The first bombing shakes the whole building, startling Jimin.
At first he’s confused, unsure of what’s going on, until he hears Jeongguk cursing under his breath, murmuring something about fighter jets. They are on one of the last floors, five storeys up according to the alpha. Somewhere else in the building, Jaebum and Jackson are focused on clearing the entrance while they cover the other task - finding The Commander.
So far, they’ve had no luck.
Dread coats Jimin’s skin, turning it ice cold. The floor is too silent, the noise of the war barely filtering into the highly decorated rooms. Everything is so delicate and exquisite Jimin has a hard time not getting distracted. His head feels cottony at times, the air hangs heavy and suffocating and more often than not he finds himself lost in the swirling patterns of the colored glass covering the few windows they come across.
In front of him, Jeongguk is wound tight. His gun is pointed straight ahead as he sniffs the air.
“Motherfucker,” he curses, baring his teeth. There’s alpha musk in the air, strong enough to make him nauseous. Strong enough to confuse Jimin. The alpha looks over his shoulder, surprised to find the omega standing in the middle of the hall they are searching, a glazed look in his eyes. “Jimin, keep close.”
The sound of his name shakes the omega out of the stupor he was falling into. He blinks repeatedly, fear spiking into his veins when he notices the breach between the alpha and him. He sort of has an idea of why he’s feeling so out of it. Alpha authority marks every corner of the place, the leftover traces of imposition heavily threaded with the scent of distressed omegas. It makes Jimin’s skin crawl. They had come up through a secret stairway found in the room Hyungwon talked about, so it must be true that they are indeed inside The Commander’s private chambers.
“I’m feeling weird,” he says, voice soft. He moves slow, too slow for his own liking.
“It’s the musk Jimin,” Jeongguk says, starting to walk back to the omega. “It’s not directed at you, so don't concentrate on it. We’ll get out of here, ok?”
Jimin nods, also moving towards the alpha. The sound of a crash distracts him and he tilts his head towards the closest window. Something swirls among the colors and he extends his hand to it. The distraction costs him dearly. A shadow emerges out of nowhere, so quick Jimin has no time to warn Jeongguk. It crashes into the alpha with a snarl, pushing him into the closest wall and smashing Jeongguk’s head against it.
Before any of them have time to react, the alpha flees, his laughter echoing through the hallway. One minute he’s there and the next, he’s gone. Jimin rushes to Jeongguk’s side, helping him up.
“Are you ok?” he asks while scanning the halway. His heart beats crazily right at the base of his throat.
Jeongguk pushes Jimin’s fluttery hands away, spitting blood on the floor. It stains the creamy carpet a watery red. Jimin stares at it, unsure of what to do.
“Where did he go?” Jeongguk asks, checking his gun before standing up.
“Couldn’t see,” Jimin replies, “he just...he disappeared.”
The alpha walks slowly, further into the hallway. It's made of large wood panels and Jeongguk presses one hand against them, dragging it along as he goes. At some point, one of the panels follows his hand, revealing another corridor.
“Secret doors,” Jeongguk explains. He frowns, both frustrated and worried. “Be careful...he can be anywhere.”
“I can’t smell him,” Jimin whispers.
“The whole place stinks of alpha, that’s why...he did it on purpose.”
The words are barely out of the alpha’s mouth when The Commander materializes right out of thin air. Jeongguk shouts a warning and Jimin whirls around to find that he’s almost face to face with the alpha.
“Boo,” he says and a cloud explodes all around them.
Jeongguk yells words Jimin can’t register, too busy choking on concentrated pheromones. He falls to the floor, skin growing clammy as heat licks at his insides. The pheromones burn his nostrils, they stick to his tongue and go down his throat as he swallows. It tastes wrong. Spoilt. Nothing like summer.
The Commander is once again gone and Jeongguk hurries through the mist towards the omega, who’s panting on the floor.
“Hey,” he says, gathering Jimin in his arms. There's a shrill quality to the pitch of his voice . “Hey, don't swallow. Spit it out. Spit.”
The omega does as he's told even though his mouth feels desert dry. A bit of slick leaks out of his ass and Jimin makes a strangled noise, nausea rolling in the pit of his stomach. He buries his nose in Jeongguk’s vest, concentrating on the alpha’s familiar scent. He knows The Commander is toying with them, probably in the same way he played with other omegas before, dissorienting them before the attack.
Jeongguk wipes the sweat out of the omegas brow. “You’re ok,” he says with conviction, looking around for a way out. This was a bad idea. He hates that he was right.
The sound of pounding boots reverberates against the walls and Jeongguk lifts the omega off the ground, hurrying into a room and down another corridor. The whole floor is a maze, full of hidden spots. The alpha’s heart rate skyrockets. For the first time since their mission started, Jeongguk is afraid.
Afraid of an outcome that might not work in their favor.
They are about to round a corner when soldiers show up. Jeongguk backtracks with a curse, fast but barely avoiding the bullets hitting the corner of the wall. The sound is enough to startle Jimin into awareness. He pushes the alpha away, wiping the saliva sticking to the corner of his lips. Jeongguk makes to grab him again when he stumbles while they flee through some intricate hall but Jimin shakes his head.
“I can make it,” he says, mind slowly clearing.
Jeongguk gives him a curt nod.
The hall ends with a door leading into a room and Jeongguk bursts through it, caution thrown out the window as bullets ricochet past them. The carelessness costs him dearly. The Commander is on him in seconds and Jimin yells a warning that comes too late. The alpha kicks at the door - hitting the omega in the process - and he falls with all his weight on top of Jeongguk, teeth bared. It happens too fast but one moment Jeongguk is growling in response and the next he stumbling back, clutching at his neck.
“How about we play now?” The Commander says, throwing a metallic syringe away.
Jimin goes back to his feet feeling a little disoriented after the hit but still ready to aid Jeongguk when soldiers finally catch up to them, firing as they round the corner. The omega casts one last desperate look towards his mate before turning around, taking out his gun and firing. This time around, he does not dwell on the blood staining his hands. He ducks away from bullets and shoots with determination until he runs out. The last soldier standing rummages through his vest, probably in search of another magazine. The snarls at Jimin’s back increase in volume but he ignores them, charging forward before the soldier can reload.
Everything Jeongguk ever taught him about close combat flashes through his head. Balance, hit them in the right spot, eyes on the chest. Use your speed.
They clash midway. The impact leaves Jimin seeing stars but he still manages to land a punch to the soldier’s neck. Jimin isn’t as strong as an alpha but he’s fast and he has rage on his side. The soldier hits him a good couple of times, taking advantage of his strength. The blows make his jaw throb in pain but the omega lashes out, going for the soldier’s eyes and getting his nails bloody in the process. The soldier yells in pain, clutching his face and Jimin uses the window of an advantage to kick the beta in the liver and then quickly on the back of his head.
He doesn’t spare a minute to check if the soldier is truly out before sprinting back to Jeongguk, sure that the alpha is in desperate need of help. What he finds at his arrival is worse than what he expected. There’s blood dripping from Jeongguk’s mouth and one of his eyes is almost swollen shut. He’s still responding to the other alpha’s hits but slow...too slow. Slower than normal.
Jimin doesn’t think.
He growls, deep from within his chest and he launches himself at The Commander’s back, teeth clamping on the alpha’s ear. The Commander yells in pain, forgetting Jeongguk for a second and reaching to pull Jimin off his back. He throws him over so hard the omega yelps when he hits the carpet but he recovers quickly, spitting blood on the floor.
“Glad you decided to join us,” The Commander says, touching his ear and studying the blood that comes out staining his fingers. “Let me finish with this useless alpha and I’ll gladly show you your place.”
“How about no.”
It takes little for the omega to know he can’t possibly win, not with force at least. The Commander is having the time of his life, deflecting his blows with a smile while punching Jimin in all the right places until he’s almost doubled over in pain. The omega looks at Jeongguk as often as possible, terrified a soldier will show up and attack the alpha while he’s lying vulnerable on the floor. The distraction doesn't help him fight better either and he lashes out with a strangled cry when the alpha grabs a handful of his ass. He raises his arms in front of him, panting as he steps back.
The Commander cackles, eyes bleeding red. “That’s it, back away like a good bitch,” he taunts closing in until Jimin is almost one with the wall. “Fear looks so much better than bravery on you.”
The vase breaks into a thousand pieces when smashes it on the alpha’s head. Jeongguk collapses along with The Commander, breaths ragged as the whole room spins. Jimin hurries to lift the alpha, throwing one arm over his shoulder as he helps him walk. They must make good use of the time before The Commander wakes.
“You ok?” he asks as he takes Jeongguk down one of the multiple secret passageways, hoping it will take them close to where they first came up. “What was that?”
It takes Jeongguk some time to articulate words. Everything around him feels thick and dense making it difficult for him to move.
“D-Drugged,” Jeongguk slurs, leaning heavily on the omega. “My neck…”
Jimin makes a noise in acknowledgement. It explains why it was so easy for The Commander to play Jeongguk like a toy. The omega feels his blood boil. None of the corridors they end up in feel familiar. The decor blurs into a bunch of meaningless clues and the omega becomes desperate. The alpha is heavy in his arms, barely conscious. The omega can't defend them both. He doesn't have the skills.
Jimin starts moving faster when a crashing sound reaches his ears. The place goes back to complete silence afterwards. It’s almost maddening, the fact that all the omega can hear is the sound of his labored breathing and the drag of his alpha’s feet. Too soon, laughter comes from in between the walls and then the unmistakable voice of The Commander ordering him to go back. The hairs on Jimin’s arms stand on end as the imposition licks at his fingertips. The other alpha is too far for it to knock the omega down but still sweat blooms on his brow and his shoulder’s turn heavy with the weight of the order.
“You have to help me babe, c’mon,” he grits through his teeth, adjusting his hold on Jeongguk when the alpha starts to slip from his arms. “Please...I can't alone. I can't.”
He hates how vulnerable he is. He hates that even after so long and after his training, an alpha can manage to scare him so much.
They finally reach a dead end.
Jimin closes the door behind them, resting Jeongguk against the wall and then blocking the entrance with the only armchair of the room. The place stinks of omega slick and fear but Jimin tries to ignore it. The Commander’s voice sounds even closer now and for a second the omega wants nothing more than break down and cry. If only someone could come help them. If only he were strong enough…
The omega's eyes follow as Jeongguk points at the only window in the room. Unlike the others they have seen, this one is not locked. Realization washes over Jimin the moment Jeongguk’s hand falls on top of the carpet with a heavy thud. It is clear then that they aren’t fighting anymore. It is clear that in their condition, they are no match for The Commander.
They can't win.
They must flee.
When Jimin throws the window open it becomes clear why it isn’t blocked. They are several storeys high making it almost impossible to use it as an escape route. Almost. There’s a concrete deck right under them, probably the roof of a smaller building. The fall is of at least three storeys, but it’s all they have. It will have to do. Broken bones are better than death. The omega hurries back to the alpha, helping him back to his feet.
“This way,” he says.
Jeongguk fights when Jimin tries to urge him to sit on the windowsill but then something heavy lands outside their door, followed by the ring of laughter. Jimin’s heart jumps to his throat and Jeongguk stops fighting, swinging one leg over.
“I’m sorry I failed,” he murmurs, vowels merging together.
Jimin shakes his head but he feels it too, how they let their chance slip through their fingers. How everyone counted on them. Hundreds of omegas are probably escaping right now, hoping for a better life. Letting The Commander live means failing them above everyone else.
“You did not fail,” Jimin says looking at the alpha straight in the eye.
“Couldn't protect you…”
The alpha's eyes open and close like under a spell. He isn't quite himself, still a victim of whatever The Commander forced into his system. Jimin wants to tell him that he doesn't need to be protected. That the only thing he needs from Jeongguk is love.
It's always been love.
The decision comes naturally, right when Jeongguk has both legs dangling out into the air. One day, not too long ago, a group of rebels freed him from his prison showing Jimin a new world. They nurtured him back to health. They recognized him as one of their own. They showed him that there was more to omegas than he could ever fathom.
One day, not too long ago, he was given his life back. He was reborn.
This day, it’s in his hands to do the same in return.
Jimin pats his vest, locating the knife Jeongguk always told him to have with himself. For emergencies, the alpha said, so you’re never left with no choice. This now, this is his choice.
Jeongguk looks at him unsure but determined, beautiful even through the grime and the injuries marring his face. It breaks the omega’s heart, to love so much only to let go.
There’s a second crash against the door, one that pushes the armchair slightly away and there’s no time to waste. Jimin turns to the alpha, capturing his lips in a kiss.
“I love you,” he says pressing quick kisses over Jeongguk chapped lips. Memorizing them. Tears fill up his eyes.
Jeongguk realizes too late what’s going to happen. He only has time to shout a pained no! before Jimin is pushing him out the window in time with the door flying open. When the omega whirls around The Commander is standing there, bleeding but very much alive. He can only hope that Jeongguk will be smart enough to take the advantage and seek refugee. Perhaps send help Jimin’s way if he's conscious after the fall. The omega bites his lip - no time for regrets now.
“Caught you, at last.”
The imposition comes stronger now that the alpha is in the same room. Jimin feels it coating his skin in a thick layer, making his stomach roll. This time, he doesn’t fight it.
This time, he closes his eyes and he lets go.
Jackson smashes the soldier’s head hard against the floor, satisfied with the sickening crunch under his hand. He sniffs as he stands up, surveying the room briefly. The place is a mess of rebels and Republican soldiers alike, all engaged in close combat. The beta can hear the bullets raining on the outside but inside the building they are all tearing each other down mostly with their bare hands.
Namjoon and Hoseok are fighting back to back, both fearless but already showing signs of tiredness. The omega stumbles as one soldier catches him in the side, right where Hoseok is already bleeding and Jackson makes up his mind, kicking his way in that direction.
He gets there just in time to prevent a soldier from attacking an already fallen Hoseok. Namjoon shoots him a quick nod, punching a soldier before hurrying to his mate’s side.
“Take him to the side so he can rest,” Jackson suggests.
“I'm fine,” Hoseok protests though it's clear that he isn't. Both his leg and his side are bleeding and he's incredibly pale. There's no way for them to know if the injuries are serious or not but the beta considers that they shouldn't risk it.
From the look on Namjoon’s face, he's sure the alpha thinks the same.
“The jets should be here already...if they were able to break through.”
“How much longer?”
“Not much,” Namjoon shakes his head. “They have strict orders to do as much damage as possible.”
“Jaebum,” Jackson says into his radio, only getting white noise. “Does yours work?”
“Lost it at some point,” says Namjoon, apologetic.
“I’ll go get him. See if we can find Jimin and Jeongguk as well.”
“The Commander must still be here,” Namjoon says, cradling a now unconscious Hoseok closer to his chest. They are hiding behind a pillar, it’s the safest they can be considering the circumstances. “Soldiers wouldn't be defending the stairs so much if the fucker was taken to a safe place.”
“I'll check it out. Lay low for now.”
The beta studies his surroundings before sprinting out of his hiding spot. A few steps ahead, a gun lies abandoned in the middle of the fight. If he’s lucky enough, some bullets might be still waiting to be released. If luck is on his side, those bullets will take him all the way across the room, where he can see Jaebum fighting.
Turns out he really is a blessed motherfucker.
He dives for the gun at the same time that a soldier makes a run for it. His leg burns as he slides over the floor but it gives him enough advantage to point and shoot the republican right between the eyes. From there, he tries his best to avoid the other rebels as he empties the magazine. He’s only a meter away from Jaebum when he runs out but it’s enough. He hits a couple soldiers with the butt of the gun, discarding it when he’s by the alpha’s side.
“Namjoon?” asks Jaebum as they fight their way to the stairs.
“Hoseok is injured...don’t think he can continue, not anymore.”
The alpha sets his jaw. He’s about to say something when the whole building rocks as bombs go off on the outside. The few windows still intact explode, the shards flying and catching soldiers and rebels, sharp as knives. Dust rains over them as pieces of the ceiling fall to the floor. They don’t have much time, they must kill The Commander now or they won’t have another chance.
“I’ll search for the others,” Jaebum says. “If it looks bad, help whoever you can to the tunnels.”
“You mean, if it looks bad we should flee...like cowards.”
The alpha shakes his head. “Can’t fight another battle if we’re all dead. I haven’t seen a single ally jet...without them…”
The beta gives him a curt nod. “Just get Jeongguk and Jimin, I’ll take care of the rest.”
“I might need a gun.”
Jackson narrows his eyes, spotting the armed soldiers guarding the access to the upper floors.
“Let’s get you one.”
Taehyung wakes up with a scream lodged in the middle of his chest. It suffocates him in the few seconds he spends completely paralyzed, staring straight at a white ceiling. Slowly, perhaps too slow, the world becomes tangible again. His toes twitch and he can barely contain the tears collecting in his eyes at the movement. His legs work. That's always good, right?
Along with the relief, however, comes the pain and he whines softly. His brain might be slow but the omega knows that there's something wrong. Something about him is not right. There's some shuffling to his left and the omega tilts his head.
Resting on a plastic chair is Seokjin.
Half of the alpha’s body is slumped on top of Taehyung’s bed. He has his head buried in his folded arms but his hand is so very close. So close to the omega’s own fingers. Taehyung tries to reach for the alpha, urging his hand to move and that's when he notices. He whips his head to the right so fast his neck cracks. The blanket covers him up to his chest, only leaving the top of his shoulders exposed.
It's a fight, to try and lift his left arm. The omega knows it must be the painkillers pumping into his system and whatever it was that kept him sedated up until this point, but he still tries. It's the movement that wakes up Seokjin. The alpha lifts his head groggily, eyes rimmed red and skin dull.
The omega looks over immediately. Before he can say anything, the alpha breaks down in ragged sobs. Seokjin cries loud, it's the first thing Taehyung notices. He’s taken aback, unsure of how to react. He’s never seen Seokjin so affected before but then again, they have never been in a war quite like this. His hand grows damp as the alpha holds it close to his lips while he cries. The omega doesn't know when he starts crying as well. He's just aware of the tears falling into his pillow. He licks his lips.
Seokjin only cries harder, rising to kiss the omega on the lips. It feels good. Like heaven.
“I'm so glad you're back I thought you'd never wake up,” he murmurs. “You scared the shit out of me.”
The alpha kisses Taehyung’s palm and the omega smiles languid before his attention shifts to his right arm. He can't quite feel it beyond a dull pain. Even if he concentrated, he can't move it. Not even a finger...he can't feel his fingers. Seokjin tries to shift the omega’s attention back to him but Taehyung is stubborn. He frowns, commanding his brain to move the damn arm and nothing. He gets nothing. He-
“What's wrong with my arm?” the omega interrupts.
A machine starts beeping over his head and in seconds a nurse is opening the door. She takes a step back when she notices both Taehyung and Seokjin staring at her. Her gaze shifts to the healer.
“I heard the alarms, everything ok?”
“Yeah, just a rough awakening. I'll take care of it.”
She smiles softly before making her way out. The room is back to silence. Seokjin exhales, sitting back down on the plastic chair. He holds Taehyung’s hand.
“You were caught in the explosion of a missile during your mission,” the alpha explains. “You and Yugyeom...it was a miracle we found you on time.”
“Where is Yugyeom?” Taehyung asks. “Is he alright?”
Seokjin shakes his head. “I'm doing everything I can...he’s alive but...his injuries are very serious.”
Taehyung nods, he smacks his lips. “He'll make it, he promised and you’re the best healer of this land.”
The corner of the alpha’s lips twitches but he doesn't smile. “I’ll try.”
“Why can't I feel my arm?”
Seokjin’s eyes fill up with tears once again and Taehyung squeezes his hand. “Your arm...it was smashed under some debris when we found you. The damage…” the alpha swallows. He looks up at the ceiling. “I'm so sorry Taehyung. I'm so...I tried but I couldn't, it was beyond me, I...I'm so sorry.”
Taehyung thinks he understands now. He goes back to settle his eyes on his right shoulder. He tries again to move it and nothing happens.
“Is it paralyzed?” he asks. His voice is calm.
The alpha sniffs. “Amputated. We had to...we had to removed the damaged part. I couldn't save it.”
“I want to see.”
Seokjin nods. He lets go of the omega’s hand, walking around the bed and stopping on the right side. He moves the blanket down with no hesitation and then he waits.
It's weird to see empty space where one of your limbs used to be. There's only a portion of Taehyung bicep left and then, nothing. The omega looks away. He counts to ten, ebbing the panic away.
“I'm so sorry,” Seokjin repeats.
Taehyung takes a deep breath. It's fine. He'll get used to it. He'll learn to live with this. Because he's alive and that's all that matters right now.
“Do you still love me?” Taehyung asks, tiredness settling in.
“Always,” says Seokjin. “Yes.”
The omega closes his eyes. “Then there's nothing to feel sorry about.”
Jimin comes to as if in slow motion.
His thoughts, his limbs, everything is lethargic. Painfully so. He groans as he rolls over, nausea pumping bile up into his throat. He’s going to be sick if he moves, he knows. It isn’t until the world stops spinning a bit that he realizes why he feels like shit. Imposition.
His body is reacting badly to a claim unfulfilled.
From point A to point B, his brain takes only seconds. He remembers now whose claim was thrown upon him. To which alpha his body was getting ready to submit. As if on cue, a voice wades through the sticky buzzing filling up his ears.
“It's about time...I was getting bored.”
The omega whimpers when recognition settles in. He tries to crawl away, so fucking scared he’d give anything to be unconscious again. The Commander laughs at his pitiful attempt, kicking him in the side so hard, Jimin collapses on the floor with a muted yelp. The alpha tsks as he wheezes through the pain, nudging him with his boot until the omega rolls onto his back. Then he squats, studying Jimin’s face.
“You look a lot like your mother,” he starts. “She was always my favorite. She had this...this fire in her, you know? You’re as pretty as she was,” he adds, his knuckles caressing Jimin’s cheek. The omega makes a noise, recoiling from the touch and the softness in The Commander’s eyes evaporates, features turning hard. He grabs the omega’s chin, forcing Jimin to stare back. “You’re more stupid though, at least she knew her place.”
The alpha slaps the omega across the face before standing up, moving to secure the door. He rubs under his nose, sniffing loudly and turning back around. Jimin’s heart speeds up when the alpha starts unbuttoning his jacket, discarding it on a nearby chair.
“I debated for a long time, what to do when I finally caught you,” The Commander comments, rolling up his sleeves. “At first I thought I’d just put you back in the CPOs and breed you until you were sucked dry but then that wouldn't teach a lesson to any other bitch out there.”
He moves over to a table then, setting down what seems to be a camera.
“I really had nothing against you. You were just an inconvenience much like these annoying rebels but then you had to go and try to screw me over,” the alpha continues. “You had to go and blow up a CPO making the stupid people of this country believe you could defeat me somehow. Making them doubt my power. My power.”
The Commander snorts, shaking his head in disbelief.
“As if a bitch like you could ever compare to me,” he says, mockingly. “Still, the damage was done...you really gave me no choice,” the alpha adds, pulling Jimin closer by a leg when the omega tries to move away. “I’m gonna show the world the real place omegas have in this society.” He points at the blinking red spot on the camera. “I’m gonna show them that you are nothing more than another bitch hungry for cock.”
The pheromones the alpha sprays directly on his face choke him. The mist coats his tongue, sticking to his skin and he gags on it, tears springing to his eyes. The Commander laughs, pocketing the tiny bottle and leaning back, enjoying as Jimin tries to breathe through the assault.
Jimin’s skin heats up in a familiar way. In a way he thought he’d never get to experience away from Jeongguk. He can’t help the whimper that leaves his lips when the heat tugs at his stomach, acidic as it burns around his core. The Commander’s eyes glow red as omega arousal fills the room. Jimin turns on his stomach, slowly inching away even though his body screams for the exact opposite - eager to get close to a potential mate. He’s unstable on his feet by the time he gets up.
“I’ll count ‘til three,” the alpha sing-songs.
The omega sprints away, no need to be told to. The Commander laughs when Jimin struggles to throw the door open, stumbling down the hallway and colliding with the walls as he escapes. A thousand thoughts fly through his head, flashes of light among the darkness with one becoming the prevailing one - Jeongguk. There’s a task that must be completed. There’s a sacrifice someone has to make. It’s almost impossible to fight against nature’s call but Jimin keeps chanting under his breath that it isn’t real.
That he doesn’t want it.
Praying his body would actually believe.
When he ends up back in the same room where he started, sweaty and aching in more ways than is possible to describe, Jimin understands. There’s only two possible ways in which the day will end. He hopes for one more than the other.
He doesn’t go down without a fight. The Commander arrives already delirious from the chase, teeth bared and drool wetting the corner of his lips. The first hit feels like agony on Jimin’s jaw. It sends a jolt of pain down his spine, throwing him off his axis. The alpha wastes no time, fists quick as they connect with the omega’s temple. Jimin loses his footing but recovers, blinking rapidly to try and clear the fog veiling his eyes. His movements are sluggish but still he manages to hit The Commander once or twice.
The hits don’t hurt the alpha but they buy him time. He needs to find the perfect moment...he only needs one chance.
Jimin swings again when The Commander closes in. The first blow connects but the seconds does not. The alpha uses the momentum to pull at the omega’s arm, twisting until Jimin is screaming in pain. He hits back with his head hard and the alpha lets him go with a curse. When he spins back to face him, The Commander’s nose is bleeding but the smile is still there. Unwavering.
The omega knows it will all end there. Inside that tiny room that reeks of scared omega and abuse. He knows it's a lost fight, but omegas are born on the losing end of all things. They’re creatures of resilience. They thrive in adversity, much like flowers in an endless desert.
So when The Commander attacks again, he isn’t surprised to end up on the floor, all energy spent. Tears flow freely, pain and fear bleeding together into the golden of his eyes. The alpha licks his lips, flipping the hair away from his face.
“There’s two ways in which this can go,” he says, loosening his belt. The smell of his arousal is pungent in the air. “I’d suggest you cooperate. Who knows, maybe you’ll grow to enjoy it as much as your mother did.”
Jimin closes his eyes when the alpha leans down to nose along his temple. His body trembles with disgust and he does his best to forget his mother and many others have had to go through this countless times before. He cannot fail them, not now. They endure before, it’s his duty to endure now. He clamps his teeth on his lower lip, swallowing all his whimpers and pleads, focusing on Jeongguk. Jeongguk smiling, Jeongguk fighting, Jeongguk sleeping. Breathing, loving...living.
He clamps a hand on the back of The Commander’s head, moaning softly as the alpha ravages his neck. His legs hook over the alphas hips, locking him in place. Slowly, his other hand creeps towards the secret pocket where Jeongguk always placed a knife. The one for emergencies. So he’s never left unarmed.
Just a small window of opportunity, it’s all he needs. A chance. Much like the one The Resistance gave him.
“Let’s show the world the only thing you bitches are good for,” The Commander says, rocking his hips down. His eyes are half lidded, completely red.
Jimin stares back with molten gold. He grits his teeth through the pain in his arm, ignoring it the best he can. His fingers close around the hilt of the blade.
“Yeah…” he swallows, “let’s do that.”
The alpha has no time to react. Jimin whips the knife out, burying it as deep as possible in the side of The Commander’s neck. The alpha makes a pained noise trying to roll away but Jimin tightens up his legs, staring him in the eye when he drags the knife out. Blood spills out of the wound like a river and the alpha chokes, hands flying to try and contain it. The omega finally lets go. The alpha slides to the side, hands still closed around his neck.
Jimin drags himself away, still clutching the blade. His heart is pounding so hard he feels he might faint. He sort of can’t believe it, when The Commander convulses on the floor right at his feet, his skin turning ashy. He doesn’t even react when the sound of pounding boots reaches him. There's nothing he can do if the soldiers attack now. He's spent.
It isn’t the enemy that finds him. It’s Jaebum.
The alpha bursts into the room with his gun pointed straight ahead. He does a double take when his gaze connects with the fallen alpha, eyebrows lifting in surprise. Jaebum takes only a minute to assess the situation before dropping his guard, crouching beside Jimin.
“Are you alright?”
Jimin nods and then shakes his head. His shoulder throbs and his chest hurts every time he breathes. There's also the ringing in his ears and the telltale signs of a panic attack coming his way. Jaebum moves towards the body of The Commander, pushing it with his foot. When there’s no reaction, he fishes for the alpha’s jacket, cutting out the badge that identifies him as the leader of The Republic. Then he goes back to Jimin, helping him up.
They are making their way towards the stairs when the bombing starts. Somehow, their allies have managed to break through and now they are attacking the government’s palace, just as they all agreed. The alpha speeds up, apologizing but pulling Jimin after him all the same. They have to make it out before the building collapses. The jets have been told not to leave a single wall intact.
Jimin is still reeling, not quite believing that he just killed the source of all his nightmares. He almost expects to round the corner and see The Commander there, pointing a gun at him. It isn't the alpha they find when they burst through some doors, it's Republican soldiers opening fire on sight.
The omega is too slow. Too late. White hot pain explodes in his stomach and he cries out, stars bursting in front of his eyes. Jaebum drags Jimin out of the way, both of them moving back into the room they just came from. He wastes no time yanking Jimin's vest open, discarding it to the side. He sucks in a breath at the sight of blood. The omega moans in pain when the alpha prods around, trying to locate the wound. It's right above his hip, in the place his vest was not able to protect.
The sound of the soldiers rushing towards them calls for Jaebum’s attention and he frowns, torn. They are a few doors away from the hidden path. If only they could make it into that room...
“Jackson!” he yells into his radio. “Jackson if you hear me, second floor left side, quadrant 12. We got a situation. I repeat, we got a situation.”
Jimin can do nothing but watch as the alpha empties his gun, trying to clear a path for them. The sound of shooting and bombs exploding is deafening and Jimin coughs when dust gets inside his mouth. He’s applying pressure to his wound, just as the alpha instructed, but his hand is still drenched in red.
“Listen Jimin,” Jaebum starts taking off his bulletproof vest, securing it around Jimin’s trembling body. The omega doesn’t know when the shakes started, he just knows he’s feeling very, very cold. “We can’t stay here. We gotta give it a go and run.”
The omega starts shaking his head but the alpha holds it steady, looking Jimin straight in the eye.
“I have a few bullets left and my knife. The room where we came in is two doors down the hall” he starts, pointing in the right direction. “I’ll go out first and you’ll follow. I want you to run. No matter what, you run, ok? Find the door and get into that path.”
“What about you?” Jimin asks.
“I’ll be right behind you.”
They go. Somehow, they are able to reach the room almost unscathed. Jaebum gets hit on his arm but he’s still behind him when Jimin checks. The building is shaking so hard, it's almost impossible to see through the debris floating in the air. The omega steps into the hidden doorway already drenched in sweat, only moving thanks to Jaebum’s encouraging words. They are going to make it and hope blooms inside the omega’s chest.
Perhaps too fast.
A soldier appears out of nowhere. The beta jumps on the omega with a cry, knife high in the air. Jimin has half a mind to duck the attack but he still topples over, falling hard. He can barely see but he doesn’t need to because Jaebum is already there, fighting the soldier with a snarl.
Everything happens like a series of snapshots.
One moment Jaebum is certainly winning. The alpha has his hands tight around the soldier’s throat, growling as he squeezes the life out of her. Her boots scrape against the floor as she fights for air, the wheezing of her lungs screeching against Jimin’s ears. In the blink of an eye, however, the crystal clear sound of a shot echoes in the passageway. Time stops. Jaebum makes a choked sound. He coughs. His hands go limp, his lips part. The soldier shoves him off, crawling away as she takes huge gulps of air.
When Jaebum crumbles to the side, Jimin starts screaming.
Before the soldier has time to fully recover, Jimin barrels into her. He punches her hard. One, two, three times. Her head whips around with the force of the hits and when her eyes are almost rolling into the back of her head, Jimin takes a hold of her. He wraps one arm around her neck and with the other, he pushes her face in the opposite direction. He twists and twists, closing his eyes when the body under him jerks, until her neck makes an awful sound. The soldier stills and Jimin releases her, recoiling.
Jaebum’s chest is heaving when Jimin gets to his side. His whole chest is red and Jimin goes quickly over the little he knows about first aid, moving layers aside until he’s pressing down on the wound on the alpha’s chest. If he stops the bleeding, Jaebum should be ok, right? Jimin only needs to keep him alive until someone comes to their aid. Blood pours freely in between the omega’s fingers.
It shines a bright ruby red, like alpha’s eyes.
The omega’s cheeks are wet with silent tears, he pats around frantically until he locates the radio on the alpha’s jacket.
“Hello! Hello I need help!,” he yells into it. “Please somebody help me! Jeongguk! Jaebum is injured, Jaebum—”
Jimin throws the device away when only static answers his call. He goes back to focus on the alpha, bunching up the jacket and using it to soak up the blood. He just has to stop the bleeding, just...
Jaebum has tears in his eyes when he reaches for the dog tags around his neck, closing a shaky hand around them. His breathing is labored. It whistles. Jimin doesn’t need to be a healer to know he’s not seeing the light of day again.
“Please don’t,” Jimin whispers when the alpha convulses. His tears land on the alpha’s cheek. “Please…”
“J-Jimin,” Jaebum struggles to say. There’s blood on his lips too. He holds out The Commander’s insignia.
The omega takes it, sobbing when the alpha squeezes his hand. Jimin is familiar with death but he cries brokenly as Jaebum coughs through his last couple of breaths. He cries with the abandon of those that know the grief is unavoidable. Unescapable. All consuming. It might be selfish but among the pain, the omega pleads to whoever is listening that Jeongguk is alive.
He prays that he’ll get to hug him again.
Jimin doesn’t know how long he stays there, holding onto the alpha’s body. He doesn’t know how long it takes him to drag Jaebum’s body out of the passageway and into the streets. He just knows that the world is burning when he collapses outside, bruised and battered. Lightheaded and with a broken heart. The rebels find him like that, breaths shallow and skin pale; covered in a light sheen of ashes and dust, conscious enough to hand them over the proof of his doings.
The Commander is dead.
They have won the war.
Coming back is difficult.
Jimin has moments in which he’s aware and others where everything feels detached. He isn’t quite sure where he is, all he sees is white surrounding everything. At times, he fears he’s back in the CPOs. He fears that it’s all a dream and he never actually made it out. Others he’s just floating in space, so far no emotions can touch him.
And he aches. He aches immensely. Beyond the physical pain, there’s a tear in his soul. A deep sense of loss.
When he opens his eyes fully for the first time, Seokjin is there. The alpha is taking note of the monitor readings, talking in whispers with a nurse that’s tinkering with the tubes connected to the omega’s arms. She's the first one to notice Jimin is awake. She smiles softly, calling for Seokjin’s attention in a hushed, tender voice. Her presence is so comforting it takes time for Jimin to recognize she’s an omega as well.
Her scent acts like a trigger.
Memories assault him from left and right and the machines start beeping crazily around him, tracking his heart rate and the lightning speed of his brain finally waking up. Seokjin is on it immediately, settling a warm palm on Jimin’s good shoulder.
“Easy there, breathe with me,” he says.
It takes some coaxing but finally Jimin is able to take a full gulp of air. He shivers, the slowly cooling sweat dampening his back chilling and Seokjin exchanges a look with the nurse, who hurries out of the room.
“Where is Jeongguk?” Jimin’s voice is gritty. “Is he ok? Seokjin?”
The alpha glares at the demanding tone but he finally settles in a chair after adjusting some things on the screen. There’s fluid dripping into Jimin’s veins and he wonders if that’s why he hasn’t freaked out yet. He wonders if that's why he feels so cold.
“Jeongguk is well. Very worried but well.”
Relief washes all over Jimin’s limbs. “I want to see him.”
“And you will,” assures Seokjin. “I sent the nurse to fetch him right now so you will be able see him any minute now. How do you feel?”
Jimin looks around. “Achy.”
Seokjin smiles. “You’re still healing. It will take some time but you'll be ok.”
“Is everyone else ok?” Jimin asks next. “Do they know about...about…”
Seokjin’s lips form a straight line. “They know about Jaebum, yeah...we all do.”
Jimin breathes in. Then out. “I tried…”
The alpha holds the omega’s hand. “We know.”
“How’s Taehyung? How—”
“Jimin. Calm down,” Seokjin says. “There will be time for everything, alright? You just have to concentrate on you. That’s the main goal.”
The omega nods and Seokjin smiles. It’s an empty gesture and Jimin is quick to notice how the alpha avoids his eyes. There’s something he’s hiding. As his body wakes up, the pain in his lower stomach becomes more present and he winces when it starts pulsing in time with his heartbeat.
Seokjin is quick to notice, moving the covers back and checking the dressings. Jimin’s eyes settle on the spot of blood at the center of it.
“It looks bad,” he comments, offhandedly. And there it is, the shift in the alpha’s gaze. Jimin’s whole body tingles.
“No, not anymore...you’ll be alright.”
“Is there something wrong...with me?” Jimin asks. “Am I dying?”
“No, god no,” Seokjin is quick to deny. He rests his hands on his hips, head hanging low. Jimin suddenly feels very uncomfortable. “There’s something we have to talk about,” the alpha’s voice turns serious. “But we can do it later on. After you see Jeongguk.”
“Tell me now.”
“I think you should rest first, it really isn’t—”
“I wanna know now.”
Seokjin sighs. “It’s about your condition.”
The feeling of losing something wraps around the omega’s heart vice-like. He kicks his legs lightly, afraid that they might not work anymore but they respond perfectly. Somehow, such a small thing eases the anxiety creeping up his spine. He nods when the alpha asks if he can continue. Whatever it is, he’ll have to face it sooner than later. Better to do it know.
Seokjin moves to a screen on the side, turning it on. A myriad of reports and x-rays pop up and the alpha shuffles through them pointing out things Jimin was already aware of, like the injury on his shoulder and the bullet wound on his hip. The alpha stays on that particular x-ray a bit longer. Jimin’s heart jumps painfully in his chest.
“Your injury is here,” the alpha explains. “We had to perform surgery on you shortly after we found you. This right here is where your internal reproductive system is located,” Seokjin continues, flipping to another image. “And this is where the bullet went in…”
Jimin stares at the images, already sort of knowing where Seokjin’s explanations are leading to. He’s assisted enough birthings to know. He swallows around the lump in his throat.
“What is it?” he asks. His hands curl into fists on the sheets, knuckles going white. “Just tell me what’s wrong.”
Seokjin heaves out a sigh. He looks exhausted, with dark bags under his eyes. Jimin wonders if Taehyung made it...he thinks the alpha wouldn’t be standing if that wasn't the case and the thought brings a little peace to his tormented heart. It was going to be ok. No matter what.
“We did our best but...the uterus is damaged,” the alpha starts. “The bullet—”
“I can’t have pups,” Jimin interrupts. He sounds so calm, so opposite to how he feels on the inside. “Is that it?”
“I cannot be sure, sometimes—”
“Just tell me. Don’t lie to me,” Jimin pleads.
“I don’t think so,” Seokjin murmurs with a shake of his head. “The possibility of you conceiving...it’s just very low.”
Jimin bites his lip, nodding in understanding. The void inside his chest expands in size. Empty...that’s how he’ll always be. Tears pool in Jimin’s eyes and he looks up to the ceiling, blinking rapidly. He’s alive, Jeongguk is alive and they won the war. This shouldn’t matter much...he shouldn’t care so much.
But he does.
Seokjin settles a sympathetic hand on Jimin’s knee, murmuring about treatments and giving time to his body to heal but the omega doesn’t hear it. He can't hear it. Hope would only crush him even more if nothing works. Just then, the door swings open and the nurse wheels Jeongguk in. The alpha has his whole leg in a cast, stretched awkwardly in front of him, and his left arm wrapped tightly against his body. There’s a wound on the side of his brow already scabbing over and yellowish bruises along his jaw. A nasty cut splits his upper lip.
He looks terrible and yet he’s the most beautiful man Jimin has ever seen. He forgets everything about pups and the future. His whole world narrows down to Jeongguk.
Jeongguk makes a noise at the back of his throat, almost lifting himself from the wheelchair but Seokjin stops him right on time. He lowers Jimin’s bed enough so Jeongguk can reach the omega’s hand and then they leaves them alone.
“You pushed me out a window,” Jeongguk says, half laughing. He studies the omega’s face. “You’re the bravest, most wonderful person I’ve ever met.”
Jimin can’t contain his heart anymore. “I’m so, so happy you’re alive. I’m so—”
It’s silent and weird since they can’t really hug each other but they are alive. They made it and that’s more than Jimin could have ever hoped for. Relief works painfully over their bodies, traveling from the tops of their heads, all the way to their toes. They don’t talk about the lives lost or the blood staining their hands. Jimin doesn’t mention his injuries and his fears. They just concentrate on this small moment where the world is silent and they’re together.
Everything else. It can wait.
They bury Jaebum in the woods where their old base used to be, right beside Jinyoung’s grave.
They had to take some time off and travel away from the capital, back to what was left of The Resistance’s headquarters. Away from meetings and trials. It’s just them surrounded by the trees. Namjoon holding a slowly recovering Hoseok. Taehyung’s still getting used to his prosthetic arm, his good hand wrapped around Seokjin’s tightly. And Jeongguk, balancing on his crutches, always next to Jimin. Jackson tries to read out loud the words he’s written the night before but gives up soon after, too overcome by grief. They’d done the same for Yoongi a few days back. The pain is just too fresh.
A week after, it’s Yugyeom’s time.
Seokjin cries openly over the grave, completely torn after fighting for so long to bring the omega back from death’s claws. Taehyung sits beside the alpha, letting him get it all out. It’s Namjoon who says some words this time, praising the omega’s braveness and bright spirit. Thanking him for giving it all for the cause.
It’s a weird day, after Yugyeom is gone. A few hours after they put him in the ground, a truck arrives from across the country, bringing baby Jinyoung to the base. Namjoon’s aunt steps out of the vehicle warily, her eyes darting every which way. The Resistance headquarters is in shambles so no one blames her when she bares her teeth at a rebel that dares to approach her. Her disposition changes only when Hoseok runs towards her, a cry of joy filtering past his lips.
For the first time in several weeks, Jimin is able to smile.
Jinyoung is all flushed cheeks and chubby arms, uncaring for the state of the world. He represents new beginnings much like his parents expected when he was nothing but a dream in Hoseok’s womb. It’s heartwarming to see the stress leave Namjoon’s shoulders as he embraces his family. It’s a respite from their suffering but at the same time, it breaks Jimin’s heart.
He retreats quietly while the others coo around Jinyoung, unaware of Jeongguk’s eyes tracking his every move. It feels like such a stupid thing to be upset over, but he can’t help it.
Time heals they say. Jimin wonders how long until he can get back on his feet.
“Do you need help?”
The omega looks up from where he’s changing the dressings of his wound. It’s almost completely healed already but Seokjin recommended to keep it nice and clean so Jimin takes time out of his day to do just that. He’s not really thinking when he covers the wound with his palm, eyes never leaving Jeongguk.
Jeongguk hums, moving further into the room. What was their home and the center of all their efforts for months is now in ruins, completely vandalized by the passing of the republicans. It’s brutal but also comforting to be back, to walk the aisles that served as witnesses of their growing love. Jimin turns away, reaching for some clean gauze and dabbing alcohol around the wound, moves mechanic. He can feel the alpha’s gaze sticking to his naked back, like a caress that burns like icy fire.
The omega shudders when Jeongguk’s fingers skim over his waist. They don’t linger much - merely a suggestion of what it could be. Instead, they dance over his skin until he’s being turned around, until he can’t hide anymore.
“How are you feeling?” Jeongguk asks.
It’s a loaded question. It goes without saying that they are all somewhat ruined by the aftermath of the war. There’s not really a need to explain or voice it when they can all hear each other scream at night. It will heal, that's what the specialists supplied by their allies say. Talking might help is what they suggest. Jimin had to look just once into their eyes to know they’ll never understand.
Talking is not what they do best anyway, they are creatures of soil and wonder after all.
Still the question makes Jimin swallow, thick and nervous. He’s slept beside the alpha ever since he opened his eyes but they have yet to touch. Jeongguk’s hands are resting by his side, curled into relaxed fists so he won’t reach out. Jimin knows the alpha wants to, he’s dying to do the same too.
Jimin’s reply brings a small smile to the alpha’s lips. It pulls at the scar now spoiling his cupid’s bow, one he got after plummeting out the window. The omega wants to smooth it out even though he knows he cannot.
“Funny for you to say that,” Jeongguk comments. “I saw you, when you left. I did...I always do.”
“What is it that you want then?” Jimin asks.
It takes them longer than before to reach the lake. Not because the road is now particularly difficult but because of Jeongguk’s limp.
The omega follows a step or two after the alpha, arms ready just in case. The alpha shakes his head, knowing the reason behind the omega’s decision to stay back as they walk but he doesn’t complain. He’s fallen a good couple of times already to know arrogance won’t take him anywhere. He’s still healing, just a few days ago Seokjin finally allowed him to move from the crutches to a cane.
When he stumbles over a rock, Jimin is quick to catch him by the armpits. Jeongguk laughs softly, shaking his head. The omega is frowning, laughter long forgotten.
“Maybe we should settle here,” Jeongguk suggests, sliding down until he’s settled over the soft ground.
Jimin follows suit, lips pursed. “Maybe you should’ve brought your cane.”
“Don’t frown,” Jeongguk murmurs, thumb smoothing out Jimin’s brow. “There…pretty.”
The omega slaps the hand away, blushing violently. “Don’t distract me.”
“I might have to use that cane for the rest of my life,” Jeongguk says around a sigh. He leans back on his palms and closes his eyes enjoying the sun. “I just wanted...just a moment…”
The lake is calm when Jimin rests his eyes on it. Silence weaves between them but it's not awkward, all the opposite. Jimin finds comfort in it. He also finds comfort in the way the alpha’s hand closes over his, fingers intertwined.
“I love you,” Jeongguk says, out of the blue.
Jimin smiles despite himself, bumping shoulders with the alpha who returns the smile.
“You know that, right?”
“I do,” Jimin replies. The apple of his cheeks are the most delicate shade of pink, lovely...untouched.
“What is it that you’re hiding from me, then?” Jeongguk asks. “If you know.”
The breeze is sweet like the promise of spring, scented of wild flowers and warmth. It tames the irrational fear gripping Jimin’s heart.
“What did Seokjin say?”
“Seokjin says many things,” Jeongguk replies. “Mostly, he talks about how much he loves my brother and disgusting stuff like that.”
“Did he say anything about me?” the omega clarifies.
“No,” Jeongguk says.
It’s short and sure. The truth. Jimin’s heart swells at the alpha respecting his privacy and his time. It swells and deflates, shrivelling into a tangle of doubts.
“You can tell me anything,” Jeongguk whispers. “It’ll be between you and I...no one else has to know.”
Jimin studies the alpha’s profile, finally settling his gaze down on the soft soil.
“The bullet...the wound on my hip?” he starts, his eyes dart up. “It...it hit my womb, on the way in.”
Jeongguk is staring straight ahead. He gives the most imperceptible nod and Jimin steels himself, fingers closing over the fabric of his pants.
“The surgery was rather invasive, Seokjin said they had limited time with the bleeding and all,” he continues, relaxing as he talks. It’s like the burden is slowly lifting off of his shoulders, allowing him to finally breathe. “They couldn’t really do much.”
The omega falls silent and Jeongguk shifts on his spot. He grimaces as the movement pulls at something he can’t really name, pumping pain into his nerve ends. He sort of knows the meaning behind it all and the most primitive side of his heart wails in pain, mourning what he can no longer have. Jimin’s eyes fill up with tears, glistening in the sun.
“So...what does it mean?” Jeongguk asks, all the same. It’s tender, open. Jimin gives him a sad smile. It hurts more than when Jeongguk broke his leg.
“I think you know.”
Jeongguk hums. He rubs his chin a couple times, working over the words. “So...no pups.”
Jimin shakes his head repeatedly, biting his lower lip.
“Never?” the alpha says because he needs to ask. It sounds a little broken. His own eyes get wet. His throat closes up.
The omega shakes his head again. Some tears fly away from his eyes. “Nev—”
Jimin doesn’t get to finish the word. A sob bursts out of the his chest and from there he can’t contain the ones that follow up. He lets himself cry all the tears he’s been holding and all of those that might come way in the future, hands pressing down on a flat stomach. Jeongguk lets him cry for a good minute before wrapping his strong arms around him, holding him tight and steady. He joins Jimin in the mourning of the pups they’ll never have, ignoring the voices telling him Jimin is no longer a good mate. He’s not an animal, despite his heritage.
Nature has nothing to do with love.
They cry until they are exhausted and there are no more tears. Jimin is half lying on top of Jeongguk, at home in his arms and surrounded by the alpha’s musk. The sun has gone down and the trees are already casting shadows all around them. Jeongguk brushes Jimin’s hair to the side, pressing his nose against the omega’s temple and inhaling deeply. It smells like all the things he loves: the tenderness of the first snowfall, the crispness of wintery woods, the sweetness of ice on heated skin and Jimin.
Just Jimin...only Jimin.
It's not an offering or a demand. It’s more of a question and a lot like a promise.
“We can never have a family together,” Jimin says, “you deserve more than that.”
“I deserve to be happy and so do you,” Jeongguk says. “I’ve only felt complete since you came into my life. You are family. You are home...and I wanna be that for you...if you want. We don’t need anything else.”
The omega lets out a shuddering breath. Jeongguk looks up at him through his eyelashes, cheeks coloured and eyes shy. He looks like a dream Jimin had long ago, when he knew nothing but white walls and silence.
“We don’t need anything else but this...do you want it?”
Jimin reaches to wrap his arms around Jeongguk’s neck, careful of not leaning too much on the alpha’s bad leg. He drops a kiss on the scar now decorating the alpha’s lips.
The lake is calm. The breeze is sweet. It’s time to heal.
They choose Hyunwoo as temporary leader of the country’s post-war council.
The omega is beaming when he steps onto the stage, chest puffed out in pride. Minhyuk and the other members of his team cheer for him, chanting his name. One by one, the members of the entity in charge of developing a new order for the country join the omega at the front, all of them swearing to work for building a nation where everyone is equal and only peace will reign. Namjoon is less enthusiastic when he settles his palm over their original constitution - the one obliterated by The General back in the day - but he smiles when Hoseok claps louder than the rest. They all know the alpha would much rather spend the rest of his recovery time with his family, but his duty and the weight of his role orchestrating the revolution require otherwise.
Once the last member is settled at the podium and the council opens session, Jimin slips quietly out of the room. A few days back, they had offered him a spot at the front, right among the leaders of the rebel groups. The people, in particular his own kin, cried for him. They wanted him there, ruling the country, making sure omegas would never be abused again.
Jimin politely declined, not before suggesting Hyunwoo to replace him instead.
He smiles at everyone that calls out his name, patting children on the head when they come to hold his hand. It’s hard to get used to being so known. It’s even harder to deal with the devotion in the omegas’ eyes when they look at him. He isn’t cut out for so much attention. His place is definitely somewhere else.
It’s still bearable, mainly because there isn’t really many omegas around. Right after his video message ended, a few omegas in the CPO did fight. In those, the outcome was bittersweet. Though most omegas survived, many lost their lives in the hands of the guards. The rest of the omegas in the other CPOs just waited with bated breath until the rebels were able to break in and even then, they were terrified. Many refused to leave the CPO, terrified after the rebels got rid of every single republican.
They were given time.
Some omegas still remain inside the CPOs, slowly working in understanding that life now belongs to them. Jimin doesn’t blame them for not believing in the rebels straight away. He has done everything he can to show his fearful brothers and sisters that it’s ok now. That no one could or would force them if they said no.
The omegas that did want to step completely away from the only life they’ve know were relocated to an omega-only city. It was Jeongguk’s idea, in fact. Jimin has worked there even more, along with the few omega rebels that were not terribly injured during the war. Taehyung was doing his part as well. The effort of reconstructing one of the abandoned dwellings at the edge of The Metropolis is huge and at many times, without the help of alphas or betas, exhausting.
Jimin can see however how with every brick they lift - with every door they put back on its hinges - the omegas dare to smile. It will take time, no one knows how long, but Jimin is sure they will heal. Maybe one day they will also be able to face betas and alphas again.
The sun is high in the sky by the time Jimin reaches the hospital. He greets the nurse at the door, walking the familiar aisles, following his nose as he tracks Jeongguk. The alpha is stepping out of the doctor’s office by the time Jimin gets there, no cane in sight.
“Is it done already?”
Jimin nods, hand reaching for Jeongguk’s on its own. “It’s settled, yeah.”
Jeongguk hums, making for the exit straight away. It takes Jimin just a few steps to match his stride with the alpha’s limp. He’s becoming familiar with it, especially now that they know it won’t go away.
“So, no more cane?” the omega asks, squinting when they are back outside. The sun is shining in between the clouds. Bright, like the future.
“No. Unless I need it and we both know I don’t,” the alpha replies. “It won’t really change a thing, my leg is fucked up for life anyway.”
“I’m sorry,” Jimin says for the umpteenth time.
Jeongguk stops long enough to kiss him, warmer than a summer day. “Do I really have to go and explain to you how what you did saved my life and that I can still kick ass, limp or not? ‘Cause I will but we better sit down ‘coz my legs are uneven and this shit is tiring.”
Jimin laughs and it rings loud and pretty in between the rubble of a ruined city. Jeongguk’s heart beats in time with the omega’s breathing, in tune with his happiness and pain.
“Let’s get out of here,” the alpha says, tugging on the omega’s hand.
Jimin follows with a smile.
When Jeongguk suggests for them to move to the mountains, Jimin smiles.
The alpha brings out a map, pointing to the lonely city. He says something about woods and a river but Jimin is lost looking at him, endeared by the alpha’s excitement. Perhaps a little flattered as well.
Taehyung doesn’t takes the news well. He pouts and ignores Jeongguk when the alpha tries to explain, hiding against Seokjin’s chest.
“Just say you wanna be free to fuck Jimin all you want and go!”
Jimin goes red in the cheeks and Seokjin laughs out loud. Jeongguk laughs as well, tapping Taehyung on the shoulder until he agrees to face him again. The omega struggles but manages to cross his arms over his chest, pout still in place.
“I’ve never lived away from you, it’s too much.”
“It’s only six hours away,” Seokjin supplies, but he promptly shuts up when the omega glares at him.
“I don’t care how many hours it takes, he’s still moving out!” he says. “He’s finally an adult.”
“I’ve been an adult for a while,” comments Jeongguk but Taehyung ignores him.
“This is giving me separation anxiety.”
Jimin moves towards Taehyung’s side, taking a hold of the omega’s hand. Taehyung ignores him at first, stubborn, but slowly gives in when Jimin pulls him into an embrace.
“I’ll take care of him,” Jimin says.
“Ugh, shut up,” Taehyung replies, hugging the omega tighter.
At first all they have is a tent and Jeongguk’s wilderness skills to survive.
The place is certainly beautiful. About half an hour away from the closest city. Jimin is standing in the middle of the trees and from here, he can clearly hear the river rushing down from the mountains and feel the coolness of the melting snow. Jeongguk is like a little pup again, walking around and tripping over raised roots, mouth a mile a minute as he coerces Jimin to imagine how it would be when their house is done.
How beautiful it will be when the first snow comes around.
Sharing the tent at first is not easy. Jimin has to fight down his resurfacing insecurities, shy of baring his body in front of the alpha now that so much has changed. He considers his body undesirable now that it’s barren, even though the spiciness of the alpha’s arousal can often be distinguished in between the scents of the woods.
Jeongguk is sweet about it, giving Jimin space. He makes up meaningless tasks to busy himself with right about the time they are supposed to head to bed, only coming to the tent when the omega is already snuggled under the covers. He still kisses Jimin good night, murmuring how much he loves him.
Making sure the omega never forgets.
They work from sunrise to dusk, leveling the ground and cutting down trees. Dreaming about their future home. From the city they come to drill the well and Jeongguk yells excitedly when water bubbles up. His happiness is contagious and soon Jimin finds himself smiling often, forgetting the shadows that fight to obscure his days.
Jackson, Seokjin and Taehyung soon join them to help. They come in with their laughter that doesn’t ring as pure as before but is equally comforting. They agonize over Taehyung’s terrible cooking and Jackson’s bad jokes. They reminisce about the past and embrace the future.
They teach Jimin to be whole again.
It is silent when they leave, after the rough outline of the house is done. Jimin steps in, twirling around the space and ending in Jeongguk’s arms.
“Isn’t it perfect?” Jeongguk asks.
The moon is out, bathing everything in sheets of silver. It highlights the best features of the alpha’s face: his prominent nose, his big eyes and his lovely, lovely lips. Jimin's heart feels so full right at that moment, grateful that he was granted a second chance to love Jeongguk.
“It is,” he confirms.
The omega doesn’t elaborate to what he’s referring to, the house or that first moment in their new house. The alpha doesn’t need him to, though. Everything is crystal clear in the way Jimin holds him tight.
Jimin’s confidence and desire grow steadily with each rise of the sun. As routine settles in and he notices that happiness is a very real feeling once again.
Nightmares still haunt their nights. Sometimes it’s Jimin, others it’s Jeongguk. They talk about them, they rationalize them and learn to embrace them as part of their life. It gets better. The months pass and their bodies heal, the phantoms of the war get slowly buried under the sweet dust of the summer heat.
Heat that makes sweat run in rivulets down the alpha’s back as he chops some wood. The days may be hotter now that the season has changed but the nights are always cold under the mountain’s vigil. Jimin has a hard time ignoring that fact as he gathers the logs to place them inside.
He knows the alpha can smell the hints of his arousal. Jeongguk is biting the inside of his cheeks. His ears are red. When Jimin bends to retrieve more wood, their hands touch. It’s a simple gesture but a soft growl rumbles in the alpha’s chest. Jimin has to swallow down a whine.
“I...I’ll go to the river,” he hurries to say, standing up.
The red slowly fades out of the alpha’s eyes. “Yeah, ok.”
The water is cold when Jimin wades into it. Their washroom is still not fully running so they have taken it to clean themselves in the river. The omega’s clothes are forgotten by the bank and he dunks his head under, blowing all air out. When he’s all clean and his body is freezing, he steps out. Instead of drying quickly, Jimin takes time to study his body.
He starts slow, first around his shoulders and then down his chest. His body is stronger now after so much physical work. He drags a finger down his stomach, following the outline of his abs. His legs also show some work, muscles bulging when Jimin tightens them up. At last, he rests a hand over his scar. Right on top of his hip.
Unlike the months right after his injury, this time, he does not feel the need to cry.
He feels a dull pain instead, some old thing settling comfortably in a corner of his heart. The omega is aware the sorrow might never go away but it’s more muted now. It isn't all encompassing as it was before. He remembers when Seokjin told him for the first time he could never conceive. He remembers when he told Jeongguk he could never give him pups.
“I can never have pups,” Jimin says.
It’s nothing but a whisper. He looks around. The birds are still chirping. The river is still flowing. The world hasn’t stopped.
“I can never have pups,” he repeats, louder this time. Again and again until he’s yelling it straight out of his lungs.
Nothing has changed. He’s still breathing. Jeongguk still loves him, because he loved him for who he was from the start. Not for what Jimin could potentially give him. Not only for his body, but for his soul. They are a family, the two of them along with their dreams.
Jimin thinks he finally understands.
That night after lighting up the chimney, Jimin finally allows the alpha to see him naked again. It’s even more nerve wracking than the first time around. The scar on his hip is jagged and weird looking, it leaves a dent in what was smooth once. His skin is dry and his hands have little cuts all over them after weeks of hard work. The omega doesn’t really feel desirable at all, but the fire in the alpha’s eyes is enough to convince him that he’s the most beautiful person alive.
“Can I?” Jeongguk asks, hands settling delicately on Jimin’s face.
Jeongguk touches him reverently, maneuvering around with difficulty, getting used to his own limitations but not allowing them to interfere with this moment. He kisses all over Jimin’s body, old and new scars, whispering love into all of them. They make love slowly, careful as if they might be interrupted. Passionate when they realize they finally have all the time in the world.
Jimin flourishes under the alpha’s touch. He heals and moves on, learning to love his imperfections as what they are. A testimony of his life. He rides Jeongguk when the alpha cannot support his body anymore. He milks him dry calling out his name when the alpha pumps yet another orgasm out of him.
It’s beautiful and liberating. Jimin feels new.
When they are done and Jeongguk is drenched once again in sweat, Jimin settles in his side, resting his head on the alpha’s chest.
“Wild,” Jeongguk says, kissing Jimin’s temple. “You’re the fucking best.”
Jimin giggles, kissing him back. They stay for awhile, bodies intertwined. Jimin gets lost in the up and down of the flames. The night is calm. The world is at peace.
“What changed?” Jeongguk finally asks.
The omega rises on his elbows so he can look at the alpha’s face. “Remember what you said, about the meaning of family?”
“I understand now.”
Jeongguk’s heart swells with love. Jimin smiles at him, suddenly shy. He starts tracing patterns on Jeongguk’s chest, cheeks dusting pink. The alpha waits until curiosity wins. He nudges the omega, trying to catch his gaze.
“What is it?” he asks. “You can tell me anything, you know.”
Jimin hums. He lets his heartbeat go back to normal before saying the following words. He wants the alpha to know he actually means them. That he’s ready now.
“Seokjin said it would take time,” he starts. “Not sure how long but—”
“I’ll wait,” Jeongguk interrupts eagerly, already knowing where the words are going, “months, years, forever if necessary. I’ll wait centuries. I’ll come back from the dead—”
Jimin laughs, covering the alpha’s mouth with his hand. “You silly...let me finish, ok?”
“Ok,” the alpha agrees. His eyes shine.
“I don’t know how long it would take but, when my heat finally hits then—”
Jeongguk hugs him. He hugs him tight and hides his face in Jimin’s neck.
“Will you mate me, Jeongguk?” Jimin whispers and the alpha releases a watery laugh.
So far, it has always been him saying the words. Sometimes he felt guilty, thinking that maybe he was pushing the omega towards something he wasn’t ready to do. Hearing Jimin asking the question now is a testament of growth. It’s a spark of hope. It’s closing a circle to start a new life.
“I’ll mate you now and in the next life,” Jeongguk says. Heartfelt.
Jimin smiles bright and big, stealing the alpha’s breath away. Like the first time, all those months back at the CPO. Like during Jimin’s training period, when the omega managed to shift his world around, forcing the alpha to relearn himself. Like during the war, when Jeongguk finally understood what bravery was all about. A learning process, this love has been. One that has shaped him into a better version of himself. Someone new. The alpha wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Good,” Jimin says, “because I want no one else. Just you. Only you.”
Jeongguk’s heart explodes in a thousand shades of joy. He brings the omega close to steal a kiss. It tastes like the mountains and fresh rain, the most perfect companion to Jeongguk’s sun. They mingle to create something beautiful, they intertwine in the most perfect petrichor.
They come together, spelling out home.
Life starts now.