Jimin has had better days.
There's blood running down his shoulder from a wound on his neck. His palm is pressed into the injury — a bite mark — but it's not staunching the flow very well. His back is pressed against the brick wall of the alley, and the hand not putting pressure on the wound is covering his mouth, trying to keep himself from breathing too loudly.
Vampires hear too well.
Jimin has met vampires before. They're chill. Nothing to be afraid of. Some people self-impose curfews to keep out of the streets at night in order to avoid some of the seedier ones, but Jimin is a city boy and knows what's safe and what isn't. These streets have always been fine. Vampires don't come out at night, anyway. That's a stereotype.
Now, Jimin is going to be one of those horror stories on the news in the morning when they find his body. All he has for company is this fucking dumpster and a cat that's missing a tail.
He's actually, legitimately going to die.
Already, he's luckier than most people. He's heard of vamps going rogue before, and fewer than 10% of their victims survive. Rogue vampires are so rare they're almost a myth, so what does that make Jimin?
A statistical anomaly, if he survives.
A dead son of a bitch, more likely.
He's not sure how he managed to get away in the first place. He'd been ambushed by the rogue just after dusk — it's not even that late and Jimin is going to die — felt the hand around his throat milliseconds before his brain even processed what was happening. He shouted, he thinks, probably, but everything is hazy until the vampire sank her fangs into Jimin shoulder.
That, more than anything, woke Jimin from his stupor.
He's strong for his size, but he's nowhere near as strong as a vampire should be. He has no idea how he got out from her hold. He remembers grabbing at her fingers, he remembers a snap, maybe her wrist...everything is so fuzzy.
Jimin is now hiding in an alley because he's miles away from help and his phone is fucking dead and he is also probably fucking dead. His hair sticks to his forehead and he is breathing too hard. She's going to hear him. He can't outrun her. He can still feel the adrenaline but soon his legs are going to be Jell-O and she fucking drank out of his neck. He's feeling the blood loss. He'll be dizzy if he sits for too long.
He can't stay here.
He holds his breath and listens.
The good thing about rogues is that they aren't subtle at all. Jimin can hear her stalking around out on the street. A part of him kind of hopes she gets distracted with some other sad soul so that he can make a break for it, but that sounds so cruel in his head.
There's a gas station nearby, open 24/7, and Jimin might be able to make it there if he runs, but there will most likely be other people there. He might want to live, but leading her to others is too low. He can't outrun her. He can't go get help.
He's really going to die.
If he's dying it will not be sitting beside a dumpster waiting for it to happen.
Slowly, Jimin pushes himself up to stand, grabs the rusted metal pipe that's sticking half out of the dumpster as quietly as he can, and makes a run for it.
He's fast. Not as fast a vampire, but fast enough that with the adrenaline he can outrun her for a short time. It's not going to be enough. He hears her snarling behind him like an animal and tries not to shoot curses to whoever is watching from above for putting him in this situation.
Jimin does, however, shout a very aggressive "Fuck you!" over his shoulder at the rogue and it makes him feel a little better.
He hears her before he feels her this time, hears the weird clicking of her tongue before he feels her hand on his shoulder. Jimin turns to face her and slams his pipe as hard as he can against her head. Her grip doesn't even relax but at least it's satisfying.
She snarls in his face and Jimin closes his eyes.
There's no pain — no more pain — just the sudden dead weight against his chest that topples him to the ground, ass on asphalt. His head almost hits the pavement.
It takes him a couple of seconds to realize he's alive.
When he opens his eyes, all he can see is the vampire's hair, and it's only then that he realizes the weight pressing down on his chest isn't the cruel hand of death but the weight of her body. With a grunt, he rolls her over onto the street. His shirt is sticky-wet with blood, and not even all of it is his own. His shoulder bleeds sluggishly, he's almost dizzy with blood loss if he thinks about it too much so he doesn't think about it, he just tries to catch his breath. The front of his shirt is covered in blood that isn't his, and when Jimin squints through the dark at the vampire's body he sees the blood pooling underneath her. She's dead.
"Are you alright?" someone asks.
Jimin leans over and throws up on the sidewalk.
"Oh," the stranger says.
Jimin sees a pair of nice dress shoes walk over, and when he looks up there is a beautiful man crouching down beside him, inches away from a pile of vomit, and brushing Jimin's hair off of his forehead. "Do you feel better?" There's a gun in his other hand but Jimin barely notices.
"No," Jimin almost sobs. He feels worse and now his mouth tastes like acid.
The man purses his lips. "Can you walk?"
"I..." Jimin tries. "I don't think so." He's too shaky.
"That's okay, take your time." The man runs soothing fingers through his hair and Jimin closes his eyes. "I'm going to leave you just for a second and go get you some water from my car. Is that okay?"
Jimin grabs the man's wrist and digs his nails into skin.
"I'll be right back, okay?" the man says. "My name is Taehyung. I'm going to walk to my car and drive over here. You're going to be fine."
Slowly, Jimin forces his grip to relax. Finger by finger. Taehyung waits patiently for him to let go.
"I'll be right back," he promises, and then Jimin is alone.
It takes him almost until Taehyung returns to push himself up to sitting. The arm on the side that the bite is on protests every time he tries to move it, so he rests heavily on his left arm. His breathing is still shaky, and he feels weird, but the nausea is going down.
Taehyung pulls up in red minivan and Jimin wants to laugh. That's probably a good sign. Taehyung parks illegally on the side of the road and hops out with a water bottle in his hand. He's on the phone. Jimin hears the words clean up and vamp and rogue and victim and then he tries to stop listening.
It doesn't work very well.
"I'm taking care of him," Taehyung says into the receiver, crouching down at Jimin's side and handing him the water bottle. Jimin takes it and rinses out his mouth while Taehyung turns to the body, digging in her pockets. "She's got a phone on her person but no wallet or identification. I'd bet when she turned rogue she couldn't be bothered to keep hold of her purse." Taehyung listens to the person on the other end.
Jimin tries not to let his heartbeat spike too much when Taehyung says, "I didn't see any other victims, but it might be best to send someone out to check."
His shoulder aches.
He drinks his water.
"Okay, thanks. I have to go." Taehyung smiles slightly at Jimin even as he's moving to hang up the phone. "Keep me posted." He tucks his phone in his back pocket and looks Jimin over. "What's your name?"
"Jimin," Jimin answers. "Um, Park. Park Jimin."
"Nice to meet you." The smile is way too cheerful, but Jimin guesses he should probably be celebrating the fact that he isn't dead. "I'm going to help you stand and get you over to the van, okay? Are you feeling well enough for that?"
"Yeah." Jimin's not actually sure if he feels well enough for that, but he'll be damned if he's going to lay here on the street next to a dead body and his own vomit for another minute while he finds his legs again.
Taehyung helps him up and doesn't even call Jimin out for leaning pretty much all of his weight against him. There's a little bit of a hitch when Taehyung has to arrange Jimin on his side for a moment in order to open the car door and help him inside.
"I'm getting blood on your seat," Jimin protests, even as he collapses into the passenger's seat.
"It's fine" Taehyung says, closing the door, and Jimin sees that Taehyung's shirt also has some blood on it as he walks around the front to the other side of the car.
Jimin holds his knees and takes a deep breath.
"If you tell me where you live, I'll drive you home," Taehyung tells him, putting on his seatbelt.
The idea of going home like this is appalling. "Is there anywhere I can..." He can't really think. He gestures to himself vaguely.
Taehyung grunts, hopefully in understanding. "There are people who can help you. We'll probably need to take down your information too, to get you into the system."
Jimin looks at him, fists tightening in the material of his jeans. "System?"
Taehyung's mouth falls open slightly, a little o, before he clears his throat and looks at Jimin out of the corner of his eye. "Sorry. That's a bite mark on your shoulder, right?"
Cautiously, Jimin lifts his hand and presses his fingers along the torn line of his collar. "Yeah." He knows what's coming.
"Vampires are required to be registered before they're allowed access to government resources," Taehyung tells him.
"Vampires." Jimin holds his hands out in front of him and flexes his fingers. "I don't feel dead."
"Common misconception." Taehyung smiles. "Vampirism is a condition, not a state. It's the human body's reaction to the venom produced in some vampire bites. It weakens the blood and strengthens the body. I'm not..." He laughs awkwardly. "I'm not super sure about the chemistry of it," he admits. "But most vampires are able to live perfectly normal lives. Long ones. About 100 years. So that's exciting."
"Oh god." Jimin holds his head in his hands.
"I promise it's not the end of the world." Taehyung puts a comforting hand on Jimin's back. "Vampires are still human, you're not even in the humanoid class. That's good!" He pauses. "Not that there's anything wrong with being humanoid but like, that's a lot more paperwork."
Fae, mermaids, nymphs, dwarfs, giants, elves, magical beings who look human but aren't. Humanoids. Jimin has never had an issues with humanoids, never really blinks an eye when he realizes someone he thought was human is not. Nor has he ever had any issues with vamps, except now he is one and things are different.
"It's an adjustment," Taehyung tells him, like he can hear his thoughts. "But one you're capable of making. You didn't fight so hard for your life on a whim."
Jimin sighs and says nothing.
"I'll take you to some people who can help," Taehyung says. "How do you feel about going to a wedding?"
Jimin stares at him incredulously. "I am covered in blood."
Taehyung frowns, confused. "I know? That's not what I asked." But Taehyung reaches over into the glove compartment and pulls out some wet wipes.
"I can't go to a wedding like this," Jimin insists, even as he takes a few to clean off his hands. His shirt is done for and he doesn't even want to look at the mess on his neck.
"Oh, they've seen worse. It's chill." Taehyung flaps a hand at him. "We can get you cleaned up while we're there."
"I'm not invited!" Jimin is appalled. You can't just invite yourself to someone's wedding.
"Be my plus one." Taehyung grins. "It can be a date."
Jimin gapes at him like a fish.
"We won't stay the whole time. The ceremony is probably over anyway," Taehyung says, checking the time. "I was already running late before and Yoongi gets hungry around now so they probably rushed to finish so they could eat."
"What kind of a wedding is this?"
"I told you, a chill one." Taehyung squints at the street sign. "Does that say 36th or 38th?"
"36th," Jimin says without looking. He lives not very far from here. He recognizes the graffitied fire hydrant on the corner.
"Thanks," Taehyung says pleasantly, going straight through the light. "Seokjin can take care of your bite and we can get all your info and clean you up and take you home. In and out. Maybe we'll steal some cake."
"I can't ruin their wedding." The very idea makes Jimin want to squirm. "That's like...the happiest day of their life."
"Maybe," Taehyung agrees. "But it's also their job, so. And also I'm late and if they want my tastefully chosen kitchenware wedding present, they have to accept you. So they will accept you."
"I look like a horror movie."
"It's a really good kitchen set," Taehyung assures him. "We're almost there, anyway."
In a matter of minutes, Taehyung pulls his red minivan up to one of the massive houses on Magnolia and Jimin feels very out of place. Taehyung parks next to an expensive looking sports car and isn't even embarrassed. "Come on," Taehyung says, coming around and opening the door for him.
"Do we need to get your present?" Jimin asks, allowing Taehyung to help him down. His knees aren't quite sure when his feet hit the pavement but he manages to stay upright. He's calmed down a little. He just can't look at the blood under his nails. Or on shirt. Or on his jeans. He'll be fine.
"I'll get it later," he says. "Before we leave I'll make sure to come out and grab it. We won't stay too long." He offers Jimin his elbow and together they make their way up to the front door.
Jimin certainly has his reservations, but when the cute girl with the orange hair opens the door to let them in, she only looks vaguely surprised to see Jimin before she steps aside and ushers them in. "You're late," she scolds.
"I had business," Taehyung whines. "I saved a boy." He does jazz hands in Jimin's direction.
Jimin stares at him.
The girl just rolls her eyes. "A text would have been nice. You missed the ceremony! You're the only one who got your minister's certificate so Kyungsoo had to do it himself."
"It only takes like 20 minutes online. Kyungsoo will be a great minister." Taehyung laughs. "Oh, by the way. Seulgi, this is Jimin."
"Nice to meet you," Jimin says politely, mildly surprised when Seulgi goes to take his hand despite the fact that it looks very pink and dirty in the light of the hallway.
"It's nice to meet you, too," she says with a smile. "Let's introduce you to the others and let them know Taehyung is here, and then we can take care of you."
She leads them both into the main room, and Jimin can hear a group of cheerful voices even from the foyer.
It doesn't really feel like a wedding, or the reception of one. A small number of people are gathered around in the well-decorated living room sitting on the floor and draped over each other while a few people cook in the kitchen. There's a boy there with textbooks open on his lap, studying while wearing his dress clothes, and when he looks up Jimin thinks he looks vaguely familiar. There's a girl behind him putting short braids in his hair, lost in focus.
Two men sit with a woman on the couch holding various alcoholic beverages, slightly rosy cheeked, and there are two more men in the kitchen, cooking and teasing each other good-naturedly. A very fat tabby cat is asleep on the kitchen counter, but neither of the men seem to mind. The shorter man picks up the cat's tail to wipe the surface underneath, pats it's stomach, and otherwise ignores it.
"Taehyung is here," Seulgi says in way of introduction. "And he brought a date."
Jimin would not really call himself a date, but the word certainly gets everyone's attention.
"Taehyung, you are late!" one of the men in the kitchen shouts.
One of the men on the couch stands up, setting his glass on the table beside him. "What happened?" he asks, walking forward.
"Yoongi! You look so nice!" Taehyung says. "I have your present in the car."
"Our present!" the man from the kitchen calls again, even as the other cook rolls his eyes. "It had better be that pot I showed you!"
"A single pot." Taehyung scoffs. "Please. Don't worry, you'll love it."
Jimin stands awkwardly by Taehyung's side and tries not to be too obviously uncomfortable. "Congratulations on your marriage," he says to the man Taehyung called Yoongi, bowing his head slightly.
"Thank you," Yoongi answers. "I'm Yoongi."
"Jimin," Jimin answers, loudly enough to be heard over the low din of the room. He doesn't want to introduce himself more than once.
Yoongi gestures to the kitchen. "My husband's name is Seokjin, and the other one in there is Kyungsoo." Kyungsoo waves at him using a frying pan. He's holding the cat like a baby now, but his face is oddly stoic. "Over there is Sunyoung, she's a siren, and Minseok. This is Minseok's house." They both smile. "Those two are Seungcheol and Jisoo. Jisoo is Seokjin's sister."
"I think we might go to school together," Seungcheol says evenly. "I think I've seen you around."
It's possible. Jimin gets around at school but he's usually too busy to remember all the faces. "It's nice to officially meet you," he tells him.
"And you met Seulgi."
Seulgi flops down in Yoongi's seat and grins at them.
"Taehyung," Yoongi says, and Taehyung nearly stands at attention. "Go get the present from the car and Seokjin will feed you something small. I'll take Jimin to get cleaned up."
Jimin's stomach revolts. "Um." He doesn't know Yoongi. He barely knows Taehyung, for that matter. There are way too many people here that Jimin doesn't know and he would rather not be one-on-one with any of them more than is strictly necessary.
But Yoongi is already steering Jimin by the shoulders out of the room at the up the stairs.
"Use the bathroom in my room!" Minseok calls from behind. "It's got all of the supplies in there."
"Thanks," Yoongi says, waving a hand over his shoulder.
"You all are taking the blood very well," Jimin notes casually, once he feels like he's been quiet for too long."
"It's not yours, is it?" Yoongi asks, like that makes it better.
"Um." Jimin looks down at his shirt. "Most of it's not."
Yoongi leads him to what Jimin assumes is Minseok's bedroom, and he barely has enough time to appreciate the decor before he's pulled into the bathroom. "What happened?"
"I was walking home and there was a, uh." Jimin clears his throat. "I got attacked by a rogue vampire."
In the harsh light of the bathroom, Jimin can make out Yoongi's features much better, and he just looks kind of delicate and kind of sharp at the same time. "And you're alive?" He sounds surprised.
Yoongi's eyes narrow in on Jimin's shoulder. "Ah. You're turning."
Jimin resists the urge to do some heavily passive aggressive jazz hands and delicately takes a seat on the closed toilet. "I guess."
Yoongi rifles through the closet in the corner of the bathroom and pulls out a ratty old towel that smells like lavender and laundry. Jimin is kind of sad he's about to ruin it, watching as Yoongi gets it wet in the sink.
"You are well prepared for this," he notes. "Even on your wedding night."
"Didn't Taehyung tell you?"
Jimin shakes his head.
Yoongi snorts. "We're hunters."
Hunters are about as close as it gets to a government-funded magical police force. It's an official job, and often a dangerous one, despite most magical beings being fairly well-mannered. Hunters are usually allowed to operate within their own discretion, or the discretion of their HQ, but the whole process is pretty hazy to Jimin. He's never taken the time to figure it out.
"All of you?" he asks instead.
"Seokjin isn't," Yoongi says. "Although he's a doctor that's affiliated with a few different teams, including mine." He hands Jimin the wet towel before realizing that Jimin can't really raise his arm to get the shirt off and moves to help him. "Jisoo also isn't. She's here because it's her brother's wedding. And then Seungcheol is in training right now, but he will be within the next few months."
Jimin winces as they pull the shirt off. Yoongi throws it in the trashcan and Jimin has no complaints. "Taehyung doesn't seem like the hunter type."
"Taehyung probably saved your ass," Yoongi counters, which is fair.
Without a word, Jimin starts washing the dried blood off of his stomach and chest.
"Seokjin can help you with the bite," Yoongi says after a moment. Once Jimin is done with the front Yoongi gently takes the towel, rinses it out, and starts on Jimin's back. "You're resistant to things like infection now, but if he treats it it won't hurt for as long."
"Thank you," Jimin says softly.
With a sigh, Yoongi ruffles a hand through Jimin's hair. "Sorry this happened to you. I'm sure it was awful."
"I'm kind of impressed with myself," Jimin admits. "I didn't die right away. I guess that's something."
Yoongi grins. "Keep that mindset." He lightly dabs the cloth against Jimin's wound. "Be careful as you transition. There has been a lot more hostility towards vamps lately."
Jimin winces as Yoongi cleans up his neck and shoulder. "Why is that?" Jimin hasn't heard anything about it, although he doesn't really pay attention to that sort of thing. He guesses he'll have to now, considering.
Yoongi presses his lips together as he thinks. "There have been increased incidents of vampires going rogue. We're not really sure why...there is just some..." he clicks his tongue, "discontent."
Jimin can't imagine there being more than one rogue running around on the street. Just his one experience has him pretty discontented. "I hope the people are being safe." He hadn't known there was a big increase in activity but he's also been holed up in his room studying for his accounting exam for the past week. He can't believe he's a vampire because he wanted a good grade on a test. What the fuck. Accounting almost killed him.
"We're running regular patrols," Yoongi promises. He wipes up the last of the blood and carefully folds the towel and sets it in the sink. "Things just keep getting out of hand."
"Sorry for ruining your wedding day," Jimin murmurs.
Yoongi hits him lightly on the back of the head. "Don't say that. You haven't." He helps Jimin up off of the seat. "The more the merrier. Although I need to find you a shirt because I'm not letting you walk around my new husband with arms like that."
Jimin laughs and follows Yoongi into Minseok's bedroom.
"Minseok is pretty organized and we leave shit here all the time." Yoongi looks in the bottom drawer beneath Minseok's expensive looking armoire. "He has an entire drawer full of our discarded clothes." He pulls out a big hoodie and tosses it to Jimin. "That's Taehyung's. I'm sure it will be huge, but it's warm and he deserves to be inconvenienced."
Grinning, Jimin tugs the hoodie on. It swallows him, going down past his ass, and he would roll the sleeves up to his elbows except it's kind of cold. He let's the sleeves fall past his hands. He can look small for one night. He could use the comfort.
Yoongi is smiling at him when he looks up from adjusting the hoodie. "You look a lot better," he says. "You're almost cute when you don't look like a blood demon."
"I'm always cute," Jimin pouts quietly. He wants to tease. Maybe he will. "And you are a married man."
"You're not my type," Yoongi replies good-naturedly, offering Jimin his elbow. Jimin can kind of tell he got married today. It's hard to find that kind of gentle happiness anywhere else. "Let's go see if Seokjin is done so he can take care of your shoulder."
Jimin is able to walk now instead of be dragged behind. "When you say that there is more hostility towards vamps..." He swallows, more focused on gripping the handrail down the stairs than he is on Yoongi's expression. "Is that something I need to be worried about?"
"Not right now," Yoongi assures him. "Just try to focus on getting adjusted for now. Worry about other things later."
That sounds like Jimin should be worried about it, but he doesn't say anything.
They walk back into the living room, and Taehyung is standing proudly in the kitchen while Kyungsoo and Seokjin stare at his gift, vaguely alarmed.
Everything is neon green.
Taehyung looks so proud of himself.
"It's a really good kitchen set," Seokjin tells Yoongi flatly.
"Really good," Jimin says, hiding his smile behind his hand.
Taehyung grins at him.
(Jimin ignores the way Taehyung looks at the hoodie, and then at Jimin in the hoodie, and then at the way Taehyung looks at Jimin. Just Jimin.)
Yoongi quints at Seokjin. "You think they're cute."
Seokjin's ears turn red. "That's slander, I would never."
Taehyung bounces on the balls of his feet. "He totally does."
"I can't believe those eyesores are in my kitchen," Minseok says, laughing.
Yoongi takes a few steps closer and Seokjin puts his arms around the present protectively. "It's a really good kitchen set."
"It's fucking green—"
"The key, my good Jimin," Taehyung says, walking out of the kitchen and over to where Jimin stands. He hands Jimin a glass of wine and Jimin feels almost classy despite the fact that he both looks and feels like he got hit by a bus. "The key is to be both very generous and very annoying at the same time."
"The key to what?" Jimin asks, taking a sip of wine. It's sweet and he already wants more. "The key to being a pain in the ass?"
Taehyung snaps. "Exactly."
Jimin smiles and takes another sip.
It's hours later, and Jimin is slightly drunk in Taehyung's minivan listening to the loud snores of Seulgi in the backseat, playing with the edge of the large bandage taped down on his neck where it sticks out from Taehyung's hoodie.
"Okay, I know I said this would be a short visit," Taehyung says, driving down the road to Jimin's muttered instruction. "I'm sorry that you already know I'm a liar."
Jimin laughs. "It's okay." And it is. It really is.
Taehyung chews on his bottom lip. "I hope you didn't feel overwhelmed or anything. I know you had a rough night." He grimaces. "By the time I remembered you weren't there just for fun it was already so late."
"I had fun," Jimin assures him, and he did. Honestly, the distraction from the fact that he had had such a near death experience was welcome. A little drinking and some loud, distracting company might have been what he needed. He presses his fingers into the bandaging on his neck idly.
Seokjin had taken care of his bite with clinical precision despite wearing a bright pink apron, cleaning and healing and covering it. Jimin smells like comfrey and lavender and that weird, homey, wet earth smell that often accompanies mild white magic.
"I'm not a witch," Seokjin said conversationally as he took care of Jimin. "That's Kyungsoo, although he's useless for healing."
Kyungsoo had just scowled into the sink as he did the dishes. The cat, which Jimin now knows is named Cat and is, in fact, Kyungsoo's familiar, meowed sleepily from Kyungsoo's shoulder.
"I studied herblore with them, though," Seokjin had explained. "And I have some contacts who infuse magic in the ingredients for me. It's useful being charming."
Jimin kind of laughs to himself in Taehyung's car, thinking about it.
After that, Yoongi and Minseok had slowly talked him through filling out his registration paperwork after Sunyoung had wrestled with Minseok's computer to print off the necessary papers. Seungcheol had come over to watch the process, and Jisoo has stayed where she was on the couch with Seulgi, chatting quietly and sipping their drinks while tangled up together.
It had been an overly long process, mostly because a lot of the information Jimin couldn't remember off-hand and had to find, and also because his brain was panicking at the thought of actually being a vampire. Yoongi's words earlier still don't sit quite right with him. If he thinks about it too much his hands start shaking. He hides them in the pocket of Taehyung's hoodie.
Sunyoung had handed Jimin a drink and he had been very, very thankful.
Once Jimin had entered in all the sensitive information, Kyungsoo had pushed Jimin aside and sat down at the kitchen table with his weird, wire rim glasses, set Cat on the table, and started filling things in himself, asking questions whenever he came to something and needed Jimin's information. He looked vaguely like a disgruntled librarian and Jimin warmed to him immediately.
After that, if became much more like a meeting with old friends, which meant lots of laughter and also lots of drinking.
Jimin's not entirely sure how much he drank, but he's loose and warm and pliant in Taehyung's car. That means he drank just enough.
Seulgi, clearly, had too much. "Where are we?" she asks groggily.
"Go back to sleep," Taehyung tells her firmly.
She obeys. "Whatever."
Jimin watches her eyes flutter closed in the backseat and tries not to laugh too hard. "Is she the worst drinker or?"
"Out of our group?" Taehyung laughs. "No, that's me."
"Really?" Jimin blinks. "Is that why you didn't drink?"
"I had to drive you home?" Taehyung says, confused. "Well, I mean, also I'm an idiot when I drink. So my not drinking was a blessing to everyone."
Jimin smiles sleepily. "I bet you're not that bad."
"I'm not allowed near Yoongi's candles after one drink," Taehyung admits grimly. "I'm really bad."
Taehyung grins wolfishly. "Would you like to hear about Yoongi's bath bomb and organic soap collection?"
Seulgi grumbles in the back.
"I'll tell you a secret," Taehyung says mildly, pulling into the parking lot in front of Jimin's apartment complex. "But you have to promise you'll never tell."
Jimin holds up his pinky.
Taehyung wraps his pinky around Jimin's. The difference in size is...weird. Jimin feels weird about it. Warm, maybe. It's probably the alcohol.
Pinkies still tied, Taehyung looks into Jimin's eyes. "Before he was a hunter, Yoongi worked as a consultant at Lush."
Jimin gasps. "No."
"He did." Taehyung nods solemnly. "It brings me so much happiness." He looks out the window. "Is this your building?"
Jimin blinks out through the darkness. He can see better than usual. It's weird when he remembers why. "Yeah." He thinks so. That flower box looks ugly and familiar. "Thanks for the ride, I guess." He moves to get out.
He stops in his tracks.
Taehyung bites his lip. "Things are gonna be..." He can't find the word.
"Weird?" Jimin offers.
"Weird." Taehyung grins. "Adjusting will be kind of weird, you know? So...if you need to call, ever, I'm here. Just a hop and a skip away. Or like...a different, more cool version of very, very close." He coughs into his fist.
Jimin stares at him blankly. "How do I call you?" He's not sure why that's his response.
Taehyung's face goes slack. "Do you have a pen?"
Jimin does not. There is, however, a Sharpie in the console. Jimin hands it over.
With a funny look on his face, Taehyung grabs Jimin's arm and slide of the sleeve of his hoodie and writes his phone number on Jimin's skin. "There." He blows lightly on the ink and Jimin gets goosebumps. "For future reference.
Slowly, Jimin rolls his sleeve back down and slinks out of the car. "Okay," he says quietly. "I will." He stands outside of the car, just for a moment, watching Taehyung smile, before he realizes that he's drunk and he's forgotten what he's supposed to be doing. Which is get into his house.
Taehyung waves goodbye once Jimin has worked his key out of his pocket and into the lock, and Jimin waves back as that red minivan pulls out of the lot and zooms down the quiet street.
Jimin shakes his stray thoughts away and walks up the stairs.
It's late enough that Jimin needs to keep fairly quiet, but he's also tired enough he doesn't mind if his feet drag or if he bumps into the walls a little bit, and he struggles a little deciding which key to try in his door. If he were less tired he'd be muttering curses under his breath, but that's too much energy and Jimin kind of likes the quiet of past-midnight.
He tries not to let his feet drag when he walks in and closes the door. He drops his keys on the table a little too loudly. His apartment is so familiar that it feels weird to be back here when everything is different.
Jimin walks into the main room, running a hand through his hair.
Hoseok, his roommate, sticks his head up over the back of the couch. "Dude. Where have you been?"
"Ah...sorry." Jimin had told Hoseok he would be home hours ago. "I got sidetracked." That's very true. "My phone died." Also true. It's going well.
With a frown, Hoseok shifts where he sits to give Jimin his best analytical stare, and Jimin does his best not to fidget. "Sidetracked?" Hoseok asks.
"Yeah." Jimin wraps his fingers around the hem of one sleeve. "I met up with some, uh, friends." They're friends now. Jimin's whole life has changed and he'll probably never see any of them again but they're friends. It's still the truth. Jimin is clinging to that.
"That's not your shirt," Hoseok says critically.
"No," Jimin admits, because that's not even worth lying about. They've known each other for years, and the number of times they've raided each other's closets or done each other's laundry makes it obvious that no, the oversized hoodie is not Jimin's. Hoseok would have known if he own it. Hell, Hoseok would have stolen it approximately three times by now if Jimin had had it for anywhere longer than a week.
"Dude." Hoseok gets up off of the couch, following behind as Jimin turns and walks into the kitchen to pour himself a glass of water. "Did you drink?"
Jimin uses the filtered water because the city water is shit and also manages to remember to refill it because he's a good roommate. "I did," he answers, taking a sip and smacking his lips. "Goodnight."
Hoseok grabs ahold of the hood as Jimin passes by and smells it because he's a bad roommate. "Whose is this?"
"Taehyung's," Jimin says. "You don't know him. We just met." Truth, truth. New high score.
Hoseok tugs again, and the fabric rubs a little against his bite. It's doesn't hurt as bad as Jimin suspected it would, so it's nice to know that Seokjin knows what he's doing at least a little bit. "Come over here, you punk."
Jimin obeys, letting himself be pulled backwards and turned around and he just looks at Hoseok, unimpressed, and drinks his water while Hoseok peers into his eyes.
"You got laid," Hoseok declares after a moment.
Jimin swallows without issue, licking his lips. "No." He walks into the hallway.
"You totally did," Hoseok sings, following behind him.
"That didn't happen," Jimin says as firmly as he can while slightly tipsy. He needs to sleep. He's so tired. "I have not orgasmed one time since you last saw me."
"Lies." Hoseok is almost gleeful. "You look different. Is that an afterglow?"
"It's the alcohol." It might be the vampirism? Jimin isn't sure, so he's still counting it as a truth. "I swear, I didn't hookup with anyone. I wouldn't just like...do that while my phone was dead. That sounds so dumb."
Jimin thinks on the events of tonight. "I am dumb." He takes another sip. "I didn't get laid, though." He tries to open his door just slightly because he knows, knows, that Hoseok is going to try and slip inside.
If Hoseok really thinks that Jimin had that kind of a good night, he won't let it go until Jimin either tells him what really happened or comes up with some kind of gritty, in-depth detail to relay because his roommate is, unfortunately, a pervert.
"What happened, then?" Hoseok asks.
Jimin barely hesitates. "Nothing," he answers, and it's a lie but the truth doesn't want to come out.
He closes the door even as he sees Hoseok grin become something teasing and Jimin knows he'll never hear the end of it.
"Goodnight, Hoseok," he says through the door.
"Goodnight," Hoseok sings. "Sleep well. I'm sure you worked hard."
"Fuck you." Jimin unties his boots and unbuttons his pants and leaves the hoodie on and sits on his bed, staring into his mirror long after he hears Hoseok jump back down the hallway.
He really does look a bit different, but it's hard to tell if that's just because he's drained in all ways, figuratively and literally, and everything is weird. He's weird. He stares at his hands. Is he something he doesn't understand now? At what point does Jimin stop being a human and start being a vampire? If it's a sickness, is he already sick? Does turning take an hour or a day or a week?
At some point, he's going to look in the mirror and be like hey, buddy, you suck blood to live. That's weird.
Carefully, Jimin tugs at the collar of the hoodie, works his nails gently under the clear medical tape Seokjin used to fit the bandage in place and pops up one side so the wound is clear on his skin. It's ugly, puffy, kind of inflamed but everyone assured him it won't get infected. It can't. Jimin's body is going to be literally too strong for it to get infected. But it's sensitive and angry-looking right now, even with the salve from earlier. The blood is gone. The fact that Jimin can clearly count her teeth is disquieting.
He really could have died.
Now he's a vampire.
With a sigh, he flips the bandage up and presses the tape back down, smoothing out the bubbles as best he can. He'll replace it in the morning with something less obnoxious looking. Hell, maybe the bite will be gone. He doesn't know if vampires have super healing abilities or like, relatively impressive healing abilities or what. That'd be convenient. Nothing else about tonight has been convenient.
Jimin flops back on his bed and quickly finds that he will not be moving. He feels gross, despite cleaning himself up earlier, but he is now one with the mattress. A human/vampire/mattress hybrid. Jimin is glad he took his pants off before he discovered this because they would have been very uncomfortable to sleep in.
He finds the energy to slide under his covers. The material of the hoodie bunches up around his body, too big, but he doesn't turn much in his sleep. Hopefully he doesn't have nightmares. The smell of it is calming, something grounded, and he pulls the sleeves up to the very tips of his fingers. There's still blood under his nails.
Sleep comes easily some nights and terribly others, but tonight Jimin is so exhausted that he doesn't remember closing his eyes.
All he remembers is running his fingers over the place where Taehyung wrote his number and telling himself he's never going to call.
The morning goes very poorly.
Jimin wakes up like his blood turned to stone in the middle of the night and it takes too much strength for him to get out of bed. He wonders vaguely if this is an adverse reaction to vampire venom or however it works. Maybe he's allergic. Maybe Taehyung was wrong and he really is dead.
He hits the snooze button.
It takes him an extra half hour to wake up completely, and when he stumble across the hallway into the bathroom and looks in the mirror what he sees is from a horror movie. Vampires may not be the thing of nightmares like stereotype suggest, but Jimin is afraid of himself because he looks like he's dead. Actually dead. Not even undead. His skin is pale and his eyes are puffy. His circles are so dark he looks like he's been punched in the face and his shoulders are uneven because of his injury. He rolls his bad shoulder with a wince. It will heal in a few days. He just needs to be careful with it until then.
Jimin doesn't remember the increased strength thing until he goes to put toothpaste on his toothbrush and squirts it all of his hand.
Looks like it's going to be an even better day than he anticipated.
He barely has time to clean it up. He's already running late for his appointment because of all his snoozing. Jimin doesn't even change out of Taehyung hoodie or shower or anything, just runs a wet hand through his hair and puts some concealer under his eyes and throws on a pair of jeans and out the door he goes.
It takes him about 20 minutes to walk to campus, and he's only slightly traumatized from his walk home the night before. He avoids that area like the plague even if it adds five minutes to his route, but even going near it makes him break out in the nervous sweats. Jungkook won't mind if he's a little late. He can't even power walk because his legs feel like lead. It's fine. Completely fine.
Jimin collapses into his chair when he finally makes it to his study room in the library.
Jungkook, the freshman he's supposed to be tutoring, isn't there yet by the grace of god, so Jimin takes a moment to catch his breath and rub away the ache in his head before he starts getting out his supplies.
The door opens and Jimin is so on edge he breaks the pencil in his hand. Snaps the plastic right in two.
"Uh." Jungkook stand in the doorway.
Jimin drops the broken pencil in his backpack. "It was already breaking," he says, blushing and grabbing another one. He's going to have to learn how to grab things delicately.
Jungkook doesn't call him out on it. He's kind of a shy boy, only about two years younger than Jimin but nervous when he's around him. They've been going over Jungkook's math homework for over a month now and it's only been recently that Jungkook has started loosening up despite Jimin's attempts to make himself a comfortable person to be around.
"I brought coffee," Jungkook offers, taking a seat. He has two cups in his hands from the campus coffee shop and he sets them lightly on the table before sliding his backpack onto the floor beside his chair.
"Oh, bless you," Jimin almost moans, taking the one that Jungkook pushes towards him. "If there's ever a morning when I need it, it's this one." It's a little too light for his taste, but it's free and it's very, very necessary so Jimin won't complain.
"Is everything alright?" Jungkook asks. He keeps his attention on Jimin even as he gets out his textbook and notes, and it's kind of cute.
"Long night," Jimin says, which is the biggest understatement of Jimin's entire life.
Jimin sees the way that Jungkook takes in the hoodie that's clearly not his, that's clearly been slept in, and clearly sees Jungkook draw his own conclusions. His sleeves are kind of rolled up, and at least the first 4 digits of Taehyung's number are visible on his forearm.
Jimin doesn't take the time to correct him. He rolls down his sleeve a little, covering the numbers, and Jungkook blinks a little like he hadn't realized he'd been staring. "We should get to work."
It's not really that Jimin intends to keep his new condition a secret forever, but for some reason he feels like it's the easiest option. It's not a fun topic of conversation, and he didn't want to get into it last night with Hoseok and he certainly doesn't want to get into now with Jungkook. Despite knowing that, factually, his entire life is going to be different, it's still kind of hard for him to understand exactly how different it's going to be. Taehyung said that vampires usually live completely normal lives. Jimin can't count how many times he's found out someone is a vamp after knowing them for years.
If Jimin wants to hide it, he's almost certain that he can.
At least for a little while.
"Did you hear what happened last night?" Jungkook asks a little later, when he's already bored talking about probability equations. "On 28th?"
"Last night?" Jimin's throat goes dry. "I haven't heard anything."
"Another vamp went rogue," Jungkook tells him, like it's hot gossip. "I swear, it's happening more and more often these days."
Jimin takes a drink of his coffee and grunts instead of responding.
"A hunter took care of her, thank god," Jungkook continues, picking idly at the end of his notebook. "They seem to be pretty hit or miss these days."
"I mean." Jimin swallows. "If no one got hurt, then everything is good, right?"
Jungkook shrugs. "I'm pretty sure someone got attacked and they're trying to keep it hush hush so that people don't freak out, but vamps are more and more dangerous these days." Jungkook frowns. "I think people could do with being a little more cautious."
This is exceptionally uncomfortable and Jimin doesn't know why he's keeping it going. "If someone did get attacked, they're probably a vampire now, too. It's not their fault."
"They're probably dead," Jungkook points out. "Do you know how many people survive run-ins with rogues?"
Jimin sighs. "3 in 1000." He looked it up last night. He feels weird about it. He got lucky.
"Like I said. People should be more wary."
This is the most firm Jungkook has been about anything other than his hatred of finite mathematics since they met and Jimin wants to scream.
"The hunters are doing their best," Jimin says gently.
"They only go after them once they turn rogue," Jungkook replies. "By then it's too late."
Jimin laughs. "You can't punish someone for something they haven't done." He sighs, shaking his head. Jungkook isn't that much younger, but he's too young. "It's the rogues that are dangerous. They can't do anything to vamps."
"Rogues don't get some secret power when they flip." Jungkook scribbles tiny circles in the margins of his notebook. "Vampires are capable of everything rogues are capable of. They're just as dangerous."
"Humans are dangerous, too," Jimin tells him. "Everyone is dangerous. That's not cause to arrest anyone." He shakes his head. "This isn't what I'm getting paid for," he says firmly. "We need to work on this assignment."
Jungkook seems to realize how he's sounded and flushes a soft pink. "Yes. Yes, we should. Sorry." He scratches his neck. "This stuff has been all over the news so I get worked up about it."
Jungkook really is a nice kid. Jimin can see how people might be worried. Hell, he saw a rogue up close and personal. He knows better than anyone. Him and two other people in his 1000 of victims. He suppresses a shiver. "It's okay," he says, tracing his fingers around the rim on his coffee lid. "But we should probably talk about Venn diagrams."
Later, once his session is over and Jimin is walking home, he can't help thinking that Jungkook is kind of right. Jimin is so much more dangerous now than he was not even 24 hours ago. He doesn't feel any more dangerous. He feels mostly like himself, albeit a little exhausted and a little achy and a little frustrated because he keeps pulling doors too hard and snapping his pencils in half.
If he turned rogue...
He shakes his head. Compartmentalize. Don't think about it.
It's three days later and now he has to think about it.
Hoseok stares at the three plates in front of Jimin on the kitchen table. "This can't be healthy."
Jimin slurps up his mouthful of noodles. "I know," he whines. "I keep eating but I'm still hungry." It's been like this for a couple of days, and it just keeps getting worse and worse. He feels full and empty at the same time, and the longer it goes on the worse Jimin feels. He could barely keep his eyes open in his economics class (which is usually a struggle but not nearly impossible) and he never really recovered from his late night/near death combo because every morning it's getting harder and harder to get out bed. He's dizzy and nauseated and lethargic.
He has a sinking feeling he knows exactly why he feels like shit, but the idea is much less appealing than trying to gorge himself on ramen and pizza and beef and hoping that's enough.
"You've gone through nearly your entire grocery budget for the month," Hoseok says, picking up a wrapper and staring at it before throwing it in the trash can. "You can't keep this up. We literally can't afford it." He squints at Jimin. "You're not pregnant, are you?"
Jimin scowls at him. "No, surprisingly," he snips. "My womb is barren."
"A shame." Hoseok laughs. "I might have helped out with the groceries."
"I'm actually expecting twins," Jimin says seriously, ducking when Hoseok throws a wadded up napkin at him. "Dude. Careful. Think of the children."
"Seriously, man, if this keeps up you need to go to the doctor." Hoseok looks at all of the food. "If you're still hungry after all of this. Maybe you are pregnant."
"I don't need to go to the doctor," Jimin says petulantly, sucking on his spoon with a frown. "I'm just a genetic impossibility."
Hoseok rolls his eyes. "Invite me to the food baby shower, okay? I have to run." He grabs his keys off of the kitchen counter and waves goodbye on his way out the door.
Jimin hears the door shut and waits a quarter of a second before sighing at all of the food out on the table. He ate an entire watermelon yesterday, and a whole pizza today along with the leftovers from Hoseok's job at the restaurant. And now he literally can't fit anything else in his stomach and he feels like he needs to work out even more than usual but he also just feels like a blob.
He drops his head back with a groan. "Fuck," he says out loud. Fuck fuck fuck. Unbidden, he finds himself staring at his arm. The Sharpie marks are faint but clearly visible. Jimin feels like there had been a regular pen right next to it, but Drunk Jimin had clearly been very interested in making sure the Taehyung's number stayed on his skin.
It's probably a good thing, Jimin thinks as he plugs the number into his phone. Not that he really needed the numbers to stick since apparently he's had the number memorized for an unknown amount of time.
Taehyung picks up in the third ring. "Hello?" His voice is much deeper than Jimin remembers.
Jimin clears his throat. "Hi." Pause. "It's Jimin."
There's some shuffling on the other end. "Jimin! Hello." His voice cracks and he coughs on the other end of the line.
"Hi," Jimin replies, even though he already said that. "Um." He kicks the leg of the table lightly. "I'm really thirsty," he says finally.
Silence. "Excuse me?"
"I mean like, actually thirsty. For liquid," Jimin rushes to assure him. "Not like...I mean, I guess body fluids but like, the vampire kind. Not the fun kind."
Good. This is going well.
Taehyung processes that for a moment, two moments, and then snorts. "Okay." Another pause. "Wait, you haven't seen Yerin yet?"
Jimin blinks. "Who is Yerin?"
"Dude, are you okay?" Taehyung asks instead of answering. "It's been like...a good four days since you turned and you lost a lot of blood anyway."
"I don't feel...great," Jimin admits. The longer he sits here the more he realizes that he really just feels not good. "The idea of drinking blood doesn't sit very well with me."
"Okay, well, the other option is death." Taehyung laughs. "Hopefully that's a much worse option."
Jimin sighs heavily, running a hand through his hair. "Probably." He grimaces. "So, what do I do? Put on some leather and velvet and go seduce the unsuspecting?"
"You did say you were thirsty." Taehyung laughs. "I'm kidding. Please don't do that. That's bad and I'll probably have to arrest you."
"My thirst must be quenched," Jimin replies seriously. He giggles, hiding the sound behind his hand. "But seriously. What do I do?"
"If you are not ready to go outside, get ready," Taehyung says, and Jimin hears the jingling of keys. "Preferably sans leather and velvet but also I respect your life choices."
"What about fishnets?" Jimin asks idly, getting up from the table and throwing away the empty pizza box before walking into his room. He's wearing joggers and no shirt and is decidedly not ready to go outside. "Vampy enough?"
"Under some ripped jeans?" Taehyung whistles. "Damn."
"Maybe I'll stick with jeans, though." Jimin pulls some that are mostly clean off of his floor. "Don't want the others to suspect."
"That you're a vampire?" Taehyung snorts. "Fishnets just sing vamp. And some smoky eye action."
"Maybe later." He can't get dressed while he's on the phone. He's a little surprised by how disappointed he is that he has to hang up considering an hour ago he ate five servings to avoid making this phone call. "I need to go."
"I'll come pick you up and take you to Yerin," Taehyung says. "I'm off-duty, so it'll just be me. I hope that's okay? Yoongi and Seulgi are out on patrol."
"Off-duty?" Jimin's heart sinks. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to like, bother you on your day off or anything. If you're busy I can just find it myself."
"It's literally so fine." Taehyung is on his way out the door, because Jimin can hear the door shut on the other end. Weird vampire trick or loud door? The world may never know. "I have nothing better to do and also I love Yerin, so it's a win-win."
"If you're sure." Jimin sticks his finger through the hole in his jeans and considers wearing them with fishnets. He'd probably look really good but it's the middle of the day and also he's pretty sure Taehyung is kidding and lord knows how that would go over.
"I'm sure!" The keys jingle again and Jimin laughs at the idea of wearing fishnets and velvet and climbing into the big red minivan. "I'll be there in like twenty minutes. Yeah?"
Jimin bites his lip. "Yeah." He swallows. "See you then."
Taehyung picks him up in his hot ride and Jimin tries not to laugh as he gets into the car.
"No fishnets?" Taehyung asks.
"Next time," Jimin answers. It's probably a joke. "Oh, shit. I forgot your hoodie."
Taehyung is already pulling out of the parking lot. "It's fine. You can just give it to me next time," he says, even though it would easy enough for Jimin to run back inside and grab it.
It's just as well. Jimin is pretty sure it's dirty and hanging over a chair in his room, so it's not in the best condition. He'll have to wash it tomorrow. He puts it on his to-do list, along with trying to figure out how to drink blood without feeling like a fucking monster. Or something.
He sighs. He's met plenty of vampires, and they've all been perfectly nice. Why is it so hard for him to wrap his brain around it.
Taehyung eases his nerves. Jimin is clearly tense in the passenger's seat, but Taehyung chatters idly, knows just what to say to pull Jimin into the conversation, and if the conversation is a little flirtier than usual than Jimin certainly isn't complaining. Taehyung is nice, with an easy kind of vibe than pulls you in, and Jimin doesn't feel as shy around him as he might have. Their bond was forged in fire, what with the whole life-or-death situation, but Taehyung makes himself into a safe person as much as he can, and that's attractive.
Taehyung himself is also attractive.
Jimin is kind of starting to wish he'd worn the fishnets, just to see what might have happened.
It's a nice drive, about twenty minutes, and Jimin is laughing so hard he forgets to be nervous about where they're going until Taehyung parallel parks his van — affectionately named Clifford after the Big Red Dog — in front of a small shop called Lifeblood and Supplies. It's cuter than Jimin would have expected. The sign is a powder blue and there's a sandwich board sitting out by the door covered in swirly letters written in brightly colored chalk.
Taehyung hops out of the car and goes around to open the car door for Jimin, but Jimin is already making his way out onto the pavement so instead Taehyung just stands and waits patiently to lead Jimin inside. "Yerin is really nice," Taehyung tells him as they walk to the front door, probably because he sees the way all of his hard work getting Jimin to relax has been for nothing. "It probably won't even be weird."
"Probably." Jimin purses his lips, looking up at the sign one more time while Taehyung opens the door for him.
"Yerin!" Taehyung calls when they enter.
"Hmmm?" The girl behind the counter smiles at the door. "Tae! Hey, how are you?"
Yerin is a sweet looking girl with a soft, round face. Her hair is dyed brown and she has a bright smile. She's not what Jimin expected at all. The shop isn't really what he expected, either. Everything is warm browns and hard wood, like an old book store or a boutique, and there isn't blood just sitting out waiting to be bought, which is kind of what Jimin had pictured. Instead there are books about the lifestyle and novels written by vampiric authors, there are some supplies that get blood out of fabric, and there are a few racks of clothes and jewelry that seem to have no special purpose at all other than being worn.
"I'm good," Taehyung answers, walking up to the counter. "This is Jimin," he says, gesturing behind him, which means that Jimin should probably step forward so that he's not awkwardly off to the side. "He just got turned a few days ago."
Yerin squints at him. "You're a little low, aren't you?"
Jimin blinks at her, mildly startled. "Low on what?"
"He needs blood," Taehyung tells her.
She smiles. "Thought so." She looks at Jimin. "You look a little sick. There's a look vamps get in their eyes when they're thirsty, you know?" She reaches under the counter. "Is he registered?"
"Should be, but it was only a few days ago." Taehyung leans on the glass counter as Yerin pulls out a thick book from a lower shelf. "It's probably still being processed."
"How long has it been?" Yerin asks Jimin.
"Um..." He clears his throat. "Four or five days?"
She hums. "That should be long enough. They try to get those done pretty quickly so no one, you know, dies." She snorts. "I'm not allowed to issue out bags unless you're in the system, and the hospital has it's own process if you're still not in the computer but lord knows that takes forever." She turns to the monitor of the counter and clicks around a little. "What's your full name?"
"Park," Jimin says. "Park Jimin."
Yerin pouts her lips and looks on her list. "Um. There are a lot of Park Jimins."
Jimin flushes. "Yeah." He swallows awkwardly. "Do you need my birthday or something?"
"That'd be helpful," she says, humming. "There are a lot...wait, I'm on the whole county. I'll narrow it...okay! You're the only vampy Park Jimin in the city, so that's nice." She flips open the heavy leather book and picks a pen out of her holder and transposes some of the information into her book. "I can give you your allotment for the week. Do you just want the regular kind or do you want something with a boost?"
Jimin blinks at her. "A boost?"
Yerin takes a pack of stickers from a drawer and goes through them. "Yeah. Like...some of them are infused with vitamins and stuff, and some help you heal faster, and some are like..." She blinks. "I forget what the new ones do. I can check, if you like?"
Jimin looks at Taehyung and slowly says, "I'm good, thanks."
Taehyung nods. "We'll just take the normal allotment. The other stuff costs extra," he tells Jimin.
"Uh..." Jimin pats his pocket nervously. "How much is it going to cost?"
"No more than a normal grocery run," Yerin assures him. "We keep the cost down since it's gov funded and also like, kind of necessary."
And that would be fine, except that Jimin has already mostly blown his grocery money for the month on all of the food he's consumed in the past four days. "Can I work out a payment plan or?"
"We can work one out," Yerin tells him. "But if you want your stuff now I'm afraid you'll have to pay in full." She pouts. "Even if you're friends with Tae. Sorry."
"I can cover you this week," Taehyung says casually, pulling out his wallet.
Jimin pushes his hand down "No."
"I get a discount," Taehyung assures him, "since I'm a hunter. It'll be fine. You can get next weeks."
"I don't like charity." Taehyung already helped him once.
"Well." Taehyung pulls out his debit card with a grin. "You'll just have to save my life one day, yeah? Then we'll be even."
Jimin frowns. "That's not fair."
Yerin swipes Taehyung's card without hesitation. "I'll apply your discount, hunter," she chirps, typing in the price. Taehyung smiles at her pointedly when he takes back his card. "I'll go grab the bags from the back."
"You really didn't have to do that," Jimin tells him.
"We're friends, right?" Taehyung says. "Shouldn't I help you out?"
Jimin rolls his eyes. "Please." He's oddly touched, considering that he hasn't known Taehyung for very long, but Jimin doesn't like it when people do things for him, even if he needs it. "Well. Thanks, I guess."
Taehyung beams at him.
Yerin comes out of the back room with a medium-sized box, sliding it on the table and opening it towards them. There are four bags inside, opaque so the blood isn't obvious, and that only eases Jimin's conscious not at all. "Here you go!"
"Four?" he asks.
"You should consume one bag every other day," Yerin tells him. "Some people are able to do it with longer intervals between, but you just turned. Consumption is important! You'll be thirstier now than you will be in a year."
"Great," Jimin replied dryly. In a year, he's still going to be a vampire. In ten years, he's still going to be a vampire. "And I come here to pick up my allotment once a week?" Forever.
"About, yeah." Yerin chews on her lip. "Most of us find a donor after a while. It's more convenient and the effects last longer." She smiles. "I'd recommend that, but I know it can be unnerving, especially at the beginning."
A donor? "What's unnerving?"
Yerin's face is sweet. "Drinking from a live host."
Jimin shivers. "Oh."
"It's completely normal," Taehyung assures him, putting a hand on his shoulder for a moment before realizing that might be weird. "I'd say probably...eh, what would you say Yerin?" he asks. "70% of vamps use donors?"
"Yeah, at least." She grins. "Most vamps use their significant other or a close friend," she explains to Jimin, despite the fact that his face is looking more and more grim. "But the government has a few houses where willing applicants can be matched with vampires for short periods of time. You'd only have to do it maybe once or twice a month."
Jimin stares at her. "People volunteer for that?" he asks. "To get their blood sucked out?" Jimin has distinct memories of teeth in his neck and the pain and wooziness that came with it. He can't imagine voluntarily submitting himself to do that, much less doing it more than once.
Yerin frowns. "It's doesn't hurt," she says. "Not if you do it right. It can actually be quite pleasurable."
Yerin blushes. "Oh, stop." She puts her hand on her cheek. "Some people really enjoy being bitten, especially in a safe environment like that."
"There are dens, too," Taehyung says. "If you're not into safety and wanna get laid and fed all at the same time."
"I don't really like dens," Yerin says. "There are no nice ones here. Everything is so seedy."
"I've heard good things about Vice," Taehyung offers.
"You've heard things?" She laughs. "You've probably been there."
Taehyung raises a finger defiantly. "Untrue." He pauses. "I've thought about it."
"I don't think I could ever do that," Jimin admits. "The idea of drinking out of someone directly is..." He pretends to barf. "And especially if I didn't know them...that's so weird."
"Things are new for you," Yerin tells him softly. "You'll get used to the idea. I promise it's not nearly as weird as it sounds right now."
"I'll stick with the blood bags, thanks." Jimin closes the box and picks it up off of the counter. "I'd like to keep the vampirism on the DL, anyway." No dens for Park Jimin. No, sir.
Yerin purses her lips at that. "It's nothing to be ashamed of." She looks sad.
"Of course not," Jimin replies hurriedly, even though he is kind of ashamed. Or maybe uncomfortable is a better word. He knows himself well enough to say that he hasn't accepted it yet, but he will. Probably. "I just...you know. Blood sucking is a little much."
He doesn't say anything about what Yoongi told him, or what Jungkook said, or what he's been hearing on the streets and on the news. He's much less welcome in his city than he was a week ago. He'd like to keep it quiet.
"I don't even know how I'm going to like...consume these," he says awkwardly, holding the box up a little.
Yerin's face lights up. "I have recipes!" she says. "Good ones. I've been using that book for years. It's a must have for a new vamp. I can let you borrow it."
"You really don't have to," Jimin says again, because he really doesn't need near strangers giving him things. "I'm sure I can figure it out."
"Nonsense." Yerin turns around to the sparsely filled bookshelf behind her. "I rarely use it since I have Eunbi, and I've memorized my favorites anyway." The book is slightly dusty, but it's in good condition despite looking a little worn. "I swear by it, honestly. It has healthy options, too."
Delicately, Jimin takes the book from her and sets it on top of his box. It's clearly a blood recipe book, so he'll have to make sure Hoseok doesn't see it, but it should be fine. Jimin should be fine. Everything will be fine. "Thank you," he says sincerely.
"I think we should get going," Taehyung says after a moment. "Tell Eunbi I say hello!"
"I will." Yerin laughs. "Come over sometime! Bring the cute one who can cook."
"Seokjin just got married, Yerin, and I know you know his name."
"He'll always be the cute one."
"You're a lesbian."
"The heart wants what it wants." Yerin sets her elbow on the counter and props her chin on her hand. "Oh, by the way, Jimin." She motions for him to come closer.
Taehyung takes the box from Jimin's hand. "I'll put this in the car. It's probably fun vampire shit."
Jimin isn't sure he really wants to be here alone, but Yerin seems nice. He likes her. He's a little surprised when she gently reaches out a hand and smooths down the edges of his jacket.
"You know he doesn't get a discount, right?" she asks coyly.
Jimin stares at her.
Yerin waves him away. "That's all." She smiles. "My number's in the book if you need me."
You know he doesn't get a discount.
Jimin grins. "See you around, Yerin."
She wiggles her fingers at him. "See you around."
"What did she say?" Taehyung asks when Jimin slides into the car beside him.
"She just gave me her number," Jimin tells him, sinking into the chair and trying to look casual, but on the inside he's walking on air.