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clair de lune

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clair de lune (n.) - moonlight

 

January nights are bitterly cold.

Despite the frost already beginning to gather around the edge of Kyungsoo’s window, he sits with the glass wide open, perched on the sill.

His nose is starting to turn numb and his ears are starting to tingle but Kyungsoo’s hand works tirelessly over thick, creamy parchment.

He sketches the sky; the stairs, their formations, and the moon. He diligently notes down the positions of the planets, monitoring their tracks across the sky.

There have been forty two shooting stars tonight.

It’s only when Kyungsoo notices the warm, glowing lights of the village blotting out that he realises he should sleep.

It’s easy to forget, when its just him and the stars, who he really is. It’s easy to forget he is sitting high in a castle turret, in a circular room draped with gorgeous and decadent hangings.

It’s easy to forget he is not just Kyungsoo, the boy with the passion for the stars, but Prince Do, an alpha and heir to a kingdom stretching as far as the eye can see (in daylight at least).

He is the prince who will be turning twenty three in a matter of days, the age at which young men are said to come of age.

There will be great pageantry at Kyungsoo’s coming of age ceremony, with Kings and Queens, princes and princesses and dukes and duchesses from across the land in attendance.

It will be expected that the beautiful omega princess Kyungsoo is set to marry will be announced.

It’s supposed to be a celebratory occasion, filled with joy and hope for the future. Instead, it fills Kyungsoo with dread.

He never wanted to be king, he wasn’t born to be king. That was his brother’s destiny, but after Seungsoo was killed in battle a few years ago Kyungsoo has been the only heir to the throne.

A king is supposed to be a brave warrior, a valiant fighter and a powerful figurehead to the kingdom.

Seungsoo was everything a king should be, a tall handsome alpha with a kind heart and warm smile. Seungsoo was raised to rule, trained for it from a young age, and he excelled. He was popular and well-loved and his death was nothing but a freak accident— a swordsman of his calibre should have been able to take down any enemy.

Even though the old discrepancy with a neighbouring kingdom (that led to the battle in which his brother inevitably lost his life) has long since been settled, the expectations for Kyungsoo to be a protector and leader are still high.

Kyungsoo is better skilled with an ink pen than he is a sword, and he can’t ride any faster than a steady trot on horseback before he starts to feel sick.

Kyungsoo dreams of a life in a small cottage somewhere, away from the hustle and bustle of living in his family castle. He wishes for a little garden, for a small orchard filled with fruit trees, and a quiet, peaceful life. He hopes to be settle with his mate, the two of them in love and content with just each other’s company and the sound of birdsong.

He will never be afforded that luxury.

Kyungsoo’s father, the great King Junmyeon the first, has not yet informed him of who he will be marrying. Most nearby kingdoms have young omega princesses just ripe for using as bargaining chips in diplomacy. Kyungsoo is aware his father will be looking to make a fortuitous deal, not only to create an alliance but also to forge a decent bloodline.

He’s met a few of the princesses— he has to be at his father’s side at most political events nowadays— and they all seem nice enough young women.

Kyungsoo is astute enough to know it doesn’t matter if he isn’t attracted to them, that that should supposedly come with time. All that matters is that the largest kingdom, his father’s own, is kept secure.

Kyungsoo’s doesn’t want this, he doesn’t want to be a pawn used for political purposes. He also doesn’t want to lock some poor girl who probably feels nothing for him too into a lifelong marriage.

Alas, that isn’t Kyungsoo’s decision to make. In the world of royalty and royal politics, destiny, fate and the stars do not matter. To many, there is no such thing as soulmates. There is only political benefit. Love is a concept scoffed at unless it is something that can be profitable. The psychological and physiological stress caused by being denied one’s true mate are seen as negligible.

A knock, sharp and harsh, sounds from the thick wood of Kyungsoo’s door. “Come in.” He calls, sniffling against the cold as he slips down from the window.

A tall, relatively thin young man with light silvery hair slides into the room. He frowns at Kyungsoo’s open window. “You need to close that window, it’s freezing in here, jeez.” He shudders.

Kyungsoo sighs and slams the window shut with a resounding bang. “Happy now?” He snarks.

He knows what the boy is here to tell him.

“King Do sent me to tell you—“

“—that we’re meeting with diplomats early tomorrow morning and I need to be well rested and awake. I know.” Kyungsoo deadpans, stomping petulantly over to his bed and throwing himself under his heavy blankets like a stroppy teenager.

The boy laughs, a full hearty cackle. “Hey, don’t shoot the messenger.”

Kyungsoo sets about plumping his own pillows behind him. “Sehun, are you aware that you’re supposed to be my servant? I’m your prince? You aren’t supposed to talk back.” He’s sulking, but the sly grin on his face is evident.

Sehun chuckles again, tipping his head back. “Oh yeah, I forgot.”

Sehun is Kyungsoo’s personal butler, but he’s served him for so long he has become one of Kyungsoo’s closest friends. He just has a tendency to forget that Kyungsoo has some status that he is supposed to respect. “I’m also here to ask if you want anything from the kitchens before chef shuts up for the night.”

Kyungsoo waves his hand. “Ah, no thank you. I guess dad’s right, I should sleep.” He adds ruefully, his eyes glancing to the ticking clock across the room.

“Has he… y’know…” Sehun hints, looking anxiously at his friend.

“Wedding stuff? Nah.” Kyungsoo leans back against his headboard and tilts his head up to look at the ceiling. “Not yet, anyway.”

“Any clues at all?”

“Nothing.”

Sehun makes a rueful expression. “Damn.”

“Tell me about it.”

“Have you mentioned about… Jongin yet?”

“Of course not. I don’t… I don’t even know if he— I just don’t know.” Kyungsoo says a little helplessly.

Sehun was the first person Kyungsoo told when he knew he’d imprinted on his ballroom dance teacher, Jongin.

When a wolf is born, the stars decide a fate for them. Along with this fate comes a true soulmate, the one person who complements you completely. Generally speaking, it works both ways, but there have been thousands of cases where someone’s mate is destined to be with another. Some people never meet their mate at all, and end up getting married and having children with whoever they choose to settle down with. People are a lot more practical towards mating nowadays, especially in high society circles, but it doesn’t change Kyungsoo’s romantic view of the world.

Imprinting happens when an alpha wolf has felt the draw towards its mate.

To Kyungsoo, it felt like the world shifted off its axis for a moment. His entire life seemed to shudder to a halt and rearrange itself around the shy, hesitant boy his father introduced to him when he was 19 years old with the intent of making a fine dancer out of him.

It can be painful, if your wolf has recognised who it wants to be with and then you’re denied the right to be with them. That’s what Kyungsoo fears the most.

“Do omegas have a way of knowing if they’ve imprinted? Or their equivalent of imprinting?” Sehun thinks all of sudden. He’s come to perch on the end of Kyungsoo’s recognising that his friend may need a little support. “I mean, I know for betas it triggers a rut— the only rut we’ll ever experience— so I guess we have a clear indicator too. Maybe omegas too?”

Kyungsoo looks thoughtful. “I’ve never heard that omegas do. They’re— I suppose they’re the ones proposed to mostly so— I don’t know.”

Sehun smiles. “It would have been helpful if I’d mated an omega wouldn’t it?”

Kyungsoo snorts. “Hannie is the prettiest beta I’ve ever known though, prettier than most omegas.”

“I can’t deny that.” Sehun smirks. “But not all that helpful when asking what happens when a omega finds their soulmate.”

“Fair point.” Kyungsoo acquiesces. “It’s the worst luck descending from a line of alphas.” Kyungsoo teases.

“Oh, I’m sure it is, having all that status and power and men and women falling over their feet to buy you gifts.” Sehun rolls his eyes, his tongue in his cheek. “You need to sleep anyway, before your father has me sacked.”

Kyungsoo settles down properly in bed now, rolling onto his side and tucking his blankets under his chin. “Don’t forget to blow my candles out.”

Sehun laughs. “We have electricity you know,” but Kyungsoo can hear him snuffing the candles out.

“Yes, but I can stargaze better with candlelight.”

Kyungsoo hears one last laugh as his bedroom door shuts. “Oh course, your highness.”

 

 

===

 

 

When night begins to fall once again over the castle the following evening, Kyungsoo’s body is weary. He knows it is his responsibility to be at his father’s side when diplomats from other kingdoms come to visit, but Kyungsoo can’t stand being locked in a stuffy room with even stuffier old men leering at him and asking when he’s going to find a wife.

Precisely heeled shoes click on cold marble as Kyungsoo strides down a corridor laden with old paintings, the sound echoing in sharp contrast to the way hazy thoughts pinball around his mind.

A young maid, a beta, blushes and curtseys deeply when Kyungsoo passes her. He smirks, inclining his head slightly, and pretends he can’t smell the lingering scent of embarrassment and attraction in the air. It’s sweet, really.

The ballroom door approaches with alarming speed, and Kyungsoo realises that he hasn’t had chance to prepare himself for a lungful of Jongin until it’s too late.

He swings the door open and nearly stumbles as a cloud of sweet perfume, of Jongin and sweat, hits his nose. Kyungsoo’s mouth waters almost immediately and he clamps his jaw shut, fighting down the barrage of pheromones he can feel rising up in his chest.

Jongin, thankfully, is too busy dancing at the far end of the ballroom to notice Kyungsoo’s arrival.

There’s some music coming from somewhere— a classical, delicate sounding piece, Clair de Lune if Kyungsoo isn’t mistaken— and Jongin moves his body to the swells and dips of the tune like the notes were pouring right out of his chest.

He’s stunning.

Kyungsoo feels wrong, almost like he’s intruding by watching such a display.

Jongin wears nothing but a thin, light t-shirt and black leggings, his unruly black hair a mess atop his head. Several chandeliers send prismatic light dancing across his skin and the long wall of mirrors reflect every angle for admiration.

He’s flawless.

The song comes to a graceful close with gentle tinkling notes that trickle down to silence. Jongin pirouettes gracefully into a finishing position, holding his pose in the silence for a few moments.

Kyungsoo breaks him out of his reverie by clapping enthusiastically.

Jongin jumps a little at the noise, and turns on the spot to find Kyungsoo strolling as casually as he can into the room.

A smile so radiant breaks across his face, broad and shining like the sun poking through the clouds on a grey day. Two warm brown eyes disappear into little crescents as Jongin brushes stray strands of hair off his forehead. “I didn’t see you arrive.”

Kyungsoo smiles equally as wide; something in Jongin’s expression is infectious. “I couldn’t disturb a master at work.”

“I’m no master and you know that.” Jongin averts his gaze, his smile becoming a little shyer and a hand toying with the bottom of his shirt.

Kyungsoo wants to kiss him. He wants to kiss every single last inch of doubt off his face and make him see what a beautiful dancer he is.

That, however, would be foolish, and hence Kyungsoo opts for staring openly at Jongin while his eyes are downturned, grinning all the while.

“Is that a piece you’re working on?” Kyungsoo asks hesitantly, eyes searching until Jongin looks up to lock their gazes. Suddenly, his body doesn’t feel tired whatsoever and his heart is begging to hear more of Jongin’s voice.

“Sort of.” Jongin hums. “I don’t know if I like it enough to carry on with it yet.”

“Well…” Kyungsoo hums. “I thought it was beautiful.” The old alpha Do charm is beginning to escape from its confines deep in the back of Kyungsoo’s mind, and he just hopes he can keep his hormones in check before he starts announcing his feelings in a method as subtle as yelling in Jongin’s face.

“R-Really?” Jongin stutters, looking hopeful.

“Er— Yeah.” Kyungsoo answers honestly, rubbing a hand across the back of his neck and trying to play it cool.

Jongin smiles again, the expression soothing to Kyungsoo’s heart, and he turns on his heel and whizzes off in an instant.

Kyungsoo blinks from the rapid movement and before he has time to question anything a string symphony fills the room and Jongin is returning to his side. “We should get on with your lesson.” He says authoritatively.

Jongin eyes Kyungsoo’s heavy clothing doubtfully. “You can’t dance wearing that. Didn’t you have time to change?”

Kyungsoo sighs and rolls his eyes. “I was meeting diplomats all day. I didn’t have time to change.”

“Right, well take off your jacket and your trousers.”

Kyungsoo does a double take. It’s exactly the words he wants to hear from Jongin, just not perhaps in the correct situation. “W-what?”

“Take off your jacket and your trousers. And your shoes. You’re wearing an undershirt aren’t you?” Jongin is looking at him with a strict expression, his arms folded across his chest. “Hurry up, we’re missing lesson time.”

Kyungsoo obediently follows the orders, tossing his clothes somewhere across the sprung floor so he stands in a flimsy undershirt and black leggings not dissimilar to Jongin’s. “Happy?”

Jongin claps his hands together. “Happy. Now come and stand here.”

Kyungsoo rolls his eyes again as Jongin points to a spot on the floor where he wants Kyungsoo to begin.

He still remembers the first time he met Jongin, nearly four years ago now, and the difference in personality is somewhat astounding.

Jongin had been a young, terrified omega who Kyungsoo could smell the stress radiating off in waves. He stuttered his words, could barely make eye contact and in their first lesson flinched any time Kyungsoo tried to touch him.

Now, even though he still has some shyness in him, when he’s comfortable he’s loud and bossy and has no qualms in pushing Kyungsoo around.

It’s the one other thing that makes it easy for Kyungsoo to forget that he’s a Prince.

Long fingers snap in front of Kyungsoo’s eyes suddenly. “Earth to Kyungsoo. Are you receiving me?”

Kyungsoo shakes his head. “Sorry. I was just daydreaming.”

Jongin raises his eyebrows tauntingly. “Focus, my prince.” He teases, lifting Kyungsoo’s arms into hold. “You’re still sloppy on your lines, engage your core more.”

The words send a wriggle of delight crawling down Kyungsoo’s spine. He represses the urge to purr deep in his chest as he feels the calmness that comes from having his imprinted mate close.

“We’re going to try some waltz turns so you get better at holding your shape, ok? In three, two, one—“ And they’re off, twirling round the room with Jongin counting steps in a low voice with his lips tantalisingly close to Kyungsoo’s ear.

When they eventually stop, Kyungsoo head is spinning and he’s not sure if it’s down to the numerous heel turns or the feel of Jongin’s breath across his cheek that’s making him slowly lose his grip on sanity.

He feels light, breezy and unbalanced and has to place a steadying grip on Jongin’s arm so he doesn’t topple over.

Jongin laughs heartily, steadying him with a warm palm placed over the top of Kyungsoo’s white knuckles.

Kyungsoo’s heart stutters and flips in his chest and he wheezes lightly to get the air back into his lungs.

When he looks up, he finds Jongin looking at him in concern. “How are you coping?”

“Huh?” Kyungsoo hums, entirely confused by the out-of-the-blue question.

Jongin still keeps a soft grip on Kyungsoo, looking deeply into his eyes. “How are you coping with everything? You— You haven’t been yourself these past few lessons. I know you aren’t great at opening up about things and I wondered if you’re feeling alright about your coming of age and everything.”

Kyungsoo sighs and disregards the tight clenching in his chest. “I’m ok I guess. I knew it was going to happen sooner or later. I’m no social butterfly but its just going to be one day. I’ll manage.”

Kyungsoo can smell the light scent of distress in the air lingering from himself, and he knows Jongin can too.

“Are you… worried about taking on your father’s role?” Jongin asks quietly, his voice dropping to just above a calm whisper.

This is an abnormal position, and Kyungsoo is somewhat aware of the fact, because they’re still standing awfully close together. He doesn’t know when or how it happened but his arms are wrapped around Jongin’s waist and their eyes are locked firmly on each other.

“A little. I know he does a lot and has been successful.” Kyungsoo answers truthfully. “But… at the end of the day, its just a thing I’ve got to deal with so I guess… I guess I don’t really think about it that much.”

Jongin lets out a little huff of air. “Look, if you ever feel like having to come to lessons is becoming too much for you, I’m sure I can speak to your father and ask if—“

“No! No, these lessons… these lessons are a nice escape I guess. I don’t— I’m too focussed on the dancing to be worrying about everything else. I like it.” It’s somewhat true, but Kyungsoo can’t help but feel the undertone that it has something to do with wanting to be with Jongin as well.

“If you’re sure.” Jongin murmurs quietly. They’re both speaking so lowly, as if the words are just meant for the other, but there’s no one else in the room.

Kyungsoo can feel the concern still radiating off Jongin as he leans into his side. He reaches up to hug the boy properly this time, smiling slightly as Jongin’s hands rest entirely round his back. “Thank you for… asking, you know. For… caring.”

“It’s nothing.” Jongin whispers.

Silence falls over them and yet neither of them let go.

Without meaning to, Kyungsoo begins to make an almost purring sound— a soft thrum in the back of his throat.

It is inherently a romantic sound, produced by alphas to soothe and pacify their mates in times of stress or anxiety.

It isn’t until Kyungsoo feels Jongin starting to soften in his arms that he realises just quite what he’s doing, and he pulls back like he’s been burnt, flapping vaguely.

Jongin looks a bit dazed, his eyelids a little heavier and the scent of relaxation filling the air. He comes to pretty quickly though, blinking rapidly.

A glance outside lets them know the sky is darkening already. “We’ve barely done any practice yet.” Jongin scolds, gathering Kyungsoo back into hold.

Kyungsoo laughs and the thick air around them is broken. “Why do I have to learn to dance anyway?” He complains.

“Because you’re a bad dancer. Come on now, up onto the tiptoes.” Jongin teases before he’s leading Kyungsoo into a routine again.

Hours must pass until Jongin finally decides that Kyungsoo has worked hard enough to retire to his room.

Back in his high turret, Kyungsoo feels ashamedly creepy as he sees Jongin leaving the castle, smiling sweetly at the guard and heading down the dusty track towards the glowing village.

He watches and watches, squinting so hard his eyes hurt, until Jongin has entirely disappeared into the crowds milling about the streets and is safely on his way home.

Kyungsoo sleeps that night with a slightly lighter heart.

 

 

===

 

 

Kyungsoo is not expecting a knock on the door at 2pm three days later.

He is sorting through some of his drawings from the past few nights, sifting through them to find the sketches that need neater versions drawing up.

Kyungsoo looks up from his desk and calls for the visitor to enter.

Kim Jongdae, another servant Kyungsoo is close to, steps through the door with a grimace on his face. “Afternoon your highness.” He says.

Rolling his eyes, Kyungsoo gets up to greet him. “You’re getting as bad as Sehun.”

Jongdae flashes a teasing grin, before he looks at the floor. “Your father wants to speak to you.” He says a little numbly.

“Oh.” Kyungsoo says, confused by Jongdae’s body language. The boy seems tense, and the lingering scent of concern only heightens Kyungsoo’s interest.

He follows Jongdae out of his room and down long corridors and high, twisting staircases. Kyungsoo notices that he’s entering a part of the castle he hasn’t seen in a very long time, years even.

King Junmyeon has always been a distant figure in Kyungsoo’s life. Loving, yes, but not entirely present and too busy running a kingdom to be bothered by little Kyungsoo’s crayon scribbled drawings.

Kyungsoo spent most of his time with his mother, his brother, and the children of the servants in the castle, hence his close relationship with Sehun, Jongdae et al.

It was very rarely that he was allowed to enter his father’s private quarters. Thinking back, the last time was probably when his mother— Kyungsoo’s doesn’t like to think about that.

For these reasons, it feels foreign to be led into a small room bathed in light— the old orangery that hasn’t been used properly in years.

Kyungsoo’s father stands looking out of the windows, surveying the manicured lawns of the castle grounds. He turns when he hears people entering, and he smiles at his son.

Junmyeon is dressed fairly casually, a rare occurrence, and signals once Jongdae has left that Kyungsoo should sit down in a well worn arm chair. “It’s nice to see you.” He begins. “Would you like some tea?” Before Kyungsoo can ask, Junmyeon is pouring a cup and pushing it into his son’s hands.

Kyungsoo forces a smile on his face. “It is nice to see you too.” When was the last time he actually spoke to his father?

Junmyeon’s smile falters a little, but he continues anyway, folding his hands in his lap. “I felt that we should… discuss some things seeing as your coming of age is one week away.”

Kyungsoo nods, listening, although his stomach turns itself in uncomfortable knots.

“I’m an old man now Kyungsoo,” Junmyeon laughs. “And I think it’s only fair that you know what I am intending to happen when you take the throne.”

He looks old, Kyungsoo notes in that moment. He looks frail, with wrinkling skin and white hairs streaking his head. Realistically, his father isn’t old, he has at least another 25 years of his reign stretching out in front of him, but he certainly looks frail. Kyungsoo supposes being King does that to you.

“A marriage would be the most appropriate option for you.” He states, looking almost afraid to catch Kyungsoo’s eye. “King Kang and I have agreed that it would be beneficial to both of our kingdoms if Princess Yura and you were to get married and both rule here when my days are done.”

And there it is. Kyungsoo certainly wasn’t expecting the conversation to be laid bare so quickly.

At least it’s Yura, Kyungsoo’s thinks. Of all of the princesses he could be marrying, he can describe Yura as his friend. They’ve been close since they were little. “Yura is… my preferred choice.” He says quietly, picking a grape out of the fruit bowl nearby and eating it slowly.

“Your preferred choice?” Junmyeon raises his eyebrow.

“If it had to be anyone, I’m glad it’s Yura.” Kyungsoo deadpans.

An unsteady smile crosses Junmyeon’s lips. “Well… hopefully you will have a fruitful future.”

Kyungsoo tries not to snort. He isn’t intending on being so contemptuous of his father, but there is something tiring about a man who has shown little care for your entire life suddenly beginning to meddle now because it is what’s ‘best’.

“I think that’s unlikely.” Kyungsoo responds. There has never been anything but familial love between him and Yura.

“Unlikely? Kyungsoo you know the importance of an heir to the—“

“Maybe if we adopt, then you’ll get your wishes.”

Junmyeon looks mightily unhappy, but seems to allow for the conversation to slide. “I have every faith in you being a King, Kyungsoo. Every faith.”

Kyungsoo petulantly pouts at the floor, the urge to say “Whatever” childishly dripping on his tongue.

“As for your coming of age ceremony I would like it if you attended in full ceremonial dress. There will be visitors from all kingdoms and we need to give the best impression possible.”

“Yes.”

“I want you to be present for the entirety of the day. No sneaking off to your quarters. I am expecting you to speak kindly to all of our guests.”

“Well I seem to manage with the diplomats, I’m sure I’ll manage then.”

“Your attitude has a tendency to be icy at times, which is most definitely—“

“—Is that all?” Kyungsoo says, looking at his father with a stony glare.

“Kyungsoo, I will not be—“

Kyungsoo gets to his feet, the irritation crawling all over his skin. “You haven’t spared me a second look over the past 23 years, despite the fact I’ve acted as your lapdog and show piece for all the foreign guests since Seungsoo died—“

Junmyeon winces at the blasé mention of his eldest son’s name, but Kyungsoo carries on regardless.

“—I’m fairly sure I know how to handle myself at political events. I don’t need babying.” Kyungsoo stands up, giving one last look at his father. “Thank you for the tea.”

With that, he stalks out of the room, allowing the door to bang behind him.

He startles a few maids and he hears Jongdae shout his name behind him, but he ignores everything and marches resolutely up the stairs and doesn’t spare a look back.

 

 

===

 

As he storms his way into the ballroom, Kyungsoo resists the urge to ball his fists up a smash something. The mirrors in here must be worth something ridiculous and he doesn't need another issue on his plate.

Jongin must sense the seething rage spilling from him as he rushes over as soon as he notices Kyungsoo’s arrival. “Soo? Are you alright?”

He tries to offer comfort, softly squeezing Kyungsoo’s hands in his, but he’s brushed off.

“No.” Kyungsoo snarls, marching off towards the mirrors and slinging his jacket off.

Rather than obeying Kyungsoo’s unspoken demand of ‘I don’t want to talk about it’, Jongin heads over to him again and makes another attempt to pacify him.

“Kyungsoo, Kyungsoo breathe please.” He pleads, looking deeply into his eyes.

Kyungsoo is practically shaking, squeezing his eyes shut so he doesn’t start leaking hot angry tears. He doesn’t feel like he can deal with being around anyone right now and the fact that Jongin’s warmth and his scent are so close to him, surrounding him and making him feel safe, seems like a taunt.

Soft hands wipe at the corners of his eyes. “Talk to me.”

Kyungsoo opens his eyes, blinking to rid them of any leftover tears. He swallows over the lump in his throat.

He and Jongin are close again. They’re in their little bubble and Kyungsoo wants nothing more than to lean forward and dip his nose into Jongin’s collar bone, take a deep heady breath and then stay their forever.

There are boundaries, however, and as painful as it is he weakly shakes his head. “It’s nothing.” He steps back, out of Jongin’s hold because he can’t physically stay there without his chest starting to ache.

Hurt flashes across Jongin’s face as he takes the rejection, and his scent goes through a range of emotions, staying in discomfort and sadness for a tad too long in Kyungsoo’s mind.

Eventually, it evens out into something more neutral, and Jongin proffers a hand. “Shall we get some practice in then?” He whispers.

Kyungsoo swallows over another watery smile. “Yeah.”

 

 

===

 

 

In all fairness, the Great Hall is magnificent when it’s decorated to it’s fullest.

The prince’s coming of age is the biggest event the kingdom has seen for a very long time, so there’s no doubting that it will be a no expense spared occasion.

Girls have been flitting in and out all day, carrying armfuls of fresh, blooming flowers to fill the room with colour and a beautiful scent.

Magnificent creamy drapes have been hung from the very tops of the marble colonnades, giving the room even more grandeur.

The crystal chandeliers have been lit with candles, the warm glow of the lighting glinting off the gold inlay around the room.

Kyungsoo had been for a quick stroll around the hall before his father had sent him up to his room to get ready. He really hates wearing the full, heavy robes expected of him at formal events and he likes his crown even less.

Sehun tries not to snigger as Kyungsoo complains to the hairdressers that they’re poking pins into his head and it’s becoming really uncomfortable. “Cheer up, Soo, it’s your birthday!” He teases when the hairdressers leave.

Kyungsoo glares at him. “Would you enjoy your birthday if you had to be primped and preened within an inch of your life and then stood on a stage to be ogled?”

“You use such big words.” Sehun rolls his eyes. “I swear you can’t know what they all mean.”

Kyungsoo ignores his friend, slumping down onto his bed. “Do I have to go?” He says quietly.

Sehun looks at him sympathetically. “I wish I could tell you something different, I really do. But… this is it I’m afraid.”

Kyungsoo lies back and lets his eyes run across the ornate gold thread embroidery stitched into the canopy above his bed.

Sehun sighs. “If I could do something, I would, you know.” He murmurs quietly. “You’ll be alright though, I know you will. Things’ll work out.”

Kyungsoo appreciates his quiet reassurance. “Thank you.” For one dreadful moment he thinks he’s about to cry.

Sehun, luckily, claps his hands together, shattering some of the slightly tense atmosphere in the room. “We’d best be going then. I’ll walk in with you if you like.”

Kyungsoo nods his head, sitting up and checking his crown is still on straight before following Sehun out of the room.

Every step he takes towards the Great Hall only heightens the heavy feeling of dread in his gut.

Before they even reach the towering wooden doors, Kyungsoo can hear the buzzing hum of a large crowd of people. He can hear music being played too; string instruments already grating on his ears.

He takes one last inhalation of breath before the doors are being swung open and he steps into the hall.

Hundreds of pairs of eyes turn his way, desperate for a glance at the mysterious prince everyone talks about.

Small children tiptoe at the front, their hair decorated with flowers, and they toss more petals onto the path in front of Kyungsoo.

Kyungsoo focusses on putting one foot in front of the other. The noise around him is cacophonous, clapping and stamping and cheering and laughter. This is a celebration, after all.

He tries to smile, pasting a fixed grin onto his face. He waves awkwardly at the crowd, although everything around him is starting to be drowned out by the thudding of his own heart.

Kyungsoo senses that Sehun flicks a concerned look his way. He feels a little like he might faint— his robes are too constricting, his crown his too heavy, the weight of expectation rests solely on his shoulders.

Swallowing down the bile beginning to crawl up his throat, Kyungsoo blinks back tears forming in his eyes and allows himself to be guided up some steps and settled into a plush and comfortable seat.

The world still spins a little, but Kyungsoo has the forefront of mind to realise that he is sitting on a smaller throne beside his father.

Despite their previous conversation, his father smiles at him and eventually rises to his feet. The crowd falls silent in a heartbeat.

“It is a pleasure to welcome you all to the castle today,” Junmyeon begins, and the crowd erupts into cheers again.

After extending a regal hand to ask them to quieten again, Junmyeon beams to the crowds. “I am delighted that we, as a kingdom, can all join together to celebrate this wonderful event— the coming of age of our Crown Prince Do.”

Kyungsoo knows the crowd are looking at him now, cheering for him again, and he bows his head, hoping he can pass the feeling of exhaustion pumping through him as embarrassment.

Junmyeon begins speaking again, turning the crowds attention back to him, and Kyungsoo looks up to chance a look around.

There are so many happy, expectant faces. This is probably the most extravagant event they’ve ever seen.

Kyungsoo’s sweeping gaze stutters to a halt at the side of one the colossal marble columns towards the back of the hall.

His fathers words slip even further to the back of his mind, all his attention suddenly focussed one that one spot.

Jongin stands there, leaning somewhat nonchalantly against the pillar. He’s dressed to the nines though, a child’s flower crown perched somewhat precariously on the top of his head—most probably courtesy of one of the little girls running around the place.

He thinks they make eye contact, and Jongin might even smile a little.

Immediately, the feelings of sickness and instability in Kyungsoo’s chest cease. His heart stops feeling less like a tiny fishing boat tugging on it’s moorings in the middle of a storm. Calm washes over him.

Jongin is here, and therefore everything is ok.

Kyungsoo is enjoying the feeling of his now lax muscles as he sinks into the throne, and just manages to pick up on his father’s speech again.

“…And it is due to these reasons that our two kingdoms shall soon be united. In the late spring, our alpha Crown Prince Do and Princess Yura, the beautiful omega of the Kang dynasty, shall seal their union and will rule over this kingdom together.”

There are delighted gasps from the audience, more cheers and clapping and a few young omegas in the front row look a little disappointed.

Shouts of “Congratulations!” Echo around the hall and Kyungsoo tries not to glare at the crowds.

His heart feels unsteady again, and he looks back to the pillar to find that Jongin is gone.

“And so, may the celebrations begin!” Junmyeon announces, throwing a warning look in Kyungsoo’s direction, one that undeniably screams try and look like you’re enjoying it.

Another forced, practiced smile slides into place on Kyungsoo’s face as the first round of guests, a group of servants, line up to deliver gifts for his birthday.

The smile is already starting to hurt his cheeks by the time the first bunches of flowers are lain at his feet, and Kyungsoo can already tell this is going to be a long night.

 

 

===

 

 

“I hear our dear Prince is betrothed?”

“Don’t say that.” Kyungsoo somewhat snaps as he marches into the ballroom for a dance lesson the following day.

The teasing grin drops from Jongin’s lips in a flash and he looks guilty. “—I’m sorry.” He apologises instantly, a waft of discomfort permeating the air.

“Ah its—“ Kyungsoo sighs, running a hand through his unruly hair (it needs cutting) “Honestly Jongin it’s… it’s fine. I didn’t mean to snap. I’m sorry.” He apologises.

Jongin, being the angel that he is, bounces back easily with a shy smile on his face. “It isn’t a problem.”

The air still feels tense, regardless, and Kyungsoo feels guilty. He shifts his weight from one foot to the other, knotting his fingers today in front of him.

Jongin breaks the silence. “Ok, so—“ He begins chirpily, crowding forward to pick Kyungsoo up into hold. “You did well when I saw you dancing last night. Having said that, there is still room for improvement.”

Kyungsoo lets out a dramatic groan, slumping back into his heels and letting Jongin take his weight.

Giggling, Jongin pulls him back up straight. “Concentrate, will you!” He chastises, his voice taking on a more efficient, teaching tone. “Your heel toe leads are still a little sloppy.”

Jongin works Kyungsoo hard during the lesson, but the prince finds that yet again the distraction is welcome.

By the time he’s given a short break, Kyungsoo’s heart is hammering, there’s sweat running rivulets down his back and he’s feeling a little light-headed.

He pulls away from Jongin (hoping to clear the thick omega hormones clouding his mind) and slides down one of the mirrors to sit on the floor. “I’m exhausted.”

Jongin is smiling brightly, and he pushes damp, sweaty locks off his forehead before sitting down next to Kyungsoo.

“You really need to work on your stamina.”

“Hey!” Kyungsoo protests, feeling his alpha pride deflate exponentially. “My stamina is just fine thank you.”

Jongin giggles again, the sound tinkling in the air, and Kyungsoo has the mad urge to bottle it so he can hear it again and again. “I’m just saying— omega heats are long, you need to get practicing.”

Kyungsoo starts to chuckle, but the sound becomes rueful as he looks down into his lap. “I guess so.” He can see out of his peripheral vision that Jongin is looking at him sympathetically, but Kyungsoo stubbornly refuses eye contact.

Jongin knocks him lightly with an elbow. “Princess Yura is very pretty, though.” He’s trying to lighten the mood, to make Kyungsoo see the positive side, although he isn’t sure it’s working.

Kyungsoo picks at the laces of his dance shoes. “She is, I guess.” The subtext of if that’s your kind of thing echoes around Kyungsoo’s head. He wonders if he should say it out loud, if he should voice his thoughts to Jongin. I’m not interested in girls, really, I like you.

Rationality wins out in the end. He is an alpha prince, and he is engaged to be married to an omega princess. What he really feels is of no matter.

“You don’t sound all that enthusiastic.” Jongin deadpans.

Kyungsoo sighs airily. “I’ve… known Yura for a very long time. It’ll be strange to be… married to her. But it’s true, she is beautiful.” He can appreciate the girl’s beauty objectively at least.

“I’m sure you’ll be good together.” Jongin whispers, although his voice sounds a little strained and his smile is somewhat regretful, as if he’s heard something he didn’t quite want to.

“I guess we will.”

Heavy silence falls across the room again.

“Look, Jongin, I’m sorry but I’m really tired… would you mind if we cut the lesson short today?” Kyungsoo says, getting to his feet. It’s a blatant lie, he could spend every hour of the day with Jongin even if he were dead on his feet. There’s something today, however, that’s making it really hard to be around Jongin. He’s so close, yet so far away, and that is hurting.

Jongin, being the sweetheart that he is, jumps to his feet too. “No, no of course not! Go and rest, you need it.”

They stand and look at each other for a bit. They keep doing that, Kyungsoo knows it, but somehow he can’t stop. He can’t stop looking at Jongin’s face even if it’s like a knife to the gut.

A little breathlessly, Kyungsoo mutters “Goodnight.” before turning on his heel and walking away before he does something stupid.

He just hears Jongin whisper it back before the ballroom door slams shut behind him and he starts running down the corridor, wanting nothing more than to be allowed to sleep for a couple of days so he doesn’t have to think.

 

 

===

 

 

“Eating in here isn’t allowed.” Kyungsoo remarks dryly as he peers over the top of his book.

Sehun apparently thinks that it’s ok for him to eat a nectarine loudly in the castle library of all places.

“I won’t make a mess.” He complains with juice dribbling down his chin.

Kyungsoo leafs through the pages of the book, deciding that’s he’s better off without an argument.

“Wha’re you lookin’ fo’ an’way?” Sehun garbles with his mouth full, eyeing Kyungsoo as he sighs and dumps another heavy encyclopaedia to the side.

“I’m just… curious, about what would happen if… what happens if we don’t end up with our destined mate?”

“—Have you looked in Lupine: Comprehensive?” A voice echoes through the room, making Kyungsoo startle.

It’s Baekhyun, Chanyeol’s omega mate and another household servant. He sits beside Kyungsoo with a sympathetic grin.

“No, No I haven’t.”

Baekhyun shrugs. “I’d try it if I were you. Everything’s in there.” He flits his gaze to inspect Sehun distastefully, before turning to Kyungsoo again. “But you do know that some people go their whole lives without ever meeting their soulmate, right? It’s not something to worry about. If it’s going to happen, it’ll come with time.”

Kyungsoo sighs heavily and leans back in his chair. “It’s not that it’s more… if you're pretty certain who your destined mate is but you don’t end up with them… what happens?”

Baekhyun purses his lips. “I—I don’t know, actually. I’ve never known it to happen. I would’ve thought that when you’ve met and, in your alpha case, imprinted on your mate then… fate will take it’s course.” He hops to his feet lightly and heads for a bookshelf, wiggling his fingers along the shelf until he taps his finger lightly on the spine of a book.

He nearly staggers under the weight of the giant tome, and Sehun attempts to help but stops immediately when Baekhyun glares at his fruit stained finger tips coming near the old leather and gold cover.

Lupine: Comprehensive has literally everything we know about our biology. If it’s going to be anywhere it’ll be here.”

Baekhyun has a somewhat motherly tendency to him and begins scanning the contents and flipping to the section listed Mates.

He mutters under his breath as he flickers his eyes down the page, eventually letting out a little triumphant “Ah!”

“Did you find something?” Sehun asks, looking interested now he’s managed to find a napkin to wipe his fingers on.

Baekhyun nods before read aloud. “The effect of a wolf not being with their destined mate are not all too severe, owing to the possibly that the true mate may never be found. Many wolves have found contentment throughout their lives with either platonic or romantic partners who are not their destined mate. However, the effects of being denied an imprinted mate can be much more serious.

Kyungsoo looks worried, leaning closer over Baekhyun’s shoulder. “Go on.”

There are extreme adverse affects if a wolf is denied their destined mate, particularly when the form of imprinting (for all wolf types) has taken place. An out of sight, out of mind approach can lessen the pain, but wolves may experience deep depression, anxiety and stress if they know their mate is within reach.” Baekhyun reads, his voice gradually becoming fainter.

“Is that it?” Sehun says, leaning across the table.

Baekhyun shakes his head. “In cases where the desired, imprinted upon mate goes on to settle and complete the mating process with a different wolf—“ His voice cuts off mid sentence.

Sehun and Kyungsoo look at each other with wide eyes. “What? What is it?” Kyungsoo gulps.

“—It has not been uncommon to die of a broken heart.

“Oh God.” Sehun whispers.

Kyungsoo makes eye contact with him, and all he can see is Sehun’s eyes filled with apology.

He’s fairly certain the boy knows why he wanted to find this out, that he understands. That’s probably why he agreed to accompany Kyungsoo to the library, for moral support, because Kyungsoo knows Sehun hates being unnecessarily quiet for long periods of time.

“That’s really sad.” Baekhyun says, looking glumly at the page.

Kyungsoo looks at Sehun in panic, warning him with his eyes not to talk about just how sad this could possibly be.

Sehun, for once, takes the hint. “So— we were talking about this the other day actually, you probably have the answers Baek— what happens when omegas have their form of imprinting?” He changes the subject smoothly.

Baekhyun seems happy to move on from the subject, oblivious to how quiet and stiff Kyungsoo has become beside him.

“Hmm.” He thinks, tilting his head to the side. “I suppose it’s kind of hard to explain if you’ve never experienced it. From what I’ve heard from Chanyeol about alpha imprinting, it’s similar but not as… intense? I’ve heard alpha imprinting is like an entire, earth shaking, soul confirming moment. For omegas it builds more I’d say. It’s like having a crush on someone that rapidly builds, you have this feeling of safety and just… oneness? Like you feel whole when that person is next to you. But it’s really subtle, somehow.”

Sehun frowns. “How do you know for certain though? Surely that’s a bit ineffective?”

Baekhyun laughs. “It is I suppose, that bit at least. But it does get confirmed. When you start getting really addicted to their scent is the first stage, it starts to be the most relaxing and wonderful smell in the world. Then the big confirmation is, usually, you’ll have had some— intimate, shall we say?— contact with them. Most often it’s a kiss. And that sends you into a heat, possibly the longest and most intense heat I’ve ever been through, it’s pretty bad. While you're going through that there’s only one thought that’s in your mind, and it’s that person. Any old alpha scent won’t cut it, you want that person and that person only.”

Sehun sits back as if all his questions in the universe have been answered all at once. “Ohhhhh. That all makes sense now.”

Kyungsoo nods to himself. That’s reassuring in a way, because Jongin hasn’t had to take any time off out of his usual cycle for a heat, which Kyungsoo presumes can only be a good thing for him.

Baekhyun shuts Lupine: Comprehensive and stands up. “You too can’t be staying in here too long, it’s nearly dark outside.” He chastises, looking out of the window. He’s just about to leave the room until he turns around and looks at Kyungsoo. “Try not to worry about mates so much, Soo. Your special someone will show up soon enough.”

And with that, Baekhyun is gone.

If only he knew, Kyungsoo thinks dryly to himself.

 

 

===

 

 

It was tempting fate, looking that up in the library.

He could tell Jongin was distracted for their entire lesson.

He was normally on Kyungsoo back for every slight mistake, every missed step, every incorrect head placement.

Kyungsoo knew his posture was sloppy. He knew he messed up several complicated step combinations. Yet Jongin didn’t seem to care.

It seemed like his mind was wandering, and Kyungsoo knew something was up.

Towards the end of the lesson, Jongin stepped back awkwardly from Kyungsoo’s hold and pushed some sweaty hair out of his eyes.

Kyungsoo felt the dip of want flood through his stomach as sweat dripped down Jongin’s collarbones, but he held his breath resolutely before the scent of attraction starting flooding out from him.

“Kyungsoo, um,” He began unsurely, unable to even look Kyungsoo in the eyes. “I hope you don’t mind but… can I leave a bit early tonight?” He looked up with those pleading, puppy dog eyes and Kyungsoo knew he didn’t have the heart to resist.

“Of course.” He said, berating himself for sounding so eager to please. You’re an alpha, for goodness sake Kyungsoo, get a grip. “Why though?” He tried to sound nonchalant but he could feel his words dripping with curiosity. Jongin hardly ever wants to cut short their lessons.

Jongin smiled sheepishly. “Oh. Thanks.” He wrung his hands slightly, a habit of his when he’s nervous. “It’s just— I— An alpha from the village has asked me out tonight. I don’t want to be late.”

“Oh.” Kyungsoo’s heart had dropped to his feet. He couldn’t help the harsh tone at which his next question came out. “Who?”

Jongin blushed a little, which only stoked the fiery jealous in Kyungsoo’s stomach. “It’s— Lim Hyunsik. I went to school with him, actually.”

And Kyungsoo, like the weak minded idiot that he is, let him go.

He doesn’t know who this Lim Hyunsik character is but he can already tell he doesn’t like him. He’s probably an awful person.

It’s been an hour since the end of the lesson but Kyungsoo is still moping in his room, writing Lim Hyunsik’s name on pieces of parchment and stabbing viciously at it until its smeared with ink and almost illegible.

He’s aware he’s acting like a petulant, lovesick teenager, but that doesn’t stop him until he realises he’s surrounded by a tidal wave of screwed up paper balls.

Kyungsoo mutters angrily to himself under his breath about ‘stupid little alphas going around asking people on dates, when they have no right to do that, that’s my dance teacher, it’s stealing’ as he tidies up the paper, but eventually gives up when he realises their isn’t enough room in his bin to fit them all.

He flops onto his bed and muffles a scream into his pillow. He’s sad, and he’s mopey, and he’s going to act like a brat because he wants to.

“Wow, who died?” A voice deadpans from the doorway.

“Go away, Sehun. I’m not in the mood.”

“Well if he didn’t die already, it looks like this Lim Hyunsik guy is about to, damn.”

Kyungsoo looks up to find Sehun inspecting one of the many pieces of paper.

“He asked Jongin on a date. Tonight.”

Sehun’s eyes widen. “This Hyunsik guy?”

“Yes.” Kyungsoo bites. “Jongin left the lesson early, so he wouldn’t be late.” He adds in a petty tone.

“Do you know where they’re going?” Sehun asks curiously.

“Dunno.” Kyungsoo huffs. “Probably that really nice Italian place in the village. Jongin said a while back he’d love to go there.” He adds glumly.

A grin spreads slowly across Sehun’s face. “Let’s follow them.”

“Let’s what?”

“I said, let’s follow them. I’ll get Chanyeol, and Jongdae too, we should go and follow them.”

“Isn’t that a bit odd?” Kyungsoo questions sceptically.

Sehun shrugs and pulls a face. “It probably is. Let’s be honest though, when has that ever stopped us before?”

Kyungsoo studies his best friend’s face intently. It’s been a while since he’s left the castle, and it’s been a while since he’s been allowed to cause mischief with his friends. Plus, he really does want to know who this Hyunsik guy is. “Sure. I’m in.”

Sehun’s grin turns almost ugly with how broad it is, his eyes disappearing completely into the smile. “That’s what I like to hear.”

 

 

===

 

 

“I think I know the guy.” Jongdae hums, popping a grape from a bag in his hands into his mouth. “Lim Hyunsik. The name rings a bell. I think I went to school with him.”

Kyungsoo, Sehun, Chanyeol and Jongdae have managed to escape the castle walls, and are enjoying a slow stroll down the rough pathway to the village.

It’s a beautiful evening, the sun just starting to droop low over the horizon, and the air is just cool enough to be comfortable.

It does nothing to ease the tension in Kyungsoo’s gut. It’s the perfect night for a date; the perfect night for falling in love.

“You think?” Chanyeol looks interested, taking a grape for himself in his enthusiasm and nearly sprays the group with juice as he chews it. “What was he like?”

“He was nice actually. Really sweet. All the girls adored him.”

“Oh, I’m sure they did.” Kyungsoo bites out sarcastically.

Sehun snickers at his tone.

They’re fast approaching the village, and Kyungsoo feels progressively more sick with every step he takes.

People glance his way periodically as he and his friends try to look nonchalant. It’s not often you see the Prince strolling round.

Suddenly, Jongdae gasps and Kyungsoo feels himself being yanked sideways by the scruff of the neck.

“Jongdae! What the fuck was that for?” He huffs, finding himself on the floor of a tree filled, forest like area at the side of the Italian restaurant they were aiming for. He brushes brown, dead fir leaves off him and gets to his feet, helping Chanyeol and Sehun up who are in a similar position.

Jongdae silences them with a finger to his lips and points.

Safely hidden in the shadowy tree cover, they follow his finger and Kyungsoo’s breath hitches in his throat.

Jongin is standing by a small well, glancing around nervously. He looks stunning, dressed in all black with the sun gently kissing the lines of his face.

The excited fizzing in Kyungsoo’s stomach is replaced by one of cold dread as he notices an equally smartly dressed man approaching Jongin.

Jongin looks up and beams at the man, who smiles back in return.

“He has a really fucking nice smile.” Kyungsoo spits. Of course this mystery Hyunsik character would have a nice smile that curves up into his eyes and makes him look like sunshine personified. Of fucking course.

Hyunsik offers Jongin his hand, and Jongin takes it with a blush.

Kyungsoo can help the snarl that rips out of his throat.

“Violence is not the answer, Soo, violence is not the answer.” Sehun lays a reassuring hand on his shoulder, partly to calm him down but also partly to hold him in place should he consider lunging forwards.

The new couple stroll towards the entrance to the restaurant, talking animatedly.

Jongin hasn’t stopped smiling.

Chanyeol taps Kyungsoo on the arm. “There’s a window round the back.” He whispers, and Kyungsoo nods, following the rest as they tread leaves to peer in the large bay window into the restaurant.

“He got hotter, to be honest.” Kyungsoo hears Jongdae pondering as they rest their noses on the windowsill, trying not to get caught.

“He has really broad shoulders, like damn.” Sehun interjects.

“How tall do you reckon he is?” Chanyeol hums.

This is really what Kyungsoo needs. If Lim Hyunsik turns out to be taller than him he’s going to completely and utterly—

“He’s about the same height as Kyungsoo, I’d say. Not much taller.”

Well, there’s a blessing.

Kyungsoo gnaws on his lower lip as a perky waitress leads the pair to their table. It hurts that even next to Hyunsik’s relatively small stature, Jongin still looks so gentle and easily breakable.

Hyunsik is annoyingly polite. He pulls Jongin’s chair out for him with a kind smile, ensuring the boy is settled before walking to his own seat.

They’re chatting away together, both looking so involved in the conversation, and laughing at what Kyungsoo presumes is Hyunsik mispronouncing a name on the menu.

Kyungsoo’s eyes remain glued to the couple, frowning when the waitress brings some wine for them. He better not try any funny business if Jongin is drunk.

But of course, Hyunsik doesn’t. He’s the perfect gentleman, and he is throughout the whole meal.

The others start to get bored by the time the couple’s main courses are served, and Kyungsoo can faintly hear them playing rock, paper, scissors over the thudding of his heartbeat in his ears.

He can’t tear his eyes away from the scene in front of him, as the desserts finally arrive. They share the food between them, and when Hyunsik gentle spoons some chocolate pudding into Jongin’s lips Kyungsoo whimpers in distress.

Jongin blushes prettily again, wiping any remnants of sauce from his mouth with his napkin.

Someone squeezes Kyungsoo’s shoulder gently, but he brushes the hand off.

Hyunsik pays for dinner and Kyungsoo wants to cry. He really wants to cry because he can’t hate this guy even if he’s trying. He hasn’t put a single foot wrong and worst of all Jongin looks happy.

Chanyeol nudges Kyungsoo’s side softly as the couple leave the restaurant. “Come on.” He says, indicating over his shoulder where Sehun and Jongdae are already heading for the pathway through the village again.

It feels creepy, but they skulk behind the couple as Hyunsik walks Jongin home, occasionally ducking and diving into shop doorways if it looks like one of them is going to turn around.

Outside Jongin’s pretty, flower covered cottage, they conveniently dip behind some old barrels standing outside a beer shop.

Jongin and Hyunsik stop and have a short conversation, and Kyungsoo wishes and wishes and wishes that he could hear what they’re saying.

Just as they’re about to bid each other good night, Hyunsik leans in.

Kyungsoo hears himself audibly gasp and slams his eyelids shut. He can’t watch that. He can’t.

By the time he opens his eyes, Jongin is heading down his garden path and unlocking his front door, and Hyunsik is lightly breezing off further into the village.

Sehun, Jongdae and Chanyeol all look somewhat amused.

“What?” Kyungsoo snaps at them.

Sehun tries not to smirk. “They didn’t kiss you know.”

“They didn’t?”

Jongdae shakes his head. “Jongin turned his head at the last minute. More a cheekbone peck than anything else.”

“Good.”

Chanyeol rolls his eyes. “You were over reacting. Jongin wasn’t interested.”

Kyungsoo splutters. “Did you just see what I did? He wouldn’t stop smiling.” He looks glum.

Jongdae slings an arm over Kyungsoo’s shoulder as they begin to head back to the castle. “Whatever you say, Soo.”

 

 

===

 

 

Kyungsoo is moping.

It’s incredibly hard not to when everything your heart desires is in your arms, twirling around a ballroom with you, but they’ve been on a wonderful date the night before. With someone else.

Jongin finally lets him go as an ambiguous string piece fades from the background, before he wanders over to switch the music off completely.

Kyungsoo studies the elegant lines of his body and once again has to remind himself that pheromones are a thing and if he isn’t careful he’s going to reveal something embarrassing yet again.

Jongin is saying something, Kyungsoo has registered that his lips are moving, but he isn’t paying any attention to the sounds coming out of Jongin’s lips. The boy has reached under his shirt to scratch an itch and has inadvertently revealed plains of toned, tanned flesh and a line of cropped dark hairs trailing down his lower abdomen.

Kyungsoo’s wants to lick it.

“—Soo? Are you listening?”

Kyungsoo sputters, his face burning, and he drags his eyes back up to Jongin’s face. “Huh?” He says intelligently. A smooth, charming alpha, of course.

“Are you alright? You seem really distracted again?” Jongin questions, his eyes looking concerned.

Kyungsoo’s eyes zero in on Jongin’s cheekbones, and his gut burns when he thinks that someone else’s lips touched that spot just last night. “Yeah, I’m fine.”

Jongin quirks an eyebrow, not looking convinced. “Are you sure?”

“Yeah, yeah.” Kyungsoo breezes. “Yura and her father are coming to visit early next week, I guess I’m just a little stressed with the build up and everything.” He waves his hand vaguely in the air, hoping Jongin decides to drop the subject.

“Ah.” Jongin makes a noise of understanding. “Are you sure that’s it?”

“Yeah, honestly.” In a desperate attempt to change the subject, Kyungsoo interrupts Jongin just as he sees the boy open his mouth again. “—How was your date last night?”

It’s an awful question and Kyungsoo does not want to know the answer at all, but he’s asked it anyway.

A soft smile slides on to Jongin’s face. “It was very nice.”

“Just nice?”

“Yes.”

“Do you think you’ll see him again?”

“Hyunsik?” Jongin frowns.

“Yeah.”

“I don’t know.” Jongin shrugs indifferently. “Maybe.”

Maybe?”

“Yes, maybe.”

Yes, maybe as in it could be a yes or a maybe I’ll see him again, or is it yes, maybe it’s a definite maybe.”

“What?” Jongin looks almightily confused, heading back over to the stereo to turn some music on again.

“I’m only curious!” Kyungsoo adds defensively.

Jongin holds his hands up. “I didn’t say you weren’t.”

“I’m just interested to know how it went.”

Jongin is being far too evasive and indirect and it’s annoying. Kyungsoo wants to know if he’s going to have his heart shattered into pieces here and now, thank you very much.

“Well, it doesn’t really matter, does it?” Jongin says, returning to Kyungsoo’s side and fixing his posture with nimble fingers.

“Well, I think it matters.”

“Kyungsoo, it has nothing to do with you, come on now we need to get some more practice in.”

Kyungsoo steps back before Jongin can pull him into hold again. “How are you being so calm with all of this?”

“All of what Kyungsoo?”

“This!” Kyungsoo waves his arm in the air. “You went on a date and you’re not telling me anything!” He sounds like a jealous, needy boyfriend, but Kyungsoo’s opened the floodgates now so he’s not going to stop.

“Why are you so mad?” Jongin looks bewildered and somehow, a little hurt too. “I just went on a date.”

Kyungsoo finally comes to his senses, his cheeks flushing red. “You’re right, nothing matters.”

“Kyungsoo?”

He’s now a mixture of grumpy and embarrassed, and Kyungsoo folds his arms across his chest. He turns on his heel in almost an instant because he can feel tears starting to spring up behind his eyelids. “I’m going to bed.” He chokes, storming for the door.

He’s being ridiculous but everything is just too much at the minute and he needs to be on his own before he cries like a baby in front of Jongin.

Just before the ballroom door slams shut behind him, Kyungsoo hears the sounds of Jongin running and a shout of his name, but then he’s left in silence and tears slide down his cheeks as he runs to his bed quarters and doesn’t look back.

 

 

===

 

 

“Kyungsoo!” A dainty, feminine voice squeals before Kyungsoo’s gets smothered by tendrils of silky black hair and the scent of lily flowers.

He’s been greeting dignitaries for a length of time that feels like forever before Yura finally appears. He hugs her back tightly, the first genuine smile of the day spreading across his lips. “Yul.”

The old nickname feels safe and comfortable on his tongue, and Yura pulls back with a grin. “Are you eating enough?” She parrots, pinching at his forearm. “You feel thin.”

Kyungsoo rolls his eyes. Ever since childhood Yura has been a definite mother character. “I’m fine.” He protests.

Yura raises her eyebrows sternly, and Kyungsoo can tell he’s about to get a telling off before Yura’s father interrupts them.

“Ah, it’s nice to see you two getting on.” He rubs his hands together somewhat greedily, and Kyungsoo grimaces.

He’s forgotten how the creepy the other king could be.

Luckily, his own father saves them. “Kyungsoo, King Kang and I would like to discuss a few things before we sit for the inaugural dinner. Perhaps you could show Yura around the grounds and make her feel welcome.” There’s a smile on Junmyeon’s face that lets Kyungsoo know he doesn’t have much choice.

“Of course.” He smiles as warmly as he can, bowing to the two kings, before gesturing for Yura to follow him down the corridor.

Kyungsoo leads her out of an old wooden door, thanking the servant that opens it for them, and takes a deep inhalation of breath as they set foot in the neatly manicured grounds.

The moment the grass is under her feet, Yura, inexplicably, does a cartwheel.

It startles a laugh out of Kyungsoo as the girl fumbles over.

“I’m bored of all those old men already.” She huffs as she straightens up, wrestling her dress down again after it became ruffled with the acrobatics.

“Me too.” Kyungsoo sighs. “Do you want my jacket by the way?” He says, starting to take the garment off. Yura is wearing a deep green velvet winter dress, which looks somewhat warm but perhaps not enough to fight off the chill in the air.

She shakes her head with a smile. “Don’t worry, I’m fine. Thanks though.” She says, before she’s lunging forward and pinching Kyungsoo’s cheeks almost painfully in her fingertips. “Aw look at my little Soo, all grown up like a proper alpha, aw.” She coos and squeals.

Kyungsoo swats her off, laughing. “Get off!” He cries, elbows flailing as she then tries to tickle his ribs, where she knows he has a weak spot.

“Fine, fine!” Yura laughs, snorting in a fashion definitely not befitting of her royal status.

“We’re supposed to be going for a nice, romantic walk, and you keep behaving like a toddler.” Kyungsoo teases, letting Yura link her arm through his.

She merely sticks her tongue out in response, crossing her eyes.

“Wow. Really mature.” Kyungsoo deadpans, a chuckle spilling from his lips. This is why he loves Yura, her carefree attitude and ability to have fun are traits few and far between in royal circles.

She pats his arm with a grin. “It’s been a while Soo, how have you been? Any handsome omegas on the scene?” She wiggles her eyebrows.

Kyungsoo blushes immediately and Yura shrieks.

“What?! That means there is! There is someone!” She taps his arm repeatedly. “Tell me tell me tell me tell me.” She chants.

Kyungsoo knows Yura will see straight through him if he tries to be anything other than honest. “His name is Jongin.” Kyungsoo says embarrassedly, looking down at the flaw.

Yura coos, her step nearly turning into a skip as they head past the beautiful topiary bushes. “And?” She prompts.

Kyungsoo fixes his eyes on where their feet crunch over the gravel path. “And he’s my dance teacher.”

“Oh my god!” Yura squeals. “I remember him vaguely, oh my GOD! He was the really cute and quiet guy wasn’t he? It’s like a romance movie oh my GOD!”

Kyungsoo can only grin helplessly as Yura shakes his arm up and down.

“Oh, you like him don’t you— you really like him!” She says when she stops bouncing, eyeing Kyungsoo beadily.

“Yeah, I guess I do.” Kyungsoo hums.

“He’s an omega, right? Or was he a beta?”

“Omega.”

“Is he hot now?” Yura says shamelessly, brushing strands of hair out of her face with the palm of her hand.

Kyungsoo splutters.

“He is!” Yura announces, grinning so broadly it looks like her face is going to split in half.

“Yes, he is.” Kyungsoo admits.

Yura is nearly hollering at the top of her voice in delight. “I’ve been waiting for this day, oh Soo I'm so happy for you.” She smiles, throwing her arms around him and squeezing him tight.

Kyungsoo hugs her back gratefully. It’s a welcome change to have someone so happy for a bit of romance. “Anyway,” He changes the subject coolly, “How have things been going with this Junhyung guy?”

Yura has had a not so secret crush on a stable boy at her palace for as long as Kyungsoo can remember.

His attempt at making Yura equally embarrassed and awkward clearly fails as she gives him a sly smirk. “I may or may not have asked him to date me a while back.”

“You did what?” Kyungsoo nearly chokes.

Yura cackles, tipping her head back. “Kyungsoo, honey, women can ask people out too.”

“I know, I know but you— you asked him out?”

“Yep.” She replies somewhat smugly. “He said yes of course.”

Kyungsoo feels himself about to slip into teenage girl hysteria. “He said yes? Yul, that’s amazing!” He has to refrain from squealing himself.

Yura takes a big breath, the smile never leaving her face. “It is, isn’t it.”

Kyungsoo’s heart feels light. “He’d better treat you well.” He says, only joking to some extent.

“Don’t worry, if he makes me cry you’re getting first punching rights.” She teases in return, resting her head on Kyungsoo’s shoulder affectionately.

As they walk, they both ignore the elephant in the room, the upcoming marriage, and instead busy themselves with chatter about their boyfriends (or not so boyfriends, in Kyungsoo’s case).

Yura gives him some sound reassurance after he revealed Jongin had been on a date, and Kyungsoo had in return eked out every last detail of Yura’s first kiss with Junhyung.

“Is he sweet though? He’s nice to you?” He frets like a worried mother.

“He’s an angel, Kyungsoo. The gentlest and most loving guy you’ll ever meet. A real gentleman. I’ll introduce you both properly someday.”

They settle on a bench by the great fountain in the centre of the castle grounds, and have a really good catch up.

By the end of it, their lips are turning blue and they’re both shivering from the cold, but the smile on Kyungsoo’s face betrays how truly happy he is.

Knowing Yura is fully on his side, things suddenly don’t seem so scary anymore.

 

 

===

 

 

Dinner’s always have been a chore, but at least Yura makes things more bearable.

She entertains the fellow guests and dignitaries with practiced skill and grace, cracking jokes that have the whole room laughing, including the servants.

She even manages to lift some of Kyungsoo’s worries about the inaugural ball that follows, where once again the doors are thrown open to the public except this time Kyungsoo will have to dance.

She pinches his thigh under the table, indicating towards the entrance where guests are beginning to gather. “Is Jongin coming?”

Kyungsoo shrugs, wiping the corners of his mouth with a napkin. “I don’t know.” He whispers. “He came to my coming of age but I don’t know if he’ll come tonight.”

Before the ball can start it’s customary for the two kings to make speeches.

Kyungsoo blocks them out as always, occasionally tuning in to hear phrases about the ‘happy couple’ and the ‘upcoming celebrations’.

Yura plays along wonderfully, occasionally patting his hand with a simpering smile on her face.

Kyungsoo has to try not to giggle and how over the top she begins to act, nearly throwing herself in his lap as her father mentions that they will be a true great match.

Kyungsoo takes to swatting the side of Yura’s thigh under the table to get her to calm down before they both explode into a fit of giggles and ruin the speeches.

“If I get a bruise I’m going to murder you in your sleep.” She hisses out of the corner of her mouth.

“I’m not that evil, jeez.” Kyungsoo mouths back.

“I’m serious, I’m don’t want to explain suspicious looking leg bruises to Junhyung, thank you.”

“Why would Junhyung be looking at— oh, jesus, no.” Kyungsoo fake gags as Yura smothers her cackles with her napkin.

Junmyeon is only just down the table from them, and a glare is sent their way.

King Kang is still talking and they both know it’s terribly rude but Kyungsoo is gulping down mouthfuls of wine to hide his laughter and Yura is holding her breath so hard she’s nearly blue in the face.

The speech finally finishes and it’s announced that the ball will now begin, and a string quartet start playing from somewhere and people head to the dancefloor.

Yura elbows Kyungsoo in the side. “Come on, loser, we need to dance.”

Kyungsoo stands up and latches on to the back of his chair, his head a little woozy. “I don’t think I should have gulped all of that wine.” He says hoarsely.

Yura rolls her eyes, grabbing Kyungsoo’s hand to steady him. “Look at us, the happy couple, my future husband’s already drunk.”

“I’m not drunk.” Kyungsoo laughs, knowing his light-headedness is most probably down to thrashing nerves.

People part ways for them and Yura leads them into the crowd. She steadies her arms around him and they very slowly begin to dance.

“Now I know this is hard for you, Soo, but just pretend I’m Jongin.” She smirks into his ear.

“Will you behave yourself!” He replies, all the while keeping a loving grin on his face.

Yura pinches his shoulder. “I am doing, my sweetest.” She coos, loud enough for nearby dancers to hear.

“We really do make the loveliest couple.” Kyungsoo deadpans. “One’s drunk and one’s got anger management issues.”

Yura nearly bursts out laughing again, but manages to press her face into Kyungsoo’s shoulder before she gives anything away. A few people nearby ‘aw’.

While Yura’s head is dipped, Kyungsoo makes sudden eye contact with a very familiar face. His heart leaps when he sees Jongin standing towards the edge of the dancefloor, a weak smile on his face.

Kyungsoo manages to grin back, feeling a rush of confidence flow through him. He can do this. He can dance.

He twirls Yura round before pulling her back into hold.

“Where’s this confidence suddenly come from?” She grins.

“Jongin’s here.” He murmurs into her ear.

Yura’s face splits into a smile again. “I won’t keep you long then. You can have a dance with loverboy.”

Kyungsoo gives her a look of mock hurt. “Are you trying to get rid of me?”

Yura leans close to his ear. “Junhyung has a better body than you.” She smiles wickedly.

Kyungsoo gasps. “Well, Jongin’s a better dancer than you.”

“Now that,” Yura laughs as she and Kyungsoo spin, “Is something I can’t deny.”

They break apart when the song finishes, and Yura gives a little salute and a good luck thumbs up as she heads off for a waltz with her father.

It’s only when Kyungsoo finally looks out into the crowd again that he finds that Jongin has gone.

 

 

===

 

 

Yura and her father have been at the castle for around three days now.

It’s been a largely boring process, with their fathers spending hours upon hours locked in fusty rooms with pinched-faced lawyers discussing terms and conditions for the marriage.

The only bonus has been that Kyungsoo and Yura have been able to spend time together, even if they do only seem to talk about their just-out-of-reach loves.

The weather has been as unforgiving as ever, and so Kyungsoo and Yura are cooped up high in Kyungsoo’s turret with steaming mugs of tea as they watch the rain lashing against the windowpane.

“What does he think by the way, this Junhyung guy?” Kyungsoo mumbles, blowing steam off of his drink.

“What, about the fact that his girlfriend is actually engaged to another man?” Yura rolls her eyes. She pulls the sleeves of her sweater further down over her hands so she can pick her drink up without burning herself. “He doesn’t seem to be bothered, funnily enough.”

Kyungsoo snorts. “Must be love.”

Yura sticks her tongue out at him. “I would hope so.”

“But seriously, he doesn’t mind? That’s going to take a pretty strong person to handle that.”

Yura shrugs. “He knows that you don't have much fondness for the fairer sex. I’m sure I could get him transferred here to live if I wanted to. We’d be together in every way except for an official announcement, and I think that’s enough for the both of us.” She smiles beatifically.

“I guess so.” Kyungsoo ponders, looking wistfully out of the window.

“How’s Jongin with the whole thing?” Yura asks, leaning her head against the window pane and then thinking better of it when her messily tied bun causes her to sit at an odd angle.

Kyungsoo puffs out a breath of derision. “Jongin’s fine with the whole thing. You know he doesn’t— see me like that.” He says somewhat sadly, tracing the rim of his mug with his fingertip.

Yura smiles ruefully. “You don’t know that.”

“I do.” Kyungsoo sighs. “I told you he went on a date with someone else. Why would he do that if he were bothered with me at all? He’s beautiful, an omega, and I’m sure there’s a thousand and one alphas queuing up for his hand.”

Raising a well groomed eyebrow, Yura fixes him with a stare. “The great Alpha Do is about to be beaten by a thousand and one other alphas, I think not.”

Kyungsoo raises his hands in mock surrender. “It’s Jongin’s choice anyway. If he doesn’t want me, he doesn’t want me.”

Yura places her cup down and folds her arms. “You are so frustrating. You’ve imprinted on him! You’re right, it’s his choice in the end but sometimes I think you aren’t even willing to try! You just seem like you’re giving up!”

“I don’t know what else I can do, Yul.” Kyungsoo gulps.

Yura bites her lip before leaning forward and tugging Kyungsoo into a hug.

It’s something familiar and comforting, and it reminds Kyungsoo of being young, when the moment he looked like he was going to cry the young Princess Yura would squeeze him within an inch of his life so he couldn’t start.

When Yura pulls back, she has a cheeky grin on her face. “I’m going to test out our marital bed.”

“Our what now?”

She runs across the room and scrambles onto Kyungsoo’s bed, giving it a little bounce. “Ooh, fairly springy. I should be able to sleep well on this.”

“Watch your head on the canopy.” Kyungsoo warns as Yura bounces a little more eagerly.

“Come and join, Sooby, for old times’ sake.”

Sooby?” Kyungsoo squints.

“Yeah!” Yura says, still jumping, her socked feet causing an indent in Kyungsoo’s plush bedlinen. “Like Soo and baby mixed together. If we’re going to have to play at the happy married couple we at least need pet names.”

Kyungsoo rolls his eyes but can’t stop himself as he begins to climb up onto the bed. He and Yura were always getting into trouble as youngsters for bouncing on the beds, and it’s been a while since he indulged in such childish behaviour.

The first laugh bubbles out of his mouth when Yura stumbles as he begins to jump, and the second comes when she screeches at him and smacks him on the arm.

“Which— side— of— the— bed — is — warmer?” Yura asks with each jump.

“Left, maybe?”

“Well I’m having that side then!” She teases. “Your bed feel really comfy, by the way.”

“Yeah, that is if we haven’t broken the springs.” Kyungsoo deadpans.

“Ooh, no need to get touchy.” Yura mocks, poking some of the detailed tapestry of the canopy with her fingertip.

“Hey! Don’t touch the canopy or I won’t let you sleep in my bed at all!”

Yura immediately stops bouncing and looks at Kyungsoo in horror. “Excuse me?” She says, scandalised. “Where else would you expect your lovely wife to sleep!” She puts her hands on her hips.

Kyungsoo points to a large wooden barrel in front of the fire place. It can be used as a bath, but mostly Kyungsoo now uses it for quickly washing clothes.

That?” Yura says, climbing off the bath and stomping over. She climbs inside the tub very inelegantly. “I cannot believe you would allow a princess to sleep in here!”

Kyungsoo tries to hold down his laughter. It’s a comical picture, Yura with just her narrowed eyes peeking over the top of the tub. “It’s risky staying there, I’d warn you now.”

Yura looks at him oddly. “What do you mean?”

Kyungsoo begins to slowly creep towards the fireplace, where a full jug of water stands near the hearth being warmed.

Yura realises what he’s reaching out to grab just a second after Kyungsoo makes a move.

She screams, attempting to scramble out of the bathtub, but Kyungsoo is too fast.

“Don’t you DARE tip that water all over me Do Kyungsoo, I will KILL YOU!” She half laughs, half shrieks.

Kyungsoo cackles madly as she tries to writhe away and he has to get one foot in the bathtub, leaning over he dangerously and holding the jug at a precarious angle.

“Kyungsoo I mean it I swear to god if you ruin this jumper I will make sure you—“ Her voice disappears into shrieks and laughter again.

Then, the door opens.

 

They don’t notice at first, and the person manages to say “Hey, Soo, I just—“ before they go silent.

It’s the gasp that the person gives out next that alerts Kyungsoo and Yura.

They both stop messing around immediately, and turn to look at the door.

Jongin stands quietly, his hands held in front of him delicately. His face is flushed red and he looks almost painfully embarrassed. “I’m— I’m sorry I didn’t— I didn’t mean— I’ll go now.” He says, ducking his head and running out of the door, letting it slam behind him in a hurry.

It’s only then that Kyungsoo realises what this situation must look like.

He’s standing half in a bathtub with a jug of water, leaning right over Yura. Both of them are laughing and giggling and— oh no.

Kyungsoo steps back mechanically, putting the jug down and feeling cold dread seep through his stomach.

Yura sits frozen, still in the tub, her hands over her mouth. “Oh god, Kyungsoo, I’m so sorry— did he— did he think we were going to—?” She hesitates.

Kyungsoo nods. “I think he thought we— I don’t know. It’s not your fault Yul, don’t worry.”

“Are you going to go after him?” She says, looking concerned.

Kyungsoo shakes his head, sitting down by the windowsill again. “He won’t bother about it.”

“But he needs to know we weren’t— he knows you don’t like me like that, doesn’t he?”

“Honestly, Yura, it doesn’t matter.”

Yura gets out of the bathtub, her eyebrows furrowed in worry. “Do you want me to go?”

Kyungsoo shakes his head. “You—you don’t have to.” He doesn't want Yura to feel bad. It isn’t her fault that Jongin might now think— might now think that they—

Kyungsoo shudders.

“You look tired.” She says understandingly. “I’ll go back to my room and write some letters, hm? I’ll see you at dinner later.”

Kyungsoo forgets that Yura is ridiculously good at reading his body language and knowing when he needs to be alone.

“T-thanks, Yul.”

She gives him a soft smile as she heads for the door. “Don’t worry about it, alright. Take your time.”

She ducks out of the door and Kyungsoo is finally left with some quiet.

His bed is entirely mussed up from earlier but Kyungsoo lies down on top of the covers, closing his eyes against a budding headache and taking a deep breath.

He wants to nap, but finds he can’t because of a dull, throbbing ache in his chest that just won’t seem to go away.

 

 

===

 

 

Three days later, Yura and her father return home to their castle with all the arrangements sorted and Kyungsoo has his first ballroom lesson since before the inaugural ball.

Yura and Kyungsoo had pretty swiftly gotten over the awkward moment in Kyungsoo’s room and had spent that past few days together enjoying some light hearted company for a while.

But now it’s with an anxious knot in his chest that Kyungsoo walks towards the ballroom, not knowing what he’s going to say to Jongin.

He should try to explain— try to say that it wasn’t what Jongin thought a few days ago— but then again, why would Jongin care?

He shakes his head and takes a steadying breath before he pushes the ballroom door open again.

“Oh, Kyungsoo, you’re here.” Jongin says somewhat stiffly, turning the music off on the stereo.

Kyungsoo’s brow immediately furrows. He knows he isn’t late to the lesson, so Jongin’s statement seems odd. “Yeah, I am.” He says, not knowing what else to say.

“Good.” Jongin adds rather tersely. He flicks through his music list and selects a song, a slightly faster beat than normal. “We’re working on American Smooth today.”

Kyungsoo nods unsurely and begins to unbutton his jacket so he’s just left in a pair of loose trousers and a plain t shirt.

Jongin looks at him expectantly, standing in the middle of the floor. Something about his posture screams impatience, and it’s not something Kyungsoo is used to.

Jongin is never impatient, never stresses about Kyungsoo taking his time.

Kyungsoo steps forward and goes into hold, but Jongin is unnervingly stiff and supported. He’s normally so relaxed and calm.

Jongin begins running over the basic steps of the dance, occasionally correcting Kyungsoo’s posture and giving out tips on how to improve fluency. It’s nothing different to how he normally teaches, but there’s something off— there’s no passion in his voice, no injected electricity that is normally so present when Jongin talks about what he loves.

“Kyungsoo? Kyungsoo are you listening to me?” Jongin is frowning.

Kyungsoo snaps out of his daze and smiles weakly. “S-sorry, I got a little bit distracted.”

Jongin sighs heavily, folding his arms across his chest. “Do you ever listen? Do you even hear a word I was saying then? You have to focus Kyungsoo you can’t be expected to become a competent dancer if you keep drifting off and not listening!” He barks.

Kyungsoo is so taken aback he nearly stumbles. “I’m sorry, ok, there’s no need to snap.”

“I didn’t snap.” Jongin says haughtily, turning back to the mirror.

Kyungsoo is beginning to lose patience. Something has been up with Jongin for these past few lessons and he wants answers. “Yes, you did. You snapped at me and you never snap. Seriously, Jongin, what is wrong?”

“There isn’t anything wrong.” Jongin bites. He’s refusing to even look at Kyungsoo now, his body tensed in anger.

“Oh so now you’re angry with me? Jongin, please, can we have just one dance lesson without us getting pissed at each other?”

“I’m not angry, I never have been angry, why are you being like this?”

“You are. You’re acting pissy, like a wounded child and you won’t tell me what’s wrong!” Kyungsoo huffs.

“I don’t have to tell you every single last detail about my life, Kyungsoo, please.” Jongin sneers.

“If it’s causing problems then, yeah, you kind of do, because I can’t have a normal lesson without something kicking off! You have to tell me what’s wrong or I can’t work with you! What is it? Is it because—“

“—It’s because of Yura, OK?” Jongin yells all of a sudden.

Kyungsoo freezes. He thinks he can see tears threatening to spill out of the corners of Jongin’s eyes but he can’t be sure. Confusion reigns over, and he frowns. “What the hell do you mean, it’s because of Yura? She’s just my fiancee due to an —“

“— BECAUSE YOU’RE IN LOVE WITH HER AND NOT ME!” Jongin screams.

The sound echoes around the ballroom and Kyungsoo swears his heart stops beating.

Jongin is crying now, thick, fat tears rolling down his face as he starts to sob.

Kyungsoo’s mind frantically tries to catch up, trying to form coherent words and sentences to respond properly to what he’s just heard. That was a love confession, a love confession from Jongin and he could probably scream and cry and shout all out once, but no sound is coming out.

Jongin looks at Kyungsoo’s dumbfounded expression numbly. “I saw you two the other day… in your room. And—And I saw the way you smile at her and the way you were laughing at the inaugural ball.” His words are just about clear enough over his tears, and Kyungsoo knows he should be doing something but his brain to mouth connection seems to have been completely cut. “Y-You looked so h-happy and in l-love. When she first arrived I saw you walking round the gardens together and you looked— comfortable and relaxed and everything I wish you could be with me but you're not because you’re going to marry her and it makes me really, really sad.”

Jongin is anxiously wringing his hands in front of him and the tears just won’t stop coming. He’s nearly dribbling he’s sobbing so hard but all Kyungsoo can think is stunning.

Finally, Kyungsoo’s brain leaps into action. “I love you.” He blurts.

Jongin looks at him like he’s gone mad. “W-What?”

“I love you.” Kyungsoo says more surely this time. It seems that now his brain has finally come to it’s senses it isn’t going to stop. “I’ve been in love with you for years. I thought you weren’t interested in me. I— I didn’t think I was good enough for you. And then, with all the marriage stuff, you never seemed bothered. I thought you didn’t care, then you went on a date with that stupid Hyunsik guy and I just— I thought you’d end up with someone like him. I love you.”

Jongin is shaking gently, and Kyungsoo follows an instinctive urge to gather him close and press him under his chin. He nearly sobs again as he rubs his nose into Kyungsoo’s collarbone, melting into Kyungsoo’s warm arms.

“D-do you really mean it?” Jongin says in hitching breaths. He clings to the front of Kyungsoo’s t-shirt.

Kyungsoo brushes Jongin’s hair off his forehead gently. “I really do.” He leans forward and softly pecks Jongin on the lips, despite all of the tears and snot and drool.

As far as first kisses go, it’s not spectacular or ground breaking or earth shattering. But, it’s sweet, it’s meaningful and it’s filled with a thousand and one promises and it’s all they both need at the minute.

Jongin straightens up, looking a little bit embarrassed as he wipes his nose on the back of his hand. “I— I, erm, I—“

Kyungsoo shakes his head. “Don’t worry about it.” He says soothingly. He stretches out a hand and Jongin takes it gratefully, locking their fingers together. “I think we should go and have a lie down.”

“That would be nice.” Jongin smiles.

Kyungsoo has felt like an emotional tornado over the past few weeks, but as they walk back to his turret with Jongin’s hand in his, he really starts to believe that things will be alright in the end.

 

 

===

 

 

Having Jongin close to him is peaceful, Kyungsoo concludes.

He feels entirely relaxed knowing that Jongin is here with him, that he isn’t coming to any harm and that he’s safe.

They haven’t spoken much since they arrived, both just heading straight to flop down on the bed with Jongin resting his head on Kyungsoo’s chest, just under his chin.

They’re both just letting things settle in, allowing emotions to calm before anything else is said.

Strangely, it’s Jongin who speaks first, his voice quiet and lilting in the still air. “Your room is very beautiful.”

Kyungsoo smiles. “You make it more so.”

Jongin giggles shyly and ducks his head. “You’re a charmer.”

Kyungsoo buries a kiss into Jongin’s soft hair. “That’s why you love me.”

Jongin merely smiles blissfully, resting his chin on Kyungsoo’s chest so he can see his face. He absentmindedly lifts a finger and traces around Kyungsoo’s eye gently. “I worry about you a lot. I worry that you don’t sleep enough.” His fingers slides to the bag under Kyungsoo’s eye, rubbing it soothingly. “You always look so tired.”

Kyungsoo smiles, feeling like someone’s just punched him in the chest. “I’m not a great sleeper… I—I like looking at the stars. If I weren’t due to be King I’d want to be an astronomer. I have lots of drawings… I’ll show you one day.” He doesn’t like showing his drawings to many people, but he feels he can make an exception for Jongin.

“I’d like that.” Jongin mumbles. He watches Kyungsoo with gorgeous, puppy dog brown eyes. “Are you sure that’s the only reason you stay awake?”

Kyungsoo knows Jongin can read him like a book. “No.” He answers honestly, “I think I like the stars because they keep me company when other things keep me awake.”

Jongin looks at him openly, letting him know with a simple facial expression that he’s willing to listen.

“Since Seungsoo died I haven’t slept well. It got worse after we lost my mother as well. I don’t think I ever grieved properly, for either of them.”

“Does it feel lonely?” Jongin whispers.

“Sometimes, I guess. I have Sehun and some of the other servants, the ones I grew up with. I have Yura too— although I promise we’re nothing more than friends— and I… I have you. I suppose I’d have liked it if Dad were there more but… I’m used to it now.”

Jongin senses the pain in Kyungsoo’s voice and snuggles closer under his chin. “You did well at the ball, by the way.” He begins, sighing indulgently as he rubs his nose against Kyungsoo’s throat. “I was going to tell you the other day but you were… with Yura.”

“I’m going to introduce you two properly someday.” Kyungsoo laughs. “I think you’ll like each other.”

“You really think so?” Jongin looks anxious.

“She already knows most of your life story and she loves you so, yeah I really think so.”

“You told her about me?” Jongin is wide-eyed.

“Yes?” Kyungsoo says like it’s the most obvious thing. “What else do you think we spend hours talking about.”

Jongin goes coy, dipping back into Kyungsoo’s neck and mumbling incoherently in embarrassment.

They don’t say much after that, simply enjoying the peacefulness and the feeling of things finally starting to come together.

The sky progressively darkens outside, and it must be hours before Jongin finally lifts his head and yawns cutely. “I’d probably better go home.” He blinks slowly.

Kyungsoo’s arms instinctively tighten around his waist. “Or you could just not.”

Jongin gives him a no nonsense look. “Kyungsoo.”

“Jongin.”

“It’s going to look slightly odd if I’m in the Prince’s bed in the morning, isn’t it?”

“Doesn’t matter. Sehun always comes in to wake me up, he won’t mind.”

“We haven’t had anything to eat.” Jongin argues.

“Hello, I’m the prince I can have something sent up from the kitchens whenever I want.”

“But my warm, comfy bed is waiting for me.” Jongin teases, tilting his head.

“A warm comfy bed is waiting for you here with pure goose down duvets and me in it, but whatever.” Kyungsoo wiggles his eyebrows.

Jongin makes a show of thinking for a moment, and then shrugs. “Alright then, I give in.”

Kyungsoo smirks, rolling out of bed. He tosses some spare bedclothes from his dressing room towards Jongin. “I’ll get the kitchens to send up some Italian.”

Jongin smiles. “How did you know I love Italian?”

Kyungsoo suddenly looks caught. “Erm, no reason?” He says before dipping out of the door. The whole ‘I stalked you on your date’ conversation can be saved for later, he’s sure of it.

 

 

===

 

 

Kyungsoo groggily cracks an eye open to find sunlight streaming through the windows. He’s alone in his bed, but he smiles at the memory of another warm body sleeping next to him last night.

He lets himself bask in the happiness of it all before some coughs loudly.

Sehun is perched daintily on his windowsill, a full blown grin on his face. “Good morning your highness.”

“Morning.” Kyungsoo beams, sitting up a little sheepishly and attempting to tame his unruly hair.

“Did you sleep well?” Sehun intones, one eyebrow quirked.

“Very well thank you.”

Sehun says nothing, instead choosing to regard Kyungsoo with a smug smirk.

“Don’t give me that look.” Kyungsoo scolds, rubbing his eye with the back of his hand. “Nothing happened.”

“Nothing happened, and yet my valuable sources swear that they saw Kim Jongin sneaking out of this very room in the early hours of the morning, in the exact same clothes he was wearing yesterday.”

Kyungsoo panics. “Who?” He demands. This cannot get out to anyone it cannot.

Sehun snorts. “Me, duh.” His expressions softens and his tone becomes reassuring. “No one else saw anything, Soo. No one was around.”

Sighing, Kyungsoo smiles. “Phew.”

“I mean, I don’t condone blackmail or anything but if you don’t tell me what happened last night I’ll spill everything to Jongdae.” Sehun tilts his head angelically, flopping down onto Kyungsoo’s now vacated bed.

Kyungsoo rolls his eyes and swallows a grin. “Nothing happened, honestly. Nothing like that anyway. We just talked through some stuff and then… yeah.”

“Did you kiss?”

“Yeah. Only once on the lips though.”

Sehun shrieks and nearly rolls off the bed. “Was it good? Is he a good kisser? Oh my god, was it with tongue?”

Blushing hotly, Kyungsoo shakes his head. “No tongue. But it was very very very good either way.” He smiles dreamily.

“Aw, my little Kyungie’s growing up.” Sehun claps his hands in delight, stealing a grape or two from the bowl beside Kyungsoo’s bed. “It happens so fast.”

Kyungsoo mills around trying to decide what he’s going to wear for the day. He doesn’t feel like doing anything particularly quickly today, just wanting to enjoy the settled feeling in his chest.

“What’s the plan for, y’know, moving forward?” Sehun is sprawled across Kyungsoo’s bed now, resting his chin on his entwined hands like a nosy teenage girl at a sleepover.

“You know we’re in a bit of an awkward situation. We haven’t really… we’ll deal with those problems when we get to it.”

“Like when he goes into heat?” Sehun raises his eyebrows. “Don’t you think that’s leaving things a little bit too late?”

“We don’t even know if that’s going to happen Sehun, I might not be his—“

“Um, of course it’s going to happen.” Sehun looks at Kyungsoo like he’s an idiot. “I’ve been putting up with this for so long it’s guaranteed you’re mates. But anyway, seeing as we’re talking about leaving things a bit too late, you do know it’s five to twelve, don’t you?”

“What!” Kyungsoo yells. “Sehun I have a lesson with Jongin and twelve!” He flaps around madly, throwing on items of clothing as fast as he can.

Sehun laughs devilishly, swanning out of the room. “Have fun with loverboy. I’ll see you later.”

“I hate you!” Kyungsoo howls, but Sehun’s cackles are already retreating down the corridor and Kyungsoo is too happy to care.

 

 

===

 

 

From the moment Kyungsoo sets foot in the ballroom, the overwhelming scent of attraction engulfs him. It almost makes him stagger back at first, and he has a hard time suppressing the urge to flood the room with his own hormones.

Jongin notices his entrance and jumps on the spot, flushing red. “Oh gosh, I’m so sorry.” He looks dreadfully embarrassed. “I—I’ve been hiding it for so long but for some reason it’s really uncontrollable today; I didn’t know what to do.”

He’s standing slightly back, cowering almost, as if he’s afraid Kyungsoo will be mad.

Despite his legs feeling like jelly, Kyungsoo takes strong steps forward and wraps his arms around Jongin’s waist, nuzzling into his neck. “It’s fine, don’t worry about it.” His voice is worryingly throaty, and he’s embarrassed to think that Jongin might be able to tell how affected he is.

Jongin immediately relaxes in his arms, a soft whinnying sigh drawing from his throat.

They stand together for a while, swaying from side to side on the spot. There’s no music in the room, no other noise except for their thudding heartbeats, and yet Kyungsoo has never felt as in tune with someone as he does in this moment.

It’s Jongin who pulls away first, brushing Kyungsoo’s fringe off his forehead. “We can’t keep wasting our lessons like this.” He hums, but there’s no bite to his words.

“I think we can.” Kyungsoo says, tightening his arms.

“No.” Jongin scolds, rearranging Kyungsoo’s arms in the midst of much protest, so they can start to dance properly. “Practice first, cuddling later.”

Kyungsoo pouts grumpily, and Jongin leans forward to kiss it off his face.

He immediately blushes and squeaks, stepping backwards and hiding his face in his hands. “I can’t believe I just did that.” It’s the first move— in the kissing sense— that Jongin has made and it fills Kyungsoo with joy.

Kyungsoo prizes Jongin’s hands from his face and before he can protest he leans forwards and pushes a firmer, slightly deeper kiss against his lips. “Can we have a deal? For every song I manage to dance through successfully I get a kiss.”

Jongin gulps but narrows his eyes. “No deal. Your only reward is the incredible dance skills you get at the end of it.”

Kyungsoo clutches his chest. “Ouch, such a harsh teacher, such a cruel boyfriend.”

“B-Boyfriend?”

Kyungsoo coughs and blusters. “D-did I say that?” He tries to cover.

Jongin grins sheepishly. “I hope so. I like that.”

They’re trapped in reverent silence again, gazing at each other adoringly.

Once again, it’s Jongin who has to remind them where they are. “Come on.” He says, snapping his fingers in front of Kyungsoo’s eyes. “Dancing.”

Kyungsoo finally gives in, allowing himself to be taken in by delicate string pieces and Jongin’s rhythmic counting.

The only problem is that it’s very hard to concentrate. It was pretty tough before, with having Jongin so close, but now some of those invisible boundaries have been broken down self-restraint is proving even more elusive.

Kyungsoo can’t help but stare at Jongin’s lips, how plush and inviting they are, and he keeps thinking about how nice they taste and how wonderful they are to kiss and… wow.

Jongin is exactly helpful either, as Kyungsoo is hyper aware of the way his eyes keep flittering to Kyungsoo’s own lips and how he catches a whiff of deep attraction every time they spin.

The heady cocktail can only last for so long, and it’s as a Beethoven symphony draws to a close that Kyungsoo has to act. He walks Jongin backwards until his back collides with a mirror, and his hands draw up his sides.

“You can’t keep doing this to me.” Kyungsoo teases, his lips hovering inches from Jongin’s.

“D-doing what?” Jongin asks, attempting to be innocent but Kyungsoo can see the glint of excitement in his eye.

“Looking so delectable.” Kyungsoo mumbles before he leans forward and captures Jongin’s lips.

Jongin responds almost immediately, his body softening as Kyungsoo pushes the weight of his body against him.

Kyungsoo wastes no time in deepening the kiss and Jongin responds obediently, parting his lips and massaging their tongues together somewhat maddeningly.

Kyungsoo growls, deep in his throat, the feelings of possessiveness and dominance flooding through his veins as Jongin clutches him close.

They pull back for air, and Jongin smirks with a gleam in his eye. “This is going to send me into heat, I can feel it.”

“Less talking, more kissing.” Kyungsoo commands and Jongin is happy to oblige.

 

 

===

 

It’s hell.

It’s actual living and breathing hell because Jongin was right. He does go into heat.

Junmyeon has offered Jongin a stay in one of the castle’s turrets so he can be cared for properly, just like he does with most of the long-term staff members in the castle. Whilst Kyungsoo is pleasantly surprised that his father would extend such a courtesy to a humble dance teacher, it’s agonising to have Jongin so close yet so far.

Jongin has been allocated the North East Turret, a fairly palatial and welcoming space often used for guest visits.

The problem is that Kyungsoo’s quarters are in the South East Turret, a mere corridor’s stride away from him.

The scent of an omega in heat is overpowering to an unmated alpha at any time, but even more so to that omega’s mate.

It’s late one evening, on the fourth day of Jongin’s heat, and Kyungsoo is gnawing away at the corner of his pillow. His canines hurt, his whole jaw throbs in general, and his head is spinning.

Beads of sweat drip down his temples and Kyungsoo furiously tries to concentrate on the diplomatic letter he’s penning. His hands shake as he folds the letter up and stamps a wax seal on the back.

The worst and last day of Jongin’s heat will be tomorrow, and Kyungsoo is already terrified of how he’s going to survive. He knows he’s being a selfish brat—Jongin must be going through so much worse— but he can’t help wallow in self pity when every breath he takes fills up his lungs with the most delectable scent he’s ever had the pleasure of breathing.

Kyungsoo finds himself permanently half hard in his sleepwear and he hisses in discomfort when he gets up from his desk and the clothes rub against him maddeningly.

He feels like shredding everything last garment he’s wearing just for a bit of relief from the itching under his skin. Instead, he slips into bed and lies on his back and tries to clear his hazy thoughts.

Jongin and Kyungsoo are being kept religiously apart, almost in quarantine from each other because of course it isn’t right for an unmated, engaged alpha to be around an omega in heat.

Despite this, Kyungsoo has been bribing Sehun to gather information on how Jongin is doing and lives daily for the updates. Until this point, he knows that Jongin has been coping fairly well but has been struggling in the latter stages. He knows that Baekhyun is chief in charge of caring for him, being an omega too, and spends all his days and nights with Jongin to make sure he’s ok.

It’s some comfort knowing that Jongin is being looked after, but it isn’t enough because Kyungsoo knows it should be him taking care of Jongin. Jongin is his omega, and his role as an alpha is to care for Jongin through his heats.

Kyungsoo tries to distract himself by counting the stars embroidered on the tapestry above his bed. He’s been irritable and grumpy ever since Jongin’s heat started, most probably because he’s a giant ball of sexual tension, and he knows thinking about how he’s letting Jongin down is making it worse.

A knock sounds from the door and Kyungsoo already knows who it will be.

Sehun steps into the room and shuts the door behind him quickly, trying not to let anymore scent flood into the room. “How’re you doing?” He’s been slightly more considerate lately and looks at Kyungsoo in an oddly caring fashion.

“I’m grumpy, my teeth hurt, I’m half hard and I’m a shitty alpha.”

Sehun snorts, the sudden caring air disappearing. Ah well, it was nice while it lasted. “Sorry, you just look so funny lying there with that face.”

Kyungsoo glares at him. “Do you have something to say or did you just come to annoy me?” He snaps.

Sehun tries not to giggle to avoid irritating the prince even more. “I’ve got your daily Jongin report.” His expression becomes something more rueful. “The heat’s getting worse, obviously. It’s Jongin, so he’s holding up as best as he can but… no alpha, no knot, no problems solved. That’s it really.”

Kyungsoo grinds his teeth. “I told you I was a shitty alpha. I should be there for him.”

Sehun smiles. “There’s nothing you can do, Soo. I think you’re holding out pretty well to be honest, I’m impressed at your self restraint.”

Kyungsoo is already bored. “Can you go now you're pissing me off and you smell weird.”

“I smell weird!?” Sehun shrieks indignantly. “You smell weird, all alpha hormones and shit.” He wrinkles his nose.

“Yeah, well I’m in a slightly worse position that you, and I want Jongin but I can’t have Jongin and you aren’t Jongin and you don’t smell like Jongin so you aren’t what I want so leave.” Kyungsoo commands.

Sehun rolls his eyes. “Honestly, I do daily snooping to find out how you’re little boyfriend is doing and all you do is yell at me that you’re mad and you want sex. I’m not paid for this.”

“This is exactly what you’re paid for you’re my butler now go.” Kyungsoo nearly shouts.

Sehun leaves the room without having to be told much more.

Kyungsoo sighs in relief, pushing his head back against his pillows and shutting his eyes.

If he listens hard enough, he thinks he can just about hear Jongin through the open window.

He either has really good hearing or is just very in tune with Jongin, but Kyungsoo can most definitely make out tiny whimpers and shuddering breaths coming from the tower next door. The unwanted side effect of this, however, is that the bulge in Kyungsoo’s trousers has now grown into a full hardness and his knot is already swelling at the base.

Kyungsoo squirms in bed, trying to ignore the prodding desire in his gut. His breath comes in steady pants and Kyungsoo fights to control himself.

After what seems like minutes of restraint Kyungsoo finally cracks, sliding his hand under his waistband and giving his cock a few sharp tugs. His knot is swollen so much that he struggles to wrap his hand around the base.

It takes no more than a minute or so of muffled moans and growls before Kyungsoo spills over his hand. His moan chokes off into a whimper as his cock pumps out more and more cum, even long after his peak hit.

With his cock still leaking and dribbling occasionally Kyungsoo sighs and slumps against his pillows. He feels hot and sweaty and gross and he should change his clothes but he’s just too exhausted and so falls into a restless sleep peppered with delicate moans and gasping breaths.

 

 

===

 

 

The following morning Sehun finds Kyungsoo whining in cum soaked sheets and has to drag him out of bed for a wash so they can leave the castle for the day.

Unsurprisingly, the scent filling the walls is too much to bear and Kyungsoo knows he won’t cope if he stays in his room that close to Jongin.

Sehun does a fairly good job of distracting him, taking him out for a horseback trot through the forest and keeping him focussed on other tasks.

No matter how much Kyungsoo tries though, his mind can’t stop wandering to Jongin. Every time they loop past the castle on their various walks and horse rides Kyungsoo can’t help but gaze intensely up at the turret where he knows Jongin is.

When he’s finally delivered back to his room for the night Jongin’s scent has heightened to a point Kyungsoo didn’t even think possible.

His whole body is flooded with intense desire, leaving his limbs weak and shaky.

His head spins with every inhalation of breath he takes; the scent of Jongin’s heat clouds his mind and starves him of oxygen.

Kyungsoo sits down unsteadily at the foot of his bed with his hand over his pounding heart. He repeats one day left like a mantra to himself, fixing himself in his place with whitened knuckles on the edge of his seat.

It would be so easy to go to Jongin now. It’s what he wants, its what Jongin wants and it’s clearly what fate wants to. Every atom in Kyungsoo’s body is screaming at him to go and claim what’s his but he knows he can’t.

He can’t put their relationship in jeopardy like this. Jongin could be sent away to preserve the engagement deal and Kyungsoo couldn’t handle that.

It’s all too hot again, too sticky and too uncomfortable. Breathe, Kyungsoo, breathe.

Just as Kyungsoo is focussing on regulating his heartbeat, a hesitant tap sounds from the doorway.

Kyungsoo freezes on the spot, his muscles coiled tight. It can’t be Sehun, he knocks loud and obnoxiously and bounds his way it.

It happens again, a light, quiet knock, like someone is only daring to tap their fingers on the door.

Kyungsoo steels himself and walks forward as his limbs feel like lead.

When he swings the heavy door open, the first thing that hits him is the staggering flood of hormones from the corridor. He stumbles back a little before regaining himself and focussing on the person in front of him.

Byun Baekhyun stands nervously in the flickering light, his eyebrows furrowed and hands knotted together in front of him.

“B-Baekhyun? How can I help you?” Kyungsoo asks through a dry and scratchy throat.

Baekhyun looks around nervously, like he’s afraid he’s going to be caught doing something he shouldn’t. “Look, Kyungsoo I don’t really know what’s going on but—“ He pauses, looking unsure of himself.

“What is it? Is it Jongin? Is he ok?”

Baekhyun nods. “He’s been… whining for you all day. He won’t stop, he’s begging. I’m guessing this means you two have imprinted on each other.”

Kyungsoo panics, but nods regardless. It’s too late for a cover story now.

“You know me Soo, I’m not bothered what’s going on as long as you’re happy. I know this is probably and awkward situation for you both so don’t worry, I’m not going to say anything.” He reassures. “I have a duty of care to Jongin, and I know from experience that at times like this you need your alpha. He needs you Kyungsoo.”

“I know.” Kyungsoo whispers. “C-can I—?”

“Jongin wants you as much as he needs you Kyungsoo.” Baekhyun says, stepping backwards so Kyungsoo can move into the hallway. He gestures for Kyungsoo to follow him, and they tiptoe down the corridor towards Jongin’s room.

“We gave him a few alpha scents to try and comfort him a bit— Chanyeol’s, Yixing from catering and Minseok from the stableyard— but he um, he ripped their pillows to shreds.”

Kyungsoo nods, feeling a little bit happy at that.

“Then, we gave him your pillow and— well, see for yourself.” Baekhyun murmurs as he opens the door.

Kyungsoo is entirely unprepared for the sight that greets him.

Jongin is sprawled on his bed in the candlelit room, his entire body glistening with sweat.

His face is pressed tightly against a pillow as his hands work a glass dildo in and out of him feverishly. Tiny whines escape from his throat, along with the occasion moan. “Alpha… a-alpha… my alpha.” He moans into the pillow with a tiny giggle.

Possessiveness and alpha pride crash over Kyungsoo in waves, along with a deep set hunger. He can feel his heart is dragging him towards Jongin, and he’s already fully hard in his jeans.

Suddenly, Jongin’s face screws up in discomfort, and he squeezes his legs together over his cock that’s leaking and smearing all over the bedsheets. “B-Baek…” Jongin whines, squeezing his eyes shut and moaning. “I c-can’t— he’s too close Baek I n-need him— he’s— I can smell him Baek he’s so close and I need— Alpha…”

Jongin then cracks an eye open and Kyungsoo watches hungrily as recognition crosses his face.

Almost immediately he stumbles upright, the dildo slipping out of him. Jongin almost falls out of bed, but the movement is still elegant and he drops to the floor, crawling towards Kyungsoo.

Kyungsoo is frozen to the spot, his chest heaving.

When Jongin reaches him he wraps his arms round the backs of Kyungsoo’s knees and forces his head between Kyungsoo’s thighs. He takes a deep breath and Kyungsoo can feel the full body shudder that goes through him.

“Alpha.” Jongin coos adorably, rubbing his nose against Kyungsoo’s legs. “I need you… please.” He simpers.

Baekhyun pats his shoulder sympathetically. “He’ll probably present himself for mating, then it’s all over to you to accept that and then…” Baekhyun makes a vague gesture with his hands.

Kyungsoo looks concerned. “Wait Baek how do I—“

Baekhyun pats him affectionately again. “Your body will know what to do.”

Jongin snarls at the contact and Baekhyun holds his hands up. “I’m going now ok. I’m not interested in your mate Jongin, don’t worry.”

Jongin continues snarling until Baekhyun leaves and locks the door behind him.

The moment his scent dissipates Jongin’s expression immediately becomes serene again, rubbing his nose along Kyungsoo’s waist band.

Kyungsoo cups his jaw with a hand, tilting Jongin’s face up to look at him. He rubs his thumb soothingly across his cheek and Jongin coos, leaning into the touch.

“Kyungsoo.” Jongin hums breathily. His eyes are wide and glassy, pupils blown as he looks up at him.

Kyungsoo breath hitches in his throat. His head is starting to go dizzy from the gallons of blood rushing southwards and he has never seen a more stunning sight than this. “Do you need this?” He questions gently.

Jongin grins hazily, nodding slowly.

“Be a good boy and show me then.”

Jongin shudders bodily again and reacts immediately. He staggers over to be bed and clambers up on it eagerly with his ass facing Kyungsoo.

Jongin steadies himself on his hands and knees and then arches his back beautifully, dipping his head low towards the bed and thrusting his hips backwards.

Kyungsoo feels a growl bubble up in his throat, and the sound makes Jongin whine and push his hips back again.

At that moment, Kyungsoo realises Baekhyun was right. He feels an indescribable, almost magnetic pull towards Jongin.

His body moves without him really having to do anything, and he finds himself on his knees behind Jongin.

He has a primal urge to cover Jongin with his whole body, and he does so, so they’re chest to back and he bites down firmly on the untainted skin at the back of Jongin’s neck.

Immediately, Jongin becomes even more pliant beneath him and a new scent fills the air, something Kyungsoo has never smelt before. It’s probably a mating hormone he assumes and it does feel possible but it’s starting to drive him even crazier.

Kyungsoo begins to rock slowly against Jongin, the rough fabric of the clothing still covering his cock becoming darkened with the slick pumping from Jongin’s hole.

Kyungsoo groans deeply as Jongin whines beneath him.

He starts to kiss a steady trail down the curve of Jongin’s spine, starting from the spot he nipped at the base of Jongin’s hairline all the way down to sink his teeth into the plump flesh of Jongin’s behind.

Feeling Jongin whimper desperately beneath him, Kyungsoo wastes no time in planting a kiss to Jongin’s rim.

The second a drop of Jongin’s lubricant hits his lips, Kyungsoo’s eye roll back into his head. Every last drop of his sanity slips away and he swirls his tongue around at a maddeningly slow pace.

Jongin’s head drops against the pillow and his hands fist in the bedsheets. “P-please.” He whines, grinding his hips back against Kyungsoo.

Kyungsoo moans again, the vibrations causing Jongin to arch and writhe, and locks his hands firmly around Jongin’s hips to pin him in place.

It doesn’t take more than a couple of minutes of relentless flicking and Jongin fucking himself back on Kyungsoo tongue for Jongin to come in with a scream, his hand reaching behind him to fist almost painfully in Kyungsoo’s hair.

After mere moments to recover, Jongin hungrily turns and throws himself on Kyungsoo, locking their lips together in desperation.

He’s still agonisingly hard, and that’s exactly what Kyungsoo expected, so he knows he still has a lot more work to do.

Kyungsoo sighs into the kiss, allowing his hands to tangle in Jongin’s sweaty hair.

The room itself is humid and sweaty, and Kyungsoo can feel the heat seeping through his clothes from where Jongin squirms in his lap.

Jongin’s hands paw hungrily at his clothes, desperately trying to wrestle Kyungsoo’s shirt off while still kissing.

Kyungsoo nips at his lips teasingly, a warning almost, and separates them so he can tug his shirt off with one fluid movement.

Jongin squeals happily and starts kissing his way down Kyungsoo’s jaw as his hands fumble at Kyungsoo’s trousers.

“Sh, steady now.” Kyungsoo soothes, trying to maintain an aura of calmness and reassurance when inside he feels like his entire body is in flames.

“I want you. Now.” Jongin frowns, looking cute with anger, as he continues tugging at Kyungsoo’s clothes.

Kyungsoo helps him out, stripping himself down as quickly as possible. The torturous pace is becoming a little slow for him now as well, so he cant imagine how Jongin must be feeling.

When Kyungsoo’s cock finally springs free from the confines of his soaked underwear, Jongin confidently wraps a hand round it and licks a firm stripe up the underside.

“Fuck.” Kyungsoo spits concisely, the veins in his neck standing out. “Fuck, your mouth is so good.”

Jongin sucks thirstily, making delighted noises consistently as he laps at Kyungsoo’s tip. He works down the length gradually until he’s taking Kyungsoo in entirely with each steady bob of his head.

Resting his nose at the base of Kyungsoo’s cock, Jongin takes a deep breath and hums. He returns to sucking at the head, gazing up at Kyungsoo with big brown eyes.

Kyungsoo can only maintain eye contact for so long before he has to look away, knowing he can’t afford to start knotting and coming yet. He distracts himself by running his hands down the expanse of Jongin’s back, pressing his fingers into the tensed muscles.

Kyungsoo is acutely aware that he isn’t supposed to be the one getting off this much, that it’s Jongin that’s suffering through the heat and he needs to make him cum a few more times before he’s going to have any chance of abating the heat.

He reaches forwards a traces a fingertip around Jongin’s rim before pushing in. The slide is easy and simple, probably due to the fact that Jongin was well stretched earlier, but Kyungsoo still can’t deny how tight and hot Jongin feels, and how amazing it must be to be inside him.

Jongin stutters around Kyungsoo’s cock, pressing back as Kyungsoo inserts a second finger and starts moving them in and out and spreading them maddeningly. “K-Kyung—S-soo…” He mouths the the side of Kyungsoo’s cock. “M-my a-alpha… I want your cum…” He licks a pearl of precum off the tip and Kyungsoo has to hold his breath.

“W-why don't we share baby?” Kyungsoo murmurs, removing his fingers from Jongin smoothly.

Jongin whines at the sudden feeling of emptiness and clenches around the air.

Kyungsoo guides him so he can flip gently on to his back, before kissing softly down his stomach.

Jongin’s cock lies proudly erect and still dripping against his body, and Kyungsoo presses a kiss to the head, revelling in the way Jongin’s muscles tense.

Jongin lets out a gasp as Kyungsoo gets to work, pressing hot open-mouthed kisses down the length of his cock.

He wriggles at the sparking sensations it sends up and down his spine and his hands grip Kyungsoo’s sides, desperately trying to find something to hold on to. The humidity in the room means both of them are slick with sweat, and it leaves Jongin helplessly clawing at Kyungsoo’s sides. “O-oh don’t—don’t stop.” He huffs.

Jongin is in a state of near delirium, the lust and heat building in him so intensely he nearly doesn’t notice Kyungsoo’s cock so tantalisingly near his own face.

Kyungsoo’s cockhead is already swollen and angry red in colour, weeping with precum that smears across Jongin’s chest from the angle it’s at. Momentarily it brushes across Jongin’s nipple and he arches into the blazing heat, feeling his whole body spasm with sensitivity.

Kyungsoo chuckles darkly around Jongin’s cock, naughtily lapping his tongue at the slit. He never thought anyone could taste or smell this good, but everything about Jongin seems intent on pushing him closer and closer to the edge with every second.

Jongin finally can’t resist anymore and guides Kyungsoo’s tip into his mouth, sucking on it lightly in an almost comforting gesture.

The sudden heat surrounding him makes Kyungsoo growl against Jongin’s length, and before he has time to swallow around it again Jongin comes for a second time, spilling down Kyungsoo’s throat with a whine that lengthens out and stretches into a groan.

He tries to close his legs despite the fact that he is still painfully hard, but Kyungsoo pins them open with strong hands and turns himself around as his cock slips from Jongin’s throat.

“K-Kyungsoo— I need more.” Jongin begs, trying to thrust up against Kyungsoo as he kisses his way up Jongin’s stomach again.

“I know you do baby, it’s alright. We’ll get there.” Kyungsoo reassures. He swirls his tongue around Jongin’s belly button, delighting in the little shiver that ripples through Jongin.

He kisses all the way up until he’s nose to nose with Jongin, and presses a soft kiss on his cheek. “We have to try and get as much of this out of you as possible, ok, so the heat goes away.” He soothes, swiping up some of Jongin’s leftover cum from his chest.

Jongin grabs the dirtied hand eagerly and sucks on Kyungsoo’s fingers, swirling his tongue around them and shutting his eyes.

Kyungsoo chuckles hoarsely. “You have to stop being so hot, I need to hold out so I can knot you.”

Jongin nods, eyelids fluttering dazedly. He pushes his nose under Kyungsoo’s chin and takes a deep inhale. “You’re l-looking after me s-so well.” He manages to murmur before the hormone driven lust of the heat comes back to him and he licks a drop of sweat up from the column of Kyungsoo’s neck, nipping at his Adam’s apple.

Kyungsoo feels his cock pulse and leans down to nip at Jongin’s lips. He lets his hands roam across Jongin’s chest, and stop so his thumbs can rub across Jongin’s pert nipples.

Again, Jongin arches and Kyungsoo’s suspicions are confirmed. “Someone’s very sensitive here.” He says, pinching Jongin’s left nipple gently.

Jongin nods furiously, pushing Kyungsoo’s hands further against his chest.

“Do you think you can come just from this?” Kyungsoo wonders aloud, ghosting the pads of his fingers across the nubs again and revelling in the way they perk up even more.

“I—I don’t k-know—I want—“ Jongin begins babbling again.

Kyungsoo runs a hand through his hair soothingly, before carefully manoeuvring around Jongin so he leans back against his chest.

Jongin sits comfortably in between Kyungsoo’s outstretched legs, and it’s the perfect position for Kyungsoo to bite and lick at his perfect ears. “If we can get you to come one more time then I can knot you, ok?”

Jongin nods, craning his neck to press his lips firmly to Kyungsoo’s tangling their tongues. “J-just one more.”

Kyungsoo rubs his arms soothingly. “Just one more. You’re doing so well Jongin, so well. We’re nearly there now.”

Jongin melts under the gentle praises whispered in his ear, simply responding by kissing Kyungsoo passionately again.

Kyungsoo’s cock is throbbing painfully, trapped between his and Jongin’s body and he hisses every time Jongin writhes and provides delicious friction.

Beginning with teasing flicks, Kyungsoo traces around Jongin’s areolae and bites softly at the skin between his shoulder and neck.

“A-alpha.” Jongin sighs, leaning his head back onto Kyungsoo’s shoulder.

Kyungsoo presses his fingertips against Jongin’s nipples, feeling the hot drizzle of want pool in his stomach as Jongin’s dick twitches.

Jongin whines defeatedly, his breaths coming in heavy, gasping pants as he tries to get enough oxygen to deal with the all encompassing pleasure. “F-faster.” He chokes, clutching at Kyungsoo’s wrists and trying to get him to move.

Kyungsoo can tell already, by just a few minutes of stimulation, that Jongin is already close to the edge once more. He observes the way the boy’s muscles clench and his whines increase in pitch in time with the speed Kyungsoo moves his fingers.

Jongin keeps grinding backwards, trying to get friction against his hole from Kyungsoo’s dick. He can feel it, hot and heavy and lying against his back, and he’s so desperate for a knot now that all sensibilities are thrown out of the window.

All it takes is one moment of eye contact from Jongin, with his swollen lips and blown out pupils, for Kyungsoo’s resolve to crack.

His cock aches, fat with blood and he needs some of the pressure relieving.

Jongin is pumping out slick and the bedsheets are getting messy, but at last Kyungsoo wraps his hand around the base of his cock and guides it into Jongin in a slow and steady push.

Jongin yells in relief, sitting back and swallowing Kyungsoo’s cock up immediately.

“Hey, steady, steady, don’t hurt yourself.” Kyungsoo reassures. Every last nerve cell in his body is screaming at him to buck up into the tight, luxurious heat but he knows he can’t and he has to let Jongin adjust.

Jongin, it seems, has no care for his personal comfort and starts rolling his hips, revelling in the slick, obscene noises he makes every time he sinks down onto Kyungsoo’s cock.

“Oh, fuck, Jongin.” Kyungsoo moans, his hands resting on Jongin’s hips. He presses his lips to Jongin’s shoulder blade, mentally trying to get a grip, before he slowly grinds up into Jongin.

Jongin moans this time, full and hearty, before he places his own hands over the top of Kyungsoo’s.

They start slowly, rocking into each other with hushed moans, choked whimpers and whispered sweet nothings into each other’s ears.

Jongin begins to get frustrated again, straining on his thighs to build up a faster pace.

There’s only so much of the hot vice around his cock that Kyungsoo can stand before his knot starts to swell properly.

He pulls Jongin off of him, ignoring the indignant sounds of protest Jongin makes and how desperately he tries to sit himself back again.

Kyungsoo flips him over so he’s on his back and hovers over him. “You’re so beautiful.” He murmurs, before he slides back into Jongin with one slick thrust.

All finesse and care is forgotten, the gentle, slow rocks of before being replaced by hard fucking, hips slamming into plump asscheeks.

Jongin clutches Kyungsoo’s shoulders, pulling him down for a kiss. “H-harder.” He presses against his lips.

Kyungsoo obliges, his hips picking up a pace as his lips crawl all over Jongin’s body, tracing every last dip and curve he can reach.

He nips marks all around Jongin’s throat, claiming every inch of his skin as Jongin’s hands fist tighter and tighter in his hair.

Kyungsoo feels his cock pulsing, and he knows he isn’t going to hold out much longer. The tendrils of heat suffusing under his skin are reaching fever pitch and the hot coiling low in his stomach feels seconds away from explosion.

He wraps a careful hand around Jongin’s cock, brushing his thumb over the head.

Jongin spasms deliciously in response, sloppily pressing his mouth to Kyungsoo, too out of focus to even kiss properly.

“‘M c-close.” Jongin pants, licking mindlessly and Kyungsoo’s mouth. “W-want your kn-knot.”

Kyungsoo continues to power into Jongin, transfixed by the way his cock slides in and out of his body.

Jongin’s moans begin to spiral out of control, increasing in volume and pitch and Kyungsoo can tell by the way he’s squeezing around his fast forming knot that he’s seconds from coming apart.

Kyungsoo dips his head down low and breathes heavily into Jongin’s neck, his hips never stopping their assault.

Instinct begins to cloud his mind and he can feel his canines aching with the urge to bite, mark and claim.

Jongin tilts his head back, exposing his neck and he pushes Kyungsoo’s face against him. “M-mark me.” He begs.

It takes one last forceful thrust for Kyungsoo’s knot to slip into Jongin, locking them together.

Jongin arches his back with a scream and clenches down hard, splattering his stomach and Kyungsoo’s chest with cum.

Simultaneously every nerve in Kyungsoo’s body whites out, his vision darkening at the edges as the heat tensed inside of him erupts into an inferno, shaking his limbs and ripping a moan out of his throat.

He sinks his teeth into Jongin’s neck in one short and sharp sting, shuddering as his cock empties into Jongin nonstop.

He places gentle kisses over the bite mark, his head still cloudy and unfocussed, until he eventually pulls away to smile at Jongin.

Jongin looks sweaty, exhausted and thoroughly well-fucked but he looks like the closest thing to an angel Kyungsoo has ever seen.

Jongin reaches up for him blearily, and they lean together to share a kiss, this one much more chaste but still filled with passion.

Kyungsoo is still sheathed inside Jongin and won’t be able to move for a while, so he does his best to rearrange what’s left of the bedclothes around them, curling Jongin close into his arms.

Jongin’s eyes begin to flutter shut, but he looks like he’s fighting sleep to say something to Kyungsoo.

Kyungsoo brushes his knuckles across Jongin’s face, pulling the boy’s caramel legs closer round his waist.

“I—I love you.” Jongin mumbles, just about managing to maintain eye contact.

“I love you too.” Kyungsoo says, pressing one more kiss to his lover’s lips. “Sleep tight.”

Jongin has already drifted off, safe and warm in his arms, and it takes Kyungsoo mere minutes until he too does the same.

 

 

===

 

 

Kyungsoo blinks awake the following morning with a broad grin on his face.

A gentle breeze drifts in through an open window and the birds are singing away passionately.

Dappled sunlight bathes the room in early morning glow, and Kyungsoo sighs in contentment at the light playing across a snoozing Jongin’s features.

The boy is most probably exhausted, and he’s still firmly in dreamland against Kyungsoo’s chest.

Kyungsoo brushes Jongin’s fringe out of his eyes gently and allows himself a few moments to bask in the glow of everything.

His peacefulness, however, is abruptly ruined by a cough from the foot of the bed.

Kyungsoo looks up and finds his father standing there, a stern unreadable expression on his face.

Cold dread seeps through Kyungsoo’s bones and his stomach drops. “D-Dad.” He greets.

The King is dressed formally for the day and nods in greeting to his son.

It is at this point that Kyungsoo realises he is very much naked, albeit under the bedclothes, and he’s covered in evidence from the previous night’s events. A blush crawls up his face.

“I think we need to have a talk.” Junmyeon says emotionlessly, still watching his son. “I suggest you get dressed.”

Baekhyun is hovering in the doorway looking terrified.

Junmyeon turns on his heel and struts from the room, letting the door bang shut behind him.

“I’m so sorry Kyungsoo he— he came looking for you early in the morning and you weren’t in your quarters, obviously. We didn’t want to wake you up and we didn’t expect him to come looking for you personally around the castle. I—I tried to stop him entering but… he is the King.” Baekhyun looks remorseful.

Kyungsoo shakes his head. “Don’t worry, Baek. You did nothing wrong.”

As it happens, the loud bang from the door closing has woken Jongin.

He blinks slowly and cutely as he wakes, smacking his lips together. He beams up at Kyungsoo, looking radiant despite his exhaustion. “Good morning.”

Kyungsoo can’t stop the smile on his face, and leans down to peck Jongin softly on the lips. “Good morning.”

Jongin smiles, but then his face drops into a frown. “Something’s wrong isn’t it. I can tell.”

Kyungsoo grimaces, linking his arms round Jongin. “My dad… knows. I—I have to go and talk to him.”

Jongin pales and clutches at Kyungsoo. “He won’t—he won’t— will he?”

Kyungsoo takes a shaky breath. “He can try, but I’m not letting anything happen.” Kyungsoo would willingly give up his kingdom for this happiness. Yura can rule it, gods be damned.

Jongin shifts off Kyungsoo so he can get up and get dressed, but he still looks anxious.

Kyungsoo pulls on yesterday’s clothes, discarded on the floor in haste, and presses a kiss to the end of Jongin’s nose. “Everything will be alright.”

Jongin nods, a small smile creeping across his face.

“Baek, make sure Jongin has a decent breakfast, please. I’ll be back in a minute.” Kyungsoo asks.

“Of course.” Baekhyun says, giving Kyungsoo a meaningful look.

Kyungsoo allows himself one last glance back into the room, at Jongin looking serene in tangled bedsheets. He feels like the air has been knocked out of him, but a steely determination sets in. He’s not giving this up. This is his life now.

He shuts the bedroom door behind him and begins a purposeful walk towards his father’s quarters.

 

 

===

 

It’s been years since Kyungsoo has been in here.

He’d almost forgotten what the King’s bedchamber looks like, and Kyungsoo’s memories haven’t done the extravagance any justice.

A servant Kyungsoo has never seen before leads him towards his father’s breakfast room and knocks on the door on his behalf.

When the permission to enter comes, Kyungsoo momentarily feels sick, but moves forward and steps inside. He’s acutely aware that he stinks of Jongin and sex, and he’s covered in love bites, but there’s very little he can do about that now.

Junmyeon gestures for him to sit.

Kyungsoo settles on the chair, finding it far too hard to be comfortable. He gulps over a dry mouth and tries to look relaxed.

“I fear there are some things you haven’t been telling me.” Junmyeon intones, folding his hands in his lap.

“I—I’m in love with Jongin.” Kyungsoo blurts.

His father raises his eyebrows but says nothing else, and Kyungsoo takes this as a sign that he needs to elaborate.

“I imprinted on him a long time ago. I didn’t know he felt the same until very recently. Jongin’s heat came along and I knew I couldn’t leave him. I couldn’t leave him in that state when part of the reason I was born is to care for him. And so I went to him, and I cared for him.” Kyungsoo says, jutting his chin out.

It does feel awkward to be talking so openly with his father about sex, but Kyungsoo is past caring if the old prude has a problem.

“Jongin was supposed to be kept separate from everyone. He was in the care of Baekhyun, who is very used to dealing with these matters. He was being cared for sufficiently.”

Kyungsoo can’t implicate Baekhyun in this. “I commanded Baekhyun to let me through. He did very well for his part, but I knew there is only so much he can do. Jongin needed me, and me alone.”

Junmyeon sighs. “Are you mated?”

Kyungsoo hesitates. He was in such a heady state of lust he can’t remember if he completed the process or not. “I—I can’t remember.” His scent won’t have had time to change yet to signify he’s mated, so he’s clueless.

Junmyeon says nothing for what feels like minutes.

Kyungsoo feels his face heating up.

“Have some breakfast, Kyungsoo.”

Well, he wasn’t expecting that. Kyungsoo nervously reaches forward and picks a slice of heavily buttered toast and nibbles on it blandly. He doesn’t think he can manage much more than that.

Junmyeon continues to say nothing, simply watching his son intently.

Kyungsoo finishes his toast and coughs lightly. “T-thank you.”

Junmyeon takes a sip from a cup of tea. “Clearly, there are still things we need to discuss.” He says. “You will need to bring Jongin to dinner tonight so we can resolve this.”

Kyungsoo nods frantically.

Junmyeon regards his son one last time before gesturing to the door. “You may leave now.”

Kyungsoo nearly screams in relief and jumps to his feet in an instant. The oppressiveness of his father’s stare is making him queasy and it feels like a huge weight lifts as soon as he exits the room.

 

 

===

 

Upon returning to the room, the heavy, cold dread sitting in Kyungsoo’s stomach is replaced by relief.

Jongin is sitting up in bed, still bathed in early morning sunlight, and Baekhyun flits about beside him.

“Make sure you eat plenty of this,” He instructs, spooning what appears to be copious amounts of porridge into a bowl on a tray in front of Jongin. “You’ve only just finished your heat, your mating heat, so you need to make sure you eat well and drink well and give your body time to recover. No running around.”

Jongin nods shyly and thanks Baekhyun, taking a spoon off him.

It’s then that Kyungsoo’s notices his mark, the permanent imprint of his teeth, just at the side of Jongin’s neck and his heart swells.

It’s a little bruised and swollen at the minute, but Kyungsoo knows once it’s had time to heal a little it’ll be a intricate and prominent mark of their love. He’s overwhelmed for a minute as we watches an angel eat his breakfast, safe in the knowledge that he’s all Kyungsoo’s and no one else’s.

Jongin feels his gaze and looks up, a shy grin spreading across his features when he sees Kyungsoo smile.

Kyungsoo walks back over to the bed and climbs in, and Jongin instinctively snuggles into his side.

“Did everything go ok?” He asks.

Kyungsoo purses his lips and sighs. “I don’t know. We— he’s invited both of us for dinner tonight, so we can… talk.”

“Oh.” Jongin says softly. He quickly notices that Kyungsoo is still looking concerned, and then makes it a mission to cheer him up. “Hey, you haven’t had breakfast yet! Have some porridge.”

They spend the rest of the morning entwined and eating, giving themselves a bit of time to get over the night before.

As Jongin flutters butterfly kisses across Kyungsoo’s collarbones, Kyungsoo just about manages to forget everything he’s worrying about and drifts back into a comfortable sleep.

They’ll be alright, he knows they will.

 

===

 

 

Kyungsoo can’t believe it.

He cannot believe it.

He’s trying so hard not to smile, but he can’t help it. A huge, ugly grin spreads across his face and he wants to laugh so loud he feels sick.

He’s standing beside his father, who in turn is standing opposite King Kang.

At King Kang’s side is none other than Yura, her head bowed to hide behind her silky locks.

She might be trying to hide but Kyungsoo can see.

He can see clear as day the purpling bite mark at the front of her neck.

He can also see that she's trying not to giggle too, her lips folded in on each other to seal her mouth shut and keep a smirk from forming.

He can see her occasionally eyeing up the love bites scattered across Kyungsoo’s neck, and when they make eye contact for the first time both of them nearly give the game away.

“Clearly, we have a situation.” Kyungsoo tunes in to hear his father saying seriously.

King Kang side eyes his daughter. “It seems we do.”

“Perhaps we should step into my offices to discuss further.” Junmyeon says.

King Kang nods and follows Junmyeon’s outstretched hand.

Their footsteps on the marbled floor echo into the distance, and the sound of a heavy wooden door shutting finally seals in the silence.

Yura starts it first, the tiniest giggle escaping her lips.

Kyungsoo follows suit, the first begins of a chuckle then a full blown laugh.

Soon, both of them are laughing so hysterically they’re doubled over, reaching for each other and squeezing a tight hug.

“Oh my god this is brilliant.” Yura screeches into Kyungsoo’s ear. “Oh my god.”

“I can’t believe it Yul— talk about perfect timing oh god.”

Yura is nearly crying, tears building at the corner of her eyes. “Maybe we really are soulmates.” She teases warmheartedly and takes a deep breath, trying to steady herself, before she pulls back to get a good look at Kyungsoo, bushing at his fringe in a motherly fashion. “You actually did it.”

Kyungsoo settles down too, shaking his head in disbelief. “It was Jongin’s heat I— It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”

Yura smiles broadly. “I don’t even know what happened we just— we just did it Soo.”

Kyungsoo breaks down into laughter again. “Please, god, tell me you didn’t say that to your dad.”

“You should have seen Junhyung’s face when I told him I said it I thought he was going to pass out!”

Kyungsoo hugs her again, and their joy translates to them spinning round the empty hallway together, just like how they danced when their marriage was announced. “I’m so happy Yura.”

“I can’t believe my wedding is probably going to be called off and I’m this excited!” Yura laughs.

“No matter what happens now I— I’ve got a mate.” Kyungsoo says, the words still not sounding entirely true.

The two kings seem to spend hours locked away in the office, and all Kyungsoo and Yura can do is cling onto each other desperately.

They end up sitting on a cold marble seat, watching the door like hawks, the sudden realisation of the uncertainty of the situation kicking in.

When the lock finally clicks, both get to their feet instantly.

“As ever, it has been a pleasure to see you, King Kang.” Junmyeon smiles.

“And you too, King Do.” King Kang replies, bowing and turning to his daughter. “We should be leaving now.”

Yura nods unsurely, turning to Kyungsoo to pull him into another tight hug. “We’ll be alright. I’ll see you soon.” She tells him before turning on her heel and leaving.

Kyungsoo watches her go, the terror starting to creep up inside of him again.

“Kyungsoo,” Junmyeon says, still standing in the doorway to his office. “Come in.” He indicates with his head that Kyungsoo should step inside.

Kyungsoo sits down on a chair opposite his father, and chooses to study the grain of the wood on the desk rather than look him in the eye.

“Why don’t you talk to me, Kyungsoo?” Junmyeon says. He sounds wounded, almost upset, and it prompts Kyungsoo to look at him.

Sure enough, his father looks a little glassy eyed.

“Y-You were always preoccupied. You have a kingdom to run. I don’t want to bother you.”

“You are still my son.”

“I can still be a bother.”

“Kyungsoo.” Junmyeon says firmly. “I love you. You are my son, and you, no matter how much of a bother you may think you are, will always take priority.”

The confession takes Kyungsoo aback. He can’t remember the last time his father told him he loved him. If he ever did, actually.

“Your happiness is the most important thing to me, Kyungsoo. As long as you are happy and healthy, how you live your life does not matter to me. I want the best for you. Truly, when do you first think you imprinted on Jongin?”

Kyungsoo gulps. “I—I was fascinated by him when we first met.”

Junmyeon looks remorseful. “You should have told me.”

“Why would I?”

Sighing heavily, Junmyeon looks his son in the eye.

Kyungsoo suddenly realises how old his father is looking.

“I am not an old evil king as you seem to think I am. You are right, I don’t necessarily want the,” he grimaces, “Details about your love life but… Kyungsoo, I regret the years I haven’t been as involved as I should have been in your life. When we lost your mother, when we lost Seungsoo, I should have been there. I wasn’t right to lock myself away and focus entirely on ruling.”

“You’re still a king. You did what you had to.”

“You don’t really think that.” Junmyeon says, his lips quirking into a knowing grin.

Kyungsoo knows he’s right.

“I’m sorry, Kyungsoo. I’m sorry for a lot of things. Most of all, I’m sorry for leaving our relationship in tatters. I have not been the greatest father, and I know that now, and I am hoping you will forgive me and give me a second chance.”

Kyungsoo is utterly bewildered. Years of emotions swamp him at once and he has to swallow hard so as not to cry. “I—I want that but I—I don’t know how.”

“It isn’t going to be easy Kyungsoo. I am going to have to work very hard to earn your trust again, but I’m more than willing to try.”

A single tear drips down Kyungsoo’s cheek and he nods. It’s probably just because he’s newly mated that he’s being this emotional.

Junmyeon looks at him again, unreadable again. “As you know, Yura too has mated with someone so in that regard the wedding is off. Despite that, both King Kang and I are keen on keeping peaceful relations so we’ve signed a friendship treaty instead. Given your current situation, however, am I right to assume that at least a wedding of some sorts is still on?”

Kyungsoo blushes. “I—I haven’t asked Jongin if he wants to marry me yet we— we’ve only really just got together.”

Junmyeon smiles fondly. “You want to marry him though, don’t you?”

Kyungsoo blushes and flusters.

“You always have been easy to read Kyungsoo.”

“I’ve wanted to marry him for years. We’ve only just mated though so I don’t know if Jongin wants to— make it official on paper yet or not. I don’t know.”

With a secretive smile, Junmyeon nods. “What you’re saying is you're giving me time to keep saving up for the big day.”

Kyungsoo grins at his lap and blushes again. “Yeah.”

“I suppose you would like to go back to your boyfriend.” Junmyeon teases. “From what I remember you tend to want to… spend a lot of time together… when you’re newly mated.”

Kyungsoo grimaces, hoping he isn’t going to be in for a sex talk. “Pretty much.” He sighs.

“You will bring him to dinner tonight, won’t you? I’d like to get to know my future son-in-law properly.”

Kyungsoo gives him an embarrassed look.

“Are you not enjoying having an embarrassing dad?” Junmyeon questions.

“No, I’m not.” Kyungsoo huffs, although the smile on his face gives him away.

“Kyungsoo?” Junmyeon says.

Before he leaves, Kyungsoo looks at his father.

Junmyeon holds his arms open silently, and Kyungsoo knows what he wants.

He steps into the hug gratefully and feels a kiss pressed to the top of his head. “I love you, son.”

“I love you too dad.” Kyungsoo whispers.

Junmyeon pulls back, swiping under his eyes quickly. “Now, go and enjoy yourself. I’ll see you at dinner.”

“Dinner. Right.” Kyungsoo says, his stomach fizzing with happiness and content.

He leaves his father’s office as calmly as he can, but as soon as he’s out in the hallway, he breaks into a sprint.

He runs through corridors, up stairways and through a thousand and one rooms, startling servants and maids as he goes.

He pelts up to the tower where he knows Jongin is, and doesn’t stop running until he reaches the door.

Bursting into the room with a huge smile on his face, Kyungsoo heads straight for the bed where Jongin is still lazing around.

“Soo, what is it?” Jongin asks.

Kyungsoo replies by grabbing his face and pulling him in for a passionate kiss.

They break away, and Kyungsoo beams at him,

 

 

“How do you like the sound of Prince Consort?”

 

 

 

=The End=

 

 

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