn’t have left in the first place, or not trusted you first. If you don’t want me anymore, I understand –“

Jaebum found the easiest method to shut up any of his babbling packmates was with his mouth. He kissed Youngjae hard, rolling them abruptly to pin him into the bedding. “You never,” he growled between kisses. “Ever. Do something like that again, Choi Youngjae. But you’re mine, I’ll always want you.” The younger nodded fervently, reaching up to curl his fingers into the elder’s shirt, tugging him closer and arching up simultaneously. “And the reason,” he added between more, heating kisses. “That everyone has been so weird.” He pulled off Youngjae’s shirt, or his shirt, rather, tearing the fabric. “Was planning a surprise party for your birthday.

At that point, his lips were drawing a path down Youngjae’s chest, both of the omega’s hands buried into his hair, slender frame arched up. A small, shaky laugh followed a moan, and Jaebum had the distinctive feeling the boy was tearing up. “I’m so stupid,” he blurted overhead, half-crying, half laughing.

Jaebum growled, then lurched up, kissing him, biting at his lips. “No,” he corrected. “You're ours.  You’re mine.”

Chapter Text

Bambam wiped away the beads of sweat threatening to fall into his eyes.  He was tired, but in a good way.  They’d been practicing for hours, and the dance for their comeback was really coming together.  That said, when the music stopped, he let himself fall back to sit down again, blinking up when he felt fingers thread through his damp hair. Jinyoung stood in front of him, offering him a smile and a cold bottle of water, which Bambam accepted gratefully.  He immediately opened it, throwing his head back and downing half of the cool liquid in a moment.  When his thirst was sated, at least momentarily, he screwed the cap back shut and ran the bottle down his neck, relishing the relief for his overheated skin.

“You guys are looking good,” the choreographer said, “take a few to catch your breath.”  It wasn’t an unusual thing to hear, especially when they’d been working as hard as they had been, pretty much without a break for the past three hours.  His eyes slipped closed in relief, and he blinked up in surprise when he heard Youngjae make a sudden grunt of protest, seeing Jackson drape over the omega’s back.  Despite the protest at the added heat, Youngjae didn’t seem to mind the closeness.  Bambam couldn’t blame him; it was the same with Jaebum as well, get either alpha working up a sweat and there was something almost intoxicating in their scent.  He knew very well that Youngjae wasn’t immune to it, either, and hid a smile when Jackson pulled the taller male closer into his chest, making the omega melt a little, grumbling again that it was too hot – and Jackson thanking him for the compliment.

“That boy is trouble,” Mark said beside him, moving to take a seat as well.  The older omega was panting faintly, drinking from his own water bottle; once he’d finished, he flopped back against the laminated flooring beneath him.  Bambam wondered whether he meant Jae or Jackson but found himself laughing, regardless.  He leaned back against the floor, thinking that Mark really had the right idea, liking the way that the heat began leeching from his body.

He opened his eyes, wondering when they’d slid shut, before forced himself upright, wondering why the room had suddenly gotten so much quieter.  His brow furrowed, realizing that Jackson and Youngjae were definitely gone.  He’d let his eyes close, but he definitely should’ve noticed them leaving all of a sudden.  He turned to the right, intending to ask Mark if he knew where the others had gone, only to realize that the omega must’ve moved away, as well.  It wasn’t like him to be so unaware, and he felt a weird kind of relief cording through him when Jinyoung crouched down in front of him, looking a little worried.

“You okay, Bam?” he asked, the motherly beta reaching out to move his hair from his face again.  “You look like you saw a ghost.”

“Where’d Jackson and Youngjae go?  And Mark?  He was here a second ago,” he felt dumb to ask.  Maybe he should’ve been paying more attention, but at the same time, he wouldn’t feel better unless he had an answer.  He didn’t like when he didn’t know where the others were, and didn’t like the idea that they might be outside of the studio somewhere.

“They went to go get dinner,” the elder answered, head tilting a little, as though he was concerned for the younger male.  “Jaebum-hyung is going to let us order out as a treat since today was so rough.  You’re feeling okay?”

Bambam nodded promptly, “sure, hyung I’m fine, I promise!”  Despite the confidence in the words, though, they didn’t feel quite right.  “I think I’m just tired.”

“Well, rest up, I think that we’ll be heading home soon,” the beta said, cheerfully enough, perking up when his phone began to ring from where it was stored in his duffel.  He slipped away to go and answer it, letting Bambam relax again.  Yugyeom and Jaebum were standing by the mirrors, talking, with Jaebum miming one of the moves that their youngest had flubbed.  Yugyeom was watching him, head cocked to one side, before he echoed the move.  Jaebum laughed at him, expression affectionate, before he ruffled the beta’s hair.

“Yugyeom,” Jinyoung piped up, holding the phone to his ear as he approached the duo.  “The others need some help; you want to come along with me?”  The cardinal rule still stood that none of them went off of their own, so Bambam wasn’t surprised at the question – though he was a little surprised that they needed help.  It was just dinner, how many of them could it take to get it organized?  But then again, Jackson and Mark definitely had moments that they’d butt heads over silly, inconsequential things, (maybe to make up for the fact that they never fought over anything serious?) and it was nearly in Jinyoung’s job description that he sorted out little scuffles like that to make sure that there wasn’t any genuine unhappiness.

“Sure, hyung,” the tall beta chirped in answer, after a quick glance towards Jaebum to make sure that the exit would be approved.  The alpha only nodded in agreement, and watched the pair gather up a few more of their belongings, heading out, presumably to catch up with the others.  Bambam realized, almost belatedly, that it left him one-on-one with Jaebum, and that he couldn’t quite remember the last time that he had been alone with the elder.

It seemed, after a moment, that Jaebum had come to the same conclusion, dark eyes slipping over to land on the omega, currently half-sprawled on the practice room floor.  Bambam couldn't help an unusual blush with the alpha's gaze on him, and he slowly sat up, wishing that he could be more graceful rather than awkward.  The elder managed a slow smile, padding forward and closer to the thin boy, offering him a hand in silence.  As soon as Bambam accepted, broad fingers curled around his own and tugged him up to his feet, smirking when the omega's chest met his own, their bodies flush.

Both were still sweaty, but Bambam found himself beginning to pant for entirely new reasons.  Jaebum's scent was much stronger than usual; dancing was too much like sex, and his pheromones were practically intoxicating to for the younger male.  He whimpered when the elder's nose met his throat, taking in slow, deep breaths through his mouth, smelling and tasting in the same moment, before Jaebum's tongue, flat and hot, mapped a path from his throat to his jaw.  Bambam couldn't help a reactive moan at the contact, head falling immediately away as he felt Jaebum's fingers slip up and anchor into his hair.

The sensation of his alpha tugging on his hair sent a rush of heat tearing through him - the aggression in the gesture, the blatant domination, was an immense turn on.  Maybe it was part of being an omega - maybe it was just who Bambam was regardless - hell, maybe it was just how good authority looked on Im Jaebum - but Bambam loved it.  He liked to be manhandled and told what to do, equally liked the praise and pain doled out by his alpha.  The elder's mouth found his, kissing the smaller male roughly, using the fistful of hair to maneuver him.

Within a moment, Bambam found himself pinned back against the mirrored wall, with Jaebum's bigger body flush to his.  The kisses were leaving him lightheaded, Jaebum's skillful tongue mapping out his mouth as though he hadn't kissed him a thousand times before.  Between kisses, the alpha nearly growled, nipping at his lips in a contact one side of painful - it made the omega shiver in place, arching and grinding up against the elder.

Jaebum was hard already, and the pressure made both of them groan into one another's mouths.  "You look so good for me, Bam," Jaebum praised, fingers pulling a little harder on the omega's hair, mouth drawing down his throat, nipping and mouthing at sensitive points on his skin.  "Taste so good," he added roughly, bearing his teeth harder into the omega's skin.

Bambam couldn't help his own, vocal responses, and didn't much bother to try.  He was very well aware of how much Jaebum liked his little gasps and groans, liked to see what kind of noises he could coax the younger to make.  "Hyung," he managed the word, beginning to ache with impatience, slick beginning to leak from his hole.  "Alpha," he demanded, gripping at his shirt more insistently.  The elder's scent was enough to drive him half-mad and he couldn't help but pant for air, arching harder into the elder's body again.

Jaebum’s hands found Bambam’s wrists, sacrificing the grip he’d had on his hair, pulling them from his chest and spontaneously pinning them back against the mirror over his head.  The omega arched forward, relishing the feeling, electricity sparking under his skin.  Jaebum’s gaze was dark and hungry, combing over him, and from his gaze alone, Bambam felt as though he could come entirely undone.  Strong fingers tightened around his wrists, the contact almost bruising. “You look good like this, Bam,” the elder panted at him, rocking his hips forward into the younger male. "Bet you'd look even better if I tied you up."

The words made Bambam blush, but he couldn't deny the thrill that raced through him at the thought.  He was sexual by nature; he wanted everything that Jaebum - all of his pack - could give him, and wanted to give everything, in turn.  He sucked on his lower lip, looking up at the alpha through his lashes, wondering what the elder was going to do.  In their studio, it wasn't as though they had a lot of space, or really a lot of privacy (but nor would it be the first time that something had escalated along those lines).

His expression made Jaebum smirk again, reaching up and stroking his fingertips along the omega's jaw.  "You'd like that, wouldn't you, Bam?  All trussed up and open for me - can't move, just have to wait for me to decide your pleasure.  I bet I could make you come a hundred different ways without even needing to fuck you."  The lewd words made Bambam shiver again, his mind busy running through a thousand different scenarios all at once, unsure and uncaring if his alpha had one in mind. "I'd fuck you anyway though; I just can't get enough of you, want to bury my knot so deep in you that you taste it when I come."

"Fuck, hyung," the omega managed, half-whimpering the words.  Almost too quickly, he was so wet, he was afraid of ruining his clothes, his cock twitching heavily, aching for lack of stimulation.  "Please just touch me?"

"I don't think so, baby," Jaebum said heavily in reply. "Knees, now.  Let's see if you can earn it."

Bambam didn't hesitate, as soon as the grip on his wrists lessened enough, he dropped to his knees. He knew exactly what his alpha wanted, and he eagerly rushed to obey, quickly pulling the elder's clothes away, slender hand fishing out his thick erection. Despite the control he was showing, it was obvious that Jaebum was just as far gone as the younger felt.  Bambam shifted closer, eyes skimming over the swollen, dripping head, already a dark red, leaning forward and lapping away the thin film of fluid that had begun leaking.  Jaebum made a soft noise, not quite a grunt, not quite a moan, but it encouraged Bambam to move forward again, wrapping his full lips around him, and pushing forward.

Bambam liked this – liked the heat and weight of his alpha’s cock filling his mouth.  He could taste skin and musk and sweat and it made his mouth water and his ass throb, aching to be filled, even well outside of his heat.  Jaebum’s fingers curled gently through his hair, before his grip tightened, pulling him forward.  The younger made a concentrated effort to open his throat for the alpha, but still choked at a too-rough thrust, thick saliva filling his mouth.  He could feel Jaebum grow harder in his mouth, eyes pinned down on Bambam as he eased forward again, this time more carefully.

The smirk on the alpha’s face made him shiver again, pushing forward, keeping his tongue flat, pressed up against the elder’s member, curling upwards when Jaebum pulled back.  He let his eyes slip shut, focused entirely on what he was doing, doubling his efforts on hearing the elder surrender a moan; he wanted to hear it again.  Usually, the elder was quite contained, and earning a vocal response was enough to make Bambam arch a little again.

“You’re such a good boy for me, aren’t you?” the elder praised again, thrusting forward.  Bambam made another noise of earnest agreement.  “Keep going, baby – and I’m going to fuck you so good, Bammie.  But maybe I’ll wait and watch the others fuck you first – knot you nice and full of all of their come.”  The words made Bambam whine and the wetness between his thighs promptly doubled.

The expression on Jaebum’s face was knowing.  “You like that idea, don’t you?”  He crooned the words, the fingers in his hair pulled a little harder.  “Are you wet already for me, baby?”  The omega could hardly do more than whimper as Jaebum rocked forward again.  “Show me,” the alpha growled the response, watching through heated eyes.

If Bambam could’ve spared the blood to blush, he would’ve.  Instead, he rocked again in place, biting his lip as one hand slipped past the waistband of the sweats he wore.  He desperately wanted to wrap his fingers around his own dripping length, but that wasn’t what Jaebum had told him to do.  He couldn’t help a whine as his fingers brushed over his entrance, the sensation making him shiver.  He didn’t hesitate any further before gently easing his fingers into himself.  It wasn’t as good as Jaebum doing it, or Youngjae (the omega had clever fingers) but he was aching for something – anything – and he rocked back as his fingers sank deeper.

He whimpered again as he pulled free, feeling impatient and wanting, but knew that Jaebum, in this mindset, would move only at his own pace.  His fingers – smaller than Jaebum’s – were wet with his own slick.  Not quite embarrassed, he obediently showed the elder, biting his lower lip hard when Jaebum’s fingers closed around his wrist, pulling it up.  The elder breathed deeply, taking in the omega’s scent in a motion that was nearly animalistic, before his mouth closed around Bambam’s slender fingers.  The action was lewd, his hot tongue carefully cleaning each digit.  Bambam’s eyelids fluttered for a moment, nearly bursting in building pleasure, before he refocused his attention on Jaebum’s cock in his mouth.

It was another moment before his hand was apparently deemed clean enough, and was released.  Bambam shifted closer, slick fingers wrapping around the alpha’s knot, the skin there much more sensitive, and not yet swollen.  Jaebum’s fingers were back in his hair again, gently drawing over his scalp, murmuring heated praise for how sweet the omega was, rolling his hips forward, purring how much he loved how wet and needy the younger was.  Bambam certainly felt it, wanting and aching for his alpha to take him – to fuck him until he couldn’t see straight or dance for the next week, if he could have his way.

All at once, the hand gripping his hair tightened unexpectedly, and the cock in his mouth thrust hard forward, shoving further down his throat than before – then he came.  Bambam choked – the alpha always warned him before he came when the younger was giving head, so not to startle him, but also because he sometimes liked his alpha to come onto his face, his chest – Jaebum’s scent would cling to him for days – shower or no shower.  There was part of him that reveled in it.  But he couldn’t think on it – face screwing up at another powerful thrust – this roughness was not like Jaebum.  It was deliberately hurtful, rather than just firm and controlling.

Bambam tried to pull back, coughing, choking and unable to breathe, but was yanked forward again, pain searing over his scalp, feeling his hair tearing at the treatment.  Tears sprung up to Bambam’s eyes, and he pushed at the male’s thighs; he knew instantly that something was very wrong.  Jaebum felt wrong.  And as soon as he realized that, he realized a faintly sour, bitter taste in his mouth from the male’s release – that was not at all his alpha.

The fingers pulled hard, jerking his head to look up.  Through teary eyes, he knew that it was not Im Jaebum’s hand in his hair, nor was the swollen dick shoved down his throat his alpha’s.  Full-fledged panic ripped through him, adrenaline and fear following hotly.  He flung himself away, bile churning up his throat, but he didn’t make it far.  The punishing hand reeled him back again, and a closed fist hit his jaw, blackening his vision and sending him toppling over onto the floor.

“What a bad little whore you’ve been, Bambam,” the man chided at him, voice dark and cruel.  Bambam recognized him instantly.  Their so-called replacement manager.  He was big.  Thick with muscle and leaning just one side toward fat – he was strong, athletic, but lazy.

“No.”  The protest escaped him entirely without intend.  “You can’t.  You’re dead.  He said so – he said you’d never come back –“

“Do I look dead to you, slut?”  The snarled words were accompanied by an explosive anger, and the omega cowered away reflexively, eyes clenching shut.  Though he waited for it, a blow didn’t follow.  He opened his eyes carefully, fighting a whimper when the man’s face hovered in front of him, wearing a smirk, reaching down and catching the Thai boy’s chin.  Without a word of warning, the man’s mouth was on his in a mockery of a kiss, shoving his tongue roughly into the omega’s mouth.  He pulled back, fingers gripping harder at his chin.

“I’m not dead – and I’m not going anywhere.”  Bambam’s mouth fell open, ready to protest the words, that no matter what this man tried to do, his Pack would still come back for him again; Jaebum wouldn’t let him hurt.  “What?  You think they’ll come for you?  Deluded little omega.  They don't want you.  You’re not Bound – you’re not Marked.  Maybe they just got sick of you.  It doesn't matter; comes down to the same thing.  Do you know what that is, boy?  It means that you’re mine now.”  Bambam’s hand flew up to his nape, stomach twisting, then bottoming out when his fingertips found smooth, unbroken skin.  Jaebum’s Mark was gone – the physical symbol of his Claiming.  A hand wrenched into his hair, forcefully pulling his head back to meet the man’s gaze.  There was something in his eyes that Bambam couldn’t put into words, but it horrified him; something in him just wanted the omega to hurt.

And there wasn’t anything to stop him.

“That’s right, boy – now come here.  We have so much play to catch up on.”

*

Bambam jolted conscious all at once, drenched in sweat, tears in his eyes, and stomach revolting.  He didn’t have time to think, scrambling for the bathroom just barely in time to surrender the contents of his stomach in waves, bile burning his throat and mouth as he coughed the last of the mess up.  He slumped to the floor as he reached to flush the toilet, pressing his face into the cool tile of the floor, grateful for the contrast to his skin.  His eyes burned, and he reached up to scrub the tears away, hating them, but unable to fight the pit gnawing in his middle.  He startled when he felt something touch his hand, reflexively scrambling backwards, glancing up to see Yugyeom, in his pajamas, crouching in front of him, holding a glass of water.

Bambam scrubbed at his eyes again with the back of one arm, uselessly attempting to hide his tears, but he took the offered cup anyway, rinsing his foul-tasting mouth out and spitting it into the toilet.  He could feel the younger beta’s attention on him and hated it.  “Another nightmare?” the maknae asked quietly, sounding a little angry and very worried.

Bambam swallowed back, forcing himself to drink, even though his stomach churned a little.  At least it was another minute that he didn’t have to answer – didn’t have to see the way the younger was looking at him.  “It’s not that big a deal,” he muttered lowly, eyes cast down and away, wincing at the rough sound of his voice.  Apparently, it didn’t much convince Yugyeom either, from the glare that was pinned on him when he dared glance up at him.

“It is a big deal.  You haven’t gotten a good night sleep in weeks, and I swear it’s getting worse, not better.  You’re snappy and irritated because you’re tired, and it’s obvious you’re not feeling well,” the beta replied, and though his voice sounded stern, Bambam understood that the taller was only complaining out of concern.  “This isn’t the first time you’ve woken up sick like this.  And you were scared of me.”

“You startled me,” the omega argued, in equally quiet tones, not wanting to have this conversation with his friend.  Unfortunately, if the expression on the maknae’s face was much to go by, he wasn’t getting off the hook easily.  “I didn’t mean to wake you, Yugyeom,” he tried instead.  “I just want to go back to bed.  You’re right, I’m tired.”  He made to shift and push himself back to his feet, but the beta situated in front of him didn’t move an inch, effectively blocking his path.

“I’ve been ignoring it for ages, Bambam.  I figured eventually you’d realize that what you’re doing isn’t working.  But this is too much.  If you don’t talk to Jaebum, I’m going to do it.”  Yugyeom’s eyes were dark, pinning still on his.  “He’s our alpha, Bam, he deserves to know the truth.  And you wouldn’t be hiding if you didn’t know that you were wrong.”

“Hiding what?” 

Jaebum’s voice was thick with sleep, but impossible to mistake.  Bambam’s eyes flicked up reflexively to see the alpha leaning in the doorway; he was dressed in an open-sided muscle shirt and pair of shorts, hair mussed in a way that should have looked silly, but instead struck the omega as somehow sexy.  Unfortunately, his mind wasn’t much aligned with that thought for the moment.  He bit his lip, flashing a betrayed look at Yugyeom, who, at least, looked every bit as startled as Bambam felt.  They shared looks momentarily, and Bambam pulled his knees to his chest, hoping that the barrier might somehow stop this conversation that he didn’t want to have.

He heard movement, and in the next moment, there was a hand, bigger than his, combing through his sweaty hair, before the fingertips found his nape, gently brushing over the omega’s Mark.  Even with the upset that he felt at the moment, the contact was a warm, pleasant one.  And more reassuring than he particularly wanted to admit at the moment, arching up a little in response.  “Bam,” Jaebum’s tone was softly chiding, though the fingers didn’t stop moving gently over his skin.  “What’s this about?  It’s not like you to hide things from me.”

“I can go lay back down,” Yugyeom said softly, biting his lip, his expression a little guilty, then.  “If you want.”

Bambam felt bad for the guilt in the beta’s tone, and swallowed, frowning a little when Jaebum’s hand slid between his thigh and chest, unfolding the omega.  He wasn’t expecting to be picked up, but in the next moment, he was in the alpha’s arms, clinging reflexively on so that he wouldn’t fall.  “No, come on,” the alpha said simply, and he carried the omega from the bathroom and through the bedroom, telling Yugyeom to shut the door behind them, so as not to disturb the others, until he reached the living room.  He set Bambam gently on the couch, and settled next to him, with Yugyeom joining on the other side, not quite close enough to touch, but close enough that the omega knew that he was there. 

As angry as he’d felt, he found it comforting.  He squinted when Jaebum flicked on the lamp set beside the couch, but didn’t have much time to think on it before his gaze was directed up to meet the alpha’s.  “What’s this about?” he asked.

Bambam didn’t know how to answer.  It wasn’t just any one thing, and he felt pathetic for being unable to just forget about it and move on.  “Bambam’s been having nightmares,” Yugyeom spoke up beside him.  “He has been – for months, now.  I’ve been getting worried because they seem to be getting worse.”

“Bam?”  Jaebum’s attention was quickly back on the omega.  “Is that true?”  Bambam wasn’t much of a liar in general, so he nodded, still keeping his head bowed.  There wasn’t much of a point in doing anything else; he was already found out, and Yugyeom wasn’t likely to let it go.  “Why wouldn’t you tell me?”

“What’s the point?” the omega’s voice cracked a little, and then he swallowed, pushing on and hoping that they wouldn’t notice.  “They’re just dreams, there isn’t anything that you can do about it.  I’ve had them for ages, sometimes they’re worse than other times, that’s all.”  Usually, he was quite pleased to have their attention on him, but he didn’t like the pity he could sense.

“You threw up,” Yugyeom retorted.  “And this isn’t the first time, either.  That’s not a normal nightmare.”

“Bammie, how long have you been having these nightmares,” Jaebum asked, nudging his chin up to meet his eyes.  Bambam shrugged, feeling as though he didn’t have an answer, eyes skirting away from the elder’s.  “Kunpimook.”  The use of his given name was enough to startle Bambam into properly looking at the alpha, blushing suddenly.  It was almost unheard that any of the others used it, except Jackson, sometimes, if the elder was trying to tease him.

“Since it happened,” the omega said quietly, seeing the worry flare up in the alpha’s eyes.  Shortly thereafter, guilt.  Jaebum always felt responsible for all of them, even when there wasn’t anything that he could’ve done differently.  “I’m sorry – that’s why I didn’t want to tell you.  You feel bad, and it’s not like anyone could do anything.  They’re just dreams.”

“No, they’re not just dreams,” Yugyeom argued, wincing a little when Bambam glared at him.  “I’m sorry if you’re mad at me, Bambam, but you…you just haven’t been yourself lately.  I didn’t want you to talk to Jaebum because I wanted you to get in trouble.  We’re family, aren’t we?  I was worried about you, and I know Jackson’s noticed it, too, and probably all of the others.  I wanted you to talk to hyung because the only thing I want is our Bambam back.  Please, just…try?”  Yugyeom surprised him by standing then, leaning over and kissing Bambam’s forehead.  “It’ll be easier if I’m not around right now.  I love you, Bambam, okay?”

Strangely, the words made tears spring to the omega’s eyes, and he couldn’t do anything but nod in helpless agreement.  The beta didn’t wait for an answer before he slipped back into the bedroom, gently closing the door behind him.  It was late, and there should have been a thick, sleepy silence that filled the living room, but Bambam didn’t feel tired, for the first time in a long time.  Neither did he feel particularly comfortable.  And as though Jaebum could read his mind, he was hauled into the alpha’s lap, and found his nose pressed into the elder’s throat.  His scent was strong, and Bambam nuzzled closer, hands fisting into the thin fabric of Jaebum’s shirt.

“I’m sorry,” the elder said softly into his hair.  “I should’ve known something wasn’t right.  But I wish that you weren’t afraid to talk to me.  This isn’t something that you should be having to deal with on your own, baby.”

“I wasn’t afraid,” the omega objected, a pout immediately lining his lips, pulling back to look at the elder’s face.  “N-not of talking to you,” he added, since he knew the words would otherwise be a lie.  “I just…I don’t know why I can’t get over it.  He…he barely touched me – like that –“

“He hurt you, Bambam,” Jaebum said firmly, not giving into the point, his eyes flashing a little at the memory.  “He beat you.  He tried to Mark you – and the bastard threatened to rape you.  That’s not nothing.  And if you hadn’t been smart enough to get away when you did – I don’t want to think about what could’ve happened to you.  I wish sometimes that I hadn’t killed him that night, so I could do it again, slower.”

“Mark got over what happened in Busan,” Bambam argued, putting a voice to his weakness in a way that he had been avoiding as much as he could.  “And I know that he’s dead.  So why do I still have these stupid dreams?  It’s dumb.  I hate it.”

Over it?”  Jaebum echoed, confusion visible as his brow knotted.  “It’s not that easy, baby.  There have been lots of times that Mark and I still talk through what happened.  He’s still struggling, but he isn’t trying to deal with it all on his own.  He has his own nightmares, and bad days.  He still feels guilty for what had happened to Yijeong, even though it all worked out as well as it could, considering.”

The words silenced Bambam almost instantly; not having expected them.  He hadn’t had any idea that Mark was having any troubles.  Since the night at the hotel, the only time that it had been mentioned was when Mark mentioned how Yijeong and Kyungil were doing.  It was weird to think of the duo as friends, but they’d made pointed visits with the couple whenever they were in the area.  Not only because Mark and Yijeong were so close, but all of them got along pretty well (after Jaebum and Kyungil had cleared the air about the mounting tensions at the time).

“Tell me about your dreams, Bam,” Jaebum said softly, stroking through his hair again.  Bambam didn’t want to.  It would upset the older male.  But there wasn’t much room for argument at the moment.  And it had already been proven that he wasn’t going to be able to handle it on his own.  He took a shuddering breath, and swallowed, nodding in agreement.  He pushed his forehead back into the elder’s neck, unsure if he could look at his face, and began to talk.

*~*~*

“You promise you’re not mad at me?” Yugyeom asked, nearly a week later, trailing a little behind the omega as they headed out towards a nearby food stall.  It was the third time that he’d asked.  Bambam sighed, rolling his eyes before he turned on his heel and stomped up towards the beta.  If he wasn’t so agitated, it would’ve almost been funny to see how the younger male flinched a little backwards, no matter that the omega was half his size.  Bambam didn’t hesitate, though, instead reaching up, grabbing his shirt, and hauled him down.  At the same time, he pushed up on his toes so their lips met halfway through the motion.  He lingered for a moment, pulling away slowly, so their lips parted but they weren’t much further away.  He searched the younger’s face, before nodding, satisfied.  The beta actually blushed back at him.

Bambam understood his unease though, for a little while he had been furious.  It hadn’t lasted the night.  It hadn’t even lasted the full conversation he’d had with Jaebum.  In some ways, it felt incredibly invasive to admit the chronic nightmares that had haunted him, but at the same time, Jaebum had listened without judgement.  At parts, he might clutch the omega tighter to him, but it was exactly what Bambam had needed.  And if both had shed tears, no one but them knew.  And since that night, since admitting every horrible thought that had lingered with him – he hadn’t had a single nightmare.

If Jaebum had pointedly situated things that he had wound up pinned tightly between himself and Jackson – well, Bambam slept peacefully for the first time in nearly a year.  If anything, he was grateful that Yugyeom pushed him to talk to their alpha.  He felt guilty, putting more on him when he knew how much Jaebum regretted not doing more at the time.  Maybe that was part of being an alpha, but Bambam could only hope that Jinyoung and Jackson might be enough to help talk their alpha from carrying more weight than he needed to.  Those two had an influence over Jaebum at times, but at least they could be trusted to use it only to his benefit.

He started from his thoughts when Yugyeom’s hands curled around his waist, and was very much aware by the time the younger kissed him again.  The contact was familiar, easy, and Bambam let his arms drift up around the beta’s broad shoulders.  While part of him would have very happily deepen the contact after pressing closer, it wasn’t the place for it.  Instead, he nuzzled into the beta’s shoulder, liking how strong the beta’s arms felt as they curled around his waist.  “Okay, you aren’t mad,” Yugyeom conceded into his hair, tickling his scalp with the breath.  “Or, if you are, I should make you mad more often.”  The final words were obviously teasing, and Bambam squirmed free to glare at him (but not without nipping at his throat in retaliation), gently whacking the beta’s broader chest with the back of one hand.  Yugyeom only laughed softly in turn, and Bambam couldn’t maintain his temper.

“I’m not mad,” he promised again, settling back on his feet again.  “Honestly, I’m grateful.  I wanted to handle things by myself, and I hate – I hate when people think that I’m weak, just because I’m an omega.”  It was definitely part culture shock as well.  Like in China, Thailand had very specific ideas for what defined an alpha, omega, or beta, and it was expected that certain behaviors would follow.  Korea was rather forward with their ideas, all things considered, and he had been grateful for the opportunity to live there, where he might not be so defined by something that he couldn’t help.

Where he was from, omegas were frequently considered little better than property – valuable, yes, especially male omegas, who could breed – but not independent.  He had grown up understanding the ideas quite similarly to men like Kris – alphas held all the power, all of the control, and it wasn’t even so much the idea that omegas were expected to like it, it was that no one cared.  Un-Bonded omegas had a habit of going missing, and while there were so-called attempts to find them, there really wasn’t much question about what had happened to them; nor was there any real hope of them coming back.

Bambam had been lucky to have two older brothers that were alphas who watched out for him.  In the end, signing up with JYP – finding the rest of his pack was unquestionably the best thing that could’ve ever happened to him.  The others would always listen, but Bambam couldn’t help but think that Jackson was the only one who could understand best.  Mark, raised in America, had perhaps the most liberal background in regards to how others considered the status of omegas.  Add to the hugely supportive nature of his family, he hadn’t really grown up in the same environment.  Jackson was an alpha, but the demands for what an alpha should be were often as rough as they were for an omega.  He knew very well if the true nature of his relationship with Jaebum was well known…it wouldn’t likely be taken well.  They would consider it shameful that an alpha would submit to another.

Korea might not be fond of the idea, but while it might be met with vitriol, it wouldn’t be with violence.

“You know none of us think that, don’t you?” Yugyeom asked, breaking through his thoughts, worry in his eyes for a moment.  Bambam smiled faintly, petting the elder’s broad chest.

“I do,” he promised.  “I just wasn’t thinking clearly for a little.  I’m sorry that I made you worry so much.  Now, how about we worry about getting food before everyone comes out here wondering what’s taking us so long?”

The younger conceded, but he didn’t let go of Bambam’s hand, and when their fingers naturally entwined together, the omega couldn’t say that he minded.  He liked the closeness.  It was nice to be out and about, and when they stepped out of the building proper, the feeling of sunshine on them perked Bambam up a little bit.  Add to that, the promise of food on the horizon was something that could always cheer any of them up.  Bambam wrapped his arms around one of Yugyeom’s, bringing up everything that he was going to eat as soon as he was given the option.

It didn’t take them long to get where they were going, and Bambam eagerly made good on his promise, his order more of a menu than a list, but Yugyeom just laughed at him and more or less did the same thing all over again.  It wasn’t helped that they were picking up more things for the others, still hard at work.  “See, on the one hand we can hurry back and make sure everyone gets their food still warm,” the omega said, grinning up at the younger.  “Or we could just eat all of it ourselves.”

Yugyeom laughed aloud at that.  “I think they’d figure out who the culprits were,” he pointed out, making Bambam pout in response, but he didn’t argue.  “I don’t think the hyungs would be pleased.”

“Foiled again,” the elder muttered, but he was glad when it made the younger laugh again.  It had felt like too much time had passed since he’d last seen his packmate in such a bright mood.  So, perhaps, it wasn’t much of a surprise that the good mood was abruptly interrupted by a loud crashing sound from between a pair of nearby buildings.

Both Bambam and Yugyeom stopped, exchanging glances for a moment, smiles melting off their faces.  “No,” Yugyeom said sternly.  “Back to the studio.  It’s not our problem.  Jaebum will kill us.”

“Then why are you coming with me?” Bambam asked, already heading towards the direction of the crash.

“Plausible deniability,” the answer came promptly, “so I can say I at least tried to talk you out of it before Jaebum-hyung kicks my ass.”  Despite the words, Bam didn’t miss that the taller male was already edging protectively forward to walk ahead of him and any potential danger.  It didn’t take long to find the source of the conflict, and the Thai teen couldn’t help but frown, not exactly sure what was going on, but sure enough that he didn't like what he was seeing.

At first glance, it was obvious that the two boys were outnumbered.  One Bambam immediately recognized as an alpha, the other, an omega.  Neither of them could’ve been much older than he and Yugyeom were.  The omega had his hair colored an unusual lilac shade, and was visibly caught between cringing away from the much older alpha standing over him, and trying to get to the black-haired alpha that was half-strewn next to an overturned trash can.  It was obvious that he had been thrown or else pushed, but his attention was on the omega.

There were three strangers there, undoubtedly in their thirties at least – one over the omega and the other pair smirking nastily at the fallen alpha, who was glaring up with a dark look on his face.  Bambam practically growled, immediately understanding, at least to some degree, what they’d walked into.  Yugyeom glared at him over his shoulder, but Bambam knew the beta well enough to understand he didn’t much like the scene either.

Yugyeom, apparently, decided that he was going to do something about it before Bambam intervened on his own.  “Hey, you guys okay?” the younger male said, towards the other pair, speaking in a familiar tone, as though they’d been friends for a long time, rather than complete strangers.  “We got the food, are you ready to go?”

The omega’s brow furrowed, his full lips parting to speak, but the alpha caught on and interrupted before he could.  “Yeah – yeah, that’s great.  We were done.”  Despite the fact that he was on the ground, there was a sort of authority in his tone.  It made Bambam feel immediately jealous, but maybe that was just one of those things about being an alpha that he wouldn’t ever have.  “Weren’t we?” he ground up the final words at the pair of men standing over him – one a beta, the other another alpha.

“Baby alpha thinks that he’s tough now that he has friends?” one of them said, but Bambam saw the way that he glanced over towards he and Yugyeom again.  There had been many occasions that he felt jealous to have a maknae that was so much bigger and more muscular than he was – at the moment, he couldn’t be more grateful.

“Hey!” the lavender-haired boy blurted out, flinching back when the tall alpha standing in front of him had actually grabbed at his forearm, tugging him a step closer.  The dark-haired alpha on the ground growled audibly again and shoved himself fluidly up to his feet.  He was about the same height as the omega, but he definitely seemed bigger.  But still unfortunately smaller than the two men standing in front of him.

“I told you not to touch him.”

“And I don’t care what you said,” the response was delivered in a cutting, almost amused tone, not looking away from the slender omega he’d gotten hold of.  Bambam’s stomach twisted at the expression – he hated alphas like that, who thought they could just do whatever they wanted.  He knew Yugyeom wouldn’t be happy with him, but he immediately moved over to the unfamiliar omega and threw his arm over his shoulders as though they'd been friends for years, pulling him back.  It must have surprised the alpha, given his grip loosened enough to allow the omega to slip back.  In the same movement, Bambam shoved one of the bags of food he was carrying into his arms, occupying them so he couldn’t be grabbed again.

“Come on,” he said, not sparing the alpha so much as a glance, though his skin prickled, aware of his attention.  He didn’t feel brave by any stretch of the imagination – he was honestly more afraid of what might happen if their eyes did meet.  “Let’s go before everything gets cold and our hyungs come hunt us down.”  He definitely earned himself a glare from Yugyeom, but the beta immediately followed him up on the idea, walking up to the other teen.  Despite the fact that he wasn’t an alpha, his size was enough to earn him a glare – but no more.  Clearly they didn’t want to push now that they were outnumbered, with the assumption that there were still more of them nearby.

“Next time,” the alpha growled, leaning too close to Bambam’s ear, “mind your own, or you can join him.”  The promise in the words sent a spiral of unease down the Thai teen’s spine, but he didn’t have time to try to formulate a word.  The alpha snapped his fingers, motioning to the other pair near Yugyeom, before he gestured to follow him.  Bambam was perfectly aware of how they glanced over both him and the other omega as they walked by, and couldn’t help the flush of relief when they actually left.

“Ooh, snacks!” the lavender-haired omega said, tone bright, peering into the bag that he held.  For a bewildering moment, Bambam had no idea how to respond to that, utterly confused – but also wanting to laugh at the words.  “Kookie, snacks!” he chirped again, presumably at the alpha, who was glancing around as though doubtful that the men had actually left.  Kookie was, Bambam couldn’t help but think, a pretty unimposing name for an alpha.

“Thanks,” the dark-haired male said towards Yugyeom, but immediately moved to join the omega, gently taking the bag and handing it to Bambam.  The gesture earned him a pout, but the alpha was too busy checking him over to be bothered.

“Bambam,” Yugyeom said, in a stern enough tone that he knew that the younger male wasn’t thrilled with what he’d done.  In the next moment, the beta had moved up to stand beside him, and Bambam leaned against the broader form, knowing that the contact would make him feel a little better.  “You’re okay?” he confirmed, despite being there the entire time and knowing he hadn’t even been touched.  Without needing an answer, he glanced up at the other pair.  “And you two?  Sorry to barge in –“

“No, thank you,” the alpha said again, turning on his heel.  “I’m Jeon Jungkook.  This is V,” he added, gesturing towards the omega, who promptly offered a rather boxy smile towards Yugyeom and Bambam.  “I appreciate the timely rescue, the others aren’t meant to be here for a bit, and those jerks don’t know how to take no for an answer.”

“I think we’ll wait for them to get here,” the beta said, practically reading Bambam’s mind.  “Just in case they get it in their mind to hang out where they shouldn’t.  I’m Yugyeom – this is Bambam.”

“I know you,” V’s recognition was equally startling, his tone still chipper.  Bambam remembered the uneasy expression that he’d been wearing when they’d first stumbled upon the conflict, and had to wonder whether he was either used to incidents like that and merely stopped letting it bother him so much, or if he just wasn’t the type to be openly upset with strangers (even helpful ones).

Bambam wasn’t quite sure how to react.  “Uh, we’re…singers?” he offered, not quite sure if it was the right thing to say.  “The people that you’re waiting for – they should be here soon?”

“Yes!  Kookie, I know them,” he said, bouncing a little on his toes.  Then, just as drastically shifting, went a bit shy, bowing towards the pair.  “I like your music.  We’re part of a group, too!  About to debut, soon.  We’re just waiting for the others before we go back upstairs.  But then those guys came along…”  The words made the omega sober a little again, leaning against the dark-haired boy beside him.  “Do you want to be friends?”

Bambam blinked again, relatively sure that he was going through some kind of mental whiplash from the boy’s absolutely random behavior.  Despite it, there was something completely charming and friendly about the other male, but Bambam couldn’t remember the last time he’d ever met someone who was simultaneously so genuine and so forward.  He wasn’t at all surprised that the other male continued with the year of his birth, but was a bit surprised that he was older than both Bambam and Yugyeom, and Jungkook was right between them.  Bambam celebrated by teasing the beta about still being the youngest, when they explained that the rest of their members were older as well.

Yugyeom’s fingers tickled at his waist in retribution, but he also kept Bambam pressed up against his side.  The elder understood the unspoken request to keep him close, and didn’t bother fighting a small smile when the younger’s thumb slipped just beneath the hem of his shirt, brushing over a patch of bare skin.  He knew that the other pair couldn’t have missed the interaction, but neither said anything about it.  V proved himself something of a fan, bouncing a little on his toes and asking what felt like a hundred questions, barely leaving a breath to let him answer.

“Yugyeom – Bambam –“ the abrupt call of their names drew both to turn and look behind them.  Bambam recognized it as Mark’s voice, but the older omega wasn’t alone.  More to the point – all of the others were there.  It was Jaebum that reached them first, his dark eyes flicking back-and-forth between the two, reaching up and touching Bambam’s cheek before his attention found the duo standing across the way from them.  He frowned, unsure of who they were, and obviously unhappy with the fact that the youngest two of his pack hadn’t come back when he had expected them.

Jungkook stiffened, shifting a little forward, understanding the challenge that Jaebum wasn’t quite ready to voice.

“It’s okay, hyung,” Bambam said softly, hands reaching to grab the elder’s waist, tugging a little on the fabric of his shirt to draw his attention. “This is Jungkook and V – they’re trainees, about to debut.  Yugyeommie and I were heading back and some guys were harassing them and we’re just staying here until their friends get here just in case trouble comes back.  We’re fine, I promise.”

It took another moment for Jaebum to actually register the omega’s words, but the alpha did relax, then, his glare vanishing.  His expression softened considerably, still, when his eyes met Bambam’s, skimming over him again.  Immediately, he decided not to mention what the strange alpha had threatened; it would only upset the older male, and Bambam doubted that they would ever cross paths again.  “You’re sure you’re okay?”

The words didn’t surprise him – Jaebum was always overprotective, and Bambam knew that their conversation from the week before was still weighing heavily on his mind.  “I promise,” he said, fighting the impulse to lean forward and kiss the elder.  He could tell that Jungkook and V were close, but he couldn’t really be sure of their relationship.  Besides, there were reasons that the members of Got7 weren’t open about their pack status, and he didn’t want to do anything that could cause backlash.  “Hyung, guys, come say hi!”  The abrupt shift in his tone evidently surprised the others a little.  Bambam couldn’t help a giggle, thinking that he and V might be more alike than he’d first thought.

With Jaebum having dropped the aggressive stance, Jungkook had relaxed as well.  He still didn’t let V out of arm’s reach, but the omega seemed perfectly content to keep close.  Able to get a better feel, without the apparent threat hanging over them, Bambam privately thought that Jungkook was handsome, with the dark hair and eyes, but the smile was just cute.  Understanding that he was nearly the youngest there, as the group approached, he and V both bowed politely.

Jackson, always social, was happy to introduce himself, asking the pair questions; he’d had an arm slung around Mark’s shoulders, and thus pulled the omega along with him.  V, pretty much immediately, began bouncing on his toes again, claiming that he recognized them, too, which let Jackson preen a little.  The tension eased right away, and Bambam moved forward, glad for the chance to make more friends, but froze when he felt arms wrap around his middle, keeping him in place.  He glanced back over his shoulder, and managed a small smile, seeing Jaebum’s gaze on his.  Relatively sure that V and Jungkook were distracted by the others, he turned and pressed up onto his toes to steal a brief kiss.

Jaebum seemed happy to oblige, thumb drawing over his cheek for a moment as he pulled back.  Bambam blushed, despite himself, unable to help feeling somehow…special with Jaebum’s attention on him like that.  He reached for the elder’s hand and pulled him over to greet the pair as well.  He felt nice with Jaebum’s thicker fingers curled around his, and as they joined the semi-circle they’d found, the alpha tugged Bambam to lean against his chest, and Bambam couldn’t find a reason in the world to complain.

“Well, we’re here,” the elder said, catching attention without needing to do more than speak.  “You and Yugyeom did get everybody something to eat already, yeah?  We might as well eat here while we’re waiting.”  There was very little dispute about it, and quickly the group – plus two – settled out and the new alpha and omega offered to join in sharing as well.  Initially, Jungkook refused, saying that they hadn’t anticipated trying to care for them as well, but Jinyoung had insisted and V had pouted, and he’d given in, demanding to repay them.

Bambam liked the idea.  It wasn’t a common thing for him to meet many other omegas in the industry, and more friends was always a good thing.  It wasn’t long before they felt comfortable, Jackson easily able to reduce the pair into laughter.  They had a lot of questions, explaining that they were planning to debut from a smaller company and they really didn’t know what to expect.

Randomly, everyone answered their questions, sharing stories (as many amusing as they were embarrassing) to the new pair, who had visibly warmed up to them.  Bambam would’ve said, without hesitation, that all of them had lost track of time when there was a sudden blur of movement, and a body pounced V and Jungkook hard.  Jaebum was on his feet instantly, a look on his face that made Bambam almost want to purr – whether the elder wanted to say so or not, he liked the pair of boys and wasn’t about to let something bad happen to them.

He wasn’t the only one on his feet, either, Yugyeom and Jackson were glancing down from the way the blur had come, seeing that there were others following.  Bambam’s attention flicked back down to V and Jungkook again, and knew that there was no way that they didn’t know this boy, who had wound up half-sprawled, pulling the lavender-haired omega down, grinning at him.  “Sorry we took so long Taetae,” he chirped, settling his arms on V’s shoulders, as though he had no intention to let him back up.

“Jiminnie, off!” the omega whined in protest, squirming and shoving at the shorter, more muscular male.  The demand earned him a laugh, but he didn’t argue, rolling off and beaming up at Jungkook.  His smile was blinding, eyes almost disappearing into crescents, and was obviously genuine, and Bambam felt something tense in his core relax – he had to be one of the friends that they’d been waiting for.

He turned to Jaebum to reassure the elder of the same fact, but his attention had already shifted away from the obviously harmless beta that had tackled his friends, looking down where there were another four approaching.  Jungkook was quick to be on his feet, moving forward to meet the group before they approached.  Bambam imagined that he was intending to explain a little about what was going on.  He could understand that; not knowing how close they might be, maybe they wouldn’t like that the pair had gotten so comfortable with strangers like that.

Whatever Jungkook explained must have transferred quickly, as a tallish, pink-blonde male gripped at his chin, peering at his face intently.  Bambam could tell that the younger male was embarrassed, and hoped that he wouldn’t be in trouble; it hadn’t been his fault.  They quickly made their way over, closing the distance between them, letting the two groups better assess one another.  The pink-haired one was another alpha.  There was no saying how he knew; there never was.  It was as obvious to him as his height or hair color, even though there was no physical sign.

“Taehyung,” he said, and the lavender-haired omega’s gaze snapped up, finding his feet quickly, moving closer as though summoned.  Though he was only, maybe, an inch taller, the alpha seemed much larger, even despite his slender frame, reaching out and brushing a lock of hair from V’s forehead.  After a moment, he nodded, satisfied with whatever he was seeing in the omega’s face.  He turned towards Bambam and the rest, bowing politely, still not dropping his eyes.  “Jungkook said you helped them – thank you.”

“We’re just glad that we came along,” Yugyeom spoke up, smiling a little, bowing politely in turn.  “It’s not common for there to be guys like that around, not that we’ve seen, and we’ve never seen them get at trainees like that before.”

“We’ll make sure that no one wanders off again,” the reply was easy, but firm enough that Bambam didn’t doubt him in the least.  “I’m Namjoon, but they call me Rap Monster.  This is Hoseok, but he goes by J-Hope.  Yoongi – Suga.  Seokjin – Jin.”  Each of them, at the mention of their name, nodded an acknowledgement, offering smiles and bows of varying warmth.  “And of course, Jimin, who couldn’t wait like a normal person,” the words were a little teasing, nodding towards the beta that had glomped onto Taehyung (instead having found his way between Jungkook and J-Hope, leaning against the taller beta).  Rather than seeming bothered, he beamed happily back at the alpha.  “And you’ve met Taehyung and Jungkook already.”

“It’s good to meet you,” Jaebum spoke up for all of them, a smirk curling the edge of his lips as he glanced over the newcomers.  Bambam was pleased that the words seemed genuine, though what followed made his mouth fall open in surprise, with absolutely no idea how the elder even knew.  Even so Jaebum’s tone was confident as he continued, smile widening, “This is the first time we’ve ever met another Pack.”





(a/n:  aagh - 10,000 words - I think this is the longest chapter yet and somehow not enough happened to fill it.  I also know BTS technically debuted before Got7, but, well...my world, my rules, something something?  There will definitely be more mingling in the future.  I hope that everyone enjoys, but I'm going to stop babbling and finally post this thing before everything gets away from me again!)

Chapter Text

“For the record, I resent being used as a packhorse,” Yugyeom volunteered, not really meaning it, but still with the barest edge of a pout pulling at his lower lip. Even for being the youngest in his Pack, it was unusual for the Beta to play up his ‘maknae’ role. Honestly, he felt it was more suited to Bambam. Even though the age gap between them was half a year, Yugyeom had always felt older between them. Maybe it was partly because it was impossible to forget how tiny the omega was the first time they’d met.

Yugyeom had been told early on that he was set to be the youngest member of Got7, so he hadn’t been thrilled to hear the way it seemed like everyone in the company cooed and doted on the older trainee. Even Jackson and Jaebum were completely charmed by him, and he felt badly to admit it, but he was jealous that he was already being upstaged by the apparently oh-so-cute Thai boy. It wasn’t like cute was his thing anyway, Yugyeom was working hard on proving himself, and he pushed off meeting Bambam to the point that it would be rude to do so any longer. When one of the staff had guided him into the room, he immediately noticed the boy cuddled up on one of the manager’s lap, but immediately doubted it could be the right person.

Tiny was the only word that came to mind – he wasn’t even five feet tall, and so skinny that Yugyeom felt sure he could pick him up one-handed. The boy squirmed out of the manager’s arms and bolted up to meet Yugyeom – all enormous wide eyes and open enthusiasm. Something in Yugyeom melted, and he smiled when he meant to scowl.

Bambam beamed back at him, as-ever irreverent, and threw both arms enthusiastically around the younger, bigger male, quite as though they’d been friends for years rather than complete strangers. Yugyeom’s arms closed around the shorter teen just as unintentionally as he’d smiled, feeling just how slight the smaller teen was – frankly having a hard time believing he was a teenager at all. The elder felt fragile, and it was the first time Yugyeom had ever felt protective of someone else.

That feeling had never gone away – no matter that the older male had shot up like a weed and was one of their tallest. There was still a vulnerability in the omega, and Yugyeom would do anything to keep him from getting hurt. He felt that way about all of their Pack – even Jinyoung and Jackson – hell, even Jaebum, should the situation arise. So he wasn’t as buff as Jackson or as strong as Jaebum – being alphas definitely gave them an edge on their maknae, despite his superior size. Even if he would submit to them, willingly, if not eagerly, he would protect them or care for them in any way that he could.

Even if that meant lugging heavy boxes and groceries for Jinyoung. The older male had paused at his words, turning to smile up at the much taller male, eyes bright with fond amusement. It would be lying if Yugyeom denied the way his stomach flipped a bit and a blush found his cheeks. “I’ll make it up to you,” the elder promised, a smile curling his full lips at one former. The words, as his tone, was innocent, but he could feel Jinyoung’s eyes trail down his body almost like a physical force. The younger male blushed harder.

Jinyoung laughed at the uncharacteristic shyness from the younger, and reached out to take his hand. “Well, come on then, packhorse, let’s get down to the store so we can grab the drinks and get back home.” His tone was still teasing, making Yugyeom pout a little, tugging the older beta back closer to him. The motion was clearly unexpected as Jinyoung tipped into him, but he seemed anything but upset as he situated upright, against Yugyeom’s broader chest.

It was late enough, and their current location far enough from any prying eyes, that Yugyeom didn’t even try to resist the urge to kiss his hyung. Jinyoung had no protest, one hand pressing flat against his chest as his head tipped back, pushing up onto his toes to help close the distance between them. Yugyeom’s arms slipped around the elder’s slim waist, crushing the smaller body pleasantly against his own. Both pulled away after a moment, but then it was Jinyoung that blushed. The expression was charming on the usually more aloof beta’s face, and Yugyeom chuckled again as his hyung took his hand and began pulling the taller male towards the store again.

It wasn’t meant to be a complicated trip – they were meant to go and visit BTS the next day, and were going to bring some drinks and snacks for the group. They were going to debut very soon, and they all understood how tired they were, and how overworked. Having been in the same place before, the reprieve was something that would do them a lot of good, and the Pack was happy to indulge their new friends.

After their first meeting, it had quickly become obvious that they were going to get along well. Bambam had latched especially onto the maknae line of BTS rather instantly, and had been in near-constant communication with them. V had similarly, and thoroughly randomly, decided that he liked Mark. Usually their oldest omega was fairly reserved, but something about the younger male had charmed him entirely. Jaebum and Jackson and Namjoon had seemed to match easily in personality as well, and their Packs meshed well. It helped that Bambam was essentially a fanboy of all seven of them, and the group responded most affectionately to their sweet, youngest omega.

They didn’t get to spend much time together between their schedules, so that time was limited, but always enjoyed. That was another reason why they were so excited to get such a long visit before BTS debuted. Once that happened, all of them knew that all of them were going to become very, very busy.

He didn’t have much time to think more on the subject as a bundle of coffees, then flavored milk was shoved into his arms. He said nothing, a smile curling at his lips when his eyes met the elder’s making Jinyoung smirk, trying to stifle a laugh. “Come on,” the smaller beta teased, before pulling him along again.

“Has anyone ever told you that you’re evil, hyung?” the maknae half-pouted at the older male.

“Does Jackson count?”

Yugyeom laughed aloud, but didn’t make any more complaint as more things were pushed into his hands. It was strangely domestic, but not at all unpleasant, to follow his hyung around the store. Jinyoung was an efficient shopper – a far cry from when most of the others were in a store. More often than not, they would wind up wandering randomly around and being distracted by all of the things they didn’t need, and invariably forgetting what they’d actually meant to buy. Jinyoung was practically militant, assuring that he got everything that they needed – plus a few treats for the others for the night.

They talked about nothing – and anything – lapsing into a comfortable silence before going to get their items bagged and paid for. It was obvious when the young cashier recognized them, blushing and stuttering a little. She was cute, Yugyeom couldn’t help but think, but he didn’t much like when Jinyoung preened a little at the attention. Not that all of them weren’t guilty of that now and again, but it was much different on a stage or with a table between them, instead of the girl tucking hair behind her ear and giggling nervously again, her fingertips lingering too close to the older beta’s.

It wasn’t as though Jinyoung wasn’t usually sweet when it came to running into their fans, but he usually wasn’t that responsive, smiling and indulging the cashier in brief small talk. Yugyeom fidgeted impatiently, edging towards the door until the older beta turned and followed him. Weighed down with their bags and groceries, they made quick work of heading back out, aiming to get back to the dorms before it got too late. Yugyeom fell into a pouty silence as they began the trek home, burdened with, as anticipated, more than his fair share of the drinks. He glanced up when he heard Jinyoung actually giggle at him, nudging a little into his side. “Gyeommie, don’t pout, I couldn’t help it. You’re so cute when you’re jealous.”

The realization that his hyung was teasing him was enough to make him pout again, even if a reluctant smile tugged at his lips. “You’re such a jerk, hyung,” he grumbled, but knew that his amusement carried through from the way that Jinyoung winked back over his shoulder at him. He smiled a little again at that, and shifted his grip on what he was holding so that he could hurry to the older beta’s side. “I’m telling Jaebum-hyung on you,” he added pointedly.

Jinyoung turned on his heel, mouth opening to respond, before his eyes suddenly went wide. “Yugyeom!” The maknae’s brow furrowed, confused by the response – before there was a sudden burst of pain, unlike anything he could remember, and then there was only blackness.

*

Jinyoung had no idea where they’d come from – one moment it was just the two of them. But when he looked over his shoulder, there had been the imposing shadow of a stranger lurking behind Yugyeom – one hand raised. He’d barely gotten his name out before the hand descended, holding something, and with a sickening noise that would come to haunt him – Yugyeom went down in a heap, the drinks and bags he was holding half-crushed beneath him, half rolling away.

Panic flared, a bubble of hysteria catching in his throat.

“I said to knock him out, not to kill him,” a voice spoke, promptly making Jinyoung realize that there were two of them – at least. One was about Yugyeom’s size, the other even bigger – it was the second that felled the maknae. At the reprimand, the bigger male paused at Yugyeom’s’ side, hooking one feet beneath his shoulder, kicking the younger male so that he rolled over onto his back. His head lolled to the side, but his eyes didn’t open, nor did any sound escape him – not so much as a groan. There was blood on his temple, from the fall, or the blow, Jinyoung couldn’t tell, but panic flared through him.

“Don’t touch him!” He lurched, dropping his own bags, to move forward to get to the younger male. Only he couldn’t. The smaller of the pair had grabbed him by his shirt, shoving him back hard – away from Yugyeom – until his back hit the rough brickwork of the building behind him. Jinyoung grabbed the man’s arm, trying to pry it free so he could go check on Yugyeom – make sure he was okay. “Let go of me! Yugyeom!”

“Shut up, boy,” the man holding him growled – the words were accompanied by a backhand – the motion completely unanticipated and hard enough to jerk his head and shoulders entirely to the side, splitting the corner of his lip. Jinyoung licked reflexively, tasting the sharp metallic of blood. It hurt, but the pain was easy to ignore with the adrenaline beginning to pump through his system.

He stilled, quickly, realizing that he was out-muscled, and with Yugyeom hurt (and no idea how badly) he couldn’t run even if he was able to get away. He tried to better assess the situation, and the two strangers. They were older, maybe in their thirties, both fit – the shorter seemed to be the brains of the outfit. Both were alphas, but that didn’t much surprise Jinyoung. He forced himself to take a breath, looking at the shorter of the two, standing over him, still with a fistful of his shirt.

“What do you want?” he demanded, trying to sound braver than he felt. The alpha growled, and Jinyoung had no time to respond, or even brace himself before the same landed a blow again, catching his cheek and jaw. A small cry of pain escaped him, eyes burning as he reached up to press his fingers into the skin. Anger grew in his chest, and an uneasy confusion, unsure who these men were or what they really wanted.

“You talk when, and only when, I tell you to. Otherwise, you’ll keep those pretty lips shut. It won’t be any good for you or your friend here if we get interrupted, will it, Jinyoung?” The man’s voice was pitched deliberately low, so as not to carry, but it was the familiarity of his name that made his stomach suddenly twist sickly.

“Check him,” the shorter said, and Jinyoung bristled up furiously seeing the bigger male lean over Yugyeom’s unmoving form, unwelcome hands shoving into his jacket and pockets and clothes. After a moment, he seemed satisfied – holding the maknae’s wallet. He flipped through the billfold, pocketing the cash before pulling out his identification card.

“You fucking hurt him for money?” he demanded, unable to keep his anger in check. Exacerbated especially knowing the younger didn’t have much. He jerked forward again, but didn’t make it far. A hand fisted into his hair, joining the momentum of pulling him forward, but then yanking him down, at the same time a knee drove up into his ribcage. Instinct screamed at him to collapse, to curl up from the pain as his vision spotted black. He couldn’t – the hand wouldn’t release his hair – and he couldn’t catch his breath again.

“Mouthy,” the voice tsked into his ear. “Well?” he said, tone impatient, expectant, to the bigger male hovering over Yugyeom.

“Can’t read for shit in this dark,” he grunted in answer, but after a moment, he smirked. “Yeah, it’s the right kid alright. Fucking morons.” The last two words were said with almost awe – almost amusement.

The hand left his hair, but only long enough to wrap around his throat. He was pushed back up against the brick wall behind him again, body shaking for a moment as he managed to pull in a shuddering breath. His stomach and ribs ached with pain, a small whimper pulling free from his throat as his head was shoved flush against the wall behind him.

“It’s definitely the right ones – we’ll take them.” The shorter said, before he turned to look at Jinyoung again, eyes tracing over his face. The look was almost invasive, making the small beta try to pull away, through there was nowhere to go. “You’re almost cute when that mouth of yours isn’t moving,” he said, almost mockingly.

“Fuck you,” Jinyoung spat back, knowing pain would follow, but still ill-prepared for not one, but two more blows – one catching the opposite side of his jaw, sending blinding pain up along his jaw through his temple. There was a breath, but only one, before the same fist jammed into his ribcage again.

“It seems our new friend has failed to understand the value of silence – and his skull is too thick for my message to get through. A reminder?” Jinyoung mind was fuzzy with unfamiliar pain tearing through him, but when the alpha gripped his chin and pulled his gaze to where Yugyeom was still collapsed – it filled him with a whole new kind of fear. He almost begged, then, but that they stopped whatever they were considering, but the hand shoved into his throat, choking him.

A twisted grin lit the big man’s face, and with no more instruction needed, he pulled one foot back and slammed it into the unconscious beta’s side. Another blow followed, sending Yugyeom’s body tumbling over, one arm twisting awkwardly beneath him. Jinyoung felt sick rise up in his throat as the man lifted his foot high before jamming his heel hard into Yugyeom’s back, low, near his kidneys. He rolled Yugyeom again with another hard blow, only then pausing to look at Jinyoung and the smaller alpha.

Even with the explicit instruction to remain silent, and the terror rising in him at seeing the abuse his dongsaeng was enduring, the only thing that kept Jinyoung from screaming, from begging, was the hand around his throat, pushing so hard into his larynx only strangled whimpers managed to escape the beta. He felt almost lightheaded from the lack of air, and his throat ached from the pressure, sure he was going to bruise.

Both hands scrambled at the alpha's arm – not to make him let go, but to get his attention – silently – that he would do what they wanted, anything they wanted, before they did something irreversible to Yugyeom. Their beating already was unforgiving and with his unconscious state – so far away – there was no saying how badly hurt the younger male was already.

After a moment, the gesture earned him the man’s attention, and Jinyoung felt more tears burn at his eyes. Fear had overcome his anger, and his mouth worked uselessly for a moment, before his lips pressed together. “Aww, do you have something you want to say?” he crooned, blunt fingertips drawing gently against his cheek. “Go ahead, but you’d better whisper because, as you’ve seen, my friend doesn’t take kindly when things get too loud for him.”

Jinyoung licked nervously at his lips, feeling as though they were dry, which made little sense as he flinched away from wet blood still lingering from the split. “Please,” he more croaked the word than whispered it, then flinched, afraid they would call him too loud anyways and hurt Yugyeom again. “Please, just stop hurting him. I’ll do -what do you want, please? I’ll do it – anything –“

“Aren’t you just precious?” The alpha cooed mockingly at him. “We’ve been waiting for you. I thought I must have been going crazy when I saw two rising stars of Korea just wandering around on their own so late at night. Catchy songs you’ve got – swear I can’t go anywhere without hearing it – or seeing your pretty little faces. That new song – If You Do, right? Catchy – nice video. Gotta admit that my friend here has a bit of a thing for that little omega slut in the collar, but I admit I like the blonde better. Mark, right? Maybe you could introduce us.” He laughed lowly at that, as though he’d told a joke. But Jinyoung only felt sick again.

“They’re both Mated,” he managed quietly, a little afraid still that they might lash out at his words. “And I still don’t know what you want from me.”

“That is too bad. Maybe we’ll have to take care of their alphas and offer them an upgrade.” The alpha licked a trail along Jinyoung’s throat and ear, chuckling lowly again, seemingly amused by the beta’s wince and weak attempt to cringe away. “As for what we want, pretty little beta, we just want your company. And if your company wants you back with those profitable faces intact, they'd better be willing to pay a pretty penny. I admit you’ve got a lot more fire than I was expecting. But it looks like we’ve got you behaving now, don’t we?”

Jinyoung’s throat worked as he swallowed again, hating the amusement in his tone, but a glimpse of Yugyeom was enough to keep him effectively muzzled. Unfortunately, he had no idea what to do. “Can – can you just take me instead, please? I won’t – I won’t fight or say anything, I promise. He-he really hurt him – he needs a doctor or something –“

The words were abruptly cut off for him – the hand clenching around his throat again, slamming his head back into the wall again. “Not the plan, boy.” Jinyoung whimpered again, curling up a little away from the bigger male, eyes finding Yugyeom again, wishing more than anything he could get to the younger beta. His eyes clenched shut, feeling the alpha grab his shirt, pulling him a little away from the wall. He didn’t fight – couldn’t – couldn’t risk getting Yugyeom hurt even worse.

He wasn’t expecting the hand to jerk him from the wall, before turning him and shoving him face-first back against it. “So you do know how to behave yourself, I like submissive on you much better,” the alpha growled into his throat. “We’ll have to see what kind of fun we can get into in the meantime. I mean, we’ll need to pass the time one way or another.”

Jinyoung shuddered at the promise in the threat, but still remained silent. Only a moment later, he felt a large hand curl around his waist. It didn’t linger there long before sliding down and grabbing the beta’s ass. He squeezed roughly, making a pleased noise in his throat. “Not bad,” he hummed approvingly, “more than just a pretty face to offer, don’t you?”

The beta tried to ignore the tears in his eyes, not wanting to show even more weakness at the moment. The man’s rough hands shoved up underneath his shirt, drawing over bare skin, feeling out the soft cuts of muscle on the smaller male’s slender body, pushing up to rub against his nipples until they hardened – before eagerly slipping down into the boy’s jeans. Jinyoung whimpered again when he felt rough, unwelcome fingers curl around his soft member – and the first tears spilled from his eyes.

“Stop –“ he begged the word, trying to squirm away from the contact, but he couldn’t. Not with how the man was wrapped around him. His skin was crawling, and he could feel his stomach twisting. This was wrong – this man’s hands on him – it should be his Pack – only his Pack. “Please stop – I’m Mated –“

“Is that so?” The man asked, pushing harder into him. “I bet that’ll increase your price tag even more. How about your precious maknae? Him, too?”

Jinyoung couldn’t quite help a small cry when the hand wrapped around his sex squeezed, sending pain tearing through him. “Please –“

“Answer the fucking question – better yet –“ the alpha turned his attention back to the other. Jinyoung realized with humiliated disgust that he was watching them and was apparently enjoying the show. “Strip him – see if he is Marked. If the little whore is being honest, it’ll be somewhat discreet. Can’t have the fans knowing they really don’t have a chance. Might double the asking price if they both have alphas. I’d imagine they’d be real eager to get such pretty pets back.”

The bigger male seemed almost eager to obey. Jinyoung struggled again. “Stop! Yugyeom, too – don’t touch him. It’s on his nape.” The beating was enough, he didn’t want their hands on him, touching Yugyeom any more than they had already, and he knew they weren’t going to find the Mark on their own. The hand around his member released, but Jinyoung felt no better with the man’s quiet laugh. The fingers fisted in his hair, jerking his head around, and Jinyoung realized that he was being checked, too. All of them, besides Jackson, were Marked on their nape, and there was only a moment before he felt fingers draw against his Mark, tracing the ridges.

“You do have an alpha – and Marked in the same place?” He leaned closer to Jinyoung, inhaling deeply. “Have I stumbled on an actual Pack, pretty beta? I wonder what your alpha would be willing to do to get you back in one piece?”

“This one, too,” confirmed the bigger alpha, from where he was crouched next to Yugyeom. “Lot of blood though, it’s hard to get a good scent.”

“Yugyeom!” Jinyoung whimpered out, tears trailing down his cheeks. “Please – let me go – he needs help!” He wasn’t even aware of his pitch rising, fear for the younger male flooding through him at the words.

“I thought I said shut up,” the growled words were accompanied by a hard yank of his hair. There was a soft, indistinguishable sound from the beta, but he said nothing.

“Hey! Smile, asshole!” Jinyoung had no idea where he’d come from, but a bright flash followed the demand. The alpha recoiled a little, actually letting go as he turned to face the newcomer, realizing quickly that there were two more strangers there – one holding a cellphone in his attacker’s face. “The police are already on the way, but I figured they might like a candid picture to compare to the mugshot.”

Both were closer to Jinyoung’s age than the strangers – in their twenties – and they were big. Both wore sleeveless shirts, displaying thick cuts of muscle on their chest, shoulders, arms. Both alphas – everything about them screamed it. The man that had been on Jinyoung bristled. “Fuck off,” he snarled, grabbing the beta by one arm. Despite the words, Jinyoung immediately got the sense that he was nervous.

“Let go of him, get your friend, and walk away.” There was something unnerving about the words – it was the second of the newcomers that spoke. Unlike the first, his voice was soft, measured. Jinyoung felt a shiver of unease; the words were gentle, but there was an world of threat underlying it. “You have less than two minutes before the cops get here – if you try to take either of them, we will stop you. If you try to fight us – you will lose, do you understand?”

The grip on Jinyoung’s arm tightened, bruising then, and the beta whimpered helplessly, trying to pull back. He didn’t want to be part of this confrontation – he just wanted Yugyeom and to go back home. He wanted his Pack; he wanted Jaebum there with him. The alpha holding onto him looked furious, and Jinyoung was afraid that he might try to test the threat and drag him along. He was beginning to bristle, looking between his partner and the two new alphas, before he curled his lip. He jerked Jinyoung forward, and when the two alphas tensed up as though to move, he practically threw the beta at them. “Next time,” he snarled towards Jinyoung – but then bolted.

As quick as that, they both were gone.

The alpha with the cell phone had caught and steadied Jinyoung, making sure he didn’t fall – his hands were gentle, and he kindly helped the shaking beta regain his balance. “Don’t worry, they won’t get far – the police are already here. Are you alright?” His voice was softer than before, and it was clear that he was worried.

But Jinyoung couldn’t focus on the words, or even the tone. He wrenched himself away from the strangers, tripping over his own feet and landing hard on his hands and knees. He paid no mind to the sudden pain, scrambling forward to Yugyeom’s side. The younger was unconscious still, head lolled to one side. There was blood matting his hair dark and splattered on his face and neck. He reached out, touching his cheek, feeling the first sob choke him. “Y-Yugyeom – please – “

There was no reaction from the boy – though the two alphas stepped closer. Jinyoung only distantly heard a soft curse. He didn’t know how long the two had been nearby, if they’d just stumbled along, but it was evident that they hadn’t seen how badly hurt Yugyeom really was. Jinyoung still didn’t know and panic was tearing through him, unable to stop his sobs, clutching both hands into the boy’s shirt.

“Eli – call an ambulance.”

*~*~*

“Okay, that’s it,” Jackson bit out, grabbing Bambam by the waist and tackling him down onto the couch. He had to make sure not to smile – if the omega had any idea how charming the elder found him, he’d never stop bouncing around like that, and there was too much left that they had to do. He knew the younger was excited about the upcoming visit to go and see BTS, but they had a lot of things to take care of to give them enough time to spend freely.

Despite the younger male’s superior height (and overabundant energy) Jackson was able to pin the wriggling omega back against the cushions. Bambam pouted cutely up at him, but quickly realized that he wasn’t going to be able to squirm away so easily. “We have work to do, Bammie,” he chided the younger male, tone affectionate even without meaning to.

“Don’t wanna,” the younger pouted back petulantly.

“Nobody wants to, that’s why they call it work. Now, come on, the sooner we start, the sooner we finish. And I’m sure that Jinyoung and Yugyeom will be back soon.” Jackson smiled when the younger male considered the response before nodding in agreement. He peeled himself off the younger male before helping him up to his feet. Honestly, he was proud that Bambam agreed to help, rather than pout or argue. The boy had his faults, but never that he didn’t carry his own weight – and frequently more.

Youngjae’s heat had come sooner than they’d expected, but there was no question that it needed attending to. He and Mark had been home alone before Jaebum, Jackson, and Bambam had come back. Mark had been half-dressed and thoroughly disheveled when he found them in the kitchen. “Jaebummie,” he panted a little. And that was all he needed to say – both Jackson and Jaebum knew – they could smell Youngjae’s heat. Jackson would swear that he could almost taste it in the air, heady and sweet on his tongue.

There wasn’t a part of him that didn’t want to go with them. Youngjae was generally more reserved, but was needy and open during his heats, and it called to Jackson, who wanted nothing more than to get closer. It certainly wasn’t helped by the way Mark looked at the moment, the blonde omega sucking on his lower lip and fidgeting. “He wants you,” he added to the older alpha.

“Go on,” Jackson said, instead, swallowing understanding. “Bambam and I can get things taken care of.”

Jaebum smiled gratefully at him, and let Mark pull him away. They vanished back into their shared room. Thankfully, there was enough that needed doing to keep them busy, and Youngjae wasn’t terribly vocal. There had been a wrecked cry, sometime later, that drew both of them to silence (and some arousal, knowing that Youngjae had finally been knotted), but Jackson pushed on, determined to finish up.

It was nearly an hour after they’d started, and Jackson could feel some kind of tension rising, but didn’t know why. He glanced over to Bambam, realizing that contrary to his previous, upbeat enthusiasm, the younger male had grown tense, too. “Bammie?” he asked, frowning at the way his shoulders rose up. Jackson put down the sheaf of papers he’d been holding and walked up to the skinny teen. Bambam was biting his lower lip, looking away, not at all how the teen usually reacted to him.

Jackson reached up, and felt his stomach drop a little when Bambam actually flinched. Resolve hardening, he pulled the smaller male against him, looking up to meet his eyes. “Tell me what’s wrong,” he instructed. It wasn’t the first time that he’d noticed unusual behavior from Bambam – he hadn’t said anything then, wanting to give him room, wanting Bam to come to him willingly if that’s what he needed. It hadn’t worked well. If Yugyeom hadn’t interceded, there was no saying where they would be now. He wouldn’t make the same mistake again.

“I don’t know – just…something feels wrong,” Bambam said quietly. “My skin is crawling and I don’t know why. Jinyoung and Yugyeom should be home already. I just have a really bad feeling.” His gaze slipped away. “I-I’m probably just being stupid –“

“No,” Jackson said, pulling the thin teen closer to him. “No, you’re not, baby. I feel the same way. I’m going to call Jinyoung to check on them.”

“I texted Yugyeom, but he didn’t answer me. I know if he’s carrying things he wouldn’t be able to check his phone, but –“ Bambam’s voice was pitched a little higher than usual in his uneasiness.

Jackson knew the younger was right, but still went to go and grab his cell. He called Jinyoung’s line – then Yugyeom’s – neither answered. He nearly leapt out of his skin when a moment later, the dorm phone rang. He shared a glance with Bambam, but quickly answered the line, his heart lodging into his throat. “Hello, this is Jackson –“

There was a distant sound of a sheet of paper flipping. “Jackson Wang?” an unfamiliar, formal voice requested.

More uneasy, Jackson nodded uselessly. “Yes – who is this, please?”

“I am Doctor Park Jeongsu,” the voice answered. “This number was listed as an emergency contact number for both Park Jinyoung and Kim Yugyeom –“

“What happened? Where are they? Are they hurt?” Jackson could help the rush of questions tumbling past his lips.

“I’m afraid I don’t have all the details, yet. They’re both at Seoul Memorial hospital and are resting comfortably. From what I do know, there was an assault and two Samaritans called for aid, and they were brought here –“

“Hospital?” Jackson echoed the word, and felt Bambam’s hand grip his arm, blunt fingernails digging into him. “We’re coming. We’re coming now.” It sounded as though the doctor said something, but Jackson couldn’t hear anything besides the blood pounding in his ears.

He hung up the phone and bee-lined for their bedroom, feeling that Bambam would not let go, still holding his arm. He didn’t bother to pause or knock before he swept into the room. Normally, the sight would have stopped him dead in his tracks – Youngjae straddling Jaebum’s lap, riding the alpha’s cock as the elder’s mouth left small marks on the omega’s pale skin. Mark was kneeling upright, kissing Youngjae eagerly, swallowing the small breathy gasps that Jae made – stroking his leaky member. His other hand was around his own length as Jaebum fucked him open with his fingers – his movements slow – and rough, abusing his prostate, if the way Mark’s body was responding was any indication.

The blonde omega perked up at seeing them, fisting harder at his length, pulling away from Youngjae’s kiss to cry out, eyes clenching shut as he came suddenly. Jaebum’s breath hitched, pulling his slick fingers free from the elder to grip at Youngjae’s hips, rutting up harder into the slender male. Youngjae surrendered a soft, breathy gasp as he came hard onto Mark’s long fingers, slumping forward against Jaebum’s broader form. The elder omega continued stroking him gently as he rode out his orgasm.

Mark smiled coyly, looking over at the pair as he lewdly licked a finger clean. “Done with chores?” he asked, head tilting to one side.

“Hate to interrupt,” Jackson said instead. Immediately, his tone had garnered all of their attention. Even Youngjae seemed to perk up, focusing through the haze of his pleasure. Jaebum’s arms wound around the slim omega’s waist, sitting further upright. The movement garnered a small whimper again from Youngjae, but the trio kept their attention on Jackson and Bambam. “I got a call from some doctor at Seoul Memorial,” he blurted. “Jinyoung and Yugyeom are there – something happened. They’re hurt.”

He might as well have thrown a bucket of ice water on them. “He didn’t say what happened – he just said assault and that someone helped them.” He knew the questions running through their minds. He just didn’t have any answers. “I’m…I’m going to call the manager – if you want to get cleaned up. I told him that we’re coming to see them.”

Jackson felt like he was on autopilot – and he needed something to do. Bambam was stuck on him like a burr, but he didn’t mind. He made good on his word, leaving the room and calling their manager to tell him what he’d heard. He could hear the worry in the man’s voice getting worse, but just told him that they were going to go to the hospital; their manager promised immediately that he would find out what was going on and meet up with them.

He jumped when he felt a hand reach his shoulder. Jaebum and Mark and Youngjae were there – hastily showered and dressed, but ready to go regardless. The stench of sex lingered heavily on them, but, quite unusually, Jackson couldn’t be bothered to really take note. He didn’t realize how much he needed the hug until Jaebum’s arms wrapped around him. Jackson clung to the bigger male for a moment, grateful for the hand sliding into his hair and the elder’s comforting Scent. “Come on, Jackson, we need to go – we’ll figure it all out.” Jackson nodded, pressing his face harder into Jaebum’s chest before pulling away obediently. He was well aware the older male was right.

He found himself in the backseat of their van, sandwiched between Youngjae and Bambam. Both of them were pressed close to him, each nervously holding onto one of his hands. Mark was driving, with Jaebum in the passenger seat, but one hand pressed to the back of the omega’s neck, as though to remind him that he was there. The elder’s knuckles were white against the steering wheel, and none of them spoke.

They piled into the hospital all together, after parking in the first spot they could find. Without a better idea where to start, they headed for a low set counter with a slew of nurses behind it. They didn’t make it that far, intercepted by a lean, fair-haired doctor of middling-height. “Come with me,” he instructed, before walking briskly away.

Jaebum and Jackson exchanged brief glances before they obeyed – their three omegas in tow. They were lead into a surprisingly homey office. “Please sit,” the man said, gesturing towards the provided seats, and only smiling ruefully when none made much of a move. “I rather thought not. You’re right, of course. I’m Doctor Park, the one who’d called. Given your celebrity status, your friends are away from the main hallways. I wanted the chance to advise you of their condition before I bring you to them.”

Jaebum regarded the older male warily for a moment, before he took a seat, not without shamelessly pulling Youngjae into his lap. Jackson and Mark and Bambam were quick to follow suit, cramming together on another chair – all of them looking expectantly at the doctor, who was leaning back against his desk. He didn’t seem at all bothered by their closeness, almost to expect it. Jackson wondered if he knew that they were a Pack? Was there a way doctors could tell that kind of thing, considering how close he’d had to be to their missing duo.

“What happened?” Jaebum abruptly broke the silence. It wasn’t a surprise – the sooner they got through this, the sooner they could get to Jinyoung and Yugyeom.

“From what we know – they were leaving a convenience store when they were confronted by two men – they’ve already been apprehended by the authorities, who were called by two young men that work nearby. They’ve been very helpful but we still don’t have the full story yet. Jinyoung had to be sedated when we got them both in –“

“What about Yugyeom – what has he said?” Jaebum interrupted, eyes dark and worried.

The question made the doctor frown. “I’m afraid Yugyeom hadn’t woken up yet.”

*

Jackson felt prickly under his skin as they were finally brought into Yugyeom-and-Jinyoung’s room. As promised, it was away from the bulk of the hospital’s traffic. He couldn’t stop the doctor’s words from rumbling around in his head, even though he didn’t know what all of the words meant. He said that Yugyeom had been dealt a nasty blow to the back of his head, undoubtedly he was concussed. Unfortunately, they still needed him to wake up to get a better understanding of how bad the damage was.

Besides that, abrasions and contusions, on both of them. Jinyoung had bruised ribs, with more contusions, with minor abrasions and lacerations. Yugyeom, they said, was in worse shape – he was badly beaten, and they were concerned about internal damages. They said he had renal trauma, but Jackson didn’t know what that really meant, except the word trauma crawled down the back of his spine and tightened his throat.

It felt like years before they were brought inside the room. He saw Jinyoung first. The beta looked unusually small, dressed in a hospital gown, pale beneath the white blankets. Jaebum’s breath caught – Jackson understood. The singer’s jaw was bruised, nearly the full bottom quarter of his face, the skin at his lips was torn. There was a thick band of bruises already darkening around his neck. Someone had strangled him.

“Oh fuck – Jin –“ Jaebum voice was thick with unfamiliar emotion as he moved up to the younger male’s side. There was an IV in Jinyoung’s arm, and Jaebum hesitantly picked up his hand, wincing at his bruised wrist, before gently kissing his knuckles.

Jackson hung back a little, eyes finding Yugyeom right away. He knew he wasn’t alone – he others’ attention was equally caught between the pair of injured betas. Yugyeom was clearly unconscious. There were abrasions on his cheek and forehead, with a larger bandaged wound at one temple. There was bandaging behind his head as well, but it was impossible to guess how bad the damage really was. For the most part, though, he didn’t look hurt, where Jinyoung was very visibly battered. It only promised Jackson that it was very bad beneath the hospital gown and thin, scratchy blankets covering him.

He was pulled from his thoughts when he felt arms curl around him. He recognized it was Mark, and hugged the slim omega to his chest. Mark and Jinyoung had always had a special connection, and seeing him hurt like that obviously affected him. The older male was an anchor to his own panic. Mark’s face pressed up against his throat, and Jackson threaded fingers into his hair, petting the soft locks back. “It’ll be okay,” he murmured. Because he knew it wasn’t.

Bambam had hesitantly walked up to Yugyeom’s side, skinny frame beginning to shake a little. Youngjae, noticing, was quick to join his side, arm curling around him, helping support him.

“You said that you sedated Jinyoung,” Jaebum said, glancing up at the doctor, who had lingered a little behind, letting the boys go and check on the injured pair without interference. “Why?”

“He was becoming hysterical at Yugyeom’s condition, and were unable to properly examine him,” the doctor replied after a moment. “I was afraid he would exacerbate his condition even further. It was a low dose, though; you could wake him quite naturally now if you’d like. Sleep is always best for healing, but I have no objections so long as he continues to rest. Seeing you should actually be good for him.”

Jaebum nodded thoughtfully, rubbing his thumb against Jinyoung’s hand, clearly debating the option. Jackson could understand – wanting the younger male to rest, and not to hurt – but also to have him open those big, beautiful eyes of his and reassure them that the beta really was okay. Jackson left the decision to the elder, focusing instead on rubbing Mark’s back, helping calm the older male.

“Forgive me if I’m overstepping my bounds,” the doctor continued, drawing both Jaebum and Jackson's attention. “I had suspected that those two were Mated, based on how Jinyoung was originally reacting – but you are a Pack aren’t you?”

The question made Jaebum stiffen a little, protective, even though the doctor had been nothing but kind to them. “Yeah,” he finally conceded, watching the older male warily. “We are. Why?”

“Good,” Doctor Park responded, the word obviously surprising Jaebum a little. “There’s nothing written in stone, but I’ve seen injured Packmates before. Just being near them will help. I know you all must be nervous about hurting them, but I would encourage you to touch them as much as possible. Even if they’re sleeping, your presence will still be beneficial to them. You can help them heal more quickly and help them recover from the trauma. From what I heard, Yugyeom was hit first, and he probably won’t remember much, if anything. Jinyoung, however –“ he broke off then, and shook his head. “He will need some help, I think. For the moment, you are all welcome to stay with them as long as you like.”

“Visiting hours?” Jackson found the words escaping of their own volition. It was something that had been weighing on his mind. He knew that none of them would want to leave if they had any choice in it.

Jeongsu shook his head. “Has never applied to Mates or Packs – removing you would cause much more harm than good. However, I would restrict most other access for the time being. I have some things to attend to at the moment, but if you need anything, you can call the nurses’ station by pressing the red button on either remove.” He gestured loosely to the device in question, positioned by Jinyoung’s hip, atop the blankets. “If Yugyeom wakes up, please call in immediately – that’s urgent.”

Only when he received obedient nods from all of them did he leave the room, letting the door swing shut quietly behind him. Jackson ushered Mark up to the other side of Jinyoung’s bed. If the doctor said being close would help, he would get as close as possible. Mark seemed to agree, reaching out to take Jinyoung’s other hand, threading his fingers through the beta’s. Jackson kept close, rubbing his back a little before pressing a kiss to the omega’s temple.

He wanted to stay close, but had a compulsive need to go and check on Youngjae and Bambam – and Yugyeom – as well. Knowing Mark would be okay, given his hold on Jinyoung and Jaebum’s proximity, he moved over to the pair of omegas. Bambam was biting his lip hard, trying not to cry, but his eyes were glassy with tears. Youngjae was doing a good job at holding the younger together, but Jackson knew him well enough to know that he needed to help Bambam so that he wouldn’t break down himself. He reached out a hand, threading it through each of their hair in turn.

The gesture earned him watery smiles, and a sniffle from Bambam, but Jackson was glad for it anyway. He walked up to Yugyeom’s side, reaching out to brush his hair back, off of his forehead. “Hey, Gyeommie,” he greeted the unconscious maknae absently. There was no response from the boy, not visibly, and not on the heart monitor that was connected to the wall behind him, droning evenly in the background. Jackson deliberately took comfort in it, knowing that the strong, steady heartbeat was a good thing. He reached out, picking up his hand, rubbing at the too-cool skin, wanting to warm him up. “You can wake up any time you want, you know?”

“But why, when giving us heart attacks is such fun?” Youngjae tried teasing in answer – it fell a little flat, but managed to garner smiles from Bambam and Jackson, despite the unease they all felt. The pair shuffled a little closer, feeling braver now that Jackson had broken the boundary of touching him. They were cautious, gently reaching out for the younger male as though he was made of glass. Even so, both seemed to feel a little better to be able to have physical contact with him.

Jackson wondered if the doctor’s instruction to touch – to keep close – was just as much for their benefit as it was Jinyoung and Yugyeom’s. Either way, he was grateful. Not being able to touch them would be like torture. He jerked his head up at a gasp from Mark – a small groan of pain promise enough that Jinyoung was stirring. Bambam and Yugyeom shared a glance before walking up to either side of Jaebum. Jackson wasn’t far behind, but walked back around the bed to rejoin Mark.

The beta’s eyes scrunched shut, before he blearily opened them. Jackson could read the pain and confusion in them. Jaebum could, as well, reaching up to pet his hair back, exuding a sense of calm that Jackson knew he didn’t really feel. “Lay back,” the alpha instructed softly. “You’re hurt, you shouldn’t move yet.”

“Jaebum?” the beta asked, voice scratchy and raw. Jackson wondered if it was from just waking or from the hand-shaped bruises around his neck. There was a heartbeat before Jinyoung’s eyes slipped over them, pulse spiking on the monitor behind him. “Yu-Yugyeom? Where’s Yugyeom –“

“Here. He’s safe. He’s sleeping,” Jaebum replied firmly, interrupting the boy’s panic, not wanting him to get worked up with the state that he was in. He obligingly moved to one side to let the younger male catch sight of their maknae. The panic receded a little from his expression, and he relaxed back against the pillows behind him with a wince. He glanced around again, taking in their worried faces.

“What happened?” he finally asked, in a soft voice, still sounding strained.

“We were hoping that you could tell us,” the elder answered back, taking Jinyoung’s hand in his again. It seemed to give some comfort to the injured beta, fingers clinging back. “We’ve only gotten bits and pieces – we got a call at the dorm that you two were here, and that someone had hurt you. Can you tell us?”

Jinyoung frowned, and tried to push himself into a more upright position, faltering with a small gasp of pain. Jaebum was quick to move, gently pushing him back. The younger male obediently relaxed again, but his eyes were tearing a little. “They – they hurt Yugyeom –“

“They hurt both of you, baby,” Jaebum corrected him. “But – I don’t understand why.”

Jinyoung licked his lips nervously, flinching at the taste of blood. “They recognized us,” he said quietly, looking down at his lap. “They said that they were going to take us somewhere. I don’t know where they came from – he hit Yugyeom with something. He kept talking about trying to ransom us – how much he thought we might be worth. When-when I tried to fight, he hurt Yugyeom.” Jinyoung’s voice wavered with tears.

Jackson felt rage flare up in his chest, and knew that the elder alpha shared in the response. It was part of being an alpha – and while he and Jaebum had a different Bond than the ones they shared with rest of their Pack, and though Jackson was content to submit to the older male – it didn’t change what he was. And it did not change the fact that Yugyeom and Jinyoung were just as much his as they were Jaebum’s. And someone had hurt what was his. Something at the core of him was demanding that he rectify it – the same feeling that he’d struggled against when Bambam and Mark and Youngjae had been hurt or threatened.

“At first, he said it was about the company – but then he was taunting us. He figured out that we were in a Pack-“ Jinyoung continued quietly. “And-and Yugyeom wouldn’t wake up and they just kept hitting him.” There were tears crawling down his cheeks again. “It was my fault – I tried to make them stop.”

Jaebum growled softly at the words, his temper flaring. “Nothing that happened was your fault, Jinyoung. You were just grocery shopping.” When the beta kept his head bowed, Jaebum reached down to tip his chin up, eyes widening at the sight of tears matting down the beta’s face – his upset tangible.

“Blaming yourself doesn’t make anything better, hyung,” Youngjae said softly, drawing the beta’s eyes, though Jaebum didn’t let him go. “I felt the same way when Nichkhun hurt you. It was his fault – and whoever these men are that did this to you and Yugyeom, you didn’t make them do anything. They’re the ones to blame.”

Jinyoung was quiet, and he nodded a little in agreement, but Jackson could tell that he didn’t really believe the words yet. Of anyone in the world though, he knew it would be Yugyeom – and only Yugyeom – that would be able to convince the older beta of the truth. Knowing them like he did, Jackson had a sinking suspicion that their maknae, when he was back to them, was going to be just as quick to blame himself for not protecting his hyung.

When a knock sounded on the door, all of them tensed, and Jackson met Jaebum’s eyes before he went to answer the door. The doctor was back – with two strangers standing behind them. Jackson gripped the doorknob tersely, and kept rigidly between them and his Pack. Usually, he loved to meet people, and his instinct said that the doctor wouldn’t be interrupting them without some kind of good reason. His brow furrowed as he took a better look at the strangers – a little older than they were, maybe…and carrying…bags?

“Sorry to interrupt,” the doctor replied. “This is Eli, and Shownu,” he gestured to each in turn. “They are the ones who were responsible for calling the police and ambulance for your friends. They went back and got everything that had been left behind.” Jackson realized slowly that the bags that they were carrying were obviously full of the groceries that Yugyeom and Jinyoung had been fetching, easily recognizing several brands that they liked. An irrational part of him was angry – if they hadn’t gone shopping for those things, they never would have been out there, and none of it would have happened. Still, rationality remained that they had been doing something kind.

More importantly, they had saved Yugyeom and Jinyoung from what might have been a much more dangerous fate. He swallowed, and bowed deeply at the pair in both greeting and gratitude. “I—I’ll take those,” he said lamely, but began accepting the bags, shuffling them inside.

“We don’t mean to disturb you,” said the blonde, though he looked serious, something about his expression told Jackson he was usually smiling. “And we won’t stay. We just…wanted to make sure that they would be okay. With what those assholes were doing –“

Jackson grit his teeth, not wanting the reminder at the moment, not when there was nothing that he could do to help. He knew damned well that he wouldn’t really relax until he knew for sure that Yugyeom would be okay. Shuffling to put down a stack of drinks, he saw a faint blur that he recognized distantly as Bambam fly by, practically crashing into the first, hugging each of the alpha’s tightly, thank you’s spilling past his lips. The dark haired alpha, Shownu, looked a little awkward, but did pat the omega’s back.

Eli seemed to accept the random embrace more naturally, but still quickly peeled Bambam off of him, ruffling his hair before pressing him into Jackson’s side. The alpha slung his arms around the Thai teen – grateful as he was, he knew that it was going to be difficult to maintain his possessive thoughts of his Packmates at the moment. He didn’t want them to be seen by anyone else, not until they were healthy and whole and safe again. And certainly not touched, not even by ones who’d saved Yugyeom and Jinyoung. “You’re welcome,” the blonde said sincerely. “I know you probably don’t care about the stuff, but it didn’t seem right to leave it there. Shownu and I work at a bar near there, and we heard the commotion. I’m sorry we didn’t get there sooner.”

“You did everything we could ask of you,” Jaebum was the one to respond, though he still hadn’t left Jinyoung’s side. “We couldn’t possibly thank you enough for stepping in. There are a lot of people that wouldn’t.”

They had obviously meant it when they said they weren’t going to stay long. After a few moments of polite conversation, they went on to offer their goodbyes and well wishes. Something was still niggling at Jackson, and he impulsively followed them into the hallway (not without a gesture at Bambam to stay). All three paused when he called out for them to wait, jogging until he met up with them.

“Sorry,” he blurted at their concerned expressions. “It’s just – I had a question. Something about how you said it.” His eyes met Eli’s, watching the emotions flit across his face, confusion dominant among them, before he obviously understood. “What were they doing – I know they’re hurt, but Jinyoung won’t want to upset us. I need to know.”

There was a moment of silence, as the taller blonde considered the words, and debated whether he wanted to answer the request. Apparently, he realized that Jackson was quite serious when he said he needed to know, as he answered. There was a sympathetic note to his voice as he explained exactly the position that Jinyoung had been in when the two alphas had stumbled across him. It was also very clear that they anticipated his anger, as they kept a few feet away and let Jackson digest the words. He managed a stiff nod when Eli apologized again.

He was glad to know – he needed to know. But he was furious. Furious it happened, angry that Jinyoung had glossed over the full truth of what they had done. Yes, both he and Yugyeom had physically been hurt, but they had touched Jinyoung. He was small, and fragile, and even if he had been strong enough to physically fight them off, they were using Yugyeom against him to force obedience. There was nothing he could have done except endure whatever it was they wanted.

“Jackson?” Youngjae’s tone was uneasy, and he turned to see that the dark-haired omega had followed him into the hallway. He was surprised to realize that he was otherwise alone – he’d been too distracted by his thoughts to really even remember Doctor Park leading the other two alphas on their way. “Are you alright, hyung?” There was a worried look on the taller omega’s face as he approached Jackson, head tipping a little to one side.

Jackson frowned in response. Always, perhaps, a little too honest for his own good, but then shook his head. He was anything but alright. Tentatively, arms wound around his shoulders, and the slender body pressed closer to him. After a moment, he slipped his arms back around Youngjae’s waist. Soft fingertips stroked down his neck in a surprisingly soothing contact.

He felt soft lips press momentarily against his forehead before he was pressing closer. “Neither am I,” the younger confessed, his tone rueful. “But you can lean on us a little.”

*

Their manager had come a few hours later. Jinyoung was asleep again, with Mark still holding his hand. The beta had been fairly quiet, but none of them had pushed him speak before he wanted to. It was easy to tell that he was in pain, and none of them had the heart to ask for more, no matter how worried they were. Jaebum had shifted over to Yugyeom’s bedside to check up on him as well, stroking back his hair and speaking softly, even though the maknae was still unconscious.

Youngjae’s fingers were warm in Jackson’s as the younger male pulled him back into the room. Bambam, lingering quietly near Mark’s side, looked over at them with worry on his face. Jackson shook his head, adopting a smile to show that he was okay. Bambam relaxed a little but kept close to Jinyoung and Mark. It seemed that the younger simply felt better knowing that they were all in the same place at the same time. Honestly, Jackson could clearly understand that philosophy.

By the time their manager had shown up, admittedly, they were a little worse for the wear. Youngjae was awkwardly folded up in one of the less-than-comfortable chairs provided, his forehead pressed to his knees and dozing. It wasn’t much of a surprise, given that he was still in the midst of his heat, and considering the activities earlier in the day and the fear and worry that followed. Exhaustion was completely legitimate, though the sight of the omega curled up so small stirred a quiet, protective affection in Jackson.

None of them were much better, so when their manager showed up – then immediately demanded they go home to get some rest, they made little argument before agreeing. The two betas were as safe as they could be, outside of the dorm, and Jackson had decided that he trusted Doctor Jeongsu. When the manager made mention that it was the selfsame doctor that had helped his wife through he pregnancy scare – all of their lingering doubts vanished.

Jaebum picked up a still-drowsing Youngjae and carried him to the car. The younger male woke up a little, but only wrapped his arms around the alpha and cuddled closer to his broader chest. Bambam and Mark were likewise ushered into their van again. Jackson drove them back to their dorm in a sleepy, comfortable silence. Even to himself, he didn’t want to admit that he didn’t relax until all of them were back inside the dorm with the door locked and their security system activated behind them. It wasn’t as good as it would’ve been to have all of them together, but it would have to be enough at the moment to know they were all safe.

Jaebum carried Youngjae back into their bed (interrupted by a quick, but necessary change in sheets by Mark and Jackson). He stripped the drowsy omega out of the outer-layer of clothes he was wearing before depositing him into the middle of the bed. Mark and Bambam weren’t far behind, both slipping free of their outerwear and climbing in on either side of Youngjae, quickly snuggling into a lump of limbs and soft snores. Even Bambam, chronically known for denying any accusation that he needed to rest, was out within minutes.

Jackson couldn’t help a swell of affection at the sight of them, but couldn’t linger long. His focus shifted to one Im Jaebum, who was watching their three omegas with an expression of warring adoration and worry. The younger alpha stepped closer and grabbed his hand, leading him from the room, knowing that they needed to talk.

Part of him didn’t want to tell him the truth, not wanting to cause him more upset. It would be much, much worse to lie – worse to try to hide the truth. Jinyoung had his reasons for lying – maybe even so simple as not wanting to upset the younger ones. But Jaebum trusted Jackson. Trusted him to be honest with him. And the younger knew it meant always, not just when it was easy.

Jaebum didn’t bother arguing, diligently following the younger male as he was pulled into the separate bedroom. As-ever observant, Jackson saw an unfamiliar stiffness in the elder’s movements, but wasn’t surprised – his back knotted up when he was stressed out. He was going to have to do something about that – but not until they could talk. There wasn’t any point in fixing the problem only to recreate it, or make it worse.

Jackson shut the door behind them, watching the elder with a measuring gaze. Jaebum was handsome. He always had been. Tall, broad-shouldered and narrow-waisted, he was a sort of lean, whipcord muscle that lead to many other underestimating the alpha’s considerable strength. But at the moment, his dark eyes were troubled and his hair was ruffled and out of place. He was vulnerable, and Jackson knew no one would see this but him.

The older male paused before turning to face Jackson, realizing that the younger had lingered a little behind. When their eyes met, the younger alpha could see the spark of warmth behind Jaebum’s eyes, and smiled up at him. It was easy to read him. “Come here,” he said, and after a moment, Jaebum obeyed. As soon as Jackson judged him close enough, he reached up to hook a hand behind the elder’s nape, yanking him down into an abrupt kiss.

It startled the older male, but he was quick to respond. Jackson made no move to relinquish his dominance, which he knew Jaebum wasn’t expecting. His hands found the elder’s hips and began pushing him back towards the bed, growling in his throat when he didn’t move as easily as Jackson wanted. He felt a little proud when he felt Jaebum shiver a little against him, letting the younger control the kiss, winding his arms loosely around his waist.

Jaebum found the bed, first, with the back of his knees, but fell back gracefully enough, pulling Jackson onto him. Though he tried to mask the sound, a small grunt escaped the elder. His back.

“There’s something I don’t know, isn’t there?” Jaebum asked softly, looking up at Jackson. He still seemed tired, but there was no doubt in his tone.

“I can handle it, if you want,” he offered, not bothering to deny it. He was doubly glad, then, that he had already resolved to tell the elder the truth. “I can’t promise that there’s anything you can do about it.”

Jaebum was shaking his head before the younger male even finished his sentence. “Tell me.”

“When I followed them – Eli told me that one of them – he had Jinyoung pinned to the wall,” Jackson preferred being blunt when it came to things like this. Jaebum stiffened, wincing at the movement. “He had his hands in his clothes. He was groping him, and he was messing with his Mark. Eli said that they couldn’t hear what he was saying, but we both could have a guess.”

Jackson could see the elder tremble with rage, and he wrapped both arms more tightly around him. “They’ll be okay, hyung,” he said, praying desperately that somehow the universe would hear him and make the words true.

“Will they?” Jaebum’s voice cracked when he asked the question, eyes red-rimmed when their gazes met again.

Jackson’s heart broke a little at the look on his face. He cupped the elder’s cheek and pulled him into a kiss, this one softer than before. “They will,” he said. “Jaebum, I have every faith in that. If we have one another, no matter what happens, we will always be okay.”

Jaebum paused, but nodded in response to the words, turning his face up for more kisses, and Jackson was happy to oblige him. They lingered in the slow, soft kisses for a moment, but Jackson pulled away (reluctantly), as the contact heated. He grinned as he looked down at the elder. His alpha.

“Good boy,” he grinned, pulling back to kneel down beside the elder’s knees. “Now get naked and roll over.”

Chapter Text

Jaebum made a low, throaty noise of pleasure as Jackson’s fingers pushed hard on either side of his spine, urging it to snap properly into place.  The quiet pop of his vertebrae was a much of a reward as the elder’s shiver, but Jackson didn’t pause in his ministrations.  Both hands trailed to the small of Jaebum’s back before he splayed his palms flat and leaned forward, digging harder into the alpha’s knotted, tense muscles.

“Relax,” the younger instructed, speaking softly, though his tone was uncompromising.  He waited as Jaebum took a shuddering breath, exhaling and going limp into the bedding beneath him.  Silence followed again, except for occasional grunts or gasps from Jaebum – Jackson was much too preoccupied with his self-designated task to push for more conversation.  Wryly, he thought that no one outside his pack would ever believe he could go long without saying something stupid.  He almost voiced the thought to the elder, but then quickly thought better of it.

It took the better part of an hour before he felt satisfied, and Jaebum was practically a puddle beneath him.  Jackson shifted from his perch atop Jaebum’s muscular thighs, instead laying down alongside his hyung, stretching hugely before he settled.  He heard his own spine pop and a rush of relief trace up his back to his shoulders.

The older male looked content – peaceful at the moment – but underneath Jackson’s critical eye, he could tell the older male was tired.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t the sort that could be rectified with a few days of rest.  It was a deeper sort of exhaustion – the kind coming from carrying a burden too heavy for too long.  Jackson knew a bulk of it came from worrying about them, but was far from pleased at how often his alpha failed to take care of himself.

He pushed up onto one elbow, reaching out and drawing his fingertips along the lines of muscle of Jaebum’s back.  The taller male practically purred in contentment, shifting to face the younger.  “Can I marry your hands?” Jaebum asked, tone husky and quiet.

Despite his concerns, the words made Jackson grin.  “Sorry, we’re a package deal,” he answered promptly.  “You either get all of me or none of me.”

Jaebum paused, expression going just a little more serious.  Jackson was a little surprised when the elder reached out, his fingers curling around the nape of his neck, pulling the younger male down, arching up to steal a brief kiss.  “I’m going to have to go with all,” the words felt unusually intimate, whispered against his lips like that, and he couldn’t help but shiver.  “Every inch of you.”

There was no time to answer before Jaebum kissed him again, and Jackson melted a little.  It took a moment to think properly again, and Jackson pulled back, pressing one hand against the elder’s chest to keep him from following again.  “And I’m yours, hyung, you know I am.  But I’m worried about you.”

A small sigh of discontent escaped the elder as he pulled away (Jackson silently shared the regret) – it seemed too rare for the pair to get to spend much time together – especially alone.  First and foremost, their attention had been on the rest of their pack, and with the sudden rise of threats – and the aftermath – their hands had been full.  He loved them, and would give anything to know that they were safe, whole, and happy, but he didn’t like how much Jaebum had carried that burden on his own.

“Will you believe me if I tell you I’m fine?”  Jaebum’s tone aimed for hopeful, but fell flat at the younger male’s unimpressed, arched brow.  “Somehow I thought not.”

“Sorry handsome, but I’m going to need you to talk to me.  I can tell perfectly well when you’re stressed – besides, you carry your tension in your back and if you keep letting it get that bad, you’re going to do yourself some real harm – then where will we be?”  The younger male shifted up into a sitting position, gesturing for the elder to move closer.  The alpha obediently rolled over, letting his head rest in Jackson’s lap, eyes closing as gentle hand began carding through his hair.

“I don’t even know what to say, Jacks,” the words came as a surprise – frankly, Jackson had anticipated that he would have to force the answers out of him.  “I know you’re worried – Jinyoung has been too – but I don’t know how to do things much different than I have been so far.  I can understand, I guess, why keeping the Bonding under wraps is necessary, but I’m not sure how else to keep all of you safe.  I wouldn’t be able to deal if any of you were hurt again.  I don’t want to smother anyone, but it keeps happening when I’m not there to protect you.”

Jackson bit his lip at the self-recrimination in Jaebum’s tone.  He wanted to interrupt, to point out that what had happened wasn’t his fault, but he didn’t want to say anything before the elder was finished, either, afraid that he would simply stop talking.  Jackson made himself keep quiet, brushing through his hair again, offering a hum of encouragement in the hopes that he would keep going.

“I wish there was some way that I could spill the truth somehow – so they couldn’t cover it up or take it back.  I know how many people think what we have is wrong – especially you and me, but I think that our fans would still support us.  It scares me sometimes because no matter how much I love music – what we do – I would rather have my Pack than Got7.  It scares me that I might make a decision that not everyone will like and one of you will want to leave me.”

That did make Jackson frown, and he leaned forward.  Jaebum was studiously avoiding his gaze, which made the younger frown that much harder.  “Im Jaebum,” he bit out the words, tugging on a lock of his hair to make him look back up at him.  “Do you really think that?  That we even could want someone else?”  For just a moment, the elder’s eyes met his, before they were gone again.

“I keep thinking about Nichkhun,” he said softly, a moment later.  “I’m…I’m furious, still, about what he did, but he thought we weren’t taking care of Youngjae.  He’s wealthy, handsome – he did a fucked up thing, but he could offer Jae more than I could.  I can’t give him the same amount of attention –“

“But Youngjae doesn’t love Nichkhun, Jaebum,” Jackson said, tone soft.  “Hell, you know I’m good friends with Taecyeon?” he prompted, Jaebum managing only a small nod of acknowledgement.  “And sure, he’s gorgeous – I mean, his body is unbelievable, and we get along great.”  Jackson paused, seeing the older male swallow thickly, eyes fixing on a point on the wall, wetting with tears he didn’t want to admit to.

It made Jackson frown again, and without warning, he pushed Jaebum’s head off his thigh, moving down before the elder could move away, straddling the taller male’s waist.  He leaned forward, so their eyes would meet, despite Jaebum’s avoidance.  “Sure, Taec’s great.  But he doesn’t make my stomach flip when he smiles, hyung.  If he touches me,” for emphasis, he pulled up Jaebum’s wrist, drawing the elder’s larger hand up beneath the loose shirt he was wearing.  Jaebum’s fingers curled naturally, sliding along a cut of muscle.  Jackson bit his lip, relishing even that small contact.  “I don’t feel it to my toes, Jaebum.  When he kisses me –“

The younger alpha couldn’t help an impish smile as the elder’s eyes flashed, abruptly rolling them over to pin Jackson into the bed, winding up pressed between the younger male’s thick thighs.  Jaebum’s hands found his wrists, pushing them down with bruising force.  “What did you just say?”  The words were more growled than spoken, making Jackson shiver, folding his legs around the elder’s waist to pull him close.

“Just kidding, hyung, had to make sure you were still listening,” he teased, unable to help the grin curling his lips, twisting to flip them over again, allowing him to hover over the taller male.  “But that’s my whole point – I don’t want any alpha but you kissing me, or touching me.  There could be a thousand rich, gorgeous men out there that would worship any one of us – there probably are.  But we don’t want them.  None of us.  We love you, hyung.  I love you, and I love them.  You guys mean the world to me.”

The expression on Jaebum’s face softened a little, as Jackson’s hands found Jaebum’s, threading their fingers together and pushing his hands down into the bedding.  “Me too.”

“And I know that’s why you get so stressed,” the younger replied, freeing one hand to brush hair away from Jaebum’s face, meeting his eyes sternly.  “But you have to let me help you.  You need to trust me, hyung.”

“That’s not fair, Jacks, you know I trust you.  I just worry sometimes that I won’t be enough.”  It obviously cost more than Jaebum would admit to say the words, and for a moment Jackson felt caught between hitting the elder upside the head or kissing him senseless.  For what they did, they all had their moments of insecurity; it was natural – to have managers and directors criticizing everything that they did, how they styled their hair, what they weighed and ate, how much muscle they could develop – anything and everything could be brought to the table to be “improved”.  They were painfully critical of themselves.  The industry made them that way.  And at Jaebum’s words, Jackson wished that he could pull all of them away from all of it, so they could just focus on being – not on being perfect.

“That’s never going to happen, Im Jaebum,” he replied firmly, nuzzling down the elder’s throat, hands finding his wrists to pin him down again.  Jackson punctuated his sentence by tracing the hollow of Jaebum’s throat with his tongue, wanting to purr when the elder arched his neck.  It was an unusually submissive gesture for the older alpha, but Jackson understood, and he took advantage.  The soft gasp Jaebum offered when Jackson sank his teeth into his throat went straight to the younger male’s cock.

“You’re beautiful, you know,” Jackson growled out the praise.  He meant it.  Perhaps especially in that moment, the alpha looked stunning.  Jackson still straddled him, the elder’s longer, lean frame lazily splayed beneath him – his eyes were dark and hooded, arousal stirring in his gaze.  His lips were just a little swollen from not enough kisses, a situation Jackson was eager to rectify.  Jaebum’s guards were down, and the reins, unspoken, were given to Jackson.  Despite his muscular physique, Jackson knew that the older male could overpower him if so inclined, and that reality stirred at something in the alpha.

“So do something about it,” Jaebum demanded after a moment of Jackson’s eyes on him.  The flippant tone made the younger alpha growl, and he bit hard again at Jaebum’s throat.  The motion was punishing, much rougher than it had been before, and Jaebum’s hips arched up into Jackson, as another moan escaped the elder.  The elder was mostly hard already – obvious, as his growing erection was pressing insistently up against the younger.

Jackson was reluctant to let go of his wrists, enjoying the sight of Jaebum trapped beneath him, but his hands had much more pressing matters to attend to.  Like drawing over every exposed inch of Jaebum’s chest, eyes following the lines, drinking in the sight of Jaebum’s bare skin.  His mouth was quick to follow his eyes and hands, but there was nothing gentle in it – lips and teeth tracing down Jaebum’s broad shoulders, biting roughly when he found his prominent collarbones.

Only when Jackson felt satisfied with the dark mark left behind did he continue.  Blunt fingernails traced swathes down Jaebum’s chest, drawing harshly against the muscles bunching up beneath the alpha’s pale skin.  He shifted, then, moving back to rest between the older male’s thighs, watching as the alpha’s thick erection fell back against his abdomen.  Most alphas were, accordingly, well endowed, and Jackson licked his lips a little as he wrapped his fingers around the elder, feeling the heat of him. 

Jaebum bit his lip hard, hands curling into fists at the contact.  Jackson could see him beginning to pant slightly, chest rising and falling quickly as he watched the younger.  He could definitely have teased the older alpha, but he felt no need to; if anything, he wanted Jaebum completely relaxed, not tensing from getting worked up all over again.  “Well, with your permission,” he teased up, but didn’t wait for a response before bowing his head. 

He closed his mouth around the head of the elder’s cock, immediately tasting precum, licking it eagerly away.  He kept his eyes focused upwards, watching every response from the elder.  He knew that there was no way that Jaebum knew how heartbreakingly stunning he was, how much he loved the man splayed beneath him, and the urge to convey that through actions was overwhelming.  He closed his eyes pressing forward, taking as much of the elder into his mouth as he could, sucking, tongue digging into the leaking slit of his member.

Jaebum grunted at the sensation, hips arching upwards, his head rolling back.  Jackson pressed forward, doing his best to suppress his gag reflex as the tip of Jaebum’s dick hit the back of his throat.  The fingers of one hand stroked the base of his length, the other hand cupping and rolling the elder’s balls, enjoying the weight, the heat of them.

Careful, not wanting to choke himself, he worked his throat open, unable to help the rush of saliva flooding his mouth, coating Jaebum’s member.  The older male gasped and Jackson felt a hand slide into his hair, fingers curling loosely around the blonde locks.  Though he could have pulled, could have assumed dominance in the situation, Jaebum didn’t, leaving the control in the younger alpha’s hands.

Keeping his eyes locked with the elder, Jackson proceeded to bob his head, taking in as much of his hyung’s cock as he could.  He wished he could swallow all of him (Bambam held that distinct honor alone, all fucking pretty with his throat distended, eyes tearing and choking on his alpha’s cock) but he did his best, fisting at the elder’s knot - knowing how sensitive it was, even before it would swell.  Jaebum made no efforts to hold back, panting overhead as Jackson’s mouth and throat worked around him.

The hand that had been fondling Jaebum’s balls slipped further back between his legs, the pads of his fingertips pressing against the elder’s entrance, relishing the soft gasp of pleasure from overhead.  “Fuck!  Jacks--” Jaebum managed the words breathlessly, spreading his thighs for the younger male.  The gesture was unmistakable, and gave Jackson pause, slowly pulling back, tongue pressing hard against the thick veins beneath his shaft.  A more-than-lewd slurping sound escaped him as he pulled away, lips and tongue heady with Jaebum’s taste lingering.  He couldn’t get enough.

“Lube?” he asked the elder, his own voice rough.  Jaebum bit his lip, clearly trying to think through the haze of his arousal.

“Drawer,” he panted, gesturing loosely with one hand.  The younger moved quickly to grab the bottle, resuming his previous position between Jaebum’s spread thighs.  There was almost always lube close on hand, no matter where they went in the apartment - after all, only omegas could self-lubricate - and Jackson slicked up his fingers with well-practiced ease.  His mouth closed again around the head of Jaebum’s cock, tongue teasing at the slit as his fingers traced to Jaebum’s hole again, breeching one digit without warning.

The older male was incredibly tight, and for a moment, the only thing that Jackson could think about was shoving himself to the root into the elder’s body - feeling how he would wring around him.  But it was more pressing to begin working the elder open, and he forcibly reigned in his attention.  He used a generous amount of the lubricant, knowing Jaebum wasn’t used to it - between the pair of them, it was much more frequently Jackson that submitted.  He continued to work his mouth around his leaking member as he added first a second digit - then quickly a third.

When his fingertips found Jaebum’s prostate, the elder’s body jerked as though he’d been electrocuted, and a soft whine escaped his throat, fingers clutching at the bedding.  Jackson didn’t relent, pressing his fingers, if anything, harder into his hyung’s sweet spot, watching his thighs shake.  He pulled away from Jaebum’s cock, watching his member twitch at the overstimulation, small gasps and moans escaping the elder.  Jaebum was not traditionally vocal, and every sound made Jackson ache to just take him and hear more.

“Jacks-” the word was uneven, half-wrecked.  “Fuck - I’m ready - I’m too close.”  A bitten-off gasp pulled free from the alpha between the words.

“Gonna cum for me?”  He was surprised at how rough his own voice had become.  “Can you do that for me, Jaebum-ah?  I swear, cum for me and I’ll fuck you so good, baby.  I’ll make you feel so, so good, just let me.”  He crooned the words, fingers working harder at the elder’s prostate, watching Jaebum’s features contort in pleasure.  It was a battle for him to let himself go, to give over the reins, and Jackson was well aware that he was the only one who would see their alpha like this.  It made him feel determined to take care of him.

The elder arched helplessly beneath him at the continued onslaught, hands fisting into the bedding as his hips rolled up.  Jackson gave only kitten licks to the throbbing head of Jaebum’s member, wanting to see him come entirely undone.  He could see how close Jaebum was getting to the edge and he pushed his fingers hard, and swallowed as much of his cock as he could - and Jaebum cursed aloud as he came, unable to hold back.

Jackson swallowed - and swallowed again as his mouth flooded again with the thick fluid.  The elder shuddered, panting beneath him, and a small whimper (though Jaebum would never admit that he’d made the sound) as Jackson’s fingers pulled free.  He quickly moved up the elder’s body, crashing their lips together.  Jaebum accepted the contact, lips falling open to accept Jackson’s tongue, rushing in to meet his own, moaning softly at the taste of himself.  Jackson pulled back after a moment, swiftly peeling out of the loose clothes he wore, knowing they’d very shortly be in the way, before resting his body against the bigger male, nuzzling against his forehead.

He frowned a little when he realized that there were tears in Jaebum’s eyes; Jackson reached up, cupping his face in both hands, stroking his thumbs beneath his eyes to wipe them away.  Jaebum’s hands were shaking a little as he reached up to curl his fingers around the younger’s, arching up to kiss him again.  “I want you, Jacks,” he said softly, immediately bringing the younger’s attention to their proximity, to his still-hard cock digging into the elder’s abdomen.

Jackson didn’t even attempt to deny him, or to argue.  Jaebum wouldn’t say it if he didn’t mean it.  Instead, he kissed the elder softly again, as his hands busied picking up the bottle of lube again.  He was startled when Jaebum reached down and knocked it away.  “Now,” he said, eyes pinning unflinchingly on Jackson’s.  The younger hesitated momentarily, but then nodded, shifting forward, one hand drawing to his own member, spreading what precum had gathered at the head to cover as much of his shaft as he could.  He was glad he’d used as much lube as he did preparing the elder, because otherwise he knew that there was no way he could do this without hurting him.

Frankly, it might hurt a little anyway, but it was abundantly clear that it was what Jaebum wanted - needed.  He braced himself up on one fist, the other curling around his own shaft, pressing against the elder’s still-slick opening, pushing - but not yet sinking into the elder.  Jaebum’s head rolled back, throat exposed for Jackson, who couldn’t resist the urge to lean down and draw his mouth along the skin, teeth baring down - a little more roughly than necessary, earning a whine from the elder.

He didn’t wait for Jaebum to beg again, slowly pushing forward, grunting a little when the head of his cock finally sank past the tight ring of muscles.  Jaebum was tight, and it felt for a moment like the breath had been driven from his own lungs.  He pushed forward harder, sinking inch by inch into Jaebum’s body until they were flush - and he could feel Jaebum’s cock, hardening again, pressing hotly, insistently up against him.

And as soon as he felt that the elder had adjusted enough, he began fucking into him in a slow, steady rhythm, deliberately dragging his cockhead against his prostate, feeling his body contract in pleasure - feeling the elder beginning to leak, smearing the fluid against both of their stomachs.  It was hard, to maintain the slow pace, when he wanted very much just to move, but he knew that this was already rough on Jaebum, and he wouldn’t do anything to hurt him.

He felt Jaebum’s arms wind up around his shoulders, and Jackson’s mouth met his naturally, biting at the elder’s swollen lips before devouring his mouth again.  Jaebum shuddered again, and Jackson couldn’t hold back any longer, beginning to move his hips more roughly, fighting off a shudder of his own at the way Jaebum clenched around him.  He kept himself balanced on one hand, the other sliding to wrap around Jaebum’s member again, adopting a quick pace, stroking from the base, thumbing at the head at intermittent points just to see the way Jae’s cheeks flushed beneath him, lips parting as he panted aloud.

“Jacks--” he managed as Jackson’s hips slammed forward, almost unaware of when he’d started thrusting so roughly.  His eyes were half closed, face flushed, lips swollen - his hair was in disarray and there were splotches Jackson half-remembered sucking into his skin, wanting to leave his own Marks on his alpha - returning the favor.

Jackson pulled out, almost relishing the whimper that corded out of the elder.  “On your knees,” he demanded, tone rough still.  Jaebum panted, but quickly obeyed, flushing as his cock dripped, balls hanging heavily beneath him as he moved.  “Spread them,” he added, watching as Jaebum obeyed, exposing himself to the younger alpha again.  Jackson knew that the elder expected him to resume fucking him instantly - instead, he leaned forward, hands spreading the elder’s ass.

Jaebum’s arch as Jackson’s tongue lathed a quick stripe against his entrance was enough to make the younger almost cum on the spot.  Instead, he focused on drawing more of those noises from the elder, wanting to push him to the brink - again, and again.  One hand slipped between his thighs to curl around Jaebum’s leaking cock again, mouth closing around his entrance, tongue probing against the fluttering muscles - even though he wasn’t normally on the receiving end of this kind of treatment, it was obvious that the Jaebum was aching to be filled again, whimpering at Jackson’s tongue thrusting into him - sucking at the ring of muscles until Jaebum’s thighs shook.

It was unusual to have this sense of control, but Jackson relished it, wanting to be the one to bring Jaebum over that edge of ecstasy - so he couldn’t blame himself - couldn’t even think.  Small, broken pleas passed his lips, but Jackson refused to relent until he’d outright begged, knowing he would come and not wanting to do so without Jackson inside him again.  He pulled away, flushing with pleasure at the sight of the elder’s frame shaking where he stayed, shoulders slumped forward and ass high.

“Fuck me, Jackson,” Jaebum’s words were a plea, not an order, and he gasped out in pleasure as Jackson buried himself to the root in a single, rough thrust.  His hands curled around Jaebum’s hips, thrusting roughly, making the alpha’s body rock forward and clench around him.  He was getting too close himself to try to deny the elder anything, hands drawing restlessly over the elder’s back before draping over him and wrapping a hand around him – hearing the curse tumble from his lips in the same moment his body clenched hard around him.  Jaebum, clearly, was too close to the edge, and a low grunt escaped him as he came all at once.

The feeling triggered Jackson’s own release, teeth sinking into Jaebum’s shoulder at the sheer intensity of the sensation.  Jaebum grunted in pleasure at the pain, rocking back harder to impale Jackson further into him.  The younger shuddered hard, feeling the waves of pleasure tearing through him, ringing down his spine right to curling his toes.  Every sense was filled with Jaebum, and something possessive churned in his gut at the vulnerability that he was seeing in the elder.
He couldn’t say it was deliberate.  There was just something instinctive in it, knowing the simultaneous pain and trust in the elder.  And he found himself knotting deep into the elder even as he came, filling the elder with his own release.  Jaebum cursed aloud – echoes of his orgasm ricocheting through him again as his prostate was spontaneously bulldozed by Jackson’s knot swelling, the pressure growing stronger with no indication of relenting.

Jaebum curled, body shaking as he half-collapsed forward.  “J-Jackson you dick,” the elder managed weakly, shuddering hard, though there wasn’t any real anger in the words.  “You’re going to kill me.”

Jackson nuzzled at his throat.  “Sorry, baby,” he murmured, only half-meaning the apology, leaning forward and wrapping an arm around the alpha’s waist, before tugging him down to pull both to their sides, curling up around him.  Jaebum uncharacteristically whimpered again, but Jackson didn’t miss the way that his fingers found his forearm, holding tightly to the younger male.  Jackson didn’t try to fool himself and think that it didn’t hurt him – Jaebum was hurting – but there was no denying the pleasure in the elder as well, or the way he pressed every inch closer to the younger alpha.  “Just trust me, baby.  I’ll take care of you.”

Jaebum bit his lip again, arching his head back with a breathy “ah!” as Jackson’s mouth traced a path up the elder’s defined shoulder and throat, offering a small kiss to the place he’d bitten before.  His hands continued drawing trails over Jaebum’s skin, relishing every inch that he was able to touch, loving the way that Jaebum melted into him.  He rolled his hips in small movements.  “So hot,” he murmured in praise, feeling his own pent-up come inside the elder, one hand pressing flat beneath Jaebum’s navel, groaning in pleasure again when he could actually feel his knot distending his abdomen.

His fingertips grazed lightly over the taut skin, enjoying the way Jaebum broke out in gooseflesh at the sensitive contact.  He nosed against the elder’s nape, nearly purring aloud in pleasure, letting Jaebum adjust entirely to the unfamiliar contact before his hands slipped down, curling around the alpha’s spent length, his fingers sliding through the remnants of his come.  Despite the discomfort of the stretch, Jaebum was still half-hard, surprising the younger.

It was obvious that the elder was still overstimulated and oversensitive from the gasp that escaped Jaebum, body shaking a little as he arched, trying to lessen the contact, instead only grunting when Jackson’s knot kept him firmly in place.  “Jacks –“ Jaebum protested, but fell back against the younger’s muscular chest.

“Just relax,” Jackson crooned into one ear, a gentle command, curling his arms more fully around him.  “Let me hold you for a little.  It’s just you and me.  Jinyoung and Yugyeom are safe; Bambam and Mark and Youngjae are sleeping.”  He reached up to stroke his fingers down the elder’s jaw.  “At least for a little, stop carrying the world on your shoulders and let me hold you together.  Before you fall apart on me.”

Despite the plea, he wasn’t quite expecting Jaebum to hesitate, and then relax entirely against him.  “You really think we’ll be okay?  That they will?”

Jackson smiled, nuzzling beneath his ear, leaving a kiss in his wake.  “If you have anything to do with it,” he praised softly, “I don’t have a single doubt.”  With a smirk, to punctuate the thought, he slipped a hand forward, wrapping around his hyung’s sex again – for as long as he could – he would make sure that Jaebum felt nothing but pleasure, relishing the elder’s soft gasp.

The rest of the world would, undoubtedly, wait until tomorrow.  Until then, this part of Im Jaebum belonged to him, and neither would be going anywhere too soon.

*~*~*

Jinyoung woke to the sound of soft, steady beeping overhead.  His body still ached, but whatever pain medication they’d given him seemed to be doing a splendid job, as the pain felt somewhat separated from himself.  He knew it was there, but it felt impersonal and distant.  He had no idea what time it was, or if anything specifically had woken him, and debated for some time whether it would be worth the energy to open his eyes, as he felt heavy and all he really wanted was to drift back off to sleep again.

He knew precisely where he was and why he was there – and that Yugyeom was in the bed over and the rest of their Pack was at home and would be back after they had the chance to get some rest (meaning first thing after getting everybody up and out of bed).  So when the door began to open, he perked up a little, despite himself, almost wanting to pout when he recognized the face of the same doctor.  It wasn’t that he didn’t like the man – to the contrary, he was friendly and helpful and he took very good care of them.

His disappointment must have been obvious, as the sandy-haired doctor returned an almost-regretful smile.  “From what your manager said, you’ll see them before noon,” he said, his tone upbeat, but not too cheerful either.  “How are you feeling?”  It wasn’t the first time that he’d asked the question, and Jinyoung knew that he wouldn’t be going anywhere until he had an answer that satisfied him.  He approached the younger male’s bedside, a critical look in his eyes as he glanced over the bedbound beta.

“I’m alright,” he said, frowning a little at the hoarseness in his voice.  Even before he could ask, a cup of water was pushed into his hands.  It would only do so much – the doctor had told him that he suspected the younger had a bruised larynx and the only thing to be done for that was to let it heal and try not to aggravate it too much.  He said it was lucky there wasn’t a fracture, which could have been much more dangerous.  He took a few small sips, wincing as he swallowed experimentally.  “The meds are helping a lot.  I mean, I know it hurts, but it also…doesn’t hurt?”  He wasn’t sure he was coming off right, but the doctor only nodded approvingly.  His brow knotted up as he took another look at the man.  “You’re still here?”

“I crashed on a cot upstairs,” the doctor responded, offering a winning grin that showed off equally winning dimples.  “It’s my second home, I wanted to be close on hand for when Yugyeom wakes up.  I have two of my nurses making the rounds through here, but I know it won’t be of any good to you to have the press get hold of you two being here.  I’ll leave all that in the hands of your manager.”

Jinyoung blinked at the information, feeling as though his mind was a few steps behind the conversation.  It was obvious that the doctor was doing everything he could to take care of them, and he couldn’t do anything but be grateful.  “Am I allowed to sit up?” he asked, remembering that the man said that he’d had broken ribs.  He believed it, the pressure that seemed to tighten around him every time he shifted his torso was undeniable – but he figured that it would be more of a stabbing sort of pain rather than the pulsing throb that persistently reminded him of every breath he took.

Jeongsu nodded, stepping up beside him, handing Jinyoung the remote attached to his bed, one hand slipping behind his back and helping situate him as the machinery steadily shifted him into a more upright position.  The doctor stopped him at an angle, with a simple instruction to not push too quickly for too much.  “I think you’ll heal fairly quickly, but any aggravating those wounds is going to make things much worse.”  He wasn’t quite chiding, and Jinyoung nodded, almost instinctively wanting to tell him to tell that to Yugyeom, since their maknae was always moving.  The words died in his throat as he glanced over at the other bed.

The doctor read his expression without trying, and with a reassuring smile once Jinyoung was settled, he made his way over to the younger male.  He checked beneath his bandages, making a positive sound in his throat before pulling them away and moving to pull a tray from by the door and bandaging them with new, clean gauze.  “These really will heal very quickly,” he told Jinyoung as he went.  “No sign of infection, which is good news, considering how much dirt there was.”

Jinyoung knew that the man was just trying to make him feel better.  He remembered the panic in the EMTs who’d come to get him and Yugyeom after the two alphas had found him and called for help.  He knew the Yugyeom was definitely in worse shape than he was, and he knew that they’d been very concerned.  He’d felt like his heart was going to leap out of his chest when they’d taken the younger beta away, saying that they needed more diagnostic tests.

“When will he wake up?” he asked, without meaning to.  He’d been thinking it almost nonstop, so it shouldn’t have been much of a surprise that the words were spilling out of him without even really thinking about it.

“I can’t say,” the doctor answered, continuing glancing over the beta, before glancing up at the monitors hanging about him.  “His vitals are strong at this point, but head injuries vary wildly.  On the upside, there’s no major swelling and no fractures in his skull.  We’ll keep monitoring him in the meantime.  The one thing he needs right now is what he’s getting, and that’s rest.  Or, rather, that’s almost everything he needs.”

Jinyoung blinked, eyes going wide as the doctor returned to him, and quickly removed all of the monitoring devices from him – doing so efficiently and within just a few minutes, leaving only the IV line the bag of saline and his medications still latched to his bedframe.  He felt itchy where patches of tape had pulled off, and utterly confused, but before he could complain, the bed had been unlocked from its position and Jinyoung found himself being wheeled over to Yugyeom’s bedside.  He felt his chest tighten up at the sight of his bandaged face, but when his bed was locked again, pressed flush against the younger male’s – he couldn’t help but to reach over and take his hand.

“Better,” the doctor said approvingly, and Jinyoung felt a swell of gratitude in his chest.  Yugyeom felt warm, and just being able to touch made some of the pain he felt ease away.  “I want you to push the call button if you need anything, but the best thing for now is rest.  It’s about nine in the morning, and I’m going to see about getting something for you to eat.  It won’t be comfortable, but it’s urgent that you get your strength up.  Easy stuff at first, bland, very little to chew, and I’ll encourage you to just have small bites.  Even when you go home, I’ll want you to keep to that diet until your throat heals up.”

Jinyoung nodded, leaning back, fingers tightening around Yugyeom.  He wasn’t going to be going home without the younger beta, but he didn’t see a point in telling the doctor that – not yet.  It was his fault that their maknae had been so hurt, and he wasn’t going to let him out of his sight until he knew that he was okay again.  He relaxed against the pillow behind him, rubbing his fingers against Yugyeom’s, taking comfort in the small contact as he drifted off again.  He didn’t like how much he was sleeping – but at least it didn’t hurt.

When he woke again, it was to an abrupt gasp, then a small cry of pain.  Jinyoung jerked upright, and a crippling wave of pain hit his chest like a sledgehammer.  Tears flooded his eyes, but he fought off the pain to try to turn his attention to Yugyeom, knowing it was the younger that had sourced the pained sound.  Which meant only one thing that mattered – Yugyeom was awake.  His fingers groped for the call button, knowing how important it was that they come check on him, but even as he did, he croaked out the younger’s name.

Yugyeom had fallen back against the bedding behind him – like Jinyoung, he’d startled and tried to move too much.  There was a kaleidoscope of emotions flickering across his face – abject confusion, heavily tinged with fear, no small amount of pain, recognition at seeing Jinyoung, and then more confusion and pain again.  It seemed to take a moment too long for his eyes to focus properly on the smaller male, before something like horror took over his features.  “Hyung – hyung, hurts,” he reported, panting.  Guilt tore through Jinyoung at the words, never seeing the younger male respond like that.

He didn’t get more than that out before Doctor Park was back in the room, seemingly startled by what was happening.  He didn’t panic though, ducking back out of the room, but back in seconds, holding a syringe that he deposited into the IV that had been in Yugyeom’s arm since they arrived.  It was less than a minute before the younger male’s body began relaxing, eyes going a little unfocused as they slipped around the room again, more slowly than before.  Jeongsu called his name, drawing the younger’s attention, holding up a tongue depressor and shifting it in Yugyeom’s field of view and telling him to follow it.

Yugyeom tried to obey, but kept closing his eyes and turning away, complaining that it hurt – that he didn’t want to.  The words were mumbled and disjointed, and Jinyoung could help the terror in his chest, thinking that something was really wrong.  Doctor Jeongsu was insistent though.  “The medication will help in just a minute with the pain,” he promised, coaxing Yugyeom’s attention back again.  “Would you like me to dim the lights a little?  Is it too bright?”

The maknae nodded a little in response, and only when the man had obeyed did he willingly open his eyes again.  The lights weren’t off, but were about half as strong as they’d been before.  Jeongsu began the same process again, but this time Yugyeom followed along without complaint.  As he moved the stick, he began asking pointed questions towards the teen.  What’s your name?  Kim Yugyeom.  Do you know who that is?  Jinyoung-hyung.  Before he could continue to ask the question that was hovering, the doctor continued.  Do you know what the date is?  He answered with the right month and year, but was off by two days.  Do you know where you are?  Hospital?  Do you remember what happened?  N-no, what happened?  It’s okay, how’s your head feeling?  And your stomach?

It was clear to Jinyoung that Yugyeom was confused with the barrage of questions, but he answered them as best he could, clearly frustrated by not remembering what was going on.  He kept looking to the older male, but Jinyoung wasn’t sure whether it was for answers himself or if it was just the concern he could read on the younger’s expression.

As soon as he was able, without disturbing the doctor, he reached out and took Yugyeom’s hand again, hoping the contact might make him feel a little better.  Yugyeom’s fingers tightened around his and he refused to let go, despite trying to pay attention to what the doctor was saying to them.  Jinyoung didn’t really know how to feel at the small gaps in Yugyeom’s memory – he didn’t remember going to the store, and while even the day previous was a blur, he remembered what they’d had for breakfast.

Doctor Park was quick to offer comfort – that Yugyeom had done very well and it was likely he would recall the other details of the day.  Even if he didn’t, it was unlikely he would forget anything else, and the bigger concern was that there weren’t other pieces missing (like who he was, or his Pack, or family).  He’d admitted, when asked, that the lights bothered him a lot, and that his body and back hurt when he tried to move.

It wasn’t until he’d exhausted all of the doctor’s questions that Yugyeom was allowed to relax again.  Jeongsu told them that he was going to contact their manager and Jaebum – and would have to organize a few more tests for Yugyeom – and left them to their own devices.  Jinyoung held the remote with the call button in his free hand, nervous that something might happen, though the likelihood was low.

As soon as the man was out of the room, Yugyeom’s attention was pinned on him.  “Hyung, what happened?”

The question wasn’t a surprise by any stretch of the imagination, he’d seen it in Yugyeom’s face from the moment he’d first seen Jinyoung.  At the same time, he wasn’t quite sure how to respond.  He couldn’t lie to the younger male, and even if he tried, Yugyeom would see right through that, but the guilt that he had gotten the boy into this predicament was still eating at him.  When Yugyeom said his name again, beginning to sound upset, he knew that he needed to answer.

“We went to go and grab some drinks and things from a convenience store – do you remember?”  The younger’s brow knotted as he thought, but then shook his head slowly.  Jinyoung tried to smile comfortingly at him, but was sure it looked more like a grimace.  “We were walking back, I was in front – and I had turned around to say something to you, but there was this guy following you.  I tried to warn you, but he hit you with something – Doctor Park said it gave you a concussion, which is why you still don’t remember some things.  It knocked you out.”

Yugyeom looked as though he was going to interrupt, but Jinyoung hurried to finish.  “They recognized us from Got7 – said that they were going to take us somewhere and try to ransom us for money.  I tried to fight them, but they were – I couldn’t—“  He broke off, not quite sure how to explain.  “They started – they beat you, even though you were unconscious, because I tried to fight them.  It’s my fault.  They said it’s going to be a long time before you’re entirely better again.”  If you ever are, he couldn’t bring himself to say, afraid that voicing the words might somehow make it a reality.

Yugyeom frowned again, looking confused.  “How did we get here?” he asked, glancing around the room.

It was a fair question, but not one that Jinyoung quite expected at the moment.  “Two guys that were working nearby heard the commotion and called the cops and an ambulance,” he answered, feeling guilty even for that – that he’d been helpless when the younger had needed him.  Not only had he gotten Yugyeom hurt, but he had been completely useless at getting them out of the situation.  It might have been easier to forgive himself if he had actually helped.

“It’s good that you fought them, hyung,” Yugyeom said after a moment of deliberation, considering Jinyoung’s expression and what he’d said already.

“They broke your ribs, Yugyeom,” the older beta said quietly, feeling as though the younger, through his confusion and the haze of drugs didn’t understand the severity of his wounds.  “They said your kidneys were bruised – renal trauma – they actually hurt your organs –“

“But if you hadn’t fought, we wouldn’t have gotten help,” the younger said, frowning at Jinyoung’s tone.  “If they had taken us away, there’s no saying what could have happened to us.  There’s no saying we would’ve gotten back home at all.  You’re hurt, too.”

The elder went quiet, wanting to argue, despite the blatant logic in the maknae’s response.  He couldn’t think of something quickly enough before Yugyeom squeezed his hand, drawing his attention back up as his eyes seemed to want to close.  “I’m glad you’re with me,” the younger said softly instead, a small smile touching his face.

Unsurprisingly, it wasn’t long before Yugyeom fell asleep again – though he was trying to seem tough, he really was hurting.  Between the meds and the pain he was feeling, sleep was only natural.  Honestly, Jinyoung could have slept himself, but he didn’t want to.  He wanted to hold onto Yugyeom and to watch over him.  Besides, it wouldn’t be long before the others would be back to join them.  Even without Yugyeom waking, they wouldn’t want to be gone long.  With Doctor Park’s call, they would be rushing back.

Despite his urge to stay awake, he must’ve dozed, feeling himself wake up when there was a rap on the door, before Mark peeked inside without waiting for an answer.  He seemed confused for a moment when Jinyoung’s bed was not where it had been the day before.  He quickly found the younger, perking up when he saw that he’d been moved closer to Yugyeom and was properly awake.

The omega beelined for him, and Jinyoung finally let go of the remote, lifting his arm in a silent demand for a hug.  Mark immediately obliged him, wrapping both arms carefully around the younger.  Jinyoung couldn’t help a smile when he felt Mark press a kiss to the side of his head.  “How are you feeling?” the elder asked into his hair, and Jinyoung smiled in answer, squeezing Mark a little tighter, knowing the elder would be gentle with him to avoid hurting him.

Mark accepted the wordless response, and stepped to the side to allow the others a chance to greet Jinyoung as well.  It wasn’t much of a surprise that Jaebum was the next one standing there.  What was a surprise was that the alpha actually looked better than he had the previous day.  He was visibly better-rested, and some of the shadows seemed to have left his eyes.  The elder even smiled at him at the recognition, but before he could ask (and he was going to ask) Jaebum had leaned forward and kissed him softly, making sure not to put too much pressure on his broken lips, murmuring a soft, “later,” at him.

He pulled away then to go and check on Yugyeom, and let all of the others share their greetings as well.  Youngjae was next, then Bambam – the younger omega shyly handing him a stuffed bear, soft, plush white with a pink bow (still holding a brown, blue-bowed bear obviously meant for Yugyeom).  Jinyoung couldn’t help his smile, pulling the squirming teen in for a hug and quick kiss for a thank you.  Bambam was too pleased to properly feign embarrassment, wrapping Jinyoung in as tight a hug as he dared, still blushing a little when the elder let him go.  He watched Bambam scurry promptly over to join Jaebum at Yugyeom’s side.

Jackson was the last to greet him, and Jinyoung had to pause again when the alpha’s arms wound around him.  He hugged the elder back, not really intending to linger, but couldn’t quite help himself, nuzzling at the junction of his neck.  He smelled…different somehow.  His usually clean/cologne smell overpowered by something much more raw and natural.  Jinyoung surprised both of them by clinging closer, breathing in the scent, even despite the pain and medication (or maybe it was because of them) he felt his stomach flip a little and heat crawl through him.

Jackson smiled at him, the roguish expression actually making Jinyoung blush.  “You smell good,” he muttered, almost as an excuse, but still curled close again.  As a beta, there were many finer points of alpha versus omega that he didn’t have to deal with – but that didn’t mean that he was oblivious to it either.  Much as he could smell and sense the lingering perfume of Youngjae’s heat, this smell on Jackson was all alpha.  He smelled good.

“At least Jinyoung still loves me,” the elder said, reaching up and running a hand through the beta’s hair.  The contact felt nice, and Jinyoung nestled closer to the alpha’s broad chest.

“I never said I didn’t love you,” Youngjae argued – the comment had obviously been directed towards him.  He was standing on the other side of the two beds, using Bambam as a buffer between himself and Jaebum – and the beds between him and Jackson.  “I just said I hated you.”  At Jinyoung’s arched brow, curious, the omega blushed.  “He threw me back into my heat this morning,” he mumbled, flush darkening in embarrassment.

“I didn’t mean to!”  Still, Jackson seemed altogether too smug and self-satisfied for there to be any apology in the words.  “Besides, you weren’t complaining then.”  He looked, if anything, more pleased with himself, and Youngjae bit his lip, looking away as his ears went pink.  “In fact, if I remember correctly –“

“Jacks,” Jaebum said softly, lips twitching as he tried to stifle a smile.  “Stop teasing Youngjae.”

“I can’t help it, he’s so cute when he blushes.”  It wasn’t really an argument.  If anything, it was clearly meant to make the omega blush again.  Youngjae retaliated, sticking his tongue out at Jackson before quickly dropping his gaze again.  It seemed obvious that the younger was more affected than he wanted to admit.

“Didja get me a bear?” Yugyeom sounded drowsy, but amused – surprising all of them all at once that’d he’d woken up without making a sound.

Bambam lit up, eyes bright and obviously fighting the urge to pounce, instead squirming in place.  He was grinning, but was also clearly scared of doing something wrong and hurting the younger male.  Instead, he thrust the brown bear towards the beta.  “Yeah,” he managed.  “I mean, I know it’s kinda lame.”

Yugyeom moved slowly, unsurprisingly, but reached to accept the bear, pulling it to his chest and running his fingers over it’s soft, downy fur.  “I like it,” he replied, a small smile turning up the corners of his lips.  “Thanks Bam.”

The skinny omega fidgeted again.  “I’m really glad that you’re okay,” he reported in a somewhat watery tone.  Yugyeom smiled at the omega and gestured him closer.  Bambam was obviously scared of doing more damage, but obeyed when the younger gestured for a hug.  The omega was supremely careful not to put any of his slight weight against the younger male, but lingered for as long as he could.  “You scared us,” he added into the broader shoulder.

“Hyung was telling me that the guys who helped us called the police?” Yugyeom asked after reluctantly letting go of Bambam.  “Did they get the bad guys?”

“Yeah,” Jaebum answered, a flicker of amusement touching his face at the phrasing the youngest used.  “They’re both locked up.”

“Good,” Yugyeom said firmly.  Then frowned as he realized how far away the others were staying.  “I’m okay, hyung – a few days of rest and I’ll be good as new.”  He gestured for the older male to come closer, resorting to pouting when the alpha didn’t come as close as Yugyeom wanted.  Jaebum smiled at that, reaching out and gently running a hand through his hair.  Even though Jinyoung could tell the younger was hurting, he leaned into the touch.

“Sure,” he agreed.  “If by ‘days’ you mean ‘weeks’ and by ‘okay’ you mean ‘concussed’.”  There was still a great deal of affection in the words, and he lingered close.  The motions were casual, but Jinyoung doubted that any of them would miss that the alpha clearly needed the contact as much as Yugyeom did.  As much as Jinyoung needed Jackson’s closeness at the moment, still not wanting to let go.  Not as though the older male was giving him much choice.  He was careful not to exacerbate his wounds, but simultaneously kept Jinyoung crunched up to chest.  The beta had a suspicions that Jackson would’ve crawled into the hospital bed and hold him properly if he thought he could get away with it.  He wouldn’t have complained.

“So when do we get to go home?”  Yugyeom’s tone was sleepy as he leaned more into Jaebum’s fingers.

“As soon as Doctor Park says you’re well enough,” the elder’s tone was stern.  “Not a minute before.”

Yugyeom frowned at the response, shifting to find a more comfortable position to meet Jaebum’s eyes.  “And this ‘Doctor Park’,” he demanded, “he can be bribed?”  He glanced around the room, before his eyes fondly landed on the bear he held – Jaebum’s gaze following – leading the maknae to clutch the bear to his chest.  “No, not with him.  He’s mine.”

Jaebum managed not to laugh for twenty seconds.  Maybe thirty.  But then snorted so loud it made both Mark and Bambam jump about a foot in the air – immediately sending all of them careening into relief-charged hysterics.  Even Jinyoung couldn’t help a fit of giggles.  It hurt.  But he needed it – needed the laugh.  They all did.  Almost as much as they needed each other.

*~*~*

Doctor Park, it turned out, could not be bribed.

It was a full two weeks before Yugyeom was released to go back home, and even then he was thoroughly dosed with medication and on strict bed (and sometimes couch) rest.  It rankled – the beta had always been active by nature, and being forced to remain bedbound grated on his nerves rather fantastically.  Still, home was worlds superior to the hospital, no matter how nice Doctor Park might have been.

Jinyoung could’ve gone home sooner, but when he’d said he wasn’t going anywhere without Yugyeom, he meant it.  Even the younger beta told him he was being silly, but Jinyoung wouldn’t listen.  For the most part, Yugyeom was out of the woods.  The doctor had always been up front, and even though the younger male was healing well, there were lingering symptoms.  The worst were the blinding headaches and the light sensitivity, especially because they were the most frequent.

It did bother him that he wasn’t able to do more, to help more.  Youngjae and Mark had stepped up to the task, and were really doing an admirable job.  It was Jinyoung’s instinct to try to take care of the people most important to him, and admittedly, to mother them, but in his stead the two omegas were doing a stand-up job.  All of their activities had been curtailed, even just to go and sit on a panel was too much for the two betas, until they’d healed.  It was the most that all seven of them were home at the same time since before they’d debut, and while some people might not enjoy sharing such a small space with six other people – Jinyoung did.

Even Jackson had refused offers of work, wanting to keep close to home.  Something had changed between their Pack’s two alphas, but it was hard for Jinyoung to figure out just what was going on – whether Jackson had changed somehow or if Jaebum was just letting him in and surrendering some control.  Regardless, it was doing both of them a world of good.

Really, the downtime was good for all of them, and it also afforded them the chance to try again to invite Bangtan over.  Bambam had let them know about the incident with Jinyoung and Yugyeom and they had been quick to offer whatever help they needed.  Luckily, they hadn’t needed to take them up on the offer, as the group was about to debut and there was too much on their plate as it was.

They had an open offer to come and visit at any point that their scheduled allowed, but it was still a bit of a surprise when Jaebum told them all over breakfast that the other Pack was going to come over that afternoon.  Bambam was immediately ecstatic, plotting what they all could do with an excited, but still couch-bound Yugyeom.

Jinyoung couldn’t help a rush of affection for the omega, already accounting for their current limitations and making sure that all of them could be included, even considering that Jinyoung and Yugyeom weren’t supposed to move much.  He had a suspicion that the others would be grateful for a milder evening, since they had all been working hard.  It was a rare thing to not have to worry about any outside obligations or any chance of being observed.  Privacy was a nice thing on its own, and knowing that they could just be themselves was even better.

Jaebum ordered some groceries and food to be delivered (the alpha was, if anything, more cautious than before).  Given their injuries, the two betas of the pack were housebound, but none of them went anywhere without Jackson or Jaebum – including the alphas themselves.  They had to go and deal with the police on two separate occasions in regards to pressing charges, but neither would let the others off on his own.  Protective tendencies notwithstanding, the alphas were closer than ever, but it seemed to be a good thing for them.

Really, it was the same for all of them.  He would give anything to undo the hurts that he and Yugyeom had been dealt, but he wasn’t sure he could sacrifice the closeness that he felt for them now.  He spent most of the afternoon drowsing (knowing the evening would otherwise wear him out).  Mark had joined him not long after, climbing onto the couch behind Jinyoung, pulling the younger male against his chest.

It was comfortable, and Jinyoung nestled back into his hyung, liking how the older male’s arms felt wrapped around him.  He let his head rest back on the omega’s shoulder, glancing up to study his face momentarily.  He found himself smiling without intending to, admiring how the soft line of his cheek sharpened at his jaw, the set of his lips, half-quirked in a smile, long lashes reflecting in the light.  Mark seemed to feel his scrutiny, eyes finding Jinyoung, and he smiled at the younger.  “What is it?” he asked, caught between worry and contentedness.

“Nothing, hyung,” he promised.  “I just like being with you like this.”  He smiled again when the omega adopted a flush at the words.

“Me too,” the elder promised, nuzzling a little closer.  Jinyoung couldn’t suppress the urge, though the movement stung a little, to twist reaching up to slide one hand behind Mark’s nape and pull him down into a kiss.  Mark didn’t protest the contact, if anything, arching forward and pressing closer, so that Jinyoung didn’t have to twist his torso quite so much.  He wouldn’t have objected if Mark deepened the contact, but he didn’t complain when the older male only pulled away pecking his nose.

Jinyoung smiled and curled up like a cat against the elder’s chest, pressing his cheek into his shoulder.  It was good – it felt safe and comforting and home – that not every touch held a sexual aspect.  It was warm, affectionate, almost possessive in a soft way.  It felt nice to be held, to feel safe.  He felt Mark’s fingertips grazing up and down his arm, petting and his skin, and half let himself be carried away by the sensation.  “Love you,” he reported, and felt Mark smile again against him.

All of them knew it – felt it, but it was something that they just hadn’t vocalized enough, so far as Jinyoung considered it.  Sometimes, he knew, he had an aura that was a little cold and distant, and while his Pack usually weren’t subject to that, he also didn’t want any of them to ever forget how much he cared about them.  “I love you, too,” Mark said softly.  “Sleep, they’ll be here soon.”

“No, I’m not tired,” Jinyoung protested, wanting to say that he didn’t want to spend his time sleeping more, but he couldn’t help but drift off.  He faintly heard Mark chuckle behind his head, telling him that he sounded like Bambam.  He didn’t have a chance to argue by the time the protest came to mind – he was already asleep.

*~*~*

Jin remembered Jinyoung and Youngjae both mentioning (i.e. cautioning) that as soon as they began to debut, privacy would more likely become a thing of the past.  Personally, he had thought the younger pair were exaggerating, but he quickly learned that it was perfectly true.  Even taking precaution – using the back exit and wearing face masks - when they left the dorm, there were people taking pictures and calling out to them, asking questions on questions, despite their silence.

It was a relief to close the door behind them, wondering if he would ever get used to that kind of attention.  Yoongi, who was sitting between him and Hoseok, patted his knee comfortingly.  It was almost surprising, how much the small gesture helped, bringing his focus back into the moment.  Grateful, he leaned against the younger, equally sure that he would understand.  It earned him a half-smile, and the hand resting on him made no move to pull away, instead, his thumb began tracing a careless pattern over the denim he wore instead.

Namjoon turned, sitting in one of the bucket seats (Taehyung, practically vibrating in place, took the other), to look at the others.  “From what Jaebum told me last, Yugyeom and Jinyoung should both be well enough for company today – but they’re both still in rough shape – so no hugs, Taehyung.”

The omega pouted back at the words – neither the warning nor the reaction surprised Seokjin much.  Taehyung was tactile person and he was always physically affectionate to the people closest to him - it didn’t take much for Tae to get attached.  “But hyung –“

“No hugs, Tae, or hug Bambam and Jackson,” there was enough affection in his tone to blunt the note of warning.  “Or go hug Jiminnie.”

The final words had Jimin grinning, holding his arms open dramatically for the younger, even though they were too far away to touch.  Taehyung giggled in agreement, but made no further protests that he wasn’t allowed to hug the injured members of Got7.

Jin was glad that the prognosis was so good.  This meeting was supposed to happen weeks before – before their teaser debut images began to drop – but Jackson had called saying that they had to postpone.  At first he had been cagey about what was going on, but that was fair (considering that they themselves didn’t have the answers).  Then another couple weeks passed before Yugyeom and Jinyoung were released to go home – and needed time to settle.

It was a little scary to learn that the ones who had done this had recognized them and had tried to attack them because of their newfound fame.  It was also enough to make Namjoon worry enough to impose very strict guidelines for his own Pack.  Jin knew very well that the younger male remembered very clearly their circumstances of first meeting Bambam and Yugyeom – of the three no-name alphas trying to corner Taehyung and Jungkook.  It was impossible to say whether they would have done the same if Bangtan had already debuted, but the correlation in the risk was very real to Namjoon.

The younger male was very protective, and Jin understood that there were only so many things he could control.  That being said, there had only been one real note of complaint - that had been Yoongi, who never liked to submit too freely to someone else’s control.  Seokjin was not privy to whatever conversation that had followed, but afterwards, the beta had gone a bit quieter than usual.   He’d been worried, not liking the friction among his packmates, but if the way he’d stumbled on Namjoon fucking Yoongi into their shower all, roughly gripping a fistful of the smaller male’s hair (and the way Yoongi was begging) he guessed the tension had been well and truly resolved.

A flush colored his cheeks at the thought, and he tried to refocus back on the moment. Jungkook, who was sitting next to Jimin, had noticed the expression on his face, and gave him a look caught somewhere between knowing and curious.  He couldn’t have been more grateful that it wasn’t a long ride – before the alpha could bring any attention to his complexion, they were parking.

The last thing their maknae needed was more encouragement.  He was still coming into his own, still learning the boundaries of his Packmates and his role as an alpha among them.  There were times he was happy enough to let his hyungs guide him, but it was becoming more common for their youngest to be led by his instincts.  Physically, he was getting bigger (what seemed to be by the day), but he was also growing more aggressive and confident.

It scared the boy a little, at times, coming to Jin and Namjoon to admit his worries.  He was afraid of making a misstep, of losing control and revealing what they were.  Most of all, he was afraid of hurting one of the others – especially Jin or Taehyung.  His own urges, that demanded he take and Mark and Mate – warred with his profound affection for them.  In one moment, he wanted to kiss – to pet and cuddle – and the next tear them apart and leave them begging.

Seokjin made a point not to mention that he wasn’t at all bothered by the latter idea, knowing it wouldn’t help.  Instead, he’d just pulled their youngest between him and Namjoon, offering physical comfort, paying little attention to Namjoon’s words of advice.  Instead, he just enjoyed the deep tone and gentle cadence – rhythmic and almost musical, even without meaning to be.  Jungkook relaxed, trusting the pair implicitly.

There was going to be a time that such approaches would no longer work – that Namjoon would respond like the dominant alpha he was, rather than lover and friend and mentor.  In the meantime, Jin thought it best to soak up the quiet, soft moments as much as he could.

“We’re here!”  Taehyung’s deep voice broke through his train of thought, and the younger’s excitement brought a smile to in’s face.  He was squirming out of his seat before the car had even stopped completely, leading Hoseok to reaching out and grabbing one of his hands and pulling him back.  Tae pouted expressively at the elder, but the expression only earned a quick kiss pecked to his lips.  Taehyung giggled at the action, all smiles again.

They straightened up a little as they piled out of car, making their way into the building quickly.  It was a matter of moments before they were standing outside of the Got7 dorm – and it was no surprise to any of them when Jaebum opened the door, managing a smile at recognizing them and ushering them in.

“Kookie!  Tae!”  Bambam, unsurprisingly, was barely inside the door.  Equally unsurprisingly, Taehyung squirmed into the doorway and tackled the smaller omega down.  Jaebum snorted, stepping over the pair of them, grinning, gesturing them further into the apartment.  Jungkook wasn’t far behind, leaving Hoseok trying to pull Taehyung away from the smaller omega, but without much success as Bambam wasn’t exactly letting go either.

Once all of them were inside, and the door locked pointedly behind him, Jaebum lead them into the living room, inviting them to make themselves comfortable.  Jin perked up, even despite himself, catching sight of Jinyoung and Yugyeom; the former quite snuggly with Mark on one couch and Yugyeom stretched out over another, with his feet on Youngjae’s lap, with the elder gently rubbing from knee to ankle.  It was nothing less than instinctive to look them over, knowing what they had been through.

Jinyoung had a band of bruises peeking over the collar of his t-shirt, and there were fainter marks still on his face, his lip was scabbed, but healing.  He looked smaller than Jin usually considered him, but quite content pressed to Mark’s chest.  Yugyeom’s face was marred by a long scrape that seemed to be healing well.  He was wearing sunglasses, though it wasn’t especially bright in the room, and turned to smile up at the newcomers in greeting.

Jackson was sitting on the floor, by Yugyeom’s head, and the younger was absentmindedly petting the alpha’s hair.  He didn’t seem to mind in the least, grinning over towards the group as they walked in the room.  Jimin perked up at the sight of the alpha and half-tackled him in a hug – as customary a greeting for the beta as it was Taehyung.  Jackson laughed aloud, affectionately ruffling the excitable boy’s hair.  “Hey, Jiminnie.”

“Hi Jackson!”  He turned a little to where Yugyeom’s hand was still hovering.  “Sorry!”  His eyes vanished when he smiled, and the younger smiled back in greeting.  “I’m glad you’re doing better.”

“Thanks Jimin,” the beta replied, smiling a little back.

After a moment, most of the others joined the group into the room.  Yoongi quietly found a seat on the arm of the couch next to Youngjae, leaning comfortably back into place.  It was natural for the quiet beta to keep to the sidelines, especially in new situations.  He was an observer; a quality that Jin shared, at times.  Namjoon stood beside Jaebum; Jin knew that neither would relax until everyone was accounted for.  The giggling persisting from Taehyung and Bambam, and Hoseok’s unsuccessful chiding, meant they would be at least a few moments more.

Jin himself moved to take a seat on the floor, at least for the moment, but smiled when Mark and Jinyoung shifted to let him sit on the couch.  He was the eldest, and despite being an omega, he recognized the gesture as a respectful one.  He took the position, comfortably settling and watching the others situate themselves, blending easily together.

It wasn’t terribly long before their lingering members joined them; Hobi’s arms were wound around Taehyung, half-walking the younger male into the room.  Jungkook had an arm draped over Bambam’s shoulders, the omega wrapped around his waist in turn.  Hoseok tightened his grip when Tae caught sight of Yugyeom; his first instinct to go and hug him, but it was quickly tempered by the obvious wounds he bore.  His head tilted, taking in the situation.  “You’re so cool,” he praised the youngest beta.  “I want sunglasses.”

The words made Yugyeom snort – but smile, too.  More sure that the younger wasn’t going to do anything he shouldn’t, Hoseok let go, and moved to plop onto the floor next to Jimin and Jackson, as Tae slipped up to Yugyeom.  He reached down and brushed his fingertips gently over Yugyeom’s forehead, the bigger male closing his eyes for a moment before reaching up and gently squeezing Taehyung’s hand.  “See, I’m fine.”

Taehyung paused, but nodded in agreement.  He needed touch, it was part of who he was.  And he wouldn’t believe that the pair were okay until he could get that.  Jin couldn’t be more grateful that the pair understood.  Taehyung didn’t linger long though, moving to go and greet the rest as well, ducking shyly a little in front of Jinyoung – the beta’s usually cool attitude made him a little nervous, but there wasn’t much secret how much Taehyung liked Mark, so there wasn’t a chance of keeping his distance for long.

He greeted Jinyoung, more shyly reaching to check on him, beaming when Mark ruffled his hair.  “Go sit,” Mark instructed.  “I think Bambam’s about got the whole day planned out.”

“Yes!” the omega in question chirped, hopping up onto his toes.

*~*~*

“This is a terrible idea,” Seokjin pointed out, hours later, as he took the seat left for him between Namjoon and Jinyoung-and-Mark, the beta was again cuddled comfortably on the omega’s lap to give a little more space on the couch.  He’d invited Jaebum to take the space, but the younger male politely declined, sitting on the floor by Jinyoung instead, resting his back against the couch.  It had been only a matter of minutes before Youngjae joined him, stretching out, pillowing his head on the alpha’s thighs.  Jaebum had only smiled at the omega and began petting his hair affectionately.

Some time ago, before the first series of board games, he’d been on the other couch, but at the moment it was occupied by Yugyeom and Yoongi.  Their youngest had to take a dose of his pain medication after getting into a laughing fit that had left his ribs screaming, and for the last half hour had been drifting in and out of lucidity.  Seokjin didn’t remember exactly when Yoongi had joined him on the couch, but the beta was draped over Yugyeom’s legs and was more asleep rather than less.  At one point, Yugyeom had pet the beta’s hair and praised him for being a good kitty before slumping into another patch of unconsciousness.

Seokjin was proud of the younger that he didn’t seem bothered by the words – or the contact; the beta could have something of a temper at times, and he didn’t much like when anyone outside of his pack touched him without permission.  Then again, it was difficult to be angry with Yugyeom, and he was especially endearing in his quasi-drugged state.  Yoongi didn’t pull away, either, just letting himself drift sleepily as he watched the others interact.

Most of the day had passed playing games – several board games, a karaoke-and-dance video game, and get-to-know-you games that usually devolved into giggles and vaguely inappropriate humor.  It had been fun.  As the sun set, though, it was obvious that their energy levels were beginning to mellow out, so a movie had seemed like a good idea at the time.

Seokjin had no idea how horror became the theme though.  He knew for a fact that Jimin had no stomach for blood or violence and Taehyung had a wickedly overactive imagination and the last time he watched a horror movie he’d had nightmares for days, but when he tried to gently remind the younger pair of that, it had only reinforced that they weren’t scared of a dumb movie and they were going to watch.  Boys.

At the moment, the pair were dog-piled on the floor with Jungkook, Bambam, Jackson and Hoseok.  The only thing that Seokjin was definitively sure of was that Jackson was at the bottom of the pile of boys, because the alpha wouldn’t stop complaining about it.  Bambam had tried to tickle him back into silence, but Jimin had gotten caught in the crossfire, leading Taehyung and Jungkook to avenge him.  The poor kid had tears down his cheeks as he squirmed and struggled to get out of Jungkook’s grasp (and away from Tae’s fingers).  Jackson only laughed at the omega’s misfortune, since Bambam had been trying to tickle him in the first place.  It was Hoseok that took pity, intervening the tickle-match.

Bambam recovered slowly, hiccupping giggles as he caught his breath, hiding behind Hoseok to protect him.  The older beta patted his head and let himself be used as a shield, as easy-going as ever, and he obviously didn’t mind at all when Bambam snuggled into one side of him and Jimin the other.

Unsurprisingly, Jackson pouted about this “heart-wrenching betrayal, seriously, look at my eyes, these are real tears.”  It didn’t win him any response from Bambam, but Taehyung played into the game easily, throwing his arms around the alpha.  

Seokjin watched Jungkook carefully, despite himself, and he knew that Namjoon was doing the same.  It was all meant in jest, but their maknae was ridiculously jealous – Seokjin attributed his age and their relatively-new pack standing as part of it.  But the youngest alpha only laughed as Jackson squished Taehyung closer, loudly declaring his affection for the omega.  To the contrary concern, the younger pointed out that there was no return policy and that Taehyung’s feet stunk.

The response only lead to Jackson to promise that he had enough love to go around and Jungkook didn’t need to be jealous, and to Taehyung to try to shove his feet into the younger alpha’s face as Jungkook struggled to escape the omega’s long legs.

The antics carried on for another few minutes, until Namjoon cleared his throat, drawing immediate silence (and stillness) from the dogpile.  “I’m going to start the movie,” he pointed out, and Seokjin could swear that the younger was positively magic as all six of the boys immediately rearranged themselves to look up at the screen, all silent (mind, they were still a little on top of one another, but Seokjin expected nothing else).

Jin leaned over to pick up the bowl of popcorn they’d carted over (there was a second one currently situated in front of Taehyung, Jungkook, and Jackson, but it had mostly gone unnoticed for the time being), and smiled when Namjoon and Jinyoung both immediately grabbed a handful.  Besides, it was a little adorable when Jinyoung immediately began feeding Mark without being asked, the older giving him a rather discreet nuzzle in thanks.

It was about halfway through that Jin realized that he was right about this film being a bad idea – but Hoseok was already on it, standing up and pulling Jimin from the living room to go and “refresh the snacks” just as the younger beta had begun turning a little green.  Having anticipated the concern, Seokjin gave them a few minutes before he stood and followed.  Even for warning the younger male, he wanted to make sure that he was alright.  Namjoon paused him for a moment, giving his hand a squeeze as their eyes met.  Jin understood the unspoken ‘call if you need me’ and nodded back with a small smile.

The kitchen was bigger than the one BTS had in their dorm, but that was no surprise, really, since the group had some success already.  As much as he enjoyed cooking, he was a little jealous, but he didn’t have much time to think about it.  A frowning Jimin was too like a kicked puppy – seeing it was enough to make his heart hurt.  Hoseok had the younger male’s face cupped in both hands, murmuring something softly.  Both of them glanced over at him when he stepped into the room, not startled, but curious.

Realizing it was him, if anything, Jimin’s round eyes wend wide and his lower lip pushed out I a pout.  “You were right,” he said, in an unusually small voice.  “I don’t think it was a good idea.”

Jin stepped closer easily, giving Hoseok an encouraging smile as well.  He was naturally sweet-natured, but sometimes worried about doing something wrong with the younger members of their Pack.  The younger returned the expression, head tilting a little as Jimin’s arms curled around the taller omega, nuzzling into him.  It was probably his maternal nature, but Seokjin was used to playing the role of comforter.  It was natural as breathing to reach up and pet back the younger male’s hair, as Hoseok rubbed his back.  Where Yoongi tended to be more distant and lonesome for a beta, Jimin was the opposite, frequently more needy than some might expect.

“It’s alright,” he said, “you don’t have to watch any more of it.”  Jimin was anything but a coward, but he had always been squeamish at depictions of blood or violence, and the film they were watching had both in abundance.

“I know it’s fake,” Jimin grumbled into his collar, but made no attempt to pull away.  Jin smiled and pressed a kiss to the younger male’s forehead.

“We know you do,” Hoseok replied.  “But it’s still gross, and Taetae is still going to think there’s something under the floorboards later on.  We don’t even have floorboards.”  The final words, dropped into a conspiratorial whisper, made Jimin giggle in agreement, relaxing the hold he had on Jin.  Not to say that he let go, but rather than gripping, he just rested against the elder, nudging against Jin’s hands when the elder stopped petting his hair, greedy for the contact.

Jimin seemed perfectly content to stay there, somewhat squished in between his hyungs, as Hoseok mimed a very suspicions interaction with the floor just to make the younger laugh.  Jin wasn’t at all surprised when he heard a small knock on the door frame – Bambam letting them know that they weren’t alone, a concerned expression on his face.  “Is everything okay?”

“Yeah,” Jimin volunteered.  “The movie was just kind of getting to me a little.  I didn’t mean to interrupt.”

“No, it’s okay,” the younger promised.  “I can understand.  We’ll put something else on.  I could use a break from all the screaming, too.  I mean, if they want to live why don’t they stop giving away where they are all the time anyway?”  Jin smiled at the words, grateful that the omega so seamlessly shared the blame rather than let Jimin feel guilty for leaving, and adding a joke to lighten the mood.  Bambam looked a little flustered at his approving expression, ducking his head shyly.

He headed back into the living room to presumably turn off the film, and after a moment, Jin led the pair of betas back into the shared space.  Taehyung and Jungkook immediately perked up, sending worried looks towards Jimin, who looked bashful, but had no hesitation in half-collapsing onto the pair, throwing himself at them with the same enthusiasm as he usually did.  Jin shook his head affectionately and moved to rejoin Namjoon on the couch as Bambam called Hoseok over to come help him pick out something else to watch.

No one seemed to be bothered by the abrupt change, but Jin noticed after some silence, Taehyung went a little stiff, glancing towards Namjoon momentarily (a habit of his when he was nervous), but then asked what happened to the bad guy.  Namjoon understood, Jin knew, he’d wager that all of them did.  Stopping the film was the only way to make Jimin feel better at the moment, but the lack of resolution would make Taehyung’s already active imagination go entirely out of control.  He already had a somewhat worried expression on his face, glancing at the shadowed corners of the room, as though there would be something there waiting.

“Oh, we’ve seen it before,” Jackson piped up, adopting a grin and rolling from where he’d been laying to sit upright. “Let me tell you all about what happens, buckle up!”

*

Twenty minutes later, and Jin was crying.  Literally crying with laughter.  His stomach and lungs were aching but he couldn’t quite get himself back under control.  Jackson had pulled Mark promptly into an explanation of ‘what happened next’.  The way the pair played off of one another was seamless, and when a still-delirious Yugyeom was woken by laughter, his mostly nonsense words were immediately thrown into an increasingly ridiculous story about the murder’s unlikely redemption – which at this point was Jackson poorly miming a jig in reference to a court of giraffes (Yugyeom’s first, confused, addition) which he was trying to placate to earn forgiveness.

“I’m dying,” Jin managed to wheeze out.  “Please stop, I’m dying.”  He wasn’t the only one reduced to tears.  All of them (except a terribly confused Yugyeom himself, who seemed more concerned with the giraffes) and he knew full well that it wasn’t the ridiculous story that was so funny, but all of them were unable to help it.  Even Yoongi wasn’t able to keep his stone face, grinning, though he tried to hide it.

The plea seemed to work, as Jackson slipped bonelessly into a heap, obviously worn out from his enthusiastic storytelling.  He panted for a moment, almost relishing the fading giggles from the others.

“You’re absolutely ridiculous,” Jinyoung told the alpha, with fondness so obvious, it blunted the words entirely.

“You’re only saying that because the giraffes don’t like you,” the elder retorted, but that only had Taehyung and Bambam losing it all over again (because, really, who knew that giraffes had a no-nonsense British accent, besides Wang Jackson, of course).

At least Jin could say for sure that there was a much better chance that Taehyung would miss out on the nightmares, thanks to Jackson and Mark’s efforts.  The lavender-haired omega slumped, giggling, into Jimin and Jungkook, who really weren’t doing any better, all crushed up in a heap on the floor

Seokjin, for an omega, had always been protective of the people that he cared about.  He had been worried about getting to know the other Pack.  He knew that Yoongi and Namjoon shared his reservations as well, where their youngest trio had mostly just been excited at the potential to make more friends.  More than that, there was no need to hide.  He could feel Namjoon’s hand resting on his thigh, and didn’t feel watched or exposed.  When Taehyung had stolen a quiet kiss from Jimin, assuring himself that the elder was okay, there wasn’t a word about it.  They were different – worlds different – and so much alike.  Jinyoung and Mark didn’t pull away even once, and Jaebum’s fingers coming through Youngjae’s hair, teasing at his nape, was visibly intimate – though not at all explicit. 

He had to admit, they all suited each other well, and cliché-to-hell as it was, it was undeniably the start of a beautiful friendship.

Chapter Text

“Get back inside before you get sick!”  Jinyoung’s voice struggled to carry over the sound of the rain.  “Yugyeom!  Bambam, I swear –“  The beta was notoriously considered the “umma” figure of their group, and the two youngest were in no mood to be scolded, giggling as they split up, shooting off in different directions.  Neither was paying any mind to the deluge pouring in on them, soaking them right to the skin.  Jinyoung scowled, eyes following each in turn.  “Bambam!” he snapped out when the omega got close enough.

The teen’s eyes went wide and round, before he beamed.  “Catch me, hyung!” he demanded gleefully – and then bolted the other way.  Exasperation pulled through the elder and without thinking about why he was trying to get the pair out of the storm, he gave abrupt chase.  Bambam was laughing delightedly as he led the elder on a merry roundabout, an amusement that faded quickly when he’d realized that he’d gotten himself cornered, trying to offer a winning smile to his hyung.

“Dorm.  Now,” Jinyoung bit out, reaching out and grabbing the omega by one arm.  He had a feeling that the younger male had a growth spurt or two (or six) to come, but was grateful that he was bigger for the moment.  Bambam sulked prettily beside him, but seemed to come to terms with his entrapment fairly quickly.

“We have to get Yugyeom, hyung!” he chirped a moment later, but Jinyoung wasn’t falling for that cute expression again.  He’d learned his lesson already.

“No, I am going to get Yugyeom, and you are going to go inside, get a shower, and get into some dry clothes before you get sick.  And that’s final,” he added when the Thai boy opened his mouth to protest.  It made him sulk again, but Jinyoung had a feeling that he wasn’t really taking the scolding to heart.  He made quick work of unloading Bambam onto Youngjae (relaying his strict instructions to get warm and dry again), and pretended not to be offended by Youngjae’s immediate amusement at his drowned-rat appearance.  Gathering whatever dignity he had left, he turned and marched off to find their maknae.

It wasn’t precisely difficult, given the amount of giggling escaping the younger male.  His eyes were sparkling with amusement when Jinyoung crossed his arms and glared at him.  “You found me, hyung!” he praised the elder, then grinned, and Jinyoung cursed when, in the next moment, the youngest turned tail and ran.  The younger beta was fast – inherently more athletic than his hyung – but Jinyoung had no intention to linger in the rain a moment more than necessary.  Yugyeom slipped in a puddle in the same moment that a crash of thunder went off overhead, and Jinyoung pounced, tackling onto the younger male, despite his greater weight managing to get hold of him.

“Home!” he bit out, genuine irritation finding its way into his tone.  Yugyeom hesitated, but then nodded, scrambling to stand upright, clearly worried that the older male was actually angry at him.  Which he was, but it was hard to remember why when Yugyeom was making sad-eyes at him and his hair was matted down like that.  He looked like a half-drowned puppy.  “Hand,” he snapped, holding one out for Yugyeom, not at all intending to spend a minute more in the storm than necessary.  Yugyeom immediately held his out, seeming to perk up a little when Jinyoung’s fingers curled around his and began marching him home.

Pleased that Youngjae had listened, by the time that they were inside, Bambam had just out of the shower, wrapped in fluffy towels as Youngjae was rubbing another on his dripping hair as the younger omega giggled.  No matter that it was a little crowded with all four of them, Jinyoung made a point of leading Yugyeom directly into the bathroom, wincing at the feeling of cold clothes sticking uncomfortably to his skin.  “Shower,” he ordered, “I’ll get your clothes.”

“But, hyung, you –“

“I’ll shower next, just get yourself warmed up,” he instructed, tone no-nonsense, and was glad when Yugyeom didn’t argue again, instead beginning to peel out of his own clothes before the elder had even left.  He completed his self-designated task quickly, grabbing a pair of sweats for the younger to wear after he got out, and then going into the kitchen to put the kettle on for tea.  It wasn’t uncomfortably cold outside, but it was still cool and much too cool to be running around soaking wet.

After doing that, and hearing that the water had been shut off, he went to grab a warm, dry outfit for himself and went into the bathroom for his own shower, glad to shed the still-wet clothes.  He winced a little when they hit the floor with a wet slap, not looking forward to cleaning up the mess, but that would have to wait for later.  Yugyeom offered a guilty smile when their paths crossed, but Jinyoung was more focused on slipping into the cubicle, putting the water on as hot as he could stand it, eyes slipping shut as steam wreathed around him.  His limbs and hands, beginning to feel stiff with cold, warmed up quickly, and Jinyoung sighed with relief as he stood beneath the spray of water.

He heard the kettle begin to whistle, and reluctantly turned off the water, drying off thoroughly before redressing and throwing a towel over his head.  By the time he’d made it into the kitchen, Bambam had already poured tea for all of them and then skittered back into the living room (presumably to hide from Jinyoung’s wrath).  Still, a smile curled his lips when he saw that the omega had prepared his favorite tea – in his favorite mug.  Both hands wrapped around it, and pulled it up against himself, relishing the way the heat radiated into his fingers.

He lingered over the cup, leaning against the kitchen counter in sweatpants and one of Jackson’s pastel sweatshirts, until the last drop was gone.  He put his cup into the sink and rinsed it out, making a prompt decision to go lay down for a little, feeling tired for his little escapade running around in the rain.

Without warning, as he turned to walk into their bedroom, Jinyoung sneezed.

*

Jinyoung didn’t usually wake up naturally from naps; as often as not, he was woken up by one of his packmates or some schedule or another that required their attention.  They’d been given a few days off to just relax, which admittedly was a nice change of pace.  It was also why Bambam and Yugyeom had spontaneously broken off to run around outside in an impromptu tag-session that would have been a lot more adorable if a violent storm wasn’t brewing.  They were used to spending hours of their days training one way or another, often spending hours on end dancing.  No surprise with a sudden break that they still had surges of energy.

The benefits of youth, Jinyoung had figured, with exasperated affection.  He couldn’t really be upset with them; they hadn’t been trying to be frustrating.  Most of the hyungs had been more eager for the opportunity to relax for a while.  Jackson, unsurprisingly, was the only one with something resembling a schedule to attend to, or else it would have more likely been him running around after their maknaes instead of Jinyoung.

He fought another moment to keep his eyes closed, not wanting to break the spell of sleep-comfort he felt at the moment, but he wasn’t sure what time it was or how much of the day that he’d missed.  And sharing some down time with his pack was going to be an even rarer commodity in the future than it already was.  He might tease them otherwise, but Jinyoung would never wish to spend the time sleeping alone rather than spending time with his packmates.

With a small grunt of displeasure, he pushed himself to sit upright, eyes cracking open, and immediately groaned.  The shift to sit upright triggered an unwelcome pressure bearing down on his temples and chest.  He took a slow breath, experimentally, and realizing that his nose was half-stuffed.  “You have got to be kidding me,” he muttered, voice just slightly rough, in disbelief.

He’d been outside less than twenty minutes, and sure, had spent a little more in the soaked clothes trying to make sure that Bambam and Yugyeom got cleaned up and dry – but there was no way – none – that he was getting sick.  He glanced over his shoulder to check the alarm clock situated on one of the tables by the bed.  Three thirty – he’d only been out for about three hours.  A quick glance towards the window promised that the storm had truly arrived.  It was dark outside it was raining buckets, the sound drowning out anything outside of the otherwise empty bedroom, except for the odd peal of thunder.

Jinyoung peeled the covers off of his legs and swung them over the edge of the bed; out of sheer laziness he fished for a pair of slippers (Mark’s), with his toes, and slipped them on.  The bedroom felt unusually chill, despite Jackson’s stolen sweatshirt.  He pulled one of extra blankets from the foot of the bed and curled it around his shoulders, ignoring a tickle in his throat that made him want to cough, and instead headed out to see what the others were up to.

Surely, if he ignored the burgeoning symptoms, they would fade with a little bit of rest.

Unsurprisingly, he found the others crowded into the living room together.  There was an action movie playing on the television, but no one seemed to be paying overmuch attention to it.  Jaebum and Yugyeom were both laying over the couch, the beta using their alpha as a mattress, obviously asleep, nose pressed to the elder’s chest.  Jaebum’s expression was openly fond, petting their maknae’s hair absently, though at least he was pretending to care about the film playing.

Mark, Youngjae, and Bambam had wound up in some sort of omega-pile in the oversized arm chair.  Jinyoung couldn’t help a little smile of his own at the sight of them, it was pretty adorable.  Their Pack status was still relatively new, and it was a good chance just to enjoy each other’s company.  Bambam and Jackson were by far the most tactile of them, and they still managed to seem a little surprised to learn that the others were genuinely receptive.  Bambam was mostly situated on Mark’s lap, his head tucked under the redhead’s chin, but he held one of Youngjae’s hands in both of his, slender fingers tracing the shape of his palm.

Jaebum was the first to recognize his approach; he arched his head back to get a better look at Jinyoung without disturbing Yugyeom, brows furrowing a little at the sight of him.  Jinyoung managed a smile; no surprise the alpha had a feeling something was wrong with just a look.  He padded his way over to the couch, swatting at Jaebum until he sat up enough to let the beta sit down.  As soon as he was (managing not to wake Yugyeom, though the beta offered a sleepy whine before nestling more comfortably into place), Jaebum rested back on his lap, gaze critical as he took in Jinyoung’s face.

“You okay?” he asked, free hand reaching up and touching his cheek gently.  “You look a bit flushed.”

“I’m alright,” he promised, leaning a little into the touch.  “My throat is just a little scratchy.  I’ll have more tea in a bit.  It’s good.”

The alpha looked doubtful, but he didn’t make any actual protest to the words.  Jinyoung knew him well enough that Jaebum would be keeping an extra close eye on him until he was content.  None of them could take illness lightly, not with their work.  He realized quickly that the omegas on the armchair had all turned to look at him as well.  All three looked a little worried – he figured that Jaebum’s “little flushed” was probably a bit understated.

“And the maknaes can be on dinner-duty tonight so I can rest,” he added pointedly, hoping to calm their worries.  “If they have the energy to be running around in the middle of a thunderstorm, I’m sure they’ll manage to make supper.”  Bambam looked appropriately chastised, nodding quickly in agreement.  It was usually Jinyoung and Mark that stepped up for the meal-making in the dorm.  Jackson liked to help where he could, but having the busiest schedule, sometimes it genuinely felt as though he was breezing through rather than living with them.

At the same time that he was both proud of and happy for the alpha, Jinyoung knew that all of them were hoping that he would get a bit more downtime soon to spend with them.  “Would you like more tea now, hyung?” the Thai boy asked, head tilting a little where he sat.  “I can get it.”  It had always been easy to get a read on their youngest omega, and Jinyoung could tell that the offer was genuine, not just trying to placate him, assuming that he was angry.

“Sure, Bammie, that’d be nice,” he agreed, letting himself relax a little in place.  At least with Jaebum and Yugyeom so close, he didn’t feel cold anymore.  He was a little surprised when he felt Jaebum’s fingers reaching up and carding gently through his hair, and leaned into the touch.  He wasn’t really the type to look to be coddled, but who was he to deny a cuddle when it found its way to him?

Their youngest omega found his way to his feet with a little help from Mark shoving at the small of his back.  He hesitated a moment after drawing closer to Jinyoung, his eyes going a little wider than normal as he took in the sight of the beta.  Jinyoung arched a brow, not particularly enjoying the sudden scrutiny.  Bambam jumped a little, flushing, before he went on to his self-designated task, heading into the kitchen.

He didn’t expect more movement to follow, watching Mark take to his feet carefully.  The redhead padded over quickly, reaching out and pressing the back of his hand against the younger male’s forehead, making a low tsking sound in the back of his throat.  “I think you’re starting a fever,” the words were cautiously worried, but Jinyoung was already shaking his head.

“No.  I’m not getting sick.”

*

“Jaebum, I’m dying,” Jinyoung reported in a low, phlegmy croak.  He had let Bambam and Mark fret over him the day before, falling asleep after managing only a few bites of the dinner that Bambam and Yugyeom had put together.  He remembered nodding off on the couch, a rare moment that they didn’t eat together at the table.  He’d woken up in the spare bedroom; it hadn’t seen much use since their Bonding, but he’d known precisely where he was and why he was there when he’d woken.

His sinuses were clogged and he could feel his pulse pounding, echoing in his head.  Every breath he took seemed to rattle in his chest for a while before he felt like he had any oxygen and he’d fallen into a coughing fit that hand wound up with him half-retching before he’d recuperated enough to lay back down.  His entire body screamed aches at him, and he didn’t even bother trying to get out of bed.  He felt itchy, too hot, but reason told him that he was probably running a fever and it was his body lying to him.

He’d just recovered from coughing when the door had inched open and Jaebum had slipped inside, holding a tray in both hands.  Jinyoung figured he looked every bit as bad as he felt for the way that the elder was looking down at him as he made his way to the beta’s side and set the tray over his lap.  There was tea, a brothy soup and some rice – not much, but even the sight of it made Jinyoung’s stomach twist in unrest.  Unsurprisingly there were also two bottles of medication that he knew very well that he wanted nothing to do with (as though Jaebum would give him much choice).

Jaebum’s lips twitched at his declaration, reaching up and brushing through his hair, bringing it swiftly to Jinyoung’s attention that he’d been sweating.  It itched on his scalp and over his skin, and he made a vocal noise of displeasure.

“I bet it must feel like that,” the alpha agreed in a low voice.  “But you’re not dying.”

“I don’t remember you having an MD,” Jinyoung knew the response was nothing short of snotty, but Jaebum only laughed aloud at the words.  As ever it did, the younger couldn’t help a wave of affection for his best friend.  It was one thing he’d always been grateful for, even at his cattiest, Jaebum acted charmed by him rather than irritated.  It made, even dizzy and feverish, his heart skip a beat.

“You’ve been running a fever since about midnight,” Jaebum replied simply, rather than respond to the barb.  “We’ve been checking periodically to make sure it doesn’t run too high – except Bambam and Yugyeom, anyway.  They seem to be okay, but they were running around outside too, and I didn’t want to run the risk of picking up what you have.  They’re worried about you, but I figure it’s the safer idea and appropriate punishment for running you around in that weather.”

Jinyoung accepted that for what it was, nodding a little, frowning a little when he saw Jaebum pick up a bottle of red, syrupy medicine.  “Ugh – do I have to?”  It wasn’t quite a whine but he also knew that he wouldn’t want anyone else to hear that kind of petulance from him.

Jaebum silently raised a brow at him, and Jinyoung muttered something under his breath about using his own tactics against him.  If he didn’t feel so utterly rotten, he would’ve put more fight into the protest, but as it was, it was taking the bulk of his effort to stay mostly upright.  Jaebum seemed to sense it, situating himself on the edge of the bed well within reach.  He poured a full spoon of the vibrant red medicine, bringing it pointedly to Jinyoung’s lips; he let the alpha feed him, grimacing as he swallowed the bitter liquid, the faux-cherry flavoring doing nothing to mask its taste.

A second spoonful followed the first, this one a blue-purple color that was no more palatable, and Jinyoung slumped against the pillows behind him, giving his best friend a betrayed look.  Jaebum only smiled affectionately at him, reaching out and stroking through his hair soothingly.  The fingers felt like heaven against his scalp, dislodging his sweat-clumped hair and he leaned heavily against the contact, trusting that Jaebum would linger with him a little.

“The first time we’ve had a decent break and I have to get the plague?” he complained, letting his heavy eyes slide closed.  His voice sounded coarse in his own ears, pausing to take a slow breath, actively feeling the sludge in his lungs.  “This is stupid.”

“I agree entirely,” the alpha answered, the ghost of a smile lingering at the corner of his lips, fingers sliding back to toy gently at the Mark he’d left on the back of his nape, sending warmth in comforting waves down his spine.  “Let’s get some food in you, and then back to sleep – the more you rest right now, the better.”

The last thing he wanted at the moment was to try to eat, and his expression must have done the talking for him.  Jaebum shifted a little closer, picking up a spoonful of rice, dipping it into the broth to soak up the warm liquid.  “Come on, baby,” he urged gently, bringing it to Jinyoung’s lips.  The beta almost complained again – sure, he felt like death vaguely warmed over, but he could at least feed himself.  Jaebum didn’t even blink, staring at him until the beta sighed softly.  He accepted the bite begrudgingly, having to admit, even just to himself, that the warmth felt nice on his throat.

He knew Jaebum wouldn’t be content until he’d made an honest effort of it, so he didn’t bother arguing, letting the alpha feed him until he’d managed about half of each of the bowls.  When he knew he couldn’t eat anymore, he shook his head in protest, turning away.  For just a moment, Jaebum looked like he wanted to argue, but he subsided, frowning a little.  Jinyoung started at a touch against his forehead again, having nearly instantly drifted off, blearily blinking up towards the elder.  “You’re getting hotter,” he muttered.

Jinyoung attempted a grin.  “I distinctly remember you saying something about how I couldn’t get any hotter,” he bartered – and then almost instantly choked on a sharp intake of air, and fell into a coughing fit.  Jaebum’s arms curled immediately around him, trying to hold him in place as Jinyoung spasmed, trying desperately to try to catch his breath again.  His throat burned like fire, and his vision had gone blurry before he managed to regain control, hands clutching hard at Jaebum as he struggled to breathe.

He heard the door open – wanted to look and see who was there, but he clung onto Jaebum instead.  He felt dizzy with the coughing fit, and he recognized Mark by the bright red blur of his hair as the eldest omega approached the bed.  Jinyoung felt the other pair exchange worried glances, before there were cold fingers pressing against his forehead and cheeks.  Mark’s hands were often cold, but they felt like ice against his skin, and he sighed a little at the soothing sensation.

“His fever is rising again.”  Mark sounded worried.  “I’m going to get a cold compress and the thermometer.”

“No doctors,” Jinyoung grumbled, voice even more strangled than before from his most recent fit.  He managed to glare up at Mark, as though his irritation was going to punctuate the demand.

The omega’s mouth tightened in irritation, though Jinyoung knew him well enough to see that it was only poorly masked concern.  “If your fever runs too high, we’re taking you to the hospital, Jinyoung,” he said flatly, brooking no room for an argument.  “You’ve gotten close already.”  He paused to look down at the tray Jaebum had carried in, evaluating its lingering contents.  “He took the medicine?”

Yes,” Jinyoung grumbled.  “I took the medicine.  And you don’t have to talk about me like I’m not here.  I’m sick, not dead.”

“That’s not what you said a minute ago,” Jaebum teased him, and Jinyoung took a little comfort in that; he couldn’t have been that bad off if Jae was teasing him like that.

“I said I was dying, not dead,” he pointed out, and pointed a finger at his alpha’s nose.  “And no one likes a pedant.”

Mark laughed softly overhead, and the cool fingers pulled away.  “Alright, I’ll be right back with that compress if you promise to get along until I get back.”

“What about kissing and making up?”  Jinyoung asked archly, which made Mark laugh again and Jaebum wrinkle his nose at him in reply.

“No biological warfare,” the omega said firmly, reaching down and gently squeezing Jinyoung’s shoulder in sympathy before slipped away.

Jinyoung flagged a little, the exchange taking much more out of him than it really had any right to.  He felt Jaebum pull him closer and made a cursory attempt to push away; Mark really was right, the last thing that they needed was for Jaebum (or any of the others) to get sick, too.  He also knew very well that exposure to rain wasn’t really what made him sick, but he wagered it didn’t help, and if there was something going around the last thing he wanted to do was usher it to any of his packmates.  Jaebum didn’t seem in the least perturbed by the token protest, rubbing comfortingly over his back.

The moment passed in easy silence before Mark returned, helping Jinyoung get situated as Jaebum took the tray back out of the room.  A thermometer was placed firmly beneath his tongue and cool, damp fabric settled on his forehead.  He was half asleep by the time that it beeped and Mark made a fussy noise overhead reading the result.  Still, he didn’t say anything about getting a doctor, so Jinyoung figured he was okay for the moment.  He was three quarters asleep when blankets were dragged up to his chin and the last thing he registered was a kiss left at the top of his forehead – then comforting darkness.

*~*~*
Jinyoung had no idea what time it was when he woke again, beyond knowing that some measure of time had passed.  And that, somehow, he felt even worse.  The compress was gone, and there were curtains drawn over the window that made guessing a time of day pretty much impossible.  The pounding in his head adopted a steady rhythm and his bladder was screaming at him, undoubtedly what pushed him awake.  With considerable effort, he managed to push himself upright, feeling like the air around him was tar.  He pulled the blankets off of him, wrinkling his nose at the dampened feel of the fabric.

He inched his way to the edge of the bed, his feet felt like weights had been attached to them and he needed to take a moment to catch his breath.  He pushed one hand hard into the bridge of his nose, trying to adjust to the pressure he felt there, wetly clearing his throat.  It took him another two or three minutes to get himself onto his feet, having to grab onto the night stand next to the bed to keep his feet.  He felt woozy, bracing himself through the world spinning around him for the moment.  Once it settled a little, he pushed himself to stand again, gauging the distance to the door and how confident he felt about covering it.  At least most of the way he could follow the bed and have something to grab onto.

He barely went a few steps before he saw the door open, the surprise making him stumble on his weighted feet.  “Jinyoung!”  Jackson’s familiar voice sounded worried, and in the next moment there were muscular arms winding around him, hauling him upright again.  He wondered if it was a bad thing that he only recognized the alpha by the sound of his voice, having a hard time seeing straight, despite his closeness  “What are you doing out of bed, are you crazy?”

“Gotta pee,” he muttered, far too exhausted to do anything except answer, pushing his forehead into Jackson’s broad shoulder, hoping that it would stop the rapid spin the world decided to repeat.  He wasn’t sure if he was relieved or more nauseated as he felt himself shift, realizing that Jackson had scooped his legs up to cradle the bigger beta against his chest.  Something, for sure, to be said for alpha-strength and Jackson’s rigorous training schedule.

“Come on,” the voice just overhead was gentle, and Jinyoung distantly felt guilty.  Jackson never responded well when any of them got sick; maybe it was something remnant that he carried with his mother’s illness, but he fretted worse than the rest of them combined.  He carried Jinyoung easily out of the room and towards the bathroom, calling out Jaebum’s name as he went.

Pride flattened like vellum in the face of his pounding head and aching body, Jinyoung made no complaints as Jackson helped him go the bathroom, afterwards sitting him on the closed toilet and beginning to pull his clothes off.  The cool air on his fevered skin made him break out in gooseflesh, and Jinyoung protested on a whine, breaking off when there was a knock on the door – then Jaebum was there.

“Jacks?” the elder alpha asked carefully, obviously questioning what the younger was up to.

“Get him into a bath,” Jackson instructed flatly, using both hands to try to keep Jinyoung upright when the beta started tilting alarmingly to one side.  “As steamy as you can get it, it might help break up the crud in his lugs a bit.  I’d say a shower, but I don’t know that he could stand up that long.  He’s completely doused in sweat – the bed’s saturated, too.  If you can handle him, I’ll take care of that and bring some new pajamas; he needs to get clean and dry.”  Jinyoung pouted a little at the hard tone to his voice – it wasn’t like he was trying to be sweaty.  Jackson’s face swam into focus a moment later, the alpha’s expression going soft as his thumb slipped over his cheek.  “You’re with us?”

Jinyoung groaned out in protest, clenching his eyes shut.  Jaebum, apparently sensing the wisdom of Jackson’s instructions, quickly moved to obey, moving to turn on the spigot.  It was only a few moments he seemed satisfied with the water’s temperature, moving to pull something from beneath the sink, Jinyoung realizing a moment later it was some sort of bath salt – menthol, he thought, though he wouldn’t put much faith in his sense of smell at the moment.

The beta didn’t make any protest as he was handed from one alpha’s attention to the other, Jaebum easily picking him up and helping him situate in the rising bath water.  Distantly, he heard Jackson gathering together his clothes before heading out of the room altogether, obviously intending to complete his self-designated tasks.  Jinyoung flagged reluctantly against the cool tile behind him.  He felt filthy and uncomfortable in his own skin, but the hot-and-cold sensation between the water and the ceramic wasn’t helping.  Jaebum cooed something sympathetic overhead, but honestly Jinyoung couldn’t piece together if they were words.

The steam from the water seemed to help after a little time had passed, and the beta willed his body to soak in the heat as he felt Jaebum’s calloused fingers slowly moving over his skin.  It took calculated thought to piece together that the older male had wash cloth in his hand, soaping up the beta from tip to toes.  It wasn’t as though Jaebum wasn’t intimately familiar with every inch of him, so Jinyoung willed himself to just relax.  He whined out in protest when he realized the water was draining away, but he sighed softly when the alpha compensated, turning on the showerhead (carefully tilted not to spray directly into his face), as the dirty water strained out.  It was mechanical, Jaebum washing his hair and even though he wasn’t going to be anywhere but bed in the near future, following with conditioner.

After the scrubbing was completed, the alpha ran the hot water around him again, letting the beta soak.  He didn’t mince words – the pair long since really needed words, and Jinyoung wasn’t entirely sure that he could focus even if he wanted to.  Jaebum was crouched just outside of the tub, stroking his hair and neck and shoulders, even though he had to be horribly uncomfortable remaining in that position for so long.

“You shouldn’t –“ his voice sounded like sandpaper in his own ears, and he swallowed thickly before trying again.  “You’ll get sick.”

Jaebum, initially, had seemed a little startled and a little hurt, before he huffed out at the beta’s words.  “Shut up,” he instructed, though there was obvious affection in the words.  “I’m not going anywhere, baby.  Mark and Youngjae are on maknae duty – they’re a little under the weather, but nothing like you’ve got.  Jackson got back last night and he’s keeping everybody situated, and my job is to take care of you.  You’re not getting rid of me that easily.”

Jinyoung didn’t have it in him to argue further, though he knew he’d feel responsible if the elder did wind up getting sick.  He blinked slowly when Jackson returned a little later, holding clean clothes and putting them onto the counter.  He helped Jaebum pull Jinyoung out of the tub, dry him off, and get him redressed.  When he was carted back into bed, it was to warm, dry blankets and Jinyoung snuggled in eagerly, but wasn’t allowed to sleep without Jaebum glaring him into submission, very reluctantly accepting another dosage of the medication.

He knew that there were plenty of things for the elder to do, but he absolutely couldn’t complain about falling asleep to the slow rhythm of Jaebum’s fingers stroking over his skin, the alpha staying close by his side long after he drifted to sleep.

*~*~*

The next three days blurred together in a state of similar misery.  He spent most of them time by himself, heavily medicated and sleeping, but when he was awake enough to be cognizant of his surroundings, someone would appear as though summoned.  Usually it was Jaebum, which made sense, considering his reporting that Mark and Youngjae were keeping an eye on the maknaes, or Jackson.  It was early, by the reckoning of the glowing alarm clock on the bedside table, but he realized with pleasant surprise, he could actually breathe through his nose.  Mostly.

Still, it seemed a development worthy of celebration, and he stood slowly, running a quick inventory of how he felt.  His body ached from the days of sickness and an unusual lack of movement.  He could feel that there was crud in his lungs, but it wasn’t so thick that he felt like he was suffocating.  His head ached, but dully now; he could think clearly.  He was also cautiously optimistic to realize that he was actually a little bit hungry.

He headed into the kitchen; at five o’clock in the morning, everyone else was still likely sleeping, but he didn’t need to wake anybody up to get himself something to eat.  He certainly didn’t expect to see anybody in the kitchen already, but Yugyeom was standing there, the beta looking a picture of misery, red-nosed and sleepy-eyed.  At the sight of Jinyoung, though, his eyes shot open, mouth falling open, looking equal parts delighted and worried.

“What are you doing out of bed so early?”  Jinyoung surprised himself by being the one to voice the words, voice still scratchy, but worlds better than it had been in the past few days.  He didn’t have the opportunity to filter what was happening before he felt arms wrap around him and he was physically hefted into the air against the bigger beta’s body.  Strong arms squeezed him almost painfully tight against the younger male, and he huffed out, after several long minutes, to be let down.

He felt a little lightheaded and definitely relieved to be returned to his feet, but his eyes widened in worry when he realized that Yugyeom was actually teary-eyed as he looked down at the older male.  “What’s the matter?” he asked, glancing around to see if there were any of the others there, or some kind of indication of what was upsetting their overgrown maknae.  He didn’t like seeing the younger so obviously distressed, and if one of the others had intentionally riled him up, Jinyoung was going to very promptly put an end to it.

“You’re okay!”  It was debatably one of the last things he was anticipating, much less the palpable relief in Yugyeom’s tone.

“Of course I’m okay,” he replied, brows furrowing, reaching to pat the younger’s shoulder.  “Kind of hungry, but definitely okay,” he mitigated after a moment, glancing towards the refrigerator after a moment.  “Why wouldn’t I be okay?”

Yugyeom frowned at him, unamused by the lame attempt at humor.  “They’ve been talking about having to bring you to the hospital for days, hyung,” the tall beta said quietly.  It was abundantly obvious that Yugyeom’s worry was completely genuine.  “And if it wasn’t for me and Bambam, you wouldn’t have gotten sick in the first place.”

Ah.  Guilt.  Jinyoung shook his head a little, seeing how Yugyeom’s head hung, ducking so that he could meet his eyes.  “You and Bam didn’t get me sick,” he replied simply.  “I’m not going to get sick because of a little bit of rain.”  The younger’s eyes flashed after a moment and Jinyoung had to bit into a laugh, coughing wetly, but not losing his breath, at least.  “Okay, or a lot of rain – I got sick because I caught some kind of a bug.  It happens.  You know that, Yug – with our schedules and traveling around, it’s unavoidable.”

“You were really sick.”  The words were simple, but it made Jinyoung’s heart clench in his chest.

“And I’m feeling much better,” he said firmly; even though he was standing at an approximate sixty percent at the moment, the words really were true.  “You don’t look exactly one hundred percent yourself,” he pointed out, gesturing loosely to the beta’s red nose and pallid complexion.

Yugyeom shook his head.  “A cold,” he said dismissively.  “Nothing like you, hyung.  You should get back to bed; it’s important that you rest as much as possible, the hyungs said so.”  Jinyoung knew without having to ask that he probably meant Jackson and Jaebum with the words, and he shook his head fondly.

“I want some juice and something to eat,” he replied. “Want to help?”

He knew that Yugyeom wouldn’t be able to deny the offer, even wanting the elder to go back to bed.  True to his suspicions, the younger herded him to sit at the breakfast bar, moving into the living room long enough to grab a blanket and wrap it securely around the older beta’s shoulders.  Once Yugyeom was satisfied with how bundled up the elder was, he set about making some tea and rifling through the fridge.  “Is there anything special you want to eat, hyung?”  The beta’s voice was wary, seemingly worried about making a decision Jinyoung wouldn’t like.

“Anything but soup,” he answered dryly.  It was touching that Yugyeom was so eager, but he didn’t like that he seemed uncomfortable.  “Eggs would be nice if we have any,” he added when the younger continued to look unsure.  If nothing else, the direct answer seemed to help, and the tall beta nodded eagerly and turned back to the fridge to dig through its contents.

Jinyoung let himself relax, slouching forward against the breakfast bar as he watched the younger beta.  The request was a simple one, and better than that, eggs didn’t take long.  Frankly the act of chewing in and of itself was going to be something of a novelty.  Just like being out of the guest bedroom was a pleasant change of pace.  He’d been in the same space for days on end and as grateful as he was for Jaebum and Jackson for watching out for him, he’d been unusually lonely.

Within a few minutes, Yugyeom was plating scrambled eggs and putting them on the counter in front of him.  “I’m going to make some tea, too – do you want juice instead?  Or both?”

“Juice, if we have orange,” he answered.  Tea had been a blessing for his throat, but right at the moment, he was fairly okay with the idea of never seeing a cup of the stuff again.

Yugyeom, still overeager, had a glass put on the counter in what felt like seconds.  Jinyoung smiled quickly in gratitude, taking his first bite of non-soup in days.  Unsurprisingly, the eggs were on the bland side, but it was certainly edible.  He was perfectly aware of Yugyeom’s attempt to “subtly” watch him from the corner of his eyes.

A little exasperated, but mostly fond, Jinyoung took mercy on the younger male.  “It’s good, Yug,” he promised simply.  “You did a good job.”  He could practically see tension drain from the younger beta’s roader shoulders, and he smiled back towards Jinyoung with relief.  He picked up his own cup of tea and quickly walked over to sit beside the elder, shifting a little closer.  “You probably shouldn’t get too close,” he pointed out, but didn’t mean it, and didn’t really want him to listen.

“I missed you, hyung,” Yugyeom said softly, and Jinyoung couldn’t help but melt a little in response.  “We all did, I mean,” the younger attempted to prevaricate before sounding too soft.  “Just – our first real break together and we couldn’t see you.”  That the youngest phrased it that way – we couldn’t see you – rather than “you couldn’t be there”, it made something in his chest warm all over again. 

“Hey!”  The blurted objection surprised both of them, starting in place before turning to face the new speaker.  A blearily-blinking Mark stood in the doorway of the bedroom.  “What are you doing out of bed, Jinyoung?”

The beta stifled a bark of laughter at the outraged tone form the omega, and watched the redhead draw closer rather than immediately answering.  Mark reached up and pressed his hand against the beta’s forehead.  The concern on his face receded a little as he glanced over the younger.  “Well, your fever has finally broken,” he pointed out, tone and expression warring between relief and displeasure that Jinyoung had left his bed without checking.  “At least you shouldn’t be contagious anymore.”

Jinyoung only smiled a little at his fussing before wrapping an arm around Mark’s slim waist before pulling him closer.  He wasn’t sure if he would dare risk a kiss (more for the sake of Mark’s health than anything else), but he wanted the contact.  The omega fought a smile, but lost quickly, leaning into the broader male.  “You’d better not be contagious anymore,” he added, without any heat, nosing a little at the younger’s dark hair.

There was a beat of amiable silence, but when the door opened again, Jinyoung didn’t even bother feigning surprise, seeing Bambam trail out of the bedroom.  He seemed to take a few long seconds to register Jinyoung’s presence there, round eyes going wide at the sight of Jinyoung with the others.  A bright smile followed after a moment and he practically launched himself over with a delighted cry of the beta’s name.  He barely had time to brace himself before he had his arms full of the omega, Bambam squeezing onto him, half-babbling his relief that the elder was okay.

Jinyoung only laughed and gave the younger male an affectionate nuzzle.  With the youngest omega’s vocal exuberance, it was little surprise that the rest of the pack stirred – and followed.  It would’ve been more than fair for any of them to be irritated, woken so early while they were on break, but as Youngjae and the two alphas left the recesses of their shared room, there was only a sense of mixed relief and pleasure on seeing Jinyoung out of bed and coherent.  It was only a matter of moments before the beta found himself in the middle of something of a dog-pile.

Laughing despite himself, he managed to worm his way free after a few minutes, complaining that he was being squashed to death, and he half-blindly swatted out (earning a pout from Youngjae when he missed) when Jaebum, affectionately, pointed out that per Jinyoung’s complaining, he’d already been dead for several days.

*

It took another two days before Jinyoung felt almost entirely human again – two days being coddled, cuddled, and snuggled by every single member of his Pack.  True to nature, he complained loudly, and absolutely loved every minute of it.  Right at the moment he was wedged between Bambam and Yugyeom – the maknaes, despite repeated promises that he didn’t blame them for his illness, were (even for them) unusually cuddly, and even Jinyoung couldn’t bring himself to push them away.

The rest of his pack wasn’t far behind – Jackson had hauled Youngjae into his lap on the other side of the Yugyeom, the omega quite content for where he was cuddled, nosing a little into the alpha’s neck.  Mark was sitting on the ground, his back lodged between Jinyoung’s legs – as close to the beta as he could be without relocate the maknaes.  There was some movie playing on the television, but Jinyoung would be hard pressed to say what it was or what had happened so far.

Jaebum had been on the other side of Bambam, but had abandoned the couch a few moments before, returning with a large bowl of popcorn that he plopped into Jinyoung’s lap, given the beta’s conveniently centralized location.  Jinyoung couldn’t help a smile when the alpha ruffled his hair affectionately.  He cleared his throat absently as he took his seat again, situated on the other side of Bambam.  Jinyoung couldn’t help but glance up and over at the sound, arching a brow at the older male, taking in the alpha’s handsome features, brows furrowing at the little splash of red over his nose and cheeks.

“What?” Jaebum asked, just a trifle defensively.  Without needing a word, the beta tilted his head a little at his hyung, and though on cue, the alpha abruptly sneezed.  Every head immediately turned to their alpha, Jaebum’s expression immediately shifted to absolute denial.  “No,” he said, the words as much plea as refusal, and Jinyoung couldn’t help a little sympathy or a little rush of guilt.  “I am not sick.”