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sometimes love is a long time coming

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16:38

 

Jaemin swears, swears it on his favorite 9-year-old baby blue sweater (that was Jeno’s at some point, but it’s his now okay), that it was in fact, not his fault.

 

And besides, the pink haired boy further reasons to himself, Jeno would forgive me. He always does after a few snuggles. The whole big scary alpha image is a scam, one kiss to the cheek and Jeno is his.

 

To his defense, it really was not the younger’s fault.

 

It was Youngjae’s, the admittedly handsome head alpha of the Moon Pack. He was the one who had cornered the pink haired boy earlier after class.

 

It was a normal Friday afternoon, Jaemin walking out of his 4 PM Biology class (not his brightest idea). He was heading towards the school gym to meet up with his friends when a hand caught his wrist and roughly pulled him towards a hard chest.

 

When the shock wore off and the pink haired boy gathered his senses, he immediately lifted his head to face the culprit, ready to chew them out.

 

And he would have, if the culprit wasn’t at least a head taller than him.

 

Being bigger than Jaemin is not usual, since he was pretty tall for an omega. Standing almost at the same height as alphas like Jeno and Jisung, and even taller than his older brother Mark. Moments like this though, made Jaemin feel incredibly small.

 

Uneasiness instantly flooded through his stomach. This isn’t the first time Youngjae tried to get his attention, but this was the first time he got physical.

 

Jaemin has never been put in this kind of situation. If anyone had the audacity to be any form of rough towards him, Mark would have their head. Well, if Jeno hadn’t dismantled and devoured said head already, that is.

 

But Mark wasn’t here. The head alpha of the Dream pack was in the university half an hour away and wouldn’t be released till 6:00 in the evening. Besides, Youngjae only began bothering him once Mark had already graduated. Mark might be small and gentle, but Mark could be downright terrifying if he wants to be. To others, at least.

 

And Jeno, who was easily the strongest fighter of their pack, was clearly not here either. None of the dreamies were, as the pink haired boy likes to call them.

 

Jaemin tries to pull away from the taller’s grasp, but the other wouldn’t budge. Youngjae simply smirks, tightening his hold, “Hey there, pretty thing.”

 

The smaller boy shudders in disgust but bites his tongue.

 

He wasn’t weak, hell no. What were the training sessions with Jeno for if it weren’t to defend himself? But Jaemin sizes the taller up, with his big hands and bulging biceps, and comes to the conclusion that if a fight were to break out between them, there would be a clear winner.

 

Jaemin is a lot of things but he isn’t stupid, and so he keeps his mouth shut.

 

“Where’s your shadow?” The taller asks with a smirk, mockingly searching behind Jaemin.

 

The shorter boy tenses and scrambles to make up a response that could get him out of there, “Uh, he’s uh waiting for me! In the gym! Y-yeah, and I need to go now sorry, he might worry if I don’t get there soon—”

 

He tried to pull away a second time, and to no avail.

 

“What’s the hurry, Nana?” Youngjae says, making the other frown. “I just wanna talk.”

 

The pink haired boy giggles nervously, “Y-yeah, okay. What did you wanna tell me?”

 

The taller boy reaches one of his meaty hands out to tuck a stray piece of hair behind his ear. Jaemin was all for being touchy and all kinds of skinship, but it was only for the people he loved. Otherwise, it would just be uncomfortable.

 

“What I always say, pretty thing. I want you to be mine. You never respond to my advances, and I’m starting to get a little impatient. You’re not just pretty, aren’t you, Nana? You know it’s not smart to make me angry.”

 

Okay, Jaemin thinks. Not good. “Uh.”

 

I can make a run for it, Jaemin thinks, I can punch him quickly, thumbs outside and force released forward just like Jeno taught him. Then run like my ass was on fire.

 

But he belatedly realizes that Youngjae was the co-captain of the track team, and Coach Yuta specifically hates Jaemin the most just because he can never be bothered to even pretend to run during gym class.

 

If I make a run for it, Youngjae’s gonna catch me quicker than I can scream for any of the dreamies and rip me apart. Prom’s coming up soon and like hell I’d show up with a black eye.

 

A dark expression settles over the taller’s face. “You’re about to be of age soon. Pretty thing like you shouldn’t be going around without a mate.”

 

Deep down, the pink haired boy knew he was right. Usually, wolves would have found their mates before they are of age. Jisung and Chenle knew they were each other’s way before they could walk, and Mark and Donghyuck were a little late to realize but they’ve gotten their heads out of their asses by now. But, Nana…. well, Nana wasn’t quite ready.

 

Wasn’t ready for what? He couldn’t even say to himself.

 

He takes a peek at the other and to his horror, Youngjae’s eyes started turning yellow. “You’re going to be mine, pretty thing. No one can touch you. I’ll make sure your brother and I and the rest of your pack won’t have any trouble. That is, as long your shadow can keep his hands to himself.”

 

“Wha—but I-I uh” The pink haired boy sputters. In his panic to come up with an excuse (He doesn’t want to be some nasty alpha’s bride thank you very much), he exclaims, “I already have a mate!”

 

Within seconds, Youngjae’s expression turn from shock to sour, “You’re lying. I don’t smell any other alpha on you.”

 

The smaller boy can feel sweat trickling down his temple and in his panicked haze, he manages to croak out, “Jeno! I-It’s Jeno!”

 

The pink haired boy mentally scolds himself for dragging the alpha into this, but he was the only acceptable answer. Jaemin usually smelled like a mix of his pack members’ scents and Jeno was the only unmated alpha who was not his brother.

 

Jaemin feels a sudden ache to his waist, making him yelp. Belatedly, he realizes that Youngjae’s claws were coming out.

 

“I thought I told your shadow that you were mine. I specifically told him to stay the fuck away.”

 

The omega inside Jaemin was terrified and apologetic, but the human Jaemin needed to be held back by his wolf from spitting on the other. Jaemin was not owned by anyone, not even by Jeno or Mark or any of the dreamies, and especially not by this stupid arrogant alpha. Jaemin was his own and his alone.

 

However, human Jaemin was also smartly terrified.

 

Smartly, he gathers his bearings and tries to do what he does best. Worm his way out of shit.

 

A little ease makes its way through Jaemin’s stomach as he sees some sort of understanding click inside Youngjae. The lies come easy to him then.

 

My mate can already feel that something’s wrong. Not that I’m accusing you of anything,” Jaemin smiles sweetly, a smile that says I will find a way to end you, you big buffoon, and with a sense of satisfaction, he sees Youngjae a little taken aback, by his words or by his smile, Jaemin doesn’t even care anymore, “but my mate won’t have a hard time finding me and he might misunderstand once he does,” his smile widens, a blaze in his eyes that would make Renjun proud, “We don’t want the janitor to have a hard time scrubbing blood off the floor.”

 

Youngjae clearly sees this for the threat that it is, his nose flaring and his eyes turning even more yellow. It was an insulting threat for traditional alphas like Youngjae, to come from someone of Jaemin’s status, the younger thinks with disgust, but they both know it was also an honest one.

 

Youngjae might be way bigger than Jeno, but Jeno was a natural fighter. A really dirty one too, if the person he’s fighting calls for it. They both know that the only reason why Jeno’s been letting Youngjae off was because Jeno and Jaemin both thought he was all talk.

 

Apparently knowing how to use his last half braincell, Youngjae hesitantly let goes of Jaemin’s waist, and backs away, eyes cold and hard and promising.

 

Promising what, Jaemin can’t be bothered to think about.

 

When the larger boy’s figure disappears, Jaemin lets out a shuddery breath and pulls out his phone.

 

He was already walking towards the school’s exist when he clicks the icon of the dreamies group chat and types a quick I’m going back to the dorms.

 

 

19:48

 

Jaemin gasps at the loud sound of the door opening, still jumpy from the day’s earlier events. Chenle, who was sitting across from him in the kitchen, looks at him weirdly.

 

Chenle clearly knew there was something wrong the moment he walked in the dorms, but took one look in Jaemin’s eyes and decided to keep his mouth shut and the older absolutely loves and adores him for it, seriously, the world would be much happier if it was filled with more Chenles.

 

Jeno walks in the kitchen, shoulders tense and eyes searching. When his gaze lands on Nana, leaning against the kitchen counter, he closes the distance between them immediately.

 

“Are you hurt?” He asks, incredibly wired, like he was going to go berserk if Jaemin answers yes, lifting Jaemin’s chin to check on his face, touching his neck, his arms, his hands, and even turning him around to check on his body.

 

The youngest looks at both of them in wonder and just a little bit exasperation. He clears his throat when Jaemin, pink-cheeked and uncharacteristically speechless, does nothing but mumble a soft I’m okay, “Why? What happened? And why are you here so early, hyung? I thought training was going to finish really late?”

 

The elder kept his eyes on Jaemin for a few more seconds, intense and unbelieving, before shifting his gaze to the youngest and, to both the surprise of Chenle and Jaemin, honest to God smirks and answers, “I left training early to look for my mate.”

 

Jaemin freezes, out of words and eyes impossibly wide as Chenle’s jaw drops to the floor. Almost choking on his words, the youngest looks at Jaemin and then back at Jeno, before letting out a shrill, “I didn’t know you had a mate!”

 

Jeno smiles, teasing, still worried and angry, but tries to lighten the mood for the youngest’s sake, “If it’s any consolation, until a few minutes ago, I didn’t know either.”

 

Before Chenle could ask the hundred million questions he wanted to fling at the older, Jeno beats him to it, leaning across the counter to ruffle his hair, “I’ll explain everything later. Eat up first, okay? Soccer team was already cleaning up as I left, Jisung’s coming home soon.”

 

Without waiting for the younger’s reply, Jeno wraps a hand around the pink haired boy’s wrist and wordlessly walks into Jaemin’s room.

 

The younger immediately flops down on his bed, pressing his back halfway across the headboard.

 

When Jeno closes the door to Jaemin’s room, there eyes connect and a silent understanding passes through them. “You can drop the act now, Nana. It’s just me.”

 

And Jaemin does, because for all his brattiness and bitchiness, he has always been a softie at heart. His chin trembles, the knowledge that he can let his defenses down now that Jeno is here hitting him hard.

 

The elder looks at him knowingly and doesn’t waste a single second before tossing his duffel bag somewhere across the room and taking off his basketball jersey and, Jaemin notes with an embarrassing tint to his cheek, everything else.

 

Through the blur of his tears, the younger only manages to see wide shoulders, a broad chest, and the faint line of Jeno’s hard-earned abs before the sound of crackling bones echoes throughout the room.

 

One second his best friend in his very attractive human form was standing by his door, the next, Jeno’s wolf, a large and beautiful and magnificent brown beast, was crawling up his bed, licking his face clean of tears.

 

Jaemin made a sound of mock disgust, “You’re slobbering all over me!” and the big bad scary wolf whines, so Jaemin kisses his nose and ruffles the fur by his neck to let him know that he was just teasing.

 

Jaemin sags in relief at the elder’s actions. This is what they do. From the years and years of friendship, they managed to find out that the best way to comfort each other was through familiarity.

 

Like this, everything about Jeno was amplified. His scent was everywhere, and the younger can’t find it in himself to be ashamed of pressing his cheek to the wolf’s back and inhaling.

 

This is home. He would never tell anyone of this and he couldn’t explain it himself, but Jeno’s was his favorite scent.

 

The other boy smelled of the salty wind on the ocean’s shores, smelled of the flowers in the field they used to run at back when they were still kids and back when Jaemin was still interested in any form of physical activity, smelled of wildfire, smelled of grass and sand and smoke, smelled of hunting, smelled of Mark’s old denim jacket and Renjun’s shampoo and Chenle’s hug and Jisung’s teasing fists and Hyuck’s kisses. smelled of Jaemin, as Jaemin smelled of him, each passing day more difficult to figure out where the other begins and where the other ends. smelled of familiarity. smelled of comfort and trust and home.

 

 

23:13

 

Jaemin only finds out he fell asleep when he opens his eyes and doesn’t find himself in front of a beautiful brown wolf, but instead, finds himself in the arms of his best friend in his very much human and very much naked form.

 

The eyes that were looking into his were open and knowing, like its owner has been awake for a while or hadn’t been sleeping in the first place.

 

“You’re naked,” Jaemin breathes out, voice raspy from sleep. Jeno shudders and they both pretend it’s from the cold.

 

“Tell me you don’t enjoy it.” Jeno’s voice was teasing, but his eyes were soft, far away from the cold hard look he always sports outside these four walls.

 

They just look at each other for a moment, calm yet intense, probing yet gentle, before the pink haired boy breaks their moment by giggling.

 

Jeno smiles at him for a second, before his face goes completely serious, “I should’ve been there. I should’ve helped. When Mark finds out, he’ll have all of our heads. I can’t—I’m gonna kill that prick—if anything happened to you I—”

 

Before he could continue, Jaemin quietly shushes him.

 

There was something quiet and unspoken crackling inside the room. An energy making its way in them, between them, through them.

 

The younger fixes him with a hard look before baring his neck to the other. Jeno doesn’t even hesitate and immediately presses his nose against the younger’s throat, breathing him in, tamping down the urge to press his lips as well. or his teeth. or his tongue.

 

The feeling has always been there, but today it was buzzing in the air. If I touched it, Jaemin thinks, I’d be electrified.

 

“None of this is your fault,” His voice going softer and softer, the pink haired boy closes his eyes, presses his bared neck to the elder’s face even further, “It’s not one’s fault but Youngjae’s. You couldn’t have known he would do that. He must’ve known you’d be at training and timed it perfectly.”

 

“It’d be easier if I could….” A slow burn was making its way through Jeno’s body, settling in the bottom of his stomach.

 

From the sound of his voice alone, Jaemin didn’t have to look at the other to know that Jeno’s eyes have turned yellow. didn’t have to look in the mirror to know that his has turned as well too.

 

Jaemin knows the exact moment Jeno’s claws come out, because it scratches at his hip, and makes him unconsciously press his hips against the elder’s.

 

“Easier if you could?” The younger asks, but deep down he thinks he already knows the answer. Can practically see the words forming in Jeno’s mouth, can practically taste it.

 

Jeno makes a low growling sound from the back of his throat, accidentally brushing his lips against the hollow of the younger’s neck, and Jaemin’s eyes almost rolls to the back of his head. If the younger had been standing up, he’d have fallen on his face.

 

“Easier if you could what?” Jaemin asks again, softer, a little bit more gone.

 

Jeno pulls back and meets his eyes and the younger feels as if he has swallowed a ball of fire. “Easier if I could hear your thoughts,” the way he says the words was gentle, but his eyes were intense, “if I could feel your emotions.”

 

The implications of his words hit something so hard inside of Jaemin he feels he could burst, so he says the first thing he’s been wanting to say for so long, “Friends don’t do what we do. Don’t act like we do. Don’t talk like we do. Just friends don’t do this.”

 

Jeno’s eyes stare him down, so intense Jaemin feels he could catch fire. To hear someone’s thoughts and feel someone’s emotions. Those were only reserved for mated couples. Mates for life.

 

“No, they don’t.” Jeno says, low, and before the younger could say anything else, he asks, “Can I kiss you?”

 

The pink haired boy doesn’t answer, unable to let out anything but a small whimper. Slowly, he presses both palms against Jeno’s bare chest, and wraps a leg around the elder. And that was answer enough.

 

Jeno doesn’t waste a second. Leaning forward, he catches the younger’s mouth with his own. One of his hands gripping the younger’s hip, and the other traveling to the back of his neck so he can press them impossibly closer.

 

The kiss was intense and not at all soft or gentle. The kiss tasted of the violent crashing of waves against the ocean’s shore. Tasted of wildfire and ash and smoke. Tasted of wind and rain and the earth itself. The kiss was full of passion and full of love and full of fucking finally.

 

Jeno swallows the small sounds the younger lets out, swallows him whole.

 

They spend hours and hours grabbing, pressing, and biting.

 

Jaemin tells Jeno not to be gentle, and he’s not.

 

When Jaemin’s shirt and the pillows and the blankets all find themselves thrown haphazardly to the ground, and when the two boys have both tired themselves out hours and hours later, the kiss turns lazy.

 

The kiss becomes soft and gentle. The kiss becomes sand and saltwater beneath Jaemin’s feet. The kiss becomes the crunching of dried leaves and the roughness of the branches of trees. The kiss becomes a small yet unwavering flame. The kiss becomes flowers between his fingers, flowers tucked behind his ear. The kiss becomes the fabric of Mark’s favorite jacket and the softness of Renjun’s hair and the warmth of Chenle’s touch and the sound of Jisung’s laughter and the gentleness of Donghyuck’s lips. The kiss becomes familiar. The kiss becomes comfort and trust and home.

 

 

06:34

 

The next day, Jaemin wakes up to an empty bed and immediately realizes he smells of sea salt and ash and soil. Jeno had scented him, Jaemin thinks, little shit, but the smile on his face could be nothing but fond.

 

The second realization was that there was no moon-eyed boy sleeping next to him. Just a small text of: “good morning, baby. i left earlier today. needed to handle a tiny little thing. i miss you already.”

 

He, however, saw the crescent eyes smiling so brightly at him in the school hallways much later, satisfied and proud; Right after he saw Youngjae, black and blue, limping towards the school exit.