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bloodbonds

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They say the night is darkest, just before the dawn. They, whoever "they" are, are wrong.

The night is darkest when you close your eyes, when you breathe in and don't breathe out, when you will the light from the sky no matter how bright the moon or stars might be. The night is darkest when you dream in black and white and Jimin used to dream in color.

Used to.

See, once upon a time, Jimin had fallen in love, with a boy whose smile was bright as sunrise, thick as sunset, sweet as the silver secrets of stars. Once upon a time, Jimin dreamt with his eyes wide open.

"Taehyung" the boy had said, smiling that smile, his special smile, the one that shines too bright for the world not to go dark around him. Jimin smiled back. And they fell in love.

Taehyung--the name had been tattooed to the tip of Jimin's tongue for what felt like forever, and even now, when Jimin has tasted the actuality of forever, he still thinks that that forever, that one that came before all this, that intangible, indescribable forever, perhaps felt more real than the one he's living in now, body not quite so much his own as it used to be.

"I'll never stop loving you," Jimin confessed over coffeesteam like morning fog, the kind that makes you think you're still half asleep. Taehyung cocked his head to one side, a smile hinged on his perfect, perfect lips and asked if Jimin would love him forever and Jimin said yes.

In a heartbeat.

One of his last, or rather--one that marked the beginning of the countdown to his last. But if Jimin had to pick a specific point in time to start the countdown to the end of his life, the beginning of a forever he hadn't counted on but couldn't reject either, it would be when Taehyung kissed him for the first time, their lips meeting halfway across an entire universe that must have conspired to bring them to this one, exact, moment.

The hugeness of it all seemed to well up inside Jimin's chest and he thought Taehyung tasted like sunrise.

It was a strange, warm, metallic kind of sweetness that could only be compared to the bleeding sky. The morbid accuracy of said comparison wouldn't become ironic until later but that was neither here nor there, at least for a while. Because at least for a while, things were as close to perfect as they could ever get (and really, they couldn't be farther from perfect, but people are always lying to themselves).

It was not the first time they had sex, but it was the first time Taehyung had pinned Jimin with his eyes, his fingers tight around Jimin's wrists, holding him down in a grip far stronger than Jimin had gotten used to. His breath was heavy, Taehyung having sucked it right out of his lungs with his lips pink and pump against Jimin's, tongue licking into Jimin's mouth in a way that had Jimin wishing he didn't need to breathe so they could keep kissing forever.

Forever.

"I love you," Taehyung said.

"I love you too," Jimin answered, because it's true. Present-tense--it's still true.

"Forever?"

"Forever."

Taehyung kissed him like sunrise and Jimin kissed back like sunset and when Taehyung pushed in, his hips steady against Jimin's, Jimin felt his entire body burn. Taehyung's fingers pressed deep reds into the meat of Jimin's thighs, tiny little moon-crescents there for a week after, a constant reminder of Jimin's promise. And Taehyung had always been talented with his mouth but when he dipped down to lick at Jimin's nipples, tiny whines in the back of his throat like he's never tasted anything quite so good, Jimin couldn't help from keening, the new angle of Taehyung's thrusts making his entire body sizzle.

Jimin tugged at Taehyung's hair, mouth falling slack when Taehyung wraps a hand around his dick to jerk him off in time to Taehyung's thrust, and it had been so, so beautiful, the magnetic, molten feeling of their bodies together, one over the other, friction and fatalities sliding between their skin, slick with sweat.

"I love you," Taehyung pressed into Jimin's collarbones, biting down and Jimin gasped at the feeling of Taehyung's teeth sinking into his skin, breaking it, tongue laving out at the tiny wounds there. "I'm sorry, I love you, I love you, I love you."

Jimin cums too hard to Taehyung's cants, the whole bed rocking back into the wall, his words washing over Jimin till the strangeness of it all settles in the pit of Jimin's stomach.

"Sorry?" Jimin mumbled, looking up at Taehyung through half-lidded eyes, "why sorry?"

Taehyung shook his head, nuzzling into Jimin's side, arms looped around his middle, kissing the place where he'd bitten into Jimin's neck and the tiny sting makes Jimin wince. But he was too tired to think on it, too comfortable, too fucked out and sated to linger, so he let himself drift off in the safety of Taehyung's arms.

The next morning, Jimin woke up to a world completely devoid of color, Taehyung already awake, watching him with what could only be described as a brewing anticipation.

Jimin blinked a few times, frowning as he looks around.

"Don't freak out," Taehyung said, holding both hands up in a signature gesture of surrender, "it happens to everyone after... well," he had the good grace to look guilty, voice trailing off as Jimin frowned.

"After... what, Tae? After sex? We've had sex before--"

"No, no--" Taehyung shook his head again, hair flopping in front of his eyes and Jimin had a hand up, reaching for the stray strands before he could stop himself. Taehyung caught Jimin's hand in midair, lacing their fingers. "Promise you won't hate me."

"Taehyung. What. Is. Going. On?" There was a cold sweat settling over Jimin's entire body and it's then that he realized he could no longer hear his own heartbeat, that his chest wasn't rising and falling. He wasn't breathing, but the moment he realized this, he took a breath in, and out, and then in again, the feeling of oxygen filling his lungs somehow strange and foreign and entirely unnecessary.

"I'm a vampire." Taehyung's words were rushed, tumbling out of him, one word stuck to the next like a great string of sin.

Jimin blinked. "What?"

"See? I've got the teeth and everything," Taehyung said, lifting his lip with a finger, sharp canines flashing, "but they're not there unless I'm... well, mating, so... they'll probably be gone by the end of the day."

Jimin stared, and stared, and kept on staring. Taehyung eventually pulled both Jimin's hands into his own and let out a deep sigh.

"Don't just... sit there... say something!"

Jimin gaped. "What... what do you want me to--mate? What does that even mean--and what does any of this have to do with me not being able to see shit in color anymore?"

Taehyung heaved a deep sigh, rolling his eyes as if all this were somehow trivial, "You'll get your vision back when you mate, it's like an initiation process for all vampires."

Jimin lowered his eyes to their interlocked hands, a frown digging into his forehead so deep it just might become permanent, "So I have to go and... mate with someone, to get my vision back to normal? I thought vampires--" the word tasted like wrongness on his tongue but he forced it out anyway, "just... sucked people's blood and hung out at night cause they can't go out in direct sunlight."

Taehyung let out a laugh that's both amused and somewhat derisive, "That's all bullshit," and his voice hardens till it scrapes over Jimin's skin, a voice so foreign that Jimin almost thought it was dreaming but this was too real to be a dream, the weight of Taehyung's fingers in his, the smell of everything around them, the bright of sunrise that must be bleeding out across the horizon, "those are all just stories. Real vampires don't feed on human blood unless they're mating. And only when they're mating."

"Why?" Jimin asked. He looked back up at Taehyung and there are an infinite number of questions he wanted answers for--why this, why you, why me, why now, why--

For a moment, that self-same anxiousness flashed behind Taehyung's eyes; it's quickly replaced by something deeper, much more profound than simple sadness. It's almost anguish.

"Because in order to get the colors back, we have to take it from a human's blood, and it's not just that either--they have to willingly give themselves to you, whether or not they know they're being... changed."

Jimin didn't speak, waited for Taehyung to go on and he did.

"It doesn't seem like a big deal when you start out," Taehyung's smile was so, so broken then, "but you start to miss it, the color of sunrise, the bright of the sky, the lush of the grass and god... you're so beautiful," Taehyung said, reaching out to tug at a strand of Jimin's hair, fingers skating down to cup his cheek. "You think you can live in a world that's black and white till you can't--not forever."

"I just... I just wanted to see you in color," Taehyung said.

"But what about me?" Jimin asked, voice almost as broken. He didn't move away from Taehyung's touch, whole body frozen in either shock or something much more sinister, festering in the pit of his stomach, revulsion.

"I'm sorry--I'm sorry." Taehyung looked as if he were about to cry.

Jimin wondered if vampires could.

"I don't want sorry--I want to know why--I want a reason--"

Taehyung shook his head again, desperate this time, eyes wide and overbright, "There is no reason--this is just the way things are. You said--you promised forever, didn't you?"

Jimin nodded, despite everything, everything, everything.

"So I have to go find someone to mate with? A human to mate with? What about you? Aren't we..." Jimin can't stomach the word mates. It sounds primal and animalistic and it tears at his innards.

Taehyung's shoulders sagged, "Yes, and no. Vampires... are meant to be alone. So I guess this is how it's done. And no one knows the meaning of forever till they've lived with the guilt of breaking the heart of the one they love."

Fall in love and make someone fall in love with you, and then take their heart and break it. And send them off to do the same.

There is no reason.

But no, Jimin thinks as he skims over the tattered old books of the coffee shop where he and Taehyung had spent their small handful of forged forevers, vampires are the lesson for humans stupid enough to promise forevers like its theirs to give and take.

He reaches out to pick one up but another hand gets there before his and he looks up. The boy is all wide eyes and tousled dark hair and lips parted ever so slightly in surprise. Jimin wonders what color his lips are, if he's blushing right now. Instead, Jimin smiles and laces his hands behind his back.

"Great minds think alike," he says, and now he's almost sure that the other boy is blushing.

"Y-yeah, I guess so."

I'm sorry, I love you, Jimin thinks, because it's true. It's oh-so terribly true. He loves Taehyung, right here, right now, standing in front of this boy. Jimin wonders if Taehyung had loved someone when they first met and the thought shatters his heart just a little bit more.

No one knows the meaning of forever till they fall in love, and then out of it.

"What's your name?" Jimin asks, rocking on the balls of his feet with a sunrise smile stretching between his lips.

"Jungkook," the boy says and for a second, Jimin thinks he catches a flash of color across Jungkook's cheeks. He takes a deep breath that he doesn't need and keeps on smiling.

"Jimin, nice to meet you."