It was one of those days that Jimin couldn’t go home. It was empty, a place for a bachelor. It was devoid of everything but his own scent, and his skin was itchy for something else. It was a side-effect of his job, really, tutoring alphas on the bonding process, handing out pamphlets, giving lectures. He never, ever slept with his clients, but some of them made him wet. Pheromones, appealing scents. It shouldn’t have worked on Jimin at all, but somehow it did. It made him feel achy and in need of touch almost as much as he needed to be filled up. The toys he had, those could only do half the job. The toys didn’t surround him in scent or send him home smelling like an alpha. One night stands were all he was good for anyway.
He let his eyes and his nose guide him, wandering through the bar and sipping on water. He’d made that mistake before, his nose clouded by the scent of juice or alcohol and the man he chose not all he’d seemed once their clothes were off. Not that he’d backed out, and it had still been pleasurable, but he’d had to shower before getting home. No, he’d find a man he wanted to luxuriate in.
His eyes took a journey up slim legs, a fitted shirt that followed a torso to solid shoulders. He caught the tail end of a smile, and his lips parted, moving in, interested.
“Want to dance?”
The alpha wasn’t much taller than him, looking him up and down, his eyebrows rising as his friends hooted. But he took Jimin’s hand, accepted his advance, and followed him onto the floor. He didn’t waste time, nudging in, and inhaling into the alpha’s shoulder. He smelled of clean air, of sunlight beating on hot rocks, and Jimin’s eyes closed. It sent a shudder through him, with the touch of hands on his waist, and it had heat pooling through him, the ache turning to an insistent throb as the alpha not only danced with him but met his moves, and returned them.
“You’re good at this,” the alpha said, and Jimin wanted to laugh. He was all about the seduction.
“I’m an omega who can’t bond,” Jimin said, wanting to be upfront. He wanted that warm heat all over him, and alphas sometimes backed off at that statement. “I have a room if you want to knot me.”
The forwardness, the offer, it had the alpha stopping, his hands tightening on Jimin’s waist and hip.
Jimin shook his head, keeping his eyes steady. “I can’t bond but I still have needs. Have you ever knotted an omega before?”
“I can show you how good it is.”
He thought that was that, the alpha not saying more, and the next song urging them to move. Jimin let the alpha pull him back against him, swayed as the alpha kissed against his neck and felt up his chest. He didn’t know if his moan was swallowed up in the music, as fingers slid over his nipples, but his belly was quivering and his cock was so hard when a hand paused there just above his waistband as though hesitating. He’d have come at a touch, he knew it.
But the alpha tugged him back further, an erection cushioned against him.
“I’m ready,” he said.
Jimin almost melted right onto the floor to beg. Instead, he grabbed the hand from his belly and gripped it tight as he led the alpha to the stairs. There were always rooms for play but he was a good customer. Okay, and he knew the owner. And he was grateful, closing a door behind them, locking it and kicking his shoes aside.
“I want to know whose name I’ll be screaming soon,” Jimin said, tugging at the button on alpha’s tight pants.
In the quiet with only the thud of music in the background, the name was said low and intense. Hoseok hissed, as Jimin tugged down his pants and underwear and squatted down low.
“I’m Jimin,” he said, and wrapped his lips around Hoseok’s cock.
It got him his first moan, getting his lips and Hoseok nice and wet, wanting the taste of an alpha in his mouth as well while he was being fucked. He needed the knot, and he could feel the gentle swell of it there as he ran his fingers down the length of him and delighted in how Hoseok stretched his mouth. He was absolutely going to fill him full, Jimin thought with a moan. He got his own pants open just before he pulled his mouth away with a wet sound, and he tugged his shirt up over his head as he stood.
“I need you,” he said, his eyes on Hoseok’s and pushing down his pants as he backed away. And he proved it, too, his pants falling just before he got on his knees on the plastic-topped bed and let Hoseok see just how much he needed. He was wet and he knew it, as Hoseok got onto the bed behind him, but he whined as Hoseok’s fingertips rubbed against him.
“Fuck, Jimin,” he heard Hoseok say, and yes, that was what he wanted. He rested his head on his forearm, his hips swaying with want until Hoseok steadied him. Until it wasn’t just pretty fingers, but the blunt head of a cock pressing against him. Right from his mouth and begging his body to take all of it, and he wanted that. He wanted Hoseok so deep he couldn’t move, tied so tight he could feel the pulse of his heartbeat.
The head of Hoseok’s cock finally opened him, and JImin moaned, pressing back for more. The stretch was unreal, his eyes rolling, toes curling as he had to deal with not only that, but the slide of him as Hoseok’s hips angled and he slipped in, an inch, two inches, more. More as the main word on Jimin’s brain, too, his lips parting. Hoseok gripped his hips, and tugged him back over the start of his knot and held him there, stretched on it, squeezing around it. Jimin’s back arched, and he gasped, getting tight, tighter.
“Ohhhh. Oh, Hoseok,” he moaned, the orgasm fluttering through him as his cock dripped onto the plastic.
Hoseok’s hands were cruel, stroking over the curves of his ass, tracing his hips, his waist, his back.
“You’re incredible,” Hoseok said, his voice even more hoarse than before. “What do you want?”
“Fuck me. Knot me,” Jimin begged.
He needed Hoseok to move, to fill him, to make him feel empty and complete him, over and over again. His toys couldn’t do that, holding him in suspense, tugging him back against dark hair and fucking just as he pleased. He tried to make it good, squeezing as Hoseok pulled away, giving as he thrust in deep, push and pull, and hoping he was making Hoseok’s eyes roll as much as his were. His toys weren’t warm, and they didn’t moan, or curse, or pull him back for several tight little pumps that nearly made Jimin squeal.
He could feel it, the knot. Not just the promise of it, but it was filling, swelling, stretching him as Hoseok teased him with it, fucking him right up to it and no further. It meant Hoseok was close, Hoseok wanted to come, Hoseok was ready to fill him like Jimin needed.
“Give me your knot,” Jimin panted. “Knot me so tight, please.”
His toys couldn’t moan and orgasm for him, or moan his name as Hoseok’s knot slipped into him fully. It stretched him from the inside, swelling almost with every jolt of Hoseok’s hips.
“So tight,” Hoseok gasped.
Yes. Made for Hoseok to come for, to come in, to knot. His whole body went tight, squeezing around the knot, his cock pulsing as Hoseok gripped his hips and tried to fuck in deeper.
It was warning, exultation, a high moan coming after it as Hoseok filled him to the utmost, swollen tight inside him, come filling him. His skin prickled listening to Hoseok come, and Jimin’s eyes rolled back as he jolted too, rocking, wailing, and the orgasm wasn’t so sweet, his body hammering around the knot, coming, and coming, as he gasped and moaned. Hoseok held him so tight, filled him so well, and when his body finally gave in, just that thought made him to sob with laughter. Perfect. Not his.
“Wow,” Hoseok breathed, after JImin had stilled with his breaths still hitching. It made Jimin smile, as he tried to relax. He still throbbed around Hoseok, but he would, until the knot shrank. He wasn’t going home feeling slightly unfulfilled that night. If anything, he figured the stretch would leave him feeling well-fucked.
And he was going to go home smelling sun-warmed, if only for a day or so. That was all he could have, temporary. An omega who couldn’t bond.
Jimin knew the moment that he walked into the bar that what he’d been hoping for was true. Hoseok was there. He could smell that warmth almost from the moment he walked in, and whether he judged himself for it or not, the high of happiness didn’t shear off. Normally, he didn’t go back. He didn’t want pity or to become someone’s dirty habit. But the thought of going somewhere else, being looked at like he was a desirable omega only to have to tell his secret, it hadn’t set well. He could’ve found an alpha with a bigger cock if he wanted filled. But he kept thinking of Hoseok. How Hoseok had felt, and how he’d touched him, and soothed him. And how Jimin had slipped out and left as Hoseok was cleaning up. It was what he always did, and he didn’t know why guilt had seeped in then.
If Hoseok wasn’t there, he’d reasoned, he’d find someone to make him forget. But Hoseok came away from the bar, not smelling of alcohol but of cologne and the bodies around them. Like he’d been waiting.
“I think they thought I was just moving in,” Hoseok said. “I’ve been here the last few nights hoping you’d come back. No one knew your last name, and even if they had…?”
The likelihood of finding him from that would have been slim. He wanted to press his face right there in Hoseok’s neck, but the thought of dragging him up to plastic-covered mattresses made his stomach turn a little.
“Want to go somewhere else?” he suggested.
“Anywhere,” Hoseok said.
He let Jimin lead, even if he didn’t know where exactly he was going at first. He couldn’t take Hoseok home as much as he wanted to smell Hoseok on his sheets. That was a recipe for disaster. A nice smile and a great cock didn’t mean he had a reason to trust. Though going to a hotel wasn’t all that much better. There were ways to call for help, though. There always were.
“Ahh, I’m so glad you showed up tonight. I don’t know how many more I’d have just been able to sit there,” Hoseok said. “After you left I was kicking myself. You smelled so good, I’d have gone with you whether you’d been able to bond or not.”
Which meant he’d have taken the risk of a bond. Risk, promise, whatever it was between couples who could. He didn’t know what to say, and was glad when they pushed in through the front door of a hotel Jimin trusted. Jimin arranged the room, and let his elbow rub with Hoseok’s in the elevator.
They couldn’t meet up again, he thought. It was a goodbye, or something. Hoseok had earned it, coming back. And Jimin, he deserved it. One more night with Hoseok’s scent on him. With the door closed, and their shoes gone, Jimin reached. Hoseok’s shirt was soft, but he wanted it off. It smelled like the world outside, of other people, and all he wanted was to smell Hoseok. He got his hands on the warm skin of Hoseok’s shoulders, and cupped against Hoseok’s jaw. He’d wanted so much the time before, they’d barely touched. He hadn’t been able to see Hoseok’s lips so closer, or the dip of his eyelashes. They hadn’t kissed, they’d just—
Jimin made a soft sound as Hoseok’s lips pressed to his, tilting his head for more. His arms crept around Hoseok’s neck, inhaling, exhaling through kiss after kiss, like Hoseok wanted to know all the way their mouths could fit, and every way that Jimin would delight in it. He’d never been kissed like that, not that it was sweet, and not that it didn’t make him lust. If Hoseok had told him, right then, that all he wanted to do that night was kiss him, Jimin would have believed it.
“You are so gorgeous,” Hoseok murmured. Though he had his eyes closed. How could he tell, when he couldn’t even see?
Jimin fought the shiver, as Hoseok kissed against his jaw, his hands slipping up to stroke the skin of Jimin’s back under his shirt. It sent tingles up over his shoulders and he gasped against Hoseok’s neck. He moved, just enough for his shirt to be lifted up over his head, and he shook it down one arm as Hoseok tugged him in, kissing him, tugging him close, skin against skin. Jimin moaned against Hoseok’s mouth as Hoseok squeezed against his ass. It made him whine, and grasp at Hoseok’s arm.
“Please,” he begged. He wanted more. Needed to be enveloped in that warmth.
“Want to see you,” Hoseok said, watching Jimin as he started to tug at his own pants. They watched each other, Jimin hissing as his underwear slipped away from his skin wet, and the scent of arousal just that much stronger as they slipped down his thighs and to the floor.
“Fuck,” Hoseok said succinctly, and his pants got pushed off those trim hips, and his cock was just as interested as his words had been. Just exactly as Jimin remembered him. Jimin backed away, not wanting to take his eyes off Hoseok as he scooted onto the bed and made a place for Hoseok between his thighs. Some alphas liked that, being close, being able to kiss. If Hoseok hadn’t have kissed him, he wouldn’t have tried, he’d have just gotten on his knees. But he had, and Jimin wanted it. Hoseok just looked him all over, fingers tracing down the middle of Jimin’s chest as the bed dipped.
“You’re perfect,” Hoseok said, and it made Jimin want to laugh, to shake his head. Maybe he’d even have protested, if he’d had the air, if Hoseok’s mouth against his belly hadn’t robbed him of it.
The muscles of Jimin’s neck gave as Hoseok kissed against his cock. His moan was of indulgence, luxuriating in Hoseok’s mouth around him, tongue against him.
“Oh yes,” he gasped, and felt Hoseok chuckle. He tried to remember how long it’d been and it was hard to think at all, with Hoseok stroking him, and kissing against him, and Hoseok’s fingers slipping so easily inside of him.
Jimin always went looking for a knot, and alpha’s didn’t, they— He’d always had to ask, but Hoseok had wanted. It made him shudder, made him clutch around Hoseok’s fingers, hips lifting, moaning as Hoseok swallowed around him. He didn’t come on Hoseok’s knot, but in his eager mouth, and Jimin moans were broken, thighs shaking as Hoseok hummed and gentled for him.
Hoseok’s fingers slipping out of him sent a different kind of heat through him, a different hunger. Hoseok was so close his nose brushing Jimin’s.
“Knew you’d taste good,” Hoseok murmured, and Jimin kissed him, tasting his come, begging Hoseok with his hands, his lips, and the arch of his body.
“Please,” he begged.
Please, with the taste of Hoseok on his tongue, and an emptiness in him. Hoseok, and the gentle press of his cock. He laughed like he’d stepped up to the top of a mountain overlooking the whole world, tugging at Hoseok’s back, moaning with helpless joy as Hoseok filled him. He could feel Hoseok’s want in how plump the knot was as Hoseok eased it into him and he babbled yes, yes, over and over. Hoseok’s little groan as he settled into Jimin fully, it made him open his eyes and see that Hoseok was looking at him.
“So gorgeous,” Hoseok told him again, and Jimin inhaled, his hand curling against Hoseok’s back as Hoseok kissed him so softly. Their hips rocked together, barely moving at all, but it was all so much. Being engulfed by the sun, he struggled to breathe, smiling into the kisses even as he did. Gasps, and moans, and the taste of Hoseok.
If there was a door inside him, it had been flung open, starting a buzz against his skin. He could almost feel Hoseok’s heartbeat, his eyes widening as a different kind of pleasure washed over him, like it was coming from outside of him, like he was feeling Hoseok’s—
He twisted his head away from Hoseok, inhaling, feeling everything grow stronger.
“Stop,” he croaked, when he didn’t want that at all. It was like the air was stirring, wanting him to pull Hoseok in, bring him closer, hold him tighter.
But Hoseok did stop, panting, staring at him like he needed to be sure Jimin had just said what he had. He moved back as Jimin pushed, and it hurt as the knot that had widened pulled from him. But he couldn’t stay like that, he couldn’t, and he staggered off the bed and ran nearly blind into the bathroom. He was gagging before he made it half way, and he dry-heaved into the sink, gasping for air, and sobbing in alternate breaths. He gagged again, tears streaming down his face. He didn’t know if it was from being sick, from being overwhelmed. Tissues were being tucked in his hand and he whimpered out his thanks, blowing out a breath and trying not to let his teeth clatter together.
“Can I get you anything?” Hoseok asked, staying close, and smelling like warmth he wanted to press against.
“No,” Jimin croaked, taking an unsteady breath, and then another. He looked into the mirror, and it looked like him still. Flushed and teary eyed, but it was still him. He hadn’t changed. “Did you feel that?”
“Feel…?” Hoseok blinked, his brows furrowing. “I could feel how good I felt. But I could also feel…more? But—“
Jimin licked his lips, closing his eyes for a moment and letting him ground himself in the cool of the counter against his palm.
“It was like we were connecting. Like a bond was starting.”
Hoseok’s eyebrows rose, his eyes widening further as he seemed to consider further. “Oh. It could be? But I thought you couldn’t.”
“I can’t. I don’t have— You have compatibility numbers, that they can draw a match from. You’re in a database, and they can just pull up omegas that match you like it’s magic! I don’t have that. My numbers don’t exist. They’ve tested me a hundred times.”
“Maybe they don’t know how to read them?”
“I’ve been to so many doctors,” Jimin laughed. “It’s like the bogey man of bonding, the alpha or omega without compatibility scores.”
“It’s something everyone has heard of,” Hoseok admitted. Obviously, or Hoseok would never have taken him at his word. “Maybe you don’t have numbers, but that means we’re compatible?”
“Yeah,” Jimin said.
That was what he couldn’t even understand. It was something he thought he couldn’t have, and it had been handed to him with a stranger. A stranger he wanted, and wanted still, even if his body was in full revolt. It was too much and he couldn’t think. He couldn’t just go from night of no complications to getting the partner he’d always wanted like it was nothing.
“There’s someone I’ve heard of who researches bonds, though. He’s a friend of a friend of mine. I can give them a call, see if he’ll see us. Maybe there’s something they missed.”
Jimin shook his head. “But why? That was— That was almost a bond. He’ll say, if we try again, maybe it happens. Or maybe not. For me, it’s like— It’s like getting struck by lightning by something I’ve always wanted.”
His voice almost broke, and Hoseok’s eyes were so intense, stepping closer like just being near could help. It made it worse. It made it better, as Jimin struggled not to reach out and touch and console himself.
“If you thought you couldn’t bond because of your compatibility numbers, then there has to be something beyond that. Something they don’t understand. It’s a chance for you!” Hoseok said. “Or maybe for us, if…? Or if they know why you reacted to me, maybe they’ll know who else you might react to.”
Us? He lifted his eyes and Hoseok smiled a little, reaching out and brushing his fingers against Jimin’s shoulders. He gasped, his skin pebbling at the touch. Hoseok stared at his own fingers, like he’d felt it, too. That wasn’t normal. That was so far from normal, like his whole body was reaching out and aware. The laugh was a startled chirrup, and it made the decision more of a necessity than a choice.
“Make the appointment,” Jimin said, covering the spot where Hoseok had touched with his hand. “I’ll go with you. I’ll— I think you should go now.”
He almost whispered it, and Hoseok nodded.
“Can I have your number?” Hoseok asked, his voice gentle. But he didn’t make any more moves to touch Jimin and was backing away ever so slightly.
“Yeah,” Jimin said, and followed Hoseok out. Hoseok found his phone, keyed in the number Jimin gave him, and Jimin’s phone chimed a moment later.
“Now you have mine, too,” Hoseok said. “I’ll let you know as soon as I can, and if you need anything…?”
JImin nodded, swathing himself in the sheet and only half looking as Hoseok dressed.
“Have a good night,” Hoseok said, smiling at him with some kind of attempted reassurance before closing the door behind himself.
All the will Jimin had to hold himself up fell, and the tears he blotted with the sheet were worry that the only alpha he’d ever have a chance to bond with had just walked away, and the wondering of what would have happened if Hoseok had stayed. He’d never been normal, and he’d always wanted to have that bond everyone talked about. That experience. He hadn’t expected it like that. Startling, and overwhelming, and a taste of something wonderful. Nothing had changed. He hadn’t changed. But the world around him, it was different, whether he was ready for it or not.
Before the appointment, they went individually to give blood and saliva for the tests. Jimin filled out what seemed like a hundred page questionaire, asking about his past relationships, his most recent encounters. He filled it out as honestly as he could, giving details about the near-bond he thought he had felt, and what had happened before and after. There wasn’t any point in seeing the researcher without the lab tests especially, because all he’d have was the tests from before they had met at that point. And yet still, Jimin nodded at Hoseok as he walked into the waiting room, sitting stiff and quiet as they waited. Hoseok smelled so good still, and it wasn’t fair, really, that they didn’t know what to expect. Jimin was fairly sure, though. He hadn’t lived his whole life hearing one thing, only to turn and expect another. No, he new what this Namjoon would have to tell them, but what he didn’t know was what Hoseok would think. The numbers of compatibility were so integral to how everyone thought, it was a hard thing to get over. It was one reason why he’d always been told he’d never be able to bond.
And Namjoon seemed personable, calling them back himself, and offering them seats and folders of information. When he inhaled, Jimin was ready.
“We checked your samples multiple times, and the results were the same before and after you met,” Namjoon said, and Jimin tensed, not wanting to hear it again. “I’ve never seen anything like it without looking elsewhere, even having looked back at the past tests. The levels of compatibility markers between your two samples is zero. We tested the samples for contamination, running them against others. Several matches emerged as possibilities for Hoseok, but among the alpha pool tested, Jimin’s tests continued to return at zero percent.”
“But how is that possible?” Hoseok asked.
Jimin couldn’t stand it. Namjoon was doing his best not to show sympathy, to be detached and giving them the facts, but that was almost worse. He almost staggered up out of the chair, not caring if he was being rude as he made his way to the window and pressed his hand hard to the frame. One point of grounding as Namjoon chose his words so carefully.
“In terms of this, of compatibility in how we know to test it for an alpha/omega bond, Jimin is null,” Namjoon said. Null. Empty. Wrong. “But we know this, no matter what the percentage of the test, bonds happen. There were no tests years ago, only what intuition told people. That you found each other, the compatibility you two share may be a type that we frankly can’t explain with science yet.”
“But the bond didn’t happen, so we don’t know,” Jimin said.
Namjoon rose, walking to stand beside Jimin. Not touching him, not looking at him, but close. His voice, his presence was calming, when Jimin wanted to throw his charts and tests into a fire and never look back.
“It might not have taken right then, even if you hadn’t stopped it. But the fact that you felt the way you did? There are no set number of encounters before a bond locks. You can sometimes get very close and stay there for a while. It may happen the very next time you try, but if this is something that you want - and forgive me if I say that it seems like you do because no one wants to hear these tests and why scientists think you’re different - then you should believe in it,” Namjoon said, and his words were so quiet, like he was speaking to Jimin alone, making Jimin lean in to hear more. “You’re not the only one like this, you know? That means they have hope, too. If this tells us anything, it’s that bonding is more than biology, and a test tube. We thought the earth was the center of the universe once, don’t forget that.”
Jimin nodded, though he was sick to death of being unique when all he wanted was that shiny paper to wave around that proved what he was to his mate. Hoseok was studiously trying to give them that moment, flipping through the papers Namjoon had given them. Couples bandied around their compatibility numbers like badges of honor, and with Jimin Hoseok would never have that. People would smile in confusion and pity, and see them as an accident or freaks.
But his throat tightened when Hoseok looked up and saw Jimin looking at him. That encouraging smile had him wanting to sit again, to bury his face in his hands and just rock there for another decade. He knew what he wanted, but he couldn’t admit it. He couldn’t.
“Do you mind one last test?” Namjoon asked, and he did speak directly to Jimin then.
“That’s fine,” he said. Whatever set Namjoon’s mind at ease. Whatever got them through it, and answered Hoseok’s questions.
And there was no reason to refuse, then, and Jimin sat down. He held out his arm and Hoseok pressed his fingertips to the back of Jimin’s arm, and tingles skittered up to his neck while his skin pebbled noticeably.
“Just like you indicated in the paperwork, on contact,” Namjoon said, clearly making mental notes. “We have an unbonded alpha here the office. Could we test…?”
“Of course,” Jimin said. He’d tested it himself with random alphas, just touching their arms and nothing more. But he knew why Namjoon wanted to see. And Hoseok was a blank slate as the young alpha came in and greeted them. Namjoon had him touch Jimin on both arms, and it felt just as Namjoon had said, null. No reaction, nothing other than the feeling of skin on skin.
“And again, Hoseok?” Namjoon said.
First one arm, then the other, his skin contracted, and he almost shivered at the tingles. Simple touches that his body took as anything but simple.
“On one hand, with the unknown alpha it’s partially the reaction we expect because of Jimin’s tests,” Namjoon said. “No reaction. But the reaction in reverse, since we can measure Hoseok, that is less easily explained.”
Hoseok’s skin also reacted to touching Jimin, and he couldn’t look at Hoseok as he rubbed his arm and tried to erase the feeling. But a quiet word, and it was an omega who came in a little bemused, putting his hand on Hoseok’s arm. Jimin held his breath, and even Hoseok had flinched, but there was nothing, and the two men left.
“Does this mean we have a partial bond?” Hoseok asked, starting as Jimin poked his arm and started the process all over. They glared at each other for a second before Hoseok relaxed again. Bond or not, that had been a strange omega.
“It’s possible. That was an 87% match that you just saw with the omega. Science would expect a reaction, of some kind. I just… Wow,” Namjoon said, exhaling like he’d been the one touched instead. “I don’t know how much of a comfort this is, but just this? If I were to bet on this based on experience, I would say that if you reach for a bond, it won’t take much to make it happen.”
“Could you even test to see if the bond had taken, if our tests are zero now?” Jimin asked.
“With compatibility markers, I don’t know, but comparing them would be something I’d be glad to do. I’m curious myself, as well.”
“I wouldn’t have our bond de-legitimized by science,” Hoseok said, and the words were flat.
“Far from it,” Namjoon said, his words just as cool as they eyed each other. “There are a multitude of ways to test a bond that have nothing to do with the markers. No matter which alpha Jimin chooses to bond with, the results would be interesting to me and maybe for others like him. I can’t compel it, and I wouldn’t want to, and for Jimin and his bond, the results would be an anecdote, nothing else. The only thing that legitimizes a bond are the people in it.”
Jimin squeezed hard on the arms of the chair, and asked the one question he hadn’t been able to. “But if people ask our compatibility?”
That Namjoon did have an answer for, and he said simply, “When they tested, they couldn’t even measure it. Off the charts.”
Immeasurable. Maybe Namjoon was encouraging because he wanted that information, maybe he was because he knew a bond was what Jimin had wanted for years. No matter which alpha Jimin chose? The fact that he could choose at all had him still mired half in disbelief. He followed Hoseok to the street, his head a mess, his temples pounding. And he didn’t like that look on Hoseok’s face, pensive, apologetic.
“Why did you agree to do that if it was going to upset you?” Hoseok asked. And he reached out twice for Jimin’s arm before balling his hand into a fist at his side.
Jimin laughed, but the laugh never truly blossomed. “I wanted to see how broken he thought I was.”
Hoseok gawked. “But he— It didn’t sound to me like he thought you were broken at all?”
“I know,” he said, which still didn’t make sense. He wanted to scrub the clinical words and scrutiny and even the support off of his skin. “I’m going home.”
Jimin wanted to walk into Hoseok’s arms, and shout, and cry, and be comforted, and ask what Hoseok had meant when he talked about a bond like he wanted it with Jimin. But he wrapped his arms around himself in the taxi and went home alone.
Jimin got out of the shower and was ready to throw himself into bed and not think about anything, maybe ever. And yet, he saw he had a missed call and a text immediately as he dove into his pillows. It was Hoseok, and he was both pleased and afraid. He didn’t want Hoseok to tell him he was too much trouble, that he was too broken, too different. He just wanted… He wanted Hoseok. He wasn’t thinking if there was someone else, or one better, or more compatible. It didn’t even feel like it was intuition, and he knew it wasn’t love. Most bonds happened before that anyway. What he did know was that he wanted Hoseok to smile at him, and kiss him, and tell him how gorgeous he was in that way Hoseok did.
i’m so sorry you had to go through that, i don’t care what science says. pls text me back and let me know if you’re okay
Jimin closed his eyes, absorbing Hoseok’s words. If he didn’t care what science said, if he cared about how Jimin felt, then maybe he wanted more despite everything.
A text didn’t feel like enough, and he was dialing Hoseok’s number before he could think otherwise.
“Jimin,” Hoseok answered the phone. Nothing else, just relief in his voice as he said Jimin’s name.
“Sorry, I was showering off feeling like a test subject,” Jimin said. “Though, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be I guess.”
“He seemed really thoughtful about it,” Hoseok said.
“He thinks we can bond,” Jimin said. And he said it, almost like he felt he was saying Namjoon thought they could fly or something.
Hoseok’s response was immediate. “Yeah. Yeah, he does. If we want it. The way we were drawn to each other, I think we might have something.”
Jimin thought so too, and it made it hard to breathe. He was nodding, making a sound of agreement, and leaning into the phone like it would somehow get him closer to Hoseok. But his ragged inhale, he knew Hoseok heard that, and Hoseok made a sound.
“Jimin— I showered when I got home, so we’re the same there. I bet you smell amazing now, too. When we met it was hard to leave you, like… I don’t know. You smelled so good.“
Jimin laughed, sniffling a little as he clutched the phone. “You really could pick a distinct scent?”
“I could! It was like… Not really salt, but the ocean? Only sweeter. It was like you breathe in and you know you're at the beginning of the whole world and—“
Hoseok broke off, half laughing at himself.
“Most alphas can’t detect a scent at all,” Jimin said. Some had. But that Hoseok could, that added even more to his musings. It was something else to tell Namjoon as well. “Thanks for distracting me. I’m sorry.”
“No!! You don’t have anything to be sorry for!”
“But if you had a normal bond—“
“No. No! What is normal? It hurts to be this far away from you. I’m happy when I see you. I wanted to hug you today. That’s all that matters to me.”
Jimin shivered, pulling the blanket up a little tighter around himself and pretended it was Hoseok’s arms. “I’m happy when I see you, too.”
“Do you want to meet for lunch tomorrow? Maybe a park?” Hoseok suggested.
“Yeah, that sounds nice.”
A neutral place, and just getting to see Hoseok again.
“I’ll text you the information then. I hope you sleep okay.”
“I think I will,” Jimin said. “Hoseok… Yeah. Good night.”
Jimin smiled, holding the phone, and closing his eyes as he anticipated seeing Hoseok again. Hoseok wanted him, still. After all of that. Hoseok could smell him, knew how to comfort him, knew how to be there for him. He tried to imagine that they got some new set of numbers, some science breakthrough, and what they knew of compatibility said they weren’t compatible at all.
In that, at least, he knew it would have been a lie.
Jimin had had all night to think, tossing and turning, replaying Namjoon’s words, and Hoseok’s. Hoseok’s worry, and his assurances, and every step and bump that had led them to questioning and investigating what there could be between them. Hoseok wouldn’t have wanted that testing, if there was nothing he really wanted. And he had a number of other conclusions Jimin had come to as well that he wanted to share.
He spotted Hoseok right away as he entered the park that Hoseok had sent directions to, maybe because of his shirt which was bright and striped, and maybe because of the smile the second that Hoseok saw him. It took only seconds between Hoseok seeing him to Hoseok standing, and there was not a cool bone in his body, Jimin going from walking to sprinting. Hoseok caught him, half twirling him, a laugh melting into a deep inhale as they clung together. Jimin couldn’t get enough, his skin tingling, kissing against the base of Hoseok’s neck neck for more contact and shuddering as he inhaled all of Hoseok’s warmth. All of his questions, his worries, his what-ifs, they fell away with Hoseok against him.
But they were in the middle of a park, not alone, and Hoseok’s hand soothed his side as they slowly let go, never breaking contact.
“That’s the most right I’ve felt all day,” Hoseok said, echoing Jimin’s feelings.
“I was thinking,” Jimin said, licking his lips and holding Hoseok’s arm. “You didn’t react to any omega’s touch but mine, and I don’t to any alphas. That’s something… That’s such a big thing.”
“Between us, it really is. Maybe you couldn’t have any alpha, but there are choices now,” Hoseok said, pondering. Even partial bonds like what he thought they had could fade, but that wasn’t what he wanted, wasn’t what he was saying.
“Well, even compatibility numbers mean there are other options. Higher isn’t always better. There are other factors like scent and personality,” Jimin said. And Hoseok nodded, smiling. He realized he was kind of making Hoseok’s previous point. “Who knows if could find someone else, but it doesn’t matter. You can smell me, really smell me, and I was attracted to you, and wanted to smell like you when we met. We don’t have numbers to tell us if it’s good or bad, but the bond… That spoke for us.”
Everything else was details. There’d been uneven bonds before, omegas that were handed over before the omega council had been created to help even the field and protect omegas. No bonds were regulated, but the compatibility numbers the councils generated were supposed to make things easier, not more difficult.
“Maybe you’re my only chance, but you’re the chance I wanted before I knew,” Jimin said.
Hoseok nodded rapidly. “It’s something special. I’m so—“
Hoseok looked around, to the families and random walkers. And he tugged Jimin with him, so they could sit, and he could hold Jimin’s hand.
“This is a date,” Hoseok said. “This is… Me asking you to be with me, and let the bond happen when it will, and be my mate. If that’s what you want with me.”
“It is,” Jimin confirmed, his belly fluttering, his lips tugging into a grin as Hoseok whooped and danced in place.
“Then let’s eat!” Hoseok said. “I can’t believe we haven’t even eaten together, and we almost bonded.”
Hoseok laughed as though it was a special kind of surprise, tugging the food over and swatting away and errant fly. It was simple food that he uncovered, but Hoseok had brought it to share with him, and that was all that mattered. If nothing else touched, their knees did, staying connected, staying in the sphere of scent, and Jimin wasn’t afraid like that. He didn’t shiver every time Hoseok’s hand grazed his, because of that closeness. It was like they were absorbing each other, and out of his own portion, Hoseok offered a bit of fruit, holding it to Jimin’s lips and watching with rapt attention as Jimin gently took it with his teeth.
“That’s good,” Jimin said, and Hoseok preened and kept Jimin engaged. But Jimin did the same a few minutes later as they ate and chatted, offering a bit of food himself and holding his breath as Hoseok nibbled it from his fingertips. Hoseok was so warm. It made Jimin want to shiver, as he lingered, his fingers touching Hoseok’s jaw. Hoseok cupped his hand, holding him there and leaning toward him. Their foreheads bumped, just a little, and they breathed together. Sated, by stomach, and still yearning in so many other ways. It was soothing, and it made him want, too, to crawl into Hoseok’s lap or pull Hoseok into his. Anything to get Hoseok closer, to feel him. The yearning went so deep, and it was so fast. It should’ve been scary, to be so much, so big.
“Jimin,” Hoseok murmured, and looked almost drunk as Jimin smiled at him. Hoseok wanted him.
“When we’re done, do you want to go home with me?” Jimin asked.
Hoseok made sounds instead of words, nodding and making Jimin laugh. Just like he felt. Just like it was meant to be.
Jimin knew he couldn’t just have Hoseok rub around in his apartment like a great big cat, but that didn’t keep him from thinking it. It was enough that he could pull Hoseok to his bed and get him onto it clothes and all. Want was there, but he needed contact more than that, needed just what Hoseok did with wrapping his arm around Jimin and just breathing into him. Jimin snuck his fingers up under Hoseok’s shirt, smoothing his hand against Hoseok’s skin.
“This is good,” Jimin sighed.
Hoseok nodded, nuzzling in a little closer.
“I always thought it was weird hearing that you’d know when a bond was right, but now I know what they meant. I can’t imagine how you felt thinking you’d never be able to bond,” Hoseok said, his breath ruffling Jimin’s hair. “I’m so sorry.”
“Why are you sorry?” Jimin asked, patting at him until Hoseok found his hand and squeezed it.
“I should’ve found you sooner.”
Hoseok said it so lightly but the meaning was there. He could’ve taken away Jimin’s fear, his questioning of himself and his place.
“I found you,” Jimin pointed out, and Hoseok wheezed, smacking a kiss against his cheek.
“Yes, you did.”
But Hoseok had waited for him, waited to find him again when Jimin hadn’t felt the connection they’d had, or hadn’t let himself. He met Hoseok’s eyes, his eyes drawn to Hoseok’s lips, and that was right. They were right. Jimin nuzzled into the kiss, humming as he relived the kisses from the hotel. That was how Hoseok kissed, soft, and intense, letting Jimin kiss him, showing Jimin he was wanted.
The way Hoseok touched him, and kissed him, it didn’t just make him smell all the good things in Hoseok’s scent, it was like he felt it, too. And when he felt that yearn inside of him again, something waiting for acceptance, he was surprised but not afraid. Instead of pushing against it, shoving the door closed and resisting, he curled his hand tighter in Hoseok’s and relaxed into him. Into Hoseok’s kiss, and the soothe of Hoseok’s hand on his neck, and it was what Hoseok wanted too. He felt Hoseok smile, against his lips, and felt it somewhere in his chest as well, like joy exploding and warmth flushing over his skin.
“Oh,” Jimin said, his eyes opening wide. Hoseok was smiling and Jimin saw it and knew it, like a sun inside him.
Hoseok laughed, startled, pulling him in closer, kissing him frantic and sweet until they were both laughing, clinging to each other. It didn’t seem possible to shake and be so calm, and he thought that was half Hoseok because he didn’t know if it was him. Where his feelings ended and Hoseok’s began was such a fine line, one he knew he’d learn to find. He’d reached, and Hoseok had answered him, opening to him, merging some part of themselves.
It took a while for the trembles to stop, until they were lying quiet in each other’s arms.
Hoseok kissed against Jimin’s temple. “I know Namjoon told us we could tell people that they couldn’t even measure our compatibility. But I think we have something even better we can tell them.”
“What’s that?” Jimin asked, feeling like his body was just going to float away.
“We bonded just from kissing,” Hoseok said.
Take that, compatibility tests. Jimin chuckled and Hoseok’s arms wrapped a little tighter around him. There were so many things to do, figuring out where they would live, how to start the rest of their lives together. They’d let Namjoon know, because he’d been right. Maybe it would help someone else like Jimin, if they could find out more. All Jimin knew right then, was that they had chosen each other, and he wanted to cherish that a little longer.