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Nox Mundi

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Club Isis was one of the few underground clubs that catered to the people of the Night World. It was an ever-changing location -- moving was done with the aid of witches -- and always had a nondescript door that only those who were a part of the Night world could see for it was marked by the mark of Cain.

Inside, it looked like any other alternative club, bodies clad in leather, chains, lace, etc. all gyrating and grinding on each other to the deep pulses of grunge music. It was a sea of colored hair, of dark makeup, of piercings, and of tattoos. Because to say that the members of the Night World were alternative was an understatement. They were the unwanted, the one who walked in shadow and the ones who didn’t belong.

So how Jongin found himself here on this night was -- to the best of his knowledge -- strange to say the least, and exciting to say the most. See, he wasn’t a part of the Night World, he was a simple human blogger, still going through university on scholarship, and a penchant for the mysterious. He had always been vaguely aware of the Night World, being a huge occult follower. So, after having precise directions on how to find the place thrust upon him, he had to see if it was all true.

He was standing in front of a nondescript alley wall, lined with bags and barrels of garbage. The smell was hardly bearable, but Jongin was determined to get inside. He stared at the wall, scrutinizing it in attempt to see past the anti-human spells put upon it. If he squinted and turned his head he could just see the sliver of an outline from his periphery.

Committing it to memory he approached the wall and pressed his hand against it. It swung open, breaking the glamour and Jongin gasped. He had found the place he had been searching for months.

The music coated Jongin like a thick sludge, slowing his senses and dulling his thoughts. He felt like he was moving through water as he walked through the club. Everyone parted, letting him through and staring. Clearly, they did not expect for their world to be encroached upon by a clever human.

Jongin made his way slowly to the bar, ignoring the stares and propped himself up on one of the stools. He gave the bartender a once over, a hybrid snake woman, with raven black hair and golden slitted eyes. Fangs protruded and the points touched her bottom lip with was lacquered in the deepest of purples. Her body seamlessly faded into that of a snake starting from just under her bust with a spattering of scales that blossomed into shiny golden skin as it traveled down her torso to her long serpentine body. She regarded Jongin bewildered as everyone else for a few seconds and then snapped out of it.

“Welcome to Club Isssisss, what can I get ssstarted for you?” Her s’s were long and hissed, like a snake. How cliché.

“I’ll take a Blue Hawaiian, double.” Jongin liked his drinks fruity. The “girlier” the better in his book. It masked the strong burn of alcohol and he preferred to enjoy his drinking rather than grimacing after each sip.

“Coming right up,” the snake woman replied and got to work, her moves smooth and languid. It was mesmerizing to watch her glide as she gathered ingredients and poured them in the mixer.

Drink in hand, Jongin returned his attention to the crowd who had returned to their grinding and dancing. He watched them as he sipped his drink, the cool coconut flavor dulling his senses even more. He knew there was some kind of magic in the club hindering him and he briefly wondered if it had that effect on everyone else, or just him, because he was human after all. Besides, tonight was all about observation.

Content to people watch for the moment, until the alcohol flooded his system and bore away his concerns, Jongin was surprised when someone approached him, eyes locked with his. He wasn’t tall, but the way he seductively walked, his gauzy clothes flowing behind him as if there was a breeze, held Jongin in awe. The man’s dark hair was cut short on the sides, leaving the top perfectly styled in what Jongin had to guess was the sexiest he’d ever seen.

“It must be my birthday because you are the most delectable present I’ve ever had the pleasure of laying my eyes on,” the man said. His eyes were icy blue but completely encompassing.

Jongin found himself leaning towards the man, an invisible force pulling him towards him. The longer he stared at the man the more aroused he felt. His pants felt tight and when he looked down he noticed the man’s hand was resting on his thigh, near the growing tent at his crotch. The fingers squeezed and Jongin let out an involuntary moan.

“Who are you?” Knowing this was a club for the occult, Jongin figured the man had to be some kind of mythical creature. He just could not put his finger on it.

“I’m Kyungsoo, darling. May I have the pleasure of learning...your name?” He had moved his hand higher, now palming Jongin under the bar, much to the displeasure of the bartender who hissed at them and moved down the line.

A low whine in Jongin’s throat was the only answer he could produce. He tilted his hips towards him, aching to have more pressure, but that was when the hand disappeared. When his touch disappeared, so did the thick haze of lust and Jongin literally shook his head to rid his head of the remaining grogginess.

“Sweetheart, your name?” Kyungsoo asked again, leaning against the bar and bringing his fingers to his lips, toying with them and then slipping one inside. It was a lewd sight, seeing him take his fingers and swirl his tongue around them, making the obscenest sounds. He moaned, drawing them slowly away from his plush lips and down his bare chest, lower and lower.

“J-Jongin,” he stuttered, following Kyungsoo’s hand as it played with the waistband of a pair of tight leather pants that left nothing to the imagination. His thick thighs were pressed together and the outline of his dick strained against the fabric. Jongin swore he could see it throbbing and when he returned his eyes back to the icy blue ones, his breath caught in his throat.

“Jongin?” Kyungsoo breathed, coming closer until his body was pressed between Jongin’s legs. He leaned closer, nipping at Jongin’s jaw. “That’s a nice name...Jongin.”

Every time his name was said it was as if he was falling under water. Each syllable pulled him deeper and deeper until the only thoughts in his mind went from trying to figure out what the hell Kyungsoo was to where he could fuck him (or be fucked by him) and how soon he could make that happen.

He felt lips ghost over his and as he tried to follow them, he heard Kyungsoo squawk as he was being pushed away by another patron. Jongin turned and came face to face with another man, this time instead of seeing icy blue eyes he was met with red ringed brown irises and hair that was as fiery as the pits of hell. Out of the corner of his eye, Jongin thought his hair was actual fire, but when he looked upon him, it was regular old hair, just moving slightly like dancing flames.

“Never kiss an incubus, he’ll steal your soul,” the new man said, staring down Kyungsoo, who was now standing up arms crossed.

“I saw him first, Chanyeol, now fuck off,” Kyungsoo snarled, his eyes flashing black in his anger. Jongin shied away from him a bit and that drew his attention. Softening his expression, he smiled at Jongin, “Sweetheart, where were we?”

Just like that Jongin was under his spell again, and all he wanted was to give Kyungsoo anything he wanted just to get a taste of him. To feel his lips on his, he bet they were soft. “We were, uh…”

“For the love of God, Kyungsoo, let this one live. It’s been, -- what, ten years since a human wandered in here? Let me at least take him to Baekhyun before you suck him dry through his dick,” Chanyeol said, standing between Jongin and Kyungsoo, effectively breaking his control over him again.

“Oh please, the dick sucking is for fun, you would know,” he gave Chanyeol a smirk and then peered around him at Jongin, “We’ll catch up later, Jongin.” With that, he disappeared into the writhing crowd, leaving Jongin alone with Chanyeol.

With distance between them, Jongin felt his head clear immensely.  He blinked a few times and then sighed, “Thanks, I’ve read about incubi, just never experienced one so close before.” He rubbed the back of his neck as it grew warm.

Incubi were dangerous creatures. They could convince anyone to lay down with them where they would then give their victim the best bedding of their life only to suck their soul out of them with a kiss. Unless, the incubus fell in love, then in that case, they would be absorbed into the body of their victim, trapped forever. The only way they could ever be freed was if the host died, or they were passed onto another victim with a weaker mind.

“No problem, I’m Chanyeol by the way,” he held out his hand and when Jongin grabbed it, it burned him. “Ah, sorry, I always forget about that,” Chanyeol replied and then stuck his hand in his pocket. “Fire Jinn are constantly burning. Only those with natural immunity can touch us.”

Jongin nodded and slid off the chair, staring at his hand. It was an angry red color and throbbing with his heartbeat. “Incubi, Ice Demons, Faeries, and what else?” Jongin listed, under his breath trying to remember which creatures canceled each other out and which ones killed each other.

“Elemental Vampires, speaking of which,” Chanyeol offered with a smile. He gestured with his head for Jongin to follow him and everyone gave him a wide berth as he passed through them.

Jongin wanted to stay and finish his drink, but with Chanyeol quickly fading through the crowd, he knew it was a lost cause. Before the gap closed, he darted after him, briefly taking in the appearances of the club goers.

There were a lot of hybrids of various animals. Some had embraced their animal appearance more than others and let their fur cover their skin while over merely donned the ears and tails of their hybrid. Lurking in the darker corners where what Jongin assumed to be vampires, with their pale skin and glittering eyes that refracted light back at him like a wild animal. He knew there were more mythological creatures in the club, but so many of them blended together that Jongin couldn’t be sure without getting a closer or longer look.

Behind a set of grand doors was a spiraling staircase, lined with a wine-red carpet and sashes intertwined through the bars of the handrail. Jongin followed Chanyeol up the stairs, quietly absorbing all the details like a sponge. He wanted to remember everything about tonight.

When they reached the top, Chanyeol directed Jongin to another door and then bowed exaggeratedly. “You’re on your own now,” he gave Jongin a big grin. “Don’t worry, he doesn’t bite too hard.” Then he shoved him through the door.

Jongin stumbled into the dark room and caught himself against the wall. The door behind him had vanished and a small stream of panic bubbled in his stomach. All he knew about this Baekhyun character was that he bit people, which could make him any type of Night Worlder. He could be a werewolf, a vampire, a werecat, or simply a biter. Maybe he just had an oral fixation.

“Any idea on how much longer you’d like to waste my time by standing there like an idiot?”

Jongin whipped around towards the source of the voice and now that his eyes were adjusted, he saw a man sitting on a black quilted chaise lounge. A glass of red liquid was betwixt his long delicate fingers. The ruffles of his undershirt protruded out through his Victorian styled wardrobe. Definitely a vampire.

Vampires had a penchant for staying stuck in the years of their prime, be it through clothing, appearance, or mannerisms, there was always something otherworldly about them that indicated which era they lived as a human in.

Armed with that information, Jongin approached the man that he guessed was Baekhyun. The closer he got, the more refined the air about him grew. He noticed the subtle patterns on the wall that were Victorian-esque, the furniture looked dated, but well kept, even the torches that lined the walls looked authentic.

Now that he was only a few feet away from the vampire, Jongin took him in. The angular curve of his jaw, his downturned eyes, lined with smoky red makeup, his completely black irises, seemingly dilated fully in the blackness. His hair was red-brown that looked almost copper colored in the light of the flames. Jongin’s gaze traveled downward, over the way the vampire’s coat lay open, exposing the billowing shirt that exposed half his well sculpted chest. The strings that tied the blouse together, dangled, loose. It was tucked into some high waisted black slacks that hugged every inch of the vampire’s substantial thighs. His shoes were simple dress shoes worn by most men these days.

“Like what you see?” Baekhyun asked, tipping the glass to his lips. They were stained red when he lowered it and his tongue darted out to clean them.

Feeling the heat claw through his body, Jongin cast his gaze to the ground and mumbled, “Sorry.” He couldn’t help himself from checking out Baekhyun, and quite frankly who could when he was posed on the chaise lounge like a deadly model.

“Don’t be, we vampires appreciate beauty,” he said, setting the glass down on the ornately carved side table. He rose to his feet and advanced towards Jongin with all the grace of a panther. “Not that you’re a vampire,” he caressed Jongin’s cheek. “But you can appreciate it all the same.”

Jongin shuddered into his touch. He never thought of himself as so easily swayed, but perhaps the vampire was using his influence over Jongin, to make him irrevocably attracted to him? In any case, now that Jongin was looking into Baekhyun’s dark eyes he felt himself being swallowed up by darkness. It shrouded the room, masking the torches and furniture until the only thing that Jongin could see was Baekhyun. He was using his ability to manipulate darkness. Another thing that Jongin had read about, but had never seen in action.

“Now tell me, human, how did you find this place?” His body was illuminated, shining like the moon in the night sky. He appeared even more beautiful than before and it was almost to the point that it hurt to look at him.

Jongin’s throat was dry when he swallowed, so his voice came out all wrong, “I followed the signs,” he said. “Seeing people enter the alley but not exit out through the other end was the first thing I noticed. If you want to be more covert, you would hide this place near another night club, that way people would think they simply went inside that one. I mean, I have all these ideas that could help you, if you wanted to hear them?” He was babbling now, but he couldn’t help it. He was caught in the juncture of nervousness and excitement to be this close to a vampire. Because, out of all the Night Worlders, vampires were still his favorite.

It had started when he was a kid. Reading his parent's old Anne Rice novels about vampires had made him curious and being a child of the internet generation, he turned to the web to find out more about his newest obsession. It was only a matter of weeks before he came across a blog that detailed the undergoing’s of a mysterious place called the Night World. He followed it religiously, reading the latest updates every night before bed and dreaming of one day finding the infamous club mentioned only in description but never by name. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago, that after years of following the blog, did the owner contact him -- as he had commented on every post with his own opinions -- and asked him to take over.

So, standing in front of a real-life vampire, inside the club he had always dreamed of entering, in a world he knew existed but never knew how to find until given explicit directions, was more of an awe-inspiring moment than terrifying.

Noticing Jongin’s lack of fear, Baekhyun dropped the illusion of darkness and returned to the chaise lounge, taking the glass between his fingers once more. “What do you want in return?”

“For you to turn me into a vampire.”

 

Welcome to my humble abode. I will be your new guide through the Night World. So, come one, come all, on this journey to the heart of the Night World and all its inner workings. I promise to be faithful, updating you each night as the ones before me. So, without further ado, let’s begin with some vocabulary to help you all fit seamlessly into a world of darkness...

Chapter Text

“I can’t just turn you into a vampire,” Baekhyun said after he had calmed down from laughing. The man had nearly spit out his glass of blood when Jongin asked such a ridiculous request. Never in his lifetime had he heard a human bargain for the awakening of vampirism with small time information. No, vampirism was an exclusive right given only to those deemed worthy.

“Why not?” Jongin pouted. He knew he’d make a great one, and what better way to write a blog about the Night World than to be a part of it? The last blogger before him was a werewolf, and the one before him was a ghost -- or excuse him, a “worldly spirit” because calling them ghosts was slanderous now. So, why not let the blog have its first vampire writer?

“Because I said so,” Baekhyun stated. “Now, share these ideas you have.”

Jongin dove into the conversation with eagerness. He told Baekhyun of his plans to make the club gross more money, more patrons, and even one day open to humans so that Baekhyun could expand into the Day World, maybe open some coffee shops, spread his brand. It was a plan for economic take over and Jongin was sure that the twinkle in Baekhyun’s eye was interest.

Of course, the twinkle could have been from the fact that Jongin was now bleeding, having excitedly whacked his arm against the sharp edge of the table, successfully breaking the skin. Scarlet life force rolled down his arm, the side of his palm and landed on the floor in small splatters.

Baekhyun was on top of Jongin in an instant, holding his arm in pale hands. His fangs glittered in the torchlight and Jongin stared at him, heart racing in his chest and with a huge smile on his face. He was going to be turned into a vampire after all.

Baekhyun’s tongue snaked out over his skin, lapping at the blood streaming down his arm. His eyes fluttered shut and he groaned, “You taste so good.” He swiped his tongue a few more times, making soft whines in his throat. His lips closed over the wound and he sucked, lightly for a few minutes before coming to his senses. He blinked up at Jongin, mouth still attached and asked, “Consent, right, is this okay with you?” Except it sounded more like, “Cofet, right, is hiss okay wif you?”

Jongin nodded, wide eyed. Whatever endorphins in vampire saliva there were, they were a hell of a drug. Jongin swore he saw Baekhyun multiply into two versions of himself. One at his arm, drinking lightly and the other now climbing over him, peppering his neck and face with hungry kisses. He felt teeth nip his skin and in his hazed state he felt the weight of Baekhyun on top of him, grinding and trailing those long delicate fingers all over his body.

It tickled a bit, but the giggle that bubbled up in Jongin was replaced by a moan when he felt pressure on his dick. He blinked and saw a third Baekhyun pulling down his pants, releasing his erection. Jongin’s cock twitched against his skin, dribbles of precum already leaking at the overwhelming stimulation he was experiencing. Teeth punctured his skin near his wrist, and Jongin arched on the chaise lounge. He could still feel the weight of Baekhyun on top of him, licking stripes up and down his neck, teeth grazing but never penetrating.

Heat engulf his hard length and Jongin squinted at the dizzying sight of soft lips closing around him. He wanted to reach down and grab a hold of the scarlet locks, but his body was not responding to him. Instead his mouth fell open and a breathy whine escaped.

Fingers joined Baekhyun’s mouth around his dick and stroked in tandem over the spit slicked member. Jongin’s toes curled and his hips bucked, trying to urge Baekhyun to go faster, but the vampire had him clamped to the chaise lounge.

His gaze fell to his wrist again and he saw glistening white fangs leave his skin and two small holes dripped blood, which was promptly swiped away. Everything was growing foggy and confusing. Jongin blinked and saw the fellating Baekhyun shed his clothing and climb on top of him and take him deep between the mounds of his ass. He watched his cock disappear into Baekhyun’s hole and ached to grab onto his hips, to guide him just how he wanted it.

Another swipe of Baekhyun’s tongue on his wrist and Jongin’s head lolled. Through half closed eyes he saw Baekhyun wipe his mouth and then plant a kiss on the wound, lips coming back glistening with his blood. He blinked again and the second Baekhyun who was kissing his neck had disappeared, and the one drinking his blood was in his place, kissing him.

The iron tasting fluid spread over his tongue and Jongin pulled Baekhyun’s lip into his mouth, sucking on it, rolling it between his teeth. He gasped and his hips stuttered. He was getting close. He released Baekhyun’s lip and instead tasted his mouth, rolling his tongue over the vampire’s, feeling the narrow gap between his fangs.

He passed his tongue over one of the fangs, and Baekhyun shuddered on top of him. Interesting, Jongin thought and tried it again. Baekhyun collapsed on top of him, and the illusion of the one that was riding him vanished. Jongin’s cock was still out, throbbing between their bodies as he canted his hips against the smooth leather of Baekhyun’s pants. Through them he felt the heat of Baekhyun’s dick and pressed against it, enjoying the friction.

“Take it out,” Baekhyun whispered against Jongin’s mouth, one hand undoing the ties that strung his pants closed.

Jongin obliged and shoved the soft fabric down until it came to a stop just under Baekhyun’s ass. He pulled Baekhyun’s dick out and arranged it against his and the two ground their hips together.

Blood was long forgotten and the two gasped and moaned against each other as their precome slicked cocks slid over one another. Jongin snaked his arms around the vampire, anchoring him to his body and built speed. They found a rhythm and their lips locked once more. Jongin played with the tip of a fang once more and Baekhyun panted in between kisses.

“Fuck, I’m gonna come,” Jongin moaned. The familiar heat coiled deep inside him, pressure building and begging for release.

“Then come,” Baekhyun whispered and then slipped his tongue back into Jongin’s mouth.

“Bite me,” Jongin begged around the slick muscle. He wanted to feel Baekhyun penetrate him. Feel him break his skin as he brought him to his climax.

At his request, Baekhyun’s dragged his lips over the sensitive spot on Jongin’s neck and bit down. The explosion of sensations sent Jongin over the edge and his hips spasmed, dressing the two in his semen. He kept bucking as he rode out his orgasm.

After the two cleaned themselves up, Baekhyun offering Jongin a change of clothes as both of theirs were soiled, they sat across from each other on the chaise. Jongin was on cloud nine, his body was loose and he was still coming off the high of endorphins. So, when Baekhyun offered his hand, Jongin giggled at it.

“People do shake hands at the confirmation of a deal, these days, right?” Baekhyun asked, a small smile playing at the corners of his mouth.

“Right,” Jongin clasped Baekhyun’s hand in his own and gave it a shake. His muscles still felt like jelly, so at the down shake his arm fell to his lap. He giggled again and leaned into the plush chaise, head rolling. He had never felt this good in his life.

“Humans are such funny little things,” Baekhyun chuckled and helped arrange Jongin’s body so he could rest. “I’ll grab you something to eat before you come down.”

 

Finally returning to his senses a few hours later, Jongin stumbled out of Club Isis and checked over his shoulder to see if he could still see the door. If he squinted hard enough, it was there. Not that he was too worried, Baekhyun had taken down his contact information and promised to let him know the next time he needed to see him about business.

The sun shone down brightly and warmed his skin as he made the long walk back to campus. He only had a few hours to sleep before his morning class and he knew he was going to regret it. Plus, he still had to write his opening entry for the blog. Not to mention compile the interview he conducted with the Fire Jinn.

He only had one hour left to get some shut eye when he crawled into his bed still fully clothed. He didn’t even bother laying his head on a pillow, because he was asleep before he hit the comforter.

 

“Rise and shine sunshine!” Junmyeon shouted as he burst into Jongin’s room banging pots and pans together.

Jongin groaned, one of his eyes sticking shut until he rubbed the sleep away. “Why do you always do this, Junmyeon?” He face-planted back onto his bed and curled into a ball.

Hands pulled at him all while the pots and pans kept clanging. If Jongin was more awake he would have questioned the physics of that being possible, but when he finally rolled to his feet, Junmyeon was holding the pots and pans, looking completely innocent.

I’ll catch him one day, Jongin thought and then yawned. He hadn’t intended to be out so late last night, but after meeting Baekhyun he-- He checked his clothing and realized he was wearing a billowing top made of cotton. He still had on his pants from the last night. He yanked back the sleeve and saw that his skin was unblemished. Vampire bites were supposed to leave a mark, why hadn’t Baekhyun’s? Did he imagine it all? Did someone slip a drug in his drink and he simply experienced a hell of a trip? Did he--

“Earth to Jongin! You need to get ready for class,” Junmyeon clanged the pots together once more before Jongin had enough and shoved him out the door. He needed some peace and quiet to get his mind in order.

Leaning against the door he pulled the sleeve back once more and brought his arm to eye level, scrutinizing every centimeter of his skin. Completely unblemished. Maybe he had read the information wrong? But that couldn’t be because literally every source stated that vampire bites left marks, unless he was dealing with an elemental vampire, in which case Jongin needed to be careful.

Element vampires were a super powerful subsect of vampires. They were the creme de la creme, the top dogs, the epitome of all vampires, except they could withstand doses of daylight. This was because elemental vampires had control over some (if not all) of the natural elements: fire, earth, water, air, energy, and darkness. This allowed them to create force fields around them, manipulating the sun’s UV rays that caused their painful deaths. Aside from that, elemental vampires were old, meaning they had seen countless things and experienced the world in ways any modern-day human could never imagine. This threw the moral standings of elemental vampires into question, because if one can live forever, then the line between good and evil becomes blurred.

Sighing, Jongin slinked out his room to the shower. He passed by Junmyeon, who was sitting on their couch, scribbling into his tiny black notebook -- something that Jongin itched to get his fingers on. If he could just get conclusive proof that his roommate was a witch, then maybe he could ask him for an interview on the blog. He could just imagine the success of an interview with a real live witch would bring the blog.

The hot water stung his skin in the most refreshing way and Jongin found himself drifting back to the club in his head. He ran his hands down the plains of his well sculpted body and jerked in surprise at how hard he became at thoughts of the vampire. He figured he maybe had time for a quick wank, but just as he was stroking himself, getting to the real nitty gritty of it, Junmyeon banged on the door.

“I swear to God if you clog up the drain with your jizz again, you are cleaning it out!”

Just like that, the mood was killed and Jongin quickly washed himself and grumbled as he dried off. If Junmyeon had waited just a split second later, Jongin would not have to go to class with blue balls.

 

Class sucked, as usual and Jongin was enjoying the walk back to the dorm when Junmyeon sprang up beside him with a wicked grin. Jongin knew what that grin meant and he started to dart away but Junmyeon had his wrist in a vice grip.

“Let’s go out tonight,” his eyes were big and full of hope and he even did the thing where he stuck out his bottom lip. It was a classic puppy-dog face and Jongin couldn’t say no after being on the receiving end.

“Ugh, fine, but if you take me to trivia night one more time, so help me God, Junmyeon I will leave you there.” Jongin rolled his eyes. In reality, he wanted to go back to Club Isis, but since Baekhyun had yet to contact him, he figured that he could miss one night. Besides, he still had two more introductory posts scheduled for the blog, so he wouldn’t be falling too behind if he missed one night in the Night World.

“You’re just salty because the Trivia Master,” he pointed to himself, “beat you.”

If Jongin rolled his eyes any harder they would have popped out his head. “No, and you and I both know that--”

“Lalala! I won and you lost, just accept that!” Junmyeon had covered his ears with his hands in a childish attempt to drown out Jongin’s words. It was times like these when he wondered how he was older than him.

“Whatever, fine, but I’m picking the place,” Jongin said. It was the only way he could make sure that Junmyeon didn’t take him to some hole in the wall where the patrons all knitted or something.

“Deal!” Junmyeon offered his hand.

Jongin shook it and then laughed as Junmyeon took off to go to his next class. Thankful he only had one class today, Jongin made his way back to the dorm after deciding to draft up the next few blog posts. He’d make sure he was the best cycle yet.

 

The club Jongin chose was a garden variety house club. It had booming dance music pouring through the speakers, dozens of hot sweaty bodies bumping and grinding on each other, and of course, cheap drinks.

Junmyeon’s dark, blue-gray hair looked almost inky in the low light. He had really outdone himself with what he was wearing. He even put on a tiny bit of smoky eyeshadow which just accentuated his eyes. Dark and sultry was an understatement.

Jongin handed him a double vodka cranberry and took a long sip of his own. Fellow college aged students were busy on the dancefloor, or in the never-ending line at the bar. He was people watching again, one of his favorite pastimes, and was so caught up that Jongin swore he almost missed him. Right in the middle of the damn crowd was Kyungsoo, being felt up by a random stranger. Not tonight, Jongin thought.

Pushing through the people, Jongin circled his fingers around Kyungsoo’s wrist and yanked him back to where he left Junmyeon standing. His poor roommate looked so out of place, nervously guzzling his drink, way too fast. At this rate, he was going to be fall-on-the-floor drunk by the end of the night. Jongin wasn’t sure if he wanted to deal with that, so he gently pulled the drink from Junmyeon’s hands.

“Junmyeon this is Kyungsoo, he’s an in-- he’s in my class,” he gestured to the wide-eyed man, “and Kyungsoo, this is Junmyeon, my uh, roommate.”

“Why do you say it like that?” Junmyeon whined. The alcohol was hitting him fast. He swayed a bit and braced himself on the counter, a small giggle escaping him. He was a bubbly drunk, which was fun on any night but tonight. Not when Jongin had to make sure some poor human did not get their soul taken.

Kyungsoo leaned in and whispered, “Not my type,” then he caressed the side of Jongin’s face effectively clouding his mind with sultry thoughts of the incubus sinking to his knees and servicing him right there in the middle of the bar. “But, you are,” he purred.

Jongin almost fell victim to Kyungsoo’s advances but as he saw Junmyeon start to sway in the other direction, he broke free of Kyungsoo’s spell and lunged after his roommate. “I thought you could hold your alcohol, Junmyeon!”

“I can! Watch this,” he pointed at his nearly empty glass and it floated right over to his open hand. “See, I’m holding it!” He fell into a fit of giggles and then pointed to Jongin’s drink which also glided off the counter and into his other hand. “Now I’m holding your alcohol.”

“Holy fuck,” Jongin whispered. He finally caught his roommate in the act! He really was a witch! He wanted to press him for more information, but Junmyeon’s lips found the small black straw and he was sucking down more of the sweet liquid. “No more for you, my witchy little roommate.” He turned and gave Kyungsoo a look crossed with excitement over finding out that Junmyeon was, indeed, a witch, and worry that his friend might try to do something grander out in public. “I need to get him home, but, you and I are gonna have a talk.”

“Oh, a talk, I’m so scared,” Kyungsoo mocked and then started back towards the crowd. Jongin reached out and snagged the edge of his black V-neck shirt.

“Don’t you only have to feed every decade or so?” Jongin hissed, keeping a side eye on Junmyeon who was happily babbling about other things he could do, like: transform objects into other objects, turn people into animals, put curses on people who pissed him off, create protection spells, levitate things, (including himself) and when he started to lift off the ground, Jongin had to yank him down by his wrist.

“You clearly have your hands full,” Kyungsoo nodded towards Junmyeon. “Why do you care anyway? Unless,” he approached Jongin and pressed his palm to his chest, “you’re jealous?”

“What? No. Me? Jealous?” Jongin scoffed, tightening his grip on Junmyeon’s wrist as he felt him floating again.

Sweetheart,” Kyungsoo breathed and Jongin was half caught rolling his eyes before he found himself leaning in, “I’m an incubus. I fuck people and then steal their soul. You really don’t want to be involved with me.”

“Yeah but what about, maybe not stealing my soul?” Jongin had no idea where the words came from, just that they slipped out before he could think to hold them back.

“I’ll catch you later,” Kyungsoo winked and disappeared into the crowd.

Jongin stood there, dumbfounded for a second before physically shaking his head. He needed to work on getting himself a chastity talisman if he was going to be around Kyungsoo for any extended period. But, first, he needed to get Junmyeon home.

 

After safely tucking Junmyeon into bed and making him promise not to turn Jongin into a frog (something he threatened to do because he didn’t want to leave the club yet) Jongin kicked open his door, shuffled to his bed and promptly fell face first into the sheets.

He started to curl into the sheets, fantasizing about calling it an early night when he heard a sound in the corner. He rolled over and came face to face with Baekhyun. “What the hell? I thought I had to invite you in?”

Baekhyun laughed, “Now that I’ve tasted your blood, that no longer limits me.”

“That’s kind of creepy.” Jongin whispered, pulling his knees to his chest. He watched Baekhyun walk around his room, taking in the details and realized this was the first time anyone other than Junmyeon had been here. He suddenly felt self-conscious about his decor.

On his bookshelf were countless books on the occult, ranging from simple children’s books about the alphabet as told by ‘monsters’ to an aged grimoire that he had picked up in an antique shop a few years back. Aside from that he had a small black velvet dreamcatcher hanging off the side, a few lucky cats, a toy skull that he had colored black with a sharpie when he was a kid, and a set of fake vampire teeth from when he went as a vampire one Halloween.

Baekhyun picked up the set of fake teeth and opened and closed them in his hand a few times before turning back to Jongin. “I have a proposition for you.”

“Go on,” Jongin said, the heat of embarrassment quickly fading from his cheeks.

“I’ll turn you into a vampire, if you can help me keep my patrons in check.”

 

Welcome back, my friends. Today’s entry will be about common misconceptions. Contrary to widespread belief, you do not, in fact, have to invite a vampire into your house AFTER they drink your blood. So be wary, because they might just show up uninvited. Now, as for werewolves...

Chapter Text

It was Friday afternoon when Jongin received a text from Baekhyun requesting his presence at the club. He guessed that his three-paged text-rant he sent him about showing up in his room uninvited had reached the vampire. He sent back a quick ‘K’, and headed to his dorm to grab the chastity talisman he had put together.

It wasn’t hard, all he had to do was find a small vial, rip out any of the many verses in the Bible about chastity, roll it up and place it inside the vial. He then corked and wrapped a bit of blessed twine around the lip of the glass and for added measure, he incorporated a shard of amber to protect against psychic attack. Feeling sufficiently ready, Jongin set off towards the club.

 

Club Isis was the type of club that kept its business even during the day. Albeit, less busy than it was at night, but it was still surprisingly active. Jongin easily stepped through the glamour, this time it was barely visible, but that also could have been because he was now welcomed within the Night World.

Immediately he was met by Chanyeol, who was leaning against the bar a glass of whiskey dangling in his fingers. He gave him a little wave and called out, “Nice to see you back, Jongin!”

Glancing at his phone screen for a second, Jongin figured he had time for a quick chat and made his way over to Chanyeol. “What’s up?”

“Not much, just you know, existing.” He sipped a tiny amount of whiskey and grimaced. He tilted the glass towards Jongin, “It’s pretty good.”

Jongin shook his head, “I’ll pass,” he glanced around at the other Night Worlders that were walking around or collecting into small groups talking amongst themselves. “So, do you all live here?”

Chanyeol smiled, “That’d be pretty boring, wouldn’t it?”

Jongin raised an eyebrow at him. He would love to live here. Being constantly surrounded by all these not-so-mythical creatures would be a bit of a dream come true. Like, how cool would it be to wake up and be able to talk to any kind of being at any time of the day? In fact, it would definitely be a dream come true. “I don’t see how it could be boring…”

Chanyeol shrugged, and then downed the rest of his glass. He held the glass in his palm and let it become engulfed in flames until it evaporated. Jongin cringed away from the heat because fire that hot could seriously injure him. Snorting a bit, Chanyeol turned back to him, “Tanith hates when I do that.”

On cue, the serpentine woman emerged from a door behind the bar carrying trays of glasses balanced up her arms. She set them all down with the same fluidity and grace she possessed the first night. Then she tilted her head up sniffing the air and turned on Chanyeol. Her serpentine eyes flashing dangerously, she ducked under the bar’s counter and appeared in front of him in an instant.

Jongin took this opportunity to take in her complete appearance. Her onyx colored hair was long enough to dip below her smooth scaled waist. Following her hair, he learned that her hybrid body was much longer than he anticipated. Her height changed based on how tall she wanted to seem and right now that was taller than Chanyeol. The rest of her body coiled around his shoes, the tail end thumping against them angrily.

“Chanyeol, why do you alwaysss do thisss?”

Jongin watched as Chanyeol grinned up at her, cheeks growing rosy. He whispered something to her that made her sink down to her previous height and she squinted her eyes at him. After a long moment of staring, she returned behind the bar and started arranging the glasses, all while sneaking glances at the fire jinn.

“What’d you say to her?” Jongin asked, leaning over to Chanyeol.

Chanyeol snorted, “Nothing important,” changing the topic, he said, “Don’t you have a meeting with Baekhyun?”

Jongin balked, “How do you know?”

“Well, between you and me, you’ve been the talk of the club and Baekhyun’s opinion of you is pretty high.” Chanyeol offered and then smirked.

Warmth spread throughout Jongin’s body at that and he let out a shy laugh. If Baekhyun thought highly of him, then maybe he really would be turned after all. Once that happened he could fully engage in the Night World. Of course, he would have to have to be changed on a solstice or risk the chance of not becoming an Elemental Vampire, which would be ideal because he wouldn’t have to drop out of school. Then again, he was learning all sorts of things about the occult that his books just did not tell him, so perhaps that was wrong too.

All these thought swirling in his mind, kept him standing at the bar for far too long and Baekhyun himself had emerged into the club. Much to Jongin’s worry, he looked pissed. He snatched him by the wrist and pulled him through the doors, up the stairs and to his private room in under a minute flat.

After a verbal tongue lashing Jongin stood in the middle of the back room while Baekhyun smoothed out his top. He was wearing another outfit, similar in style to the first time Jongin had seen him only this time the billowing shirt was wine-red and he had forgone the overcoat. Resting just under the hollow of his neck was a black crucifix. Jongin mentally checked that off the list of misconceptions and told himself he would update the list when he got home.

“Now that that is settled, I am giving you the details of who I want you to watch over.” Baekhyun reached to the table where a deep green folder sat. He tossed it at Jongin and continued speaking, “So, there’s been some undocumented killings in the area.”

Jongin scrambled to flip through the pages. There were several detailed accounts of missing persons that were starting to raise some issues as noted by the newspapers. “Just what do you think I can do about all this? I’m just a college student, Baekhyun, don’t forget that.”

“Oh, I know that, which is why you will keep an eye on Kyungsoo for your long weekend.”

Apparently fate had a sense of humor because Jongin really had made his talisman just in time for this. He sighed, rolling his eyes, “And then you’ll turn me?”

Baekhyun was eyeing him with a glint in his eye. “Huh? Yeah, sure, whatever. Just keep him from feeding this weekend.” He dragged his finger across the surface of the table and for a moment Jongin imagined seeing that finger travel down his chest, across his stomach and dipping lower.

He cleared his throat, “Um, well, why can’t you?”

“I, and the rest of the vampires, are all on lockdown. So that’s why I’m enlisting your help.” He leaned back and rested his head on his hand, eyes drawing lazy lines over Jongin’s body.

Heat exploded over Jongin’s skin, making him feel exposed. He shut the folder and stepped backward. Baekhyun had such a pull about him. He was so alluring, especially when he let a fang lower onto his lip. Jongin wanted to taste them again, to feel his teeth sink into him, but, he needed to focus. He wanted to prove himself worthy of being changed, so he needed to concentrate, but that was so hard to do in Baekhyun’s presence. His hand went up to the talisman around his neck and he fingered it as he spoke, “So, where do I find him?”

Baekhyun stood up and approached Jongin, lightly touching him across his chest, “Oh, yeah, he’s your problem now, so I’d get to looking.” His long fingers brushed across Jongin’s waistband and he had to swallow down the sound that threatened to escape his throat.

Maybe if he just-- his eyes met Baekhyun’s and he gasped softly. He knew he couldn’t be touched by his compulsion, but with bedroom eyes like that, Jongin was growing weaker by the second. With a squeak, he stepped backwards, but that didn’t stop the vampire, who followed his lead with a step of his own.

Jongin found it difficult to look away, if he moved his gaze just slightly, it flicked down to the crucifix resting on Baekhyun’s bare skin; skin he wanted to pepper with kisses. Another step backwards, and his back met the wall. He spread his palm against the cool surface, swallowing thickly as Baekhyun’s breath caressed his neck. Just one bite, he thought and tilted his head, offering Baekhyun himself.

Baekhyun circled his fingers around a lock of Jongin’s hair and tugged. “If you’re good, I’ll reward you, my little human.” Then he released Jongin, leaving him more than flustered and half aroused. Jongin sagged against the wall, catching his breath and sighed, he had to spend his whole weekend with a sex demon. The things he would do just to be bitten and turned.

Jongin burst out of the club into the sunlight and blinked against the brightness. He shook his head, trying to think of where to look for Kyungsoo first. Three whole days with him couldn’t be that hard? Oh, but Jongin was wrong.

 

The first thing that should have alerted him that Kyungsoo was going to be difficult was how hard it was to find him. The second was when he found him. After spending several hours switching between googling hiding places of incubi and stalking the various locations described on the blog, Jongin finally found Kyungsoo in the last place he thought to check. Go figure.

The sauna was clean, as it should have been, but it still surprised Jongin as his only experience with saunas were the rumors he heard about it being a place for hookups. Why he didn’t think to check there first, he wasn’t sure, but as he rewrapped the towel around his waist, he chuckled. Of course, Kyungsoo would come here. Dozens of half-naked men sitting in a small room filled with steam and sweat would be like Heaven to the incubus.

Jongin slid the slippers on his feet and entered the first room. He quickly scanned the occupants before dipping out and walking across the room to the other steam room. He didn’t even have to enter to know that Kyungsoo was in there because he could hear him through the door.

“Yes, yes, yes! Right there!”

“I’m gonna cum!”

Then silence. Jongin hesitated, listening intently. When he didn’t hear anything after a few moments, he shoved the door open to see Kyungsoo straddling a body. Jongin watched him disengage himself, wipe himself down with the man’s towel and then toss it on his chest.

“You’re just gonna leave him there like that?” Jongin asked.

Kyungsoo jumped and turned around, wiping his lips with the back of his hand. “What are you doing here?”

Jongin crept closer to the body and peered down at it. The steam obscured most of the man’s features, but from where Jongin was standing the man looked…well, old. His skin was papery thin and mottled with age spots. His hair was just as vibrant as any young adults’ and when Jongin leaned closer he saw that the man’s face was drawn tight across his skull, like it was being pinched from behind.

Still crouching, Jongin looked up at Kyungsoo, “Well, I’m here to babysit you.”

Kyungsoo scoffed, “I don’t need babysitting. Who sent you? Baekhyun? He’s always trying to interfere.” He crossed his arms and the towel he had wrapped around his waist slid a bit.

Jongin reached up to stop it from falling, but instead his finger caught the edge and he ended up lifting the towel, exposing Kyungsoo. He ripped his hand away, a blush spreading across the apples of his cheeks and turned away as he spoke, “I am so sorry.”

Kyungsoo walked around until he was in Jongin’s line of vision and laughed, “Nothing wrong with a little window shopping.” He then winked and opened the towel, letting it fall around his ankles.

Jongin squeezed his eyes shut, thankful that his chastity talisman was working, but also feeling incredibly embarrassed. He stumbled over his words and Kyungsoo took the opportunity to tilt Jongin’s head up by his chin.

“Don’t be such a prude, I know what you did with Baekhyun,” his lips pulled into a heart-shaped smile. “Quite frankly, I’m insulted that he got you first, I thought we had something between us, Jongin?”

Jongin dared to open his eyes and sighed when his mind was still clear. The talisman was really working, but why was his heart beating so fast? “I... uh,”

“Don’t be so serious, I’m joking.” He wrapped the towel around himself again and offered Jongin a hand. “But, really, why are you here?”

Jongin took Kyungsoo’s hand and once he stood up he wiped off the sweat that had accumulated on his forehead. “I was sent here to babysit you, make sure you don’t kill anyone,” he glanced down towards the body, “well, anyone else.”

Kyungsoo rolled his eyes. “Is Baekhyun trying that whole vegan thing again? He really shouldn’t be forcing it on everyone again.” He still didn’t look like he believed Jongin. In fact, he just looked annoyed.

“Vegan?” Jongin asked, furrowing his brows.

There were some myths that vampires could drink from animals to prevent the murder of humans, but in actuality it did not work like that. They needed the hemoglobin from humans in order to survive since their red blood cells lacked the ability to produce it and therefore losing the ability to carry oxygen to the various parts of the body. Still, animals, particularly mammals had similar blood to humans, they just differed in proteins carried in the blood. It was the same reason why people couldn’t get blood transfusions from the wrong blood-type. While vampires could drink blood from different blood-types, they did have a preference for their blood-type pair or for the universal donor: O-.

“Yeah, a few decades ago when the whole hippy-vegan thing hit, he tried to get everyone in the club to go vegan with him and let me tell you, it was disastrous.” Kyungsoo was leaning against the wall, beads of sweat sliding down his flushed skin.

Jongin followed a drop as it travels the length of his neck, over a well-placed freckle, and down his chest. He flicked his eyes back up to Kyungsoo’s and cleared his throat. He wasn’t being influenced by his powers, nope. Jongin was just undeniably attracted to him, much in the same way he was attracted to Baekhyun. Maybe he had a type? Both were similar heights, had sultry builds, both killed people by draining them of life; blood in Baekhyun’s case and souls in Kyungsoo’s, maybe he just liked men that sucked the life out of people, literally?

Returning to the conversation, Jongin cleared his throat again, “What happened?”

“You ever see a child throw a temper tantrum because it wasn’t getting its way? Well, times that by a million and throw in some superhuman strength and the ability to control elements and you’ve pretty much got the reaction of all the vampires in the club.” He shifted against the wall and raked his fingers through his dark hair.

“What happens to you when you don’t feed?” Jongin asked. Every incubus was different in how they handled their feeding cycle, but when they entered the stages of starvation they tended to grow horns, have their irises and sclera turn black, become even more powerful and seductive as they needed to survive, and finally, if desperate enough their tail appeared.

“Me? I just get really horny and will fuck anything on two legs.” Kyungsoo shuddered, “Only happened once, but I really don’t like to talk about it. I was a mess.”

“How long do you go without feeding?” Jongin needed to know what he needed to prepare for this weekend.

“About a day?” Kyungsoo picked at the towel, yanking loose a thread.

“A day?!” Jongin balked at Kyungsoo. Incubi really only needed to feed once every decade or so. To feed more than that was gluttonous and gave them entirely too much power.

“I like food,” Kyungsoo shrugged. “How long can you go without eating?”

“That’s not the same thing,” Jongin shook his head.

“Kind of,” Kyungsoo said, giving Jongin a patronizing look.

“Not even remotely! I don’t kill people to eat,” Jongin stood up, staring at Kyungsoo.

“I feed off of sexual tension and climaxes too, not just souls. I only do that every few weeks or so, damn, judgmental much?” Kyungsoo pursed his lips.

“So, you’re...like a sex addict?” Jongin frowned. He knew some incubi had tantric metabolisms, but that was quite rare. Those with tantric metabolisms did have to feed more often, but they were also more dangerous and powerful. Jongin was definitely in over his head.

“I am a sex demon, what do you expect? I’m not all pure and chaste,” he glanced down at Jongin’s neck, “By the way, nice talisman, did you make it?”

Jongin reached up and touched the vial around his neck, “Yeah, I... kind of wanted to be able to spend larger amounts of time around you without trying to...you know...boink.”

“Boink? What are you five?” Kyungsoo laughed. “Still, it’s sweet of you. Stupid, but sweet.” Kyungsoo clapped a hand on Jongin’s shoulder and started towards the exit.

“You’re not just gonna leave him on the ground like that?” Jongin gestured at the man on the floor. He could not believe he was sitting in a steam room with a dead body. As the horror dawned on him, his eyes grew wide and he let his jaw go slack. He had been having a casual conversation with an incubus for like ten minutes with a dead body on the ground. If someone told him just last week he would’ve done this he would have thought they were insane.

Kyungsoo gritted his teeth and breathed through his nose. “Ugh, fine. Help me prop him up.”

“I’m not touching a dead body!” Jongin shouted, jumping away from the man on the ground.

“Oh my god, you are such a baby,” Kyungsoo sighed and hefted the man onto the bench. He leaned him against the wall and threw the towel over his face. “All better, Princess?”

Jongin gaped at Kyungsoo and followed him out the door. What had he got himself into?

 

A few hours later, Jongin slumped onto his bed feeling completely drained. He had to practically drag Kyungsoo past all the clubs that were coming to life as the night began to approach. For such a small man, Kyungsoo had incredible strength and continually surprised Jongin with it.

If today was this hard, he could only imagine what tomorrow would bring. He rolled over and stared at the ceiling, sighing. Then, his vision was obscured by wide doe eyes and he sighed again. “What?”

“I’m bored,” Kyungsoo said.

“Hi, Bored, I’m Jongin,” Jongin said, fighting to keep the grin off his face.

“Nice dad-joke,” Kyungsoo deadpanned and hopped onto the bed, straddling Jongin. “Let’s do something,” he whined.

“No, you’re on lock-down until Baekhyun says the coast is clear,” Jongin was already growing tired of the incubus.

Kyungsoo huffed, “Ah, you’re so lame.” He rolled off of Jongin and reached over to play with the talisman, “I could take this off you and…”

“No, go to bed,” Jongin mumbled, already drifting off. He draped his arm over his eyes and inhaled deeply. The soft tendrils of sleep were already taking hold on his mind.

“Okay, dad.” Kyungsoo said, and rolled over to face the wall. His voice was muffled when he spoke next, “Can’t believe I’m letting this human tell me what to do.” He stretched and yawned.

“Mmhmm,” Jongin said and let sleep take him into its embrace.

 

The next morning, Jongin woke up to Kyungsoo snuggled up against his side. He half smiled, enjoying the view before he remembered that Kyungsoo wasn’t any regular person and grimaced. He did not want to spend another day trying to keep the incubus from jumping any random stranger’s bones. He grabbed his phone off his nightstand and sent Baekhyun a quick text.

From Jongin:

You better turn me into a vampire after this.

From Baekhyun:

Giving you trouble already? (^,..,^)

From Jongin:

Yeah. You owe me, big time.

 

His thumb hovered over the send button and then twitched. He stared at the screen in abject horror. It was the most aggressive he had been towards Baekhyun since meeting him and he really did not want to mess things up. What if Baekhyun decided right then and there to be completely done with him? He knew vampires had rather large egos, so what if him being so forceful had struck a nerve? He sat there, hardly breathing and wishing he could unsend the text.

From Baekhyun:

You’re lucky I like my humans cocky. We’ll talk after I have a proper feeding. Keep your eye on Kyungsoo. He can be sneaky. Godspeed, my little human~

Baekhyun had coined a pet name for him and while he would never admit it to anyone else, it made him smile at his phone like an idiot. Jongin heaved a sigh and when he turned around, he noticed that the bed was empty. Great, he already lost Kyungsoo. He pushed himself to his feet and trudged out of his room. He called out, “Junmyeon, you up yet?”

No answer.

“Junmyeon?” He paused in front of his door.

Again, no answer.

Turning the knob slowly, he opened Junmyeon’s door and peered inside. His room was a disaster. Clothes littered the floor, wrappers from prepackaged food lay crumpled on his desk and there were bowls of old food sitting on his nightstand. Jongin shut the door and frowned. If Junmyeon was a witch, why didn’t he just clean his room with magic? All he would have to do is lift a finger and things would return to their positions. It wouldn’t even cost him energy to do that little.

He decided to pin that thought. He had more pressing matters: find Kyungsoo. He headed into the kitchen and spotted a note on the fridge from Junmyeon stating he had gone to visit his family and would be back on Monday. That explained where he was. Now all he had to do was find Kyungsoo and--

The front door swung open and in walked Kyungsoo, looking suspiciously refreshed. Jongin squinted at him, “Where were you?”

“Walking your dog,” Kyungsoo replied nonchalantly.

“I... I don’t have a dog?” Jongin said, his inflection giving away his surprise.

“No wonder that lady screamed at me,” he stepped aside and a small white dog entered, nose pressed to the ground sniffing wildly. “Well, now you have a dog.”

Jongin facepalmed and sighed. “What is wrong with you? You can’t just steal a dog!”

“You wanted to get to know the real me,” Kyungsoo shrugged and shut the door with his foot.

Jongin bit his tongue to keep his retort from spilling out. He sighed again, “We have to return the dog, Kyungsoo.”

Kyungsoo ignored him and was petting the dog and cooing at it. Jongin was half-tempted to join him, but he knew if he were the owner he’d be pretty distraught if someone stole his dog. He grabbed the leash from Kyungsoo’s hand and lead the animal out the door.

He did not get far before Kyungsoo was at his side, “You are no fun.”

“You can’t steal people’s pets, Kyungsoo.” Jongin glanced down to the small dog. It seemed happy enough, wagging its tail as it walked, pausing to smell a bush or a patch of grass. It made Jongin want one, but he knew having a pet in college would be difficult.

“Whatever,” Kyungsoo said. He side-eyed Jongin, “I liked you better without the talisman.”

“Sure,” Jongin said. He had spent all of twenty minutes with Kyungsoo and was already done with him. Baekhyun had stolen his weekend away from him and it was starting to grate on his nerves.

A few moments of silence were interrupted by a hysterical woman running up to them. “My baby!”

Jongin flushed, “I am so sorry, ma’am, my friend here,” he gestured to Kyungsoo who was staring at the woman with narrow eyes, “has developmental issues.”

He could feel the glare in Kyungsoo’s eyes so he knew he did not need to glance at him. “I promise to keep a better eye on him,” Jongin said, smiling at the woman who honestly was more interested in her dog.

“Just keep that fiend away from my darling,” she cradled the dog in her arms and let it lick her all over her face. After one pointed look at Kyungsoo she gave Jongin a wary frown and left.

Developmental issues? Do I look stupid to you?” Kyungsoo hissed.

Jongin snickered and started walking. He needed to think of something to keep Kyungsoo entertained for the next few hours. Maybe a movie? “Stupid enough to steal someone’s dog,” he replied.

“So, I can’t feed, I can’t have fun, what can I do?” Kyungsoo complained.

Jongin shrugged his shoulders. Baekhyun had not given explicit orders for Kyungsoo. So how he handled things was up to him, and right now he just wanted to go somewhere and keep Kyungsoo both away from other people but also entertained.

“Why am I even entertaining this? I could just walk away and you can’t do anything to stop me,” Kyungsoo said, stopping in his tracks.

Jongin whirled around. He needed Kyungsoo to cooperate so that Baekhyun would turn him into a vampire. “I’m protecting you,” it was the first thing that came to mind.

Kyungsoo snorted, “You?”

“Why not?” He leaned in towards Kyungsoo, brushing his lips against his ear, he felt the incubus shudder. “You’re being hunted and I was ordered to make you look as human as possible to keep you safe.” He mentally patted himself on the back for thinking of that lie. So far, so good.

“Oh. Huh, I didn’t realize Baekhyun still felt that way…” Kyungsoo trailed off.

“Wait, what?” Baekhyun and Kyungsoo had a history together? There was so much that Jongin didn’t know about either of them, but he never suspected this. Although it did explain why Baekhyun wanted Kyungsoo to be watched. And why was Jongin feeling so possessive of Baekhyun? He only just met the guy not too long ago, so it wasn’t like he had any claim on him.

Kyungsoo grinned, seemingly happy to have knowledge that Jongin wanted to know. “We had a bit of a fling a few decades back.”

A spark of jealousy pierced Jongin. He tried to keep his face neutral, “And?”

“And nothing, we ended things due to differences.” He sighed, “He hasn’t seen anyone since then, so I guess that was why I was so surprised he went after you. Not that I blame him, but he’s probably just using you.”

Jongin started walking again, mind buzzing. Was he just being used? He knew he was being used to do errands for Baekhyun, but part of him was beginning to like him, with the little exposure he had of him. He’d given Baekhyun his blood for crying out loud. Granted it was what equated to a vampire’s one-night-stand, but there had been some crazy endorphins then and Jongin could not deny that he was attracted to him. Besides, if he made him a vampire, they would have to see each other more often and maybe then…

“I struck a chord, didn’t I?” Kyungsoo said, ripping Jongin from his thoughts.

“Nah, I just have a tendency to get myself into these kinds of situations,” he sighed, his mood was souring. History repeated itself for those that did not learn from it. Jongin knew he needed to be careful, especially because his excitement for being turned was clouding his judgement. How could he have been so naive? He let his dick do the talking and now he was wrapped too deep into the Night World that he wouldn’t be able to get out even if he wanted to.

Kyungsoo touched him gently on his shoulder and gave him a lopsided smile, “He has that effect on everyone, don’t worry.”

“You too?”

Kyungsoo only winked in response. His hand brushed against Jongin’s as they continued walking and for half a second, Jongin felt his fingers linger for a bit. He glanced at him and Kyungsoo expertly side stepped, leaving distance between them. They shared a look and Jongin felt his stomach flutter. If he was starting to fall for an incubus he was in even deeper shit.

 

The movie theater was completely empty when they stepped inside holding popcorn and drinks. Jongin laughed to himself at his luck and chose a seat all the way in the back of the theater. It was an old action film and Jongin should have known that he and Kyungsoo would have been alone.

Once he was comfortable, he glanced at his phone and reread the last message Baekhyun had sent him and frowned. Yesterday he was just annoyed, today he was a whirlwind of conflicting emotions. At the rate things were going, tomorrow he would be insane.

Kyungsoo was quiet for the first half of the movie, leading Jongin to steal glances at him to make sure he was okay. He seemed fine for the most part, but every now and then Jongin noticed that Kyungsoo was getting antsy. He kept shifting in his chair and adjusting his pants. It had been nearly a day since Kyungsoo fed, so Jongin guessed he would start feeling the effects of it around now.

“You okay?” He whispered.

Kyungsoo nodded his head and shifted some more. After ten more minutes of him fidgeting, he finally turned to Jongin, “I can’t do this.”

“Do what?” Jongin asked, grabbing a handful of popcorn. The bag was nearly empty. He had been eating to keep himself entertained because the movie was quite bland even for his standards.

“I am so…” he turned towards Jongin and his irises were nearly black. He bit his lip and turned back towards the screen.

Jongin pursed his lips. Kyungsoo fed on sexual tension and climaxes, so maybe if he could give him one, it would make him suffer less? He pulled the talisman over his head and set it in the cup holder. One look at Kyungsoo and he knew he was quickly falling under his spell. Kyungsoo looked as if he were glowing in the darkness. Letting it control him, Jongin stood in front of Kyungsoo, his deepest most carnal desires being pulled to the front of his mind.

“Would it help if I did this?” Jongin asked, sinking to his knees. He watched Kyungsoo stare down at him his icy blue eyes flashing between black and blue as he fought to control himself. God, he was so attractive, Jongin thought.

“I suppose,” Kyungsoo gritted his teeth. “But, you better be good at it.” He fisted Jongin’s hair, guiding his face against his thigh.

In between kisses, Jongin spoke, “Guess you’ll find out.” He reached up and undid the button on Kyungsoo’s jeans. He nipped him through the fabric and then palmed his erection. “How do you want it?”

Kyungsoo shuddered under Jongin’s touch. He let his head loll back, “At this point, I don’t care, just make it good.”

Jongin shrugged and yanked Kyungsoo’s pants down to his ankles. He closed his mouth over the wet spot on Kyungsoo’s boxers and looked up into the incubus’s eyes. He toyed with him before sliding his cock out through the opening. It was a magnificent tool. A couple of succulent veins lined the shaft, leading upwards to a light mauve-colored head. Jongin wanted to take the whole thing in his mouth, he wanted to familiarize himself with every vein, every inch of the silky skin.

Tentatively, he licked a stripe from base to tip. Kyungsoo whimpered, urging Jongin on. Feeling a bit bolder, Jongin grabbed a hold on his length and rubbed the head against his flat tongue, thoroughly drenching it. He could taste the salt of Kyungsoo’s precum and whether it was due to Kyungsoo’s power or not, it was the greatest tasting precum he had ever had.

Letting a glob of spit dribble out of his mouth down Kyungsoo’s member, Jongin began stroking him. Slowly at first, and then speeding up as he closed his mouth over the tip once more. He sucked, massaging his tongue against Kyungsoo’s frenulum and receiving a cacophony of moans from him. He gripped Kyungsoo’s plush thigh with his other hand and gradually began taking his length deeper.

Once his nose reached the fabric of Kyungsoo’s boxers, Jongin swallowed around him, enjoying being filled by Kyungsoo’s hard cock. He wanted to please Kyungsoo in every way possible. He wanted to give him the best orgasm he had ever had. He hummed, vibrating around Kyungsoo’s dick and that earned him another smattering of mewls. He liked being the one to make Kyungsoo create those noises. He yanked off his boxers in effort to really see all of him and replaced his lips back on Kyungsoo’s dick.

Bobbing his head, Jongin found a rhythm. He braced himself on the thick thighs and let his saliva coat Kyungsoo completely.

“That’s a good boy,” Kyungsoo groaned. His fingers tangled in Jongin’s hair and he began guiding him, quickening his pace at times, and at other’s slowing him, holding him down on his length as it throbbed in Jongin’s throat.

When Kyungsoo let Jongin come up for air, he immediately began sucking and licking all along his shaft, slurping as he did so. “You have such a nice dick,” Jongin said, lowering until he could take one of Kyungsoo’s balls into his mouth, “Pretty balls too, so smooth.”

“You’re so good at that,” Kyungsoo said, back arching off the chair. He opened his legs wider and scooted to the edge of the seat.

Jongin released Kyungsoo and dipped, taking in the view of Kyungsoo’s perfect little asshole. He swept his tongue across it and then dove in, gripping Kyungsoo’s legs around his face. He tongued that puckered entrance as if it held the last drops of water in a desert.

Kyungsoo screamed, bucking his hips. His legs began to tremble and he grasped at Jongin’s hair again, knotting his fingers into it hard. Jongin flattened his tongue against Kyungsoo’s hole as he dragged it across, and then brought it to a point. He tested the resistance and when Kyungsoo welcomed him in eagerly, Jongin laughed, muffled against the bottom of Kyungsoo’s cheeks.

He thrusted his tongue in and out, and brought his hand to his mouth to slicken it with spit before stroking Kyungsoo while he tongue-fucked him. A few tugs and Kyungsoo was squirming and coming undone in the plush of the movie chair.

“I’m gonna cum,” Kyungsoo gasped, body tightening and legs squeezing Jongin.

“Good,” Jongin mumbled and slid his tongue inside once more. He swirled it while his hand pumped Kyungsoo’s member. When he felt Kyungsoo’s cock twitch, he pulled away and settled his mouth over the tip. He hummed as he milked Kyungsoo dry. Every last drop of Kyungsoo’s seed spurted into his mouth and he swallowed it down. Feeling Kyungsoo soften in his mouth he released him and leaned back against the chairs, out of breath but also exhilarated.

To Jongin’s surprise, Kyungsoo tossed his talisman to him and then slumped. “You’re not half bad.”

Once the vial touched Jongin’s skin he felt his mind clear and he took in the scene in front of him. Kyungsoo’s jeans were pooled around his ankles with his boxers resting on top of them. His legs were splayed open, dick flaccid and his balls doing that lava-lamp thing that still mesmerized Jongin ever since he noticed his own doing that one day -- he had been masturbating in front of a mirror and caught sight of this phenomenon.

“Not half bad? Come on, I deserve at least a ‘pretty good’, don’t you think?” Jongin said, running his fingers through his hair. His lips felt swollen in a way that meant he had really gave his all.

“Alright, you were pretty damn good,” he sighed and started pulling his pants back up. “But, don’t let that get to your head.”

“Dick-sucking game so strong I can make an incubus weak,” Jongin laughed, “I should put that on my resume.”

“And, it’s already getting to your head, wow,” Kyungsoo brought the drink to his lips and took a long drink. “Are you gonna sit on that filthy floor all night?”

Jongin glanced around him and cringed. The floor was disgusting. He shot to his feet and wiped his hands on his pants. They still felt sticky. “I’m going to the bathroom,” he glanced at the screen, the credits had started rolling, “Meet out there?”

When Jongin exited the bathroom, he couldn’t find Kyungsoo. He sighed, this was what he had suspected. Take his eyes off of Kyungsoo just for five minutes and the guy was off somewhere doing God knows what. In any case, he needed to find him quickly.

It was early evening, when Jongin stepped outside and there was still quite a large number of people outside walking around. He scanned the area and rounded a corner to find Kyungsoo lip-locked with some random person. Fuck. Baekhyun was not going to be happy.

“You can’t just do that!” Jongin yelled, pulling Kyungsoo away from the dazed man. He looked like he had aged thirty years and when he eventually came to, he was going to be in for a rude awakening.

“Ugh, you are the worst,” Kyungsoo rolled his eyes and wiped his mouth. “At least let me finish him.”

“In public?!” Jongin stared at Kyungsoo wide eyed and gaping. Who in their right mind would jack a stranger off on the street?

Kyungsoo gave him a patronizing look and sighed, “Look, I feed on other’s climaxes,” he gestured to the man, “So if you’ll excuse me…”

Jongin stood there for a second, connecting the dots and then gasped. “Wait, so I didn’t have to blow you in the movies?”

Kyungsoo laughed, “I mean I’m not gonna turn down a beej…” he started to unbutton the guy’s pants.

Jongin swatted his hands away from the man. “You owe me.”

Kyungsoo stared at him and then shrugged, “Fine with me.” He shoved Jongin against the wall, hands sliding under his shirt and undoing his pants in one motion. He was good.

Jongin pushed him back firmly, “Not here.” He quickly fastened his pants and grabbed Kyungsoo’s wrist. “Let’s head back to the dorm.”

Three orgasms later Jongin stumbled to his room. His entire nether region ached. He did not know he could cum that much let alone get hard so quickly time and time again. They had barely made it through the door when Jongin took off the talisman and let it clatter to the ground. He had glanced back to make sure it didn’t break and then Kyungsoo pounced on him, sucking him dry once, then working him up again about twenty minutes later only to give Jongin a knee-wobbling climax with those sinful lips of his. He had only waited an hour for the third time because Jongin had replaced the talisman to ward him off.

While this part of babysitting an incubus wasn’t too bad, Jongin was beginning to think that if they kept this up, his dick would fall off tomorrow, especially since Kyungsoo said he would show Jongin that while he knew how to use his mouth, he was more talented in other ways.

Jongin felt the bed dip beside him and he opened one eye and mumbled, “Not now, sleep please.”

“Don’t get your boxers in a knot, I’m tired too,” Kyungsoo whispered. He slipped under the blankets, skin brushing against Jongin’s and yawned.

 

The next morning, Jongin’s eyes flew open. Today was the last day and that meant that he would be turned into a vampire soon! He flung the blanket off him and hopped to his feet, in high spirits. He walked into the bathroom to find Kyungsoo already in the shower and popped his head in, “Good morning!”

“You need to get laid more, if this is how you act the next day,” Kyungsoo laughed.

He was using Jongin’s shower poof and while on any other day that would have annoyed him, nothing could bring down his mood. Jongin stripped down and climbed in with Kyungsoo, earning a suspicious look but when he pointed to the talisman around his neck, Kyungsoo went back to scrubbing his skin.

“What do you want to do today?” Jongin asked, standing behind Kyungsoo waiting for him to let him into the hot water.

“We can just stay in, I fed plenty yesterday.” He stepped aside and let Jongin into the water, still holding the shower poof. He began scrubbing Jongin’s back.

“Oh, okay then,” Jongin closed his eyes and let Kyungsoo clean his body. It was strangely personal, but then again, he was already very familiar with his body after yesterday. “I mean, I don’t mind if you need to feed again…”

“Honestly, I’m getting plenty right now,” he lowered to his knees, scrubbing Jongin’s legs. “You see, the sexual tension,” he inhaled, “is so strong right now, even with that talisman on.”

Jongin bit his lip. He was toeing a line here. Besides, after everything they talked about yesterday, Jongin wasn’t sure if he wanted to get between Baekhyun and Kyungsoo, especially if Baekhyun was rekindling some kind of emotions. He started to pout before he started laughing. He had gotten so caught up in his life that he actually believed it himself. Baekhyun had not sent him to protect Kyungsoo from a hunter, he was just supposed to keep an eye on him.

Kyungsoo stopped washing him and patted Jongin on the back, “You okay there, Dr. Jekyll?”

Jongin caught his breath, “I’m sorry, I just remembered something funny.” He didn't want to tell Kyungsoo the truth, no he wanted to keep that tidbit of information for himself.

“Like what?” Kyungsoo hung the shower poof on the hook and turned Jongin around to rinse him.

“Nothing, I’m just an idiot.” He shifted, fully rinsing his body and then shut the water off.

“Well we both know that,” Kyungsoo quipped as he got out.

Jongin’s smile tightened, but he chose to ignore Kyungsoo’s statement. “Anyway, staying in is fine with me.” He stepped over the edge, onto the towel Kyungsoo was using to dry off and when Kyungsoo pulled it, he slipped, landing on top of the talisman, shattering the glass. He reached up to touch the bit of blessed twine around his neck and his eyes widened. He needed to stay protected. Panic rising in his chest he searched for the shard of amber.

“Drop your glasses, Velma?” Kyungsoo said, kneeling to aid Jongin.

If Jongin looked up, he knew he would be in trouble, but his reflexes tilted his head up before his brain caught on to what he was doing. The second he met those icy blue irises, Jongin’s mind clouded over in the strongest way possible. His body acted of its own accord, and he was straddling Kyungsoo in the middle of the bathroom floor.

“You’re so fucking hot,” Jongin whispered, raking his nails down Kyungsoo’s chest. He then bent to trail his tongue down each raised line he had left behind. He moaned deep in his throat as he latched onto a pert mauve colored nipple and gently pulled it between his teeth.

Kyungsoo’s eyelids fluttered as he arched into Jongin. He clamped down on his bottom lip and whined as Jongin shifted to the other nipple and repeated the motion. Jongin placed his hands on Kyungsoo’s shoulders and shimmied down his body until he was face to face with his cock. He admired the thickness of it and spread kisses up and down it.

“I need your cock,” Jongin breathed, one hand opening the sink cabinet and pulling out a bottle of lube. He popped the cap and drizzled the throbbing member with generous amounts. Then, he coated his fingers and began working himself open. He spun his fingers in his hole, scissoring them to stretch his entrance. Once satisfied, he aimed Kyungsoo’s dick and lowered himself down onto it, hissing at the initial sting.

“Fuck, you’re so tight,” Kyungsoo moaned, his hips automatically rolling up to meet Jongin’s ass. He gripped Jongin around his waist and adjusted him. “So tight,” he repeated.

Jongin grinned, glad to be of service to Kyungsoo and leaned forward, burying his face in the crook of Kyungsoo’s neck while he undulated his hips. Slow smooth movements gradually turned into him rolling and snapping his hips while Kyungsoo grunted beneath him, fingers leaving bruises where they were clamped around his waist.

Being stretched by Kyungsoo’s cock was everything Jongin wanted a more. He nipped at Kyungsoo’s clavicle and quickened his pace. He reached one hand down to stroke himself as he bounced on Kyungsoo’s dick. “Do I make you feel good?”

Kyungsoo keened, and wet his lips. “Yes, you make me feel so good.” He then pulled Jongin up as far as he could and commanded, “On your hands and knees,”

Jongin obliged, because he really just wanted to please Kyungsoo in every way and to be pleased by him in return. He could feel Kyungsoo line up behind him and plunge in deep. He arched, throwing his head back and moaned. Kyungsoo felt so damn good inside of him. He snuck a look at him over his shoulder and gasped. The incubus was lost in the throes of passion, head tilted towards the ceiling, mouth whispering quiet swears in between his moans.

“Fuck, your ass is amazing, you’re amazing,” Kyungsoo groaned.

Jongin beamed, he increased his movements, meeting Kyungsoo’s hips with his cheeks quicker now. He felt him lean over him, chest to his back and Kyungsoo sped up even more. The sensation was bringing Jongin to orgasm, but when Kyungsoo shifted ever so slightly, Jongin saw stars behind his eyes. “Fuck, fuck me harder!”

Kyungsoo placed both hands on the ground on either side of Jongin and thrusted into him as hard and fast as he could. Jongin’s hand returned to his dick and he tugged himself in time with Kyungsoo’s pistoning cock. He was hitting his prostate with every submergence of his member and Jongin was getting closer and closer.

On his shoulders, Kyungsoo pressed a kiss and Jongin felt his whole-body shudder. They were lip-locked so he knew Kyungsoo wasn’t trying to steal his soul, but he had not realized that incubi could kiss other places on the body. Another well timed strike against that sweet spot and Jongin felt his cock twitch. It was pulsating in his hand, so close to climax. He stroked faster, his breath coming out in bursts between his low moans and behind him Kyungsoo circled an arm around his middle, holding them closer together.

Jongin’s whole body tensed as the first wave of his orgasm racked his body. His hips spasmed and he squeezed around Kyungsoo’s dick, pulling him to climax too. The collapsed in a heap, Jongin’s chest and the floor covered in thin ropes of his cum. He laid there, catching his breath and for half a second, his mind began to clear and he climbed out from under Kyungsoo.

Against the base of the toilet, he saw the shard of amber and he closed his fingers around it. The lusty fog cleared almost instantly and he started giggling. Kyungsoo’s power was entirely too strong for him to be alone with him in the house all day. He nudged the incubus, who was laying on his stomach, eyes closed and still breathing quite hard. “How was I?”

Kyungsoo grinned, “Shh, don’t ruin my after-breakfast coma.”

“I’ll take that as: Jongin you were so amazing that I am as stuffed as a turkey on Thanksgiving.” Jongin smiled, feeling smug. It had been quite some time since he last had gotten laid (unless he counted the time with Baekhyun, but he still wasn’t sure if he was hallucinating everything aside from the bite or not) so these last two days had him feeling more than satisfied. And definitely more than proud of his abilities.

Kyungsoo’s eyes shot open and he sighed, “Yeah, that, don’t do that.” He sat up and looked at the mess around them and sighed. “Way to ruin a good food coma.”

They spent the rest of the day switching between bickering with each other and fucking. Usually it happened whenever Jongin ‘accidentally’ dropped the shard of amber, which he did once in the living room -- dropped it between the cushions and when he ‘blindly’ searched for it, he grabbed a handful of Kyungsoo’s dick -- another time in the kitchen when he caught Kyungsoo bending over as he was looking in the fridge for a snack. Jongin had sworn that the shard just flew out of his hand and landed under the fridge, but in reality, he just wanted Kyungsoo under him. Finally, a third time in Jongin’s room where Kyungsoo rode him so hard he thought his bed was going to break.

If Kyungsoo knew what Jongin was doing, he didn’t complain. After all, he was being fed to the absolute brim with the way they kept screwing like bunnies, and in his own words, he wasn’t one to turn down ‘free meals’.

 

On his desk, Jongin’s phone vibrated and he rolled out of bed onto gummy legs. He wobbled over and peered at the screen. It seemed the lockdown was over and Jongin was free of Kyungsoo. He turned to him and shrugged his shoulders, “Well, my job is done,” he said.

Kyungsoo slid off the bed to his feet and began getting dressed, “This was fun, Jongin, glad we got to hang out.” He clapped a hand on his back and continued, “Hit me up any time you forget your talisman or if, you know, you actually just want to hang out.”

“Thought I wasn’t supposed to get involved with you?” Jongin grinned at Kyungsoo over his shoulder.

“I’ll make an exception for that glorious ass of yours,” he said and disappeared out the door.

Jongin stood in the middle of his room, smiling lightly because he had completed the job -- albeit with a few casualties -- and that meant that Baekhyun was coming to change him. When he heard his front door, slam shut he flopped onto his bed and pulled out his laptop and began drafting the post.

 

A few hours later, Jongin was still in bed reading over the blog entry when he felt eyes on him. He glanced around and saw nothing so he went back to proofreading.

“Take it the rest of your weekend went well?” Baekhyun’s voice came from the darkness. He materialized in a corner of Jongin’s room and approached Jongin’s bed. He was wearing a deep forest green button down and a pair of black slacks. It was a somewhat stark difference from his Victorian inspired wardrobe.

“Yep, had a great weekend,” he said as he fixed a small typo in the middle of a paragraph. He snuck a glance up at Baekhyun and noticed the vampire was studying him closely. His cheeks burned so he flicked his gaze back to the screen.

Baekhyun sat on the edge of his bed and glanced around the room, nose in the air as if he was sniffing, but there was no sound. “And your talisman?” He side-eyed Jongin.

Jongin glanced up from the screen and stared at Baekhyun. “It broke, uh...have to make a new one.”

Baekhyun gave him an unreadable look and his nose twitched, “I’ll have one made for you.”

“I can make my own, it’s not a problem, Baekhyun,” Jongin said, returning his attention to the blog post. It was actually hard to look at Baekhyun for too long. He always seemed to glow faintly, as if light radiated from him.

Baekhyun shifted in Jongin’s bed, facing him full on now and cocked his head to the side, “I take care of what’s mine, Jongin.”

Jongin’s heart sped up a bit in his chest at that and he looked up again, eyes meeting Baekhyun’s and searching his face for any sign of deceit. “Yours?”

Baekhyun avoided answering the question and changed the subject, “My club has been cleared,”

“Wait, so who is doing the killing?” Jongin asked. He shut the lid of his laptop and sat up in bed. He wanted to know who he had to blame (and thank) for this weekend.

“Not my people, not my problem,” Baekhyun shrugged.

“What about Kyungsoo? He’s not a vampire,” Jongin stated.

“Eh,” Baekhyun shrugged again and then scooted closer on Jongin’s bed, playing with his foot over the blanket.

Jongin kicked his hand away, “Wait, what the fuck? So, I had to spend the whole weekend with a sex demon for nothing?”

“You definitely got something out of it,” Baekhyun said and raised his eyebrow.

“I…. whatever. So that’s it? You’re gonna turn me now?” He looked up at Baekhyun, eyes hopeful. He had proven his worth, it was finally time to be changed.

“Oh, I said that? That was just incentive,” Baekhyun smiled, grabbing Jongin’s foot in a vice grip.

“Yeah, multiple times, Baekhyun,” Jongin pouted and when Baekhyun’s face remained disinterested he tried to pull his foot out of Baekhyun’s hand again, “What the hell, we had a deal!”

“Did we shake on it? Baekhyun stroked his hand from Jongin’s foot to his thigh and Jongin’s breath caught in his chest. He’d have thought that he was completely satisfied after the last two days but his body clearly had a hunger all its own.

“No, but you gave your word,” Jongin replied and Baekhyun’s fingers danced higher. He bit his lip to keep the whine in his throat at bay.

“Ah, well you know how that goes,” His hand stopped halfway up his leg and then he removed it. He stood and leaned over Jongin, gently pushing back until he was lying down. He caressed his cheek and pulled the blankets up to his neck. “Until next time, my little human.” He pecked Jongin on the lips and faded into the night.

Jongin looked down and sighed at the tent under the blanket. “Oh, for fuck’s sake.”

 

What is an incubus? They are pretentious, selfish little creatures that will toy with the fact that their undeniable sex appeal can rope even the most chaste of man. Of course, if you are as depraved as them, then you’ll take advantage of the situation, but be wary of their kiss. One brush of those lips upon your own and you’ll be turned into a raisin, and not the fun kind. Granted, I had to babysit one for the whole weekend, there is one thing I did learn, they’re not all bad...vampires on the other hand...

Chapter Text

The sunlight squeezed through Jongin’s blinds like fat globs of toothpaste. One particular beam landed smack dab on his face and Jongin scrunched his nose at the sudden warmth. He rolled over, snuggling into his sheets and sighed. He did not want to go to class today. In fact, he would take any excuse to not go, even another mission from Baekhyun, whom after last night, was completely ignoring him. It stung a bit, but Jongin recognized that vampires must lead busy lives and that was why he was being put on read.

He let his phone slid between the crevice his bed and wall made and flopped onto his back, squinting at the random spot of sunlight that was determined to torment him. He figured he may as well get up and slid off his bed onto the floor where he laid for a few moments. Maybe he could fake his death? Then he wouldn’t have to go to class for the rest of his life. He nodded into his carpet and pushed himself up to a sitting position. Time to get ready for death, he thought.

When he exited his room, he saw the flash of Junmyeon’s silvery hair and hesitated. His roommate had returned last night but had yet to actually speak to him. Even when Jongin tried talking to him, his roommate would dart back into his room and wait until Jongin gave up before exiting again. Strange fellow he was at times.

“Yo, you gonna give me the cold shoulder forever?” Jongin said, leaning against the wall by his door.

Junmyeon stared at him, mouth gaping and his face turning a deep scarlet. He quickly flicked his gaze around the hall and then darted back into his room. Jongin half snorted and shook his head. So, his roommate had one bad night where he was fall-on-the-ground drunk and suddenly it was the end of the world. Jongin rolled his eyes, everyone has had one of those nights and they were nothing to be ashamed of. Besides, Junmyeon’s wasn't even all that had.

Whatever. Jongin quickly finished his morning routine: shower, get dressed, stare at himself in the mirror for an unusually long amount of time, and finally eating. He was nearly done with the last spoonful of leftovers when he received an alert from his professor detailing that they could not make it to class today and that it was canceled.

“Yes!” Jongin shouted, knocking over his plate of food and sending grains of rice and a single bite of meat to the ground.

So maybe the gods of fate were on his side after all. Now that his day was free, Jongin had to figure out a way to fill it. Perhaps he would write more for the blog or sleep. Who was he kidding, he was going to do both. Nothing like extra sleep to a college student. Sleep was that elusive monster that evaded most if not all goers of college and every student knew there was a trifecta that made up the college experience: sleep, grades, and social life, and each student only got to choose two to work on, while the third withered and suffered from neglect. Here’s a hint: most students chose the latter two of the three and often that led to them being sleepless zombies that fed on bean water and energy drinks just to stay awake through class.

An hour of putting together another post for the blog, Jongin heard a soft knock on his door. He glanced up and shouted, “It’s about time you talked to me!”

Junmyeon popped his head in first and then his whole body followed and he closed the door behind him. “Jongin, I have something important to tell you,” Junmyeon said, wringing his hands. His forehead was creased with worry and he looked like he hadn’t slept in days. Whatever kind of family meeting he had must have taken a lot out of him.

Jongin lowered the lid to his laptop and laced his fingers in his lap. He knew what Junmyeon was going to say but he wanted to poke some fun at him first. So, he grinned wildly at Junmyeon. “I already know you’re gay, no big deal.”

“What? No! I mean, I am, but -- how did you--?” he shook his head, mouth opening and closing a few times. “Not important, I mean it is? But not really because who I sleep with shouldn’t be up for discussion, and now I’m rambling…” He sighed, “Jongin, I’m a witch.”

Jackpot! Today really was going to be a wonderful day. Jongin raised an eyebrow, “Yeah, I knew that too.”

Junmyeon sputtered for a second, raising his index finger and then frowning. “Where the hell have I been?”

“Oh, I don’t know, avoiding me? Look, you weren’t even that drunk, and you only half-admitted to wanting to bone, which I take as a compliment,” Jongin grinned. He loved making Junmyeon flustered. It didn’t happen often, but when it did it was so rewarding.

“You know what, I’m starting over.” Junmyeon backed out of Jongin’s room, closing the door behind him. Then, he opened it, walking in with a smile on his face, “Two things: I’m a witch, and we’re going shopping.”

That was how Jongin ended up in a witch’s shop, arms wrapped around himself, and shivering in discomfort. Go figure.

 

The witch’s shop, aptly named Wycked Wishes, was a few blocks down from Club Isis. To get there, Junmyeon took Jongin down a series of winding alleys, each growing more and more dark until Jongin swore the sun had disappeared and with the lack of light came a lack of heat. The door to the shop was a holey, worm eaten oak door which Junmyeon smiled at and sighed.

“Don’t you just love how cheesy this all is?” Junmyeon chirped and placed his hand on the door. Something underneath his palm squirmed and the door fell open, thudding to the ground with a plume of dust.

Jongin pulled his sleeves over his hands and covered his nose. He gave Junmyeon a look of distaste and said, “Doesn’t anyone clean around here? This place looks abandoned.”

Junmyeon shook his head, “It’s part of the aesthetic. After someone enters, a whole new layer of dust is laid on the ground and the door is placed back. It really adds a nice touch.”

Jongin grimaced and stepped over the door into the shop. He wasn’t sure if he was imagining it, but it was even colder inside. He glanced around at the shelves and felt a chill run down his spine. Directly across from him was a jar packed to the brim with eyeballs that were all turned on him. If he leaned to one side, they followed him. It gave him the heebie jeebies.

Aside from all the creepy shelf decorations, the shop could not be any more cliché. The whole shop was lit by candles or witch light which had a ghoulish gray/green glow to it and left plenty of shadows. Jongin hung close to Junmyeon, half frightened by his surroundings but also extremely curious as to why they were even here. Which, of course prompted the question, “Junmyeon why on earth are we here?”

Junmyeon placed a small jar of some kind of grounded powder into the -- get this -- witch’s hat that doubled as a bag and then tapped his finger on his chin, muttering under his breath. He turned around, scanning the contents of the aisle they were in and when he found what he was looking for, he let out a small cry of joy.

Jongin huffed and jumped back when a severed hand reached out to touch him, knocking into the other set of shelves and almost spilling the contents, except when they wobbled off, they hit some kind of force-field and floated back to their original spots. “Junmyeon,” Jongin whined. He was starting to wish his class had not been canceled.

Junmyeon looked at Jongin over his shoulder and laughed, “Chill out, the shop knows when someone is scared and feeds off it.”

Jongin’s eyes widened and he felt his pulse spike. The shop was alive? He hugged himself tighter and hovered less than two centimeters behind Junmyeon. “Are you serious?”

Junmyeon guffawed. “No, but your reaction was priceless. I thought you loved this stuff? Why are you being such a baby?”

Jongin stepped backwards and squared his shoulders. He glanced around at all the trinkets and ingredients and felt himself shiver again. “I'm not scared, I’m just cold. Why is this place so frigid?” He was lying through his teeth and if Junmyeon noticed, he thankfully did not call Jongin out on it.

“If it were warmer, then half the stuff on the shelves would spoil or die,” he answered and continued down the aisle, picking up small things here and there and placing them in the witch’s hat.

“Okay, but you never answered my first question: why are we here?” Jongin asked, making sure to stay directly in the middle of the shelves so nothing could jump off at him. Several boxes were rattling against the force field and Jongin had no desire to find out why or what was in them. When he glanced back, he noticed that the jar of eyes was still staring at him and his hair stood on end. Eugh.

“I was commissioned to make something for a client,” he said, distracted by the illegible scrawl on a purple jar of some mystery contents. He whispered under his breath and the words rearranged themselves and he snorted and placed it back on the shelf.

Jongin leaned over and stared at the jar, whatever spell Junmyeon had used had worn off and all Jongin could see was jagged script. “What was in the jar?”

Junmyeon shrugged, “Some demonic blood, but it was written in demonic language so who knows if that’s what’s really inside.” He turned and went down another aisle. “Just need to get two more things and then we can go,” he said and disappeared down the aisle.

Jongin jogged to keep up, keeping his arms close to his sides and darting his eyes around the shop to make sure nothing was coming after him. He found Junmyeon halfway down an aisle filled with sections of fabric and furrowed his brows. This was the most normal aisle in the shop...or so he thought. He brushed against a piece of fabric and it hissed at him and recoiled and Jongin let out a squeak.

“Oh, yeah, some of them can be a bit fussy. If you want to look at a length you have to coax it,” Junmyeon laughed and continued whispering to a deep purple swatch of fabric. It was silky and it glided off the shelf and into his hands with a satisfied whisper. Junmyeon twirled it into a ball and dropped it in the witch’s hat. He spun around and sped walked further down the aisle coming to a stop before trays of small metal objects.

Jongin rushed after him, careful not to touch any of the spools of textile on the shelves. When he caught up he had to hide a smile. In front of him were trays of locket shaped charms. They looked positively Victorian and all Jongin could think was that Baekhyun would appreciate something like this. He gently picked up a small rose gold charm and examined it. It was made with intricate lattice work, oval in shape and had two small compartments inside.

“Oh, that’s perfect!” Junmyeon said, holding his hand out expectantly and Jongin sighed and gave it to him. He had wanted it for himself, but if it was what Junmyeon was looking for, then he did not want to hinder him in any way, lest he wanted to spend another hour in this godforsaken shop.

Junmyeon grabbed Jongin by his wrist and pulled him to the front where a lone gray cat was sitting, licking itself. Junmyeon placed the hat on the counter and the cat stared at him, frozen mid-lick. Then its body began vibrating until it exploded in a plume of smoke that left Jongin sputtering and coughing.

Once his fit was over, he opened his eyes to see that in the place of the cat was a petite woman with silvery hair that flowed as if there were a breeze. She smiled at Junmyeon, “Been a while since I’ve seen you here, brother.”

Junmyeon rubbed the back of his neck, cheeks tinting pink, “Yeah, I know, but you know how life gets…” he trailed off and watched as the woman rang him up using an archaic register that clinked and grinded every time she touched it.

The machine made a mechanical cough and she hit it a few times until it spat out a receipt, which she handed to Junmyeon and continued talking, “I heard about your meeting with the Coven, I’m glad you were able to convince them to spare your roommate.”

“W-what?!” Jongin exclaimed, eyes flitting between the woman and Junmyeon. “Spare me? What is she talking about?” Jongin asked. Wasn’t Junmyeon visiting family this past weekend? Also, why was this woman calling him brother? They looked nothing alike, other than their unnatural colored hair and Jongin knew that Junmyeon dyed his because it was red when they first met.

Junmyeon glared at the woman and scanned the receipt before pulling out his wallet and handing over the necessary cash. He spoke without looking at Jongin, “I’ll tell you more once we’re home.” He grabbed the witch’s hat and after whispering an incantation, he placed it on his head and pulled Jongin out of the shop.

Leaving was easier than entering. The door simply swung open and they were spat out onto a busy sidewalk surrounded by people. Jongin blinked a few times adjusting to the light and then hurried after Junmyeon who was walking briskly towards their dorm. Jongin was only able to follow him because the point of the black witch’s hat bobbed with every step he took.

They reached the dorm together, well not quite, Junmyeon was still positively fuming so he was half jogging, half-speed walking, and Jongin was doing the same to catch up to him but they reached the door more or less at the same time, which meant they both saw the incubus sitting on the ground by the door.

“Kyungsoo?” Jongin said, making sure to keep his distance but it only helped minutely. He could feel his mind start to fog over, but Junmyeon waved his hand over Jongin, mouthing a spell and everything returned to normal.

“Thanks, Junmyeon,” Kyungsoo said and stood slowly. He looked worn out and almost as if he had been crying.

Jongin looked between them, “You both know each other?”

“I don’t have time for this,” Junmyeon said and stormed inside, yanking the hat off his head and dumping the contents on the table.

Jongin hurried in after him and nodded at Kyungsoo to follow him and the two of them stared at the witch who was still livid. Jongin watched as he arranged the stuff he bought on the table and then flicked his gaze to the incubus who was watching just as intently. Remembering his question, Jongin opened his mouth and Junmyeon cut him off.

“You weren’t supposed to know I was a witch…” he trailed and scurried to the kitchen to grab a cauldron from under the sink, that Jongin swore he never saw before, and clanked it on the table. “You found out because I was careless, and the Coven wanted me to kill you.”

“Kill me?” Jongin balked, slamming his hands on the table in mock anger. As if Junmyeon could hurt a fly. His roommate had to call him just to kill an ant. There was no way he could possibly harm Jongin.

To his side Kyungsoo snickered, “This is why I don’t mess with witches. That and they are immune to my powers, what with their magic and all.”

Junmyeon glared at Kyungsoo, “Why are you even here?”

Kyungsoo shrugged, “Moral support, Jongin’s ass mostly though.”

Heat washed over Jongin’s face and he elbowed Kyungsoo in the side harshly. Why was the incubus here? Did he really miss him after only a day? Could Jongin be getting involved with two people at once? He smiled to himself, mentally patting himself on the back for bagging not only a hot incubus, but for also earning the attention of a very powerful elemental vampire. Junmyeon must’ve noticed the smile because he scowled at Jongin.

“Yes, kill you. They wanted me to murder you to keep our world a secret,” he said, dumping the contents of one jar into the cauldron, producing a puff of pink smoke that dissipated quickly.

“Wow, that’s intense, how would you have killed me then?” Jongin asked. He pulled a chair out and plopped down in it as he watched Junmyeon work.

“Why are you so calm about all of this?” Junmyeon asked, reading the description of another bottle before placing it back on the table and instead picking up an eyedropper filled with a black liquid.

Jongin shrugged, “Well I was spared, wasn’t I? It’s not like you’re gonna kill me now, so I can be calm.” He laughed a bit, “Besides, I'm just glad to be out of that godforsaken shop.”

“He took you to Wycked Wishes?” Kyungsoo asked, an eyebrow raised.

Jongin nodded. “Place is fucking creepy.”

The incubus bobbed his head in agreement and picked up a stopper from one of the many jars and tossed it in the air. “Witches are so cliché.”

Junmyeon snorted and tossed another ingredient in the cauldron and stirred for a bit. “I think it’s just an aesthetic we witches can appreciate.” He leaned over the cauldron and sniffed the vapors before adding another ingredient, this time it was a vial of red liquid that looked suspiciously like blood.

“What are you making anyway?” Jongin asked, sliding his arms on the table and resting his head on top of them. It was both interesting and boring to watch Junmyeon work. Interesting because there were crazy sounds and plumes of smoke, boring because he couldn’t actually see what was happening.

“A vampire’s claim, with a twist.” Junmyeon muttered and upended the last jar on the table into the mixture. There was a bright flash of light and then the cauldron bubbled, liquid rising to the brim before settling down and disappearing from view.

“Oh, who for?” Kyungsoo asked, he wore the same expression as Jongin but was leaning back in the chair.

“I never reveal my client’s identities,” Junmyeon said and then reached into the cauldron to pull out a small bit of hardened crystal. It glowed softly as he turned it around in the light and then he clamped his hand around it. “Alright, the fun part is over, now I have to go say incantations, so I’ll leave you two alone.” He looked at Jongin, “The spell should last until you fall asleep, so be sure to kick out Kyungsoo before then.”

Kyungsoo looked scandalized and gave Junmyeon sour expression. “I’m not even here for that.”

Jongin glanced at him and sat up, “Then why are you here?”

“Oh my god, if you want me to leave just say so,” Kyungsoo hissed.

“No, it’s not that, I’m just genuinely curious,” Jongin said as he got up and started towards his bedroom. He kicked the door open and flopped onto his bed diagonally. The bed sank when Kyungsoo’s weight joined him and he peered up at him, “Well?”

“Okay, you got me, I’m bored and you’re the only person who I can stand to be around without having sex.”

That made Jongin smile, but he turned his face to the blankets to hide it. So, he had grown on the incubus after the long weekend. When he rolled over to his back he sighed, “So what do you wanna do then?”

Kyungsoo picked at his nail as he spoke, “I don’t know, what do you usually do at this time?”

Jongin perked up, “I can show you the blog!” He reached under his pillow and pulled out the device and opened the lid. “It was given to me and that was how I found Club Isis actually.”

A few hours of Jongin explaining the purpose of the blog to Kyungsoo and Jongin left him his laptop while he tidied up his room. He picked up various shirts he had left lying around and tossed them into his hamper. It wasn’t until he reached the corner of his room that was always shrouded in darkness that he saw a strange letter lying on the ground addressed to him.

“What is this?” Jongin asked, holding the envelope in his hands. He knew it was from Baekhyun for two reasons: his name was stamped in the melted wax and the letter had melted wax. Typical vampire behavior.

“Oh, looks like Mr. I-vant-to-suck-your-blahd, has the hots for you.” Kyungsoo said, having abandoned the laptop and peering over Jongin’s shoulder. “What? Not even a chuckle?”

“Wow, you’re worse than me,” Jongin rolled his eyes. He walked over to his desk to find a letter opener -- it was a gift from his parents, years ago when Jongin had been convinced that he would receive his letter to Hogwarts and demanded a letter opener so he could keep the letter in pristine condition -- and slowly lifted the wax emblem.

The contents of the letter were impersonal, but the important part was that Jongin had been cordially invited to attend a Vampire Masquerade as Baekhyun’s plus one. At the bottom of the page was Baekhyun’s looping signature followed by a winky face. Ah, ever the professional.

Jongin threw the letter in the air and let out a rather girlish squeal. “My life is a movie, Kyungsoo!” He turned and pulled the incubus into a tight hug and gave him a small peck on the cheek. He was over the moon excited.

Having been release from Jongin’s vice grip, Kyungsoo fished the letter off the ground and quickly read it before giving Jongin a lopsided smile. “Wow, this is actually pretty serious.”

Jongin snatched it from Kyungsoo’s fingers and placed the letter on his desk to reread it again, this time his eyes tracing the loops of Baekhyun’s signature. “Why do you say that?”

Jongin’s bed creaked and he saw out of the corner of his eye that Kyungsoo was lying on top of his blankets face in the pillows. His voice was muffled, “Vampires only hold these balls every few centuries, so being invited to one means you are important.”

Important. Surely this meant that Baekhyun was going to turn him. Perhaps this was how he was going to introduce him to vampire life? Take him to a fancy ball, smother him in luxuries and introduce him to the elite all before he finally changed him. Life could not get any better than this.

“Or, he could be bringing you as an offering for his Madame,” Kyungsoo added after taking in Jongin’s elated expression.

Just like that, Jongin deflated. “Get out, you’ve overstayed your welcome.” He pulled at Kyungsoo’s ankle until he fell to the floor and nudge him with his foot.

“What the fuck? What crawled up your butt and died?” Kyungsoo whined, standing up and rubbing his hip.

“Your sour attitude,” Jongin offered and returned to rereading the letter. There was no indication what the masquerade would entail, so maybe Kyungsoo was right?

“Get your panties out of a bunch, Jongin, you’re his plus one and all he does is talk about you at the club, so it’ll be fine.” Kyungsoo rolled his eyes. He sighed, “I’ll get going though, let you bask in your schoolgirl crush and all. Goodnight.”

“Night!” Jongin called over his shoulder and then took the letter with him to bed. He was on the second line when he felt eyes still on him and he peered over the paper to see Kyungsoo looking at him with a strange expression.

“You alright there buddy?” Jongin asked but all Kyungsoo did was nod and disappear through his door. He wanted to worry about the incubus, but his mind was so caught up in the scenarios that could happen at the ball. He was never one for dances when he was in grade school, but the thought of going to an infamous vampire ball had him all kinds of excited.

He vaguely remembered dozing off with the letter in his hand and seeing Baekhyun’s face looming over him. As he blinked himself awake, a scream bubbled in his throat and he shot up, knocking his forehead with the vampire’s -- as he had stunned him with his sudden movement -- and he hissed, “What did I tell you about showing up here randomly like that?”

“I wanted to make sure you got my letter, I see that you did, so I will be leaving now,” Baekhyun said and started for the corner.

“What do I wear?” Jongin asked and Baekhyun smiled at him.

“I’ll pick you up at four o’clock sharp to get you fitted,” he winked and then added, “Goodnight, my human.”

Jongin watched as he faded into the blackness and settled back into his blankets. He got out of his classes at 2:50 tomorrow, so that left him with very little time to prepare for an entire day spent with a vampire. He felt his body tingle with anticipation as he willed himself back to sleep.

 

Ladies and Gents, I would like to inform you all that I, your lovely Night World Tour Guide, has been invited to a once in a (human) lifetime Vampire Masquerade! So, tonight’s focus will be on Victorian fashion and why these graceful undead are so obsessed with it...

Chapter Text

Jongin squinted at his screen and then snapped his head up. He was sure this was the address that Baekhyun had sent him, but the house that stood before him could not be any more cliché than if he had stepped into a cheesy vampire romance novel. He rolled his eyes and started up the long winding path to the door. Leave it to Baekhyun to have a driveway longer than a mile.

Baekhyun’s house -- or castle, as Jongin liked to call it -- was magnificent to behold. Nestled amongst a throng of evergreen trees stood a fortress complete with a tower, sprawling gardens, and much to Jongin’s amusement, a drawbridge. Nearing the stone mammoth, he snorted because as he approached the castle, he noticed a set of men guarding it, decked out in metal armor and spears.

A low whistle left Jongin’s lips and he shook his head. Did Baekhyun really need all this opulence? It wasn’t as if he was a king. Approaching the knights in shining armor, Jongin held up his phone for them to see his invitation and they stepped aside while another being hastily lowered the drawbridge. Jongin briefly considered whether or not these beings were paid just to stand here all day. They had to get bored. Maybe they played games or chatted? Whatever they did, Jongin did not linger on it for too long as the bridge landed with a worrisome thud.

The wooden slats were rickety when he planted his foot on it, but seeing as there was only a five-foot pit beneath it, Jongin figured if he fell it would not do much damage. Of course, the lack of water was because of the age-old myth that vampires could not cross bodies of water which struck Jongin as odd, because how on earth did Baekhyun get here?

Stepping off the bridge with a huge sigh of relief that he made it, Jongin took in his surroundings. The doors were made of a glossy finished wood that felt slippery under Jongin’s knuckles. He knocked twice and then the doors swung open. Great, more clichés. Just when Jongin thought he was all cliched out after spending the last two hours with Junmyeon and his witchy friends -- a story for another time -- but he really had no idea just how much of the image of witches was founded on truth.

They did indeed wear the hats when traveling, some of them even had wands, as Jongin fondly recalled sitting on one and nearly snapping it in half much to the witch’s horror. There were even different kinds of witches. Junmyeon as it were, specialized in charm making and potions, his actual spells were not nearly at the same level as the others Jongin had met, but that did not mean he was not formidable. Still, the other witches teased Junmyeon because of his rudimentary spellcasting. Jongin had joined in on the teasing until Junmyeon turned it on him and feeling like he had swallowed a vine of sour grapes, he had slinked to his room to pass the time until Baekhyun picked him up.

Now, as for that, it turned out that Baekhyun was having trouble with something he refused to divulge via text (no matter how much Jongin prodded and oh, he did) and asked Jongin to meet him at his house which was why Jongin was here at this very moment.

Pushing the door open further, Jongin stepped across the threshold into the flickering light of candles. They were everywhere, lining the walls, placed in chandeliers, sitting in candelabras. It would be eerie if it weren’t for the fact that Jongin was in an ornery kind of mood after having to trek all the way up the driveway and across a fucking drawbridge. The rest of the furniture fit the same Victorian theme with the embellished table and chair legs, plush patterned cushions, lavish rugs, and unique little odds and ends.

All the details of Baekhyun’s decor gave Jongin tiny glimpse of what the real Baekhyun was like. The Baekhyun that wasn’t just a whirlwind of sexual tension or random (and startling) appearances in Jongin’s room. Jongin picked up a tiny porcelain figure of the Virgin Mary in a manger and turned it over in his fingers. He never took Baekhyun for being Catholic, but that did explain the crucifix he wore last week. He placed the figurine back and smiled to himself, there was so much he had to learn about Baekhyun and honestly, the thought excited him.

Maybe before Baekhyun turned him, they would fall in love? Okay, that was too vampire romance novel even for Jongin. He shook his head, laughing at himself for even thinking like that and continued to look around, picking up trinkets and trying to make connections to Baekhyun with them.

A forlorn wail from a distance shook Jongin of his stasis and he quickly followed the direction of the sound. Passing by tapestries and paintings of a very regal looking Baekhyun, Jongin had to wonder just how old the vampire was. There were countless paintings, each form a different era and in a distinctive style.

Jongin noted several of the paintings were accompanied by short notes and when he leaned forward to examine them he found various praises from famous artists. Shin Yong Bok, Chen Hongshou, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, were just a few of the named artists that Jongin recognized as their works were so profoundly different from each other. It wasn’t until he saw a painting by Leonardo da Vinci that Jongin realized that Baekhyun had to be over 600 years old. It was daunting to say the least.

The same sound repeated and Jongin tore himself from the hallway of artwork to finally meet the maker. When he stepped through the archway he found a scene in front of him that was parts hilarious, parts astounding and parts mouthwatering.

Before him stood Baekhyun in the flesh, wearing a simple forest green t-shirt, skintight black jeans and smoky eyeliner dressing his fathomless eyes. He tossed another billowing blouse out of the ornate, white maple armoire and moaned, “Seven hundred years on this goddamned planet and I still have nothing to wear!”

Well that answered Jongin’s question. Still, seeing Baekhyun in modern clothing was quite the shock -- a shock that Jongin liked more than he cared to admit. Dressed like this, Jongin could see every curve of Baekhyun’s amply proportioned legs, the dip of his hips, and how taut and filled out his pectorals were. He was fit and tight and the longer Jongin stared the warmer the room grew. Not that Jongin would confess to anyone, but he definitely drooled a little and was in the process of wiping away said spittle when the vampire noticed he was there.

“My human, always a pleasure to see you,” he smiled, raking his long fingers through his hair self-consciously. “I’m sorry you have come upon me in such a state, but as you can see,” he gestured to his outfit, “I have nothing but this to wear.”

Jongin raised an eyebrow. He was not opposed to Baekhyun’s outfit in the slightest and while he wanted to tell him that, their relationship was not quite at that level of comfort, so he said, “I think you look fine.” But, in reality he wanted to say that Baekhyun looked so good that it made Jongin’s pants a little too tight and made his thin cotton shirt cling to his skin a little too closely. It was so modern, so human and despite Jongin knowing well enough that Baekhyun was a vampire, Baekhyun that looked almost human was doing serious wrecking to his resolve. So much for giving the vampire a piece of his mind for calling him over to settle a clothing debacle. No, Jongin could hardly keep himself from mercilessly fucking Baekhyun with his eyes right then.

“I appreciate you humoring me, Jongin, but no need for lies. This style does not suit me at all. Such a shame that men’s fashion went the way of the passenger pigeon,” Baekhyun said and sniffed. His arm disappeared into the armoire once more and he pulled out a simple marigold long sleeved shirt. “This will have to do.” Then, as if Jongin was not in the room, he stripped the t-shirt off and replaced it with the silk garment.

The sight of his alabaster skin nude in front of him for the first time caused a healthy flush to go through Jongin. He swallowed, trying to gain his bearings and keep himself from whining appreciatively, but damn, Baekhyun looked good. Jongin wanted to close the distance between them, dancing his fingers over the cool smooth skin, pepper his shoulders with soft butterfly kisses that would lead to so much more, but Jongin was frozen, enraptured by the flash of nudity so completely that he actually sighed when Baekhyun slid the fabric up his arms, covering the ripples of his back and arms that Jongin was so blatantly checking out.

Clucking his tongue, Jongin drew Baekhyun’s attention and was met with a swift wink. His heart skidded to a stop in his chest and then promptly lurched back into beating. How was it possible that such a small action had more of an effect on his body than a purebred sex demon? Jongin had thought wrong when he assumed it would be easier to spend time with the vampire than the incubus, he had thought very very wrong.

Swallowing around the dryness in his mouth, Jongin resigned himself, telling himself to calm down and that this was just Baekhyun, the being that held his life in his hands or more accurately, his teeth. Jongin could handle this. He could handle spending the day with Baekhyun so long as he figured out how to gain the upper hand. He needed a plan, one that would allow him to be cool and collected, but also dangerously delectable to the vampire so that he would have no choice but to bite him and change him lest he wanted to be teased all night. Oh yes, Jongin thought, he was going to tease the vampire tonight. It would be a win-win. He would relieve some of his sexual frustration that was building up inside of him but also push Baekhyun to the edge.

Smirking, Jongin crossed the rest of the room, hellbent on making Baekhyun his bitch, but when he reached the armoire he paused. Inside the door was a mirror and when Jongin saw the two of them next to each other he could not help but think they made a great looking couple. His light gold dusted skin in comparison to Baekhyun alabaster paleness from lack of sunlight made an aesthetic combination. The way he towered over Baekhyun made him feel macho but it did not take away from Baekhyun’s masculinity. Together they just fit. It took him by surprise, but he could not deny aesthetics.

Baekhyun smiled at him in the mirror as he finalized the last button and said, “I’ve got the car waiting outside. I apologize for making you come all this way for nothing.” His eyes glinted the same way they did on their first meeting and Jongin knew Baekhyun was having the same thoughts.

He draped an arm over Baekhyun’s shoulders, resting his head on top of the vampires and smiled into the mirror. “We look amazing, don’t we?”

Baekhyun’s gaze met his in the reflective surface and hunger sparked in those dark orbs. Good. Jongin tilted his head in a way that his neck was exposed and raised his fingers to dance over the surface on the mirror. Baekhyun followed the motion and Jongin grinned. So far, so good.

“I suppose you could say that,” Baekhyun whispered, the glitter of his fangs bouncing off the mirror. Jongin had quite the effect on the vampire.

Jongin sighed, pressing his body flush to Baekhyun’s back and ass. “Only suppose?” He raised an eyebrow, hooking his finger under Baekhyun’s chin and forcing the vampire to look at him face on. This close, Jongin could see the gentle peach fuzz on Baekhyun’s face. His eyes swallowed up every detail, every freckle and without thinking, Jongin leaned in, brushing his lips over Baekhyun’s.

In an instant, the power play was changed and Jongin found himself being pressed against the armoire as Baekhyun’s hungry lips ravaged his. He hardly had time to breath between each collision, each swipe of the vampire’s tongue and it was exhilarating. He slipped his hands up the back of the silk shirt, straining the fabric on Baekhyun’s skin.

Baekhyun yanked at his buttons, popping them off in quick succession while he clung to Jongin’s mouth. His fangs pricked Jongin’s bottom lip and he swiped his tongue over the wound encouraging the blood to flow.

Jongin’s eyes fluttered and he fell to his ass in the armoire. His head crashed against the back and Baekhyun came with him, limbs tangled together and breaths mingling. Jongin’s shirt was shredded and hung in tatters as Baekhyun’s sucked on his lip, low keens sounding and hands roaming.

As the rush of endorphins filled Jongin’s blood bringing him to euphoria once more, he jerked Baekhyun tighter against him, snaking his touch over the swell of his hips and to his cheeks which he gave a hearty squeeze. The vampire whined, releasing Jongin’s lip and moving to his neck, the sharp prick of his teeth teasing.

Jongin angled, trying to pierce himself on Baekhyun’s fangs but the vampire let out a breathy chuckle. “Be still and let me do the work.”

A shudder so deep in his body started at the sonority of his voice. He wanted to follow the order. He wanted to please Baekhyun in any way he asked. So, he calmed himself, frozen, except for the rapid beating of his heart and throbbing of his groin.

The breaking of his skin sent Jongin’s mind asunder. He lost coherency as all the light in the room haloed and the sounds sharpened. His skin tingled around the puncture and felt electric where Baekhyun touched. His chest, fluctuating with each breath was equal parts on fire and melting. His sense of smell piqued and Jongin caught a whiff of Baekhyun’s spicy cologne.

The first drag of his blood into Baekhyun’s mouth made Jongin see stars. His hips spasmed and bucked trying to gain purchase against the smaller male’s body. He needed Baekhyun to touch him, to bring him into his hand and let him come undone in those skillful digits. It was all he wanted all he needed, and he felt it with an urgency. Frantic, he tried to undo the button keeping him from absolute ecstasy, but Baekhyun swatted him away, instead palming him over the fabric of his jeans.

The armoire was larger than Jongin had previously suspected as he shifted to find a more comfortable position leaving his hips hanging off the edge and opening him up to more friction. Baekhyun’s hand quickened as he drew more blood, lips never leaving the juncture in Jongin’s neck.

“Please,” Jongin begged, one hand tugging at the waistband of his pants and the other circling around the vampire’s wrist. “Touch me.”

In a swift motion, Baekhyun undid the button and slid his hand inside pressing flat against the heat of Jongin’s member. His fingers wrapped around the length and he stroked languidly, just enough to edge Jongin, but not enough to push him over. No, he would do that with his mouth.

Releasing Jongin’s neck and swiping over the wound to close it, Baekhyun sunk to his knees in front of him. Jongin lifted his head to observe and drove his teeth into his lip as Baekhyun’s mouth closed over him. He was already so close, so it only took a few bobs of the vampire’s head in tandem with his tactful grasp to carry him to fruition. He came, panting and mind coming down from the endorphins in under a few minutes.

Baekhyun lifted his head and pulled the door so that Jongin could catch a glimpse in the mirror. “I guess I could say more than suppose.” He stood, wiping his mouth and smiling at the utterly spent Jongin sliding slowly from the armoire and to the floor, where he sat, chest heaving and head resting against the surface.

“Great,” Jongin replied, feeling breathless. His plan had worked so well that he wasn’t sure if it backfired or not. Baekhyun was sated and he, on the other hand, was drained, for lack of a better word, of blood and cum. He lifted a heavy hand and picked at the remains of his shirt and sighed.

“I’ll get you a replacement,” Baekhyun said, practically glowing. He pulled the green shirt he had on when Jongin first saw him and held it out for him to grab. When Jongin failed to take the shirt, Baekhyun helped him dress and then called for servants to bring a fresh plate of food and water.

Their tryst had caused them to lose an hour of precious time, but Jongin felt much better after downing the entire contents of the tray the servant had brought (fresh fruit for his blood sugar, meat for protein, and a small salad for iron production.) Baekhyun had not taken a lot of blood, but he did take just enough for Jongin to feel the effects a few hours later. His senses were still heightened, but enough that he was thankful for how dark everything was.

“Your house is very...um vampirey,” Jongin said as they exited the room, both fully dressed and looking forward to the night's events. Jongin had to admit he felt a bit more excited because he was wearing Baekhyun’s shirt which was a tiny bit tighter than his own shirts, but with the way Baekhyun’s gaze was glued to him after putting it on, Jongin felt a surge of confidence.

“You think so?” Baekhyun chuckled, “I thought about getting one of those modern vampire houses with the shutters, but something about stone and wood and fire just feels so much more natural to me.” He gestured around him and turned to Jongin, face bright. “The car is waiting.”

“Where are we going exactly?” Jongin asked as he followed Baekhyun down the hall of art. His gaze stuck to the da Vinci painting for a half a second longer than he wanted and he quickly forced himself to look forward. Was it rude to ask a vampire their age? He knew Baekhyun was at least 700 as per his revelation earlier, but Jongin wanted to know more.

Baekhyun noticed this and cocked his head, “I can see the questions on your face, my human.”

A tingle wove its way down Jongin’s spine at the pet name. He was never one for terms of endearment, but when Baekhyun called him that, it did give his heart a little spark. He smiled to himself for a moment before rattling off his questions.

“How did you get all these paintings? Did you really know all these artists that well? They seemed to really like you. What does a vampire even do for seven hundred years? Doesn’t it all get boring? Also, how old are you?” Finished, Jongin gasped for air as he had run out while talking. He hadn’t meant to come off as some type of journalist, but he knew so little about Baekhyun, that any detail he gave him was enough.

“I commissioned them, yes, some of them are fellow vampires and we are quite close, although over the centuries we have drifted a bit. Humans are quite entertaining so I have never been bored for too long, and especially not with you,” Baekhyun answered, glancing up at Jongin to gauge his reaction.

Jongin felt his face flush and fought to keep a smile from tugging at the corners of his mouth and failed. With the roundabout way that Baekhyun spoke to him, he felt this was as close as he was going to get to a confession...well, at least for now. “What about the last question?”

Baekhyun simply winked in response and lead Jongin through the immaculate gardens towards the long black sedan idling at the edge of the driveway. At least Jongin wouldn’t have to walk nearly a mile again. He noted that the sun was still high enough in the sky that Baekhyun would be burned and when he took the time to really look at him, he saw a vague shimmering outline hovering just over his body. This was the first visual confirmation that Baekhyun was an Elemental Vampire that Jongin had seen. This was big. Bigger than big. This was monumental. He had really earned the favor of such a powerful being, and an old one at that.

Jongin ducked his head as he climbed into the backseat, followed by Baekhyun. The interior was dark, windows tinted so thickly that it looked like midnight outside instead of 6 o’clock in the evening. The leather creaked as Jongin arranged himself, securing the seat belt and settling back to get comfortable. The partition lowered and Baekhyun told the driver the address and Jongin watched the tinted glass rise.

Dangerous thoughts slinked to the forefront of his mind and Jongin had to remind himself that he had just given Baekhyun blood an hour ago. He widened his legs, trying to sneakily tease Baekhyun, but the vampire was aware of his games and placed a hand on his thigh and squeezed. Jongin nearly choked, having been outsmarted.

“You’re awfully quiet, Kyungsoo tells me you talk quite a bit,” Baekhyun said, picking at a nonexistent piece of lint on Jongin’s pants and sending heat to his face.

He needed to gain control over the situation again. What he was about to do was a bit of a gamble, but if Jongin could succeed in this, then the rest of the night would be his. He took a steadying breath and pulled the seat belt to the side so he could properly lay himself on Baekhyun’s lap. With the biggest, most innocent eyes he could muster, he said, “You don’t mind if I rest here?”

Baekhyun’s expression softened and he stroked Jongin’s hair, trailing his fingers down his nape and resting on his waist. “Of course not, my human. Rest well, we have a long night ahead of us.”

Jongin snuggled into Baekhyun’s lap and even though he had not planned to actually sleep -- his initial plan was to find a way to tease Baekhyun for the car ride -- his eyes fell shut and he drifted for the duration. So much for his plan.

 

“Wake up, we’re here,” Baekhyun said shaking Jongin gently.

Jongin stirred and sat up, face feeling clammy. He smoothed his hair, knowing it was sticking up and blinked away the sleep. Stretching, he made a small moan and then smiled at Baekhyun who was watching him intently. Jongin swore he saw a hint of a deeper emotion in his eyes, but the vampire turned his attention to the door and got out leaving Jongin with his thoughts for the time being.

The shop they ended up at was a small hole in the wall boutique that specialized in Victorian fashion. Jongin had to stop himself from rolling his eyes as he stepped out the car because Baekhyun looked utterly enthralled to be here and he did not want to rain on his parade. Jongin watched the vampire practically skip to the door and balked. Never had he seen a vampire skip. He didn’t think they could -- well he knew they were capable, but vampires were often so stuffy that they never did things like that, but Baekhyun was different. The more time Jongin spent with him, he was confirming this as such.

Inside the shop was dim, like Baekhyun’s house and office back at the club. That was the first clue that this place was run by vampires. The second clue -- which should have been the first clue, but Jongin’s eyes needed to adjust before he could take in details -- was the actual vampire standing in front of him feeding from his human consort. He had her wrist raised to his mouth and was drinking deeply, an expression of pure pleasure on his face and euphoria on hers.

Jongin shut his eyes to give them privacy, but apparently to Baekhyun this was nothing out of the ordinary. He scoffed as he dragged Jongin behind him to a small door at the back of the shop and pushed him inside the room. It was just as dark as the front of the shop but twice as small. There was barely enough room for him and Baekhyun to stand hand to hand if they stretched their arms out, so he turned towards the vampire and that was his first mistake.

Baekhyun pounced on him, pinning him against the plush wall, his mouth dangerously close to Jongin’s neck as he spoke, “If I hadn’t just fed, I would take you right now.” He ghosted his lips over Jongin’s collar bone and Jongin melted under his touch. This was the Baekhyun he was used to. The Baekhyun that made him feel small and fragile and so human.

“Maybe you should,” Jongin teased, lifting his hips to meet Baekhyun’s. His arms snaked around Baekhyun’s slender waist and pulled him closer. With the vampire so close to him, Jongin could feel the throbbing in Baekhyun’s groin counter his own. He knew that he was perfectly sated from earlier, having climaxed, but Baekhyun had not, so he was especially hard against Jongin right now.

A long digit trailed from Jongin’s temple to his chin, wrenching his jaw sideways and Jongin moaned. He heard Baekhyun chuckle and felt his breath ghost over his jugular. “So eager, my human?”

“Only for you...my lord,” Jongin whispered, turning back to face the vampire. He swore he felt Baekhyun’s heart palpitate against his chest, but the vampire covered it up with a deep purr in his chest and a wicked grin.

“What about Kyungsoo?” Baekhyun asked, pulling Jongin’s lips towards his. He brushed his nose over Jongin’s and smiled, his grip on the back of his neck strong. Jongin could tell that he wanted him, not just to feed from him, but really wanted him and this gave him butterflies in his stomach.

“We’re friends,” Jongin breathed, leaning down to kiss Baekhyun, but missing when the vampire turned away and opened the space between them.

“I see,” Baekhyun said. He disappeared through the door. It was frustrating just how much self-control Baekhyun had. By the end of the night, Jongin wanted to make him throw that control out the window.

Sagging against the wall, Jongin adjusted himself while he caught his breath. Baekhyun was no incubus, but he had a way of working Jongin up with his every move. The way he manhandled him and teased him. It drove Jongin half crazy. He sighed, looking around the small room for the first time and sat down on the small stool in the center.

This room seemed to be for measuring as there were rolls of tape measures draped over hooks and several pin cushions dotted with tiny colorful pins. Swatches of fabric were neatly folded up into little cubicles and there were two brannock devices peeking out from under the stool Jongin was sitting on.

The door swung open and Baekhyun and the other vampire from the front, filed in. It was a tight squeeze, but after some shuffling, the three men were arranged inside the small room with a half foot of distance from each other. A room this small really did not lend itself well for its purpose, but Jongin supposed it was only supposed to fit two people at a time.

“Jongin, this is Zaifeng, an old friend of mine, we met during the Qing dynasty in China,” Baekhyun said nodding to the slender man standing in front of him. Glossy black hair fell to his shoulders. He had the same bottomless black eyes as Baekhyun and when he smiled, his fangs were still descended.

“Pleasure to be acquainted,” Zaifeng said.

“Uh, yeah, nice to meet you too,” Jongin replied and both Baekhyun and Zaifeng laughed. Jongin frowned, feeling outnumbered and outclassed. He hoped this was not an indicator of how the night at the ball was going to go.

Tying his dark hair back with a simple leather band, Zaifeng set to taking Jongin’s exact measurements. His hands were light and deft, fluttering here and there as he noted down the numbers. Jongin found himself locking eyes with Baekhyun and stuck his tongue out at him.

The vampire leaned up from the wall he was resting on and dabbed his finger on Jongin’s tongue, smiling. “Tease me with that again and I’ll have to put it to work,” Baekhyun murmured and then stepped back leaving Jongin frozen, tongue still in the air and heart sprinting in his chest.

Zaifeng tsked and brought the tape around Jongin’s thighs, pulling it snug and noting the measurement. He let the tape fall and then pulled it around Jongin’s hips, taking their measurement next. The whole time Baekhyun stood there, a watchful eye on Jongin and a small smirk dancing at his lips.

“Are you a dancer, Jongin?” Zaifeng asked, now taking the measurements of Jongin’s shoulders.

“Why do you ask?” Jongin felt the heat of Baekhyun’s gaze raise the temperature of the room. Behind the tailor, Baekhyun shifted against the wall, letting his lips fall open all while fucking the hell out of Jongin with his eyes.

“Your proportions,” Zaifeng said, lifting Jongin’s arm and laying the tape down the length of it. He then stepped back, taking in Jongin’s form in full before turning to the fabric and pulling several out. He held them up to Jongin’s face testing the color against his skin. “Lean muscles, and I’m betting flexibility,” he turned to Baekhyun when he said that and raised an eyebrow.

“You never change do you, Zaifeng? Always so interested in my love life,” Baekhyun said with a smile, but a hint of annoyance was in his voice.

“You have always had exquisite taste,” he grinned, draping more cloth over his arm. He opened the door and winked at Baekhyun.

They were alone and judging by the look Baekhyun had received from Zaifeng, Jongin knew he had time to divulge the truth. He did not dance professionally, well unless you counted the times he did ballroom dancing as a kid. But, that did not mean he wasn’t flexible. Which was something he wanted to give Baekhyun a little taste of.

Pinning the vampire to the door, Jongin ran his hands down his chest, looping his fingers in Baekhyun’s pockets. He pressed himself against him, raising his leg until his knee trapped the vampire. “Aren’t you even a little curious?” Jongin ghosted his lips across Baekhyun’s forehead and then trailed down, grinding his hips against him. Having his knee posted up, allowed for direct contact of their now hardening lengths.

Baekhyun’s hand came up behind Jongin’s head and clamped down on his nape. His lips were parted just slightly as whimpers bled from them. Small gasps tickled Jongin’s cheek as he felt the vampire move to meet him. The friction made Jongin heady, needing more than just the heat of their bodies through clothing.

The wetness of Baekhyun’s tongue on Jongin’s neck nearly startled him, but he mewled when he felt his lips close on his skin and suck. There was no biting, no broken skin, just Baekhyun’s sinful lips pulling his blood to the surface. He released Jongin and in the heat of the moment, Jongin grabbed a handful of the vampire’s strands and exposed his neck.

It wasn’t quite the same as a vampire's bite but the way Baekhyun nearly sank to the ground when Jongin bit down was enough to show him that his favorite vampire might like being bitten. Jongin trailed upwards, lowering both of their bodies to the ground, still thrusting over the fabric of their trousers as he bit down again.

He swirled his tongue, and Baekhyun keened low and deep. Perfect. With one hand, Jongin undid the buttons of Baekhyun’s shirt and pasted kisses down his neck to a pert nipple. He brought the erect nub betwixt his teeth and swept his tongue over it.

“Fuck,” Baekhyun hissed, back arching deliciously off the ground. It was the first word he had said since their lips met and it was followed by a few more in quick succession when Jongin fixed himself completely to the sensitive spot, sucking and lapping.

Unfastening their pants Jongin shoved them to mid-thigh so that they could have contact. He grinded against Baekhyun, cock, it was slick and throbbing and suddenly Jongin needed more. He pushed his jeans the rest of the way off and straddled the vampire, placing his length between his cheeks and rolled his hips, relishing the way Baekhyun’s cock felt against his entrance.

Gasping, Baekhyun gripped Jongin’s waist and guided him fast, rutting his hips in tandem, mumbling incoherent sounds. Jongin leaned down, planting his mouth on Baekhyun’s and exploring him with his tongue. He mapped every detail every groove and memorized his taste, moaning and keening.

Lifting slightly, Jongin teased his entrance with the head of Baekhyun’s cock, rubbing the sensitive tip over his responsive hole. He could feel Baekhyun’s precum leak out and smear, it was warm and slippery. Baekhyun whined, body going rigid and he bucked his hips, pressing the tip harder against the entrance but not enough to penetrate. He was so caught up in the desire, in the passion.

“You can if you want to,” Jongin whispered, breathless. He wanted this. Wanted to feel Baekhyun fill him. They had yet to do anything like that so when the opportunity presented itself Jongin was going to snatch it and run.

A shuddering breath and suddenly Baekhyun stopped. “No, not yet,” he sighed.

That was fine, Jongin was close anyway so he simply smiled and kissed Baekhyun in response and drove himself against the vampire with increasing speed. He huffed, nearly grunting as the friction brought him closer to the edge. Beneath him, Baekhyun snaked his arms around Jongin, pulling him flush and gasping at his skin. Desperate fingers dug in, giving more pressure and together their movement fell spastic. Jongin came first, painting their stomach and chests with the slippery substance that was soon mixed with Baekhyun’s spurts of cum.

They laid there, panting and sweaty and covered in mess before a soft knock on the door sobered them immediately. A muffled Zaifeng, called out, “I’ll give you five minutes to get decent. There are scraps of fabric in the waste bin, do not use anything on the shelves or Baekhyun I will make you pay so much money, you will have to sell your house.”

Well that completely ruined the reverie. Jongin glanced down at their stained clothes and blushed. He was going to need another shirt before they left.

The rest of the fitting went without a hitch. Zaifeng had already made the cuts in the fabric and wanted to see how it fell over Jongin’s body. After leaving the room satisfied it only took the vampire an hour to complete his outfit and procure Baekhyun’s from another back room. Baekhyun had clearly ordered his garb the week before.

 

Feeling rather snazzy in his new clothes, Jongin observed himself in the mirror for a few minutes longer while he waited for Baekhyun to exit the room. His dark hair contrasted beautifully with his honey colored skin. The white under shirt had long sleeves with lace cuffs that extended past the waistcoat sleeves. It was made of the finest fabric that felt like Jongin was wearing a cloud on his skin. The collar was left open and exposed his neck in a way he knew Baekhyun -- and the other vampires -- would not be able to look away. Perhaps he needed to watch his back lest he became someone else’s snack.

His overcoat was equally as high quality and it fell just behind his knees and fastened at the waist elongating his body and slimming it down. It was cut in the Morning style, meaning the center section was cut away to expose his clothes underneath. It accentuated his waist and drew attention to his slim figure. His dress pants were tighter than he expected with a high waist closed with leather strings that crisscrossed. Of course, the waist was not seen as it was covered by the glossy black vest he wore over it. There was a small belt at the back that further cinched his waist, giving him a delicious silhouette.

His shoes were classical Victorian style that fastened with a row of buttons placed in soft leather. The toes were pointed and detailed along the edges with a swirling pattern. They shone like the glossy eyes of a shark feasting and the thought brought a hand to Jongin’s neck. He was going to be walking right into the lion’s dens that could quickly turn into a feeding frenzy if he wasn’t careful.

Mentally slapping himself, he chastised his past self for not bringing some kind of protection with him. He hoped that just by arriving with Baekhyun, the other vampires would leave him be. He was still holding his neck when Baekhyun appeared behind him, looking dead sexy in similarly styled clothing. The difference was the color. Whereas everything Jongin wore was black or white, Baekhyun was dressed in the deepest of purples with a scarlet undershirt. Around his eyes was a smudging of gray-black makeup that only seemed to make his depthless eyes deeper and darker.

Baekhyun smiled and placed his hand over Jongin’s around his neck. He pulled it away, exposing the fluttering of Jongin’s pulse just beneath his skin. He gently placed his lips over the throbbing artery and whispered, “Mine.”

The chill that ran down Jongin’s spine blossomed into a million butterflies in his stomach and warmth over his cheeks. That one word held so much power, so much emotion behind it. He caught Baekhyun’s eyes in the mirror and smiled shyly at first, before smirking. “Is that so?”

“Mm, yes, you are all mine,” Baekhyun breathed over Jongin’s neck. He tangled his fingers in Jongin’s hair and pulled his forehead to his. “Do you have a problem with that?”

Jongin brushed his nose against Baekhyun’s. Two could play this game. “I don’t, but other vampires might.”

Lips crashed against Jongin’s urgent and hungry. He felt his mouth open and Baekhyun’s tongue slid inside, causing him to shudder and melt into the kiss. He inhaled deeply, pulling Baekhyun against him and letting his desire take over. Kissing Baekhyun was just as addicting as being bitten by him.

“How could they, when they’ll smell me all over you and taste me in your mouth?” Baekhyun asked, pressing his lips to Jongin’s jaw and trailing down his neck. “One look at you, and they’ll know you’re mine.” His hand found its way to Jongin’s crotch and he palmed him sensuously. “The way your body reacts to my touch, the way your gaze devours me. There could be no one else that you could belong to there, my human.”

Jongin rutted his hips into Baekhyun’s expert hand. No matter how hard he tried, the vampire seemed to always one up him. Seemed to control him with the simplest word. He was putty in his hands, malleable and yearning for the sting of the bite and perhaps the fire of Baekhyun’s length inside him. They had yet to do anything other than heavy petting and oral and Jongin was feeling frustrated.

Baekhyun’s hand vanished and Jongin whined when he ground his hips against air. “You suck,” he hissed. His groin ached.

“And you enjoy it,” Baekhyun teased. He left Jongin’s side for a moment and returned carrying two top hats.

Jongin lowered his head and felt the hat settle snugly over his crown. “That’s not what I meant.”

Baekhyun arranged his hair under the hat and smirked. “You reap what you sowed in that fitting room, my human.”

Is that so? Keeping his face neutral, Jongin faced the vampire and closed the distance between them. “If we’re playing dirty, you better not complain when you get mud in your eyes.”

Baekhyun wet his lips. “Is that a threat?”

Heart thudding in Jongin’s chest, he kept his gaze steady and said, “Yes.”

“So feisty, my human,” Baekhyun said and then booped Jongin on the nose effectively ruining his facade. “We should get going, I don’t want to keep everyone waiting.”

Pouting, Jongin followed Baekhyun back to the sedan and sat in silence. Baekhyun would get what was coming for him, that was for sure.

 

The drive was quiet as Jongin watched the scenery zip past them. He wanted to say something to Baekhyun but every time he glanced over at the vampire, he was ignored for the driver, with whom Baekhyun was having a rather animated conversation with about the pros of horse drawn carriages versus cars. It was a futile argument as his driver had one major point and that was that car rides were much shorter since they could move faster, but Baekhyun insisted that since he had all the time in the world, that the journey was just as enjoyable as the destination. All in all, being ignored made Jongin feel ornery.

When the car came to a stop, Baekhyun’s demeanor changed completely. He grew quiet before saying, “Driver, raise the partition please.”

Jongin turned to him and furrowed his brows. Why weren’t they getting out? Around the car, a shroud fell and the smallest spike of anxiety squeezed Jongin’s heart. What did Baekhyun have planned? He stared out into the swirling darkness, trying to make out the entrance to the ball but the shadows were just thick enough to veil his vision.

Behind him, the sound of a box creaking open drew his attention. Baekhyun was enraptured by the contents and when he looked up at Jongin, a soft smile bloomed across his face. “I wanted to keep this a secret for a while longer, but you did raise valid concerns earlier.”

“About what?” Jongin asked, trying to lean over and peek inside the box but Baekhyun angled his body so that Jongin could not see.

“Going to this ball as a human is basically like me serving you like a medium rare steak on a platter. And if anything happened to you… well,” he trailed off, returning his gaze to the box. The smile returned and it was as if he was lost in time, the way his eyes fogged over. “It’s no mystery to the patrons of my club that you receive special treatment. From the moment you entered those doors, I had my eye on you,” Baekhyun said, still staring at the box. When he looked back up, he continued, “I do believe I made my intentions clear, but even so, I need you to feel the same…”

“You’re not proposing to me, are you? I know vampires are old fashioned and stuff, and I do like you, a lot, but marriage puts a lot at stake. Get it?” Jongin laughed. He needed to lighten the moment because the way Baekhyun was looking at him felt too heavy, too serious.

“This isn’t a laughing matter, Jongin,” Baekhyun warned. He finally pulled out a small bag from the box. It was made from velvet and tied with a golden drawstring. He loosened it and into his hand fell a simple necklace which he held out to Jongin.

“For little old me?” Jongin teased and when he saw Baekhyun’s face he sobered. “Sorry,” he said. It was a coping mechanism that he had adopted when he was young any time he felt awkward. Like now, where things felt too deep, too raw. After an entire day of the two of them at each other’s dicks, this moment felt strangely out of place.

Gingerly he lifted the necklace into his hands and scrutinized it. The band was made from a deep purple fabric that felt strangely electric in his hands. It was soft but strong, silky but not slippery. In the center was a charm that was rose gold in color and oval in shape. Jongin had seen this charm somewhere before and it only took a second before he realized what he was holding. It was the claim that Junmyeon was making.

He gaped at Baekhyun. This was serious, no wonder the vampire was so sedate. “A claim?” He did not know much about vampire claims other than they meant that whoever was claimed belonged to that vampire. Not quite belong in the sense of the word pet, but more like belonged in the sense that whoever was claimed meant a lot to that vampire.

Heart racing his chest, Jongin turned the claim over in his hands. If he put this on, he was Baekhyun’s to protect, care for, and feed from. And the thought excited him beyond his wildest dreams.

“Only if you’d like,” Baekhyun said, keeping his voice perfectly measured. His face held curiosity edged with anxiety as he waited for Jongin to respond. He was holding his breath and the longer Jongin took to respond, the more his lips pulled downward.

Jongin opened the charm and saw a polished bit of radiant crystal. The glow was so faint he thought it was a trick of the light, but when he touched it, it grew brighter and throbbed with the beat of his heart. He looked back to Baekhyun. “What does this mean for us?”

Usually those claimed by a vampire were involved in a relationship of some kind. So, did this claim have that kind of meaning or was it just a declaration of protection and possession? Not that he would complain if they became a thing because Jongin had to admit he had fantasized about them dating, about them sharing a bed and making the beast with two backs as Baekhyun’s teeth sunk into his skin. He lusted after the vampire nearly every time they saw each other, but if there was the promise of something more… maybe Jongin liked the idea of that a lot more than he previously assumed.

Baekhyun broke through Jongin’s thoughts with his next words, “It means that you are mine and no vampire will ever hurt you unless they want to deal with me.” There were unsaid words laced throughout his voice, but Jongin couldn’t exactly pick out what.

He searched Baekhyun’s face for the true meaning but the vampire only revealed so much. If Jongin really tried, he swore he saw adoration in his eyes, but it was so faint that he had to have imagined it. So, his hopes were a tad dashed since Baekhyun was just trying to protect him, but why was his expression so soft when he was staring into the box? Perhaps Jongin needed to see the box as well.

Returning his attention to the claim, Jongin looked closer and saw that the crystal was seated in a hollowed-out section of amber. If Jongin recalled correctly, he knew that amber protected against psychic attacks which was why it had worked on Kyungsoo back when he babysat him. So, it was double protection and for some reason, that made Jongin smile. His stomach filled with small butterflies because Baekhyun had really put thought into this.

“Put it on me,” Jongin said holding it out to Baekhyun. His heart hammered in his chest when Baekhyun’s fingers brush against his. The way their eyes locked made this moment feel so intimate, much more intimate than anything else they had done earlier. He felt shy but also open to what all this could mean.

Instead of facing his back towards Baekhyun, Jongin leaned forward and watched the vampire’s face as he fastened the claim around his neck. He saw the way his eyes hungrily coated his neck in heat from their intensity and then the way his expression softened once it was on. He paused, admiring the way it rested in the hollow of Jongin’s neck before a grin spread across his face. Gently, he caressed Jongin’s cheek, letting his fingers dance across his skin as they moved to hover over the thin band of fabric. A gasp left his lips and then he cupped Jongin’s chin and pulled him close, his bottomless eyes reflected Jongin’s expression in them, shining and full of tenderness.

This moment felt paramount, and Jongin was drowning in those dark pools. A shuddering breath brushed his face before Baekhyun connected their lips. Gentle and delicately his mouth moved over his and when they inhaled, tingles ran down Jongin’s spine. He inched closer, letting Baekhyun’s arm encase him as he did the same. Pulse rising quickly, Jongin sighed into the kiss, feeling like he was going to explode into a million colors.

Vibrant and illustrious was this passage in time. Kisses like this never happened in real life and Jongin almost felt as though he was dreaming. He felt nimble fingers lightly tug at his locks and a small sound left his throat. Baekhyun mimicked him when Jongin shuddered again, feeling every nerve ignite. Everything that had been unsaid earlier was now made clear.

When he pulled away, he was caught off guard by how vulnerable Baekhyun’s expression was. His eyes danced with emotion as he stared at Jongin. His kiss swollen lips pressed together in a soft smile as he brushed his thumb over the apple of Jongin’s cheek. His gaze returned to the claim around Jongin’s neck and he let out a tiny laugh as his smile grew. He looked at Jongin as if he was his world and in that moment, Jongin felt like he was.

There was something between them and it ran deeper than he was led to believe. Whatever had just happened showed him that much. Being looked at like that had opened something in Jongin, something lovely because he felt loose and giddy. He bit his lip and giggled feeling bashful.

Silence fell over them and it was comfortable. Baekhyun handed Jongin his mask and for a few moments, they kept stealing glances at each other.

“We should head inside,” he said abruptly, placing his mask on his face. His usual edge was back, but it was softened which confirmed that things were definitely different now.

They had couple’s masks of the same theme. Both were lacquered black, with gold detailing around the eyes and outer rim. However, where Baekhyun’s was decorated with notches in the gold, Jongin’s swirled into tiny patterns. The masks ended just above their lips and Jongin found himself staring at Baekhyun’s for a beat too long. Those lips had done something to Jongin and quite frankly he still felt high from it. He pulled his mask on, face feeling a bit warm under the lightweight material, but not uncomfortable.

Jongin got out of the car chewing on his lip. He wanted to sit and mull over what had happened, but Baekhyun had taken Jongin’s hand and fixed it in the crook of his arm and smiled crookedly up at him. This was it, they were here. Beyond those doors was where Jongin was going to have the night of his life.

Chapter Text

When they entered a hush fell over the room. Jongin felt the claim around his neck hum and turned to Baekhyun, who was wearing a shit-eating grin. Right. Jongin forgot how vain vampires could be, so of course Baekhyun would love it when all the attention was on him.

The vampire then smiled up at Jongin and for a moment Jongin felt all the air leave his lungs. He froze, dazzled by his smile before he realized that they were holding up the line. Together, they descended the stairs, Jongin’s hand firmly circled around Baekhyun’s bicep. It was then that he noticed that Baekhyun was holding a cane with a glittering, ruby-encrusted, bat. Okay, so vampires were cliché, too.

It wasn’t just Baekhyun and Jongin that were dressed to the nines. The whole venue was immaculately decorated. Soft lighting and flickering candles lit of most of the ballroom from their places on the chandeliers. The stone walls were lined with torches just like the ones in Baekhyun’s house. Tables were layered in alternating swaths of scarlet and ivory cloth and decorated with the finest china and silver. In the middle of the dining area was a huge table decked out with mountains upon mountains of fruit, sides, and of course meat.

Jongin’s stomach rumbled and he heard Baekhyun chuckle beside him. He guessed it had been a while since he last ate and the food only made his mouth water. They finished descending the stairs and the crowd returned mostly to their activities, whispering or stopping their conversations when the two passed by.

“Why is everyone so quiet?” Jongin asked, trying to subtly direct Baekhyun towards the food table.

“I don’t come out often,” Baekhyun said, placing the cane in his other hand and covering Jongin’s with his other. “They’re just shocked to see me that’s all.”

The table of food was even more glorious upon closer inspection. Jongin had to keep himself from piling on too much food after he noticed how little everyone else was taking. The would put maybe a few slices of fruit and a tiny portion of meat or just a couple sides and take a glass of red wine, while Jongin was sitting here with as much food as the plate could handle and still eyeing more.

“Quite the appetite he has, doesn’t he?” A voice said and when Jongin turned he saw an extremely pale man with a thin mustache. His auburn hair was perfectly styled and his eyes were black and bottomless like many of the guests here. His mask was beautiful. Crimson in color with jeweled feathers fanning out over his left eyebrow.

Baekhyun smiled fondly, “Leonardo, my friend. My, have the years done you well!” He pulled the vampire, who was apparently the famous painter that had painted Baekhyun, into a hug. “How is Paris?” He said it the way the French said it and Jongin would be lying if that didn’t make him scrunch his toes in his shoes.

“Beautiful city, beautiful people, but none come close to you,” Leonardo replied, clapping his hand on Baekhyun’s back. He broke the hug first and then his eyes fell back upon Jongin with question. “I see you’ve claimed him,” he said, voice also denoting the gravity of the small rose-colored charm around Jongin’s neck.

It was the focus of Leonardo’s attention and when Jongin glanced around he noted that other vampire’s gazes first went to his neck and then to Baekhyun. It had to be more than just a device of possession and protection. And if that was the case, then did Jongin truly deserve it? He could only assume from everyone’s reaction that his understanding of its profundity was severely lacking.

Baekhyun gazed upon Jongin with a look of pride. “Nothing gets by your eyes, does it, old pal?”

“An artist notices everything,” the vampire replied and then gave a nod, eyeing Jongin’s neck again, as he moved on to speak to others.

Jongin watched him join a group of extremely beautifully dressed women in flowing gowns of various shades. Their bosoms crested over their necklines and beautiful jewels rested in the center. Their masks were feline in nature and decorated with the finest of gems and lace.  Jongin frowned slightly when the group turned toward him. They stared at him, gazes going to the claim, then to, and finally his face. Their expressions were hidden by their masks but their eyes were questioning in that way that every vampire stared at him now. It was unnerving to be on the receiving end of so many eyes.

Following Baekhyun to a small table for two, he noticed that everyone quieted once more as they got near. This was supposed to be the night of his life so why was everyone behaving so strangely? It was like they had never seen a human before. Jongin raised his hand to check his neck, just in case he had sprouted a second head, because with the way everyone was looking at him, he had to be sure.

“Okay, what is going on?” Jongin asked as they sat down. He stared at Baekhyun who had his gaze trained on his plate of food.

Their eyes met and a spark went through Jongin. He felt an overwhelming sensation wash over him and it caused him to sputter. He coughed and then regained his composure as Baekhyun spoke.

“Humans usually don’t come to these,” Baekhyun started and then popped a red grape in his mouth. He chewed thoughtfully and then continued. “Neither do I, so it’s a bit of a shock. Just let the rumors take their run and everything will return to normal.” He was hiding something and Jongin figured it had something to do with the claim, because his eyes would flick to it and soften before returning to Jongin’s face. “It’s nothing to worry about.”

Yet, as he said that, a group of vampires wearing various immaculately feathered masks approached the table. The women curtsied and the men bowed ever-so-slightly to Baekhyun and then turned towards Jongin. For a moment, nothing was said and Jongin squirmed in his seat, feeling like an insect under a microscope.

“May I?” A woman in a rose-petal colored dress asked, holding her hand out.

Jongin watched Baekhyun nod and then he put his hand in the woman’s. It was soft but cold. She must not have been an elemental vampire for regular vampires lacked body heat and could only sustain themselves on blood. They lacked the ability to produce heat for they lacked a heartbeat. The woman gasped as she turned Jongin’s hand over and then looked into his eyes were her abyssal orbs.

“I see why you chose him. Even his hands are exquisite,” she said with a smile that held many meanings.

Out of the corner of his eye, Jongin saw Baekhyun smirk. “That is true, but his face is even more so.” This made Jongin turn towards him as heat flowered across his chest. Baekhyun was showing him off and honestly it felt pretty damn good. If it had been anyone else, he would have complained or tried to deflect the compliment, but it was Baekhyun, the one who talked in circles and he was giving Jongin a rather direct indirect compliment.

“Please remove your mask,” Baekhyun said. It was a command more so than a request and Jongin was well aware of that. He entertained the idea of refusing and being a brat, but the softness in Baekhyun's eyes caused him to oblige.

Dutifully, he unfastened the mask and the gasp that followed made his cheeks burn with the strength of a thousand suns. If they kept this up, Jongin was going to get a big head and when that happened, he got cocky, and when that happened, well, Jongin could only say he would feel bad for Baekhyun in that case.

Another woman, this time in a pale-yellow dress that nearly matched her hair color, stepped forward. “So handsome. Say, Baekhyun,” she turned to him, “is this the one, you wrote the Madame about?”

What? Jongin’s eyes widened and he glanced between the woman and Baekhyun. Vampires only had those titles if they were important, so that must mean that the Madame had to be either Baekhyun’s creator, or one of the originals and Jongin was betting on the latter.

Baekhyun sipped his wine before answering with a curt smile. This was knowledge that Jongin was not supposed to know about. Which meant that there really was something important going on behind the scenes. If Baekhyun had told such a powerful person about him; couple that with the claim and that could only mean that Jongin was in fact going to be turned! Excitement coursed through him, but he needed to remain calm or he would give away his thoughts.

“She’ll be wanting to meet him, then,” the woman replied. She smiled at Jongin and offered her hand, “I am Seohyun, you’ll be seeing more of me, soon, Brother-to-be.”

Brother-to-be? Was she one of those vampire that called all other by familial titles? Or did this, too, have to do with the claim? Just what exactly did it mean? In any case, there were more pressing matters in front of him right now, like giving Seohyun a proper greeting. Jongin brought her hand to his lips and then released it. “Pleasure to meet you, I’m Jongin,” he replied.

“I know,” she winked -- a little hard to see behind her mask -- and then left, with the group following her.

Jongin watched her leave before picking up his mask. With Seohyun and her entourage gone, he suddenly felt playful. “Should I even put this on and deny everyone my exquisite face?” The compliments had gotten to his head and now poor Byun Baekhyun was in for a night of torture.

Sensing his impending doom, Baekhyun sighed. “If you are even one hair out of line tonight, Kim Jongin, I will make you regret it.”

Sliding his foot across the ground and toeing with Baekhyun’s calf under the table, Jongin smirked. “How will you punish me?” He lifted his foot higher and Baekhyun gripped the table hard.

Through gritted teeth he said, “Trust me, you do not want to find out. But I will promise you, it will be worse than blue balls.”

Whatever Jongin was about to say next was suddenly interrupted by all of the lights, candles included, going out. At the north end of the ballroom, a small set of stages lit up. Performers wearing jester’s masks and costumes stood frozen in bent poses until an accordion began playing a tune that sounded vaguely vampireish. It played solo until a cello joined in with a lilting tune that was both dark and longing. Soon, it was joined by the rest of the accompaniment and the performers began dancing with literal fire.

It was a bit too dark for Jongin to see comfortably at first but after a few moments, he saw that everyone was enraptured by the sight. The stages then began floating, traveling along the length of the ballroom until they were evenly spaced out. Hot flames licked the air as the performer closest to their table spun a flaming baton. Jongin quietly ate his food while the performance went on.

It was only when he sipped his wine that he caught Baekhyun’s eye. The vampire had not been watching the show, instead he had been watching Jongin in the flickering light and his expression brought a million questions to his lips but Jongin realized his foot was still firmly planted on Baekhyun’s crotch and he had been moving it while he was eating without knowing.

Giving Baekhyun a good, old fashion pat with his foot, for good measure, Jongin returned his attention to the stages. But, he made sure to adjust the collar of his shirt just enough so that Baekhyun could see his neck, claim and all, and pretended to be caught up in the flamethrowers.

The song came to an end, signaling the show was over and the lights brightened a bit -- or it was Jongin’s imagination -- either way, people started standing up and filing to the center of the ballroom where they paired off. Jongin shot to his feet, eager to take part in the dance, but Baekhyun was still sitting and looking rather sour.

“What’s up with you?” He asked, feigning innocence.

“You are walking on thin ice,” Baekhyun hissed and after adjusting himself, he stood and grabbed Jongin by the arm. Pulling him close to his lips, he whispered, “Remember, you are in a room full of vampires. You may be mine, but everyone has eyes and can see your antics. So, behave.”

Oh. Oh. So, they had an audience. It wasn’t like it stopped Baekhyun before when they very nearly fucked at the tailor’s. So why was he making such a fuss now? Jongin rolled his eyes, he could work with being subtle. Subtlety was his middle name. Nothing involving his neck or wrists or any type of exposed skin could be done, but that left Jongin with an arsenal of things to do and boy was he going to do them.

“Of course, my liege, or should I call you my lord? You seemed to like that earlier,” Jongin said, tilting his head and sticking his tongue out a bit. The reaction he got was worth it though because Baekhyun’s lips quirked and he let out a snort.

“My name is fine,” he smiled, “but I’m not opposed to ‘Master’ from time to time.”

“Okay, Master,” Jongin said, enjoying the way Baekhyun’s mouth popped open and his cheeks tinted, even in the dim lighting. “Shall we have this dance?”

“I should be the one asking you, but yes, we shall,” Baekhyun replied after gaining his bearings.

The crowd parted as the two men approached arm in arm. They were not the only same-sex couple, but they were the only human and vampire couple on the floor and that was what warranted the stares. Jongin wasn’t complaining though, now that he knew the reason, he figured he may as well give all the vampires here a show they’ll never forget.

The next song began with a piano accompanied by a harp and Jongin jerked Baekhyun tightly against him and bent his head at his shoulder, leaving his lips just beside his ear. “Show me how to dance, Master,” he whispered, smiling when he felt Baekhyun’s breath hitched.

Jongin’s behaviors earned him a low growl from Baekhyun and he grinned. Good. He was getting under Baekhyun’s skin. The vampire smirked and began leading Jongin in a waltz. They danced with their hips connected, taking long sweeping steps in time with the swell of the music. They danced fluidly with the other couples on the floor, spinning and dipping when everyone else did.

Jongin’s heart thrummed in his chest. He thought he had gained the upper hand by teasing Baekhyun, but the music softened him and every time they met each other’s eyes it was as if the room melted away. He felt like he was living in a movie with the way that Baekhyun’s dark orbs sparkled with the candlelight and Jongin wished he could see his whole face. They swirled with the music, the scenery rushing behind them as their pace matched the crescendo of the song.

It was only at the end that Jongin noticed that the other couples had stopped dancing and were watching the two of them on the floor their black eyes showing something akin to awe. In the heat of the moment, Jongin reached and removed Baekhyun’s mask and sent it flying; his own quickly thereafter before he quickly dipped him, relishing the surprised sound that came from his lips.

Without the mask, he could see the way Baekhyun’s nose scrunched as he laughed and the way his eyes turned into tiny crescents. He righted him, chest heaving from the adrenaline coursing through him. This was fun. He was having so much fun and he could see that Baekhyun was as well. It felt so pure, so soft and when Baekhyun cradled his face in his hands, Jongin let him kiss him in front of everyone.

Jongin melted into the kiss, sighing and feeling his heart swell. Every time their mouths came together he swore he caught a glimpse of Baekhyun’s thoughts and all he could hear were words in different languages. Sarang, amore, liebe, ai…

Jongin was not sure what they meant, for languages were never his forte but the swath of emotions that slowly faded as he caught his breath were unmistakable. Baekhyun had strong feelings for him and that was a fact.

A single clap crescendoed into an applause, breaking Jongin from his revelation and both him and Baekhyun straightened their clothes and bowed. Two men, wearing identical full-faced masks approached, holding the abandoned veils and Jongin quickly put his on while his thoughts raced. He kept stealing glances at Baekhyun, checking not just to make sure he was still there, but to also see if he could find any hints in his face.

The only thing he could find was uninterrupted joy and it stole Jongin’s breath away and squeezed his heart. Seeing Baekhyun beam so unabashedly and hearing his laugh, filled Jongin with helium. He felt like he might just fly away if the vampire did not stop soon.

Circling an arm around his waist, Baekhyun sighed, “You’re bold, and I think they like it. I like it.”

The next song was gearing to start and they had finally caught their breaths. A man wearing a white mask with an oval ruby placed at the center of two impressive horns approached. He simply held out his hand towards Jongin and Jongin took it after giving Baekhyun a bright smile. This was a ball and he was going to have to dance with others even all he wanted to do right now was stare at Baekhyun and listen to the music of his laugh. He was besotted every time he was near him and the dance had brought the feelings he had in the car back to the surface.

The man eyed the charm at Jongin’s throat and his full lips pulled into a bittersweet smile. He placed one hand on Jongin’s shoulder and the other at the swell of his hip as the music began, putting Jongin’s thoughts on hold once more.

Jongin fell into the steps easily and the two separated, only their hands connecting as they circled each other. A hop, followed by a scattering of steps and they were back to being chest to chest. How Jongin knew the steps was beyond him, but his partner was an excellent leader. Noticing that the others were chatting, Jongin decided to as well.

“What is your name?”

“You already know that,” the man said.

Jongin’s eyes widened and he almost missed the next step when he hissed, “Kyungsoo? What are you doing here?”

“One of these days, I want you to be happy to see me and not ask why I am here,” he responded and frowned.

They separated and Jongin was passed off to Seohyun who clasped Jongin’s hand with delicate fingers. They circled each other with one arm behind their backs and faces turned towards each other.

“My brother really likes you,” she said. Her gaze flickered over to where Baekhyun was standing and then back to Jongin.

“I’m beginning to see that,” Jongin grinned. He was elated, actually beyond elated because there was something magical about this night and so many things were changing before his eyes. He was seeing Baekhyun’s real side and the more he saw, the harder he fell, because lust aside, Baekhyun was kind of amazing.

“Good, because if you hurt him, I will send the hounds after you.” She smiled dazzlingly -- it must run in the family -- and passed Jongin back to Kyungsoo, who seemed to be in low spirits.

They swept across the floor in long strides until Jongin was able to catch Baekhyun standing next to a very pale man with blonde hair. He was dressed similar to all the men except instead of an undershirt he wore a gauzy netting. Around his neck were two long chains that hung low with black crucifixes that glittered in the firelight.

Not that Jongin would tell anyone, but a spark of jealousy ignited within him and suddenly he had an idea. He smiled at Kyungsoo, hoping that he could also cheer him up with his plan (two birds with one stone and all that). “Let’s say we steam the place up a bit?”

“Have I ever told you how much I love the way you think?” The incubus replied, visibly perking up.

“No, but you may have mentioned my ass a few times,” Jongin said with a wink, falling into their usual banter with ease.

“So, a guy waxes poetic about your glorious buns once and that’s what he is known for?” Kyungsoo teased.

“Once? How about only every day, come on Kyungsoo, you know you worship what I got in my jeans.” Jongin spun with Kyungsoo, inching closer to where Baekhyun stood with the other vampire. He whispered to the incubus, “Follow my lead,” and smirked.

The music faded into another song immediately and the only response Jongin gave Baekhyun, who was headed his way, was a wink as a tango started. Now, everyone who was anyone knew that the tango was a sexy dance. It was the dance of desire and passion and most importantly sensuality. The vampires did not know what he had in store for them.

The first few notes of the violin pierced the room and the crowd slunk back into the shadows as only a few couples dared to dance the tango. A smirk crawling across Jongin’s face, he pressed his entire body against Kyungsoo’s, one hand holding the incubus’s away from them and the other planted firmly on the small of his back.

The first step was easy, just a simple backwards sliding of his foot as he led Kyungsoo with sultry glides of his legs. Their cheeks were pressed firmly together as they went across the floor, every move dripping with purpose. On the next beat, they separated and Kyungsoo stood still, chest puffed and face following Jongin’s every move as he prowled around him, dragging the toe of his shoes across the ground. He circled him, growing closer with each round until he came up behind him dragging his hands over his torso, pressing his crotch to the incubus’s ass, and breathing on his neck. It lasted for a few beats and Jongin grasped the top of Kyungsoo’s head and tilted it, lining his neck with his balmy air.

In an explosion of movement, they were face to face once more and Jongin slid his leg behind him, falling into a lunge with his knee nearly touching the floor. He threw his head back, gripping Kyungsoo’s hips and slowly slid up, keeping his cheek pressed to Kyungsoo’s torso.

When he was fully on both feet, he took Kyungsoo’s head with one hand and locked eyes with him, the passion growing between them. Hooking a leg around Kyungsoo’s back, Jongin dragged his hands down his sides, breathing in his scent and whispering sweet nothings into the incubus’s ears. He needed him to get into the moment, to feel the passion of the song.

They fell into a half moon position, Kyungsoo leaned partially backwards while Jongin swept a leg out, lowering to the height of his chest and keeping his head tilted up to make sure their connection never broke. He parted his lips as he rose again, bringing his lips to the base of his neck and traveling upwards as he stood. He pulled him flush against him once more and arched back, making sure to pucker his lips at Baekhyun before snapping back, gliding his hand up the back of Kyungsoo’s head and tugging at the strands.

They circled each other again, panting into each other’s faces until Jongin moved backwards with a flurry of his feet. He stood in the center of the floor, one hand sliding down the median of his body and then rested as his hip while he beckoned Kyungsoo with a curl of his finger. The incubus approached him slowly, in time with the music and they came together. Kyungsoo gripped him tightly, this time taking the lead as they parallel stepped.

The rest of the couples had dipped out by now, so now, all eyes were on them, including Baekhyun. Jongin took this chance to shed his vest, leaving him in the billowing undershirt that was now plastered to his skin.

He gripped the back of Kyungsoo’s neck, ghosting his lips over his plush pink mouth and let his tongue dart out for the tiniest of tastes. It wasn’t exactly a kiss, so Jongin figured that was why nothing happened to him, but Kyungsoo froze, body rigid and panting as Jongin sank to his knees in front of him, dragging his nails down his front.

As the song climaxed, Kyungsoo yanked Jongin back to standing and doing a couple of amagues, they ended up right in front of Baekhyun. Jongin blew him a kiss before cascading into a series of quick spins guided by Kyungsoo’s hand. He then twirled back into Kyungsoo’s arms and for the last few seconds of the song, he linked his lead leg around Kyungsoo’s leg and the struck the ending pose. Bodies pressed together, masks touching, and chests heaving. Jongin shifted and that was when he noticed a rather unconcealable swell in Kyungsoo’s pants.

“Thanks,” Jongin breathed, untangling himself from the incubus as the music transformed into a tinkling song that denoted the start of another waltz.

“What the hell was all that? And the tongue thing?” Kyungsoo asked, pulling his coat over his crotch to arrange himself.

Jongin grinned, “Incentive, or maybe payback, I’m not sure yet.”

“W-what?” Kyungsoo stuttered. He had successfully hidden his boner and turned Jongin to face him.

Just then, Baekhyun appeared right in front of him and yanked him by the arm.  “I’ll let you know when I get back which it is!” Jongin called over his shoulder as he was being led away.

 

He stumbled; as Baekhyun was not being to kind with his pace. His legs felt shaky from the routine, so it was difficult not to let his feet tangle with each other. He struggled, thinking that Baekhyun did not have to be so brisk or rough with him now. But maybe he really had pissed him off. Maybe he had taken things too far and was about to receive a hell of a punishment. He was led down a dark corridor before coming to a stop at a door and being shoved inside.

“Listen here, you little shit,” Baekhyun slammed Jongin against the wall of what turned out to be some kind of utility closet. A broom handle started to fall, but Baekhyun knocked it back with a swipe of his arm.

“Yes, Master?” Jongin teased. He tilted his head to the side, exposing his neck. It was akin to a woman pressing her bosom together with the way Baekhyun ogled the tan expanse only interrupted by the band of his claim. He quite liked being a little cheeky.

“Stop doing this,” Baekhyun hissed, but he was already softening, hints of adoration filling his voice.

“Stop what?” Jongin whispered, leaning closer. He gripped the waist of Baekhyun’s vest and pulled him against him. His heat caused a dangerous shiver to run down his spine.

“Making me want you so bad,” Baekhyun whined. His lifted a trembling hand to Jongin’s cheek and caressed it. Then, with the pad of his thumb and index finger he angled Jongin’s face down towards his. “Dancing like that? In front of all those people and with Kyungsoo no less?” He wet his lips. “Made me incredibly hard, you see.”

As if Jongin needed confirmation of that, because he could feel Baekhyun’s length through the fabric of his trousers. The vampire’s hips grinded against him, bringing his own cock to life in less time than it took for them to connect at the mouth.

“Are you going to punish me?” Jongin shuddered as Baekhyun’s nimble fingers began unlacing his pants.

“Oh yes, after I have my fill of you, that is,” he said, peppering kisses on Jongin’s skin as he yanked down his slacks.

Once Jongin’s bottom half was desheathed of the cumbersome fabric, he undid his own and pressed their lengths together. His was already slick with precum and Jongin’s followed soon after as the heat of his cock was arousing.

“Are you going to bite me?” Jongin asked, moaning and tossing his head back. The friction was intoxicating and his mind was overrun with the need to be bitten. He craved it.

“Do you want me to?” Baekhyun grunted, canting his hips and taking both of their dicks in his hand.

“Ah! Um, yes!” Jongin gasped. He glanced down at the sight of their engorged cocks sliding over each other, their slits leaking precum, leaving the heads glistening and sticky. He wished they had more light than a dingy single light bulb. He wanted to memorize every detail of this moment. Every vein on Baekhyun dick, every bead of fluid that seeped out. He licked his lips and Baekhyun seemed to get an idea.

“On your knees,” he said, still pumping his cock.

Jongin obliged, letting his mouth fall open and waiting for the first plunge. Baekhyun had other plans, though, as he smeared the head of his dick over Jongin’s ready lips, covering them in the salty substance. Jongin dipped his tongue out, tasting him and his eyes fluttered closed. This was the first time Baekhyun actually let him see his dick this close. He looked up at Baekhyun, suddenly overcome with emotion.

“You’re so pretty like that, but I bet you’re even prettier with my cock in your mouth, huh?” Baekhyun murmured, guiding his hard member to Jongin’s lips and then pulling it away. “You want it, don’t you?”

“Yes,” Jongin said. He had fantasized about something like this. He reached down to service himself when Baekhyun knocked his hand away with his foot.

“Oh no, no, you’re not cumming tonight.” He stroked himself languidly before saying, “I want to hear you say it.”

“Say what?”

“Say you want my dick.”

It was true, Jongin did want it and never in his entire sexual history had he ever been made to sit in front of someone at full staff and wait. A vampire's patience was nothing to joke about. He looked up at Baekhyun with unblinking eyes and bit his lip. “I want your cock, Baekhyun.”

“Good,” he replied and finally let Jongin have a taste of him.

Baekhyun wasn’t huge by any means, but he was a nice size for oral, Jongin thought as he swallowed around the throbbing length. He tasted so good and Jongin wondered why it had taken the vampire so long to let him suck him off. He slurped, bobbing his head back and grabbing Baekhyun by the backs of his legs. He loved the way he smelled. It was musky and spicy and every time Jongin inhaled he felt like his eyes were going to roll back in his head.

“Fuck, you’re so good,” Baekhyun hissed, rolling his hips. His eyes were heavy lidded and his mouth hung open as his labored breaths were punctuated with small moans.

“Mmhmm,” Jongin replied mouth full of cock, sending vibrations down the vampire’s length earning him a gasp. He dug his fingertips into luscious thighs and bottomed out, burying his nose at the base of Baekhyun’s cock. He peered up at him, exhaling through his nose and humming. He wanted Baekhyun to remember this.

After a few bobs, he slowly released him with a resounding pop. Baekhyun had a pretty dick. In the dim lighting Jongin could see the way his shaft was tinted red and the veins that lined it. He tongued a vein, smiling when he felt Baekhyun shudder and then examined his cock some more. It glistened from Jongin’s saliva and he felt it throb as he flattened his tongue on the underside, licking from base to tip.

He reached up and circled his hand around Baekhyun’s shaft while he licked the tip, swirling around the glands and dipping into the slit, eliciting a breathy groan from Baekhyun. He was making him make those sounds and it made his cock throb in his lap. He jerked Baekhyun, pressing his head against his tongue at first and then wrapping his lips around creating lewd sounds and moaning in the back of his throat.

Baekhyun twined long digits into Jongin’s silky hair, guiding him over his length as he thrusted gently. “You look so perfect with your lips around my cock.”

“Because it’s where they belong,” Jongin replied, lapping at him now and Baekhyun whimpered at the words. He engulfed him once more, humming and loving the way Baekhyun came apart at the mercy of his mouth. He quickened his pace, slurping and sliding his encircled fingers up and down Baekhyun’s heated length.

When he felt Baekhyun’s hips coming to meet him faster and faster, Jongin freed his dick and said, “If you want to fuck my face, that’s okay with me, in fact, I’d enjoy it very much.”

He wanted to make sure that Baekhyun knew that he was his and he could please him in anyway his heart desired. Be it blood, sex, or even dare he think it, love. Jongin wanted to give it all to Baekhyun in this moment. He wanted to serve him, to give him anything he wanted. He wasn’t sure what was bringing these feelings on. If it was the way Baekhyun was looking down at him like he was his whole universe or if he was just drunk on lust, but their connection was real and the more Baekhyun opened up to him, the more Jongin wanted to be there for him.

He gazed up at the vampire, who was biting his lip and said, “I am yours.”

That did it. Baekhyun caressed Jongin’s face for a second, thumbing at his lips and parting them. “Yes, you are mine.” He slipped his thumb inside and whimpered when Jongin sucked on it. Replacing his thumb with his dick he thrusted slowly at first, enjoying the glucking sound that Jongin made with each plunge.

Jongin took hold of Baekhyun’s ass, forcing him deeper into his throat and tilted his head, offering him a new sensation of twisting and twirling his tongue. His eyes smarted and tears built at the corners, but this was what he wanted. He needed to be the one who took Baekhyun over the edge. He dragged his nails down the backs of Baekhyun’s thighs and sucked harder, pulling out a string of profanity from the vampire.

It wasn’t long before his thrusts turned spastic and random. He had Jongin’s hair balled in his fist as he bucked into his mouth. And just the sight of him unraveling above him was enough to make Jongin’s cock twitch. He sneakily touched himself, pulling himself to the edge as Baekhyun unwound into his throat.

A final jerk of Baekhyun’s hips and his dick pulsed as it spurted hot streams of his seed down the back of Jongin’s throat. He swallowed around him, milking him dry and savoring every last drop before he too, came, a gushing mess out of his tip all over the floor.

Baekhyun collapsed to his knees and cradled Jongin, stroking his hair and pressing his lips to his temple. His body was trembling as he held him, breathless and spent. “Jongin…” he trailed off, peppering his crown with more kisses. “I…” he stopped, growing rigid and seeming to close off completely. He cleared his throat. “That was lovely, we should return.”

What? What the fuck? Jongin thought. “That’s it? That’s how you react?” He was suddenly enraged and insecure. Sure, it was just a blowjob but he felt like he had exposed himself just now and all Baekhyun had to say was that it was lovely? What happened to all the emotions they had been sharing the whole night? What about the way Baekhyun had been looking at him like he embodied all the stars in the night sky? Was all of that just for naught? Did it even mean anything at all?

Jongin never thought he would feel so strongly about this, but he watched as Baekhyun dressed himself, avoiding his gaze and then stood facing the door. His shoulders raised as if he was going to say something but instead he tied his mask back on and disappeared leaving Jongin pantsless, covered in his own cum, and feeling confused on the floor.

Vampires. They really knew how to fuck with someone’s heart. Was the whole night just some ruse to cover Baekhyun’s cruel intentions? Were the glances and the kisses just a facade he put on to get Jongin to agree to be his? Had he been tricked, coerced into a binding contract by the promise of something that meant much more? Jongin wasn’t sure if he had wanted all that earlier, but staring at the door where Baekhyun’s figure made it painfully clear. He wanted Baekhyun and not just in the carnal way, he wanted him to be his for the big picture. And that was why him leaving hurt so much.

Jongin cleaned himself up and returned to the masquerade feeling overwhelmed and fragile. If even the tiniest breeze hit him, he was sure he would evaporate. He wasn’t used to this feeling and the longer he gazed at Baekhyun the deeper the roots grew, twisting themselves around his heart and draining it. He looked away, hoping that the sting in the back of his throat would lessen.

Kyungsoo approached him and while he really did not want to deal with anyone at the moment he was happy to see a familiar face...erm mask. He took the time to really look at the mask and noticed that it was embroidered with lace that spread from the ruby to the horns which were actually black at the tips where they curled slightly. Smaller protrusions that looked like deer ears were decorated in small silver hoops.

“You okay?” he asked, standing next to him. He was concerned, but Jongin could also hear another emotion in his voice. He glanced at him, taking in the way his icy blue eyes brightened when they connected and then dimmed.

Jongin then watched Baekhyun, feeling as though his heart had been stepped on -- no stomped on and then thrown in a garbage disposal where the blades churned it into slop. Okay, so that was dramatic, but Jongin really felt heartbroken...and confused. He had spent the night in a whirlwind of emotions only to have them dashed to the ground with the closing of a door. He turned to Kyungsoo and sighed, “Yeah, I’m fine.”

Kyungsoo frowned, tilting his head, “Sweetheart, no you’re not, I know that look, wore it well too.” He grabbed Jongin’s hand and led him to a more secluded corner, but still within eyesight of Baekhyun and the pale vampire. “Tell me what’s going on.” He pointed at the claim on Jongin’s neck, “Starting with that. It’s more than just a talisman, I can feel that.” There was a sad tilt to his lips, but Jongin figured it had more to do with the fact that Kyungsoo had found him in this state.

Jongin touched the charm and felt a flash of anger. Some claim this was, if Baekhyun was just going to leave him like that, it could not have meant that much to him in the first place. It was nothing more than an overzealous protection charm at this point. He tugged at it, wanting to take it off, but part of him hesitated and he sank to the ground, feeling overcome by too many thoughts. It felt like his head was constantly spinning and it was beginning to ache. “I really don’t know…”

“It’s from Baekhyun right? I’m assuming, because you came here with him.” Kyungsoo knelt beside Jongin, placing a hand on his back and rubbing soothing circles into it. Even though he was an incubus, he had a way of comforting Jongin in a way. “He wanted you to be safe, right?”

He was asking these questions but Jongin knew in the back of his mind that Kyungsoo was digging, trying to learn more about the nature of the gift. He could see how the corners of Kyungsoo’s mouth turned down, wavering as though he was holding something back inside him.

Jongin looked up and saw Baekhyun staring from the distance and sighed. Why did he feel so stupid? He balled his fist and slammed it against his thigh. The pain helped clear his mind a bit. “Yeah,” he said.

“Hmm.” Kyungsoo glanced over at Baekhyun and then frowned. “Wait here,” He started to leave, but Jongin grabbed his wrist. He clung to it before letting his hand fall away.

“Please come back,” he whispered. He did not know why he said that, but deep down, he really just needed someone be there for him. He felt raw, vulnerable, and small. So, so small. Insignificant was a better word and as he watched Kyungsoo speak to Baekhyun, he felt himself curling deeper into the feeling, letting it shroud him and cloud his mind. Why on earth did he ever think someone like him could mean something to anyone? Everyone left him in the end, so why would this be any different?

He saw Baekhyun approaching him and wanted the ground to swallow him. He was just a lowly human, one that stumbled into the night world. Clearly, he didn’t belong, no matter how hard he tried and how comfortable he felt with these beings. He was an outsider, just like always and it hurt. He felt cast aside, used and discarded. It was a spiraling notion that only built the closer Baekhyun got until he felt nothing at all, just emptiness.

“Jongin,” Baekhyun murmured, kneeling beside him.

Jongin kept his head lowered, gaze to the ground and simply breathed. What had started out as a night from a fairytale had taken a very depressing turn. Night of his life. Yeah, he wasn’t going to forget this, not now, not ever.

“Jongin, look at me,” Baekhyun urged, gently turning Jongin’s face to him. His mask was resting on the ground and in its place, was an expression of concern.

It was probably because he wanted to keep up appearances in front of the rest of the vampires. Can’t have his precious human ruining the night, could he? He noticed as Baekhyun turned and saw others staring at them. The vampire shifted so that they were more hidden.

Jongin pursed his lips, refusing to say anything until the words blurted out of their own accord, “If I’m such an embarrassment to you, then why am I even here?”

Baekhyun furrowed his brows, frowning, “Because I wanted you here...with me.” He settled next to Jongin on the floor and sent glares at anyone who lingered next to them for too long.

“Could’ve fooled me,” Jongin replied in monotone. His hand went back to the claim and he fingered the charm, before lifting his gaze to meet Baekhyun’s. “You should take this back,” he reached around to remove it but found the surface smooth to the touch.

“Why would I do that? I gave it to you...Jongin, you do know what it means, right?” Baekhyun asked, face full of worry.

“Yeah, you said it meant I was yours and that no one would harm unless they wanted to fight you.” He stared at the ground and let his hand drop to his lap. “I won’t need it anymore, though, I’m going to leave the night world.” He didn’t want to, but it felt like it was the only thing to do. Maybe he was being overreactive, maybe he would feel different after a night’s sleep, but right now, he just wanted to be gone. To fade into the background and disappear.

“Jongin…” Baekhyun trailed and then pulled him into a hug. Jongin was limp in his arms for a moment until he loosely wrapped his arms around Baekhyun’s middle.

He didn’t understand what was happening, but hot, fat tears rolled down his cheeks as Baekhyun held him. He hated feeling like this. So, confused and hurt.

Baekhyun rocked him and whispered, “It means so much more than just protection, my human.” He pushed him to arm’s length and studied Jongin’s face. “It means that I am yours just as much as you are mine. It’s a promise, Jongin, that for as long as there is breath in my body, I belong to you and you to me, in every way possible.”

“So, it’s like a proposal?” Jongin asked, furrowing his brows. He needed to read up more on vampire claims, or perhaps he just needed to listen to Baekhyun because the way the vampire was looking at him, told him that there was more.

Baekhyun shook his head, “Proposals are uncertain. This,” he pointed at the charm, “It’s deeper than that. Jongin, a vampire’s claim means forever.”

Oh. It was all Jongin could think. Here he was thinking that it was something akin to a bright flashing sign that said he was Baekhyun’s property, when it was so much more. No wonder they were so rare and no wonder every vampire at the ball looked at him curiously and at Baekhyun with knowledgeable smiles. They understood the magnitude of it. They knew that one of their kind was going out on a limb and offering themselves completely to another in hopes of being with them forever. It wasn’t marriage which could be divorced, and it wasn’t just protection, it was a very public symbol of adoration. No, much stronger than that, it was of love.

Baekhyun loved him. That was a thought that Jongin never even imagined he would be thinking tonight. In fact, he had scoffed at the idea earlier, but if any creature knew what love was like it had to be one that lived for 700 years, right? Jongin felt himself frowning. It was too soon, but Baekhyun had known that when he gave it to him. He had told Jongin that he wanted to wait, but Jongin forced his hand and now here they were. He knew he did not love Baekhyun yet. Yet.

“And I know I shouldn’t have left you like that, I panicked.” He caressed Jongin’s face with the back of his hand. “I have not felt so strongly for someone in a long time and it scared me. You scare me. You make me feel so many things, things I thought had long fallen dormant. And that is what the claim means, my human.”

Jongin nodded, unsure of what to say. This was a lot to take in. He felt undeserving of the necklace around his neck. He looked away, chewing his lip. Why had Baekhyun chosen him? They had only met not long ago and he guessed that to someone that had forever, time was relative, but there was no way Baekhyun could know what was going on in Jongin’s mind, or heart. He had gambled and Jongin had taken such a powerful thing without knowledge. He had Baekhyun’s heart, but did Baekhyun have his?

He looked into Baekhyun’s eyes and his breath halted. It may have been too early for Jongin to tell, but for Baekhyun it had been centuries. He knew what he was feeling and was trusting Jongin not to take advantage of that. And if Jongin was honest it terrified him, knowing that he actually was Baekhyun’s world, knowing that after all these years he chose him. Perhaps he had known from the first moment, cliché as that was, but this was real and Jongin found himself wanting to take the plunge.

“Say something, please?” Baekhyun pleaded. “I know I messed up, but…”

Jongin rose to his hands and knees and pressed his lips against Baekhyun’s. It was soft and gentle and it held all the meaning he wanted to show him without the clumsiness of words. He hadn’t planned on falling for someone or having someone fall for him like this, but on the floor in the middle of a vampire’s masquerade, Jongin thought that falling wasn’t so bad, not when he had someone waiting to catch him.

“How’s that for an answer?” He said when he pulled away, biting his bottom lip shyly.

Baekhyun pulled him back and kissed him again, this time putting his emotions behind it, clutching at Jongin and breathing him in as if he was made of oxygen itself. He entangled his fingers in Jongin’s hair and then pressed his forehead against his when he broke the kiss. “I don’t know, how was my answer?”

Jongin smiled, “I’ll give you a solid six, because you were a jerk to me before.”

“Fair enough,” Baekhyun chuckled and then leaned back. He glanced around and snorted, “They’re going to talk about this for the next few decades.”

“Oh really?” Jongin cocked his head. He liked that Baekhyun was already including him in his future as if it were the most natural thing. And it was that, natural, because they were a thing now and that’s what people did when they were in things.

“Oh yeah, stuff like this never happens. Quite often, these get togethers are full of shallow greetings and peacocking. So essentially, we’re like that drunk uncle that shows up to a wedding and falls on the cake,” Baekhyun replied.

Jongin giggled. “I guess they’ll just invite us to more things then, at least we give them entertainment.” He slowly stood and brushed his hands off on his pants. When he met Baekhyun’s gaze he suddenly felt shy and looked away. Ah, the beginnings of new love. Next thing Jongin knew he would be writing in his diary about the way Baekhyun’s lips were like two velvet petals of a rose and-- okay if he kept going he might make himself barf. There was such a thing as too much and Jongin liked to toe that line but never cross it.

Baekhyun held out his arm and Jongin linked his through, grinning. Together, they returned to the pale vampire and found Kyungsoo standing there talking animatedly. Jongin smiled at the incubus and in return he was given a lopsided grin with sad eyes. Odd. However, Jongin was too busy basking in the afterglow of learning that things were serious with his vampire lover -- (Or was he his boyfriend? How did these things work?) -- to spend more than a passing thought on Kyungsoo’s reaction. He cared for his friend, he really did, but he didn’t want anything to bring his night down, not any more.

“Jongin, I want you to meet a close friend of mine, Taemin.” Baekhyun said, gesturing to the pale vampire.

Jongin held out his hand and instead of having it shaken, Taemin brought it to his lips and planted a chaste kiss on the back. Jongin took his hand back, bewildered and glanced at Baekhyun who had burst into laughter. Taemin was one of those vampires.

“Um, nice to meet you,” Jongin said, trying to slyly wipe the back of his hand off.

“Pleasure is all mine, Baekhyun, here, was just telling me about you, congratulations by the way.” He smiled and Jongin had to admit he had a really nice smile. His perfectly styled blonde hair looked almost strawberry colored in the red light from the candles.

“Oh, um thanks,” Jongin replied, hand rising to his throat where he played with the claim.

“You’re welcome,” He said with a smirk. Then he nodded towards Kyungsoo and said, “I saw you dancing with him, you two put on quite a show, got the elders all up in a tizzy.”

That made Jongin laugh and he nudged Kyungsoo. “We make a great team, don’t we? Pure sex appeal, everyone in here was hot and bothered.”

“Okay Baekhyun what did you tell him to make him this cocky?” Kyungsoo said as he rolled his eyes.

Baekhyun and Kyungsoo shared an unusually long stared before Baekhyun said, in a measured tone, “I told him the truth about the claim.”

“Oh,” Kyungsoo said, casting his gaze to the ground.

Silence fell between the lot of them and Jongin scratched his nose trying to think of a way to break it. He glanced between everyone and gnawed on his lip. Things felt awkward now and he couldn’t even pull a quip out of his pocket because all he could do was draw a blank. By the grace of the gods, the room dimmed again and everyone’s attention went forward towards the stage.

Ethereal lights directed everyone’s gazes to the center of the stage and perhaps one of the most beautiful women Jongin had ever seen graced the stage. Her dark colored hair was styled in loose waves around her face and she wore deep scarlet colored lipstick that matched the color of her gown. The fabric looked as if it was made for her as it fell upon every curve in the most delicate of ways and accentuated her waist in a way that would make any woman jealous. She was phenomenal and gorgeous and judging by the faces of everyone else in the room they all thought the same.

She smiled before elegantly sweeping her hand in front of her, addressing the crowd. “May I thank you all for attending this century’s masquerade.”

Applause erupted throughout the whole ballroom and Jongin glanced at Baekhyun who leaned over and whispered, “She’s the Madame.”

Next to him, he felt Kyungsoo shift and glanced at him. The incubus looked as if he were a rabbit sitting in the maw of a fox. His eyes were wide and short shallow breaths pierced the air. He met Jongin’s gaze and then looked at his claim, then to Baekhyun, and back to the stage.

Damn. Okay, this was big and Jongin suddenly felt nervous, as if she would somehow single him out in the crowd as a human and call him up on stage. Of course, these types of feelings never usually came true until tonight, when the Madame did just that and Jongin, accompanied by Baekhyun, approached the stairs that lead to the stage.

“Tonight, is a special night,” the Madame said, her eyes were unlike all the others. Whereas every vampire, elemental or regular had black, depthless eyes, hers were crimson. She was, in fact, an Original. She focused her gaze on Jongin and smiled warmly at him. Her hands gently touched him and she guided him to the center and then yanked Baekhyun there, chastising him under her breath for not bringing Jongin to her earlier, and making sure Jongin was settled.

“Tonight, on this night of the Blood Moon, we have a new claim. Our lovely, darling Baekhyun has finally found someone not only deserving of his affection, but one who returns it as well.” She smiled and the crowd of vampires exploded into rambunctious cheers. “Impeccable timing as always, as it has fallen on the single time I have held this gathering on the Blood Moon.”

She gazed out to the crowd and then turned to Jongin, “For the benefit of our guest, I will explain the purpose of the blood bond.” She touched the claim and opened it, “These claims are made by talented witches who infuse not only magic into the stone but also the blood of your vampire. This not only identifies whom you belong to, but it also permits you to one of the most private places for a vampire, their heart. Perhaps you noticed this tonight, overwhelming feelings or the occasional thought. You were not imagining it, sweet child, you were experiencing what lies within Baekhyun’s heart.” She paused and then turned to Baekhyun, pulling him near.

“But that is not all, for he will be able to feel the same, once you two are bonded. Vampires do not usually take partners outside of our kind, but when they do, they must show not only us their sincerity by the symbol of the claim, but they must promise that who they have chosen is someone that they can trust and by extension, we can trust. And that is the significance of the blood bond.”

She then turned to face the rest of the vampires again, “So, on this night, I will perform the ritual, binding you to each other, and Jongin to the Night World, forever.

Jongin felt his heart hammering in his chest. Again, this was overwhelming and part of him wished that Baekhyun had waited like he had wanted. He loved the Night World, he really did and he was falling fast and hard for Baekhyun. But, forever? He wasn’t sure if he was ready for all that. Baekhyun had said that this wasn’t like a marriage, but right now, on this stage, Jongin felt like he was in some form of vampire wedding.

The Madame leaned and whispered into Jongin’s ear, “Fear not, child. I can see the doubt on your face, but if the claim did not reject you, then it was meant to be. I can see the seed of love inside you, let this bond nurture it, and you will see it grow.”

Jongin nodded and looked to Baekhyun who, once again, stole his breath away. The genuine bliss on his face was infectious and Jongin felt his lips pull into a smile. So yeah, this was fast and this was serious, but the Madame was right, the claim had not rejected him.

A surge of happiness coursed through him and when Jongin touched the claim it felt warm and he could see the glow bouncing off his palm. It had been Baekhyun’s emotions he had been feeling all night and the vampire very clearly wanted this more than anything.

Together they turned to face each other and the Madame raised her hand in the air above theirs. In her fingers, was a small blade that glittered in the light. First, she grabbed Baekhyun’s arm and proclaimed, “A Son of Judas must shed the first drop, signifying his undying devotion to both our kind and to his claim.” She sliced the blade across Baekhyun’s arm and the first bead of blood sluggishly rolled down his arm and to the floor.

Next, she grabbed Jongin’s arm and held it, “Then, the Son of Adam must bleed, signifying his pledge to his master and to our kind, for now that he is bound, he belongs to our world, forever.” She sliced his skin and Jongin winced at the sting. It was nowhere near as pleasurable as Baekhyun biting him.

“Now, take each other’s wounds to your lips and drink,” she commanded and the whole ballroom fell silent and still.

Jongin grabbed Baekhyun’s arm with his unwounded one and stared at the dark blood that was slowly rolling down his forearm. He looked up into Baekhyun’s eyes, seeing his euphoria and excitement and leaned his head to taste the blood. His tongue was less than half a centimeter away when a commotion in the crowd started.

“Don’t!”

Jongin whipped his head to the crowd and saw Kyungsoo standing in the center of the room, holding his mask in his hand and his arm outstretched. In the dim light, his face had two shimmering streams and Jongin realized he was crying. Shock rolled through him and he glanced back at Baekhyun who was looking just as shocked and a little angry.

“Remove him from the premises,” the Madame commanded and then waited as Kyungsoo was hauled off, screaming both of their names alternatively and pleading for them to listen to him.

When Jongin returned his attention to Baekhyun’s arm, it was already healed, blood crusting and falling off in flakes. His own arm still bled healthily and based on the hungry faces in the crowd, he suddenly felt unsafe.

It was like all the air was pulled from the room. Dead silence punctured only by the hungry eyes following every drop of Jongin’s blood that plopped on the stage. This night could not get any crazier. First, he had been the topic of the night because of the claim, and then he had put fire to everyone’s loins with his routine with Kyungsoo. Somehow, he ended up in a vampire version of a wedding that was then interrupted and from the looks of the crowd, Jongin was about to be dinner. It didn’t matter that he was Baekhyun’s, it was a couple hundred versus one and those odds were not pretty.

Baekhyun attached himself to Jongin’s arm, swiping his tongue over the wound and closing it before he stood in front of him, hissing. The crowd of vampires were unfazed, and one man came rushing out towards the stage with impossible speed.

Fear struck him like nothing else before and Jongin was sure this was his end. He never even got the chance to seal the deal, hell he never got the chance to even fully appreciate what this night was supposed to mean and now his life was in danger? What kind of vampire film did he step into? Was this why so many people believed the tropes?

Jongin took a step backwards and collided with the Madame, who held a curious expression on her face. She smiled at Jongin and then, after making sure he could stand on his feet, flew off the stage holding the crowd back by her presence alone. She shouted to Baekhyun, “Take him and leave, we can complete this on the next Blood Moon, but he is not safe here!”

Feeling Baekhyun’s fingers close around his wrist, Jongin ran behind him, trying his best to keep up with him as they rocketed down the stairs and through the divide that the Madame created in the crowd of vampires. They hissed, jaws clacking and teeth descended as Jongin and Baekhyun rushed through them.

One reached out and snagged the back of Jongin’s shirt, ripping it as he struggled to get away but Baekhyun was there in an instant, breaking the fingers of the vampire and releasing Jongin from their grasp.

Sprinting down the hall, Jongin’s heart was ramming in his chest so fast he thought he was going to have a heart attack. It was only when they burst through the doors to crisp autumn air that Jongin allowed himself to breathe. Of course, he wasn’t out of danger until they were off the premises, so Baekhyun quickly and rather roughly shoved him into the car once he ripped the door open. It came clear off the hinges and he simply climbed inside after Jongin and held it closed as they took off down the road.

“Baekhyun?” Jongin wheezed, feeling like he was going to lose consciousness. He felt so overwhelmed and scared.

“I know you’re scared, but can this wait until we are back home?” He pleaded, holding the door closed as a barrage of Victorian dressed vampires spilled onto the streets behind them. Jongin heard something collide with the door and saw Baekhyun wrenching it shut while shutting his eyes and suddenly they were surrounded by darkness.

Jongin tried to calm himself, but his breaths were too shallow and his head felt funny and then everything went black.

 

Soft. That was the only word Jongin could use to describe what he was feeling right now. It was like he was surrounded in a cloud of softness. In was all encompassing and took precedence over every sense. He curled into it, and gradually he realized he was in bed, but it was not his bed. Beside him he felt movement and when he looked up he saw Baekhyun staring at him like he might shatter into a million pieces.

“Can I touch you?” He asked, hand hesitant as it hovered over Jongin’s face.

Jongin nodded, feeling his throat constrict as his mind slowly caught up on the events of the night. He felt Baekhyun pull him into his lap and nuzzled, because if anything, he needed something that felt solid so that he did not float away.

Baekhyun stroked his head, his own chest rising and falling rapidly. “How do you feel?”

Jongin peered up at him and saw concern wrangle his eyebrows together until wrinkles formed between them. He noticed the way his face held his frown like he had been frowning for at least an entire day and maybe he had. Jongin had no recollection of what happened after he saw Kyungsoo being dragged out of the ballroom.

“I feel okay I think, I’m not sure,” he said.

“Do you want me to run you some water? I sent my staff away, so it’s just me, if you’re worried about any intrusion.” Baekhyun said, still acting like Jongin was a fragile piece of china that might teeter over the edge and burst into shards.

“That sounds nice,” Jongin replied. He shifted to a sitting position and took in his surroundings. Baekhyun had a California king sized bed that felt like sleeping in heaven itself. Pillows created mountains of lavish cushion. It was opulent, but Jongin was not complaining.

He watched as Baekhyun climbed off the bed, his billowing blouse open down to his navel and falling off his shoulder with his movement. He entered a room and the rush of water signaled Jongin that he was doing just as he suggested.

Sliding off the bed to wobbly feet, Jongin swayed only to be caught by Baekhyun who had appeared next to him. He pulled Jongin into his arms and placed a kiss on his chest before looking up at him and saying, “You scared me when you went limp like that.”

“What are you talking about?” Jongin asked as Baekhyun led him to the bathroom.

If Baekhyun’s house was anything to go by, his bathroom was something out of Forbes magazine. It was made from ceiling to floor made of black opal. Flecks inside the stone reflected rainbow light as Jongin walked in. He squinted his eyes as it was almost overpowering, but Baekhyun noticed this and through his shadow manipulation, he made the flecks dull as a thin guise of black fog covered the ground.

The tub was also black, with rose gold lion clawed feet and a golden spigot. In the east side of the bathroom, there was a standing shower with grates in the ceiling for what Jongin could only assume was a rainfall shower. There were two sinks placed into more black opal lined counters and a mirror that lined the wall.

Baekhyun led Jongin to the edge of the tub and then began removing his clothes. There was no undertone of desire, only concern as his gentle touch slowly pulled the shredded garment over Jongin’s head. Then he set to work loosening the ties that held Jongin’s slacks to his body and once he was done he pulled them off him before helping him into the tub.

After making sure that Jongin was stable enough to sit by himself, Baekhyun removed his own clothes and sat in the tub behind him and pulled Jongin against his chest. The tub was large enough for the both of them to lay back comfortably.

“Why did he do that?” Jongin asked. His mind was playing the scene over and over in his head and he could not for the life of him figure out why Kyungsoo had done that.

“Do you want me to start from the beginning?” Baekhyun asked, cupping water and letting it fall over Jongin’s sculpted chest.

Jongin nodded, “Yeah.” If he could maybe gain some insight about Kyungsoo, then perhaps he would know how to go about fixing things.

Baekhyun sighed and draped his arms around Jongin’s middle, pulling him tighter. “Vampires are not meant to be solitary creatures. We were human first after all...but the thought of facing forever alone is a tough prospect that most of us face.”

He shifted underneath Jongin, the water trickling and sighed again, “It’s silly, but, I spent my first five hundred years searching for the one and well, the one isn’t a thing that exists. Every lifetime was the same, I’d find someone, fall for them and then they would grow old before my eyes until they turned to dust in the ground. After a while it starts to hurt less, you know? Falling in love for forty years at a time, seeing the way human bodies deteriorate and stop functioning. I grew tired of that painful cycle, so I turned my back on humans. Because forever is a long time.”

Jongin rolled over in the tub, the sides squeaking as he did so and then rested his head on Baekhyun’s chest. “Then, something happened, right?”

“Someone happened. I was different then. Everything was different then and we were so caught up in how it felt to even noticed all the destruction we caused around us, all the people we killed. It had to be thousands, I don’t know. But, we would wake up from gluttony induced hazes to fuck and then fall right back into the same routine. All those people, even now they’re nothing more than a blur of places to bite and blood to drink. It was all so toxic, and so intoxicating. And I would’ve kept going if it weren’t for the war.”

“Which war?” Jongin asked. He hadn’t known that Baekhyun’s and Kyungsoo's history had ran so far into the past. It shed a bit of light on the situation, but Jongin needed to know more.

“The second World War. He was drafted by mistake and in our time apart I spent a lot of time reflecting. I realized that the way we were living was unsustainable. When he returned, I tried to help him change his ways, to practice self-control and for a while, it worked. I convinced myself that what we had was love and even had a claim made for him.” Baekhyun fell silent.

Jongin looked up at Baekhyun, studying his face and gasped softly. In the process of opening up to Jongin, he had begun crying. So Jongin reached up and thumbed a tear away, earning a small smile form the vampire. Jongin returned the gesture and then added, “But he turned you down.”

Nodding with sad agreement, Baekhyun said, “He turned me down, saying he wasn’t ready, even after spending several decades together and I took it badly. Really badly. Went off the deepened for a while before coming back and groveling at Bo-Ah’s feet. She’s given me three chances and each time she said it was the last. But I was always her favorite.” Baekhyun laughed a bit and then fell silent again, avoiding Jongin’s gaze.

“Bo-Ah is the Madame, right?” Jongin asked. He was sitting up now, studying Baekhyun closely. Taking in every detail from the way he opened and closed his hand while he thought, to the way the water turned his skin a delicate shade of pink.

“Yes, she is.” Baekhyun said, only now turning to face Jongin. His vaultless eyes held so many emotions, so much knowledge, and so many lives in them. Jongin could only imagine what it must have been like for him to go through so much death and pain and still be able to smile.

Still, it had been nearly seventy years since Kyungsoo refused his claim and Jongin was beginning to understand why Kyungsoo stopped the bond. The incubus had been the one that the Madame was referencing and ex or not, that had to stir up feelings. Or, at least that’s what Jongin assumed.

“Why did you choose me?” Jongin asked, suddenly needing to know the answer.

Baekhyun lifted his hand, drops cascading to the water and down his arm. He placed it on Jongin’s cheek and smiled. “When you’re as old as me, you know when someone is special, and you don’t let them get away if you have the chance.”

“Yeah but, forever? Baekhyun that is a really long time. How do you know you won’t get tired of me?” He was worried. If it had only taken seven decades for him to feel ready to open his heart again, how long would it take for him to grow bored with him?

“I just know,” He said and then leaned forward, capturing Jongin’s lips with his own. When he pulled away he said, “One day I hope you can see just how much light you bring to my darkness, how bright you shine, how lovely you are. I kept these words at bay, for fear that they would be too much, but now as I gaze upon the claim at your throat, I feel emboldened, because you are mine and soon you will see that I am yours.” He kissed him again, this time begging entrance to Jongin’s mouth with his tongue.

Kissing like this had to be illegal. It was tender and their lips melded together so perfectly. Jongin pulled Baekhyun’s bottom lip between his teeth and settled onto his lap. They kissed lazily for a few minutes until Jongin spoke, “But won’t kissing me get boring? Kissing the same person forever?” It was still a lot for Jongin to handle, but more and more he was getting used to the idea.

“Never. These lips are mine and mine alone and I will never grow tired of them.” For emphasis, he kissed Jongin again, nibbling at him.

Parting, Jongin felt himself smile, “What if one day you wake up and suddenly don’t want me?” It wasn’t a real concern, what with the emotions Jongin was feeling from Baekhyun earlier, but sometimes a guy needed to hear just how much he meant to someone.

Baekhyun chuckled, “Don’t worry your mind with such things,” He brushed his nose over Jongin’s. “You are that first breath of air to a drowning man. That first ray of light to the blind. An ambrosia so sweet the gods are jealous. And you are mine.” He reached and touched the claim, “And if you’ll let me, I will be yours, too.”

Jongin blushed. All these sweet words that Baekhyun had kept hidden. It was as if he was bursting at the seams with praise for Jongin and it made him wonder just how he could possibly deserve all this? He was just a random human with an all express paid ticket to the Night World. There was nothing special about him from what he could see, but to Baekhyun, he was the universe and that was heavy. Really, really heavy.

“But, isn’t this all so fast?” Jongin asked, feeling nervous.

“Fast, slow, time is relative, especially when there is forever. Why not start now?” Baekhyun laughed and when Jongin did not, he softened. “We can take it as slow as you want, I never want to pressure you into something you are not ready for.”

Okay, that would work. If they took baby steps, Jongin could do this. Giving Baekhyun a shy smile he said, “So... are we like boyfriends now?”

“If that is what you want, yes.”

“I have a vampire boyfriend, holy shit, am I dreaming?” Jongin whispered and when he realized he said that aloud he felt his face heat up. “I mean, boyfriends, yes, that sounds lovely and I definitely do this all the time. Yep, call me Mr. Experienced here.”

Baekhyun pinched Jongin’s cheek and smiled. “Cute. You should be excited, because I’m excited to call you my boyfriend.”

Jongin smiled down at the water and then he smirked. Reaching his hand under the water he grabbed a handful of Baekhyun’s dick. “Something’s definitely excited.”

“I was wondering when you’d notice,” Baekhyun laughed and pulled Jongin into another kiss, still just as gentle as the ones before but with the promise of something more. “Let’s retire to the bed, we’ve been in here long enough.”

“Whatever you say, Captain.” Jongin said, giving him a two-finger salute. Just because they were now in a relationship didn’t mean things had to be sappy all the time.

 

Jongin woke up in Baekhyun’s bed and inhaled deeply. It smelled of both of them, their sweat from the night before when they had gone down on each other. Sex was a thing that Baekhyun was avoiding for some reason, but Jongin was not one to pressure him. They were taking things slow after all.

Fishing his phone out of the pile of clothes Baekhyun had created the day prior, Jongin frowned deeply at all the missed phone calls and texts. One, from Junmyeon about Kyungsoo made his stomach drop and Jongin figured that he needed to speak to the incubus sooner rather than later. He did care for him and despite all the new butterflies and longing gazes he and Baekhyun now shared, he couldn’t put his friend on the back burner.

He called Kyungsoo first, getting sent straight to voicemail and frowned. He didn’t leave a message because quite honestly, he hated checking messages so why leave one unless it was Junmyeon. He dialed Junmyeon’s number and sighed when he got his voicemail as well. Why even have a phone if you’re not going to answer it?

“Jongin if this is you leaving another message of you farting into my phone, please don’t. All other callers, leave your name and number and I will get back to you.”

Chuckling to himself Jongin waited for the beep and then quickly said, “Hey, got your texts, call me back asap.” He waited and then pressing his lips together he made a horrific farting sound and then hung up the phone. Immature? yes. Fun? Also, yes. Conducive to the information he actually wanted? No. But that was okay, because Jongin figured that the incubus could not be in too much trouble if he had stopped by his dorm as recently as a few hours ago (judging by the timestamp).

“Do you have indigestion?” Baekhyun asked, appearing before Jongin with a tray of food.

Intense heat slammed over Jongin’s face and he sputtered. “N-no. I’m okay, I made that sound with my mouth.” This was mortifying and if the ground opened below Jongin right now he would be forever grateful to the gods. He closed his eyes wishing that it would and when it didn’t he found himself staring at Baekhyun’s face.

“Flatulence is a natural human function. No need to be shy around me,” Baekhyun laughed, placing the tray on the foot of the bed and bringing a strawberry over to Jongin. It was dressed in whipped cream. He placed a finger under Jongin’s chin and said, “Open.”

The burst of sugary sweetness exploded over his tongue and Jongin had to admit, this domesticity was kind of nice. “I had no idea you were such a housewife, Baekhyun,” he teased and instead of being greeted with another strawberry, he felt the cold fluff of whipped cream hit his face. Yep, he deserved that.

 

They say vampires will never hurt you, but my friends, there is a difference between steak and stake. When you’re the only human at a masquerade you may as well be the finest piece of Kobe beef. So, in light of the events, I urge you to use the buddy system. Find yourself a Night Worlder (or an amazing vampire boyfriend...Yes, this happened and you can send your congratulations via p.o. box) before going to such events. And remember, be safe. No one knows what could happen in the future, and as the master of segues, here is a list of things that should warn you that you are speaking to an imposter fortune teller....

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Ah, back to his roots, Jongin thought as he approached his dorm. It wasn’t that he did not enjoy the time he spent being domestic with Baekhyun, but it was like they said, there was no place quite like home. Or so he thought, because the second he stepped into the dorm, he was accosted by a very, very angry Junmyeon.

“Where the hell have you been? I have been calling you day and night and you only just show up?”

He yanked Jongin inside and shut the door. Running his fingers through his hair, he set his jaw and grinded his teeth -- a bad habit that only got worse when he was stressed and by Jongin’s calculations he was definitely stressed -- before talking. He sighed, “You were gone for three days, Jongin, three days! What the hell were you doing?”

Before he even let Jongin speak, he started to shake him by the shoulders and then stopped, his eyes popping wide and a smile upturning his lips. Junmyeon then pulled him into a hug and Jongin awkwardly clapped him on the back because, surely, Junmyeon had gone cuckoo.

“He gave you the claim!” He elongated the last word and his pitch rose until Jongin wrinkled his nose. He had never heard Junmyeon make a sound like that before. It was so unlike him that Jongin had to stare at him for a bit before smiling uncertainly.

But seriously, if Jongin had known the claim would get this much attention, he would have told Baekhyun to shove it-- well no, he still would have taken it because now that he knew what it meant, he was happy to wear it. But still, everyone was so obsessed with it to the point that Jongin had considered hiding it with a turtleneck. But then that risked him becoming ‘Turtleneck-guy’ and Jongin wasn’t sure if he wanted that either. He could live with the stares and the occasional freak out so long as people kept it to a minimum because he had a life to live and he did not want to be stopped every five feet by overt stares from both humans and Night Worlders alike.

Jongin rolled his eyes and said, “Oh, this old thing? Psh, it’s nothing!” It wasn’t nothing and Jongin was well aware, but he wanted to ruffle Junmyeon’s feathers. Besides, who didn’t?

“Like hell it is Jongin, I made this claim, and I know what goes into them.” Junmyeon grinned again. “So, tell me, what did you think of the inscription?” He looked at Jongin expectantly.

“What inscription? Oh, on the box? Yeah, he wouldn’t let me read it. Said something about wanting to wait a bit more before that.” Jongin said and shrugged.

It wasn’t that he didn’t try to find the box, because he did and he had been successful a few times but each time Baekhyun was there in a flash and the box was hidden again. It was a game of cat and mouse with the mouse being the box and Jongin the cat. Baekhyun was more akin to the owner as every time Jongin had the box in his hands it was taken from him.

“Odd,” Junmyeon replied cocking his head and then remembering that he was angry with Jongin, he punched him in the arm and asked, “Why didn’t you answer your phone? Kyungsoo came by here five times, Jongin. What did you do to him?”

“What? I didn’t do anything to him?” Jongin said, furrowing his brows.

Last time he saw Kyungsoo he was being dragged out of the ball and-- oh god. Kyungsoo! Jongin’s heart dropped to his stomach. How could he have forgotten about him the last three days?

This time, he grabbed Junmyeon by the shoulders and shook him frantically. “Where is he?”

Junmyeon glowered and peeled Jongin’s fingers off of him and sighed. “He left about an hour ago saying he needed to have some space.” Then Junmyeon grimaced. “He cried on my sofa, Jongin, there was snot and you know how I feel about bodily functions.”

Kyungsoo cried? Jongin’s heart fell through the floor and he chewed on his lip. He should’ve gone after him, made sure he was fine, but he had been so caught up with Baekhyun -- who was none too keen to let Jongin out of his sight for the last three days -- to even think about how Kyungsoo was feeling. How could he do this to his friend?

Jongin felt shitty. He felt like a shitty-shit-friend and there was nothing he could do about it now because even as he called Kyungsoo on his way home, it had gone straight to voicemail. The incubus had to be in some kind of funk and Jongin desperately wanted to figure out how fix things. Maybe he had gone too far with Baekhyun?

As he recalled the pained screams he heard from Kyungsoo on that night, he shuddered. Whatever he was going through was bad and Jongin had ignored him. He’d ignored him for three days straight. What kind of person did that? Oh, that’s right, a shit person.

“Jongin, do you even care that the sofa has been defiled?” Junmyeon said, snapping his fingers in front of Jongin’s face.

Jongin chuckled. Boy did he have bad news for Junmyeon. “Uh, about the sofa…”

The lights in the room flickered and Jongin shrank back as the room filled with wind. Paper fluttered on the table and a few sheets flew around the room. The television behind Junmyeon turned on and off in opposition to the lights. Jongin felt his ears pop as the pressure in the room built and he moved his jaw to assuage the feeling. His hair whipped around his face and to be quite frank, Junmyeon looked terrifying with his eyes nearly glowing. His appearance was otherwise unmarred by the wind in the room and that was what unnerved Jongin the most.

“What about my sofa, Jongin?”

“Um, nothing, forget I said anything!” Jongin pleaded, wide-eyed. He guessed there were some things better left unsaid. Especially if Junmyeon was going to go all Storm from X-Men on him.

Jongin ignored the rest of Junmyeon’s questions and skirted to his room where he broke down in laughter. If Junmyeon had known the things he and Kyungsoo had done on his sofa when he was gone then the snot would be the least of his worries. Images of Kyungsoo’s arched back as he pounded his ass filled his mind. He definitely recalled seeing streams of Kyungsoo’s cum land on the couch, too, but the two had turned the cushion over after trying to clean it.

Sobering, he pulled his phone from his pocket and sighed at the blank screen. He left Kyungsoo a message the last time he called and texted him at least a page of him asking where he was and apologizing for being a horrible friend, but still, nothing, and Kyungsoo was a quick replier. This worried him. Maybe instead of indulging in Baekhyun’s every desire at his mansion, Jongin could have talked to Kyungsoo and made sure he was okay.

Aside from getting nothing from Kyungsoo, Jongin was also a bit miffed that Baekhyun hadn’t texted him either. He didn’t want to admit it, but he had been secretly hoping Baekhyun would check in on him after he left especially because of how he clung to him as he was about to leave, showering him in kisses and little nips and growling in his ear that Jongin better not forget that he was his. Jongin had laughed because there was no way he would forget that because Baekhyun had reminded him at every opportunity and Jongin never complained because he liked it. Belonging to someone made him feel important. It made him feel wanted.

Sighing, Jongin tossed his phone on his bed and walked over to his desk, where he drummed his fingers. Thanks to Baekhyun, he had missed three days of class. which meant he had some emails to send out and some catching up to do. Great, just what he wanted to do on a Thursday night. He sat down with another sigh and set to work.

He was halfway done with his math assignment when he felt a cold chill run down his back and straightened up. Junmyeon must have turned the air conditioning down again and that meant it was time to fight. See, Jongin liked being warm and Junmyeon liked to live like the abominable snowman. They had come to an agreement after spending a week of going back and forth making each other sweat or freeze until the whole unit broke and they were stuck without any form of modifying the temperature for a few days.

As the gods would have it, that week was a weather anomaly where during the day it was hot enough to melt the plastic tips on the handlebars of Jongin’s bike at the time and the night was cold enough that they could see the cloud their breaths made when they exhaled inside.

To be frank, going from having his nether regions stick to his thighs to being able to cut glass with his nipples was an incredibly uncomfortable experience that Jongin never wanted to repeat. So, after that they decided on leaving the dorm a crisp 75℉ and that was where it had stayed for the last two years.

Jongin burst out of his chair and stormed down the hallway to the thermostat -- he needed to make sure he had proof before he attacked Junmyeon -- and saw that it was indeed at the agreed upon temperature and frowned. Maybe his room was drafty. He walked back to his room, feeling perturbed, and pushed his suspicions to the back of his mind.

It was a couple of hours later when Jongin finally finished the last of his assignments that he stretched and yawned. He was thankful that he had queued up several posts for the blog, but that meant he had exhausted his reserves and needed to draft up a few more in the case that something like that happened again.

Just as he was about to set to work, his phone lit up and he sprung out the chair and onto his bed to answer it. However, much to his disappointment, it wasn’t a message from his darling vampire boyfriend, or the MIA incubus. No, it was just a message from his university about a safety alert. Apparently, a house a few streets from the dorm had been broken into and the police were investigating it. Lovely. He was always happy to be reminded that danger came in human form, too.

Jongin sighed and flipped his phone over. He could send Baekhyun a message, but he wasn’t sure what to say until the words struck him. He snatched up the device and sent a quick: ‘show me that I’m yours ;)’ and waited. Baekhyun had to show up.

 

Nope. Even after a few hours, Baekhyun was a no show and Jongin found himself pouting, but also a bit worried. This was unlike the vampire and Jongin was feeling the need for attention, so he went out to find Junmyeon sitting on the sofa watching television and plopped down next to him.

“Can I help you?” Junmyeon asked, pushing Jongin’s feet off his lap.

Jongin placed them back on the witch’s thighs and smiled. “I’m bored and no one is talking to me.”

“Well, you can add me to that list,” Junmyeon replied and slid from under Jongin’s legs.  He stood behind the sofa and patted Jongin on the shoulder, “I’ve got some business to attend to, I’ll be back in the morning.”

“Ugh, everyone sucks,” Jongin whined and Junmyeon only winked at him before grabbing his bag off the table and heading out the door.

Now he was alone in addition to being ignored. Jongin sighed and grabbed his backpack from its perch against the wall and swung it over his shoulder. Might as well head to the library and pick up a few books. He wanted to do some research on claims and while the internet would have a greater wealth of knowledge he just did not trust Wikipedia especially since he once saw his childhood friend edit an article about a historical person and replace the entire article with a pictures of dancing frogs.

And if any high schooler could do that, then Jongin definitely did not want to trust the internet as his primary source. Which he wouldn’t have to do in the first place if Baekhyun was talking to him or hell, even Junmyeon, because he made it and he felt that maybe if he understood the magic behind it he would be able to piece together Kyungsoo’s reaction.

As he walked to the library, he felt the chill settle over him and pulled his arms around his body and looked around. No one else was reacting to the cold, so it had to be in Jongin’s head. He exhaled sharply and started walking faster. The chill followed him and that was...suspicious.

Still, as he walked -- and realized that the library was so much farther than he remembered -- his mind went back to Kyungsoo. He knew about the history between him and Baekhyun, albeit he only knew the details that Baekhyun had shared with him, he could tell there was something between them ever since Jongin had to babysit Kyungsoo.

While he wanted to be worried about that, he found that the more he thought about it, the more he felt that it was nothing too big. Exes had residual feelings all the time and maybe Kyungsoo was just a bit overwhelmed at the ball and reacted out of character? Still, was it even possible for Baekhyun to retain feelings if he had given Jongin the claim? Vampires could only give out one, so he had to have destroyed Kyungsoo’s after he rejected him.

With that in mind, Jongin entered the library and was hit by a blast of warm air. He glanced around and shrugged his shoulders. Whatever the chill was, it was gone now and Jongin was on a mission. He climbed the escalator, too impatient to wait behind the line of people riding it and quickly headed to the back of the library where the paranormal section was.

It was dark where he was and that should have been his first clue that something strange was going to happen. But of course, dense as he was, Jongin paid no attention to the eyes that were following him as he scoured the spines of the books. He was resting on his knees, book flipped open to a random part in the middle, when he felt the chill settle over him again.

Jongin shivered and remained focused on the words, he didn’t have time to worry about whatever the spectral chill was doing. He just wanted to make sure this book was worth lugging to the front desk, unlike the countless others that simply had one line about claims and that was it. For a species as old as vampires, they were pretty good about keeping the things they wanted private, well, private.

He scanned the page, not really comprehending what it was saying but simply looking for specific words. Then he stopped. This was the most any book had about claims. He skimmed the passage, his fingers tightening around the binding with each letter.

Claims that are bonded allow the vampire to hear and feel the thoughts of the claimed, while unbonded claims do not offer that benefit. Unbonded claims will only link the vampire to the claimed and as such, the vampire’s emotions and thoughts can be felt. The claimed may notice such things as soon as the claim accepts them or it may not happen until the bond as every claim is made differently.

The bond must be completed within a year of the claim accepting or the claimed will fall ill as the magic drains them of their lifeforce…

Jongin gasped. Why hadn’t Baekhyun said anything about this? They had missed the Blood Moon and the next one wasn’t for… Jongin pulled out his phone and googled the date for the next Blood Moon. He pulled up the first link he saw without really reading it and nearly dropped his phone. It wasn’t for another twenty years.

He was going to die.

He felt his throat constricting and a flash of confusing anger coursed through him. Kyungsoo had signed his death warrant. No wonder he was avoiding Jongin now. He didn’t have the balls to face him now that he knew that Jongin was going to die because of his outburst. If he had kept his mouth shut then Jongin would have been happily bonded without a worry or care in the world, but now everything was fucky because Kyungsoo had yelled.

His throat constricted more and he clutched at it, feeling his claim warm and vibrate beneath his fingers. Maybe it was happening now? He was about to die in the library surrounded by books and being followed by a suspicious chill. The chill. It started when Jongin returned home. That had to be a sign. This was it, he was really going to die because they didn’t complete the bond and--

Baekhyun materialized from the shadows and was at Jongin’s side immediately, placing one hand on his back and the other helping him up. “Breathe, my human.”

Jongin tried to glare at him, because he was mad that he had ignored him all day, but his throat still felt too tight and the claim would not stop heating up. He felt panic flush through him and knew it was not his own. Baekhyun’s panic was mixing with his own and compounding the situation and Jongin felt like his chest was being compacted.

“Jongin,” Baekhyun said and reached to touch his cheek. “Calm down.”

Just like that, Jongin’s heart began to slow and he felt his throat loosen. A sense of tranquility flowed through him until the point where his mind was almost blank. He panted, staring into Baekhyun’s eyes and then frowned. Was this another side-effect of the claim?

“Please forgive me for using compulsion on you,” Baekhyun said. He touched the claim and, as he had been doing ever since Jongin had put it on, his face softened. “I don’t want to control you, never forget that.”

Okay, that was cryptic. Jongin frowned as he caught his breath, thoughts sluggishly picking up. How had Baekhyun known where he was or that he was freaking out? He thought that his emotions and thoughts could not be heard yet, since they were not bonded and yet, here the vampire was, staring at him with an unreadable expression.

Baekhyun glanced down at the books at Jongin’s feet and let out a small chuckle. “Curious as ever, are we?” He knelt and quickly placed them on the bottom shelf.

“Baekhyun, I have questions,” Jongin started. He needed to figure out a way to broach the subject of his imminent death without causing himself to freak out again. Then again, who could be calm if they found out that they had a year left to live before some magic charm around their throat stole their life?

“I have answers, my human,” Baekhyun grinned. Then, he took Jongin’s hand in his own and rubbed his thumb over the back, his grin softening. Still staring at Jongin’s skin he said, “But not here.” He released Jongin’s hand and walked to the darkest part of the shadows.

“Wait!” Jongin lunged after him, his fingers grasping the silk of his shirt just before a suffocating feeling came over him and he lost all sensation.

 

When he came to, he felt the same unnatural chill settling over him and huffed. This had to be a sign of some kind. He twisted in the sheets, noticing that he was tucked in his own bed and sat up. Immediately his hand went to his neck and when he felt the smooth fabric he let his hand fall.

Just then, Baekhyun entered his room, holding a glass of water. His face brightened at the sight of Jongin conscious and he set the glass down before sitting on the edge of his bed. “You prove yourself time and time again that you are incredibly exceptional. Not many people have done that, you know?”

Jongin blinked and then rubbed his eyes. His head felt like a sledgehammer had been taken to it. “Done what?”

“Shadow walk. It’s a mode of transportation specifically for vampires and this is the second time you’ve done that,” Baekhyun replied. Then he reached and handed Jongin the glass of water.

Jongin sipped it, his stomach feeling topsy turvey. He blinked a few more times, trying to clear his head. The chill disappeared and reappeared causing Jongin to jump, spilling the water all over himself. “Ah, shit!”

Baekhyun’s lips pulled into a frown. He stared at Jongin as he clumsily pulled his drenched shirt over his head and only when they made eye contact, did he smile. This time, however, it looked a little sad.

Jongin tossed the wet shirt on the ground and pulled his blanket up to cover his chest. It earned him a playful smirk and Jongin let Baekhyun tug the fabric from his fingers with little to no fight. He chuckled a bit and then decided it was time to break the awkward air.

“Okay, I’m putting a pin in the shadow walk talk for now…” he trailed and then inhaled deeply. Letting out his breath through his lips, he said, “I read about the claim.”

Baekhyun raised an immaculate eyebrow but said nothing, so Jongin continued, “I just want to know if you were avoiding me today because you know I’m going to die?”

A bark of laughter exploded from Baekhyun’s mouth. “What? What are you talking about?” He giggled until he fell into a fit and Jongin watched him, anxious but also on the edge of joining him because Baekhyun looked so wonderful when he laughed that he forgot all about his worries for a second.

“My human,” Baekhyun began, wiping a tear from his eye. “My sweet, sweet, Jongin.”

Jongin frowned and looked at his laced fingers on his lap, feeling like something was amiss, but unsure what. When he glanced at Baekhyun he found him gazing at him on the brink of laughing again. “Just spit it out.” He didn’t like being left out of the know, especially when he was being laughed at.

“You’re not going to die,” Baekhyun said, giggling a bit and relief washed over Jongin. Baekhyun stopped, raising his hand to his chest to calm himself before continuing. “When you do -- what do they call them these days? A report?” He waited for Jongin’s nod before continuing, “You search for primary resources, correct?”

Another nod from Jongin. Yep, that was all standard protocol and he was wondering why Baekhyun was giving him a lecture on the importance of sources.

“Then, why would you believe anything from a book written by a silly human?” He paused, eyes wide and then said, “Not that all humans are silly...I don’t think you’re silly.”

Silence.

“Well, on occasion you’re quite silly, but you are also very intelligent.”

Jongin crossed his arms, wondering how long he could milk this moment.

Baekhyun’s face reddened and Jongin preened because he had never seen his boyfriend look so embarrassed before and despite the circumstances, he was eating this up. He just looked cute with the light pink flush over his cheeks and the mild shame over his features. It was so stark in comparison to his usual composure.

“You’re also comedic, passionate, and endearing,” Baekhyun babbled. Then he narrowed his eyes, “You sly…”

Jongin laughed, noticing that the accusatory look on Baekhyun’s face fading and molding into one that matched his. “I was hoping you’d keep going, you know, stroke my ego a bit more.”

Then, Jongin winked, feeling playful and Baekhyun was on top of him in an instant, pinning him to his bed. He lifted his head and brushed his nose against the vampire’s momentarily casting his questions aside in exchange for a small moment of bliss.

“Only you could make a fool of me and get away with it,” he growled and hovered his mouth over Jongin’s. “I’ve had so much of you these last few days, but I haven’t drunk from you in all that time.” He angled his face, brushing his lips over Jongin’s and then pulled back, sitting up straight, next to Jongin, who groaned.

Baekhyun always had too much control, even now that they were dating. Jongin figured he would let up but he was wrong. He supposed that they had indulged quite a bit the past three days, but to be honest, Jongin was growing used to that and to return to chance encounters was not something he was looking forward to. He heaved a huge sigh and pushed to his elbows, pouting. Guess he would be getting to the bottom of the claim after all.

“Okay, I want cold, hard facts, Baekhyun. None of that flowery vampire-emotional stuff. What is this claim and what does it do? I know it’s a link between us.” Jongin said briskly. He started to shy away and apologize for being so forceful, but Baekhyun was looking at him with amusement in his face, not displeasure.

Baekhyun wet his lips. “It is a link between us, yes. It allows me to know where you are, no matter where you are, and it gives you access to me, all of me. Of course, since we are not bonded, I do not have that pleasure, but I hope to remedy that on the next Blood Moon.”

“That’s not for twenty years, I’ll be old and you won’t want me anymore.” Jongin said.

Baekhyun closed his fingers around Jongin’s hand. “That’s not true. Neither of those statements.” Baekhyun brought Jongin’s hand to his face rubbed his cheek on it, “My poor, sweet, Jongin, forget everything you read in that book. I know you said no frivolous words, but everything I told you, still applies. The claim has powerful emotional ties and the Blood Bond makes them stronger. It binds us together the same way that vampires bond with each other, but also so much more.”

“I understand that,” Jongin said, trying to figure out how to word what he really wanted to know.

“The vampire that fed that author the misinformation is a good friend to the Madame. Everything in that book is wrong or half-truths. In the case of the claim, it is littered with half-truths. The claim will not kill you. If it accepts you, then so long as you remain true in your heart, it will stay on. That is why we do the Blood Bond, to strengthen those ties so that we don’t risk discovery.”

“Can I ever take it off?”

A micro expression flashed over Baekhyun’s face, but he quickly corrected it. He chose his words carefully. “It is possible, yes.”

Not that Jongin ever would take it off, but he couldn’t lie. When he noticed that it lacked a clasp it had alarmed him. That, and he knew he had entertained ideas of removing it when he was feeling particularly overwhelmed. But, those were rash feelings, so he didn’t count them. Still, he wondered if taking it off meant he could never put it back on.

Sorrow filling Baekhyun’s features, he said, “It doesn’t happen often, however.” He turned towards Jongin’s door and stared for a bit, lost in his thoughts.

A forlorn feeling washed over Jongin and he studied Baekhyun closely. He wanted to ask him if Kyungsoo had removed his instead of simply refusing it. While Jongin was still learning about the whole thing, he could deduce from Baekhyun’s silence that there was an enormous difference between a refusal and a removal.

Baekhyun sighed and his face seemed to age a couple decades. He pursed his lips and then turned to Jongin. “The Blood Bond must take place on a Blood Moon otherwise the bond is weak and will deteriorate. Now, we vampires also perform a bond of sorts between each other, but that is different and I will save you the time.”

The whole room held a solemn air and Jongin wanted to reach out and comfort Baekhyun. He started to, but then Baekhyun let his head hang and he rested his elbows on his knees. When he looked at Jongin, his face was ghost-white. His voice came out no louder than the softest whisper, laced with intense emotion. “Promise me, you won’t remove it…”

Woah. Jongin froze, feeling a wave of sadness flood into his system. There had to be some kind of way to shut that off because his eyes were pricking and he did not want to cry. But, he could tell Baekhyun was holding a lot inside of him not only from the claim, but also by his body language. So, he crawled over to Baekhyun and placed a hand on his back. He wanted Baekhyun to look at him when he said the words, so he gently guided him until he was sitting completely on Jongin’s bed, facing him.

Taking Baekhyun’s hands in his, he whispered, “I know you can’t feel what I feel, but I want you to know it’s just as real for me as it is for you. It’s too early for me to know if it’s full blown love, but it’s there, Baekhyun.”

Jongin pulled the delicate fingers to his lips and kissed them. “I like you a lot…”

“But?” Baekhyun asked, his eyes pleading but also growing guarded.

Jongin shook his head, “No buts, an ‘and’ though… I like you a lot and I am yours.”

Then he did something he hadn’t been preparing to. He tilted his head and pulled Baekhyun to his neck. He didn’t know how he knew this, but he felt that if Baekhyun just drank his blood right in this moment then he would know everything that Jongin was feeling in this moment.

“Every drop in my body belongs to you,” Jongin whispered. He heard Baekhyun’s breath hitch and then continued, “Drink from me.”

The sting of his teeth hurt only for a second before Jongin was filled by the exhilarating endorphins. However, this time it was different. Instead of feeling like he was on cloud nine and about to explode into a million rays of light, he felt washed over by his own emotions.

Uncertainty was first and Jongin tried to get to the root of it but almost as soon as it was there, the warm feeling of joy came rushing through. In it, were images of Baekhyun’s face as the candle light hit it and made it glow. He saw his smile and a shudder ran through his body as his breath caught in his throat. Baekhyun really had the most wonderful smile. Following that, were images of the vampire laughing and then the scene of them dancing at the ball where Baekhyun had spun him around during their waltz. Jubilation was the word that came to mind in that moment.

Soon after that, his own face flew to his mind and for the first time he saw how Baekhyun saw him. Jongin almost pulled away, but Baekhyun was clinging to him, pulling more of his blood into his mouth and by association, more of his thoughts. The night of the masquerade flashed to the front of his mind again only this time it was mirrored. It seemed to Baekhyun the whole night was incredibly different as the colors of the masks were duller than in Jongin’s mind and the room looked several shades drabber. Everything was muted, that is, except for himself.

Jongin saw the way he glowed behind his mask, the way he looked at Baekhyun with excitement and awe. He could feel the way Baekhyun’s heart soared with every grin or devious smirk he gave him. It was astounding just how much love he felt from Baekhyun pouring into him just then. It was so much that Jongin was pulled directly into the moment.

Jongin was beautiful. His golden skin shone brighter than the sun could ever hope to. His face was sculpted by the most talented of artists with the gentlest of hands and brushes. Every detail was intoxicating from the gentle sweep of his eyes, surrounded by the soft fan of his lashes, to the curvature of his full lips. His jawline was something that Adonis would envy and Baekhyun had to laugh because he felt that if Michelangelo had lived until today he would have modeled his greatest sculpture after Jongin.

And he was his. Oh, the thought brought so much joy to Baekhyun that he figured he would certainly float into the air never to come back down. He had accepted the claim and the claim him and there was not a thing in the world that could make Baekhyun more elated. Well, almost nothing, because the longer Baekhyun studied his darling human, the more he could see him as a vampire and more importantly as his mate.

This time, Jongin did pull back, and Baekhyun let him push him back. He studied his face, but only for a moment, because Baekhyun was diving towards his lips and Jongin soon tasted his own blood in his mouth. He felt Baekhyun’s tongue paint him with the remains of his life force and he rolled his tongue over his, tasting and sighing. The iron left a tangy aftertaste, but soon it was the flavor of Baekhyun that overtook his sense and Jongin deepened the kiss, hungry for more.

Then Jongin swiped the tip of his tongue over the sharp point of Baekhyun’s teeth causing him to shudder deliciously, digging his nails into Jongin’s skin. After a quick rebuttal of nipping at Jongin’s bottom lip, Baekhyun separated. He was panting when he ran his tongue over his lips, cleaning the last bit of Jongin’s blood from them before he returned to his neck to close the bite. When he rose again, he caressed Jongin’s jaw with the back of his hand. “Thank you,” he said and then leaned forward to press his lips to Jongin’s forehead. “You already know me so well.”

Jongin beamed, feeling the effects of the bite hit him. It wasn’t the same high he usually got, no, this time it was sweeter, softer, and well, when he gazed at Baekhyun he swore he was emitting light. In all the shadows that surrounded the vampire, there was a thin line of light that clung close to his skin and burned away all the dark and Jongin had a feeling he caused that.

The bed creaked and Jongin realized that Baekhyun was tucking him in again, preparing to leave. He circled his fingers around his wrist and pulled lightly. “Stay the night.”

Baekhyun glanced to the dark corner of Jongin’s room for a split second before he smiled down at Jongin. “Anything for you, my human.”

It was a tight squeeze on Jongin’s twin-sized bed, but they made the most of it. Not that Jongin minded being pressed against Baekhyun all night in the slightest. In fact, as he turned to face the vampire he inhaled deeply and snuggled closer. This was nice...this was really, really nice.

Okay so maybe things could be sappy in a relationship, but Jongin wasn’t going to complain. He liked the feeling of being so close to Baekhyun that he could hear every breath he took, but amidst all the domestic joy Jongin felt a twinge of sadness radiating from Baekhyun and no matter what he did -- or asked -- the vampire simply stroked his cheek and told him not to worry.

It was a few hours later -- or maybe a few minutes later, Jongin wasn’t sure because his ability to tell time was entirely dependent on his phone or clock -- when he felt Baekhyun shift next to him. They were chest to chest and the vampire, pulled him closer until their entire bodies were pressed against each other.

It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what Baekhyun wanted and luckily for him, Jongin assumed he had, in fact, been a rocket scientist in a past-life. So, in response to Baekhyun pressing his hardening cock against Jongin’s, he slipped his fingers under Baekhyun’s shirt, exploring the plains of his torso that he already knew so well.

He danced his fingers over his taut pecs, pausing to massage his thumb over the tightening nub of Baekhyun’s nipple. That was all Baekhyun needed for him to know that Jongin got his message loud and clear.

Clothes were abandoned and soon the night was filled with the bursts of their gasps and moans and Baekhyun climbed on top of Jongin and grinded his hips down onto his. Jongin gripped his ass, holding him harder against him as they rutted their precum slicked cocks over one another. The friction just felt so good and Baekhyun punctuated what was already a great feeling with the puncture of his teeth in Jongin’s skin.

Jongin hissed at the sting but it quickly morphed into a sonorous whimper as the first wave of endorphins hit his bloodstream. “I love...I love when you do that,” he gasped.

Baekhyun hummed in response and slipped his hand between them, gently encapsulating Jongin’s balls with his fingers. He caressed them, gently squeezing here and there, eliciting throaty groans from Jongin as he squirmed under his touch.

It was not long before the familiar coil of heat pooled deep in Jongin and his breath came out in quick fragments in between unintelligible words. “Ah, Baekhyun! I’m close,” he huffed. Baekhyun had the most talented hands he had ever known.

A flood of excited arousal poured into him and he heard Baekhyun separate himself from his shoulder long enough to say, “Cum for me.”

That did it. Jongin’s hips jerked and he slammed his eyes shut as the first wave rocked his body. He came, twitching and gasping for air, once he let out the breath he was holding, and sighed into Baekhyun’s hair. “I can’t imagine what actual sex will feel like, if you bite me like that.”

Baekhyun licked the wound closed and kissed Jongin gently on the nose. Then, he said, “Multiply that by half a million and that could give you an idea.” He leaned up, exposing his still erect dick and languidly stroked it.

“Mmm, brain mush, no math, please,” Jongin mumbled and then opened his eyes. If he could get hard again he would have because Baekhyun sitting on top of him jerking off was perhaps the hottest thing he had ever seen. He wanted to say something sexy, but his orgasm had short circuited his synapses that the only thing he could think of was, “You’re hot.”

It did the job because Baekhyun smiled and then let his head loll as he picked up the pace. His long fingers moving swiftly over his engorged shaft and thumb rubbing the tip as more precum beaded and dripped down.

Jongin laid back and enjoyed the show, wishing that he was inside Baekhyun -- or better yet, Baekhyun was inside of him, because that was what he really wanted in this moment. He touched Baekhyun’s chest, admiring the thin sheen of perspiration misting his skin and then brought his thumb down to Baekhyun’s leaking tip. He brought back some of the substance to his mouth and sucked lasciviously, slurping and being obscene.

“Want me to feed you my cock?” Baekhyun grunted. He seemed to be so close to the edge.

As an answer Jongin simply opened his mouth and tugged at Baekhyun’s wrists until the air was replaced by the slickened silk of Baekhyun’s dick. He moaned around Baekhyun’s length, swallowing it as deep as he could and then dug his fingers into Baekhyun’s cheeks, holding him there.

“Oh! Yes, take my hard dick all the way. You’re so good,” Baekhyun groaned. He started slowly moving his hips within Jongin’s grip.

Jongin felt him throb in his mouth and reached up to service Baekhyun’s balls the same way he had done his. It had only taken a few moments of him stimulating them for Baekhyun to cry out his name and cant his hips spastically into his mouth.

Cum filled his mouth and Jongin dutifully swallowed every drop as he let Baekhyun remove his length from his mouth. The he gingerly took the softening dick to his lips and cleaned it of all remnants earning him a breathy moan from Baekhyun.

“You’re always so hungry for my climax,” Baekhyun said, panting.

‘It’s the closest I get to drinking your blood,” Jongin replied with a cheeky wink.

Baekhyun pecked him along his jaw. “One day, I will spoil you as much as you spoil me, my sweet Jongin.” He then pulled Jongin into a lazy kiss. “Until then, take this as my thanks.”

An onslaught of love entered Jongin from the claim and he propped up on his elbow, “Why don’t you just say it?”

Baekhyun opened one eye and smiled, “I want you to say it first.”

Oh. Jongin felt his cheeks warm. He glanced shyly at Baekhyun and then settled on his back. He stared at the ceiling wondering when he would be ready for such a thing. He felt Baekhyun move and lifted his arm to allow the vampire to cuddle close against him. When he looked down at his sleeping figure he felt, for the first time, a surge of his own emotions. Soon, he thought.

 

At some point, Jongin must have dozed off because when he woke up the next morning, Baekhyun was gone. He frowned a bit before checking his phone on his nightstand and seeing a message from Baekhyun.

 

[From Baekhyun]

Had to leave before sunrise but you have the sweetest face when you’re sleeping (^,..,^)

 

Feeling a little cheeky, Jongin sent a quick reply before heading to the bathroom to start his daily routine. By the time he was out of the shower, freshly scrubbed and feeling slightly more awake, he checked his phone once more and laughed.

 

[From Jongin]

Only when I’m sleeping :<

 

[From Baekhyun]

I'm not falling for this ruse again...have a lovely day Jongin <3

 

Apparently Baekhyun not only understood the usage of emojis but he also knew just how to make Jongin’s heart lurch in his chest. He wanted to reply to him but the chill settled over him again and this time Jongin was determined to figure out what the hell it was. He waved his arms all around him and the chill disappeared. How interesting.

Jongin sighed and glanced around his room trying to figure out what to do. He still had no clue where Kyungsoo had run off too and while that was still making him anxious, he couldn’t do too much without knowing where he would go when something like this happened. Some friend he was. When Kyungsoo needed him the most he had left him in the dust while he was swallowed up in the experience of a blossoming relationship.

He knew he was beating himself up over the fact, but had he really spent three days in blissful ignorance before the well-being of his friend even came to mind? He supposed he could blame Baekhyun because the vampire had kept him busy those three days with all the gooey-eyed looks they shared and general relationship squishiness. But Kyungsoo had been someone important to Baekhyun too, so why wasn’t he worried about him?

These thoughts in mind, Jongin grabbed his coat and headed out the door. He was halfway down the stairs when he slammed into Junmyeon who looked worse for wear. His usual bright face was haggard, dark circles bruising just under his eyes and his silver hair looked dull and frizzy.

“You look like shit,” Jongin said, catching his shoulders and up righting his roommate.

“Some way to thank the person who just found Kyungsoo, isn’t it?” Junmyeon hissed and pushed past Jongin to their door.

Jongin spun around and chased after him. “Wait, what? Where is he? Is he okay?”

He narrowly slid inside the door that Junmyeon attempted to slam closed and gently shut it. He followed the witch to his room and then promptly had that door nearly closed on his nose. When he tried the knob, Junmyeon shouted through the door.

“Can’t a man have a second to find an energy charm around here?”

Jongin huffed and leaned against the door, crossing his arms. All he wanted to do was find out where Kyungsoo was and then shower him with apologies and whatever else he had to do to garner his forgiveness. He had been a terrible friend and decided he would do anything to make him happy as long as it was within his power to do so.

The door behind him opened and Jongin stumbled back into Junmyeon, who shoved him forward. Jongin caught himself in time before hitting the wall and whipped around to glare at Junmyeon who was now in much better spirits. Whatever he had done had him nearly buzzing with energy and Jongin wondered if he could bribe him for some to use at a later date.

“Leaning against a door is not your brightest idea, Jongin...not that you’ve had many bright ideas lately,” Junmyeon teased.

Jongin ignored the jab at his integrity and instead focused on Kyungsoo. “Where is he?”

“What? No welcome back Junmyeon? Thank you for going out of your way and helping me and Baekhyun find our prodigal incubus? You really need a lesson on manners, tsk tsk,” Junmyeon said and then led the way to their living room, where he plopped onto the sofa.

Jongin leaned over the back and repeated, “Where is he? Junmyeon you need to tell me!”

“You know you have a worldly spirit hanging around you, right?” Junmyeon opened one eye and pointed a finger gun over Jongin’s shoulder and pretended to fire it.

What? Worldly spirit? What was Junmyeon talking about? Jongin scrunched his eyebrows and then shook his head. He could worry about that later, right now he just wanted to know where Kyungsoo was and Junmyeon was being everything but helpful. “Oh my god, just tell me where he is, Junmyeon.”

Junmyeon grinned at him and sat up, bringing his face close enough to Jongin’s that their noses nearly brushed. “He asked me not to tell you.”

“Since when does he trust you more than me?”

“Since you br-- ignored him for the last three days, Jongin. He was a mess. I’ve never seen him like that before and while we weren’t close, I learned a lot about him those three days. Enough to know that even though you’re a bit of an idiot, he really cares for you and what you think.” Junmyeon shifted on the sofa and patted the cushion next to him. “Sit, I’m going to tell you something.”

Hesitant, Jongin rounded the couch and tentatively sat down. His stomach was tied in knots at the possible information he was about to learn and he wasn’t sure if he wanted to hear it, but it was out of his hands, because when Junmyeon had something important to say, well, Jongin listened.

“My great-grandmother made Kyungsoo’s claim…” he trailed and then sighed. “Because vampire’s claims are so rare, very few witch-families are trusted with the knowledge of how to make them. My family has made them for as far back as I can go in my lineage and even then, Kyungsoo’s was special. Because he was not human and, in fact, a very powerful subspecies of demon, she had to augment the recipe for it to be strong enough to bind him to, well... Baekhyun, and it required more blood from Baekhyun than what would be considered safe…”

Jongin’s pulse throbbed loud in his ears. Baekhyun had not mentioned what went into the claim but, he had suspected as much. So, if his claim was made with the normal amount -- Jongin recalled seeing a vial’s worth -- then how much could Kyungsoo’s have needed for it to be considered unsafe?

“Vampire’s blood is potent even outside of creating a claim. If it weren’t for the creation of elemental vampires, by means of vampires and witches working together, then all other vampires may have been wiped out entirely or used as cattle for their blood. So, carrying around that amount and from a very old elemental vampire at that, was like wearing a huge sign over my great-grandmother’s head. She had to work fast and use one of the purest stones she could find at the time, a red diamond.”

Junmyeon paused and glanced at Jongin, as if he were checking that Jongin was still following along. Jongin nodded, unsure how to process everything he heard until now, but he wanted to know more, so he squashed his questions.

“We don’t usually work with diamonds. Softer stones are preferred because it's easier for magic to penetrate, but she needed the claim to be strong enough to control the demon inside of Kyungsoo. So, it took days. And that meant days of working with a target on her head and days of bleeding Baekhyun to fill a cauldron. It was perhaps the strongest claim anyone in my family had ever made and that meant it was extremely potent for both sides,” he stopped and stared at the table before continuing. “So, when Kyungsoo--”

Just then Jongin heard a sound from his room and Baekhyun burst through his door, looking as though he was ready to burn down the entire world. Jongin jumped up to greet him, but the vampire ignored him for Junmyeon who was now on his feet. The tension in the air was thick enough that Jongin could cut it.

Jongin looked between them, feeling his shoulders tense with the standoff that was happening. “Um, guys?”

Baekhyun’s face was as livid as Jongin had ever seen -- an expression scarier than any horror movie he had watched. “I told you that in confidence, witch.”

Junmyeon was just as steely when he said, “He needs to know, Baekhyun.”

“He will know when I feel he is ready. My secrets are mine to divulge.” His voice was quiet, but Jongin could hear the rage being controlled just under the surface. At least, it hadn’t hit him yet, so he could follow the conversation with a clear mind.

“It’s my family history. I am informing him of how the claims are made. Is this why you sent the worldly spirit here? To spy?”

“I did no such thing!”

Jongin rubbernecked between the two as if he was watching a tennis match. His mind was reeling a million miles a second just trying to keep up with what was happening and quite, frankly, it was a lot of new information.

“Then why is he here?”

“Woah, woah, woah, calm down guys, I’m here because I heard this guy,” Jongin stared wide-eyed as a figure materialized in front of him and swallowed a scream. “Was fun.”

“What the fuck is going on?” Jongin whispered. He gaped at everyone, but Junmyeon and Baekhyun seemed to be ignoring the new figure in front of them as well as Jongin.

“In any case, I’m asking you to stop your story there,” Baekhyun said through clenched teeth.

“He needs to know, Baekhyun. He needs to know what happened so he can understand what’s going on now.”

“He knows enough.”

“I’m right here, you fucks! I can hear you both. Now talk to me like I exist please!” Jongin shouted. Everything was feeling overwhelming and he wasn’t sure why he was so angry all of a sudden, but he could feel a bit of fear mixed in with it as well and it only grew the longer everyone was quiet.

“He has a point,” the new figure said.

Jongin whirled on him. “And who the fuck are you?”

“I’m a worldly spirit,” the figure saluted. “Name’s Sehun.”

Momentarily distracted, Jongin replied, “Worldly...spirit? Oh! You mean a ghost?”

“We don’t use ghost, them’s fighting words,” Sehun said and furrowed his brows.

Behind him he heard Baekhyun let out a giggle that was joined in by Junmyeon and then crescendoed into full blown laughter. Jongin narrowed his eyes at both of them and huffed, ignoring Sehun and focusing his anger on the two laughing Night Worlders.

“Well, is someone going to tell me what’s going on and why you are both talking around me? I am autonomous, I have thoughts and feelings and I want to know what the fuck is going on.”

That sobered both of them and Junmyeon spoke up, “At your boyfriend’s candid request, I’ll say this one thing: Kyungsoo needs some space. He will come to you when he is ready, just know that he is okay.”

Great. Now how was Jongin supposed to apologize to him if he was specifically avoiding him. It kind of hurt, but Jongin figured he deserved that for ignoring him. He shook his head, he hated feeling like he could not enjoy being with his boyfriend without feeling guilty about Kyungsoo. When had things gotten so damn complicated? He sighed, wracking his brain for some kind of solution and then smiled. Kyungsoo liked it when he was cheeky and since he couldn’t be cheeky in person, well, maybe Junmyeon could be a conduit.

“Wait, can you pass a message to him?”

Junmyeon half-smiled and nodded. “Sure, what do you want me to say?”

“Tell him when he gets back, I owe him a brojob. He’ll get the reference,” Jongin said with a wink. Then he turned to Baekhyun and bit his lip. “I mean, if you’re cool with that? We’re exclusive, right?”

Baekhyun’s face was expressionless when he said, “I am yours and you are mine, do with that as you wish.” Then he returned to Jongin’s room without so much as another word, leaving Jongin feeling confused.

That was weird and Jongin wanted to digest that, but right in that moment, he couldn’t. So, he stared at his door and then sighed. Now he had upset Baekhyun with something as small as a joke -- well not entirely a joke because if Kyungsoo had said that was what he had to do to gain forgiveness, well damnit, he was going to do it. But still, Baekhyun had shut down completely when he said that. Ugh. Why was everyone so damn moody?

“I’m not so sure I want to even say that word,” Junmyeon wrinkled his nose.

“Think of it as two guy friends who are really close and do jobs for each other, hence brojob. It’s all innocent really,” Jongin said. He tried to keep his face neutral but Sehun was floating behind Junmyeon laughing silently, so Jongin felt his lip quirk.

Junmyeon nodded thoughtfully. “You should give me a brojob then, I’m always doing stuff for you.”

Jongin choked and then he coughed a few times, trying to get his breath back. When he calmed down he squeaked out, “Sure, thing Junmyeon.” With that said, he scampered off to his room to die of embarrassment.

In his room, Jongin flopped onto his stomach and buried his face in his pillow, feeling that if he buried it deep enough he would stop existing. His head felt like exploding all over again. Ever since the masquerade he felt like information was being pounded into him every day and not in the good way. In any other situation, he would be fine with learning more about the Night World, but he was at the center of this information (and drama) and that meant he had to carefully consider everything being told to him.

He knew that the claims were important. He knew that Baekhyun had a claim made for Kyungsoo. He knew that Kyungsoo had rejected him and that Baekhyun had to have destroyed it because of that. He also knew that Kyungsoo was hurt because he received one from Baekhyun at the masquerade and that was where he was drawing some blanks. Was Kyungsoo mad at Baekhyun for moving on? He was the one that turned Baekhyun down so that wasn’t entirely fair. And if that wasn’t the case, then why would he run away?

Jongin sighed and rolled over, staring at his ceiling, until a face blocked his view.

“For a guy who is supposed to be fun, you’re pretty boring,” Sehun said, floating just above him.

“Can’t you just go somewhere else? I’m dealing with some shit right now.” He pinched the bridge of his nose, trying to will the ache just behind it to go away. Instead it spread to his temples so he pressed his fingers there and massaged.

“Why do all you humans go so Twilight when you get involved with vampires?” Sehun slowly lowered in the air until he was next to Jongin on the bed. Where their bodies collided, there was a burst of frigid air.

“Dude, personal space, ever heard of it?” Jongin growled. He was not in the mood to deal with a ghost -- excuse him -- a worldly spirit, especially not one that refused to leave him alone.

He just wanted to figure out why everything seems so hung up on the fact that he and Baekhyun were serious. Had he committed some type of taboo accepting the claim? Why did this claim have to be so troublesome? He just wanted to go back to doing the missions for Baekhyun, like some kind of video game, but just with the bonus of dating, not this huge mumbo jumbo of a mess he was in.

“You read the book, right? It wasn’t a literary masterpiece but I found it entertaining enough,” Sehun babbled.

Jongin waved his arm through him in anger and Sehun reappeared a few feet away standing next to his bed with a grimace.

“Don’t do that! I hate when people do that,” he whined.

“Just go away, I’m trying to be depressing and brood over the joke that is my life,” Jongin sighed. So, he was being melodramatic, but who wouldn’t after having the kinds of bombs dropped on them that he had.

All this claim stuff was confusing and with the way that Baekhyun left, Jongin was beginning to feel even worse about the whole thing. Even though Baekhyun had given him all the validation he needed regarding it, the way he and Junmyeon talked around the topic made him feel uneasy. Baekhyun was hiding something. Something that had to do with Kyungsoo and that could mean anything. He wanted to trust Baekhyun, he wanted to not feel these feelings, but everything was too much for him and he just needed a break… or a distraction.

Suddenly, he sat up. “You’re right,” he said to Sehun and then threw his legs over the edge of his bed. “Let’s go do something. Ghosts can do stuff, right?”

“Worldly spirit,” Sehun corrected, raising one finger, and then smiled, “but yes, we can do things.”

 

It was a few hours later when Jongin found himself back at Club Isis only this time he had Sehun in tow. He had taken his time getting ready while Sehun hovered around him watching his every more. Yes, that meant in the shower so Jongin couldn’t even rub one out to help clear his mind and he had read somewhere that doing that greatly helped clear a man’s mind. Still, why the ghost -- worldly spirit -- chose to come to the club, Jongin wasn’t sure, but he figured it was for good reason.

Jongin looked around at the patrons, noting that most of their eyes flicked to his neck first and then to his face, before they nodded their heads in greeting. It was the claim as usual and instead of feeling a sense of joy rush over him, he just felt twisting emotions tainted with suspicion.

The club was running as usual. People dancing on the dance floor and patrons ordering drinks. Tanith was serving everyone with her mesmerizing grace and posture and Jongin could not help but feel like something was off. He started towards the doors that led to Baekhyun’s office, but Sehun appeared before him and shook his head.

“Vampire boyfriend is off-limits for now, you’re hanging with me.”

Jongin rolled his eyes. “Okay, so what are we gonna do then?”

“It’s a secret,” he said and wiggled his fingers.

Sehun had better have a promising idea, because now that Jongin was in the club he was itching to go to Baekhyun’s office. In fact, he felt drawn to it and the farther they moved from it the more he kept looking back. Something was up, but he couldn’t figure out what.

The worldly spirit led him to the opposite side of the club and through a door that Jongin had not noticed before. He furrowed his brows in question but Sehun refused to disclose anything at all, so he silently followed behind him, glancing around every few feet, at the walls, the ceiling, and the numerous doors.

The hallway looked like the rest of the club, dressed in hues of purple and orange, and the music could still be heard faintly but the farther down the hallway -- that seemed to never end -- the softer it grew. Just how big was the club really? Suddenly, Sehun stopped by a door and grinned.

“Where are we?” Jongin asked, suddenly having a worse feeling about what was behind the door than he did the office. He wished he could put his finger on the feeling of dread but it just kept growing, snaking around his insides and poisoning them with malignant icy tendrils of doubt.

“The feeding rooms,” Sehun whispered.

No. No. Jongin did not want to go into the room. He squinted at Sehun, trying to decipher his motives, but the ghost had such a blank expression that Jongin couldn’t read him. Was he a good guy? Was he a bad guy? Jongin wasn’t sure but his heart was beating so fast in his chest he felt like he was going to explode.

“I don’t want to do this…” Jongin whispered.

“Look, you wanted to find Kyungsoo, right?”

“He’s in there?” Jongin nodded at the door and then bit his lip. He hardly knew Sehun so how much he could trust him, he did not know. But, he had been worried about Kyungsoo all day and the worry was eating away at him. Still, he needed to respect his boundaries...

“He might be,” Sehun said with a small smile.

Jongin shook his head. “No, Junmyeon said he’d come to me when he was ready, I don’t want to pressure him.”

“I said, might, it could be your precious vampire boyfriend in there for all I know…” he trailed and then phased through the door. Great, now he had to follow him to make sure he didn’t do anything.

Jongin chewed on his lip hesitantly. He needed to go inside after Sehun, but part of him knew whatever lay behind the door would possibly hurt him in some shape or form. He could feel it deep inside. It started from his throat and coursed through every nerve and vein in his body. He would not like what he saw and that terrified him. He knew if he were in a movie or a novel, then going into that room would reveal his worst fear, but this was real life, so Jongin decided to bite the bullet and opened the door.

At first, he couldn’t see anything because it was too dark. As his eyes adjusted, however, his heart sped up. Every flick of his gaze raised his blood pressure by ten units and he could feel his chest constricting. He looked at the floor, taking in a pile of clothes crumpled and discarded and then slowly looked up.

His voice caught in his throat and he stepped backwards stumbling against the door and scrambling to turn the knob. He wasn’t sure who he had walked in on, but the pit in his stomach only added to his suspicions from before. He ripped the door open and poured out it, feeling very much like liquid with the way his legs buckled and his arms collapsed when he met the ground. He recognized that back.

He felt the panic rise in his throat and couldn’t stop the sob that ripped out. But it had definitely been Kyungsoo and Jongin wasn’t so sure why he felt so strongly in this moment, but part of him recognized that the face that Kyungsoo was making wasn’t just one of lust.

Kyungsoo had been at the club the whole time? No, that wasn’t what hurt him. What hurt him was the fact that those fingers on Kyungsoo’s back could only belong to one person and Jongin wanted nothing more than to rip the claim off from around his neck. He fingered it, anguished and hurting. How could Baekhyun give this to him if he was going to turn around and go back to Kyungsoo. What was Jongin to him? Chopped liver? No, it was the same as before and Jongin could barely catch his breath until a hand circled around his bicep and he looked up.

It was Baekhyun.

“What are you doing back here?” Baekhyun asked, helping Jongin to his feet.

Jongin stared at him, scrutinizing every detail of the vampire. His hair was perfectly in place and he looked like he had been sitting in his office, judging by the wrinkles in his shirt. Then he pulled him into a hug, squeezing him tightly. “I’m sorry I doubted you.”

Baekhyun stiffened for half a second and then relaxed. “What? What are you talking about?” Baekhyun said, his voice was muffled against Jongin’s chest.

“I don’t know, I’ve been so jumpy after putting this claim on and I can’t stop feeling all these random feelings and it’s driving me crazy Baekhyun, what is happening to me?” Jongin asked, feeling relieved but also conflicted.

If it wasn’t Baekhyun in that room, then who was it and why did he care so much? Kyungsoo was an incubus, he had to have sex to feed, so why was Jongin feeling jealous? It wasn’t as if he was dating Kyungsoo, no, he was with Baekhyun, but the thought of the two of them going behind his back...well, the thought hurt him more than anything and if he ever were to experience such a thing he might just die.

He wouldn’t mind if they were upfront about that kind of thing, in fact, Jongin thought it would be kind of hot and maybe he would join in, because why limit yourself to just one hot guy when you could have two? Still, every time he closed his eyes he saw Kyungsoo’s expression of pleasure and it strangled his heart.

Baekhyun sighed, “I guess we do need to talk.”

Oh no. Jongin pushed Baekhyun to arm’s length and studied his face. He was just as unreadable as ever, but if Jongin focused, he could see the seed of jealousy in his eyes. He glanced back to the door and frowned. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to hear the words Baekhyun was going to say.

In Baekhyun’s office, Jongin sat at the edge of the chaise lounge, legs pressed tightly together and back straight. He felt so tense that he could not even relax the tiniest bit and when Baekhyun touched his shoulder, he jumped.

“Sorry, I’m just so tense right now,” Jongin apologized.

Baekhyun gave him a small smiled and then sighed, “I’m sorry I put you through this before you were ready. I should have waited, really. But it’s just, I look at you and I feel like I could live forever with you and I want to.”

“But?”

“But, I haven’t been honest with you.” Baekhyun took Jongin’s hands in his own and took a few breaths before he spoke next. “What you’re feeling are my feelings and I have… complicated feelings regarding Kyungsoo.”

Oh. Jongin stared at his hands in Baekhyun’s and part of him wanted to pull them out and slap him or do something because why on earth would Baekhyun involve him in something like this? But, he stayed calm, well as calm as he could be with Baekhyun admitting he still had feelings for Kyungsoo. He wasn’t sure how he felt about that at all. Betrayed? No, not quite.

“I accept that that part of my life is over,” he said without looking Jongin in the eyes and then frowned, “But he is… was important to me so I need you to understand something.”

“Okay…” Jongin said cautiously.

“Things are indistinct with him. He was my closest friend, the person I could count on for anything, my love, at one point, but I don’t want you to feel as though you are second, you’re not.” He sighed and then squeezed Jongin’s hands.

“But?” Jongin repeated. His heart was thrumming in his ears and he thought that the next thing Baekhyun was going to say was going to hurt him beyond repair.

Baekhyun reached up and touched Jongin’s claim, with a strange expression on his face. “When I destroyed Kyungsoo’s claim I thought the feeling would go away, but it seems that recently, they have returned.”

“So, you gave me one to combat them?”

“Oh no, I put a lot of thought into yours...I should let you read the inscription one of these days, but, I must admit I question my own motives now.”

“Do I… do I take this off then?”

Baekhyun bit his lip. His eyes said no, but his mouth said, “If that is your wish. Just… just do it at home if you must.”

Jongin brought his fingers to his neck. This claim was seeming to cause him more pain than happiness, but he did not want to take it off. He liked Baekhyun, he liked him a whole lot and the more time he spent with him he knew he was falling for him, but -- and it was a big but -- Baekhyun had just told him something that could pose issues in the future and Jongin did not know if there was anything Baekhyun could say to assuage him. Perhaps if Baekhyun had waited and maybe thought more about why he was ready to claim Jongin then, none of this would be happening. Well, at least he hoped.

The two had a lot of history and Jongin felt like an intruder. How could he fit into a decades old relationship that already had its complications and ups and downs? How could he fit into a relationship with two Night Worlders while he was still only human? Maybe he should take it off, take a break from the Night World and come back when things made sense. But would they ever?

“It’s times like these, when I wished I could know your thoughts,” Baekhyun said. He caressed Jongin’s hand with his thumb.

Jongin smiled crookedly at him, “All you have to do is ask...I accepted the claim and the claim accepted me. So that means I am yours and you are mine and I don’t want to change that. It’s just this is all so much and I feel so underprepared for everything. Not to mention the bomb you just dropped on me about Kyungsoo.”

Jongin bit his lip and then looked into Baekhyun’s eyes. They held so much sadness, so much conflict and Jongin wanted nothing but to erase it all. He sighed and brought Baekhyun’s fingers to his mouth, where he placed a gentle kiss on them. “Give me some time to adjust, that’s all I'm asking. I promise I won’t take it off, I don’t want to hurt you like that. Never.”

“Thank you,” Baekhyun whispered.

He looked so vulnerable in this moment and Jongin wanted to kiss him and tell him that everything would be okay, but would it? He didn’t know the future so he could not be sure. He did know that in this moment, he was beginning to tell the difference between his own feelings the one the claim poured into him and that was progress. As long as he could keep them in check, he could handle this, he just needed to remember that now, all the emotions he felt were not necessarily his own. Maybe he should ask Junmyeon about this side-effect and see if there was a way to build up some kind of divide. In any case, he’d worry about that later.

Jongin snorted and then gave Baekhyun a playful shove to lighten the mood. “It’s overwhelming, but that’s kind of who you are. I wouldn’t still be here if I wasn’t willing to handle that.”

Baekhyun smiled, “You are my favorite human.”

Jongin laughed, “I better be, you’re dating me after all.” The mood had been successfully lightened, so Jongin felt the tension melt from his shoulders.

Baekhyun nodded, also laughing a bit, “About that...I should take you on a real date. Not one that ends in you almost getting eaten.”

“I’d like that,” Jongin replied. He had to admit, being around Baekhyun constantly was definitely enjoyable, but being able to show him off in his own world? Well, the thought excited Jongin more than he had assumed it would.

“Hate to ruin this heartfelt moment,” Sehun said as he appeared in the room. “But, I need him back.”

“What for?” Baekhyun asked, being a bit more protective than Jongin thought was necessary.

“I need a human to latch onto to leave this place. The glamour is too strong for me to phase through.”

Jongin shrugged his shoulders. He could do that. It was as simple as walking out the door and then back in so he and Baekhyun could finish their conversation. However, the vampire had other ideas as he laced his fingers through Jongin’s and pulled him up.

“We’ll escort you together,” Baekhyun said gruffly. “Then, we’ll decide on a restaurant for dinner.”

Jongin chuckled. “Whatever you say, Master.”

“I love it when you say that,” Baekhyun murmured, his lips brushing the outer shell of Jongin’s ear. His hot breath sent shivers down Jongin’s spine.

“I know you do,” Jongin replied, turning towards him and ghosting his mouth over the vampire’s.

“Okay, be gross after you let me out, please.” Sehun groaned.

The three of them walked -- well Sehun floated -- to the entrance and when Jongin got to the door, he noticed Sehun hovering near by looking around for something or someone. He stared to say something but Baekhyun had his chin in his grip and turned him towards him.

“I’m free tomorrow night… all night, so let’s do dinner, maybe some wine and we’ll see where that leads to?”

Was Baekhyun propositioning him? Jongin smirked. He could get used to this for sure. He leaned over Baekhyun, effectively pressing him against the door and leaned down. Their lips met briefly and then Jongin responded, “Sounds good to me. Should I wear my good underwear?”

“Mmm, how about you don’t wear any at all?” Baekhyun growled and pulled Jongin against him. He roamed his hands all over Jongin’s body, pulling his hips against his and nipped at Jongin’s neck.

“I mean, I could just show up naked,” Jongin said, his breath hitching as he felt the point of Baekhyun’s teeth graze his skin.

“I wouldn’t be opposed to that,” Baekhyun said and then licked a stripe up Jongin’s neck.

“Maybe we just forgo dinner and I let you have your fill of me?” Jongin purred, rolling against Baekhyun.

“Not opposed to that either,” Baekhyun replied. He squeezed Jongin’s ass and lightly bit down at the juncture of Jongin’s neck and shoulder.

“Is there anything you’re opposed to?” Jongin gasped as Baekhyun sucked on the unbroken skin. It wasn’t the same as being bitten, but he’d be damned if this did not feel good.

“I’m opposed to you leaving right now,” he paused, long enough to trail kisses up Jongin’s neck, jaw, and then collide with his lips.

Jongin moaned into Baekhyun’s mouth. He begged for entrance and then tasted every corner of the vampire, sweeping his tongue against the points just like he knew Baekhyun liked. Kissing him was quickly becoming Jongin’s favorite pastime.

“Come back to my office,” Baekhyun murmured, he looped his long fingers through Jongin’s belt loops and held him in place while his other hand palmed Jongin through the fabric.

Jongin’s breath caught in his throat and he whined. Baekhyun knew just how to touch him, how to rile him up.

“Can you two stop fucking each other in public for one second?” Sehun said, floating back over to them. “I need you to take me back to your place, I’m kind of…. avoiding someone right now.”

Jongin groaned and was pleased to hear Baekhyun do the same. He untangled himself from his boyfriend and straightened his shirt. “We can finish this tomorrow,” he said and blew Baekhyun a kiss.

Baekhyun caught it and then pressed it to his heart. “I’ll send my driver for you.”

With that Jongin set off down the street with Sehun. They were a few blocks from the club when Jongin asked, “So who are you avoiding?”

“No one,” Sehun replied. He kept looking over his shoulder ever few feet. He didn’t look scared, just mildly annoyed and hurried.

Jongin raised his phone to his ear to keep himself from looking insane and then said, “Look, I’m not Sherlock, but I have a feeling that ‘no one’ is someone and if you don’t want to tell me that’s fine, but you’ve spent all day in my drama so it’s only fair.”

“Ugh. Whatever, I’ll tell you.” Sehun scoffed. “I’m seeing this fairy and well he kind of saw my echo and I freaked out and ended up in your dorm.”

Fairy? Like Tinkerbelle? Jongin giggled a bit at the idea of this ghost dating a tiny glowing person but who was he to shame relationships? Whatever floated Sehun’s boat. “Your echo?”

“Yeah, death echo. Worldly spirits relive their deaths once a month and I’ve been able to hide mine for the past year but I slipped up and well, he saw it.”

“Dude, that’s kind of sick. How’d you die?”

Woah. Imagining having to relive his death once a month for the rest of his life intrigued Jongin. If he had died in a nontraumatic way, like in his sleep, would he just fall asleep once a month, or did echoes only apply to traumatic deaths, like being burned alive? That would suck, bursting into literal flames and feeling his skin melt and bubble as he slowly and very painfully died.

Sehun looked scandalized. “Oh my god, you can’t just ask someone how they died!”

Jongin rolled his eyes, “Look, I don’t come across many ghosts--”

“Worldly spirits!”

“--so, I’m sorry if I'm a bit insensitive. I don’t intend it.” He raised his hands in surrender. To be honest, he kind of liked tormenting the worldly spirit with the improper moniker because it ruffled his feathers and Jongin was a feather ruffler.

Sehun sighed exasperatedly. “Well, I’ll tell you only because I’m nice.”

“You’re more of a brat than nice…” Jongin grumbled. And he ruined his moment with Baekhyun at the end, too. Both times. They were getting somewhere with all this confusion and Jongin figured if they could just be uninterrupted for longer than, say, thirty minutes, he was positive they could fix everything.

“Listen, I showed you where Kyungsoo was, didn’t I?”

“Yeah, but I didn’t ask you to get involved in my life,” Jongin hissed. He had forgotten to hold his phone to his ear and a passerby eyed him strangely before scurrying away.

“Whatever, you were just going to sit in your room and mope anyway, now you’ve got a hot date tomorrow and I have to admit, you’re my favorite of Baekhyun’s humans.”

“Humans?”

“Yeah, he feeds from several. Though I suppose you’re more important because you got that thing around your neck.” Damn. Sehun knew just how to kill the mood.

Jongin frowned. Vampires did need to feed but Jongin knew the feelings that were felt while being bit and he wasn’t so positive that he liked the implications. In fact, he felt a tiny bit jealous which he knew was irrational, but who could blame him?

“He never told you?” Sehun giggled. “Vampire-human relations are always so interesting.”

Okay so Sehun was a chaotic neutral. He wasn’t evil, just bratty and maybe petty, but Jongin would have to spend more time with him to decide on that. He did know for sure that Sehun was whimsical and acted randomly so he could only assume it was him following his individuality. Still, why did he choose Jongin of all the people in the world?

“Why the hell are you here?” Jongin asked.

“I told you, I’m avoiding someone.”

“Well you should be avoiding me,” Jongin narrowed his eyes and swung his arm through Sehun.

The worldly spirit reappeared with a grimace, holding his stomach. “Ugh stop. I literally feel your particles mix with mine and it makes me sick.”

“I’ll do it again if you keep bothering me.”

“What, you’re sensitive about a little blood drinking? He is a vampire, he has to feed. You didn’t think he could get his fill from you all the time? Have you seen the fang bangers?”

“The what?”

“The humans that give themselves up for blood?” Sehun said and then phased through Jongin’s door leaving Jongin outside in the cold for a moment before he fished out his keys.

Once inside he continued the conversation. “What about them?”

“They’re like zombies, constantly high. They don’t experience time like you do, it’s all a spectrum and the fang bangers exist above it. You should talk to one, one day, they have interesting things to say.”

Jongin dropped his keys on the table and said, “Is ‘fang bangers’ what they’re called?”

“No, they’re called donors. Fang bangers is like the slang in the Night World,” Sehun replied and twirled in the air.

Jongin smirked, “Oh like how we call you ghosts?”

“For the last time, I’m not a ghost!” He paused and then deadpanned at Jongin, “Okay you’ve made your point.”

Jongin entered his room and stared at his bed. He wasn’t ready to sleep, and he had caught up on his homework. So, he wasn’t quite sure what to do. He supposed he could work on the blog, but that would require a certain worldly spirit was gone and seeing as he was avoiding someone Jongin wasn’t sure how long that would take.

“So,” Sehun said as he floated down onto Jongin’s desk. He laid across it like he was modeling and Jongin snickered.

“What?”

“Wanna know how I died?”

Jongin was about to respond when he heard the revving of a motorcycle outside his dorm. He peered out the window and saw a man with pale pink hair placed his helmet under the crook of his arm and then stared into Jongin’s window. Jongin closed the blinds and then glanced at Sehun.

“So, um...you’re dating a fairy, right?”

“Yeah, I already told you that. I thought you wanted to hear how I died?”

“About that--” Jongin started.

Just then, there was a banging on the door and Jongin froze. He peered out his window and saw that the man was no longer standing by the motorcycle. Okay. Things just got really weird.

 

Ghosts. Stop right there, don’t even say the word. Forget you read it because they are now referred to as Worldly Spirits and from now on I will only call them that on this blog. Now, you may be wondering why I, a human, am emphasizing the importance of this proper phrase, but after dealing with one for part of the day, it’s best not to annoy them...

Chapter Text

Jongin glanced at Sehun who had stopped floating over his desk and was now hiding in the corner of his room. He shimmered translucently against the shadows and vehemently shook his head. Okay, so that meant whoever was at the door was the person Sehun was avoiding. Perfect. More drama.

With a smirk on his face, Jongin crept towards the door, softly yelling to Junmyeon that he’d get it and froze. What if it was the guy on the motorcycle? He looked kind of scary and Jongin was already up to his ears in his own drama and whatever motorcycle guy wanted could not be good. He knew he shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, so he told himself it was a kind stranger who was lost and needed directions. Wishful thinking, and yes, he knew that.

He slowly opened the door, heart ramming in his chest and came face to face with what he would call an oxymoron. It was a man dressed in leather jacket, with a thin black tee beneath. His jeans were ripped at the knee and fitted. He wore scuffed leather boots as well. What made the whole outfit almost seem silly was the startlingly pale pink hair and the soft features of the stranger’s face.

“Who are you?” Jongin asked, still not opening the door completely.

“Where is my worldly spirit?” The man said, his voice deeper than Jongin had anticipated and thoroughly throwing him off guard.

“Your...what?” Then, gaining his composure, he cocked his head to the side, “Oh! You mean the ghost that’s been haunting me all day?”

In the background a scandalized shout was heard. “I’m not a fucking ghost, you bitch!”

A smirk quirked the stranger’s lips and he said, “Yep, that’s him. I’ll collect him now.”

Jongin gaped. “Wait, you’re a fairy?” He scanned the stranger’s appearance once more, really taking in every detail of the man’s fit and sculpted body. Weren’t fairies supposed to be tiny and like, sparkle?

“In the flesh,” the man said and pushed through the door.

His boots jingled with every step as the buckles hit each other. He looked around the room, nose high in the air and a bored expression on his face. Then he turned to Jongin, “I’m surprised he could enter, there is a strong charm around this dorm.”

He picked up a trinket -- that Junmyeon had insisted on decorating their entry room with -- and examined it. “Covers everything but Fae, typical witch.”

Jongin watched silently as the fairy -- he still could not believe this man was a fairy in the slightest -- continued to look around. He felt a small seed of discontent the longer he scrutinized their living quarters and grew impatient. “He’s hiding in my room,” Jongin said, heading that way.

“Oh, I know, I can sense him.”

“Then, go collect him and leave. He’s been a real pain,” Jongin sighed as he stood in the doorway to his room gesturing for the man to enter.

“I’m not coming with you, Luhan.” Sehun’s disembodied voice said. He seemed to have moved to somewhere near Jongin’s bed, but he was invisible now, so Jongin wasn’t sure.

So, his name was Luhan. Interesting. Jongin gestured again, trying to hurry him along but Luhan was taking his time, examining every inch of the hallway before taking an extra-large step over a space and then entering Jongin’s room where he immediately wrinkled his nose.

Jongin squinted at him. He was growing even less fond of Luhan’s appraisal. The more he squinted his eyes and frowned at everything in Jongin’s room, the more Jongin bristled. He liked his room. Everything inside of it held a memory, a heartfelt meaning that he was proud of. Like the grimoire he found at a yard sale for ten cents and the single black rose he bought online on a whim and the thing still had not wilted even after years of him owning it.

Luhan pursed his lips and said, “Let’s go.”

“Uh uh,” Sehun replied slowly becoming visible. He was sitting on Jongin’s bed, knees huddled to his chest and a pout on his face.

There was a beat of silence and Jongin started tapping his foot. The stalemate between the two was obnoxious and after about five minutes of staring each other down, Jongin watched Luhan cross his room to his bed and sit down. He deadpanned. He had invited exactly neither of them to his house and he definitely did not want them on his bed, but he knew that it was just his annoyance over Luhan’s distaste of his room that was speaking.

“Look, I’m not good with this emotional crap, Sehun, and you know it,” he sighed. “Let’s just put the whole thing behind us and go home. Come on,” he pleaded, reaching for the worldly spirit and -- astonishingly -- touching him as though he was corporeal.

Sehun shook his head, “You saw my echo, that’s a big deal…”

“Can you guys take this conversation somewhere that is not my room?” Jongin said and received two glares strong enough to shut him up.

Jongin stepped outside his room and glanced at the section above his door. Nope. There was no sign that said his room was the new hub for Night Worlders, so why on earth were they all coming to his room? He rolled his eyes and sat at his desk while the two lovebirds reconciled. May as well try to get some work done, he thought as he opened his laptop. He began typing and then felt eyes on the side of his face and stopped.

“This is my room,” he grumbled and typed softer. It wasn’t his fault that the tapping was distracting.

“Baby, it’s just an echo. That’s no different than my sprite form and you know how embarrassed I was to show you that.” Luhan consoled Sehun and Jongin turned to watch.

Sprite form. Heh. So Luhan was like Tinkerbelle and he did sparkle and glow like the Disney superstar. Jongin was smiling to himself as the two continued talking. Now he had to see that form. Maybe if he bribed Sehun with letting him stay he could catch a glimpse.

“It’s not embarrassing, it’s my death! You watched me die and the first thing you did after was offer me a beer, who does that?”

“I didn’t want to make a big deal of it,” Luhan said.

“A beer?” he repeated. “No asking if I was okay, no concern, just watching me flop to the ground bleeding out all over the floor and all you did was sit down on the couch next to my echo and push a cold one to me? Luhan, don’t you think that’s a problem?”

“You looked like you had a rough time,” Luhan said, obviously not understanding why Sehun was going shrill.

“A rough time...listen to yourself! I relived my death and you just--”

Luhan had shut the worldly spirit up by pressing his lips to the shimmering form. When he pulled back Jongin raised an eyebrow but said nothing. He was going to steal that and try it on Baekhyun tomorrow at their date. Now he just needed a reason to either get into a spat with him or get him talking so much that he could use a kiss to make him stop. He’d hash out a plan later.

“I hate it when you do that,” Sehun sighed.

“Nah, you love it,” Luhan teased and then stood up. “Come on baby cakes, let’s hit the road.” He tipped his head towards Jongin and walked out the room, Sehun in tow.

Following them, Jongin couldn’t help but smile because now he understood Sehun’s behavior. He and Luhan were foils to each other and fit very well. It was endearing in a way and made Jongin feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Jongin closed the door, after smiling at the couple and sighed. They must have been together for a long time for Luhan to know just how to handle Sehun. He hoped one day he’d be like that. Then he shook his head. Enough relationship mumbo jumbo. It was time to get to work.

Back in his room, he started drafting the next blog entry, giggling to himself. It only took him about twenty minutes as he was fueled by the soft feelings of witnessing the reconciliation of two people. Then, once he was done he spun in his chair, feeling relieved to be alone for once. No cold chill, no drama.

He was still a bit miffed about Kyungsoo and his feelings towards Baekhyun were...conflicting. But, other than that, he was happy. He stood, stretching a bit and headed to the kitchen. He was starving and he had the awful tendency to forget to eat when dealing with a lot so his stomach was ready to take revenge. It growled loudly and he patted it. “Yeah, yeah, I know.”

The kitchen was actually spotless for once and Jongin wondered when Junmyeon had cleaned because he certainly did not remember doing so and the only person who had been here was him, unless he counted Kyungsoo, but there was no way on earth the incubus cleaned while he was moping around.

Jongin opened the fridge, scratching his back, and frowned. They desperately needed to go to the store for food. There was literally an apple, a Tupperware with some kind of creature growing in it, and a single bottle of water. Ugh. Apple, it was.

He tossed it a few times before biting into it and headed back to his room, knocking on Junmyeon’s door to yell at him that they needed to go grocery shopping tomorrow.

 

The next day, AKA Date Night with Baekhyun, could not move any slower and Jongin was stuck in his class, tapping his pencil furiously against his notebook, willing time to go faster. He usually liked this class, Greek Gods and Monsters, but today, everything annoyed him. The way the professor drawled on, talking about Sisyphus rolling his boulder up the hill day in and day out, only to have it roll back down once he reached the top, had Jongin bristling.

He felt like he was Sisyphus, only instead of a boulder, it was a never-ending class that was the only division between him and a good time tonight. Well, not entirely, there was still the pesky concept of time that he had to deal with and Jongin swore that if he ever met a Time God he’d give him a good pummeling because it could only be him that was dragging the minutes into hours in this class.

He sighed, now stabbing the point of his pencil into his notebook repeatedly, and the professor hesitated, watching him. Jongin’s hand froze mid-swing and he politely set the pencil down and gave the professor a sheepish smile. He needed to relax.

Class was finally over and Jongin literally skipped out of the building, his backpack slapping his back and a huge grin on his face. He was admittedly more excited for tonight than he had ever been. A night spent with Baekhyun, uninterrupted, just the two of them was worth all the waiting. Perhaps if they did make it to dinner, then Jongin would get to make a show of showing the vampire off to all the human patrons. He was the luckiest guy in the world after all.

When he made it home, he was still humming a song under his breath as he ran up the stairs. He had about two hours before Baekhyun sent his driver and Jongin was going to take all that time to prepare. He was going to shower, shave -- Baekhyun had complained about his stubble during their weekend of bliss -- style his hair, and wear the absolute perfect outfit for teasing.

Just as he started the shower, there was a knock on the door and Jongin paused. “Junmyeon can you get that?”

No answer.

Another few knocks and Jongin groaned. He hoped whoever it was wouldn’t be offended when he told them to fuck off because he was busy getting ready for the date of a lifetime and wanted no distractions.

Grumbling, he yanked open the door to reveal -- he rubbed his eyes to make sure he was seeing this correctly -- Kyungsoo. He almost asked why he was here but corrected himself. “You… came?”

A shy smile pulled at Kyungsoo’s lips and he nodded, “I was in the neighborhood, thought I’d stop by, see how you’re surviving without me and all.”

Oh. He was already sliding into his usual haughty act and Jongin didn’t have enough time to think of a response before the incubus stepped across the threshold and made himself at home. Jongin gaped at him, mind reeling. He didn’t know if he should ask about him disappearing or what happened after the masquerade or, well, anything at all. All his mind could think was a giant flashing exclamation point.

The sound of the fridge opening and closing pulled Jongin out of his stupor and he shut the door and let his feet lead the way to the poorly understocked kitchen. He rubbed the back of his neck, suddenly feeling awkward and hot and unsure how to even break the silence but none of that affected Kyungsoo.

“Seems like I have to do everything around here, huh?” Kyungsoo teased. He started to touch Jongin but thought better of it and instead leaned against the counter. “If you ask nicely, I’ll take you grocery shopping.”

What? How could Kyungsoo be so normal? Junmyeon had told him that the incubus was completely broken just a day ago so how on earth was he so calm now? Jongin stared at him dumbly.

“Don’t tell me that the vampire has your tongue,” Kyungsoo rolled his eyes.

“N-no. I’m just surprised…” Jongin trailed. In fact, he was more than that. He was downright in shock and awe and his brain was short circuiting and sparking and he couldn’t do a damned thing about it.

“Don’t be so scandalized, Jongin. I’m just in a very giving mood and you are in need of some basic life necessities.” Kyungsoo said and then sighed when Jongin continued to stare at him. “Stop staring at me like I’ve grown five heads. It’s just me, I’ve returned a new and better man. Now, let’s go before my generosity leaves me.”

Jongin nodded slowly -- it was all he could do -- and followed Kyungsoo out the door soundlessly. He just couldn’t have a normal day if he begged for it. They walked in relative silence for the first few blocks until Kyungsoo nudged him with his shoulder.

“So, what’s it like being claimed and all?”

Jongin side-eyed Kyungsoo warily. He was taking all of this in stride and Jongin could not help but feel utterly bewildered. He started to speak, stopped and cleared his throat and then tried again. “Um…”

“Oh, come on, you can tell me, Jongin,” Kyungsoo said as they rounded a corner and the grocery store came into view.

“It’s...kind of a hassle to be honest, but I’m happy,” Jongin said at last. He continued watching the shorter man out of his peripheral until he decided to just go along with Kyungsoo’s act. When in Rome...

“Sounds about right,” Kyungsoo nodded. “All those extra emotions and thoughts in your head gets tiring pretty quickly doesn’t it? Vampires really need to work on a better system, if you ask me.”

“Um, right,” Jongin drawled. How could Kyungsoo know about the connection if he rejected Baekhyun? Maybe Baekhyun had told him more about the claim before he turned him down. It was a lot to deal with. But, Kyungsoo sounded s candid, so he had to know more, somehow. Unless… Jongin narrowed his eyes at Kyungsoo, suspicious.

Kyungsoo shrugged, a nonchalant expression on his face. “I’ve heard a few stories.”

That was...acceptable? Jongin continued to squint at Kyungsoo, not quite buying his excuse but the incubus then pushed him through the automatic doors of the grocery store and Jongin pushed his suspicion down to assess later.

The grocery store was an average grocery store with food, drinks, all that jazz and Jongin was still half confused as to why Kyungsoo was being so domestic with him after disappearing, but he wasn’t going to complain about free food. Free food to a college student was like cocaine to an addict.

He checked the time on his phone, making sure that he had enough time get home and get ready for his date. Of course, he would end up being dragged out of his dorm when all he wanted to do was pamper his body and make sure he was nice and pliant for night time activities.

“Take the cart,” Kyungsoo said as he pulled it out of the row and rolled it over to Jongin, effectively reminding him of where he was.

“No, I hate pushing the cart. Junmyeon always does that...he actually likes it,” Jongin said, sidestepping the cart and walking ahead. He paused when he didn’t hear Kyungsoo behind him.

“Look, I’m not pushing the cart,” Kyungsoo crossed his arms.

Jongin mirrored him, a steely look on his face, “Me either.”

“Okay then…” Kyungsoo said and then pulled aside the nearest stranger. “Which of us should push the cart?”

The stranger gaped and sputtered, looking between the two before Kyungsoo’s influence took over and a seductive smile crawled across his face. He shimmied his shoulders slowly and playfully growled at Kyungsoo in a way that Jongin could only describe as cringey. “Whoever you want to push the cart, sweet thing.”

“Ugh. Now I remember why I hate humans,” he paused and glanced at Jongin, “No offense to you…. well some offense to you.”

Jongin simply raised an eyebrow and walked off towards the produce, shuddering as he passed by the section of apples. The apple he ate last night had ended up being mushy on the inside and he remembered the way it slopped into his mouth after the second bite and nearly dry heaved.

Standing in front of the fresh vegetables, Jongin suddenly got a great idea of having Baekhyun come over for a home cooked meal and sent him a quick message changing their plans. After receiving a simple ‘okay, see you then (^,..,~)’, Jongin mentally patted himself on the back for thinking of such a grand idea.

He was fantasizing about making Baekhyun a nice juicy steak, wearing nothing but his apron and having the vampire come up behind him, maybe nuzzle his neck and let Jongin feel his--

“Didn’t take you for a sitophiliac, but hey, whatever floats your boat,” Kyungsoo said from behind, now pushing the cart and looking incredibly flushed and robust. He must have given that human the kiss of death while Jongin was too busy thinking of erotic soft-porn involving him and Baekhyun.

“A what?”

“A food fucker, you’ve got a massive boner and you’re holding a stalk of green onions, sooo…” Kyungsoo laughed and grabbed the produce from Jongin’s hand, tossing it in the cart.

“Wait, I don’t fuck food!” Jongin said a little too loud and a few shoppers gave him weird looks. His face went scarlet and he hurried after Kyungsoo and hissed, “I don’t fuck food, what the hell?”

“Look, everyone has weird fetishes, some people want to stick their dicks between a pair of nice feet and others get off to…” he gestured to the green onions in the cart, “Vegetables. I mean cucumbers are more popular. They’re phallic, sturdy, thick...I can see the appeal, really, but Jongin, come on, a fucking onion?”

I don’t fuck food!” Jongin yelled and he could feel the store collectively gasp. Yeah, he could never go anywhere in public with Kyungsoo ever again. “I hate you.”

“No, you don’t,” Kyungsoo said with a wink and then started grabbing several types of spices and sides and tossing them in the cart.

They continued shopping in silence, well mostly silence, Jongin was grumbling under his breath and saying some not-so-nice things about Kyungsoo but the incubus fired back with quips and remarks that made Jongin want to tackle him to the ground.

“Does chicken breast do anything for you? They used to be breasts you know? Jongin are you a furry?”

“Oh my god, I don’t get off to food and hell no I’m not a furry, no offense to them, but for the love of everything, stop.”

Jongin was starting to get annoyed and he could see that the more ruffled his feathers were the smugger he grew and Jongin hated that he was taking the bait so easily. He had been thrown askew by Kyungsoo’s sudden appearance and his mind was still scrambling to catch up with everything that had happened.

“Awh, can’t take a little jimmie rustling? What’s the matter, sweetheart? All this food clouding your mind with lust?” Kyungsoo teased and then took off down the dry goods aisle, tossing assorted items in the basket while Jongin stood there seething.

Oh, he was going to make him pay. He walked over to the next aisle, waiting for Kyungsoo to catch up to him, only this time he had a plan. Once the incubus was within earshot, he put on the most innocent expression he could muster and asked, “Kyungsoo,” he batted his lashes, “Would you buy this for me?”

Kyungsoo froze, hands in the air and the basket kept rolling for a few feet until Jongin reached out and stopped it. He sidled up to him and nudged him with his shoulder. “Please? You’re basically my sugar daddy right now anyway.”

Kyungsoo wet his lips and took a deep breath before responding, “I’m pretty damn sure I never want to see that again.”

“Why? Does it make you weak?”

“Not exactly…”

“Hmm?”

Kyungsoo grabbed Jongin, pulling his face close by his chin and Jongin’s heart thumped in his chest. He stared into wide-rounded icy blue eyes and his breath hitched when his gaze traveled to plump lips that for some reason he wanted to kiss right then and there.

This wasn’t just regular attraction, no, the way his pulse throbbed in his ears, his chest, his whole body, he knew there was a spark there. A spark from the flint striking inside him and igniting into an intoxicating desire to be pinned under Kyungsoo, not just for pleasure, but for it to mean something to him, to mean something to them. Woah.

Clearing his throat, Kyungsoo released Jongin, letting his hand fall to his side. They stood in silence until Jongin unceremoniously dropped the box of cookies into the basket. He stared at Kyungsoo, watching closely for a reaction but the incubus was looking at him like he was the only source of light at the end of a long dark tunnel.

“Let’s check out,” Kyungsoo said softly and started pushing the cart.

Jongin followed him dutifully and chewed on his lip. What just happened? He touched the claim absentmindedly, but it felt normal, just a faint hum under his fingertips that throbbed with his heartbeat. He stood behind Kyungsoo as they waited in line, neither of them having found their voices yet, and placed the items on the conveyer belt quietly.

A vibration in his pocket disturbed his thought process and he glanced down to see a text from Baekhyun saying that he was going to be half an hour late because The Madame had demanded a meeting with him. Jongin replied quickly, telling him that was okay and then squeezed between the basket and the display shelf to the other end where he watched Kyungsoo pay for the food wordlessly.

 

Once back inside the dorm, Jongin put away the groceries he wasn’t using for tonight and then started making a simple marinade for the steaks. He worked mostly silently, humming under his breath while Kyungsoo ended up in the living room, vegging out on the couch watching evening television.

It wasn’t until he finished prepping the meat that he heard him behind him and paused. He placed the salt shaker on the counter and turned around slowly. Kyungsoo was standing there, barefoot, in borrowed sweatpants and a t-shirt looking every bit domestic and Jongin felt a twinge in his heart. Why was he suddenly having these feelings now? He liked Kyungsoo as a friend -- or so he thought -- and he already had a boyfriend, so where were these traitorous feelings coming from?

“Need help?”

“No, I’m almost done...damn I should’ve asked how Baekhyun likes his steak,” Jongin cursed himself and wiped his hands off before starting to dig his phone out of his pocket.

“Medium-rare, go light on the seasoning. He likes to taste the natural flavors of the meat whenever he eats human food.”

Jongin froze. A feeling similar to envy flooded through him and once again, he felt like an intruder. Like he didn’t belong in this world and it sucked the joy from his being. He was but a blip on the timeline of Baekhyun and every time he was reminded of it, he felt insignificant.

Carefully, he said, “You know a lot about him, don’t you?”

He didn’t want it to bother him, in fact it hadn’t until the claim came into play but now it was all he could focus on. And he didn’t know how to make himself not feel this way. Jealous of his boyfriend’s ex who was his friend before he even knew that, but the feeling snaked in, coiling around the words that left Kyungsoo’s mouth. Biting him, poisoning him with these negative thoughts. He hated it. He hated feeling wary about someone he trusted and wanted to keep in his life.

Kyungsoo sighed, “Yeah…”

Jongin studied him, unintelligible feelings were in turmoil inside him. There was so much secrecy about the two of them and Jongin just wanted to know the truth. He had half a mind to call Baekhyun and cancel and just curl up in his bed and be numb for a while, but he only sighed and returned to cooking, gnawing on his lip and trying not to tenderize the steak too much.

Baekhyun arrived not too long after Jongin finished cooking and Jongin only knew he was there because he felt arms snake around his middle as he closed the oven and let his body relax into him. It felt so good to just have his warmth seep into him. To remind him that he was important and not just this tiny blip in the over seven hundred years of Baekhyun’s life.

He supposed the claim was supposed to symbolize that. Well, he knew it symbolized that. Jongin knew he was important, but knowledge didn’t change how he felt.

“Smells delicious, almost as delicious as you,” Baekhyun purred and turned Jongin around, planting a deep kiss on Jongin’s lips.

“How was the meeting?” Jongin asked and pulled out of Baekhyun’s arms to really look at the vampire. He seemed tense and Jongin reached for the claim and felt a tiny bit of insight flood into him.

The Madame had spoken to him about the blood bond, but that was all Jongin could pluck out from the swirling thoughts in Baekhyun’s mind. He then encircled himself around Baekhyun, enjoying the way his body melded into his and rocked back and forth for a bit.

“I needed that, thank you,” Baekhyun said, his voice muffled, but he didn’t move. He held onto Jongin tightly. “You know me so well,” Baekhyun whispered.

“Not as well as others,” Jongin muttered and when Baekhyun stiffened he immediately felt regret. “I’m sorry, I don’t know why I said that.”

“I noticed Kyungsoo was here. You two made up?”

“Um, actually I need to talk to you about something…” Jongin trailed and then craned his neck to see Kyungsoo still dozing on the couch. “How strongly should I feel your residual feelings?”

Baekhyun frowned, “Only if I’m nearby or experiencing something strong that I can’t help but broadcast.”

“Okay...where were you a few hours ago? Anywhere near the store on 5th?”

Baekhyun shook his head. “I was a couple thousand miles away, why?”

Awh fuck. So those feelings were his own then. Jongin swallowed thickly, ready to admit to Baekhyun that maybe his heart wasn’t as true to him as he had thought it was, but the look on his face stilled his voice in his throat. “Nothing…”

Baekhyun placed a hand on Jongin’s cheek, cupping it. A smile tinged with sadness wobbled for a second before he blinked and it became sweet. He gazed into Jongin’s eyes, pleading and then trailed his hand down to his neck where he fingered the charm and then continued down his chest, stomach, and resting at the waistband of his pants.

Jongin knew he should have told Baekhyun when he had the chance, but his resolve had left him and now all he could do was try to show Baekhyun that he had nothing to worry about, even he wasn’t sure if that was the case. Sometimes words just couldn’t do Jongin justice. He had to rely on his actions. And as the saying went: ‘Actions spoke louder than words.’

He let the vampire tug at his waist, connecting their hips and dipped his head, pressing his mouth against his, trying to show him that he was his one and only and that the claim was still valid even though he had those thoughts earlier. He begged for entrance, tasting the vampire with gentle swipes of his tongue and moaned softly. Kissing him like this was intoxicating.

And Jongin felt it then, that flame that jumped to life before was now a raging fire inside him and he walked Baekhyun back to his room, their mouths still connecting between each step. He blindly reached for the knob and they burst into his room, stumbling and sighing.

Clothes were soon shucked off onto the floor by impatient hands and Jongin let Baekhyun push him backwards onto the bed. His heart sprinted, but he wasn’t nervous. He had been waiting for this for quite some time now and seeing Baekhyun settle himself between his open legs, hands trembling with need as his eyes glazed over with desire, was everything he had imagined and so much more.

“You are a piece of art, my human,” Baekhyun said, lightly caressing Jongin’s thighs with his long delicate fingers.

Jongin nodded, catching his lip between his teeth as a shudder tore through his body, raising goosebumps where Baekhyun touched him. He was growing hard already, wanting, needing Baekhyun more than ever. Needing to show him that he was his. That they belonged to each other.

He reached into his nightstand, and pulled out a bottle of lube and Baekhyun plucked it from his hand, generously coating his fingers and Jongin’s entrance and then teasing it. Jongin bit back a moan and pressed himself down on Baekhyun's fingers forcing them deeper inside and gasping once he felt the first knuckle pass his rim.

“Oh, wow,” he sighed, pulling his legs up and maneuvering his hips in tandem with Baekhyun’s slow thrusting. It felt so good. Those fingers he had fantasized about were doing work that could only make him whine and keen.

Baekhyun took his time stretching him. He cooed at Jongin, praising him and telling him how amazing he looked all spread out for him and Jongin’s heart sang. Now he wanted more than his fingers, he wanted to feel connected to him, to feel Baekhyun’s length breach his waters, plunge deep and take him away until his mind became nothing but a dim facsimile of itself.

Soon his fingers slid out and Jongin watched as Baekhyun slicked his cock, pumping it a few times before pressing the head against his opening and then sliding inside. It stung at first, causing Jongin to clamp down and pulling a ragged gasp from Baekhyun’s throat as he froze, hands on Jongin’s knees and his eyes half closed. Then he moved and Jongin took him whole, every inch of the hard cock that he had wanted inside him for so long. He felt connected, not just physically, but mentally and spiritually and it was so cliché but Jongin needed this. They both needed this.

“So tight,” Baekhyun whispered and slowly pulled out.

Jongin whined and reached for Baekhyun, his fingertips brushing over his skin until he felt the turgid length plunge inside once more, forcing a half-moan, half-hiss from his lips. He clutched at Baekhyun’s shoulder and tugged him down until they were chest to chest and rolled his hips every time Baekhyun canted his.

He dug his fingers deep into his skin, dragging them down, leaving marks and welts as he moved to his ass where he stopped, holding him as deep as he could, clenching and unclenching and enjoying the tiny little gasps he earned from Baekhyun.

They found a languid pace, and slow but powerful thrusts made Jongin cry out and whimper. He clung to Baekhyun, not letting him pull out too far, not letting his body leave his for more than half a second because he felt as if he might fall to pieces if he did. He was desperate, and needed this release so bad.

Baekhyun crashed into him, the smacking of their bodies growing faster and Jongin fixed himself to Baekhyun’s lips whispering sweet nothings, calling him his one and only, his perfect match, saying that he was the one his heart beat for, the one that he had dreamed of. Then he whispered that he was Baekhyun’s completely and wholly, that every fiber of his being belonged to him and him alone. He felt sharp fangs prick his lip and in that moment an explosion happened in his head.

It was candor, it was love and Jongin could feel everything that Baekhyun was feeling and it was so overwhelming that tears sprung to his eyes, spilling from the corners and running down the sides of his face into his hair. Baekhyun then moved to his neck, peppering it with light kisses until he sank his teeth in and Jongin’s vision went white.

All he could do was feel. The repetitive thrusting of Baekhyun’s cock filling him and leaving him, warming him from the inside as their bodies exploded into a million specs of light. He heard Baekhyun moans become whines, squeaks, as he continued to...make love to him. It wasn’t just fucking at this point. It was more than that and the more Baekhyun drank from him, sharing his love with him, the more Jongin knew he was ready.

He realized that Baekhyun needed this as much as he did. They needed to show each other that they weren’t fucking up and that what they had was real and because Jongin could never fully share his thoughts he knew this was the closest they got with their uncompleted bond.

“I love you,” Jongin said and he knew it was cliché, telling Baekhyun during sex where emotions were high and his filter was completely gone, but the words left his mouth nonetheless, stilling the vampire, who closed the wound on his neck and stared at him, eyes dancing and shiny.

Jongin panted, feeling Baekhyun throb inside of him as he caressed his cheek, gentle touches of his fingers that were trembling and feather light. His breath was shaky as he said, “I love you, too.”

Then his hips jerked as Jongin playfully clenched around him and they left all words to the wind as time melted away between their bodies.

 

Jongin sighed happily as Baekhyun cleaned him up, wiping the drops of cum that decorated his chest and licking it off his fingers. He was buzzing, absolutely high on life, love, and feeling gummy, weak, but very, very well taken care of.

Baekhyun grabbed Jongin’s shirt from the ground and after lifting his hips, he placed it under him to catch most of his climax as it piddled out and draped an arm over Jongin’s side. They laid there, looking into each other’s eyes, soft smiles on their faces and happy, satisfied eyes. Yeah, this was bliss and Jongin could definitely get used to it.

Jongin leaned forward, brushing his nose against Baekhyun’s and sighed again. He was beyond happy and he could tell Baekhyun was too by the way the claim hummed at his throat, pumping him full of Baekhyun’s blissful emotions and thoughts. And this time, it was nice, being bathed in love and seeing it on his lover’s face. He felt at peace.

“You never cease to amaze me, Jongin,” Baekhyun whispered. Everything about him now was soft. His eyes, his smile, his voice, the way his beautiful hands danced over Jongin’s skin, drawing shapes and caressing him. He looked so unabashedly happy that Jongin could not help but mirror him. Because this was real, and it felt right.

Jongin’s cheeks heated and he laughed a bit, still feeling completely out of this world. Part of him wondered how intense things would be if they were blood bonded, but for now, he was more than satiated. “You’re pretty amazing, too.”

Baekhyun grinned and then pressed himself against Jongin’s body, planting a kiss upon his full lips and smiling when he separated. “You’re too good to me, Jongin. I don’t deserve you.”

“I could say the same, but I’m pretty awesome, so,” Jongin teased and this earned him a playful nip.

“Ah, this is so freeing,” Baekhyun sighed and then rolled onto his back staring up at the ceiling. He glanced at Jongin and smiled again, “I love you, and I can say it anytime I want to now.”

“You could’ve said it before,” Jongin propped himself up on his elbow. He swiped Baekhyun’s hair from his forehead and kissed him there. He was feeling pretty soft, too.

“But, I wanted you to say it first.”

“Well I did,” Jongin pecked him again, this time leaving a trail until he reached his neck where he gently bit him, toying with Baekhyun’s skin before whispering, “I love you.”

Baekhyun squirmed, “I’ll never grow tired of hearing those words.”

Jongin pulled Baekhyun into him, smothering him in more kisses and punctuating his words. “I love you, I love you, I love you.”

“Don’t stop, I could live on these words alone,” Baekhyun laughed.

But Jongin’s high was starting to fade so now all that was left was him feeling playful. He glanced down between their nude bodies and smirked. He lightly touched the head of his dick to Baekhyun’s and giggled. “Look, they’re kissing too.”

Baekhyun laughed, his shoulders shaking and rich sound filling the room. Then, he wiggled his hips. Jongin followed suit and the two of them giggled until they fell into a fit that ended when they heard the toilet flushing.

Suddenly remembering dinner, Jongin shot up, and quickly dressed himself in a pair of shorts and threw a big t-shirt on before ripping down the hallway to find Kyungsoo quietly making a plate. Embarrassment flooded through him and he crept into the kitchen with a sheepish grin.

“Just waking up, sleeping beauty?”

Kyungsoo nodded and continued piling food on his plate and when he looked at Jongin a muddled look crossed his face before he snorted. “You should work on your acoustics, I can hear you from out here, by the way.”

“Well, I hope you enjoyed the show, tune in next time to find out if I top or not.”

Kyungsoo grimaced, “I’ll pass.”

Just then, Baekhyun exited Jongin’s room wearing a similar outfit and Jongin choked on air. Everyone was wearing his clothes. He gawked between them, feeling a strange sense of pride but also amused. Not only was his room the hub for all Night Worlders, but now his clothing was up for grabs as well. He half expected Junmyeon to walk out wearing his clothes too, but when that didn’t happen he smiled at Baekhyun.

He wasn’t quite used to seeing him so dressed down, hair unstyled, face so open and unguarded and swimming in his shirt, but it warmed him. He looked so small, so unassuming and strikingly human that the longer Jongin stared, the harder it was to look away.

“Pick your jaw up from the floor,” Kyungsoo said and nudged him and started towards the table.

“I figured since I’m spending the night, I should get comfortable,” Baekhyun said, a slight blush across his cheeks.

“I mean, you could’ve stayed naked, I wouldn’t have minded,” Jongin teased, but Baekhyun’s eyes flicked over to Kyungsoo and the jest died.

Kyungsoo shrugged, “Nothing I haven’t seen before.”

Silence.

Guess Jongin didn’t have to worry about Kyungsoo third-wheeling. He turned out to be excellent at killing the mood and this made Jongin sad. He wanted to enjoy dinner with his boyfriend and the added bonus of Kyungsoo, his friend, but everything was awkward now. It wasn’t Jongin’s fault. He knew that, but he be damned if he didn’t feel a bit guilty. Maybe if he could somehow get Kyungsoo and Baekhyun to make up things wouldn’t be like this anymore?

Jongin quickly made a plate and sat down next to Kyungsoo at the table. He was now determined to fix things right here and now. He glanced at Baekhyun, who raised an eyebrow but said nothing so Jongin took a deep breath.

“So, Kyungsoo--”

“Look, I don’t want to talk about it. I won’t intrude on your relationship again, just…. that night was a lot for me.” He stabbed at his steak, his face darkening and tension making his shoulders rise.

“But-”

“Jongin, drop it,” Baekhyun said, defending Kyungsoo which garnered a confused look from Jongin. Didn’t Baekhyun want to fix things too? Granted they didn’t speak about it, in fact they hadn’t done much talking at all unless it was preceded by disaster. Hmm. Jongin put a pin in that thought and decided he would address that later when things weren’t so tense.

It was hard to think that less than ten minutes ago Jongin had been bubbly and floating on cloud nine and now he was feeling sour and irked and the longer the silence went on the more annoyed he grew. He sighed and asked, “How’s the food?”

More silence, except this time it was icy and strained. Fuck this, Jongin thought, and picked up his plate. He went to the living room and flipped the television on. He had absolutely no more energy to deal with whatever was going on between them and the flash of anger that hit him was more than enough to tell him that he was not going to get any answers from either of them. Whatever. He’d enjoy his meal alone. He was a pretty good cook if he said so himself.

He heard the two of them talking in hushed tones behind him and when it grew heated, he heard a plate clatter to the ground, followed by the door slamming. Great. Why couldn’t one night just be filled with happiness and bliss? He wished he could rewind everything and make a different choice, but if he did that then where would he and Baekhyun be now? Would the vampire be moping alone somewhere while Jongin pined after him and grew closer to the Night World?

The couch dipped and Jongin glanced over to see Baekhyun join him, a steely look on his face. Neither of them said anything or moved until Jongin felt thin fingers slide over his own and lace between them. He wanted to be angry with him, but he couldn’t, so he gave him a light squeeze and gazed at him.

Still staring at the screen, Baekhyun said, “He’ll come around…” and unheard ‘He has to.’ passed through Jongin’s mind and he fished out the remote and turned the television off.

“Baekhyun...what really happened with Kyungsoo?”

He was quiet for a long time before squeezing Jongin’s hand in return. “I’ll tell you when I’m ready…”

A sudden surge of anger ripped through Jongin; flaring his nostrils and heating from the inside out. He was so tired of all of this. Why couldn’t someone just be honest with him for once?

“Will you ever be ready? Or do I have to sit here wondering what the fuck happened and why I’m in the middle of an old lover’s spat between my boyfriend and the guy I might have feelings for?”

Oh shit.

“You...what?”

Shit. Shit. Shit. There was no saving himself now. Jongin stared wide-eyed at Baekhyun, gaping while the vampire looked as though he wanted the floor to open up beneath him. He reached over to touch him, but Baekhyun flinched and Jongin felt his heart squeeze in his chest.

How he managed to fuck up so many times already in their short relationship was beyond him. He had wanted to keep those thoughts to himself until he could sort through them successfully, but in his anger his tongue wagged a bit too loosely and now he was witnessing what looked like Baekhyun’s heart shattering.

“Baekhyun…”

“I’m going home. I will contact you when I am ready to talk.” Baekhyun stood up and placed a chaste kiss on Jongin’s crown. “I’m not mad at you, I just...need to be alone.”

Jongin grabbed his wrist, eyes pleading for him to stay and whispered, “I love you.”

A weak smiled flashed on Baekhyun’s face and he leaned down again, pressing his forehead against Jongin’s and cupping his face. “I know, my human.”

Then he was gone.

 

It was a few days before Jongin heard from Baekhyun other than a few superficial text messages and when he stepped into Club Isis, he noticed that there were more patrons than usual. Except they didn’t look like regular patrons, they looked kind of shady and the way they followed Jongin with their seedy gazes made him feel uneasy. He nodded at a few of them as he passed by, but they only stared unblinkingly. Creepy.

Part of him wanted to stay and investigate the new patrons, but he knew he didn’t have time for that. Baekhyun had called him to the club, so he was answering the call. He felt a bit like an errand boy but Baekhyun seemed to have calmed down judging from his messages, so Jongin had high hopes of making up.

Pushing through the doors that led Jongin to the staircase, he suddenly felt a wave of stress fall over him and rushed up the steps two at a time. As much as he was annoyed by constantly feeling Baekhyun’s emotions and thoughts, sometimes it came in handy. Whatever it was that was making Baekhyun feel like this, had to be important, because the waves kept crashing over Jongin, drowning him in anxiety.

When he reached his door, he heard voices and paused. He was supposed to be meeting Baekhyun, so who could have stopped by unexpected like this? The door was half-open, so he stopped just before the frame and strained to listen.

“I saw him first, Baekhyun, it’s not fair that you claim him like this!” Kyungsoo yelled. Jongin inched closer. They were fighting about him. This was straight out of a teenaged soap opera and Jongin couldn’t help but smile a tiny bit at the irony, but the next words wiped the grin from his face. Baekhyun sounded angry...really angry.

“What? Are you jealous? Because if I remember correctly, you turned me down all those years ago.”

“I know…” Kyungsoo trailed off.

“Then why are you constantly trying to come between us? Why did you stop the bond? Am I not allowed to be happy? Do you have to rip that apart, too?” Baekhyun hissed.

“No, I-”

“Then why, Kyungsoo, why? Why can’t you just let us be?”

“Because I think I…” he trailed and then sighed. “It doesn’t matter, it would never work anyway.”

Jongin heard Kyungsoo start to leave but then fast footsteps pattered and Baekhyun spoke. He took this chance to peer in and watch the two of them. He could only see half of their faces -- the other half was shrouded in darkness -- and Kyungsoo’s back was mostly to him.

“Kyungsoo, are you still in love with me?”

A shuddering breath. Then, he spoke, “I don’t know…”

“Then why are you -- oh.” Baekhyun whispered the next part, “It’s him, isn’t it?”

Silence followed and Jongin found himself intrigued by the way Baekhyun was looking at Kyungsoo, as if he were an abandoned puppy that just wanted love. In a way he was. Since Kyungsoo had revealed that he had feelings for Jongin and while Jongin was only just now feeling something similar for him it was, once again, too early for him to tell. He felt for Kyungsoo, he really did and he wanted to comfort him because being in love with your ex’s boyfriend who also happened to be your closest friend was hard...and complicated.

He turned away, ready to give them privacy when Baekhyun spoke again, causing him pause.

“Oh, my sweet Kyungsoo,” Jongin heard Baekhyun whisper. The tenderness in his tenor spiked dread in Jongin’s stomach. He should have turned away earlier, when he first heard them arguing. But, as fate would have, he was here, in the wrong place and the wrong time.

He leaned so that he could peer in again and his breath caught in his throat. Before him he saw Baekhyun cradling Kyungsoo's face and giving him a look similar to the way he looked at Jongin, except it was laced with sadness. “How long has it been since you’ve felt a loving touch?”

“You know how long it’s been, you were the one to end our arrangement,” Kyungsoo whispered. His body was still except for the rise and fall of his shoulders as his breathing picked up.

Jongin stared in abject horror as the incubus tilted his head up and closed the distance between their faces. He felt the flow of Baekhyun’s emotions from the claim and betrayal was the only word he could think of. The suspicions he had, the way Baekhyun was being shady and hiding the truth of the past from him was because the past wasn’t the past, it was the present and Jongin was just a pawn to be sacrificed in battle. Love was a battlefield after all.

He gasped, pulling both of their attention to him. It felt as if he had been crushed by the sight in front of him and all the air left his body only to be replaced by nausea. He braced himself on the door frame, swinging the door open fully before he stumbled backwards. He’d been lied to. He’d been tricked by Baekhyun and it hurt. It hurt so bad. His breath came out in short bursts and a dark and painful sensation strangled his heart. Who knew heartbreak could feel so literal?

How could he do this to him after he told him he loved him? How could he fool Jongin into believing it was so real, so genuine, when here was the proof in front of him that he had not gotten over Kyungsoo and Jongin was a stand-in. He’d been tapped into the ring that was Baekhyun’s heart and now Kyungsoo was tagging him out.

“Jongin, no!” Baekhyun said, reaching out to him, but Jongin was not having it. He turned on his heel and ran. He ran and ran and ran until he burst through the doors of the club and stood surrounded by people in the street.

The walked around him, leaving a wide girth of space as if there was an invisible bubble around his being. Jongin glanced back at the club and a small wail clawed its way out his mouth. His chest squeezed. This could not be happening. This was real life, not some type of teenaged romance novel. He was not supposed to be in a love triangle. And he was not supposed to see the two ex-lovers swapping spit. This could not be happening.

But the pain, oh the pain was real. It weighed him down, making his movements sluggish and disoriented and he stumbled again, not knowing where he was going until he blinked and realized he had gone to his favorite place: a nondescript, dead tree that had branches stretching to the sky like a broken contortionist.

He slid down against the bark, his ass hitting the ground hard and curled in on himself. No one seemed to notice him as he stared at the dirt by his feet, no one ever did. This tree had been dead for such a long time and no one seemed to care for it.

Actually, now that he thought about it, people didn’t react to its presence at all. Scoffing, Jongin realized this tree was part of the Night World and he had been drawn to it ever since he stepped foot on campus three years ago. Fate sure had a funny way of linking things.

Jongin sat by the roots of the tree for a few hours. Crying off and on but mostly just drawing circles in the dirt. Two of them connected into a sideways eight and Jongin dug his nails into the dirt, destroying the image. Forever. Why would Baekhyun even give him the claim, if he wasn’t going to be with Jongin forever? It was supposed to mean that. It was supposed to symbolize never-ending love and compassion and protection, but one thing for sure, it didn’t protect Jongin from getting hurt by its maker.

By the time the sun began to set, Jongin figured he should be heading home. Half of him expected Baekhyun to come after him, but he didn’t and all that did for Jongin was show him just how little he meant. Fuck this, he thought and stood up, kicking through the dirt, erasing every last drawing he had made. He watched the dirt cloud settle with a heavy heart and sighed. How was it that things could go wrong at every turn?

When he stepped out of the circle, he noticed a rather sunburned looking Baekhyun standing a few feet away and it made his breath stop short in his lungs. Had he been standing there the whole time? So, he did care enough to follow him. Jongin looked back to the tree and then to Baekhyun once more. He had a vague memory about reading that vampires could be successfully killed by stakes made from deadwood trees but he hadn’t realized that they couldn’t even go near them.

“Jongin…” Baekhyun said and closed the small distance between them with a few steps. He pulled Jongin into a hug and held him there. “I’m sorry.”

Jongin pushed him off. “Sorry doesn’t cut it,” he spat. He then reached for the claim, intending to rip it off but the expression on Baekhyun’s face froze his hand. As angry as he was, he still didn’t want to hurt Baekhyun, not even after he’d been hurt. Any normal person would feel resentful and would yell and scream but Jongin just felt so drained.

He noticed the pink tinge to Baekhyun’s skin and frowned a bit, “Did you wait for me in the sun?” It was a nice gesture, a life-threatening one at that, but it didn’t make up for the fact that Baekhyun had messed up pretty badly.

Baekhyun nodded, looking every bit like a kicked dog, and part of Jongin wanted to comfort him, and tell him that everything would work out, but a larger part of him was just unemotional. He scrutinized the vampire, taking in the small blisters on the backs of his hands and the pink shade of his cheeks. The sun was still out -- albeit lower in the sky -- but it was obvious that Baekhyun was still uncomfortable and all Jongin could think was that he deserved that discomfort.

“Even Elemental Vampires have limits, but you are always worth the risk, Jongin,” Baekhyun said. He pulled the sleeves of his silken shirt over the backs of his hands in effort to shade them from the sun.

Jongin frowned, his eyes smarting and the image of the two of them kissing flashed in his mind. He flinched and stepped backwards, shaking his head. “Am I? I’m worth you risking your life standing out in the burning sun, but you can’t tell me the fucking truth? How many times have the two of you been sneaking around behind my back? What about the times I couldn’t reach you? Were you with him the last few days, too?”

All the questions blurted out, in whatever order his mind could form them and there were so many more, but Jongin bit his tongue. His heart hurt so bad, so bad it was a physical pain that made him ache from the inside out and Baekhyun touching him only made it worse. He stepped back, out of his reach.

Baekhyun stepped forward, reaching out to Jongin but his hand dropped when he saw the look on Jongin’s face. So, he inhaled deeply and stared at the ground before saying, “You and I need to talk.”

“We’re doing that now,” Jongin replied, crossing his arms.

Baekhyun looked up at him, his expression and the claim sharing all the swirling sadness and desolation within him. Jongin pursed his lips and sighed, taking Baekhyun’s lightly blistered hand in his and leading him back to his dorm. He knew he was being hard on the vampire, and he definitely deserved it, but he knew they couldn’t exactly talk about what they needed to within earshot of regular humans.

Once inside, Jongin released Baekhyun’s hand as if it were burning and twitched at the grimace it produced. Out of the harmful rays of the sun, Baekhyun’s skin cleared almost immediately and the blisters on his hands faded until they were nonexistent. He watched this, feeling even more like an outsider within his own dorm.

Suddenly he found himself thinking that him being human had been what caused all of this. Perhaps if he had been some kind of Night Worlder the whole time, then none of this would be happening. His face must’ve showed his ideas because Baekhyun frowned and started to try to touch Jongin, but stopped again.

“I wish I knew your thoughts,” he whispered.

“I’m listening,” Jongin said, disregarding the vampire’s statement.

Baekhyun wet his lips and moved to sit down on the sofa, where an inconspicuous Junmyeon sat reading a book. The witch started to protest, but one glance between the two of them told him it was time for him to leave, so he closed the book and headed to his room, only a salute as a greeting. Jongin stared after him, wondering why he caught a glimpse of flowers sitting on his desk when he opened his door. He decided he would worry about that later because right now there were more important things to worry about.

Sighing, he followed Baekhyun and sat down, leaving a full cushion between them, because he was still hurt, and because he wanted to drive home that fact. Baekhyun was not going to kiss his way out of this. No, those lips had done enough, hurt him enough. He pulled his knees to his chest, as an added barrier and raised an eyebrow at Baekhyun, signaling him to speak.

Baekhyun opened and closed his mouth a few times before he gathered his bearings.

“Kyungsoo and I have a complicated past, yes. It began almost two hundred years ago when I stumbled onto him taking the soul of a very powerful man in the back of an alley. I had actually intended to take him under my wing, teach him the ways of a vampire, until I realized there was no blood on his face and his victim had been mummified. See, I had yet to run into an incubus at that time as I spent the majority of it with the clan,” Baekhyun paused and sighed, his expression going misty as he recalled all the details and Jongin felt his bristles slowly lowering.

“I was smitten right then, determined to have him but he was...and still is quite rogue. It was a few decades before I could even get him to call me something other than the Peeping Sanguinarian as I tended to run into him post-feeding and he took that as me stalking him.” He stopped and looked at Jongin, his eyes coming into focus as he was forced back into reality.

In his eyes was heartbreak and sorrow and the longer he stared into Jongin’s gaze the deeper it grew until the feeling was overwhelming and Jongin had to look away in order to breathe. Something very bad had happened between the two of them and it was hidden so deep within Baekhyun and under so much pain that there was no way for Jongin to wade through it all.

Jongin bit his lip. For half a second, he wondered when -- if -- Baekhyun had ever told anything this story and judging by the way his voice cracked and weakened with every detail, well, he assumed this was the first time and that broke down part of the wall Jongin had built up. He stretched out his legs, draping one off the edge of the couch and nearly touching Baekhyun with the other.

Baekhyun also shifted, spreading his legs open and leaning his elbows on his knees. “It started with a kiss.” His breath stuttered. “It was more of a test, to see if he could without harming me and well, the relationship grew from there. We used each other, for companionship, affection, sex. And it was...turbulent, as I’ve told you before, so I won’t reiterate that part. Now…” Baekhyun stopped, letting his head fall into his hands. Jongin watched his fingers knot his hair and press hard into his scalp as if he was trying to dig out the words he was going to say.

“When I had his claim made, I almost died. The amount of blood needed to claim a demon is...life-threatening, even for someone like me. But the connection it created…” Baekhyun whispered and then swallowed loudly, his face darkening and twisting with not-so-forgotten pain. “The connection was too powerful. So, it was removed.”

Then he looked up, his eyes shining with unshed tears. “I vowed to never do such a thing ever again, but then you,” he reached for Jongin’s hand and Jongin let him take it, feeling his fingers curl around his. “You were this beacon of light and everyone flocked to you, including Kyungsoo.”

“So, I was like the new meat?” Jongin asked, daring to be a tiny bit playful. He had some insight, not just from Baekhyun’s words, but also the emotions that were shared by the claim and it softened him. Every brick of the feeble wall he had built up when he was angry and hurt had crumbled and left Jongin feeling raw, but open.

Baekhyun half smiled and then scoffed, “See, this is why, Jongin. You have every right to be angry with me; hurt by my actions. You should be yelling at me, cursing my name, throwing me out of your life, but you’re not.” Baekhyun turned, facing Jongin head on and sighed. “I have hidden so much from you, caused you so much pain and still, you let me stay. Jongin, I-”

“I get it,” Jongin interrupted. Or at least he thought he did. Maybe it was the hope flooding through him from Baekhyun, or maybe it was his own hope that what he saw was not what it seemed. But, part of him felt that Baekhyun was being sincere -- part of him knew from the claim -- and he understood.

When Baekhyun was telling him his and Kyungsoo’s history, Jongin caught a glimpse of Baekhyun’s thoughts from then and when he pieced it together with the emotions that Baekhyun poured into him during the kiss, it made sense. For Kyungsoo, Baekhyun had been secure. There was no threat of Kyungsoo possibly stealing his soul or losing his because he wasn’t human, he was a vampire and it all made sense to Jongin.

“How is it that I find I deserve you less and less each time we meet?” Baekhyun whispered.

Jongin didn’t answer. Instead, he smiled crookedly and shrugged. Maybe he was being influenced by the claim, maybe he wasn’t, but Jongin was never a vindictive individual, so once the anger was out of his system, he felt more or less normal. Still hurt, but less of it stemmed from a feeling of betrayal and more of it from just not knowing the full story.

Baekhyun then continued, “We had an arrangement after the...removal...to satisfy his needs. Not for him to feed, mind you, but even Night Worlders need affection and well, when I set my sights on you, I ended it.” Baekhyun hesitated, his eyes flicking back and forth between Jongin’s. “I wanted to do things right with you. To explain everything, to make sure you were comfortable, but as you can see,” he scoffed, “I’ve made a royal mess of it. I rushed in, too eager and now…”

“You fucked up,” Jongin said.

“I did. I love you so much, and I never wanted to hurt you like that. I know I can’t make you unsee what you saw, but I will promise that it will never happen again.”

Jongin wanted to believe him. In fact, he knew he should have believed him because he could feel the resolution in Baekhyun’s heart. He could feel that the vampire was willing to snuff out a relationship he had had for so long just for him and it only made Jongin sad. He didn’t want to see Kyungsoo suffer any more than he wanted Baekhyun to suffer and if the arrangement needed to continue, then maybe...just maybe the three of them could work something out?

Of course, this was once again the hope seeping in from the claim. It was laced around the tough strands of Baekhyun’s determination to fix things between them and Jongin could not ignore it. He was still hurt, yes, but if they had come to him, explained that this was what had happened and that Kyungsoo needed this, then Jongin would have been more open to it. In fact, he had fancied a possible ménage a trois between the three of them. But behind his back, or even in the heat of the moment had been enough to hurt him really badly. He just wanted honesty.

Now, he still had doubts and distrust and no relationship could last with that in its foundation, but Jongin would be damned if he didn’t want to try. He touched Baekhyun’s face, completely unsure if the words he was going to say were even possible at this point, but he said them nonetheless.

“It will happen again,” he paused when Baekhyun jerked but then continued, “but I want to be a part of it. No more hiding, no more lying. It’ll take time for me to heal and during that I do ask that you refrain from doing anything until I’m more comfortable with the idea, but I don’t want either of you to hurt. I love you Baekhyun, I really do. And I really like Kyungsoo too.”

“I-”

“No, let me finish,” Jongin said, touching his thumb to Baekhyun’s lips. “I know this sounds selfish, and there are still a lot of wounds between all of us that need to be addressed by all of us, but for now, just let me-”

Lips suddenly crashed onto Jongin’s and he melted into the kiss. He pulled Baekhyun into his lap, deepening it before breaking it. “I am yours, and you are mine, and with some time, I want us to also be Kyungsoo’s and for him to be ours. Just, give me time, okay?”

Baekhyun nodded, his smile dazzling Jongin and stealing his breath away. “If I didn’t already know that you were human, I’d swear you were an angel, Jongin.”

Jongin reached over his head and pretended to flick a halo. “Ah, you know this thing never works.”

Baekhyun laughed and the sound made Jongin feel a million times better. So, dating a vampire wasn’t all it was made out to be and Jongin definitely did not see himself being open to the idea of opening their relationship, but, here he was, feeling like he was on cloud nine. This time, he just hoped it would last.

And of course, as soon as the thought entered his head, there was a series of loud bangs on the door and he sighed and rolled his eyes. He started to move, but Baekhyun shook his head and pinned Jongin’s shoulders to the couch.

“Let Junmyeon answer it, I want to show you my gratitude for being so forgiving,” he said, crawling down Jongin and hovering over his waistband.

The banging sounded again and Jongin tried to ignore it because seeing Baekhyun looking up at him coyly was already incredibly intoxicating, but it seemed as though the witch was busy so he sighed, nudging Baekhyun off and stomping to the door with a half-hard chub and his pants still undone.

The second he touched the doorknob, Luhan burst in, frantic and heading straight for Jongin’s room where he kicked the door nearly off its hinges. “Where is he?”

Baekhyun was in front of Jongin in half a second, fangs descended and in a protective stance. But when Luhan came back to the entryway, he rolled his eyes and pursed his lips. “I’m not here for your precious blood-bag, I want to know where my worldly spirit is.”

“You left with him a few days ago,” Jongin replied, placing a hand on Baekhyun’s shoulder, aiming to calm him and also to diffuse the situation. He actually could not believe that his life was just a never-ending roller coaster of adventure after adventure.

“I know that,” Luhan said and crossed his arms. “Sehun if you’re hiding here, just come out, baby. Let’s go home.”

“He’s not here,” Baekhyun hissed, still not letting Jongin pass in front of him, which earned an exasperated sigh from him. It was hot when he was protective, but Jongin also found it a tiny bit annoying that the vampire felt the need to protect him from a fairy.

Just then, Junmyeon exited his room, hair disheveled and eyes bleary. “Woah, why didn’t I get the invite to the party?”

Everyone turned to stare at him and he glanced between them and muttered under his breath as he pushed through the group to the kitchen. From inside the fridge he said, “I can do a locating spell to find him, if you ask nicely.”

He returned holding a tangerine which he peeled expertly, leaving one continuous rind. Jongin made a mental note to ask him how he did that when the fate of a worldly spirit did not rest on his shoulders.

“Okay, locate him.”

Nicely.

“Locate him, please .”

Junmyeon and Luhan locked eyes, challenging each other but after a few moments, Junmyeon sighed. “Guess that’ll have to do. Give me an hour, I have to get some supplies and with that he entered his room and what followed was the sound of lightning cracking and then silence.

Jongin visibly deflated and draped an arm around Baekhyun’s shoulders. Would he ever get a chance to have a normal day? He rested his head against the vampire’s and all this movement grabbed Luhan’s attention. He gave him a once over and then smirked.

“I’m gonna go for a ride, give you guys a chance to finish your business,” he said with a wink and was out the door. Outside, a motorcycle roared to life.

Baekhyun then perked up under Jongin’s weight and led him back to the couch where he playfully pushed him onto it, a sultry glint in his eye. Jongin bit his lip, already eager for some release when the lights flickered and he jolted.

“Let’s, um, move to my room,” he said, suddenly fearing that somehow Junmyeon knew what was about to happen on his couch.

Flashbacks of his reaction when Jongin was going to reveal the truth passed through Jongin’s mind and he definitely did not want to be on the receiving end of that again. Junmyeon could be quite scary and thinking of him when he was about to receive a makeup blowjob did nothing to his dick but make it want to retreat inside his body.

Baekhyun shrugged and the two of them picked up where they left off in the safety of Jongin’s bed.

 

Fairies! Not to be confused with Faerie, as that is the place in which they dwell, but fairies are interesting little beings. They have two forms, sprite form, the form most of you are familiar with (think Disney movies) and they have their human form. Now, the one thing I’ve noticed about being able to tell fairies from humans in their human form is that they have unnatural hair colors that cannot be changed. But don’t go chasing after any neon-colored mop of hair my friends, because nine times out of ten it’s a human...

Chapter Text

By the time they emerged from Jongin’s room, both Junmyeon and Luhan were already seated at the square wooden table with the cauldron resting in front of Junmyeon. He wasn’t adding anything to it, no, he just had it sitting in front of him, stirring it as a ghoulish green light reflected into his face and a soft bubbling added white noise in the background.

It was soothing in a way, but Jongin was already feeling pretty loose. Now, that was primarily because Baekhyun’s mouth had brought him to climax, not once, but twice and he had promised that the next time they saw each other, he’d let Jongin take control, which had Jongin ten kinds of excited. The very image of Baekhyun’s delicious hips beneath his tanned hands as he pushed into him, disappearing with each undulation of his body, was a stronger drug than heroin and Jongin was already jonesing without even having had a taste.

Together, they approached the table, hair mussed, swollen lips, and flushed skin, all very obvious depictions of what they had been doing not even ten minutes earlier. And honestly, Jongin didn’t even notice the sly looks that Luhan gave them or the wriggling of his eyebrows, in fact, he was more interested in the leather-bound book he held in his hands. It looked ancient and boy did Jongin have a thing for ancient books.

He had been that way ever since he was a child. Always dragging down his old family heirlooms from the attic and begging his parents to read the old fairytales and myths that his grandparents had left him. He never got the chance to meet them, but reading the inscriptions on the inside covers, designating that these books belonged to Jongin had pretty much planted the seed of his love for the occult and much later: The Night World. So, whenever he saw an old book, especially one that was being held by a Night Worlder, he just had to know what lay inside it.

“What’s that?” Jongin asked, nodding to the book. He couldn’t help but admire the way the leather looked worn and possibly soft and his palms itched to hold it. He flicked his gaze over to Baekhyun and caught sight of a small amused grin and his ears burned in embarrassment. He hadn’t shared his love for old books and well, now the cat was out of the bag.

Luhan smirked and slammed the book on the table, causing Junmyeon to side-eye him before he went back to chanting over the cauldron. Jongin watched him for a few seconds, feeling a small tingle run down his spine from Junmyeon’s use of magic. Then, he returned his attention back to Luhan, who still had a wicked grin splitting his face and more than a hint of deviance in his eyes.

“This here, is your reward.”

“Reward for what?”

If his interest was already piqued by the appearance of the book, well now it was through the roof because Jongin liked rewards. He heard Baekhyun scoff beside him and elbowed him gently, which resulted in thin fingers closing around his wrist and a thumb running over the inner side of his wrist. Baekhyun’s finger paused, and Jongin’s pulse sped up as he waited for Luhan to respond, and he could sense the way his blood was calling to Baekhyun, through the claim.

For some reason he was hyper-aware of Baekhyun’s every move, from the way his thumb started rubbing his wrist again, to the way he shifted his weight while Luhan stood across from them, eyeing them as he seemed to pick up on the nature of the relationship between them.

“For returning my worldly spirit to me,” he said, finally. Then, he tapped the worn leather cover with a knuckle. “I noticed that you had quite the collection of literature. Didn’t expect to see the Book of the Dead sitting next to your copy of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but you’ll definitely find this is right up your alley.”

Luhan slid the book across the table to Jongin and he gave the fairy a skeptical look before examining the book. He didn’t want to appear too eager, but frankly, he was buzzing inside. The leather was soft as Jongin had imagined it would be and he could see faint red specks in the cracks on the cover which led him to believe that once upon a time, the leather was red. Jongin opened the cover and hesitated as his eyes scanned the table of contents.

The Complete Faerie Anthology

Contents:

History

Anatomy

Rituals

Fairytales

Selected Works:

The Faerie Queene

A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream

Queen Mab

...

He glanced up at Luhan, eyes widening. He had to admit that he knew very little about fairies, and with this text, he would know everything he wanted to know and more. Excitement coursed through him, but then he watched the way Luhan seemed to also buzz, as though he was waiting for Jongin to accept it and that made Jongin skeptical. “Why?”

“Why not?”

Jongin flipped through a few pages and then closed it. This was a wealth of knowledge that he was not expecting to ever come across. In fact, if he had found this out in the wild, while going on one of the many thrift shopping excursions he went on with Junmyeon he would have snatched it up. But, gifts like this never came without ulterior motives, reward or not. And if he knew anything at all about fairies it was that they did not give without wanting to take.

“What’s the catch?”

Luhan smiled, “You’re a quick one.” He leaned back in the chair, tipping it back on two legs. “At a later date I am going to need a favor from you.”

“This sounds suspiciously like a demon’s deal,” Jongin said.

Now, demons, Jongin knew quite a bit about. Demon lore was perhaps the easiest to find in brick and mortar stores as well as the internet. Hell, nearly all religions had a form of demons so each culture had its own quirks. Before Jongin had set his sights on vampires as his favorite creature of the night, demons had his heart.

“Where do you think I learned it from? So, do we have a deal?”

Just then, Jongin felt Baekhyun’s hand on his shoulder and he glanced at him. There was a layer of displeasure on his face and he picked up the book and tossed it at Luhan, hard enough to unbalance the chair and send him tumbling to the floor. Shit was about to hit the fan and while Jongin wanted to step in, he was mildly amused by Baekhyun’s reaction to what Luhan was saying.

He had a vague understanding that Baekhyun wasn’t fond of Luhan, but more and more Jongin was beginning to see that it was rooted deeper than just their personalities clashing.

“There will be no preying on my human. You want to find a vassal for whatever twisted fairy magic you want to perform, you find someone else,” Baekhyun said and once again moved Jongin behind him. “It’s been centuries since the last spat between vampires and fairies, thanks to The Madame and The Queen and you wouldn’t want to jeopardize those relations with any bastard plan you’re cooking up in that head of yours. Jongin is promised to the vampires, so mind your place.”

Holy crap, there it was. Jongin hadn’t expected to get a front row seat to some thinly veiled inter-fighting between Night Worlders, but now he only wanted to know more. Questions swam in his head, bumping into each other and mixing the verbs and phrases until all he could comprehend was a giant question mark in his mind. This was a huge revelation, but it was also laced with outright animosity in their voices.

He had always thought it was vampires and werewolves that constantly clashed, but fairies? That was a plot-twist he had not expected. Plus, he had never read anything about that in any of the research he had done, but then again, Jongin was well aware of the fact that he definitely did not know everything -- if anything at all. He’d been proven wrong too many times now to believe that he had anywhere near a complete knowledge of the Night World.

Luhan righted himself -- and the chair -- and glared at Baekhyun. The hostility between the two of them was palpable and Jongin caught himself shying away. If the two were going to jump each other, he wanted to be out of the way.

“I’m not preying on your human. I am offering him an alternative solution to his current predicament in the Night World. What vampire claims a human that they intend to turn? You’re just territorial and trying to keep him unavailable to the rest of us, who may be interested in a little human connection.”

“I understand that the Fae do not partake in such relationships with humans as vampires and other Night Worlders do, but my claim on him is to remind those like you whom may want to harm him, that he is mine. So, go ahead, attempt to injure him and you will find that you cannot harm a single hair on his head. I took every precaution I could to make sure he stays safe for as long as he is both human and again: mine. Although, now, I think it would be best for that to happen sooner, rather than later.”

Jongin gaped at Baekhyun. Did he just- did he just say he wanted to change Jongin? Baekhyun had been dancing around the topic, never giving Jongin a direct answer, so he had given up on asking him. He had even come to accept that maybe it was best that he remained human so long as he had the claim. But, now that it was a definite Jongin didn’t know how to feel.

He still wanted to be changed, but not for the same reasons as before. He knew the complications that came with becoming a vampire and that he would have to give up his family because, surely, they would notice that he was no longer aging, and even though he thought he was ready before, suddenly, he felt very, very unprepared.

“Look at his face, have you even told him what happens during transformation? Does he know the survival rate? Does he-”

Baekhyun cupped both hands over Jongin’s ears and stared deeply into his eyes. “I won’t make the same mistake of rushing you like I did with the claim. When you are ready, you will tell me and we can go from there. Ignore the fairy. He is distraught because his worldly spirit is missing and is trying to jeopardize everything we have worked for so far.” He leaned in, placing his lips to Jongin’s. “I love you,” he said, between kissing Jongin sweetly, “and I don’t want to hurt you again.”

Jongin nodded. Luhan’s voice was muffled, but he could hear Baekhyun’s loud and clear and it was then that he realized that while Baekhyun was speaking with his voice, he was also speaking directly into Jongin’s mind. Somehow, that made the words have even more meaning.

When Baekhyun removed his hands from Jongin’s ears the room was silent. Jongin looked around to see Luhan seething with his arms crossed and a scowl on his face. Junmyeon, on the other hand, was muttering incantations soundlessly while his irises slowly faded into the whites of his cornea. It was alarming, but Junmyeon was still standing up and no one else was reacting so Jongin bit down his discomfort.

Junmyeon’s face was lit by the ethereal glow from the cauldron, which was still bubbling quietly. He did not blink, but his eyes moved as though he was searching frantically for something and that only made the fact that they were completely white even more unnerving. Then, his face twitched and Junmyeon’s voice took on a ghastly tone. His eyes were locked into place as he spoke, “Look, I think you’ll be a good candidate. You’ll really spice things up, what do you say?”

Junmyeon blinked and his expression returned to normal, his irises returning to the deep brown. He looked exhausted as he sagged in his chair and sighed. Then, he pinched the bridge of his nose and gave Luhan one of the most sympathetic looks Jongin had ever seen. “I know where he is, but Luhan...it looks like a date.”

“That son of a bitch,” Luhan growled and took off out the door. He had left so quickly, that the volume of fairy history was left behind on the table.

Jongin owl-eyed the place where he had stood and then frowned at Junmyeon.  He really felt that he just could not catch a break. “Um, do we go after him?”

He was praying that Junmyeon said no, because he had just started to feel normal after the whole ordeal he went through with Baekhyun and while he and his lovely vampire boyfriend had begun making amends of a more scandalous nature, there was still much to be done for Jongin to feel secure in the relationship again.

He loved him, yes, but that whole scene had planted such a strong seed of doubt in the back of his mind that he felt he would go crazy if they didn’t fix things quickly. And while sex was great, it still did not take the place of a real conversation, one that they had been avoiding having for quite some time. And with the way all their attempts at talking had been interrupted with either distractions or their undeniable attraction to each other, it was a wonder Jongin felt as sane as he did now.

Junmyeon rubbed his temples, sighing again, “I’m too exhausted to go, but it’s best if you do. Hell hath no wrath like a fairy scorned.”

“I thought the saying said ‘women’?” Jongin asked, scratching his head. It was still too early for him to be thinking about hypotheticals of angry fairies, but both Baekhyun’s and Junmyeon’s faces were grave and grim.

Junmyeon shook his head, “Ever seen Queen Titania angry?”

“Um, obviously not, I’m only a few years younger than you,” he scoffed. He may have more knowledge about the Night World than the average human but that did not mean he knew all the intricacies of each dweller of the night. And that fact had been made painfully obvious time and time again.

“Fair point,” Junmyeon replied and groaned as he struggled to push himself to his feet. He wobbled and braced himself against the table. He raised a hand to stave off Jongin’s attempt to help him which made Jongin frown. What had his roommate been doing to make him so tired all the time, and more importantly why wasn’t he telling Jongin? He had thought they were close, but maybe all his drama had driven a wedge between them.

Beside him, Baekhyun shuddered, “Humans took the saying and modified it to fit them, but trust me, do not piss her off.”

Junmyeon scribbled something on the back of an old receipt and slid it across the table. “That’s the address, I’d hurry and catch Luhan before he goes.”

Jongin grabbed the receipt and stuffed it in his pocket without looking at it. He figured he should head out and try to stop Luhan before he did something...catastrophic. He didn’t actually want to go out of his way to help, but for some reason everyone in the Night World seemed to find him as some type of magical “Fixer” and seeing has he had no choice in the matter, he accepted his role.

Part of him wondered what on earth they did before he came into the picture but that was self-centered of him to think. Yet, who wouldn’t think that way when everyone and their mother was coming to him to pick up the pieces of their broken lives? He could hardly take care of his own, so why did they all assume that he could and would help them? In a way, they were right, because as it seemed, Jongin just couldn’t turn down a person in need no matter what their intentions were or their relationship to the ones he cared about. Hell, he hardly knew Luhan other than the brief introduction he had a few days ago, but here he was, about to go out of his comfort zone to help this fairy get his darling worldly spirit back.

That was another thing too. What was Sehun doing on a date with someone else? With the way that Luhan had reacted it was obviously not something they had agreed upon so now Jongin had to be wary of whatever interactions went down at their confrontation and that just drained him at the very thought. One of these days, he was just going to say no and shut the door and let himself have some peace and quiet. But, until then, he guessed he would lend his assistance to whoever needed it because he was apparently so special. Go figure.

As he reached the door, Baekhyun appeared before him, blocking the exit. He looked determined but also a tad more protective than Jongin liked.

“Stay here, I’ll handle this.”

“Oh please, Baekhyun, I’m not a child,” Jongin said and pushed the vampire aside -- much to his chagrin -- and stomped down the stairs. He was dreading this whole event and with every step that he descended, the pit in his stomach grew larger. He had the strangest feeling that the meeting wouldn’t go so well and he just desperately wanted a day to himself.

Actually, he just wanted to spend the whole day being pampered by Baekhyun because he felt like he deserved it after all he’d been through. There were still shreds of doubt within him but each hour got better so he assumed that by the time night hit he would feel more or less completely normal.

After rounding the corner, he found Luhan leaning against his motorcycle, looking as though he would blow up the world with a simple glance from his eyes. Jongin knew that look, the look that was laced with the faintest hints of betrayal hid behind a thick veil of anger and stoniness.

Jongin paused at the end of the stairs, giving Luhan a bit of privacy while he collected himself and tried to put on a neutral face. He didn’t want to seem like he was not happy to help only because he knew that Luhan was in a fragile place. Not that Luhan would ever admit that to him, but Jongin had been there not even half a day ago, so he knew that right now Luhan just needed someone to support him as well as to act like they didn’t see the pain in his eyes. Jongin could do that.

When Luhan saw Jongin approaching, he climbed on his motorcycle and patted behind him. “Hop on, we’re going for a ride.”

“Absolutely not,” Baekhyun said, his fingers catching Jongin’s wrist before he could react. He so rarely used his vampire abilities around Jongin that he damn near jumped out of his skin when he felt his fingers circle him. “The two of us will travel safely while you take that death trap, yourself.”

Again, Baekhyun was being entirely too overprotective and Jongin was already not in the mood to be gallivanting across town let alone be babysat like a child. So, he ripped his hand out of Baekhyun’s grasp and climbed on. He wanted to show Baekhyun that he could take care of himself as well as irk him a bit because while it was petty, Jongin figured Baekhyun needed to worry about his wellbeing a bit more than he had been lately. Not only that, but if his life was going to play out like a teenaged romance novel -- well he’d be damned if he didn’t go for a ride on the resident ‘bad-boy’s’ motorcycle. “I’m only doing this to bother you, Baekhyun.”

Baekhyun sighed, “I know.” He approached them and caressed Jongin’s face. “I have a lot to make up for, just be safe. The claim protects you from the Night World, not every day mortalities.” He frowned deeply at the motorcycle and Jongin briefly recalled Baekhyun’s preference for travelling by horse and carriage and it made sense that he was worried that Jongin was about to take a ride on a what Baekhyun called a ‘death trap’. Still, Jongin was an adult and he had been fine for all of his life prior to meeting Baekhyun, so what harm could a simple motorcycle ride do?

“I’m not made of glass, Baekhyun,” Jongin said and grabbed the helmet that Luhan offered him. He only had one, so the fairy went without. How chivalrous.

Baekhyun didn’t say anything, but his face did. A tiny flame of satisfaction burned within him at Baekhyun’s concern. He knew he was being petty, but it was all part of the healing process for him. He needed moments like that that reminded him that he still had some control over his life.

Jongin secured the helmet on his head and blew Baekhyun a kiss before patting Luhan on the back to let him know that he was all situated. Perhaps, he shouldn’t stress Baekhyun like he was doing, but as he gripped the sides of the seat next to his thighs, he couldn’t deny that he felt quite exhilarated already.

The motorcycle roared to life, rumbling and vibrating beneath him. Jongin squeezed his thighs against Luhan at the jolt. The fairy laughed and revved the engine a few times before saying, “You’re gonna wanna hold on tight, darling.”

With a quick glance to Baekhyun, Jongin wrapped his arms around Luhan’s waist and they tore down the road. Luhan seemed to have a penchant for speed because he was driving so fast that Jongin could hardly keep up with their surroundings. Everything whipped past him in a blur and he wondered how on earth Luhan could tell where they were without having a visor to protect his eyes from the relentless wind.

They arrived in one piece and Jongin was somewhat relieved to be back on his own two feet. He handed Luhan the helmet and shook his legs out. He hadn’t really noticed how tense he had been the whole way there, but now his muscles ached. Well, at least he could check off ‘riding a motorcycle’ off his bucket list.

Within a few moments, Baekhyun materialized from the shadows and grimaced at the club. Discomfort radiated off of him and it fed into Jongin. So, he reached out his hand and Baekhyun gave him an appreciative smile when he took it, squeezing it affectionately.

The club looked nondescript, like many of the clubs in the area. And it was even located in a place that he had initially recommended to Baekhyun back when they first met and Jongin had to stop for a moment and laugh because he had been so naive back then. Thinking that he could convince a vampire to change him simply because he had some business ideas was perhaps the epitome of naivety and Jongin wondered what would have happened if Baekhyun hadn’t humored him. He probably would have been on his not-so-merry way and still an outsider to the Night World despite having the blog. Wow, he thought, life sure had a funny way of making things happen.

Returning his attention to the club, Jongin stared at the name as it shimmered until the true identity was revealed. Nephthys.

The name was familiar but Jongin could not quite place it. And instead of wasting his precious time trying to figure it out, he simply shrugged and headed inside. It was surprisingly similar to Club Isis in that it was dark and filled with alternatively dressed individuals, but that was where the similarities stopped.

Instead of a beautiful serpentine woman serving the drinks, there was a well-muscled half-feline, half-human, man. His irises were golden yellow with cat-like slits and his eyes were lined thickly with kohl, flicking up at the tips and drawing low on the inner corners of his eyes. When he greeted Jongin and Baekhyun, his teeth were shaped just like that of a cat, four short incisors on the top, edged by two very sharp and elongated canines.

His voice came out like a low purr as he said, “What can I get for you, tonight?”

Jongin noticed a deep brown short-haired tail flicking behind the man and almost chuckled. Despite the man appearing calm, his tail was saying otherwise. His eyes followed it as it moved but he said nothing in return. He only smiled knowingly.

Luhan wasted no time and slammed his hands on the bar, startling a few of the patrons sipping their drinks and causing them to eye him warily. “Where is he?”

The bartender rolled his eyes and sighed, “What did Minseok do this time?”

“Huh? Who’s that?” Luhan asked, furrowing his brows. Then, he blinked and pursed his lips. “Doesn’t matter, I’m looking for a worldly spirit, kinda bratty, deadly sexy. Any ideas where he might be?”

The bartender grabbed a glass and began cleaning it as he spoke, “Saw a worldly spirit leave with a werewolf about ten minutes ago. They went to the VIP area.”

Luhan’s nostrils flared as he exhaled. “When I get my hands on him…” He raked his hand through his pale pink hair and gave Jongin an exasperated look and Baekhyun a wary one. “Stay here, I’ll go find him,” he said, but didn’t move. He looked like he wanted to cry for a split second but sucked in a breath and held it while his eyes danced over the numerous people dancing and getting lost in the music.

Jongin touched his shoulder and gave it a squeeze, “Hey, I know we don’t really know each other and obviously you and Baekhyun have some kind of beef, but I’ll go with you.” The sooner he got this over with, the sooner he could go home. So, if Luhan needed a push, he had no problem giving him one.

Luhan started to shake his head and then sighed, “Yeah, actually that sounds nice.” He still didn’t move for a bit until Jongin gave him another squeeze and he lightly shook his hand off and started towards the back of the club.

Jongin gave Baekhyun a look that begged him to not make a scene about him going off with Luhan alone and thankfully he seemed to get the message and ordered himself a drink. Jongin could feel his anxiety spike when he disappeared into the crowd after Luhan and he had to admit the fact that Baekhyun cared so much for him did warm him inside, even if he could be overbearing with it at times.

As they squeezed past sweaty bodies, Jongin jumped and pushed Luhan to move faster as his ass was groped a few times and he wasn’t too comfortable with that. Maybe people at this club were more touchy-feely than at Isis but he still hadn't expected them to so easily break common courtesy.

He narrowly avoided an elbow to the stomach from a person who was dancing and waving their arms around and burst through to the other side of the crowd where he and Luhan both stood silently for a moment. When they locked eyes, Luhan nodded his head towards the bouncer standing in front of a barrier and they both approached him.

One look at Luhan was all the bouncer needed before he unhooked the rope and let them through. Jongin glanced at Luhan, raising his eyebrow. Maybe Luhan was close with the owners of the club. Or he could have been a regular. That would explain why he knew exactly where to go without Jongin showing him the address.

His eyes caught the inscription of the club’s name on the bouncer’s shirt and bells sounded in his head. The name sounded so familiar, but he just could not pin it down. Great. Now it was going to bother him until he figured it out.

He had a vague notion that the two goddess they were named after were opposites but Jongin wasn't sure how that played into vampires and fairies being opposites. Usually, when rivalries arose, it was vampires versus werewolves, but fairies? What threat could they pose really? Maybe it wasn’t even fairies that owned the club, but the more Jongin looked around the more he noticed the pastel colored hair dotting the crowd. There was a high number of them here.

On the second level of the club, the music was a tiny bit fainter and that allowed for Jongin head to stop pounding so loudly. Honestly, he didn’t even notice the pounding until it vanished and that only told him just how loud the music was. He followed Luhan until he stopped outside a door with a window in the frame.

Inside the room, he could see Sehun floating and talking animatedly to a figure that had their back to the door. The mysterious man laughed -- as indicated by his shoulders shaking -- and then Sehun's face went, well, ghost-white. He sank to the floor, his feet disappearing up to his knees as he tried to hide behind the figure but it was too late.

Luhan whipped around and pushed past Jongin, racing down the stairs and completely disappearing into the crowd. It wasn't until Jongin felt the alarm course through the claim that he realized that Luhan had ended up at the bar with Baekhyun. Well, it looked like Jongin was left to deal with this mess so he sighed and opened the door.

"Why are you here?" Sehun asked, appearing in front of Jongin, his expression still fully owl-eyed.

Oof. Okay so now Jongin knew what it felt like to be asked that in an accusatory tone and vowed to never ask Kyungsoo that ever again. It stung a bit and the look on Sehun’s face didn’t help and now Jongin just felt bad because he hadn’t really thought about how it made Kyungsoo feel and so now all he could do was take out his phone and send him a quick text apologizing for always asking him that.

When he finished, he looked up and said, "Luhan was worried about where you were so he came to my dorm to find you. Of course, you weren't there so we had to inconvenience my roommate to find you and that's how we ended up here." Jongin glanced at the man who was still sitting with his back to them and raised an eyebrow, "Look, I don't know what angle you're playing at here, but obviously it's shady because that guy won't even look at me and you're still looking like you saw whatever is the equivalent of a ghost for you."

Sehun collected himself and then rolled his eyes, "Nothing happened here, I was just talking to a friend that I used to know back when I was amongst the living and I guess I let time slip away from me." He phased through Jongin and sank through the floor until Jongin saw his shimmering form in the middle of the dancing bodies through the door's window.

"You should probably go down there and explain too. I've been where Luhan is and trust me the thoughts he's thinking aren't pretty," Jongin said and then left the man in the room. He had the strangest sense of deja vu as he descended the stairs and made his way back to the bar.

He sighed thinking that only he could end up having a day like this and all he wanted right now was to be numb or maybe be so preoccupied that his mind couldn’t even afford to think of anything else. Perhaps he would proposition Baekhyun. That would take his mind off of the day’s events as well as release some of the tension he was feeling.

When he arrived, he found Baekhyun sipping on a glass of whiskey and wrinkled his nose. He still wasn't fond of the stuff, but then he noticed another drink sitting next to his hand on the counter and grinned. So Baekhyun had paid attention to his preferences and had ordered him a sweet honey mead.

He climbed onto the barstool between him and Luhan and took a sip. The flavor exploded in his mouth and he grinned appreciatively at Baekhyun before turning to Luhan. "Hey man, I don't want to be the one to say it, but, I know how you're feeling..."

"Oh yeah?" The fairy said and then downed the rest of his drink. He slammed the glass down on the counter and gestured for another shot.

He looked so miserable that Jongin had to think fast so he offered his drink. "Take a sip of this, it'll make you smile."

Luhan did as he was told and when he set the drink down he grinned at Jongin. "Never had you pegged for girly drinks but damn that's good." He waved the bartender over and said, "I'll have one of these instead."

A few minutes and half a glass of honey mead later, Jongin and Luhan were swaying slightly as Baekhyun watched them amused. Jongin clapped him on the back, "Don't be quick to jump to conclusions man, I did that and look where it got me? I have a boyfriend that still needs to do a lot to make it up to me and a friend who I desperately need to talk to about some serious shit, but," he hiccupped. Who knew that mead could be this strong? "But if you guys just talk, you'll get through it. Not that you should be taking relationship advice from me, I don’t even know what I’m doing."

Jongin swayed a bit more and then brought his glass to his lips and gulped down more of the sweet alcohol. He giggled a bit and then he felt Baekhyun's fingers close over his shoulders and begin massaging. He relaxed into him and his eyes fluttered closed for a second before he remembered where they were and sat up.

Even though he had the claim and was here with Baekhyun at the moment, he still needed to be alert as once again, he was the only human in the club and that meant all attention was on him whether he liked it or not.

"I know. Look I don't do emotional crap, that's more of Sehun's job in our relationship. I just need to get drunk, go for a ride, and clear my mind."

"Not in that order, I hope," Baekhyun said. He continued to massage Jongin's shoulders and then lightly pulled him against him and wrapped his arms around his middle. He was being so affectionate, and Jongin enjoyed it but he also knew it was a sign of possession as the eyes that were on him were quickly looking away.

Still, Jongin smiled loosely. It felt good to be domestic and affectionate like this in public.

Luhan shrugged, "I'm only drunk for an hour tops anyway. You know how fairies are." Then he sighed and downed the rest of his glass. "Damn that tastes good."

Jongin laughed. It was amusing to see Luhan, who was still decked out in his biker gear, contrasted by his pale pink hair and baby face drinking one of the sweetest drinks the bar offered. "Glad to introduce you to it, I guess my refined taste converts another."

Behind him, Baekhyun snorted so Jongin tilted his head back and gave him a patronized look. "Do you have something to say, Master?"

That did it. Jongin could feel Luhan's gaze on him as well as the dark arousal come to life within Baekhyun. He was a tiny bit more than tipsy and that meant that there was a fire in his loins. So, now was as good a time as any to get Baekhyun all riled. He chuckled to himself and sat up, leaving Baekhyun standing there frozen. "I'm going to go to the bathroom."

He hopped off the barstool and after asking the bartender for directions he made his way through the crowd to the small, dimly lit bathroom. It only had one stall and no urinals and Jongin wasn't sure just how legal that could be given that most bars and clubs needed to have several because of the capacity. But then again, they probably had limited human visitors and perhaps not every Night Worlder needed to go to the bathroom as frequently as humans did. Why he knew this tidbit of information was beyond him but even though Junmyeon had beat him at trivia, Jongin still had a wealth of useless information floating around in his head.

He started to close the door behind him, but a pale hand caught the door and Jongin would be lying if he said he was surprised to see Baekhyun enter and then lock the door behind them. He let him capture his lips with his and felt the door to the stall swing open behind his back.

The two of them stumbled into the stall, mouths gliding over each other as their breaths huffed. He loved how rough Baekhyun was with him when he was overcome with arousal. Something about the way Baekhyun just looked at him like he was the most delicious piece of meat in the world did things to Jongin. He wasn’t always one for being treated like sex on legs, but with Baekhyun it was different. Because underneath all the desire, was real emotion and that made it all worthwhile to Jongin.

A tiny moan escaped Jongin when Baekhyun's nimble fingers crawled up his back and locked into the strands of his hair and pulled...hard. That felt amazing and Jongin could not bite back the hoarse breath of air that left him.

"Are you a glutton for pain, Jongin? Because you make such pretty little sounds when I do that," Baekhyun whispered against Jongin’s lips.

Jongin sucked his lip between his teeth and nodded. Okay, so he wasn't totally into pain other than some hair pulling, being bitten, that one time Baekhyun slapped his ass and... maybe he did like pain more than he cared to admit. Damn.

Baekhyun responded only by tugging his hair harder and mouthing along his neck, dragging the points of his teeth up and down that sensitive expanse of skin. Jongin felt his knees go weak and he would have surely collapsed if it weren't for Baekhyun's hold on him. So, looks aside, vampire strength was nothing to be underestimated because Baekhyun took little to no effort to support his weight as he removed his hand from Jongin's hair to shove down his pants with such urgent need that Jongin could only harden at the thought of Baekhyun touching him.

While the location wasn't the most glorious of spots, Jongin definitely found the idea of semi-public sex enthralling and when Baekhyun wrapped his fingers around his aching length, he hissed under his breath. It felt so good and naughty. He rolled his hips into Baekhyun's hand, quietly begging for more until the hand disappeared and he whined.

"What do you want me to do to you, my human?"

"Whatever you want, Master," Jongin panted, now grinding against Baekhyun's still clothed cock. He could feel how hard he was and the arousal flooding into him from the claim had him feeling all kinds of heady. Not to mention the mead flowing through his system. Jongin stiffened as an idea hit him. He wondered if vampires could get drunk from blood.

"Bite me, please." He said, voice rough with desire. He hadn't realized how badly he wanted this until he felt that familiar sting of teeth at his neck and shuddered, body feeling languid.

The rush was something Jongin would never get used to. He moaned loudly, hugging Baekhyun tighter against him, twining his fingers into silky hair. All he could think was that he loved him and that phrase just kept repeating over and over in his head until he realized that the words were coming from Baekhyun. His thoughts and feelings were leaching into him once again and it was entirely overstimulating.

Jongin sighed and moved his hands down to fumble with Baekhyun's pants. He wanted to feel his skin against his. After yanking them down as far as he could he then struggled with the buttons on Baekhyun's billowing shirt. It got to the point where he just wanted to rip it open but it seemed that Baekhyun was able to sense this because he deftly undid the buttons while Jongin pushed his own shirt up as far as he could with Baekhyun still latched onto him. He just needed to feel his warmth so badly.

The heat of his skin was delicious and Jongin swore he could get drunk on that alone. He needed it so much that it frightened him. How was it possible to feel like this for one person? How could he handle it when they decided it was time to talk to Kyungsoo? How could he not explode from feeling this way for two people at the same time? As the thought entered his mind he felt Baekhyun jerk and then release him.

Baekhyun closed the bite with a swipe of his tongue and Jongin frowned. He was still hard and he could see that Baekhyun was too, but the vampire was already redressing himself. Jongin watched his cock bob as he pulled his pants up and then shove himself down to one side before he retied the laces that kept his Victorian styled pants fastened.

"Did I do something wrong?" Jongin asked, slowly rearranging his clothes as he panted. He wanted more and being left with blue balls just wasn’t something he penciled into his plans for the day and dammit he just wanted some good old-fashioned bathroom fucking. This was a huge buzzkill, but when Baekhyun looked up at him he paused.

"No, I just realized I didn't want to do this here," Baekhyun forced a smile and then straightened Jongin's jeans and buttoned them closed for him. He then smoothed his shirt and leaned up to plant a chaste kiss on his lips. "As appealing as bathroom stall sex is, I would rather this took place at my house, that's all, Jongin."

But, Jongin could tell that Baekhyun wasn't telling him the full story. He knew him well enough by now to tell when he was hiding something from him. He held the stall door closed and sighed, "We said no more lies, no more hiding the truth from me. I'm giving you this second chance because I love you, but please don't take it for granted. I don't know how many more of these I have inside of me."

Baekhyun smiled, "I know and I don't deserve it, I don't deserve you, Jongin. But I promise to tell you once we leave, it's just I was privy to your thoughts, and I want to talk to you about them, nothing bad, I promise."

That somewhat soothed Jongin's anxiety, but not completely. He bit his lip and then felt Baekhyun's thumb gently pull it from between his teeth. He bit down on it again only to have Baekhyun once more make him stop and this earned a giggle from him. "Why can't I bite my lip?"

"You only do that when you're troubled...or when you're trying to turn me on. And," he gestured down at himself, "since we still have unfinished business I can barely stand to look at you when you do that without want to make you mine."

"I'm already yours," Jongin said, and the playfully bit his lip again, this time to tease Baekhyun. "You could always make me stop with something other than your thumb."

Baekhyun raised an eyebrow and pulled Jongin against him. "Oh? Like what?"

"These," Jongin said and then kissed him. He nibbled at Baekhyun's perfect lips, eliciting a small sound from the back of his throat that made Jongin tug and bite down a bit harder before slipping his tongue into his mouth and gliding it over the points of Baekhyun's teeth.

"You are..." Baekhyun trailed as he kissed Jongin back, yanking his hips against his and holding him flush. "...driving me crazy."

"Good," Jongin purred, sliding his hands down Baekhyun's front and then his sides. He trailed his kisses down Baekhyun's jaw, and lightly bit down on his neck, enjoying the way Baekhyun's throbbing cock twitched against him.

"We should get back to the fairy, and head to my place so we can talk," Baekhyun gasped. He braced his hands on either side of the stall, not stopping Jongin from what he was doing.

"Mm hmm," Jongin hummed and bit down harder, hard enough to leave a mark and Baekhyun’s moan deepened into a growl. He swung his leg around Jongin’s waist, holding him tight as he pressed his erection into Jongin’s harder.

“We should -- ah!” Baekhyun gasped when Jongin broke his skin and tasted the tiniest bit of his blood.

Like a freight train, Jongin was hit by such an intense wave of everything that all he could do was pull more blood into his mouth. What he hadn’t expected was for vampire blood to taste...sweet? It was like ambrosia. The way the flavor exploded into his mouth and consumed every sense. It was as if he was transported into Baekhyun’s body and could feel every hair on his body, every twitch of his muscles. He could taste himself in Baekhyun and that was the most confusing of all.

Add the way Baekhyun moaned deep in his chest and Jongin had no choice but to freeze, thick blood drops still fresh on his tongue and Baekhyun’s rich voice permeating every fiber of his being. He was hyper aware of everything. Every smell, every sound, even the light was brighter and Jongin was very quickly overwhelmed.

He found himself being pulled away from Baekhyun’s neck and felt his wet tongue slide into his mouth and melted into the kiss reveling in the way he could feel even the tiniest of details on the muscle as it explored every crevice of him. He kept his eyes open as they kissed, awe inspired by the way Baekhyun glowed in the dim lighting.

It was breathtaking and it wasn’t until Baekhyun pulled away that he finally remembered to inhale because he was so caught up in Baekhyun’s distinctive taste in his mouth. He had never felt so sensitive in his life and when the gentle brush of Baekhyun’s fingers caressed his aching cock, he exploded into his pants, cumming so hard that he stumbled backwards, panting and gaping at the vampire completely lost for thoughts let alone words.

After gasping for gulps of oxygen like a fish out of water, Jongin croaked out, “Is this what you feel all the time?”

Baekhyun nodded, his eyes glittering and a soft blush upon his cheeks that normally Jongin wouldn’t be able to see, but his pupils were so blown that even the tiniest bit of light that entered them was magnified by a thousand.

“That’s just a hint of what I live with...what you will live with when I change you,” Baekhyun said, unzipping Jongin’s pants and cleaning him up with a bit of toilet tissue.

There it was again. Baekhyun referencing -- no directly saying -- that he was going to change Jongin and all Jongin could do was stare dumbly at him. If that was how overwhelming it was to exist as a vampire well Jongin could finally understand why Baekhyun was the way he was. Why he was so intense all the time, because his daily life was so intense. It was exhilarating but also exhausting.

Jongin straightened himself up and sighed. Now that being turned was a definite and within his grasp, he just felt apprehensive. He wanted it. But now he wasn’t entirely sure if it was for the same reason he initially wanted it. He loved the idea of forever with Baekhyun. He loved it a lot and then there was the added bonus of being able to interact with Kyungsoo without the risk of hurting each other, but now? Now he found himself wanting to remain human for a bit longer, to prolong his experience because he was still so young and the idea of being forever unchanging was daunting now.

There was a loud banging on the bathroom door and that brought Jongin back to reality. He smiled sheepishly at Baekhyun and unlatched the stall and together they exited the bathroom both looking positively fucked even though they never made it that far.

The werewolf at the door sniffed at them and quickly closed the door after them, leaving the two of them to giggle shyly before they headed back to the bar. Jongin felt his eyes go wild at the way he could see the refracting light from the strobes and every minute detail in the flashes. No wonder Baekhyun’s club didn’t have strobe lighting, it was incredibly disorientating and Jongin was really starting to notice just how unfriendly to vampires this place was.

It was never outright, but the crowd parted in front of them as if they refused to touch Baekhyun and Jongin could only think about the way he had been groped earlier when he tried to get through the crowd with Luhan. Aside from that, there were the stares. Now, these were obvious. Some held boredom while other held curiosity, but most of all it was a mild form of distaste that painted the expressions of the patrons.

When they arrived, they saw that Sehun and Luhan were both chatting happily with the mysterious third person laughing, gummy smile and all. Jongin grinned as they grabbed their drinks and sat down. He was happy that Luhan had worked things out and even though he really didn’t know him, he still wished him good fortune with his relationship.

“Break in the bathroom stall?” Sehun asked, smirking and earning two separate and different laughs from Luhan and the stranger. Luhan’s was a loud guffaw, laced with knowledge about Jongin’s relationship with Baekhyun and the stranger’s was mildly amused but also anxious.

“Oh, you bet,” Jongin said with a roll of his eyes, “he totally fucked me against the door so hard it fell off the hinges.”

“Don’t be so crass!” Baekhyun admonished. Then he grabbed a hold of Jongin’s wrist and gave him a mighty tug before he corrected Jongin’s statement. “We needed to have a talk, and still do, so we’ll be taking our leave. Enjoy your evenings.”

With that said, he tugged Jongin behind him, leaving no room for Jongin to react other than to shout over his shoulder, “Off. The. Hinges.” Which earned him another jerk of the arm until they were greeted by a blast of icy frigid air as they exited the club.

Once outside, Jongin pulled his wrist free of Baekhyun’s vice and pouted. He just wanted to have a little fun and Baekhyun was being a wet blanket.  “What crawled up your ass and died?”

“You’re just like him sometimes,” Baekhyun hissed and then stopped.

The two of them went silent, staring at each other before Jongin chanced a laugh. For someone who liked to be in control, Baekhyun definitely had a type. He seemed to fall for those who were defiant and well, bratty. He nudged Baekhyun with his elbow and said, “And you love me for it.”

Surprise colored Baekhyun’s face but he the smiled and nodded. “Yeah. I’ll make things right between all of us, I promise.”

“I know,” Jongin replied. He knew Baekhyun would try his hardest to fix all the wrongs he did since meeting him and he knew it would take time and honestly, that was what he needed. Part of him was definitely not healed, but each day he was more open to the idea, even if it scared him. But first, things between him and Baekhyun needed to be settled.

He could not and would not advocate for talking to Kyungsoo about inviting him into the relationship until he could fully trust Baekhyun again. That, he knew would take a lot of time and a lot of making up. He needed to see actions that Baekhyun was trying, not just hear his words, because he already knew how far those words went when they were being hidden from him.

They started walking, against the direction of the biting wind and Jongin shivered until he felt Baekhyun heating up beside him. Huh. His boyfriend was basically a living space heater by using his elemental powers and to Jongin, that was more than a little cute. He ended up pressing himself against Baekhyun from behind, using him as a shield as they walked in silence.

It was nice, just being out and about and without a care in the world. To be walking and displaying their relationship for the world to see. It was the first time in a long time that Jongin was able to do that.

“Fairies,” Baekhyun said suddenly, his voice sending vibrations through Jongin as they meandered aimlessly down the street.

Jongin snuggled closer and closed his eyes. He was so warm that even though he was walking, he could definitely fall asleep in this moment. He yawned and said, “What about them?”

“You humans think that it’s werewolves we vampires have issues with, we do, but it’s definitely fairies that cause us the most grief,” Baekhyun replied. He kept walking and pulled Jongin’s arm tighter around him and rested his head back on his shoulder. Yeah, Jongin could really get used to this.

“Huh, that’s so weird,” Jongin yawned again and then a sudden blast of freezing air hit his core and he jerked. “Hey, come back,” he whined.

Baekhyun shook his head and instead took Jongin’s hand in his and led him to a spot of perpetual darkness that the light from the streetlamps didn’t reach. When they stepped inside, Jongin felt the shadows surround him, squeezing the air out of his body and climbing down his throat, choking him. But, as soon as he was about to panic, the feeling was gone and he was standing right in the middle of Baekhyun’s study.

He blinked a few times, holding his hand to his throat as air rushed into his lungs. “For the love of all the gods, please warn me next time!”

Baekhyun coddled Jongin, rubbing soothing circles on his back and frowned, “Sorry, force of habit.”

After making sure Jongin was okay, he led him to his desk and sat him down while he pulled the ladder across the bookshelves and started climbing it. From the top he said, “Fairies are about as old as us. They call themselves the Fair Folk and they were until vampires were created.” He paused as he browsed the top row of volumes and pulled one down and balanced it in his hand.

“They didn’t take too kindly to having another species that could live as long as them, if not longer, and could perform a variation of magic. They viewed us as unnatural experiments created by necromancers and witches, and I guess, in a way that is technically correct.” He pulled down another volume, stacking it on top. Both were quite thick and old and Jongin’s love for old books was no secret. Especially ones that held history and information about those that walked in the dark.

“So, they started their own experiments and werewolves were born. Now, witches and vampires are close-nit, we need each other, vampires perhaps more so than witches, but the relationship is there. And the same goes for werewolves. All that nonsense about a werewolf’s bite transforming a human simply isn’t correct. Werewolves do not have the capability for magic, they are slaves to the lunar phases just as much as the Fair Folk are and because the magic of the fairies is not something they were given, but stolen, they could not give it to the werewolves.”

He stacked another book on the pile and pushed the ladder further down the ceiling-to-floor shelf as he continued explaining, all while Jongin listened eagerly, absorbing this information that he had previously been horribly misinformed on. Man, if novelists knew that the real rivalry was there because fairies were jealous of vampires the whole genre would be different. Jongin found himself giggling at the idea of blockbuster movies having fairies instead of werewolves because it was just so absurd.

“Of course, this bred hateful sentiments between the two, vampires and werewolves I mean, and increased the resentment between fairies and witches. Thus,” he plopped another book on the stack, still holding it perfectly balanced and not straining under the weight in the slightest. “Starting a war. Now all of this happened long before I was born a vampire, even before I was born human, so all of this is information I learned by reading these works. But, after centuries of fighting between the four, mostly via vampires and werewolves being used as pawns and that is a completely different can of worms, the Graceful Four were born. The Madame, The Alpha, The High Priestess, and The Queen.”

He stacked two more volumes and then leapt off the ladder, landing with hardly more than a faint thump and still maintaining perfect balance of the stack in his hand. Jongin watched him appreciatively. He was so used to Baekhyun blending in with humans that just getting this glimpse of his strength and agility was kind of hot.

The books made a rather loud thud on the desk when he dropped them on top and Jongin was pulled from his lustful thoughts before they even began. His gaze went to appreciate the volumes in front of him and just reading the titles gave him a bit of a librarian’s boner.

Strong fingers found their place at Jongin’s shoulders and Baekhyun continued with his brief lesson on vampiric history. “The Graceful Four came to power in the various ways power exchange happens in the Night World. Witches elect their leaders from a select few families, Vampires a combination of election and appointment. Werewolves, despite their more brutish nature, also convene to elect a group of which one must prove themselves worthy through one of their various rituals, and of course, fairies, are simply born into their positions of power. They decided to forgo the war and all the efforts their predecessors were taking. No one really knows how it happened other than the rumors of them all being involved in some way.”

He sighed into Jongin’s hair and then continued, “And so, the war was brought to an abrupt end. Then, another issue came to light. Humans were growing plentiful and powerful. Hunts started, primarily on witches but others were also burned at the stake. So, we had to retreat to the shadows. Our survival depended on strength in numbers therefore killing each other was detrimental. Things still aren’t exactly perfect between us, but cordiality reigns strong for as long as the Graceful Four remain in power.”

Baekhyun’s thumbs worked on a particularly large knot in Jongin’s shoulders and he let out a quiet moan. Jongin already knew the vampire was talented with his fingers, but this was something close to heaven. Jongin rested his head against Baekhyun’s chest and sighed, “You’re amazing. And thank you for all of this, I didn’t realize how wrong so much of the knowledge given to humans was.”

Soft lips brushed his forehead and then the massage continued as Baekhyun spoke, “I’m serious about us, about changing you, and there is so much you will need to learn first. I want to do things right.”

Jongin leaned into him, sighing, “Thank you, I really appreciate that.”

“You do still want to be changed, correct?” Baekhyun asked, hovering over Jongin’s shoulder, his face next to Jongin’s.

Jongin bit his lip. He did. But not for the same reason as before. No, it wasn’t that he wanted unmatched strength or impossible speed. It wasn’t that he wanted to be able to heal all wounds and be essentially immortal. Not at all. This time, he wanted to be changed because he wanted to be with Baekhyun forever. It was funny how a little bit of information had changed his mind over the course of a few hours.

Sure, they had their ups and downs. But Baekhyun was really showing him that he was making an effort to fix things. He wasn’t pressuring Jongin and that made him feel better about the whole thing. And while being changed offered so many benefits, he needed to know the cons specifically before he rethought his decision. He didn’t want the change to be the same as the claim. Where it was rushed and he was unprepared. He needed to be ready, and he was sure that reading more about vampires from the point of view from a vampire would actually assuage his worries.

“You’re so quiet,” Baekhyun said and turned Jongin to face him. He held concern in his expression with the way his lips pouted ever so slightly and the way his eyes eagerly searched Jongin’s face for an answer.

Jongin half frowned and then sighed. “I do, I really do, but…”

“You are having second thoughts?”

Jongin looked down at his lap. He wasn’t sure how to voice his concerns but when Baekhyun touched his chin, raising his gaze to his, Jongin knew he could tell him. “Back at the dorm, Luhan said something about the survival rate…”

Baekhyun’s eyes softened, “Ah, I told you not to listen to him. The Change is one of vampire’s most guarded secrets, so he knows very little about the process. In the last few decades, we’ve only lost one prospect and that was due to them already being too ill to handle it.”

Jongin nodded. That made him feel a lot better. He hadn't realized that the possibility of not surviving the change had been the main source of his apprehension, but knowing that it wasn’t as bad as Luhan had made it sound lifted a huge weight off him. “Okay, so another question,” he started but then stopped. He didn’t want to ask too many questions but the thoughts were rapidly coming to the surface at this point.

“Yes, ask me anything and I will do my best to answer it.”

“Why are their two separate types of vampires? I mean, I know humans were misled, but even then, I never quite believed that the reason there were two had to do with the time of the year?”

“Ah, yes.” Baekhyun said and then leaned against the desk. “It’s actually explained in this text right here.” He lifted one of the books from the pile and placed it in front of Jongin, flipping through the pages. “Remember, I told you that witches and vampires are dependent on each other?”

Jongin nodded and craned his neck to follow the words that Baekhyun was quickly scanning. He found himself admiring the roundness of his nails more so than following the barely legible scrawl on the page.

Suddenly, Baekhyun stopped and tapped the book with his index finger. “Here.”

Jongin squinted but the overly flowery writing only made his eyes hurt. “I can’t read this.”

Baekhyun regarded him in surprise and then shook his head. “Okay, it says that the first vampire was made by the Necromancer. Necromancers are a special sect of witches that primarily focus on the bond between life and death. They don’t always raise the dead, in fact they tend to work with plants and small animals rather than people. But, love makes people do questionable things.”

Jongin nodded again, thinking back to the fact that the whole reason he was even in this debacle was because of love, as cliché as that was. In fact, it was more akin to love-at-first-sight and that was even more of an overdone trope, but hey, he wasn’t complaining too much.

“So, it started with the death of their lover. They could not bear to be alone and refused to move on. So instead, the Necromancer performed a rather perilous spell of splitting his soul in half. However, this process was dangerous and it was only because of the help from another fellow witch, more commonly known as the Oracle, that the Necromancer survived the ordeal. With half a soul he became something less than human, aging much more slowly, finding that his body had melded with the magic he had used so completely that his body strove for survival and slowed the process of cellular death.”

Jongin smiled. Hearing Baekhyun go into such detail was almost enthralling. The cadence of his voice was soothing and the more he talked, the more Jongin could see it in his head. Love. That single concept that had caused humans so much trouble, seemed to plague even the Night World. He wondered if there was a connection to the fact that the first vampire was created out of love and the fact that vampires often embodied the epitome of love.

“Now, the Order wanted to execute him initially, him and his lover, so they had to go into hiding. It was then that they discovered the first thirst. Records state that it started with a penchant for raw meat, that soon turned into drinking the blood of animals straight from the neck. Now blood has a lot of power for witches, so to drink it was never too strange, but it was after the first taste of human blood, that the Necromancer, now called the First Vampire, and his lover were caught.”

Baekhyun stopped tracing his fingers down the page and crouched against the desk. He rested on hand on Jongin’s thigh absentmindedly stroking him as he continued. “The first thirst for a newborn vampire is often intense. You lose all sense of self and become only the amalgamation of your senses. For humans, that is incredibly dangerous, so when news of a town being slain overnight, the Order knew they had found them. Again, they wanted to execute them, but at the chiding of the Oracle, the First Vampire and his lover were studied. In only a few trials, they discovered that if the ritual is followed exactly, they could create more. The vampire population rose exponentially until the first Elemental Vampire was created.”

Jongin froze. “Wait, Elemental Vampires came second? I thought the Necromancer -- I mean First Vampire still had magic?”

Baekhyun squeezed his thigh and shook his head. “No, he lost his ability for magic as a consequence of his actions. But Elemental Vampires? They were the perfect combination of witch blood and vampire. If there is even a drop of witch’s blood within you, then during the ritual it will manifest in control over the elements. The ritual itself is much too complicated for me to go into detail now, and it is not in the texts. Only those who are officiated in changing will know the secrets.”

“Are you officiated?” Jongin asked, marveling at just how in depth the whole history of vampires was. He had only scratched the surface in his rudimentary research, but now he finally felt like he had a much fuller understanding of why they were the way they were.

Baekhyun chuckled, “No, but when it is time to change you, I will be.”

“So, the stuff I read about the moon phases, was that all wrong, too?”

“No, that is all true, actually. A blood moon is needed for the bond, which we still need to complete, by the way. And the Equinox is imperative for being changed. The balance of night and day must be aligned just right for the spell to even work. And of course, I will need to be there to make sure it all goes smoothly when the Madame changes you. So, when you are changed, I will be there to offer my blood when you awaken. The Madame will be there to perform the change, and we will require the presence of a witch to oversee and aid in the spell so that all together we can make sure you survive.”

“Wait, I don’t understand, only the Madame can change humans into vampires?” Jongin’s mind was racing. All this information was borderline overwhelming but, he was absorbing it the best he could.

“No, I could change you in a pinch, but that would greatly lower your chances since I am inexperienced. For you, I want to be as safe and as prepared as possible, so I will request her help. Either way, one of us would need to offer you blood when you awaken so that you do not rampage.”

With that said, Baekhyun stood up, brushed himself off and placed a chaste kiss on Jongin’s forehead. “I’m going to run a bath, you may join, if you wish.”

Jongin watched his form disappear, half wanting to follow after him and half wanting to sit in the chair and digest what he had just learned. He opted for the latter and leaned back, closing his eyes and sighing. Today had been a hell of a day.

 

 

 

It was the next day when Jongin looked up from the only text that he could read (the others were in the same looping script that looked more like swirls on paper than any type of modern cursive and it made his head pound trying to decipher it). He wondered what time it was and glanced around the study only to find that there were no clocks. How typical.

He noticed that Baekhyun lacked any sort of electronic devices or any devices that resembled any type of modernity and that was when he realized he heard quiet sounds down the hall. He stood, following the twinkling notes until he ended up in Baekhyun’s foyer and stopped as he watched the vampire sway side to side as music played from a small speaker. He had almost expected to see him using a record player or a phonograph, but the speaker was a pleasant surprise.

Baekhyun slowly turned in time with the music and smiled at Jongin, “Come.”

Chuckling to himself, Jongin obliged and fit his hands into Baekhyun’s and let him lead the dance as they moved around the room. He felt light as he let the swell of the notes take over him and after a few moments he found himself laughing freely with Baekhyun.

“You’re in a good mood, today,” Jongin noted. He stepped in closer towards Baekhyun and they began slow dancing.

“That I am,” Baekhyun smiled and hummed the melody of the song. He softly sang the lyrics as they moved in a small circle.

 

‘Feels like we're dreaming, we're tripping and reeling

Just say that you belong to me (You belong to me)

I could get lost in the feelings we're feeling

Just say that you belong to me (You belong to me)

Do you want more of this? Isn't it glorious?

I can't believe that it's free (You belong to me)

I will adore you, I'll only live for you

Just say that you belong to me’*

 

Jongin returned the smile as he heard the words leave Baekhyun’s lips. So, this was the kind of music he liked. It made sense as it sounded vaguely vampiric but also very dreamy and the beat was easy to sway to. The woman’s voice was haunting as well. He pressed his forehead against Baekhyun’s and closed his eyes, this was such a nice moment.

When the song came to an end, they remained there, hugging each other and moving ever so slightly. It was Jongin that broke their embrace and when he glanced at Baekhyun, his heart fluttered. Baekhyun looked so serene and his depthless eyes swallowed Jongin into their dark abyss. He leaned in and Baekhyun met him halfway, melding their lips together. They kissed for a few moments before parting.

“This is nice,” Jongin breathed, wrapping his arms around Baekhyun.

They were no longer swaying and the song was still on repeat with the words swirling around in his head. He felt like after the events of yesterday, this was a pleasant change. In fact, with the way Baekhyun was looking at him, he felt like he did belong.

“It is, we need more quiet days like this, my human.” Baekhyun pulled free of Jongin’s arms and patted him before heading over to his phone to turn off the music.

Jongin took the opportunity to ask him something that was on his mind. “I kinda came to the conclusion that I don’t know any of your favorite things, and I was wondering if…well, you could tell me? We skipped the whole getting to know you phase of a regular relationship.”

Baekhyun picked up his phone and switched the music off, his face still glued to the screen and then he looked up at Jongin with a mildly horrified look on his face. “What did you say to Kyungsoo yesterday?”

Jongin scratched his head, frowning. “Nothing really, I just apologized for being a dick to him and told him how much I appreciate him, why?”

Baekhyun half-smiled and then laughed, “He wants to invite us over for dinner next week, to make amends for his behavior.”

“Oh. Huh, that’s not at all what I was expecting,” Jongin said with a shrug.

Well, now he had next week’s dinner to worry about. Not to mention the mountain of homework he had to do after taking a night off from school. It was a wonder he wasn’t failing with the way he was essentially living a double life. He sighed and Baekhyun gave him a lopsided smile before eagerly replying to the incubus. Oh boy.

 

Welcome back my friends, apparently, I was painfully wrong about quite a few things regarding the Night World, so this post will be one of corrections. First up, vampires. I want you all to forget everything I have ever written about them before because, I have a load of new information for you all. Number one: [redacted]...

Chapter Text

It was one of those mornings where Jongin just couldn’t catch a break -- like most mornings, honestly -- and he was scrambling to get dressed when Baekhyun entered the room holding a small laptop turned towards Jongin to see.

“What is this?”

Jongin squinted at the screen as he hopped around trying to pull the bottom of his jeans over his feet. “That’s...oh! You found my blog!” He stopped and tried yanking the fabric up one leg at a time until his feet were free. He wriggled his toes, digging them into the lush carpet and then fumbled with the button, to fasten them closed.

He had exactly five minutes to leave Baekhyun’s if he wanted to be to class on time and with the vampire demanding his attention, the seconds were ticking away. He hadn’t even found a shirt to wear, let alone brush his teeth, wash his face, and truth be told, he hadn’t even showered, but only because he figured that last night’s bath was good enough.

“Jongin, this is information that cannot get out there, take the blog down immediately!” Baekhyun looked entirely too frazzled and it made Jongin laugh because it was so cute.

“Not gonna happen my vampy boyfriend, that blog is what led me to Club Isis and I owe it and the followers big time,” he grinned. It was funny how a few days of staying at Baekhyun’s castle -- it was definitely a castle because Jongin had gotten lost in it more than once during his week-long stay -- had made him almost too comfortable around his boyfriend.

Of course it was a two way street, as Jongin discovered during the time that Baekhyun had decided to take a bath while Jongin was still on the toilet. It had been one of the more embarrassing moments but when Baekhyun said that since his face -- and his mouth -- had been down there, he didn’t see the need for embarrassment. In fact, Baekhyun was so incredibly used to Jongin and his quirks that occasionally he would say the quip before Jongin even had the chance to speak, thus killing it on his lips. So, Jongin had to get creative to catch Baekhyun off guard, and today he was determined to do just that.

Still, it was as if a few days had amounted to a few years between them. Perhaps Baekhyun was right when he said that time was relative because even Jongin felt a bit like he had known him for much longer than he did. It had to be linked to the domesticity, he thought. Living together even for as short a time as a week had broken down every last boundary Jongin thought existed between them.

Baekhyun was standing there, the laptop still on his palm and attempting to frown at Jongin, but the corners of his mouth kept quirking upwards until he cracked and let a full-blown smile take over his features. “Vampy boyfriend? When I change you do I get to call you that?”

He’d been talking about changing Jongin even more during his stay and Jongin had to admit he was getting used to the idea. He even made sure to call his parents and check on them to assuage the guilt he felt over possibly leaving them behind and they had heard Baekhyun in the background and grilled him about the vampire.

Which, as Jongin’s luck would have it, led to Baekhyun plucking the phone from Jongin’s hands and talking to his parents for hours while Jongin sat there cringing every time he heard his parents laugh at whatever Baekhyun said. It was unfair to be honest, how easily he got along with them, and when Baekhyun finally gave the phone back to Jongin, his parents expressed wanting to meet him which only made Jongin feel sick at the idea.

An actual face to face meeting between Baekhyun and his parents could go one of two ways: extremely well to the point where his parents invited him down for the winter break, or absolutely horribly where his parents ended up embarrassing him to the point where he would never be able to show his face around Baekhyun ever again. Jongin knew it would be the latter, so he dawdled and changed the subject before hanging up and glaring at Baekhyun, who later that night made it up to him by telling Jongin stories of his childhood.

It was interesting to hear about how Baekhyun grew up in a small farming town and was one of eleven children. Back then, people had children to not only insure that someone would inherit the lands, but also for labor. While Baekhyun was the only survivor of his family, he still recounted each of his siblings and parents quite fondly. After all, he had had centuries to move past their deaths and when talking about them, he got this shine to his face that Jongin really liked seeing.

He had yet to tell Jongin about how he was changed, but Jongin figured that would happen when his own change was closer and Jongin could live with that. Still, even after Baekhyun shared that information with him, Jongin still felt a bit sad because he would never get the chance to meet them, but Baekhyun had assured him that the vampire clan was more of his family now, so the Madame, Seohyun, and a select few others were the ones that Jongin would get to meet again, once it was safe to be around them again. And after that, Jongin was more open to the idea of letting Baekhyun meet his parents at some point down the road.

“You could call me Megatron for all I care. Also, I’m trying not to be late, but you’re super distracting with your interrogation of my private life,” Jongin mumbled as he searched for a pair of socks. He hated wearing them, but after Baekhyun wrinkled his nose when he saw him take off his favorite sneakers sans socks, the self-consciousness took over.

“Megatron?”

This, time Jongin frowned, “You haven’t seen Transformers? They’re literally alien robots that come to save the world.”

“Aliens don’t exist, Jongin,” Baekhyun said with a shake of his head. He closed the laptop and tossed it on the bed and knelt down to pull free a pair of mismatched socks.

“Oh my god,” Jongin gasped. “So every other mythical creature gets to exist, but not aliens? Baekhyun that’s kinda racist.”

“I’m not-- Jongin that’s not what I meant-- you’re doing it again, aren’t you?” He stood up to wave his hands around in surrender, but they fell to his sides as he came to the realization.

“Doing what?” Jongin said with feigned innocence. He had succeeded and now he was going to milk it dry.

“Trying to rile me up, isn’t that what you called it the other day?”

“I have no idea what you are talking about,” Jongin replied, pulling on the socks and now frantically tossing clothes out of his suitcase while he looked for a shirt. He really should have put more thought into packing than he did because he had apparently only packed two shirts and a shitton of sweatpants. Of course, he hadn’t really been wearing clothes other than what he needed for school and now that it was Friday again, he desperately needed another shirt or people would think he was wearing the same outfit every day. And as much as he didn’t want to be known as turtleneck-guy, he really didn’t want to be known as same-outfit-guy.

“Jongin, you’re pretty,” Baekhyun said suddenly and Jongin froze and gave him a suspicious look. Baekhyun only complimented him in three situations: when he was showing Jongin off, when they were making love, or when he was up to something. All it took was for the slightest smile to dance on Baekhyun’s face and Jongin was wary.

“Where are you going with this?” Jongin asked, narrowing his eyes at Baekhyun before he returned to digging through his clothes. He pretended that he wasn’t watching Baekhyun’s every move.

“Nowhere, I’m standing right here,” Baekhyun replied with a hundred watt smile.

Oh gods, here came the puns. Why was it that everyone Jongin knew had the same kind of humor? Junmyeon with his dad-jokes, Kyungsoo with his sassy quips that sometimes bordered on lame, and now Baekhyun, who had over the past week had shown Jongin that he was a mix of his two closest friends.

Whatever, two can definitely play this game , Jongin thought and then smirked. He was going to make Baekhyun eat his words. “Okay, Dad .”

Baekhyun’s eyes darkened and his voice was deep in his chest when he said, “I think I like that, maybe you should call me that more often…”

“I thought you liked Master?” Again, he feigned innocence, but this time he widened his eyes to really drive it home. This was too much fun and for a split second the idea of him and Kyungsoo teasing Baekhyun tonight at dinner passed through his mind and he bit back a giggle. If things went according to plans, tonight would be more fun than stressful.

“I do,” Baekhyun said. He was clearly affected by Jongin’s expression because his voice died a little at the end and Jongin knew Baekhyun had lost already, but he was having too much fun.

“Okay so how about Master Dad?” Jongin teased, waggling his eyebrows. Time to amp it up and take it overboard.

“Um-”

“Or Master Daddy? Or- oh! What if I call you Master here and Daddy everywhere else?” He knew he did it, because Baekhyun was looking scandalised and was trying to shut down the whole banter, but Jongin just powered through it, enjoying the way Baekhyun sputtered.

“Jongin, please,” Baekhyun begged, but Jongin had one more up his sleeve.

“Vamp Daddy!” He shouted, throwing his arms into the air and laughing. Man, he loved getting under Baekhyun’s skin. He made it too easy.

“Okay, you win. This backfired horribly ,” Baekhyun said, shuddering.

“Thanks, love,” Jongin said with a cheeky grin, but Baekhyun’s face softened and he knelt down next to Jongin and kissed him gingerly.

When he pulled away, he gazed at Jongin and said, “You are just full of surprises.”

“I’m also full of about-to-be-late and kinda freaking out,” Jongin said, and continued to dig through the pile of clothes spilling out of his suitcase. He hadn’t meant to be so messy when staying with Baekhyun, but if he wasn’t in class or doing homework, he and Baekhyun were ripping each other’s clothes off and shoving their tongues down each other’s throats.

It seemed that after the whole Jongin catching Baekhyun and Kyungsoo kissing and the ordeal that took place afterwards, the two of them just could not keep their hands off each other. They needed the physical confirmation of each other’s affections. Although, Baekhyun never came through on his promise to let Jongin take the reigns, Jongin wasn’t complaining when he knew that regardless he’s be more than satisfied.

Baekhyun seemed to have the same topic in mind as he watched Jongin yank a t-shirt that he had miraculously found stuffed in the pocket in the suitcase, over his head. Jongin felt the fabric catch on something and when he looked down a single pale digit was blocking the path. “Why not take the day off and stay in with me?”

The finger lifted and a hand slipped over Jongin’s stomach, moving to his back and pulling him against Baekhyun and Jongin had such little resolve that he moaned at the proximity of their bodies. “I skipped yesterday and Junmyeon texted me this morning saying that my professors were getting worried about my attendance record.”

“Nothing a little compulsion won’t fix,” Baekhyun purred, letting his hand dip behind the waistband of Jongin’s jeans. “No boxers?”

Jongin’s face exploded into heat. “Um, I didn’t pack enough and figured since you’re taking me home, it wouldn’t matter? But you -- ah!”

Baekhyun had slipped both hands inside of Jongin’s jeans and was gripping the mounds of his ass. When he was like this -- as he had been all week -- Jongin had a hard time refusing him. Dating a vampire certainly had its quirks, but the veracity of their sexual hunger really only matched their thirst for blood. Sometimes, Jongin wondered if Baekhyun was also secretly an incubus with the way he craved Jongin, but he knew better.

Speaking of the incubus, Jongin tried to untangle himself from Baekhyun’s grasp to root around for his backpack where his phone was. He still had not replied to his last message asking for Jongin to come a few hours earlier. It had been difficult with Baekhyun around, not that he was hiding it from him, he just figured that since Kyungsoo had requested him to come alone… well, he wasn’t sure how to handle the situation or what to expect. Perhaps they would finally talk about what happened.

Things had been so blissful between him and Baekhyun. Blissful, and passionate, and sweet, and very very naked. Again, he wasn’t complaining. Not in the slightest. So Kyungsoo asking this had set him a bit on edge. He wasn’t sure if he should reveal the text to Baekhyun, but as soon as his fingers grasped the smoothness of the glass cased device, Baekhyun was behind him, kissing up and down his neck.

“I promise I won’t make you too late,” Baekhyun purred between kisses and Jongin completely gave in.

He let his phone stay at the bottom of his suitcase and leaned into Baekhyun’s touches as his eyes fluttered shut. Okay, he had a weakness and that weakness was Baekhyun. As much as he liked to put up a fight with him, he just could not deny the fact that Baekhyun reduced him to jelly under his touch.

He raised his arms as Baekhyun pulled his t-shirt over his head and continued kissing down his back as he pushed Jongin to his feet and made him turn until he was facing the bed. Hands guided his head down on the mattress and Jongin felt Baekhyun nip at the fabric of his jeans, his hot breath tickling his skin.

“I just want a taste,” Baekhyun murmured and pulled down Jongin’s pants and shoved his legs open.

Jongin’s cock was already hardening against the soft fabric of the bed and when Baekhyun’s gentle touch spread his cheeks apart, Jongin’s breath hitched and he squirmed. They had only done this for the first time about a day ago and while Jongin enjoyed it, it still left him half-embarrassed. But, it felt amazing.

A hot swipe of Baekhyun’s tongue against his rim sent shivers down his back and he wiggled, scrunching his toes and moaning while Baekhyun placed an arm over his back, holding him still. His tongue was like a gift from the gods because the way it swirled and lapped at Jongin had him digging his fingers into the sheets, twisting them around his fists as he bit down into the fabric to keep from making too much noise.

“Fuck,” he hissed, feeling his knees weaken. He grinded against the bed subconsciously and Baekhyun growled behind him.

“Mmm yes, grind on my face,” he whispered and Jongin swore those words were like the lashes of a whip because he saw white fire burst before his eyes. Sometimes the things Baekhyun said were damn near enough to bring him over the edge.

Jongin obeyed and moved his hips, getting as much pleasure from Baekhyun’s tongue as the friction from the sheets. He huffed as Baekhyun trailed a hand down his thighs and pinched him here and there. It was such a small amount of pain that Jongin didn’t have time to think about it, but man did it send chills up his spine.

The vampire knew his body so well by now and as he dipped his tongue inside the tight ring of muscles, Jongin keen loud and long. A finger joined the pressure of his tongue and Jongin’s knees buckled. Of course, that was no issue for Baekhyun, who lifted Jongin onto the bed and slid a pillow under his hips.

“I know I said a taste, but you are so delicious, that I’m going to have to make a meal out of you,” Baekhyun said.

Again, Jongin’s toes curled and he made a tiny, pathetic, whine when Baekhyun’s tongue returned to his entrance, swirling and making the most obscene of sounds. Surely, Jongin thought, there was no way he could climax simply from this, but with the way Baekhyun was guiding his hips, making him rut against the pillow as he pleasured him with skillful swipes, Jongin knew there was a first time for everything.

“I want you to come for me,” Baekhyun said against his rim and a shudder went through Jongin’s whole body, causing the throbbing of his cock to ache even more. He was already so close and when Baekhyun’s sinful fingers slipped inside him and hooked, Jongin jerked and cried out.

He didn’t know what it was about this time that made his body tense to tightly that he swore he could feel each individual knuckle inside of him. But as he clenched and unclenched around Baekhyun’s digits, his mind went blank, only the notion of pleasure puncturing through the nothingness.

He rode out his orgasm, panting and groaning as Baekhyun refused to let up. His tongue still played at his entrance, lapping between his scissoring fingers and sometimes inside was almost too much for Jongin. He was just so sensitive that even the fabric of the pillowcase was beginning to make his cock uncomfortable. He was bordering on overstimulation and it was only when a choked sound left his lips that Baekhyun stopped and slowly detached himself from Jongin. A sloppy kiss on his asscheek was felt and then a playful smack. “Such a good boy, Jongin,” Baekhyun purred.

Jongin let himself be pulled into Baekhyun’s lap and closed his eyes as he caught his breath. His scalp tingled when Baekhyun played with his hair, but he welcomed it. It was relaxing and after the orgasm he had, he needed that.

 

He didn’t know when it happened, but somehow he had fallen asleep and according to Baekhyun, he looked so cute that he couldn’t wake him, so he let Jongin rest until he woke up on his own, which meant he had missed the majority of his double-block class.

Jongin’s face burned as Baekhyun disappeared into the shadows with a wink. He looked around as the rest of his class was dutifully taking notes while his professor droned on. He quietly snuck into a seat at the back and took out his notebook to blend in, but his eyes met the professor’s and he knew he was in for a tongue lashing of a different kind once class ended.

For the duration of the lecture he found himself drifting away in his thoughts, much too eager about the dinner but also incredibly nervous about the meeting beforehand. Maybe he should have told Baekhyun about the text? It was hypocritical of him not to, but the pit in his stomach told him not to, so he chewed on his pen while he waited for class to end.

A few hours later, Jongin found himself standing in the middle of his room staring at the door. He knew that once he reached for it that he would be well on his way to Kyungsoo’s but he was just apprehensive. Every time he and Kyungsoo ended up meeting, one of them ended up getting hurt and Jongin desperately just wanted things to go back to normal. He wanted to have his best friend back and woah -- he hadn’t realized that Kyungsoo had rose to best friend status, but now that he thought about it, he realized that wasn’t quite true.

They had an uncanny link between them. Jongin generally got along with most people due to his nature, but he never really put much thought into how he and Kyungsoo ended up being involved other than incubus shenanigans. Sure, they boned a whole lot on that weekend and Jongin did not regret that. In fact, without that fateful weekend, who knew what he and Kyungsoo would have been. Perhaps they would have still be strangers that bumped into each other at the club only to share passing pleasantries and nothing else.

What Jongin did regret was the way he had been so dense. Now that he thought about it, it was painfully obvious. Kyungsoo had come by his place multiple times prior to the ball and it was all just to hang out. They never actually did anything either, just joked around, made fun of each other and chatted. Even the times when they weren’t talking should have been indicative, because they just sat together enjoying each other's presence and Jongin knew that wasn’t usual behavior for incubi. Still, after the whole debacle, he fell head first into the new relationship buzz and didn’t even think to check up on his friend after his fateful outburst.

So, why was the incubus so hellbent on keeping their relationship? All Jongin did was ignore him once Baekhyun came into the picture. Plus, he had hurt him in a way he never intended, based on Junmyeon’s words and the way Kyungsoo’s voice cracked when he admitted to Baekhyun that he had feelings for Jongin. And that was another thing. Jongin still didn’t know how to fully feel after hearing that. He knew he liked Kyungsoo and he knew that Kyungsoo and Baekhyun had a strained history, so was all of this even worth it? Someone was going to get hurt, and with the way things were going, Jongin really didn’t know what to do.

He needed this dinner to go well for one thing, and if that did, then maybe everything would go back to normal. Jongin could handle normal. In fact, he desperately wanted it now that his life had been turned topsy-turvy. But what was normal anyway?

His door opened and Junmyeon stood on the other side with a ragged look and Jongin bit his lip. He realized he had been ignoring Junmyeon as well and suddenly Jongin just wanted to fall to his knees and not go anywhere. He loved Baekhyun, yes that was true, but he had been so caught up in their relationship that he neglected everyone else and that wasn’t exactly healthy.

Junmyeon raked a hand through his hair and sighed, “We need to talk...”

Shit. Was Junmyeon going to call him out for being a bad roommate? Honestly, he deserved it, but he really didn’t want to be subject to a tongue lashing from the witch before he went to dinner. Jongin nodded his head and followed him out to the living room and they sat in silence for a few moments before Junmyeon spoke, “Jongin I know I haven’t been here a whole lot and I wanted to tell you why.”

Okay, so he had avoided being in trouble, which was a relief. His shoulders loosened a bit but that still didn’t stop his curiosity from rising. Jongin’s eyes widened and he nodded his head, his mind going in a million directions all at once and yet staying still at the same time. It seemed to be happening a lot lately. Jongin was always being caught off guard with some new reveal of information and he thought he’d be tired of it by now, but, honestly, he looked forward to it.

Plus, he figured that Junmyeon was just going to reveal that he had some kind of Night World boyfriend that he’d been keeping under wraps and Jongin wanted details. If the magical boyfriend had Junmyeon in a better mood, and looking like he wasn’t getting a whole lot of sleep, well… Jongin wriggled his eyebrows to himself and Junmyeon gave him a questioning look.

“I’ve been doing some digging into your history.”

Wait, what? That was not what he was expecting. Damn, now it seemed like he was about to end up mindfucked right before he went to Kyungsoo’s, which was less than ideal because he needed to be on top of his wits around the incubus. Jongin furrowed his eyebrows, “Why would you do that? I thought you were just going to tell me about your new boyfriend?”

“Well, that- wait...how do you know?” Junmyeon laughed nervously for a few seconds before his cheeks reddened.

Jackpot! “Oh, so you do have one?” Jongin raised an eyebrow. It was the little things in life that made him smile. He actually missed catching Junmyeon with his pants down -- not in the literal sense, he’d done that once and they ended up going a week without looking each other in the eye. They’d been friends since the end of highschool -- well they were acquaintances in high school and now in university they ended up closer than Jongin had thought they’d end up, but unlikely relationships seemed to be Jongin’s thing, so he wasn’t complaining.

“Well… it’s kinda too early to tell, but- hold on, this is supposed to be about you!” He sighed and shook his head before gravely saying, “Jongin, have you ever wondered why you fit into the Night World so easily?”

Jongin felt his heart flutter, but his ornery side kicked into high gear and he blurted, “If you say, Yer a wizard Jongin , I promise you, I will punch you.”

Junmyeon blinked a few times and then grinned, “I wasn’t going to, but wow talk about a missed opportunity. Besides, you’re not actually a wizard…”

Jongin deflated a bit. He hadn't realized that he actually quite desperately wanted to be a part of the Night World from the get-go, and finding out he had some secret part of his bloodline connecting him to it would be twelve kinds of amazing, but the look on Junmyeon’s face was particularly unreadable, so he tried to keep his hopes down.

“To be fair, it’s quite complicated and-” he stopped and his expression grew slack for a moment before he glanced at Jongin with a worried look. “It seems I have been forbidden from sharing this information with you by the Coven.” He gritted his teeth and then sighed. “Clear your schedule next week, we’ll be taking a trip out to see them.”

What?! Jongin stared at Junmyeon wide-eyed and sputtered. “Wh-what do you mean forbidden? How did they just tell you that? Junmyeon what’s going on?”

Junmyeon leaned back on the sofa and squeezed his eyes shut. “I’m already breaking rules by doing the digging and I’ve been on thin ice since you’ve found out I’m a witch, so I’m just going to stop here before I risk being excommunicated.”

“Okay… so what am I supposed to do with this half-information? Am I supposed to go searching too? Am I supposed to just sit on this? Junmyeon you can’t just dump something like this on me and then not come through, it’s like blue balls for my brain and my emotions.”

“It’s not that I don’t want to tell you, it’s that I’ve been told not to. The timing isn’t great, but it is what it is.” He sat up and patted Jongin on the back before smiling a bit, “Anyway, I’ve spoken to Kyungsoo and he mentioned something about having you over.”

“When did you two end up so close?” Jongin asked, feeling defensive. He knew he had been neglecting them, but the selfish part of him didn’t want them to be closer to each other than they were to him. It was childish, but sometimes, Jongin had his moments.

Junmyeon stood up and ruffled Jongin’s hair and said, “He doesn’t have many that he turns to, but don’t worry it’s only a recent thing. Go get ready, I’m sure he’s excited to see you.” With that, he ambled over to his room and shut the door, leaving Jongin on the sofa still deep in his head.

Jongin had never really thought about Kyungsoo’s friend circle, and the more he did the more he realized that it really only included him and Baekhyun, and well, now Junmyeon. It had to be a lonely existence and with Jongin limiting the contact between Baekhyun and Kyungsoo out of his own jealousy and insecurity it was no wonder he had gone to Junmyeon. What exactly had been said on the night of the ball between Junmyeon and Kyungsoo?



Kyungsoo’s place shocked Jongin in more ways than one. Ironically, it was remote like Baekhyun’s castle, only instead of a monumental ancient building, it was a modern day mansion built in a minimalistic style. It was boxy, but sleek, and the entire exterior was glossy wine red. It had an entire room with darkened windows from ceiling to floor on one corner, and a small lake in the front surrounded by cattails and plume-like plants that swayed in the gentle breeze.

It was almost the complete opposite of Baekhyun’s castle with all the angles and geometrically perfect lines that Jongin already had a feeling that the inside was going to instill a hell of a lot more awe inside him. He approached slowly, feeling significantly smaller the closer he got.

Instead of armored knights guarding the entrance, there were security cameras pointed at the entrance which clicked open as Jongin stared dumbly at the lenses. What was Kyungsoo’s job? How did he make this much money? Why did he need so much security? All these thoughts continued to swim around his mind as his shoes echoed on the lustrous stone floors.

Jongin paused in the middle of the entry way, absorbing all the details of Kyungsoo’s house, the way the lights seemed to be motion sensored and brightened as he moved, keeping the perfect amount of light available to his eyes at all times. He noticed the way he could almost see his reflection in the dark stone at his feet and the various abstract paintings that decorated Kyungsoo’s walls. His style could not be more different than Baekhyun’s if he even tried.

He heard Kyungsoo approaching before he saw him and turned to find the incubus walking barefoot with a pair of slacks that hung low on his hips and a loose billowing shirt that occasionally clung to his skin in places and suddenly Jongin was growing hot. He swallowed thickly, trying to find his voice, but Kyungsoo beat him to it.

“Welcome, mi casa es su casa! Do you like it?” He gestured around him, a playful smile on his lips.

Jongin nodded, still feeling unsure what to say, but he looked down and remembered he was still wearing shoes and started toeing them off, in silence. How was he supposed to respond? Of course he liked it, but it was so overwhelming and large that Jongin’s mind was still processing the fact that he was standing inside a place like this.

“Oh come on, don’t be shy, I’m still the same old sex demon I’ve always been,” Kyungsoo teased and snatched Jongin’s shoes from the floor before Jongin could grab them and placed them in a small cubby by the door.

“How do you afford all this?” Jongin whispered and pressed his toes against the stone. His feet were starting to sweat and his nerves were already twisting around themselves, knotting up in his shoulders and upper back. How was he even going to survive this dinner once Baekhyun got here?

Kyungsoo shrugged, “Money is money is money. When you live a long time, you amass huge amounts of it. Anyway, let me show you something cool.”

He started off down a hallway and Jongin followed him, biting his lip and telling himself to calm down. Why on earth did everyone come to his measly little dorm when they had such grand houses like this? He suddenly felt out of place, but the feeling passed when he thought about how easily he fit in at Baekhyun’s place and remembered that Kyungsoo was no different.

For some reason, the two of them liked being around him and apparently both loved him. So, Jongin needed to calm down. He wanted this night to go well, he needed it to go well or things would never be okay and Jongin didn’t know if he could handle that. He didn’t want to choose and he knew it was hypocritical because he ultimately made Baekhyun choose him for the time being, but damnit, he just wanted him to himself for a bit while they recreated their foundation.

They ended up in what Jongin could only describe as a massive home theater -- it was about the size of a regular home theater if he was honest with himself -- decked out with a stage and a screen and suddenly everything was starting to make sense. The way the lights adjusted as they walked around, the way the windows were tinted, the performance stage. This had to have been one of the high tech houses Baekhyun had mentioned offhandedly. Jongin wondered if Baekhyun had bought this house and his stomach tied itself in knots.

It wasn’t that he was jealous -- okay that was a lie. But he wasn’t jealous because of the nature of the gift, just of the fact that Kyungsoo and baekhyun had been together for so much longer than he had been and it still made him feel insecure. Still, he needed to squash thoughts like that down if the night was going to go well.

“Pretty cool huh? Sometimes, we- er, I’ll have actual actors perform plays here,” Kyungsoo said, his eyes eager, but also distant as if he was reliving a memory.

That was actually kind of amazing. Jongin had never seen a live play before, unless he counted the plays he saw on grade school field trips, but even then those weren’t plays he had wanted to see. If he thought about it, he actually would have loved to go see an opera some time but none of his friends from school were too interested in that and he didn’t exactly want to go alone.

Maybe he would ask Baekhyun to take him to his favorite opera some day. That would be pretty cool, and he was bound to have a refined taste after having a lifetime to see many if not all of them. Jongin fell into his thoughts as he surveyed the room. There was enough space to fit at least twenty people, and the stage looked amazing. It even had the area for an orchestra in front of it and Jongin wondered how on earth he didn’t notice just how big Kyungsoo’s house was from the outside. If Baekhyun’s castle was everything a King of the Night would want, then Kyungsoo’s house was everything the modern human would want.

But the closer Jongin looked, the more he saw the touches that would make a vampire comfortable here. And all it did was make Jongin wonder just what exactly the arrangement the two had before Jongin came in and tossed everything asunder. He felt weird when he thought about it. How he had effectively separated two people who obviously still had something between them. He knew everything from Baekhyun’s side, well everything that Baekhyun had told him, but Kyungsoo’s side of the whole thing was still a mystery. But, it wasn’t like he would ever tell him. Kyungsoo was notoriously tight-lipped now and Jongin could only wonder why.

Guilt seeped into every pore on Jongin’s skin and he suddenly grabbed Kyungsoo’s face between his hands. He stared into his eyes, searching them for anything that would tell him that he hadn’t ruined everything and whispered, “I am so sorry, Kyungsoo. I’m so sorry for everything I did, for all the pain I caused you…”

The icy blue eyes softened and Kyungsoo nodded his head slowly, “I guess I should stop putting it off, eh?”

Jongin let his hands fall to Kyungsoo’s shoulders but said nothing. His heart was beating too fast at the closeness of their faces and he knew he wasn’t feeling the influence of Kyungsoo’s powers. But, he wanted to lean in and feel the plush of Kyungsoo’s lips on his and the thought shot a line of anxiety through him. Because he knew he would die -- actually, Kyungsoo would be the one to die. He had professed his feelings to Baekhyun and that meant that if he wasn’t careful, one accidental meeting of their lips would trap Kyungsoo inside of Jongin forever, leaving him to either decide if he wanted to give up his body to him, or effectively kill him by snuffing out his being.

Kyungsoo gently moved Jongin’s arms down to his waist and snaked one arm up to the back of Jongin’s neck, pulling his face to the side and letting the heat of his breath tickle Jongin’s ear. “The reason why I brought you here early is…” he paused, and Jongin could hear him wet his lips. “Because…”

Jongin’s pulse raced. He wasn’t sure what Kyungsoo was going to say, but the longer he stalled, the louder the blood rushed in his ears as well as down south. It wasn’t that he wasn’t satisfied, Baekhyun had left him more than satisfied this morning, but Kyungsoo’s pull was different. He swallowed slowly, too afraid that if he even breathed, he would miss the words coming from Kyungsoo’s mouth.

Then, Jongin felt himself falling, as if his feet had gotten tangled up somehow and he ended up knocking into the wall behind him hard enough to make him gasp and for his vision to fade a bit when his skull met the surface. Of course, this broke the moment and Kyungsoo doubled over, laughing.

“Okay, so I was going to mess with you and say something to get your panties in a knot, but you do enough all on your own,” Kyungsoo giggled.

Jongin rubbed the back of his head and rolled his eyes, “Whatever helps you sleep at night.”

“Oh I sleep like a baby,” Kyungsoo challenged.

With the mood killed, Jongin moved to walk aimlessly down the hallway and Kyungsoo caught up instantly, linking his arm through Jongin’s and pulling him to a stop. “But seriously, thank you for the apology. I don’t want things to be all mushy between us, but I appreciate you telling me that. It means a lot.”

“So are we ever going to talk about it? You know, that night and you confessing to Baekhyun?” Jongin asked. He desperately wanted to get to the bottom of it all, to hear the words from Kyungsoo directly and not just from Junmyeon or Baekhyun. He needed to hear them to know they were real.

He felt Kyungsoo tense beside him and glanced at the incubus, taking in the way he stared at the ground and chewed on his lip before looking up at Jongin. He studied Jongin for a long time before he placed his hands on his cheeks and moved his thumbs over Jongin’s lips.

It happened so fast that Jongin didn’t know how to react, but suddenly Kyungsoo was pressing his lips against his thumbs and when he pulled away he had a troubled expression. “It’s not the same, but I don’t want to hurt you, okay? And that’s your answer, so can we please just drop it?”

Jongin nodded, since Kyungsoo still had his thumbs covering his lips. They stayed like that for a few more seconds before Kyungsoo backed away and smiled at Jongin cheerily, which earned one from Jongin in return. “I won’t bring it up anymore, I promise.”

“Thanks. And just so you know, I’m trying really hard to get used to you and Baekhyun, so like, for my sake, try not to be too gross?”

“This is all so fucked, isn’t it? Inviting your ex and his boyfriend to dinner because you happen to be best friends with his boyfriend,” Jongin laughed and Kyungsoo’s smile faltered a bit. He wanted to tell him that he and Baekhyun were considering letting him into the relationship, but Jongin knew he wasn’t ready and judging by the way Kyungsoo was looking at him right now, he wasn’t ready either. So, he pushed the thought away and swung an arm around Kyungsoo’s shoulders, changing the subject, “Did Junmyeon ever pass on my message?”

They walked around, not really going anywhere as Kyungsoo wasn’t leading Jongin and Jongin had no idea where anything was in his house. But Kyungsoo shook his head, “No, I didn’t get any messages from him, and by the way, when you were busy getting your brains fucked out by Mr. Sanguinarian, he turned out to be a good ally, so I take back what I said about witches, they’re not all bad.”

Jongin stopped walking and frowned. Was there something between witches and incubi? Where were the other incubi? Why was Kyungsoo the only one he had met so far? He whirled on him, hoping to get some information out of him, but Kyungsoo raised a finger to stop him dead in his tracks.

“Yeah, yeah, I know all about your recent research escapades, so here’s the quick and dirty. Demons are summoned by witches to do their bidding. A lot of us were enslaved for a while, until those kind of contracts were done away with because of Demon Rights. Now we’re our own people and all that jazz. So, a lot of us still aren’t too fond of witches, but, you know, old habits die hard.” Kyungsoo shrugged.

Well that made a lot of sense. Jongin snorted at how concise Kyungsoo was and shrugged his shoulders as well. He’d end up asking Baekhyun or Junmyeon for more information later since Kyungsoo was so dry with his recap of things. But, that still meant that Junmyeon hadn’t passed on Jongin’s message and now he had to pass it on and suddenly he felt incredibly embarrassed to do so. Things weren’t quite back to normal, but they were trying.

They awkwardly stared at each other until Kyungsoo sighed, patting Jongin on the shoulder and then trailing his hand down his back to grab a handful of his ass, which made Jongin jump and give him a bewildered look. “What the hell was that for?”

“Ass-grab tax.” He said playfully, and when Jongin didn’t respond, he added, “You need to relax, I told you everything is fine, so stop acting like you don’t belong or you’re afraid that Baekhyun is going to appear at any moment and catch you doing something wrong. He knows you’re here, he suggested it. He really looks out for you, okay?”

Honestly, that made Jongin calm down. He hadn’t realized that he’d been worried about Baekhyun waltzing in unexpected until Kyungsoo said something about it and the guilt he had been feeling earlier about not telling him morphed into mild shame. In that moment he promised himself that whenever he felt unsure, he would simply ask about it, instead of brooding over it and silently suffering.

He thought he had been keeping it from him, but it turned out that it was all planned by him and now Jongin was back to feeling like every aspect of his life was being controlled by someone other than him and he wanted to take matters into his own hands. He just wanted one sliver of control, but control was so hard for Baekhyun to give up.

So with that thought in mind, he sauntered over to Kyungsoo and looked him dead in the eye. A quick pass of his tongue over his bottom lip drew Kyungsoo’s gaze to his mouth and Jongin quite enjoyed the hunger that shone behind the icy blue irises. “So, you know how I had to babysit you and I kept losing my talisman?”

A smile crawled across Kyungsoo’s lips and he nodded, which let Jongin know he could continue. “Well, I can’t exactly lose this claim, so you know that means I’m not being affected by your nature, right?” He paused and waited for the realization to dawn in Kyungsoo’s face before saying, “And if I remember correctly, Baekhyun gets really hot and bothered by our interactions.”

Another nod, only this one was coupled with sinful delight.

“So, what if tonight... we work together to, I don’t know, mess with Baekhyun a bit? Just really get under his skin? Teach him a lesson.”

Kyungsoo’s smile grew devilish, “And why would I help you do that? I’m not getting anything out of this other than a case of orgasm denial.”

Jongin smirked, “Oh no, I’m going to take care of you and myself, but not him.”

“And what did I do to deserve that, my human?” Baekhyun’s voice came out of nowhere and Jongin jumped back from Kyungsoo, who looked like he was two shades lighter than a tomato, while Jongin felt like the heat of the sun suddenly emanated from his face.

Baekhyun closed the distance between him and Jongin and touched his chin, tilting it down towards him. “You know I don’t like sharing you, but,” he glanced at Kyungsoo and beckoned him and surprisingly, the incubus obeyed and stepped into their little circle, wide-eyed and suspicious. “Kyungsoo is a special case.”

Jongin watched the way Kyungsoo melted under Baekhyun’s fingers and he couldn’t deny the tiny bit of jealousy that pinched his heart. It wasn’t fair to feel like this and it was one of the reasons why he knew he wasn’t ready to open their relationship, but his dick, on the other hand, was really into it.

He could feel himself growing harder as Baekhyun’s long fingers caressed the side of Kyungsoo’s face and stopped at his throat, where he rested them, circling them around and pressed lightly, but enough to make Kyungsoo’s eyes flutter shut. It was hot, but made Jongin feel prickly inside. Yeah, he wasn’t ready in the slightest.

Jongin shifted and Baekhyun’s attention switched to him and with a single glance, he understood the way Jongin’s emotions coiled inside him, unsure about how he would handle interactions between him and Kyungsoo. It was a testament to how well they were beginning to understand each other, because Baekhyun gave him a tiny nod and a slight smile which did wonders to Jongin’s nerves. The tension in his shoulders loosened and he studied Kyungsoo even more closely, noticing the way his skin flushed and he leaned into Baekhyun’s grip. He really needed him and Jongin wasn’t sure how to feel about that.

Kyungsoo usually had such a hard exterior of sass and wit, but seeing him so vulnerable, gave Jongin conflicting thoughts and feelings. He looked back to Baekhyun and more understanding passed between them. Even with only the remnants of the relationship being so tattered, Jongin finally saw firsthand how much Kyungsoo needed contact. Not just sexual contact, but loving touches that showed him that he was cared about.

With a swift motion, Baekhyun stepped back and the look on Kyungsoo’s face flashed through surprise, and then confusion. The vampire nodded at Jongin and he reached for Kyungsoo, pulling him closer to him and they leaned their foreheads against each others. Jongin stared into the impossibly blue irises and found himself falling into them like he did with Baekhyun’s bottomless dark eyes. It was almost terrifying, but Kyungsoo’s mouth opened slightly at the gaze. He lifted his face and just as he rose to his toes, he blinked, pulling the mask back over his features.

He squinted at Baekhyun and then smiled ruefully at Jongin, “As long as we make him suffer, I’m in.”

And a tiny part of Jongin felt that he needed stop this before one of them got hurt. It always seemed to happen that way. Especially when Kyungsoo tried to feign that he was okay with everything, but Jongin could see the tiny cracks in his mask, the parts that showed him the smallest glimpse that something lurked beneath the surface. If he could, this time he’d make sure that no one got hurt. So Jongin unexpectedly pulled the incubus into a hug and spoke into his hair, “If this gets to be too much, tell me.”

When they separated, there were unsaid words between them, an understanding of mutual protection from almost certain destruction. Kyungsoo gave Jongin a thankful squeeze on the arm before turning to Baekhyun and sighing happily. “Well, now that everyone is here, lets eat!”

Jongin glanced to Baekhyun for permission? Or was it reassurance? He wasn’t sure, but whatever it was, Baekhyun smiled sweetly in response and then led the way, while Jongin and Kyungsoo fell behind. They were walking close enough for their hands to bump into each others and Jongin thought it was accidental at first. It happened a few times before he grabbed Kyungsoo’s hand and laced his fingers through without looking at him, but the incubus tightened his grip for a moment before letting his hand go slack. Something had changed between them and Jongin was determined to protect it and by extension himself.

They broke contact when they entered the dining room and Jongin had to stifle a gasp. Kyungsoo’s dining room was more like a dining hall. It had a long table, with only three places set up, but the rest still had placemats in front of them. On the table, aside from the dishes that were still steaming and making Jongin’s mouth water, was a beautiful centerpiece made from ice.

The sculpture wasn’t melting, so that meant it was kept in pristine condition by magic and seeing as Kyungsoo’s only magic was lust related, Jongin wondered where he had gotten the piece. It was abstract like most of the paintings in the home, but it had long icy tendrils swirling around it, like it was a bud for a flower that was nearly about to bloom. Jongin was mesmerized by it, following the lines and the small bubbles in the structure from peak to base and then back. His brain couldn’t quite make sense of it, but it left him feeling pleased and content.

It was Baekhyun who guided him to a chair, because Jongin was just too caught up in the grandeur to keep walking. He wanted to take in every detail and appreciate it. From the way the lights dimmed slightly to a comfortable evening glow to the way the ivory silk drapes closed as the setting sun shone through the tinted windows. It was definitely a vampire’s mansion and more and more Jongin was suspecting that either Baekhyun had bought it or Kyungsoo had made sure to have all the amenities that would let Baekhyun be comfortable when he was here.

It led Jongin’s thoughts to what the two did when they were here before Jongin came into the picture. Were they domestic like Jongin and Baekhyun were at his place, or was it just for Kyungsoo to feed? Jongin knew it wasn’t the latter because of the way Baekhyun caressed Kyungsoo like he was the most fragile pieces of glass, and the way Kyungsoo responded to those touches. But he couldn’t ignore the looks between them. The ones laced with pain and hesitance that only smoothed over when they glanced to Jongin.

He felt like a catalyst. Like because of him everything fell in motion and yet at the same time everything grew still. When Baekhyun looked at him, the softness and love was still there, it was no different than the way he looked at Kyungsoo except for the lack of hurt, and Jongin grew more unsure. But, what hurt the most was the way Kyungsoo would go blank or stoic when he caught them gazing at each other.

Jongin tried not to, he really did, but he could not deny the fact that Baekhyun looked amazing tonight with the royal blue silk blouse hanging loose over the waistband of his impossibly tight slacks. He couldn’t stop staring at the way his coppery hair had fallen so naturally around his temples in a way that made Jongin want to run his fingers through it. And it was damn near impossible not to follow the chain of the black crucifix he wore as it moved over the muscles of his chest only hidden by a single rope of fabric that kept the v-neck of the shirt closed.

Jongin wanted to pull the string, to let it fall open and plant his mouth on Baekhyun’s chest, marking him with his human bite, and relish in the way he moaned, but he was here to fix things, not climb on top of Baekhyun and ride him into the night. So, he turned his attention to Kyungsoo and the same fluttering of his heart began.

It was incredibly unfair, because he knew that he and Kyungsoo were going to put on a show but how much of it would be a show and how much of it would be real? Because he simply could not lie to himself and say that he didn’t want Kyungsoo too. He did. He really did. And as he watched Kyungsoo while Baekhyun led him to the table he found himself following the swell of his plush lips and wish he could feel them. He knew he couldn’t, but it didn’t stop the desire.

He sighed as he rounded the table and sat on the other side of Kyungsoo, leaving Baekhyun with a perfect view of the incubus. Jongin wasn’t sure why he was doing this way, but he knew that for Baekhyun’s benefit, it would get him more frustrated if he saw Jongin handling him rather than the other way around. So, as he sat down, he made sure, to graze Kyungsoo’s arm and draw his attention to him.

If it was going to be a show for his darling vampire, well, damnit, Jongin was going to make it the best one yet. He crossed his legs, and toyed with Kyungsoo’s calf, all while giving him bedroom eyes and beckoning him. Kyungsoo followed his lead and the two of them pulled their chairs closer together, touching each other’s thighs and ghosting their lips over each other’s necks.

A committal sound brought Jongin’s gaze to Baekhyun’s for a split second, but he returned his gaze to Kyungsoo and brushed the side of his face against Kyungsoo’s and breathed, “I’m going to fuck you so good.”

He felt the shudder run through Kyungsoo’s body and nipped at his ear, tangling his fingers into his hair and pulling slightly. He flicked his eyes at Baekhyun, drinking in the way his eyes grew hooded and then licked a stripe up Kyungsoo’s neck. “Mine,” he growled and the smallest gasp left Kyungsoo’s throat.

He was so caught up in the lust and desire, that when the servants entered the room and began serving, Jongin continued with his little show. He pulled Kyungsoo’s head to the side and peppered soft kisses from his jaw to his clavicle. The incubus shifted in his chair until Jongin forced his knee between his legs and pulled him on top.

Kyungsoo rutted on his thigh, moaning quietly, mouth open and his eyes glossy. He was gone, so far gone, and Jongin could only take pride in the way Kyungsoo looked so completely out of his mind without having even touched him. He guided his hips, slowing him down and making sure to give just a hair beneath the pressure that Kyungsoo wanted. Yes, he wanted to drive him wild. He wanted to leave him drunk off him.

Sliding his hands up Kyungsoo’s shirt, he lifted it over his head and tossed it aside. Kyungsoo was flushed, a pale blotchy pink spreading across his chest, up his neck and leaving his cheeks one of the most delectable shades of pink. A thin mist of perspiration coated his skin as he continued to move painstakingly slow on Jongin’s thigh and when a whine erupted, Jongin decided to give in a bit more.

He was already impossibly hard and leaking. And the way Kyungsoo looked only made it more difficult for Jongin not to explode right then. The incubus clawed at his shirt, so Jongin let him yank of off him roughly. Lips found themselves fixed to his shoulder and Jongin moaned deep in his chest.

Shifting in the chair once again, Jongin could now feel Kyungsoo’s erection flush against his. Only the fabric of their jeans separated him from the heat of his skin and Jongin was thankful because he was throbbing so badly. He ached to be inside Kyungsoo, to feel his hot walls surround him and to hear his moans become whines and pants.

A loud exhale pulled Jongin’s attention back to Baekhyun for a second and he had to bite back a groan. The vampire was palming himself with one hand while the other was under the silky fabric of his shirt, working himself up.

Kyungsoo murmured in Jongin’s ear, “Focus on me.”

Just like that, Jongin returned his gaze back to Kyungsoo’s. His icy blue eyes were darker, deeper and Jongin was being swallowed up by them. He twined his fingers at Kyungsoo’s nape and mouthed along his jaw, aching to kiss him, but know that he could not. “I want you so bad,” he said.

“Then show me,” Kyungsoo replied and played at the button fastening Jongin’s pants.

A different hunger grew inside Jongin and he knew it was not his own. He felt the hum of the claim and let his eyes draw lines down Kyungsoo’s perfect body. He followed the slope of his shoulders, the slight dip of his hips and landed on the twitching bulge in his trousers.

Kyungsoo had a pretty cock, this much was already known, but once Jongin had freed it from it’s prison he could not help but drop to his knees and take it into his mouth. He loved the way he tasted, the silkiness of his skin, the slight musky scent at his base. All of these things Jongin loved, but as he looked up at Kyungsoo, meeting his gaze a flood of emotions coursed through him.

He gripped his thighs, holding him deeper in his mouth, he wanted to please him, not just from incubus pheromones, or anything to do with his powers, no he wanted to do this, because he cared for him. He brought his hand up to stroke him while he tongued at Kyungsoo’s tip. He swirled around it, lapping at his frenulum, pulling a shuddering moan from him and Jongin smiled.

He rose to his feet, kissing and tasting Kyungsoo the whole way up, making sure to kiss along his jaw, his cheeks, and finally his forehead. He wanted to show him that he wanted him. Shoving the forgotten food aside, Jongin helped Kyungsoo onto the table, caressing the insides of his thighs.

A bottle of lube was procured from somewhere, as Baekhyun held it out for Jongin and he poured a little in his palm to warm it before slicking Kyungsoo’s entrance. He slipped a finger inside at Kyungsoo’s request and found him rather prepped already. So, another digit followed the first one and Jongin began stroking himself with his free hand.

“You look so good like that, Kyungsoo,” he said.

Kyungsoo smiled at him, and held his legs a bit wider. He still looked positively blissed out, but also so incredibly happy that Jongin could hardly wait to take the first plunge. The way Kyungsoo’s rim eagerly took him in almost made Jongin climax right then and there. So, he paused, feeling the ring of muscles clench around him.

Slowly, Jongin pushed all the way inside, gasping as his hips met Kyungsoo’s ass and he froze there. It was almost too stimulating. Somehow without the effects of Kyungsoo’s lust-fueled powers, this moment just felt so intense. Jongin gradually slid out halfway, hissing under his breath while Kyungsoo groaned, pulling his legs tighter to his chest.

“Please,” he begged and Jongin wasn’t sure what he wanted, but he leaned down and let Kyungsoo’s arm snake around him as he built up speed.

“Whatever you want,” Jongin murmured and he slipped his arms under Kyungsoo, holding him close and kissing the side of his face, his hair, everywhere but where he wanted to kiss him.

It was hard really, forcing himself to hold back like this, because he knew that with Baekhyun he could feel his lips whenever he wanted, but Kyungsoo was different. It was a matter of life or death and Jongin was scared he might mess up. So, he moved his kisses to Kyungsoo’s neck. But somehow he kept getting drawn to his face.

“Turn around,” he said, pulling out of Kyungsoo completely and stepping back.

He needed to make this safe somehow. So as Kyungsoo leaned over the back of the chair, Jongin entered him again and held him flush against his chest. They found a smooth rhythm and Jongin clung to Kyungsoo, pressing him harder into him, trying with all his might to just show Kyungsoo that he had feelings and that they were real.

Legs trembled and Jongin’s thrusts grew random. He grunted, canting his hips and soon after he came with a quiet moan. He stood there, cock growing soft but not ready to separate yet. He kissed the backs of Kyungsoo’s shoulder, whispering sweet words and nuzzling him until the incubus sagged in his arms.

He guided him gently to the chair and then suddenly remembering that Baekhyun was there, he turned to find the vampire staring at both of them with a curious expression. Nothing was said between the three of them, other than a few short words about finally eating the food, so Jongin fell into his thoughts, unsure how to feel about what had just happened.

When they finished their meal, Jongin remained at the table while the servants cleared away the dishes, none of them commenting on the fact that he and Kyungsoo were half naked -- having put their shirts on but not their bottoms. He stared at the smooth wood surface, following the swirls of the grain and sighing. Kyungsoo hardly looked at him at all during the dinner and Jongin wasn’t sure if it was because of how everything had changed, or because of the way that Baekhyun was watching the two of them like a hawk.

So, as he sat by himself ruminating over it, he realized that he needed to come clean with himself about the nature of his feelings. He knew he was falling, he just wasn’t sure how fast it would happen or why it always seemed that he experienced the most intense feelings during moments of intimacy. He had wanted to tell Kyungsoo. He had desperately wanted to confess to him that he wasn’t just happy with remaining friends -- best friends who also fooled around? Whatever they were. He wanted to express to him that he desired more, but he couldn’t.

Because he still wasn’t sure how much of it was his own feelings, how much of it was influenced by the fact that he knew how Kyungsoo felt, or most importantly, how much of it was influenced by the claim. It was all so confusing.

He wished he could ask someone and get clarification, but he knew it was something that he needed to figure out within himself, so when Baekhyun returned to the room after getting Kyungsoo into bed, Jongin perked up a bit. He tried to hide his thoughts, but the vampire knew him better than that and simply pulled Jongin to his feet and enveloped him in an embrace.

“It’s okay, it’s all okay, Jongin,” Baekhyun said.

“How do you know?” Jongin asked, biting his lip and pulling out of the hug. “How can you say that? You saw him avoiding me. I fucked up somehow, I --”

Lips closed over his and Jongin melted into the kiss. He glided his mouth over Baekhyun’s, sliding his tongue into parted lips and deepening the kiss. He needed this. He needed this reassurance, this support. Somehow Baekhyun always knew how to calm his mind when it got to be too much for him.

Tangling his fingers into the silk of Baekhyun’s shirt, he breathed him in, devouring him, pleading with him to understand the thoughts in his head. It was torturous to want something and know he couldn’t act on it and it was then that he finally understood Baekhyun completely. It was clear to him. And Jongin knew he was wrong to forbid Baekhyun from seeing Kyungsoo. How could he have been so selfish? How could he deny Kyungsoo the contact he craved -- not of lust, but of love. How could he do that, while being the one to receive and give it so freely while Kyungsoo had to watch.

He felt so horrible for doing that, for ignoring the way his friend had silently suffered while trying his hardest to be happy for him and all Jongin did was rub it in his face. Baekhyun pulled at his lip and Jongin shuddered, returning from his thoughts. He loved Baekhyun so much, but he needed to admit that he was falling for Kyungsoo and that he had been so incredibly shitty to him all this time.

They stood there in the hallway, kissing slowly, passionately, until a sound behind them made them pull apart. Jongin turned and saw Kyungsoo standing there, billowing thin shirt falling to his thighs and looking like he desperately wanted the same kind of affection that Jongin was just receiving.

Without thinking, Jongin crossed the few feet that separated them and in the same fashion as earlier, he cupped Kyungsoo’s jaw, placing his thumbs over his lips and kissed the backs of his knuckles. He then angled to the side and placed another kiss on Kyungsoo’s temple, before folding him into a hug. Another set of arms joined in and the three were standing there, swaying slightly before Kyungsoo perked up.

“Baekhyun, your boner is stabbing me in the ass,” Kyungsoo stated and pulled out of the hug.

“He can’t even handle us hugging, it’s a wonder he didn’t join us earlier,” Jongin teased, testing Kyungsoo’s reaction.

The incubus laughed and rolled his eyes, “He was too busy enjoying the show of a lifetime and getting his rocks off.”

“I’m not going to deny any part of that statement,” Baekhyun added. He looked between the two of them and raised an eyebrow, “Now, if you both keep standing there half-naked I might make good on that offer.”

Jongin chuckled and then looked down at himself. The idea of Baekhyun being a part of their debauchery was an appealing idea, but he was still a bit unsure. However, once again, his dick liked the thought, so he was sporting a half-erection and Kyungsoo’s gaze followed his and the three of them all laughed. “Maybe we should put some clothes on?”

Kyungsoo shook his head and walked his his hips forward towards Jongin and swung his cock at Jongin’s, saying, “I’m up for a sword fight.”

Feeling playful, Jongin said, “Oh really? En garde!” He jumped into horse-stance and beckoned Kyungsoo towards him with one hand.

Kyungsoo took on the crane-stance and cried out as if he were in an old wuxia film as he waddled towards Jongin, hips jutted forward. They circled each other, false determination in their eyes while Baekhyun watched them both, deadpanning and shaking his head.

“Why do I put up with both of you?”

All Jongin could do was burst into loud guffaws as he and Kyungsoo swung their hips, knocking their half-soft dicks into each others. It was silly, but sometimes people needed silliness to help fix the mood.

So while things weren’t totally perfect yet, the dinner had gone well in its own way and Jongin was on cloud nine when he thought about the prospective future. If the three of them could have fun and behave mostly like adults around each other, then perhaps things would progress much quicker than he thought they would. All in all, he felt happy for the first time in a while.




Back home, Jongin collapsed onto the sofa, ignoring the sounds of protest from Junmyeon. He was utterly drained of all energy from the day’s events and even though Baekhyun had offered to take him back to his place, Jongin knew he needed to finish some assignments if he was going to even dream of getting next week off.

Still, the cushion of the sofa felt great enough for Jongin to fall asleep right there and he would have if Junmyeon hadn’t shoved his feet off and sat down next to him.

“I’ve booked our hotel for next week, be sure to tell your boyfriends that you’re going to be gone all week next week.”

Jongin wanted to say something about the fact that Junmyeon called both Kyungsoo and Baekhyun his boyfriends, but he didn’t, because he quite liked the idea. Well, he liked it even more now. Still, he snapped up and gaped at him, “Already? How did you do that so fast?”

Junmyeon started to answer when a knock sounded on the front door at the same time that Jongin’s room door opened. Jongin rubbernecked between the two and groaned. What was it now?

“What’s this I hear about you being gone next week?” Baekhyun said as he exited Jongin’s room, looking positively fresh and showered.

Jongin frowned at him, “Not that I’m not happy to see you, but…”

“I wanted to make sure you got home safely,” he replied, ruffling Jongin’s hair and then heading to the front door which he then opened.

“What happened to texting? You know you could always do that or call me?” Jongin sighed and then gaped when he saw Kyungsoo enter from outside. “Okay, again, really not complaining, but I just got home and now you’re both here?”

Kyungsoo raised an eyebrow and plopped down between Junmyeon and Jongin. He kicked his feet up on the coffee table and settled himself comfortably before saying, “Got bored, wanted to see what drama was going to come find you next.”

“Oh my god,” Jongin whispered and flopped back against the sofa dramatically. He actually could not believe that this was how his night was going to end.

“Now that everyone is here,” Junmyeon started and when Jongin attempted to swat at him over Kyungsoo, the incubus aided him by passing it on and Junmyeon gave them both a glare that could freeze oceans. “Next week, we’re going to meet the Coven, so Baekhyun, Kyungsoo, if you guys have any last words to say to Jongin before he goes MIA, I suggest you do so now.”

Instead of hearing either of them protest, he felt Kyungsoo shoot up from the sofa and shout, “Yes, road trip!”

“You’re not even going,” Jongin groaned and rubbed his temples. He was beginning to get a headache and his anxiety over meeting the Coven had returned. He couldn’t believe he had forgotten to even mention it at the dinner, but well, he was quite preoccupied.

“Like hell I’m not, I love the French Quarter!” Kyungsoo said and then sat back down, except this time he flung an arm around both Junmyeon and Jongin and pulled them close. “We’re going to have so much fun, just the three of us.”

As usual, not being one to be left out, Baekhyun cleared his throat and Jongin opened one eye and peeked at him, “I take it you’re coming, too?”

Baekhyun’s eyes darkened and he side-eyed Junmyeon before saying, “Someone has to keep you safe while you’re there. Plus, I can arrange a meeting with the Madame about preparing you for the change. You’ll love the Vampire Court, you’ll get to learn everything there is to being a vampire while you’re there.”

There it was again. Jongin sat up straight and stared at the blank screen of the television reflecting everyone back at him. How had his life gone from worrying about the next homework assignment to now worrying about whatever connection he had to the coven and his impending transition from walking with Day Worlders to becoming a complete citizen of the Night World?

Fate was surely testing him now. He sighed and stood up. “I’m going to my room to decompress. You three figure out the room situation.”

With that said, he disappeared down the hallway and fell face first into his sheets. He curled into them, not realizing how much he missed them and felt his throat tighten. He was beginning to feel overwhelmed all over again, but like clockwork, he felt Baekhyun’s fingers press gently on his back.

He rolled over and pursed his lips, “Is this how it’s always going to be?”

Baekhyun furrowed his brows and then sat down beside Jongin. He pulled him closer and shook his head, “No, and if you don’t want to do something, you can say no. No one is forcing you to do things, Jongin. I will make sure of it.”

It didn’t feel that way, because lately it was as if any time something went wrong, Night Worlders came to him or he was being pulled more into it. It wasn’t that he didn’t want that, but he really needed some time to process everything. He sighed and adjusted his head on Baekhyun’s lap, “Yeah, but you’re part of the problem…”

Baekhyun’s face iced over for a second, but then he forced a smile, “Is this about the change? Or do you not want me to go?”

“No. No, it’s not that. It’s just...I miss the novelty of it all. I miss being suspicious about if Junmyeon was a witch, and following the Night World blog and speculating and all the glamour of it all,” he sighed.

It was true, he missed the way he used to feel about the Night World. The awe that was inspired, the curiosity, the love he felt for it. Now it felt a bit like work and well… quite stressful.

“That’s life, my human. This is the life we Night Worlders live, the life I want to share with you completely,” Baekhyun replied, rubbing soothing circles into Jongin’s back. “Life isn’t all glitter and gold, it has consequences and it has parts that aren’t so fun. But, don’t let that steal away your spark. That’s what makes you, you.”

Jongin nodded but didn’t say anything. Baekhyun’s words did help him feel a bit better. Actually, the more he thought about it the less stressed he felt. It would be like a vacation. He would get a week off to not worry about school, get to travel somewhere he had never been before and well even if he had to go to meetings, he would still have time to explore the city.

He had read about the French Quarter. He knew it had a rich history tangled with the Night World, so it definitely wouldn’t be all bad. He would discover his roots, maybe fool around with some voodoo, or even -- he would see a new kind of Night Worlder that he hadn’t experienced yet!

Baekhyun smiled at him and then caressed his hair, “See, it’s already back. That spark that I love so much.”

Jongin sat up and nodded, “Let’s do this.”



The French Quarter: the oldest district in New Orleans, where the Night World and the Day World collided. It matters not which side of the clock you fall on, because here, creatures of the night and patrons of the day come together to experience the magic that makes these two worlds so wonderful. Human, vampire, werewolf, witch, demon, what have you, if you’ve got a penchant for the night, or lurk in the shadows, the city welcomes you to stay for a while...

Chapter Text

 

The week leading up to the trip was surprisingly quiet. Almost too quiet. In fact, it was so unusually calm and utterly uninteresting that Jongin started looking for trouble just to keep himself entertained. This was how he ended up being tied to a chair in the middle of a dark room with a blindfold over his eyes. Just a typical day for good old Jongin. He could not have rolled his eyes any harder as the thought passed through his mind.

Now, on any other occasion, Jongin would have been worried, perhaps even scared, but he knew that if he was in any kind of trouble his claim would send out an SOS and Baekhyun would be there in a second. That was if he wasn’t tied down by the very creator of the claim itself. It was a nifty little feature that Baekhyun hadn’t mentioned to him until he had sent one out after reading the false information not too long ago. Nifty but also kind of helicopter-parent-ish. Not that Baekhyun was his parent. That’d be gross.

“My sweet human…” Baekhyun began, voice low in his chest. He sounded far away but also as if he was right beside Jongin.

Jongin could hear the clacking of his footsteps on the stone floor, approaching which meant Baekhyun was trying to work him up on purpose. Boy, was it working. Jongin felt his pulse quicken as Baekhyun grew nearer. It was enough for him to be able to breathe in his scent which sent tingles down to his toes. He tried to look around, feeling the ends of the blindfold tickle the back of his neck, but it was futile. His breath hitched when he felt a single finger press into his thigh and slide up. He was in for it now.

“You’ve been putting your nose in places it doesn’t belong,” Baekhyun purred.

He added the rest of his fingers and his palm to the spot on Jongin’s thigh and squeezed before gliding it up the side of Jongin’s torso and across the backs of his shoulders. It was electrifying. He stopped and placed both hands there and pulled Jongin against the back of the chair harder. Jongin swallowed thickly.

“I don’t want to have to punish you, but,” he stopped and whipped the chair around, showing off his superior strength, leaving Jongin breathless for a second. “You leave me no choice.”

Jongin pulled against the silk that tied his hands together behind his back and let out a nervous giggle. So maybe Baekhyun sounded a tiny bit menacing right now and Jongin wasn’t sure if he was ready for what he had gotten himself into. Baekhyun had mentioned something to him about wanting to expand their sex life into less vanilla type things, but he had never specified what exactly. Tieing Jongin up was new, to say the least, and as Jongin squirmed, he could practically hear Baekhyun’s boner growing. He must have looked like a whole snack.

That thought was only confirmed by the wave of totally encompassing lust that passed through the claim when Jongin bit his lip. Baekhyun liked it when he did that so Jongin made sure to do it often. Still, it wouldn’t exactly get him out of his current predicament. Nope. Nothing was going to do that. He’d gotten himself here all on his own, so he had no one to blame but himself.

Perhaps he shouldn’t have been snooping around in Baekhyun’s desk, or rooting through boxes he had found in Baekhyun’s cellar, or maybe it was the fact that Baekhyun had caught him red-handed. It was just that Baekhyun had taken to acting rather strange after he visited the Madame a few days ago. He was pouncing on Jongin at every chance he got, pinning him to walls to nip at his neck playfully and hike his legs up around his waist only to completely back off a few seconds later with a cheery smile and dark eyes that only left Jongin more frustrated than before.

Couple Baekhyun’s sudden increase in teasing Jongin to the edge but never letting him go over it, with his newfound closeness to Junmyeon and Kyungsoo and Jongin was beginning to suspect something was up. Something big. Something that had him trying to hide things from their connection through the claim. It somewhat explained his increased drive, being that his lust came through more clearly than the muddied and muted thoughts of his mind, but Jongin was catching tiny glimpses of anxiety about the trip and it made his suspicions deepen.

Not only that, but with Jongin’s digging through Baekhyun’s belonging he was finding tiny hints and clues that linked the vampire to something rather grand. Small silver rings encrusted with jewels and seals made to be pressed into wax. They looked vaguely French-Creole and it was with one of those in one hand and his phone in the other, that Baekhyun had caught him with.

The vampire had made a snide remark about Jongin having his phone but not answering the group text that Junmyeon had set up for the trip, that caused Jongin to falter. He couldn’t help but ignore the conversation however because Kyungsoo and Junmyeon were consistently egging each other on about their choice in hotel. At one point, Jongin had checked his phone after a single-block class only to find over 300 new texts.

It didn’t help that Baekhyun would spend his time switching sides and adding fuel to the fire between the witch and incubus with a few well timed emojis and little quips that Jongin had to admit were hilarious but also cute. He had also taken to signing each message with a little vampire face until Kyungsoo turned on him and by making his signature a little devil-horned person followed by an eggplant. That had spurred a conversation about what the emojis meant and Jongin had to remove himself from the group at Junmyeon’s naivety.

In the end, they never fully decided on a place to stay because Kyungsoo wanted to be close to the nightlife, while Junmyeon wanted to be out by the plantation homes that were near his coven. So they settled on a well-known hotel, last minute, when Baekhyun suggested that they all stay at the court. Neither witch nor incubus wanted to do that for their own personal reasons.

Of course, Jongin didn’t have an opinion on that, he just wanted to get the whole meeting over with so he could explore and have a little fun, so he simply turned off the notifications. That had led to Baekhyun calling him and texting him which Jongin had glanced at but was too busy being elbow deep in historical records that Baekhyun had locked in a room he had found behind one of the bookshelves. The castle legitimately had a secret passage. Go figure.

Still, finding an actual secret passage to a room had been the highlight of Jongin’s morning. He had skipped the last day of classes in exchange for snooping but told no one of his plans. One couldn’t be a sneaky ninja if they told everyone his location. Channeling his inner shinobi , Jongin crept around the castle, narrowly avoiding contact with Baekhyun’s vampire staff and dipping around corners, imagining intense music playing in his head.

Jongin only wanted to learn a bit more about Baekhyun and his maker before meeting them. Sure, he could have asked Baekhyun to tell him more, but that would be boring and would not require Jongin’s ninja skills -- which he adamantly believed to be top tier. So maybe he couldn’t spider-crawl up walls or disappear in a puff of smoke, but who needed that when he knew he could execute perfect somersaults and dash from hiding place to hiding place without being caught. It was the ultimate test of his skills because Baekhyun had mentioned something about running errands as he left that morning, so Jongin knew that this was his chance. He just hadn’t expected that Baekhyun would be back so soon or that he would appear in the room, with supplies to tie Jongin up.

”You were supposed to be in class today, no?”

Jongin nodded his head but said nothing. Class, smlash. There was a feather-light brush over Jongin’s lips by a cool thumb and that sent Jongin’s body into a frenzy. His heart was beating so fast in his chest that he had to lace his fingers together to keep from squirming too much. This was the thrill he was seeking all week. He hadn’t realized how used to all the constant drama he was. How much he craved that rush of adrenaline from meeting new people and being in precarious situations.

In fact, in the week that had passed, Jongin had spent all his free time in Club Isis only to discover that the patrons available for interviews were all people he had met. Not that he was averse to spending time with the fire jinn, Chanyeol. He had grown quite fond of him in their frequent chats, but even that had not satisfied the itch.

It didn’t help that Kyungsoo had decided to take up residence at his dorm between Jongin’s classes either. The incubus spent most of his time there antagonizing Junmyeon which was entertaining at first.

Especially when Junmyeon had caught Kyungsoo lounging on the sofa with Jongin, his hand down his pants and Jongin in the throes of a near orgasm. Things had gotten complicated between them. Kyungsoo had refused to acknowledge the thumb kisses they had given each other and played it off as casual friends having the occasional emotional weakness, but Jongin knew it was something more.

Still, that did not stop Junmyeon from freezing the air with his anger, thoroughly startling both of them enough for Jongin to climax against his own will. It had come as a surprise to all of them and had mortified Jongin and Junmyeon, but Kyungsoo had thought it was the funniest thing ever and wouldn’t let either of them live it down.

But, Jongin quickly grew tired of their constant bickering and he ended up spending most of last night with Baekhyun to get away from it. He had called him to come pick him up and when Baekhyun appeared in the corner of his room, he could not get away fast enough. Going to Baekhyun’s had come with its own challenges, namely Baekhyun’s newfound and seemingly endless lust for Jongin and the traces of something hidden which started this whole fiasco in the first place.

Arms braced either side of Jongin and he shifted in the chair. The heat from Baekhyun’s body rolled off him in waves, causing Jongin to lean forward and try to touch him with his face, but the vampire evaded him.

“Okay, Baekhyun, I get it. Please take the blindfold off me.”

“No, no, my sweet human,” Baekhyun breathed, his voice hardly above a low growl in his chest. “I’m going to make you suffer.”

Jongin groaned loudly in protest. So he had royally fucked up. To be honest, he had entertained the idea of being tied up by Baekhyun and the idea was quite hot, but not like this. Okay, well exactly like this, because Jongin’s pants were beginning to feel tighter by the second and Baekhyun had barely even touched him.

He turned his head again when he felt Baekhyun’s hand graze over his chest. Already his nipples were constricting into tiny nubs, so sensitive that even the lightest of touches garnered a gasp from him.

“I -- ah! This isn’t fair , Baekhyun,” Jongin hissed when the hand dipped lower, cupping his crotch and giving it a gentle squeeze. Heat permeated every pore, misting his skin and making him wiggle in the chair. He was so turned on. Baekhyun knew just how to send him into the haze of lust.

“Is that so?” Baekhyun purred, removing his touch which left Jongin rutting into thin air. Not again.

“No. Nope. Not at all. I was embodying my inner ninja, not conducting espionage. This is torture,” Jongin panted. He shifted in the chair, feeling his aching erection throb against his jeans with every heartbeat. He wanted Baekhyun’s heated touch so badly.

“Ah, but you know that I said I’d tell you anything you wanted, right?” Baekhyun said, his tone taking on a lighter note. “No more secrets, we promised that.”

“Uh huh,” Jongin breathed.

When he felt Baekhyun’s gentle kiss on his forehead he preened on the inside. It seemed that his suffering was coming to an end, and he could help but smile. Somehow he always got his way with the vampire, whether he intended to or not.

Suddenly blindfold was removed from Jongin’s face with the utmost care and Jongin blinked a few times as his eyes adjusted to the dim lighting of the study. He heard the crackling of the fireplace for the first time and wondered if the blindfold was charmed because he certainly should have heard it, unless Baekhyun had just started it. He gazed at it quizzically and then finally glanced up at Baekhyun who was staring at him with a mixture of softness and desire.

“I adore you so much, Jongin,” Baekhyun whispered, caressing the curve of Jongin’s jaw with his index. “That’s why I want you to be able to watch what I’m about to do.”

Jongin wet his lips in anticipation as Baekhyun nudged his legs apart with his knee. Just that act alone had Jongin biting his lip to the point where he broke the skin. Baekhyun honed in on the first drop of blood like -- well, a vampire -- and sucked gently on Jongin’s bottom lip before pulled away, gaze heavy and dark.

“Are you…. Are you into this?” Jongin asked, playing coy. Of course, he knew Baekhyun was more than into binding Jongin to the chair. He could see the evidence made apparent by his tight trousers that left absolutely nothing to the imagination. The very outline of Baekhyun’s cock was practically throbbing and Jongin had to admit he kind of wanted it in his mouth at the moment.

“More than you know, my Jongin,” Baekhyun whispered as passed his pink tongue over his lips, savoring the last laste of Jongin’s blood. He then leaned down to hover over Jongin’s shoulder, nuzzling deep into his neck, teeth teasing the sensitive skin.

Jongin shuddered and leaned into Baekhyun as much as he could. He wanted the pressure, the weight of Baekhyun’s body on his. He was overwashed with the desire to be bitten by him and it was then that he realized that Baekhyun hadn’t fed from him for the entire week. He’d been trapped against the wall, fucked senseless into Baekhyun’s mattress, cuddled in the tub, showered with kisses and little touches at breakfast, but not a single bite.

“Something wrong? Are your wrists tied to tight? Shall I loosen the silk?” Baekhyun’s face was full of concern as touched Jongin’s shoulder, hands ready to release the bindings.

Jongin shook his head and a peculiar wave of unease crashed into him. Baekhyun had been acting so ravenous, but never acted on it. Something was definitely going on. “Why haven’t you drank from me?” As soon as the words left his mouth he felt like a whiny petulant child, but oh well, the words were out now.

A chuckle erupted from Baekhyun and he had to step back as another roll of giggles poured out of him. When he calmed himself, he gave Jongin a smile and knelt between his legs, draping his arms over his legs and hugging him. “Humans need breaks from being fed on or they risk the chance of becoming a… um, how should I put this lightly?”

Jongin raised an eyebrow and gave Baekhyun a look that said continue. He knew about the human donors that vampires fed on from Sehun. It was something that vampires had kept under wraps for quite some time. It wasn't like they could openly parade themselves to the human world, so the humans that decided it was worth it to join the twilight of the Night World were kept in places like Baekhyun's club.

Donors couldn't exactly walk around amongst the Day Worlders because of their consistent high state. It would draw too much attention and Jongin was very familiar with this feeling. Still, he couldn't imagine being in that state perpetually. Sure it felt good, but it also came with a lack of control that he was not too keen on. That and the stigma against them was another aspect he didn't enjoy. Fang Bangers. Just the name held a connotation that was unsavory.

Baekhyun pulled Jongin from his thoughts by walking his fingers up his leg. "Blood Volunteers? Perhaps that's the phrase I should use..." he trailed off as his gaze slipped over to the fireplace in thought.

"You mean donors?" Jongin said in a quiet voice. From watching the way the fire danced in Baekhyun's dark eyes, he could almost feel a tinge of something sad as Baekhyun’s carefully constructed guard slipped for just a second.

The vampire turned towards him, expression unreadable but placid as he snaked his arms around Jongin's waist and buried his face in his legs. Jongin smiled down at him, enjoying this rare moment of Baekhyun being so snuggly, but he knew it was covering up something that he was hiding. Still, Jongin wanted to tangle his fingers in that deep red hair, but seeing as they were tied behind his back, he settled for giving Baekhyun a squeeze with his legs.

After a few moments of Baekhyun lightly nipping at Jongin's thighs, he looked up, eyes ablaze. "Donors, right. It sounds innocuous enough, but they lead rather uh..." his voice died again as he pushed to his knees and took Jongin's face in his hands. He was distracted -- or trying really hard to distract himself judging by the rapid and intense swirling of emotions that leaked through the claim. Jongin couldn’t catch a single solid concept, but that didn’t matter because Baekhyun was climbing onto Jongin’s lap.

They kissed with dizzying force, leaving Jongin breathless and weak by the time Baekhyun released him. He had half a mind to ask him what had gotten into him but at the same time, he was enjoying the affection. He nibbled at Baekhyun's jaw while the vampire spoke in a thick voice against his collarbone.

"Donors give up their autonomy when they come to the Night World. It's all consensual via contract here, well at least at Club Isis it's like that. They sign the contract, are given their feeding days and then live amongst us, enjoying the side effects of constant bliss. Most of them are quite happy, and they're well taken care of. They get breaks and vacations and don't have to worry about living expenses so long as they remain under contract. They-- oh!"

Jongin had brought his mouth down to that sensitive spot on Baekhyun's neck and was lapping at it, teasing him as much as he was being teased. He playfully bit down on the sensitive skin, eliciting a breathy and shocked moan from the vampire. He knew how much Baekhyun enjoyed being bitten.

Baekhyun cleared his throat and pulled away from Jongin, his mannerisms altered by the haze of desire. He moved slowly, deliberately, as he tore off Jongin's shirt, literally. The sound of ripping fabric would have surprised Jongin if it weren't for the fact that Baekhyun had taken quite a liking to destroying Jongin's clothes any chance he got. It wasn't that big of a deal, because, with as much money as Baekhyun had and the connections he had, Jongin's clothes were not only frequently replaced, but also growing with an uncanny voracity.

A single pale digit ran down Jongin's sternum, stopping just at the waist of his jeans and then quickly unbuttoning them. Jongin hardly had time to react before his pants were off him and he was sitting completely naked on the chair. He glanced down in surprise and then back at Baekhyun who was now stripping himself from the waist down. That was all it took for Jongin's dick to stand at attention.

The sultry way Baekhyun unlaced his pants, dragging them painstakingly slow down delicious thighs that Jongin quite honestly wanted to bite into, and releasing his own erection bobbing slightly and glistening with precum at the reddened tip had Jongin squirming. He couldn't decide if he wanted Baekhyun inside of him or if he wanted to be inside Baekhyun, but either way, Jongin knew he wanted Baekhyun on him now.

"Fuck," he hissed between his teeth as Baekhyun climbed back onto his lap, lining up their dicks and grinding against him.

"I'm sorry, Jongin, I want to tell you more, but seeing you tied up like a present for me has my mind so far away from vampire-human politics."

Oh . Jongin bit his lip and nodded, not trusting his voice to be able to tell Baekhyun anything other than, 'yes, please'. He whined in the back of his throat as Baekhyun gripped both of their cocks, slick and sticky with dribbling precum and began stroking. Baekhyun always knew how to make Jongin feel like he was going to combust.

His mind wandered from the topic at hand and he quickly fell into short repetitive thoughts begging Baekhyun for more and to fuck him in this chair all while he struggled to break free from the silk binding him. He wanted to feel the heat of Baekhyun's skin beneath his fingers, to run them over the pink nubs of his nipples. He wanted to grip his waist and rut against him faster, chasing a nearing orgasm. He wanted to take control, to pull Baekhyun down on his cock and watch him bounce up and down while moaning his name.

Jongin started to voice his desires when Baekhyun captured his mouth with his own, snaking his tongue inside as he pumped furiously at their leaking dicks between them. Jongin moaned into his mouth, the very tail end melting into a pitiful whine peppered with pants as he grew closer.

"Close," Jongin groaned into Baekhyun's mouth, which earned him a little nip of his lip with sharp fangs.

The first pull of his blood into Baekhyun's mouth sent stars slamming into Jongin's head. He sighed as the flood of endorphins entered his body not just from being fed on but from Baekhyun as well. He had vague notions of hearing his voice stream out of his swollen lips but it sounded foreign to him like he was experiencing it from Baekhyun's perspective more so than his own.

Jongin, my love.

The thought was clear as day as if Jongin had thought it himself. His eyes fluttered shut and he let himself slip fully into Baekhyun's mind, relishing the way his blood tasted like the sweetest ambrosia on his lip. He could feel the bursting love within him, his desire to be so close to Jongin that he wanted to become him so that they could be as close as possible. It led a chill down Jongin's back straight to his curled toes.

Being loved like this was no ordinary thing, Jongin knew that. Still, as he felt all of Baekhyun's emotions pour into him from the claim he was aware of the fact that the vampire was stroking them quickly, fingers glazed with their precum. There was enough of it that their leaking heads slid against each other.

Jongin gasped, his hips jutting upwards to meet Baekhyun's hand. He was even closer now and due to their connection from the bite, he could tell Baekhyun knew too. The vampire closed the wound on his lip with a swipe of his tongue and tilted Jongin's head to the side to gain better access to his neck.

Sharp teeth pierced his skin with a tiny sting before once again Jongin was on cloud nine, mind fuzzing over with pleasure and limbs going limp. On top of him, Baekhyun shuddered and continued jerking them until their climax spilled over his long delicate fingers. Jongin's body spasmed, straining against the chair and bucking into Baekhyun's palm as he came. His lids shut and he leaned back, letting Baekhyun drink his fill from him as his heart calmed. He didn’t even realize that he had fallen asleep.



When Jongin came to, he was sitting by the fireplace draped in a thick blanket and settled in Baekhyun’s lap. He peeked up at him and found the vampire staring intensely at the fire and chewing on his lip. It was rare to see him looking so worried, but Jongin didn’t voice his concern. Instead, he watched the way Baekhyun remained motionless, eyes taking on that far away look that meant he was deep inside his own mind.

In a rather intrusive thought, Jongin found Baekhyun rather alien at that moment. His alabaster vampire skin glowing slightly in the firelight and black eyes capturing the swaying flames. He had all the grace of an angel in his features, but underneath Jongin knew a predator rested.

Thin spidering veins were strangely visible at the moment and Jongin’s gaze followed them down Baekhyun’s face. It was only have he remained frozen for so long that Jongin looked down at himself and saw that he was still quite nude while Baekhyun was fully dressed. Typical.

He had half a mind to ask Baekhyun why he was always left naked while the vampire clothed himself, but the expressionless, hollow look on Baekhyun’s face slayed the words before they even left his throat.

Jongin reached up and touched Baekhyun’s chin, but he remained perfectly still, not even breathing as he stared into the fire. He was so far inside himself that it was as if the outside world did not exist. Jongin let his hand fall to his side, growing a bit uneasy, and slowly sat up.

Pulling the blankets around himself, Jongin frowned as he stared at Baekhyun. What had brought this on? Was whatever secret Baekhyun was hiding finally coming to the surface? Jongin pulled his knees against his chest and rested his head on them, letting his eyes drift to the flames in silence. Not even the claim gave him insight to what Baekhyun was feeling. It was oddly quiet and almost cool to the touch, which worried Jongin greatly.

“My family died in a fire, you know,” Baekhyun said suddenly after what felt like twenty minutes. The words had chased away Jongin’s concern for the claim completely.

Jongin turned towards him, frowning slightly. “No, I didn’t know, you never talked about how they died.”

In fact, the only times Baekhyun ever talked about his family was when he was recounting happy memories or teasing Jongin about his own. It wasn’t as though Jongin didn’t hear the tightness in his voice when he did, but he just never felt it was his place to push open that door that far into Baekhyun’s past. Living for over 700 years gave a person a lot of experience, and Jongin knew it couldn’t all be good.

Baekhyun snorted and smiled ruefully. “I tend to avoid talking about that…”

The orangey-red flames flickered in his dark eyes. He reached out his hand and twirled his fingers, transforming the flames into a ball of crackling light. Tiny embers dripped out of the ball, but most of it was completely confined within the sphere. It pulsed, like the twinkling of a star in the night sky as it spun languidly. But for some reason, it filled Jongin with a terrible sadness.

Fire was meant to be free, unconstrained and destructive. Yet, somehow humans had controlled it to a degree. They had captured its use and with it grew technology. Why these thoughts plagued Jongin’s mind all of a sudden, he wasn’t sure, but it led to others of a more mind blowing kind.

Jongin watched in awe, his shoulders coming free of the blanket as it pooled around his waist. He had never seen an Elemental Vampire actually control the elements before -- a sentiment that compounded when Jongin returned to the thought about humans control fire. It wasn’t true. Humans had developed a relationship with fire, but Elemental Vampires controlled it. They bent it to their will, made it perform tricks all while the flames had no say.

It had inspired rumors of Elemental Vampires being able to control actual fire spirits, fire jinn, but Chanyeol’s interview had informed Jongin that that was not true. While fire jinn were the actual spiritual and corporeal embodiment of fire, flames were more primitive, without a consciousness at all.

Again, Jongin shook his head of these thoughts, now understanding how Baekhyun had become so drawn within himself staring at the flames. They were entrancing.

The ball of flames swelled and compressed, embers melting off and landing on the charred logs as Baekhyun held it there. He moved his fingers again and as if there were strings attached to the tips, the ball slowly spilled back onto the kindling like lava pouring from a volcano. Once free of Baekhyun’s control, the flames returned to their usual flickering state, licking the back wall of the fireplace.

Crackling was the only sound that broke the silence between them until Baekhyun finally spoke again. “It was my fault.”

Woah. What a bomb to drop. The words ran like ice down Jongin’s spine and he turned to face Baekhyun, eyes studying him. There was no way what Baekhyun had said was true. A tiny thought in the back of his mind thought back to the thirst that Baekhyun had told him about when vampires are first awakened, and the chill turned into a full body shudder. He couldn’t have. He wouldn’t have. There was no way.

When Baekhyun’s gaze met him, his face was void of all emotion. Jongin reached and thumbed the claim, hoping it would give him some insight to what was going on in Baekhyun’s head, but it was barely vibrating under his touch. Strange.

It was as if Baekhyun was distant. As if he was a million miles away even though they were in the same room. Jongin swallowed, feeling his pulse quicken as Baekhyun remained unmoving, deep fathomless eyes capturing Jongin’s and holding him still. He was a perfect statue.

Shaking his head, Jongin furrowed his brows, breaking Baekhyun’s gaze. His mind was just overreacting. Baekhyun wouldn’t hurt anyone, let alone his family. He found himself reaching for Baekhyun’s hand, which lay palm up-turned on his lap, fingers curled just slightly. Jongin laced his through them and brought his hand to his lips and kissed the backs of his knuckles, still not saying a word. It was as much for his own comfort as it was for Baekhyun, if he was honest. Still, the gesture brought Baekhyun’s far away gaze back to the present. He gave Jongin a weak smile before turning back to the glow of the fire.

“I sometimes stare at the flames and wonder if I had known how to better control my powers if I could’ve saved them,” he said, voice hollow.

Jongin ran his thumb over the back of Baekhyun’s hand and whispered, “I’m sure you did what you could.” It wasn’t much, but with the way Baekhyun was letting the flames completely engulf his eyes, filling them with the orangey-red flickers, Jongin's chest ached. He had never seen Baekhyun look so utterly removed .

Baekhyun shook his head. "It's not that. It's… I started the fire and I couldn't stop it.” He pursed his lips and sighed before continuing, “And, instead of getting help, I thought I could handle it, but the flames they just kept growing. And it was so hot that my skin was blistering….but I could hear them and I…” he inhaled shakily. “It took the Madame coming to fix everything before I went down with them."

Jongin froze, still holding Baekhyun's hand in his grasp but no longer really feeling it. Suddenly, the claim at his throat was humming loudly against his skin. It felt hot, like it was brimming with energy. He reached to grab at it and glanced at Baekhyun. When the vampire met his eyes, a flooding of emotions and memories poured into Jongin so intensely that he cried out.

BoA's arms were like icy vices clamped around Baekhyun's middle. He struggled against her, kicking, scratching, and even biting at whatever he could catch a hold of as the flames swallowed the house. It stood there, stark black in the billowing plumes of black smoke and heat.

Baekhyun sliced his nails into BoA's arm, tearing flesh away and she hissed in return, tightening her grip around him. She was screaming something, but Baekhyun couldn't hear anything other than the cyclic wails of his family caught in the fire. He could still hear his sister crying for help as if she were standing right beside him. Vampire hearing was both a blessing and a curse. Her screams drove ice into his veins deep enough his bones felt frozen.

"Let me go with them!" Baekhyun gasped, tears streaming down his cheeks as he kicked at BoA again.

It had been his fault. He just wanted to light the fireplace for them. It had been years since he had even seen them and his father had grown old and a bit invalid, so he was struggling and Baekhyun just wanted to help. He just wanted to encourage the sparks from the flint to catch so his family could be warm in the winter. It was supposed to help them. Not bring them to their demise.

The Madame was mostly unphased by Baekhyun's struggles. Even as dark vampire blood ran down her arm, slicking Baekhyun's tunic and giving him some leeway, she remained silent and solid, trapping Baekhyun to her body with unwavering force. He squirmed more, sucking in his stomach to try to escape, but BoA was like a constrictor, the more he moved, the tighter she held him until Baekhyun could hardly inhale the smoky air that burned his lungs.

Finally, her voice cut through the pain and anguish in Baekhyun's mind in an instant. "Calm, my child."

Baekhyun wanted to fight back, he wanted to scream more and bite and go back to the place he had been raised and die with his family, but his body betrayed him. His muscles loosened until BoA lowered him to the ground, where he lay motionless and useless as the fire grew.

A waterfall of dark hair covered his view as BoA leaned over him. Her face was soft, eyes as crimson as flames behind them. She placed gentle fingers just under Baekhyun's chin and caressed him. "This too, shall pass."

"But-- my family..." Baekhyun whispered. His lips betrayed him and said nothing of the angered thoughts swirling in his mind. He knew he was under her compulsion.

"We're your family now, my child," she said, still caressing his face. With her other hand, she swept her hair over her shoulder and that was when Baekhyun noticed that they were no longer outside. She could shadow walk with only the tiniest of shadows -- an act only possible by a direct descendant of the first vampire.

His eyes darted to the side and he wanted to protest, but she covered his eyes with her palm and said, "Sleep."

And so he did.

What in the gods good names just happened, Jongin thought as the scene vanished from his mind only to be replaced by intense sorrow. Jongin blinked hard and shook his head. He had slipped into Baekhyun's mind before when they shared blood, but never quite like this before.

"I'm so sorry," Baekhyun's words pulled Jongin out of the fog of his memories. "I tried so hard to keep my memories under control."

It had to be the claim. Something had to be wrong with it because they were unbound, right? Jongin knew that the longer they put off the Blood Bond the more unpredictable it would grow. The combination of vampire blood and witch’s magic made it so that without the ritual of the Blood Bond, the connection would constantly fluctuate. This was something that Jongin had learned from the texts regarding the claim. The instability wouldn’t kill him, but rather strange things would continue to happen. Crazy wasn’t it?

Jongin’s body felt foreign. He had to focus on moving his arm to reach for Baekhyun, and even then it was as if he was moving through a thousand pounds of sand. It would have been slightly amusing, but with the fog still lingering in his head and the heat of the fire on his skin, Jongin was a little more than freaked out. Still, he wanted to appear unbothered because of how worried Baekhyun looked. He didn’t want him to feel any worse than he already did.

A dark look passed over Baekhyun’s face and he reached for the claim, gently taking it in his fingers. He gnawed on his lip, worry tensing his features as he said, “We need to complete the Bond.”

Jongin only nodded in response. He guessed that the delay was really starting to take effect if it had Baekhyun concerned and Baekhyun’s concern only compounded his own. Maybe on their trip they would be able to complete it? If not, there was a chance that more strange occurrences would take place.

Baekhyun’s hand dropped from the claim, sighing inwardly at himself. Sometimes, he looked so vulnerable, so small, and all it did was make Jongin want to protect him. It was funny to him, that he felt this desire to protect what was basically the apex predator in the world, but the tiny pout of Baekhyun’s lips had Jongin feeling some type of way.

"I wanted to keep my pain from you, but I couldn't. Not when you were looking at me like that, Jongin," Baekhyun whispered.

"Looking at you how?" Jongin's body was quickly returning to normal and with that, he was suddenly overtaken by his feelings for Baekhyun.

How was it that this magnificent being had become his? This powerful and knowledgeable creature that could have anything and anyone in the world had chosen Jongin. This being of the night had seen Jongin and somehow despite his perceived mundaneness, Baekhyun was completely head over heels for Jongin to the point that even when he was hurting, his concern was for him. Jongin was suddenly so overwhelmed and his eyes started to sting a bit, but he blinked it back.

"Like you want to fix me," Baekhyun murmured at last, his face falling into that vulnerable expression. He didn’t bother hiding it from Jongin and that spoke of the familiarity of their relationship. They had grown so close.

Jongin had no words for what Baekhyun said. He did want to fix him, but not in the same way that Baekhyun was thinking. He just wanted him to know how amazing he thought he was and how much he loved him and that he was deserving of that love. Jongin just wanted Baekhyun to be happy.

He shuffled over to Baekhyun and pulled him into a hug. For the first few moments, Baekhyun was still, until he gradually wound his arms around Jongin, clinging to him. It felt intimate, just being this close to each other and not saying a word, but simply sharing their heat and comfort. It grounded Jongin in a way he never really felt before.

"It's an admirable endeavor," he whispered into Jongin's neck, "but I've lived for so long that those broken pieces may never be picked up. Not by anyone."

“Not even me?” Jongin teased lightly. He wasn’t expecting an answer. He didn’t need one.

“That’s what scares me,” Baekhyun said. “I’m afraid that the pieces you’ll find may end up breaking you more than fixing me.”

Jongin tightened the hug, he wanted Baekhyun to feel him there, as something solid that anchored him to this moment in time. He couldn’t erase his past. Nothing could do that, short of amnesia or something of that nature, but he could at least try his best to give him happier memories to counter all the darkness with. It seemed that the cliche of vampires being moody and dark had a sound foundation. Living that long would give anyone skeletons in the closet.

But, Jongin knew he couldn't fix everyone, nor did he want to, despite other Night Worlders thinking he did just that. For Baekhyun, he would try his damnedest to do whatever he could. He loved him so completely that it hurt sometimes. All his flaws, his shortcomings, the way he would tuck Jongin in and his tendency to kiss his forehead; Jongin loved it all.

He wound his fingers into the soft locks and hummed deep in his chest before saying, "I'm not here to fix you, Baekhyun. I'm here because I love you, broken pieces and all. To me, you are amazing, more than amazing, you’re breathtaking and strong and you care so much for others. I just want you to realize that, to know that you are deserving of love and praise. You’re worth all of it."

Baekhyun pulled out of the embrace and studied Jongin, a heartwarming awe lighting up his eyes. It seemed to make him appear younger and older at the same time. That usual carefully guarded expression was completely gone. It was what Jongin liked to call his effect. He just seemed to get past everyone’s walls. Granted that Baekhyun was ridiculously head over heels for him, the vampire still had his moments where his defenses shot up, even with Jongin. So, he was happy to get this rare moment with him.

Baekhyun opened his mouth a few times, clearly trying to find the ability to talk. "I... thank you."

Okay, so mission accomplished. Jongin had lightened the mood, diffused the darkness that was threatening to swallow Baekhyun, and now all that was left was to get a laugh and he knew just how to achieve that.

"That'll be two hundred dollars for my time," Jongin said cheekily.

Baekhyun caught on instantly and with a snort and a smirk, he raised his eyebrow and said, “Only two hundred?”

Jongin shrugged, feigning nonchalance and said, “I’m giving you the boyfriend discount, Master . Come on, pay up.” He extended his hand and opened and closed it a few times. “My services aren’t free.”

That brought out a quiet chuckle and Jongin preened a bit. He was on a roll. Now, all he had to do was one more task to call this a perfect homerun. While pulling the furred blankets around his shoulders and tying the corners around his neck, he stood up, hands on his nude hips.

In his best ‘narrator’s’ voice he said, “And so the Superhero known only by his nonstandard nudity has one final trick up his sleeve!”

He pulled Baekhyun to his feet, grinning wildly. If anything, he knew this was going to work. Once Baekhyun was standing in front of him, an amused expression on his face and eyes taking on a whimsical glint, Jongin put put some space between them and extended his arms in front of him.

“Zhoomp!” He said as he snaked his arms around Baekhyun and placed both hands on his butt, pulling him close. “It seems my magnetic hands have found something of value.”

At that Baekhyun broke into a fit of giggles against Jongin’s chest. “What on earth has gotten into you, my human?”

For an answer Jongin simply mimed trying to pull his hands away and said, “Oh no, I can’t pull them away. The power of your cheeks is too strong!”

“Perhaps you are in need of some assistance?” Baekhyun said, playing along. “Is there a power button for your magnetic hands?”

Jongin nodded, “Yes, but I can’t reach it on account of my hands being full of glorious ass!”

Now he was giggling. He had not intended for it to go this far, but now that Baekhyun was bright and dazzling, Jongin was losing himself in the cheer. He liked making him feel better -- liked making people feel better honestly.

Hands circled around Jongin, dancing at his sides before digging in, tickling him. A bark of laughter exploded out of Jongin and he jumped back from Baekhyun, laughing as the vampire continued to tickle him.

They fell to the ground in front of the fire place, Baekhyun straddling Jongin and not relenting even as Jongin squirmed and kicked beneath him. He was laughing too much to have much strength in his arms, so he feebly pushed at Baekhyun.

“Okay, okay, you’ve done it,” Jongin chuckled as the vampire sat back, eyes glittering with amusement.

“Thank you, Jongin,” Baekhyun said leaning down to plant a chaste kiss on his nose. “You chase away all my shadows.”

Jongin grinned, happy that everything felt lighter now. He looked up at Baekhyun and sighed, “Just doing my job.”

“Well, you deserve a raise,” Baekhyun said, his voice dipping a bit as he stood up.

Jongin followed suit, tugging the blankets around himself. He was feeling a bit cheeky still, so he said, “Oh does that mean I get clothes? It’s a bit drafty walking around balls out all the time.”

Baekhyun chuckled, “I’ll admit I’ve been a bit selfish, leaving you in that state. I’ll have one of my staff bring you something to wear.” He started to leave the room, but paused by the door, giving Jongin a once over. “Although I feel that covering you up would be an insult to the gods that sculpted you.”

“Oh, please do keep going. My ego is enjoying this stroke,” Jongin replied, following Baekhyun down the hall.

“Ah, I wouldn’t want your head to grow too big before our trip, my human. You tend to get a little wily when that happens.”

“What’s so wrong about that? You love it when I get like that,” Jongin teased, knocking into Baekhyun’s shoulders playfully.

“I’ll need you on your best behavior in the French Quarter,” Baekhyun said, suddenly very serious.

Jongin stopped just outside of Baekhyun’s room door. A flash of something came through the claim but it was gone before he could get a good read on it. With that, his earlier suspicions returned, and Jongin narrowed his eyes at the vampire as he strolled through his room with ease.

“Why’s that?”

Baekhyun opened up the armoire and rifled through it. His voice sounded distant inside the wooden structure."Life there is very different . It carries a rich past and I wouldn’t want you getting into trouble at the court."

How ominous. Jongin rolled his eyes. “Do you think I’ll end up being a snack or something while I’m there?”

“Not over my undead body,” Baekhyun said with a wry smile. He had returned from the armoire with a yellowish billowing blouse. He held it in front of Jongin and closed one eye before clucking appreciatively. “I know I said I’d call the staff to dress you, but I find more pleasure in doing that myself.”

Jongin took the garment and slipped it on while he said, “Then what are you implying?”

Baekhyun had returned to the armoire. The sound of drawers opening and closing was followed by Baekhyun hissing under his breath as he moved over to his set of dressers. He rifled through them and produced a pair of boxers and sleek pants that matched his own, before finally answering Jongin.

“I’m implying that you might be in for a bit of a culture shock and that you may hear certain things about me that may put you off me. Here, put this on.”

Grabbing the clothes thrusted at him, Jongin dressed himself quickly while he mulled over what Baekhyun was saying. What could the vampire possibly have to hide from him regarding the French Quarter? It probably had something to do with the seals he saw in Baekhyun’s secret room, now that Jongin thought about it.

“What kind of things?”

Baekhyun swooped in on Jongin, straightening his collar and tucking his shirt in for him. His thin fingers only hesitated a moment too long before he settled for brushing off Jongin’s shoulders. “A little of this and a little of that. Just promise me, that you’ll come to me before you go off running away. okay?”

“Okay, so you killed someone right? That’s why you’re being so cryptic,” Jongin said, rolling his eyes.

Of course vampires killed. It should have made Jongin more uncomfortable than it did -- and that was not at all -- but he could logic his mind through it. Humans killed animals for food, so it made sense that vampires would kill…humans…for food. Alright, that didn’t exactly give him the same feeling it would have for animals, but Jongin was now only mildly bothered by the fact.

“Amongst other things, my human. My time in the French Quarter was dark to say the least.”

“I think, I can handle it, Baekhyun. You’re a vampire, you had to eat,” Jongin said as he flung his arm around Baekhyun and pulled him close. “I understand that you had, um, formative years- er, decades. It’s like puberty for vampires.”

Baekhyun snickered, “You could call it that. I’m glad you understand. I just don’t want anything to alarm you.”

“Psh, I’ll be fine. I’m not a child and I’ve been well aware of how the Night World works for a while now,” Jongin said turning and facing Baekhyun head on. “Nothing is going to scare me away, nothing. I’ve got this,” Jongin pointed to the claim, “and I’ve got you. That’s all that matters to me.”

Baekhyun tilted his head to the side smiling coyly. "You never cease to amaze me, my human."

"Oh, you haven't even seen me at my best," Jongin said, shimming his shoulders.

That caught Baekhyun's attention in a way that made Jongin's skin prickle. Sometimes the hunger in Baekhyun's eyes gave him a mix of fear and arousal -- scarousal as he liked to call it.

Baekhyun pulled Jongin closer, a smirk picking at the corners of his lips. "And what is your best?"

Jongin curled his fingers into the silk of Baekhyun's shirt. He could feel the way his pulse reacted to the thirst in Baekhyun’s voice, the way it picked up and thrummed in his ears. He was reminded of the fact that technically he was prey to Baekhyun, and for some reason he thought excited him. He leaned down, his lips ghosting just a hairsbreadth from the shell of his ear as he said, "I'll show you when you make good on your promise."

Baekhyun shuddered against Jongin, the heat of his breath passing over Jongin’s neck where he had been bitten before. His body went rigid and he placed his lips just under Jongin’s jaw and kissed him. It was dizzying.

“Hearing you say those words makes me imagine just how wonderful it would feel to be filled by you while I drink from your neck,” he mumbled against Jongin’s jugular.

Sharp points grazed the skin and Jongin half sighed, “Maybe we should try that out.”

Hot lips painted a path from Jongin’s neck to his mouth and once again, Jongin was losing himself in the kiss again. He clung to Baekhyun, holding onto him tightly as they stood there in the middle of Baekhyun’s room, liplocked and flush against each other.

"Soon," Baekhyun said, breaking the kiss. Then, he stepped out of Jongin's grip and smiled playfully. The damn vampire had too much control at all the wrong times.

Jongin whined and rolled his eyes. "Don't forget you promised me.”

Jongin thought the game of cat and mouse between them was over after Baekhyun gave him release earlier, but it seemed it was back on. He pursed his lips and sighed again. If Baekhyun tried any more of this while they were on the trip, he was going to make the vampire regret taking him. He’d show him a wily human.

"Next time. I don't break my promises," Baekhyun replied with an eyebrow raise.

“Yeah, you just put them off,” Jongin said with a tiny bit more displeasure than he meant to.

Baekhyun’s face softened. “I’ll make good on it soon. Now, I need to go make sure everything is in order. You may stay here as long as you want, but no more snooping.”

He better, Jongin thought. He squinted at Baekhyun and then decided it would be better to head home rather than try to battle the vampire once more. With that in mind, he watched Baekhyun leave first before heading off.

One of Baekhyun’s vampire cars was waiting for him once he got outside. Perfect.



Jongin came through the front door just in time to see Kyungsoo flick a piece of popcorn off his knee and into Junmyeon's glass of water, which earned a snicker from the incubus.

Completely oblivious, Junmyeon brought the glass to his lips. When the soggy popcorn entered his mouth, he spat the water out, spraying Kyungsoo with uncanny precision. Then he followed it with a death glare. Kyungsoo was in for it now, Jongin thought as he crept through their dorm, hell bent on not gathering either of their attention. It seemed that the two had been going at this for the last few hours that Jongin was gone -- judging by the fact that Junmyeon then waved his finger, levitating the piece of popcorn until it was stuck to Kyungsoo’s forehead.

Kyungsoo swatted at the popcorn, but it wasn't budging. In fact the more he tried to pull it off, the longer the piece of popcorn became until it was stretched out like a piece of chewed gum. In the end, he got up from his perch on the sofa and flicked the backs of Junmyeon's ears.

"Yah! What the fuck is your problem?" Junmyeon snapped.

“Take it off me,” Kyungsoo ordered, the piece of stretched out popcorn swinging freely over his nose. He shuddered and lifted it up while giving Junmyeon a disgusted look. “Not a real fan of having the equivalent of a flacid dick on my forehead.”

“What’s wrong? I thought you liked dicks,” Junmyeon said. He returned to book while Kyungsoo seethed in front of him.

Jongin froze by the table and quietly sucked in a breath before slinking off to his room. He wanted no part of that at all. The two of them could figure it out on their own with Jongin’s help. At least he hoped they would, he couldn’t imagine the trip being nearly half as stressful as his daily life here at his university. With the constant tug and pull from both the Night World and Day World, Jongin felt a little thin on patience. Not only that, but with Baekhyun’s secret lurking in the back of his mind, Jongin was feeling a bit edgy.

He was almost to his door when he heard the telltale sound of someone being slapped and sighed. May as well try to diffuse the situation before it escalated to a full on physical fight, which was something he did not need right before they left.

Jongin pursed his lips as he plodded back to the living room and peered around the corner to find Kyungsoo standing there holding his hand to his cheek with a shocked expression on his face. The gummy popcorn was on the floor next to his feet and Junmyeon was staring at him with a very amused grin. Oh boy.

“Anyone want to tell me what the heck is going on?” Jongin asked, arms crossed. He looked between the two of them with an expectant expression. They better not be trying to start anything.

"Just a little BDSM warm up," Kyungsoo quipped and presented his other cheek to Junmyeon who stared at him bewildered. He tapped it lightly, full lips pulled into a dangerous smirk. "Go on, spank me Daddy."

Junmyeon's face reddened several shades and he shot to his feet, having finally realized the consequence of his action. "Um..."

Kyungsoo looked back at Jongin and winked before returning to Junmyeon. He then turned around and shoved his butt towards him, wiggling it. "Will these cheeks do, Sir ?"

Junmyeon's face deepened in color -- a feat Jongin didn't know was even possible -- and he sputtered under his breath while backing up to the wall. He was having too strong of a reaction for this exchange to be innocent -- not that any interaction with Kyungsoo was innocent. Junmyeon cleared his throat and slid away from Kyungsoo, putting the sofa between them.

In his best ‘I'm-completely-in-control-of-this-situation-and-not-at-all-flustered’ voice, he said, "I need to pack," and disappeared. Jongin had never seen him move so fast.

"Awh, you're no fun," Kyungsoo pouted and then flung himself onto the sofa face down. After a few moments, he popped his head up and narrowed his eyes at Jongin. "Getting back from a romp with the Sanguinarian?"

"I'm-- you're not mad, are you?" Jongin asked. Now that the attention was on him, he suddenly felt entirely too shy under those icy blue eyes. Especially after last week. He had to admit he’d been trying to avoid Kyungsoo a bit after the fluctuation in his feelings for him, but in classic Kyungsoo fashion, they never spoke of it.

Last week had opened a lot of new doors between him and Kyungsoo so he was not entirely sure where they stood. They had shared some intimate moments, not just by themselves, but with Baekhyun present. It had to mean something, but Jongin was still in the dark.

"Why would I be? He's your boyfriend." Kyungsoo said with a wrinkling of his nose. "I’ll admit I liked it better when you were untethered, but too late for that. I’ll just have to settle for living vicariously through both of you..."

Ouch? Jongin knew Kyungsoo well enough by now to be able to tell that he was being purposefully blunt. Still, there was a bit of truth to what he was saying. He and Kyungsoo had hooked up first and Jongin was the first person that Kyungsoo willingly hung out with feeding or not. At the same time, he knew bringing up the topic would be useless, so he decided to go along with Kyungsoo’s claim of being okay.

"Yeah, I just left there," he said.

"Oh, how was it?" Kyungsoo asked as he sat up and cocked his head to the side. He looked perfectly unbothered.

Jongin gave him a scandalized look. "Uh, good?"

"Oh get your panties out of a knot, Jongin. I'm your best friend , we can talk about this kind of stuff."

"Yeah, but we--"

"So what's a little feeding between friends? Jongin, relax, we're good. You and me, we're good. As for Baekhyun....well, that's between the two of us. We’re adults, we’ll sort it out, so don’t you worry your perky little ass about it."

Feeding? That was what he was calling it? It was the only thing he could focus on out of what Kyungsoo had said. They had been doing more than just a simple feeding. That whole dinner had been more than that. The thumb kisses, the way he felt during it all. It was so much more, so why wouldn’t Kyungsoo just admit it for once? What did he have to do?

Jongin stared at Kyungsoo, chewing on his lip. He wanted so badly to just talk about it, but he knew that if he tried, Kyungsoo would disappear on them like he did last time. The incubus seemed to pick up on Jongin’s introspection and cleared his throat.

“Come on, drop the emo front. Let’s leave all the bullshit behind and have a good trip,” Kyungsoo said.

Well, when it was said like that, Jongin had no choice but to agree. He’d let himself worry about one thing at a time. Number one was Baekhyun secret. Number two would be his family history, which left vampire court and Kyungsoo’s blase dismissal of a big fucking deal as numbers four and five respectively. Jongin could handle it if it was in a list.

"Yeah, let's have a fucking blast," Jongin said at last. If he kept telling himself it was going to be okay, then god dammit it was going to be okay.

"Hell yeah," Kyungsoo said and got up. "I've already packed so I'll help you, dearest friend."

"Laying on thick there, Kyungsoo," Jongin laughed. It was always easy to slip back into his role with Kyungsoo.

"Oh? I seem to remember you liking it thick,” Kyungsoo smirked.

Oh two could play this game, Jongin thought.

"Only about as much as you do," Jongin replied as he opened his door.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a shadow of blackness skit across his vision, but when he looked over to it, nothing was there. Welp. Whatever it was, was going to have to wait, because Jongin was closing up shop and whatever Night Worlder it was that needed his help was just going to have to hang around until he came back.

"Oh? I think I might need a refresher on that," Kyungsoo teased.

"On what? Me or you?," Jongin hissed as he pulled out his suitcase from under his bed with a bit of effort. The thing wasn't heavy, but the fit was tight. Heh.

"Maybe a little of both?" Kyungsoo said as he jumped onto Jongin's bed and kicked his legs behind him.

Jongin froze and smiled to himself. It seemed the incubus was fishing and Jongin had yet to take the bait. Instead of answering Kyungsoo, he busied himself with packing the remaining clothes he had that were clean and then set to tidying his room up a bit.

"Too far?" Kyungsoo asked after a beat and when Jongin nodded, he stood up and gave Jongin a quick back hug. "Sorry, I wasn’t trying to push your buttons like that."

Frozen from the sudden contact from the incubus, Jongin nearly dropped the belt he had in his hand. He turned and saw that Kyungsoo's cheeks were still shaded by a slight tinge of pink and the fact that he was embarrassed about the hug was enough for Jongin to forgive him. That and the fact that the incubus had actually apologized. It was kind of endearing.

"Nah, you’re good," he said as he hung up the belt in his closet and then stared at his nearly empty suitcase and pouted. Baekhyun had really done a number to his wardrobe.

"Awesome possum." Kyungsoo said and then started organizing Jongin's desk for him.

Jongin watched him for a bit, half amused and half grateful. He guessed Kyungsoo was just as excited for the trip as Jongin since he was helping him get ready. He watched him grab Jongin’s laptop and place it in his suitcase and then return to fixing things. He moved quite fast.

Just then, Baekhyun materialized from the shadows and barely avoided crashing into Jongin by his vampire grace -- which he used to steady Jongin. He was carrying several bags in his arms and without so much as saying hello, he walked over to Jongin's suitcase and dropped the bags inside. Then, he turned around with a cheery smile on his face.

"My loves are you excited?" As soon as the words left his mouth, his expression clouded, but Jongin honestly didn’t think much of it.

He was much too occupied by the new contents of his suitcase. Was this what Baekhyun meant by getting things in order? Shopping? Jongin brushed past Baekhyun and rummaged through the bags. In one, was a soft fabric wrapped in tissue paper and when Jongin tried to pull the article out, Baekhyun swatted his hands away.

"Just stuff you'll need at the vampire court. A dress robe, some formal wear and a few extra things," Baekhyun smiled with feigned innocence. He then lightly moved Jongin's hands away from the suitcase and zipped it shut before taking it out of the room.

Jongin and Kyungsoo looked at each other for a long moment before Kyungsoo smirked. "He always did have a thing for dressing others up. Guess you're his new doll, loverboy." Kyungsoo started out the door and paused, looking over his shoulder, "You'll look nice in lace, come to think of it."

What the fuck? "Kyungsoo, wait! Lace?" Jongin balked. What was Baekhyun planning?

The incubus winked with those icy blue eyes of his before disappearing into the living room behind a rather stony-face vampire. Was everyone losing their marbles before this trip?




Jongin was the last person that Baekhyun was shadow walking to the hotel. Junmyeon had gone first -- to sort out the check-ins and make sure everything was going hunky-dory. Then, Kyungsoo had gone next stating that he wanted to go bug Junmyeon some more. At least he was being honest about it.

That left Jongin to sit a twiddle his thumbs while he waited for Baekhyun to return and take him next. He had suggested that they should've taken an airplane or at the very least a car, but Baekhyun had an extreme aversion to flying -- that Jongin had never realized -- and Junmyeon refused to be in an enclosed space with the lot of them for too long, save for casting a spell to knock them all out.

Ultimately, they agreed on shadow walking to the hotel one by one since Baekhyun could only take so many passengers with him at once without injuring himself. Speaking of shadow walking, Jongin had learned quite a bit about it in the last few days. For one thing, most humans who shadow walked with a vampire ended up losing their minds completely to the darkness that lurked there. This was because shadow walking crossed through the planes and the human mind was vulnerable to what lived there. The fact that Jongin had not fallen victim to that only solidified that there was definitely something otherworldly about himself.

He had slight suspicions that it had something to do with the coven since they had forbidden Junmyeon from telling him any details. But, he couldn't be entirely sure. For all he knew, he may as well have been part incubus with the way he seemed to connect with Kyungsoo. Then again, there was nothing in his research that said anything about two incubi being compatible. Actually, come to think of it, Jongin hadn't seen any other incubi other than Kyungsoo since becoming part of the Night World which was strange.

The other thing he learned about shadow walking was that vampires usually never took passengers with them. It took a lot out of them to shadow walk on their own, even if it was their preferred mode of traveling long distances. But with Baekhyun being as powerful as he was, making a few trips back and forth didn't seem to have much of an effect on him. At least as far as Jongin could tell.

"You ready?" Baekhyun's voice came from the darkness and startled Jongin to his feet.

He rubbed his arm and nodded his head. This was it, they were finally going to visit the coven and Jongin was going to learn about his history. Not that he didn't already have a good idea. He knew both of his grandparents growing up and despite the fact that his grandmother on his mom's side being a bit absent in his life after he reached high school, he still thought of them as distinctly human.

Perhaps he'd find out that he was part werewolf or something. His dad was a bit of a hairy man. Although he didn't have more hair than usual, Jongin's teeth were on the sharp side, so maybe that was it. Either way, he was excited, but also nervous. It was hard to pick an emotion. Not only would he be finding out his history on this trip, but he would be going to vampire court with Baekhyun to learn more about his impending transformation.

Baekhyun picked up on Jongin's hesitation and pulled him close. "Don't worry, no matter what we find out, it won't change my love for you."

Jongin smiled. "That's not what I'm worried about."

Baekhyun caressed Jongin's cheeks with his thumbs, "Then, what is it darling?"

Jongin melted a bit at being called darling by Baekhyun more than he cared to admit. He was used to him calling him ' my human ' and occasionally his name, but something about the way Baekhyun's mouth formed the word made Jongin's insides turn to mush. He smiled even wider for a second before letting his worry crease his forehead.

"What if they somehow decide I don't fit in?"

Baekhyun cooed at Jongin under his breath before tsking. "They already like you so much, my human. Remember the ball?"

Jongin snorted. "Yeah, I almost got eaten."

"Technicalities," Baekhyun dismissed. "I'm asking you to think back to the beginning of that night. Remember how everyone could not look away from you? How they congratulated us? How eager my sister was to meet you? They are very interested in you, Jongin."

"Interested in me? Or my blood?" Jongin muttered. It was a bit rude to assume that all vampires could not control themselves, but the way they acted at the ball had Jongin feeling less than positive about being surrounded by them at all times.

"You, Jongin, you." Baekhyun pulled Jongin into a tender kiss, just barely ghosting his lips over his. "It's not often we get a new family member, so they're very excited. I promise this time will be nothing like that night. For one, you won't have to shed any blood in front of everyone like that. I promise." He kissed Jongin again, this time with more fervor.

Jongin sighed into his lips, letting Baekhyun's tongue roam his mouth before he grazed the tips of his fangs with his own. A deep groan sounded in the vampire's chest and they separated, both breathless.

"I promise, you'll be protected at all times. Even when I'm not around. Seohyun and the Madame will make sure of that," Baekhyun whispered, pressing his forehead against Jongin's. "Now, we should leave before we end up lingering for too long. I'm sure Junmyeon is waiting for us in the lobby to check in."

Jongin chuckled a bit, "He's probably just doing his own thing. He's pretty independent honestly. Been that way for as long as I've known him. Although," Jongin paused, thinking back to how much the two of them used to hang out before all this happened and sighed, "Lately, I haven't been around enough to really know what's going on with him."

"Ah, and I'm assuming that's my fault?" Baekhyun murmured.

Once again, Jongin was being swallowed up by the playful glint in Baekhyun's dark, bottomless eyes. It took everything within him to look away, biting his lip. "I don't want to blame you really, but um, yeah. You’re a bit of a time sink."

Baekhyun snorted and stepped out of Jongin's arms. He laced his fingers through Jongin's and smirked. "Sounds like you need to manage your time better."

Then, before Jongin had the chance to respond, the lung compressing feeling surrounded him and they were shrouded in darkness. Usually, he kept his eyes closed during this, because there was never anything to see in the darkness, but after reading about traveling between planes, Jongin wanted to see for himself. He was ever curious and he figured whatever it was he saw would be interesting for the blog.

Jongin kept his eyes open, squinting into the blackness, seeing strange forms writhing and squirming. He didn't know what they were, but Baekhyun seemed not to notice, as they traveled. Or if he did, he was so used to it that it didn’t faze him. Still, the beings -- if he could call them that -- were going to keep him up all night. They gave him the heebie jeebies.

Jongin and Baekhyun ended up materializing just outside the range of a streetlamp in the middle of a swarm of people walking. It was nearly dark, and quite literally no one paid them any mind for suddenly appearing out of nowhere. Jongin had been prepared to jump into action to pretend that he had been there the whole time, but no one cared. It was as if it was the most normal thing to have happen. In fact, as they stepped out of the shadows, another vampire appeared behind them and quickly walked around them.

It wasn’t bustling like the streets of crowded cities, but it was busy enough for Jongin to be quickly swept up in awe. People walked around them to their destinations and at first Jongin thought nothing of it until he saw the first Night Worlder and Day Worlder walking next to each other clear as day. A bear hybrid strolling down the sidewalk, bags hanging low on her arms, was talking to a plain as day human. This was monumental.

Jongin couldn’t help but whistle under his breath as he slowly spun around taking it all in. How could the two worlds mix so seamlessly? Back home, this was unheard of -- no, it was discouraged -- so how was it that Jongin could see groups of both just existing? It was completely boggling his mind, but also exciting him. This was fucking awesome!

"Welcome to the French Quarter, baby," Baekhyun said with a lilt, baring his fangs as he smiled.

He became even more vampire-like by the second the longer they stood there. His hair seemed almost too glossy and his skin was practically shining. His bottomless eyes took on a casual air that exuded a certain kind of power. He seemed taller almost, and his grace was unmatched. He was deadly beautiful and Jongin knew right then, that he was fucked. The French Quarter was going to bring a lot of change to everyone.

Then, taking Jongin's hand and placing it in the crook of his arm, Baekhyun grinned even wider. “Feels good to be home. You’re going to love it here, my human.”

Jongin tried not to gawk at the people as they passed by them. The furred, scaled, and feathered bodies of hybrids were just as common a sight as the bare skin of a regular human. They were side by side, some of them even linked arms and laced fingers. It was as if it was the most normal thing in the world and Jongin's mind was on the verge of being blown.

The streets were littered not only with people but also little food stands and people playing for tips. A fox hybrid was playing the saxophone on a nearby corner and Jongin couldn’t help but stare at the man’s rich brown tone and snazzy suit. He was bobbing and swaying as he played and everyone who passed by him at least dropped a few coins or dollars. This was quite the shell shock.

"Let's keep moving, my human," Baekhyun chided lightly and led Jongin through the crowd.

A family walked past them, two children with telltale yellow werewolf eyes and cute little outfits flew past Jongin almost knocking him off his feet but Baekhyun caught him. As the parents approached, the woman, who was clearly a werewolf as well apologized to Jongin for her children while the husband ran ahead to control them. The only thing was, he was a human.

Holy shit. Holyshitholyshitholyshit. Jongin gaped at them, eyes wide while Baekhyun accepted the apology and tried to pull him along again. This was like nothing he had seen before. His own town was so small and sleepy in comparison. There was just so much life and so much culture that Jongin couldn’t absorb it all.

"I'm- just, hold on a second Baekhyun, this is too much for me," Jongin whispered as he stood in the middle of the road, eyes wide drinking in every detail he could. He didn’t want to forget even a single detail.

Everything from the street vendors selling various types of food, Day World and Night World alike to the way the shops’ signs flashed at him. He was surrounded by the perfect cross roads of both worlds. The chatter, the music, everything was so overwhelming in the best way. Jongin knew he was going to enjoy himself here.

A fairy couple passed right by him, their hair contrasting neon yellow and purple and their long thin bodies dressed respectively in leather and lace. Their voices were drowned by the sounds of the crowd, but Jongin definitely caught the words, ' He's back.' and turned to Baekhyun. They were definitely staring directly at the vampire.

Just like that, Jongin was snapped back into reality. He pulled his hand out of Baekhyun’s arm ready to confront him about what those fairies could have meant, but when Baekhyun turned around to face him, Jongin sank back a little. Baekhyun was different. Not bad different, but he was more confident, and oozed power and it kind of made Jongin want to do whatever he said.

The vampire simply raised a single eyebrow before sighing and swooping Jongin up into his arms bridal style. "We need to check-in before I end up losing you in this crowd."

Jongin tried to protest, but with Baekhyun's vampire strength and speed, they were standing outside of the hotel in a few seconds. He kicked his legs when Baekhyun would put him down and grumbled under his breath. “I can walk you know.”

“Sweetheart, if we went at your pace, we’d be standing out there all night,” Baekhyun cooed and then finally set him down.

Jongin glanced around to see if anyone had been looking and to his absolute horror everyone’s eyes were on them. Great. He just couldn’t go anywhere without Baekhyun drawing all the attention to them. Although, as the blush crept out of his cheeks, Jongin found himself whistling under his breath again. Everything was just so new.

Baekhyun returned Jongin's hand to the crook of his arm and beamed at him. "This isn't the fanciest of hotels, but it's one of my favorites."

The hotel they were staying at was a sight in and of itself. Right in the middle of the French Corner sat a beautifully lit building. The architecture spoke of its French history with the curving arched fences and nearly gothic construction. People milled about on their balconies and a few even waved at Baekhyun, who in return gave them a wink before taking Jongin inside.

This was too much for Jongin to process. How in the hell were both Day Worlders and Night Worlders so seamlessly integrated? Why did so many people know Baekhyun? Just what on earth was going on? He stood in the center of the lobby, ears numb to the din and mind completely blown to smithereens.

In front of him, he saw Junmyeon and Kyungsoo going at it, but he didn't hear them. Judging from the way both of them seemed to be yelling at the clerk at the front desk, Jongin gathered that something had gone wrong. He’d never seen the two of them so upset before.

“Stay here,” Baekhyun said, patting Jongin on the hand quickly and leaving him standing in the entranceway.

The vampire waltzed over to the front desk and with one look at him, the clerk stood up, dark bottomless eyes sparking and bowed deeply. Okay, what the fuck? Was Baekhyun vampire royalty or something? Was this what he was trying to warn Jongin about earlier? Was this the secret ?

Jongin heard Junmyeon in the distance, "What do you mean you only have one room? I booked us four separate rooms, a week ago." He sounded absolutely furious and with the way the wind in the room suddenly picked up, he was about two second away from going full hurricane mode.

The clerk ignored Junmyeon and instead, addressed Baekhyun. "I'm sorry to inform you, Sir, but we're completely booked. We can offer you the presidential suite, but that is all we have available at this moment."

Baekhyun looked pointedly at Junmyeon and then back to the clerk, "Then please hand my friend here the room keys. No need for you to be rude to him. He is my guest and you will treat him and my other guests with respect."

"Yes, Sir, I'm sorry Sir," the vampire clerk said and bowed again before turning to Junmyeon and sheepishly handing him a set of keys.

Holy fuck. Jongin couldn't have run up to Baekhyun faster if he tried, but the second he was at his side, the clerk took one look at him and his jaw dropped. Whatever. Jongin didn’t have time to wonder what had shocked the clerk so much. Right now he had the burning question of who the fuck Baekhyun was to the people of this city. He yanked him after him, half surprised that Baekhyun let him tug him away, but he probably caught him off guard.

"Okay, you have two seconds to explain to me what the hell just happened," he hissed.

He wasn’t angry, not entirely, but Baekhyun had definitely not told him about his status here and it irked him a bit. They were supposed to be past all the hiding and half-truths, but now, Jongin wasn’t quite so sure what to think. He let his hand fall from Baekhyun’s arm and then stared off at the wall just to the side of his head. Okay, he was kind of mad.

Baekhyun manhandled Jongin closer to him. The sudden movement startled Jongin and he made a squeak of protest which immediately softened Baekhyun. He sighed and then captured Jongin’s face in his hands.

“Sorry, this place brings out the vampire in me,” he said quietly. Then he frowned slightly. “I really need you to behave here, however. We’re not in court, so there are eyes watching everywhere. And not all of them are kind.”

Jongin bit his lip and exhaled. He could behave, that was easy. But he still wanted answers and he wanted them now. “Not kind? Baekhyun just who are you?”

“I’m of high status here,” Baekhyun said cryptically. “Nothing too bad, I promise. Just have made some enemies in places that aren’t beneficial to your safety. This is why I need you to be on your best behavior. No running off on your own. You take Junmyeon or Kyungsoo with you if I’m not available, okay?”

Well this was turning out to be quite creepy. Enemies in bad places, needing a constant babysitter if he wanted to go somewhere. What the fuck did Baekhyun do here? Was he a part of some kind of vampire mafia? Or was it something more sinister?

Jongin sighed. “Yeah, whatever. I’ll do whatever you want, but before that I need answers Baekhyun.” He had dropped all semblance of propriety in his annoyed state. Not that Baekhyun was going to make a scene in public, but Jongin knew that if he crossed the line out here, Baekhyun knew just how to make him suffer in the best of ways. Maybe he wanted that.

"I may or may not have started here before I opened up Club Isis back home," Baekhyun said. He still wasn’t giving direct answers so Jongin employed the one trick he knew would make Baekhyun weak.

He stepped closer to Baekhyun and tilted his head to the side just enough for his neck to be exposed under his collar. He brought his finger to his neck and trailed it down, enjoying the way that Baekhyun’s eyes darkened.

“There are still things I can do that technically fall within me behaving. So, how about you tell me the truth, Master ,” Jongin winked at Baekhyun and that earned him a tiny growl deep in Baekhyun’s chest. Jackpot!

“You are entirely unfair Jongin,” Baekhyun whispered. “But I supposed I could let you know that I am what equates to a Prince here.”

Woah. All the gears in Jongin’s mind grinded to a stop and he stared at Baekhyun in complete awe. How on earth had he bagged himself not only one of the most powerful vampires, but a fucking Vampire Prince? This was not what he had been expecting. Not in the slightest. Damn. That meant that Jongin was royalty by proxy.

"There isn't any real vampire royalty aside from the Madame. I'm essentially her first child and Seohyun is the second. We were given territories on our transformation days and most of the south belongs to me," Baekhyun continued, draping his arm over Jongin’s shoulders and nipping lightly at his jaw.

Jongin went boneless under Baekhyun’s touch as he digested all of that information. It was all making sense. Baekhyun's castle, the way he was treated at the masquerade, the portraits lining his walls. It all made sense. Jongin's boyfriend was the vampire prince and they've just returned to his kingdom.

Suddenly the room spun a bit as the pressure of going to vampire court settled on him. No wonder everyone was so excited. Jongin wasn't just joining the family. He was joining what effectively was the vampire royal family. This was big, no- it was monumental. Jongin finally looked at Baekhyun and shook his head at him in disbelief.

"Why didn't you tell me I’ve been hooking up with royalty ?”

Obviously they were more than just hooking up. But, downplaying things was one of Jongin’s coping mechanisms. That and being a cheeky bastard, but now was not the time for that. Now was the time for him to try to wrap his mind around the fact that he was going to be a prince!

Baekhyun gave Jongin a peck on his nose before pulling away from him, leaning against the wall. Somehow he looked even more dangerous like that. Sexy and dangerous. Damn Jongin’s hormones. At this rate, he was going to end up christening the hotel before they even made it to the room.

"I’d like to think that I’ve earned more than just the title of a hookup, love. Besides, if you’d done your research properly on me, you would have found out much sooner."

At that Jongin deadpanned and rolled his eyes, “Oh don’t play the research card on me. You’re the one who stopped me before I figured it all out.”

Baekhyun shrugged against the wall. “Maybe if you were a better ninja, as you claimed yourself to be earlier, then you wouldn’t have gotten caught. It’s about skill Jongin.” Then he smiled, “Don’t hate the player, hate the game, as you kids say these days.”

Jongin balked. “You….you did not just say that.”

“What? What’s so wrong with me using the lingo you use?” Baekhyun grinned.

He had to be doing this on purpose because Jongin was cringing harder at Baekhyun’s use of the word lingo. It was like when his dad bought those shoes with the wheels in the heels and tried to keep up with Jongin and his friends. Yep. Definitely the same exact feeling.

“I’m just going to pretend that this didn’t happen,” Jongin said, shaking his head. He was half smiling but mostly just experiencing a huge dose of schadenfreude.

“Ah, it seems I’ve figured out your weakness,” Baekhyun beamed. “I’ll keep this in mind for future use. You better behave or I can make it ten times worse.”

It would have been ominous if Jongin didn’t know Baekhyun as well as he did. But, the thought of Baekhyun adopting an incredibly cheesy urban patois sent a chill down Jongin’s spine and it was not the good kind.

“I’ll be on my best behavior. You won’t have to worry about a single hair on my head,” he said.

"Good, I want this to be a wonderful experience for you, my human," Baekhyun said as he moved from the wall, placing Jongin’s hand back in the crook of his arm. It was kind of endearing. "Come, our room awaits."

Jongin glanced back at Junmyeon and Kyungsoo -- who was wearing a rather unreadable expression, and then followed Baekhyun past the clerk.

"Congratulations on your claim, sir," the clerk called out.

Jongin felt his cheeks warm as he reached up to thumb the little charm. It hummed comfortably between his fingers. Through it, he felt Baekhyun's general excitement and that put him at ease for the time being.

Once they got to the room, Jongin relaxed. He felt the stress in his shoulders roll off of him as the four of them piled into the presidential suite. This trip was going to be amazing. So what if they had to share a room? The suite looked huge and probably had enough room for all of them anyway.

Jongin sighed happily, taking in his surroundings and noting how many sofas there were and the openness of the suite. Everything looked incredible. Everything that was except for one tiny detail that brought everyone in the room to a halt, bags clunking into each other.

There was only one bed.

"I call dibs on the bed!" Kyungsoo shouted and started to run before Junmyeon caught him by the back of his collar with impossibly fast reflexes. The witch was on a roll today.

"We gotta lay down some ground rules," he said suddenly grave. "I'm putting a protection spell on this room to limit those who can enter, but if you ," he glanced at Kyungsoo and narrowed his eyes, "bring back any of your victims here to feed on, you're going to muck it up."

Kyungsoo rolled his eyes and crossed his arms. "Oh puh-lease, Junmyeon. The clubs here have enough sexual tension to feed me for weeks. I couldn’t go hungry here even if I went to a monastery. Besides, I'm… abstaining from strangers," his eyes flicked over to Jongin for a second before back to Junmyeon.

Junmyeon sighed. "Great, looks like I'm fourth wheeling then."

Jongin hid a smile as he dragged his suitcase to one of the sofas and plopped down. He was perfectly fine with the two of them sorting this out. Maybe this time Kyungsoo would end up being turned into a frog or something. To be honest, Jongin wouldn’t put it past Junmyeon to do something much more humorous this time. Probably something along the lines of the popcorn trick earlier. Speaking of that…

Jongin turned to watch the whole thing go down. He wanted a front row street to the antics of Kyungsoo and Junmyeon. They provided better entertainment than the movie theater. Now that Jongin was no longer home and stressing over school, he was ready to enjoy himself, obnoxious bickering and all.

"Please, if anything I'm third-wheeling. Don't worry my witchy friend, I won't be gross like those two. Us single guys got to stick together," Kyungsoo said.

Junmyeon's face turned five shades of red as he said, "Oh, I'm not single."

"What?!" Kyungsoo balked. “How long have you been hiding this?”

"I'll, um, I'll introduce him to you guys some other time. Speaking of time, I need to get on this protection charm and then head over to the coven to get everything situated for tomorrow." He turned to Jongin, his gray-blue hair shining almost purple. "We've got a busy day tomorrow, so be prepared."

Jongin nodded. "Long day tomorrow, got it."

"Okay, good," Junmyeon said and then started to unload his supplies to make a protection charm. He glanced at Baekhyun for a second and the vampire corralled next to him where they spoke in hushed whispers.

Now that everyone was distracted -- save Kyungsoo who was busy scowling at Junmyeon -- Jongin turned around on the sofa and happily looked around. He was excited to be able to just enjoy himself for once, well aside from his two meeting with the coven and the vampire court respectively, but right now, Jongin was focused on enjoying the day.

The room was not even a hair short of amazing. It was spacious, had two large -- and very comfy -- couches, a couple of regular plush chairs, a huge television, a beautifully ornate glass table in the center with a vase of blood red roses in it. There were crystalline glasses on the dining table, lined with a beautiful silk tablecloth. But none of those compared to the ivory colored piano sitting by the window.

He was drawn to it by a strong uncanny force. The only thing was that Jongin was also really comfortable on the sofa and didn’t want to get up. So, he settled for gazing longingly at the piano while Junmyeon and Baekhyun continued their hushed whispers. He gave them a quick glance and saw Junmyeon beginning to unpack his supplies.

Jongin finally stood up and walked over to the piano and sat down. The bench was soft and gave easily under his weight. If he thought the sofa was comfy, the piano bench was a close second.

He touched one key, sounding off a single note, and smiled. He had always wanted to learn piano but never had the time growing up. So instead, he just envied all the other kids and their musical talents while he was taught other hobbies. It wasn’t really his parent’s fault so Jongin had no ill feelings towards them for not signing him up for piano, but now as he sat in front of one, he couldn’t help but feel a little misplaced nostalgia.

Kyungsoo slid onto the bench next to him and played a small warm-up. Then, he paused and grinned at Jongin. "Want to learn?"

"When I was younger, I really wanted to, but I'm too old now," Jongin said.

Kyungsoo grabbed one of Jongin's hands and turned it over. A soft expression crossed his face and he looked up at Jongin with dazzling blue eyes full of wonder and softness. "Never too late to learn, besides once you're turned you'll have all the time in the world."

Jongin's heart pounded in his ears. He found himself staring at Kyungsoo's lips and pursed his to fight back the urge to feel them on his. He knew that it would result in him being turned into a human raisin, but the longer he gazed at Kyungsoo, the stronger the feeling became until he had to look away.

He caught Baekhyun staring at the two of them and a wave of adoration and love poured in from the claim. It was enough to steal Jongin’s breath away. He broke his eye contact with Baekhyun, heart still racing in his chest and turned back to Kyungsoo.

The incubus was watching Jongin from the corner of his eye, a shy expression that said he did this kind of thing a lot when Jongin wasn’t looking at him. It made him smile a bit and when he reached for Kyungsoo, the incubus froze, eyes wide and shocked.

Gently, Jongin cupped his face, careful to place his thumbs just over his plush lips and kissed him. It would never be the same as a real kiss, but the intent behind it was enough. When Jongin pulled back he was overwhelmed by the emotions from Baekhyun and the way Kyungsoo was regarding him.

He looked so open, so completely enamored by Jongin. It was like staring into the face of eternity. Kyungsoo’s irises shone brightly, pupils fully dilated and lips parted. He touched one, still staring at Jongin and then the tiniest of quirks pulled them into a smile.

With that same shy but shocked expression, he nodded his head and pressed a key on the piano. The note hung in the air between the two of them while Jongin tried to calm his speeding heart. When he flicked his gaze to Baekhyun, the vampire had a satisfied expression on his face.

Kyungsoo nodded his head again and placed his fingers to the keys. The first tinkling sounds of a song filled the air and before long, the notes crescendoed into a haunting lullaby of sorts. Jongin sat there watching Kyungsoo play with his eyes closed, completely lost in the music. His fingers moved expertly over the keys, hitting every note with finality and lingering on others. It was beautiful and vaguely familiar, like the melody that his grandmother used to hum when she baked. The song swelled into a wonderfully gothic clashing of highs and lows before it fell back into the single haunting notes towards the end.

Once he was done, Kyungsoo hesitated, fingers still on the keys and the final sound died out. Then he opened his eyes, thick with the haze of emotion from the piece and stared at his hands. Whatever song it was, it had a lot of meaning to the incubus. They shared another look and Kyungsoo’s hand snaked over Jongin’s, still on the bench, and gave it a squeeze.

Smiling, Jongin looked around and saw both Junmyeon and Baekhyun both frozen in awe at the other end of the room. A huge wave of pride and longing passed through the claim and Jongin started putting two and two together. This song meant something to Night Worlders.

"I didn't know you could play," Junmyeon said, raising an eyebrow.

Kyungsoo's placid expression transformed into cockiness and he smirked. "There's a lot you don't know about me, witch."

"I see that," Junmyeon said cheerily. "I'm glad to get to see this side of you. Turns out you're not just an annoying little sex demon."

Just like that, the magical and peaceful moment the four of them were sharing was gone. Replaced by their usual jumping at each other’s throats and testing limits, the room seemed to liven up a bit. Well, things were going to be very fun here, Jongin guessed.

"Oh I'll show you annoying sex demon," Kyungsoo challenged and sprang up from the piano bench. He started stripping off his shirt while Junmyeon darted behind one of the chairs.

“Don’t make me give you two dicks, Kyungsoo,” Junmyeon warned as he ran around the chair.

“I could put them both to good use,” Kyungsoo responded and dove after Junmyeon. He missed by a hair's breadth and ended up crawling under the table to grab Junmyeon’s ankles.

“I’ll put them on your head, can’t make much use then could you?” Junmyeon offered, leaping over Kyungsoo’s outstretched hand and moving to the other side of the table.

“I’ll just let Jongin ride my face, there, problem solved,” Kyungsoo said as he climbed from under the table.

Wait a minute. Why was Jongin being involved in this? He let himself imagine Kyungsoo with two new appendages stuck to his head and the image made him guffaw.

“On your back then,” Junmyeon said. He scurried away from the dining room and into the entryway, narrowly avoiding Baekhyun who was watching all of this with a bemused look.

“Then I’ll open a bar and let people ride me like a bull. Keep at Junmyeon, I’m a sex demon, I can make use of a dick anywhere,” Kyungsoo laughed and raced after him.

Jongin shook his head, laughing quietly to himself as he watched Kyungsoo torment Junmyeon to the point of static filling the air. Junmyeon was pretty damn scary when he was pissed, but for some reason, he never really did anything to make Kyungsoo stop pestering him. It was as if he enjoyed being annoyed by him and that made Jongin smile. He was glad that they got along like well, brothers.

Their voices faded a bit as they ended up near the bedroom, but the sound of two bodies colliding into each other made Jongin crane his neck. He saw Kyungsoo with his arms around Junmyeon, lifting him as he brought him back to the room there they were and squeezed him.

“Put me down,” Junmyeon hissed.

“Not until I show you how annoying I can be,” Kyungsoo chimed and then licked a stripe up Junmyeon’s neck.

The witch screeched, and pushed himself out of Kyungsoo’s arms, screaming and wiping his neck furiously. “What the actual fuck Kyungsoo?”

Kyungsoo shrugged. “I’m annoying remember?”

Junmyeon wiped his hand on his pants and shuddered. “I think I actually hate you.”

The incubus sidled up to Junmyeon and bumped his shoulder with his own. “Nah, you love me.”

Junmyeon whipped around to face him, jaw set and eyes flashing as his hair swirled around him. He was pissed and Kyungsoo looked completely nonplussed. The tension in the room rose until Jongin was starting to think that maybe he should break it up, but then Kyungsoo booped Junmyeon’s nose and the wind and tension fizzled out like a balloon.

Junmyeon blinked and then a smile crossed his face. “You’re not entirely insufferable.”

“Awh thanks, Dad,” Kyungsoo quipped and scooped his shirt off the back of a chair. “Glad to know I warm the cockles of your witchy heart.” Then he turned to Jongin and winked, “I’m going out for a bit, catch y’all prudes later!”

Junmyeon shook his head and returned to the entryway to finish pulling out his supplies. “I’ll work on the charm.”

The bench creaked as Baekhyun sat down next to Jongin and he rested his head on Baekhyun’s shoulder. With Kyungsoo gone and Junmyeon busy, it was just the two of them now. Jongin sighed happily. Whatever the French Quarter had in store for him, he figured with the support of the people he cared about the most, he could handle it.

Baekhyun laced his fingers through Jongin's and kissed the crown of his head. "Let's go on a real date, tonight."

Jongin hummed in agreement. A date sounded nice. He then sat up and stretched. First, he needed a nap if he wanted to survive the night. Toeing off his shoes -- he had forgotten to do so during all the craziness -- he made his way to the bed and flopped face first into the sheets. They were incredibly soft and the mattress took to his body like a cloud. It was divine and sleep came to him easily.

 

When Jongin woke up he found that he was alone and tucked into the bed. Baekhyun must have made sure he was comfortable. He yawned and rubbed the sleep from his eyes before rolling out of the bed. As he shuffled through the bedroom to the bathroom, he heard Baekhyun in the other room talking in low tones. Curiosity getting the best of him, Jongin snuck closer to get a better look and saw that Baekhyun was pacing back and forth on the phone. A rare sight.

"Yes, he's here...no I'm not sending him back just because of what happened at the ball." He sighed and then turned to face Jongin with an exasperated smile stretched thin over his face.

"Seohyun, I'm not budging on this. The incubus stays end of story. The French Quarter is mine, I can do what I please while I'm here." He paced again, his steps growing faster. "I don't care that you've been running things while I was gone, I'm back for the time being and things will go as I wish."

Jongin hovered by the doorway unsure if he should even be listening to this conversation, but then Baekhyun beamed at him and then said, "Jongin says hi and that he can't wait to spend time with you at court."

It seemed to soothe Seohyun judging by the way Baekhyun smiled softly to himself and made noises of agreement. Not wanting to eavesdrop any more, Jongin started to slink back to the bedroom. At the same time, Baekhyun hung up the call and ran his fingers through his hair, giving Jongin that hungry look that meant he was in trouble.

"Is everything okay?" Jongin asked as Baekhyun walked over to him with predatory grace. He was really embracing his full vampire self while he was here. There had to be something in the air, either that or perhaps something else was causing Baekhyun to act like this.

"Seohyun doesn't want Kyungsoo in the French Quarter after his outburst at the masquerade. She was never really too fond of him, but now she's being downright disrespectful of my wishes," Baekhyun said as he closed the gap between him and Jongin and took his jaw into his hand, angling it so that Jongin's neck was exposed.

"Why bring me up then?" Jongin asked, his breath coming out in labored huffs. He couldn't tell if he was anticipating a bite or not, but his body was already more than eager. He could hear his blood rushing in his ears as his heart rate sped up.

Baekhyun pressed his lips to Jongin's neck and murmured, "She has a soft spot for you."

Jongin swallowed thickly. His boxers tightened as warmth pooled deep in his groin. "Why?"

A hot, wet tongue passed over the sensitive spot on Jongin's neck and he shuddered into Baekhyun's arms. The vampire teased Jongin with the points of his teeth, dragging them over the spot painfully slow.

"She's always been soft for humans. It's why she has so many that she's turned," Baekhyun whispered.

He pushed Jongin against the door frame and ran his hands down his sides, hooking his fingers into the waistband of his boxers and snapping it against his skin. Jongin whimpered in the back of his throat and tried to press his neck against Baekhyun's teeth to break the skin, but the vampire stepped back, leaving Jongin a hot mess against the wall.

"Not fair," Jongin panted and adjusted himself, but it was no hope. Tucking himself into the waistband only exposed his leaking head to the cold and drew Baekhyun's playful gaze to it for a second.

"More after dinner, my love. Let's shower and get ready," the vampire said and headed towards the bathroom.

Despite Jongin's many attempts, the shower proved to be purely for the function of cleaning up and not at all a place for him to seduce Baekhyun. As it turned out, the vampire wasn't too fond of steaming up an already steamy cubicle of glass, so Jongin pouted while Baekhyun scrubbed his back and washed his hair.

It felt nice, being pampered the way he was. This trip was really starting out well despite all of Jongin’s previous worries. He had his closest friend here, and his two lovers and everyone was doing so well. It really put him at ease.

Once the shower was done, Jongin quickly dressed himself in the outfit that Baekhyun had laid out for him -- one of the many the vampire had packed away for him in anticipation of this trip -- and stared at himself in the mirror.

He wore a simple flowing blouse that was deep red in color and clung loosely to his skin. It both hid and accentuated his figure in a way that his regular (and very much preferred) t-shirts did and Baekhyun clucked appreciatively in response.

Arms snaked around him, hand closing lightly over his throat and Jongin leaned back into Baekhyun's solid body. Something about the way Baekhyun had been acting since they arrived here was still setting off tiny alarms in his head, but he had to admit that he found it incredibly attractive as well.

"Let us dine, my love," Baekhyun whispered against his neck, moving his hands upwards and smoothing Jongin's hair from his face.

Jongin only nodded, taking in the way his claim laid stark against his exposed tanned skin, just in the hollow of his neck. He reached to thumb at it, and behind him, Baekhyun's eyes darkened in that hungry way that was becoming more and more frequent. He felt nothing through the connection of the claim, but Baekhyun's hunger was clear as day. It painted his features with dark predatory desire and changed his aura.

The French Quarter really brought out the vampire in Baekhyun.

 

The restaurant that they ended up going to was a lot fancier than Jongin had been expecting. Dozens of white clothed tables spotted the floor, equidistant and donning candelabras and the finest of cuisines. The aroma was overpowering even from where they stood at the entrance. It had the spice of cajun food and it made Jongin’s mouth water.

Every single guest was dressed to the nines in formal attire. Women wore magnificent dresses that ranged from clinging to every curve their body had to flowing ethereal gowns that pooled around their feet in silken spools. Men were dressed in various styles of suits and vests. Some wore hats that were then taken off as they entered and checked in by a concierge.

Jongin rested his hand in the crook of Baekhyun's elbow. When they stepped inside the restaurant a hush fell over the floor. Every eye turned to them, drinking in their appearances and causing heat to rise to the very apples of Jongin's cheeks. He wanted to give Baekhyun an alarmed look, but Baekhyun whispered that this kind of thing was to be expected, so Jongin simply plastered a small smile on his lips. He was getting to play his role as royalty already.

They were seated almost immediately by a tall, slim man with deep burgundy hair. He bowed deeply to Baekhyun and then nodded his head at Jongin as he led the way to their table. The entire time, the restaurant was silent, curious and intruding gazes following their every move. It wasn't until they were led to a private booth, just at the other end of the restaurant that the din of eating and conversation returned.

Once the waiter left -- extending another deep bow to the both of them -- Jongin took the opportunity to speak for the first time since they arrived.

"They stare so much," he said.

Baekhyun smiled a tiny knowing smile that said everything and nothing to Jongin at the same time. "I know, but word has gotten out about my arrival, so rest assured that all will return to normal soon, my human."

Right. Jongin could handle a little strange in his life. Hell, his life had been strange since he found the Night World, but even by those standards the stares and silence unnerved him so deeply. He liked being the center of attention, but only when he chose to be, not when it was forced upon him. It was all very reminiscent of the ball.

That thought led him to another one and before he knew it he was lost in his head imagining the horrors of court that laid ahead of him. If the Night Worlders were staring and whispering so much, Jongin could only imagine how painfully awkward vampire court would be.

"What's on your mind?" Baekhyun's voice broke through Jongin's thoughts.

"Court. People's behavior. That sort of stuff," Jongin said.

He reached forward to play with the base of the candelabra and it wobbled precariously. The earlier bliss he had felt earlier was all but gone now. Now Jongin’s mind was swimming with the possibilities of what could happen. Baekhyun said he had enemies and now all Jongin could do was try his best not to scrutinize everyone that was around them.

Looking head on, he could see the glimmering shape of a being running through the restaurant, but it was only when he used his peripheral that he saw a man in a pinstriped suit exit the doors. That was odd. Jongin flicked his gaze to Baekhyun and then back to the door several times. He was itching to run after him, but Baekhyun’s warning sounded in his head.

Only a few other patrons turned to watch the being disappear through the door, but they were Night Worlders. The humans in the room were just as oblivious as ever and Jongin knew something was up. His curiosity was getting the best of him, so much so that he had not heard a single word Baekhyun was saying. His focus was too divided.

He started to rise from his seat, but Baekhyun stopped him, "Let's enjoy our date, Jongin. We’ve yet to have a real one."

"I will, but tell me you saw that man," Jongin lowered back into his chair but craned his neck. He couldn't tell where the man in the pinstriped suit had gone, but more and more Night Worlders were subtly focusing their attention outside. Eyes darted to and from the door, infrequent, but enough so that Jongin was in red alarm. It was a being he had never seen before and he wanted to badly to investigate.

"Don't cause a scene," Baekhyun warned. "We don't want the Day Worlders to catch on."

"What is it?" Jongin whispered, leaning forward but keeping his eyes glued to the door. More dark shadows passed in his peripheral, but it was the same as before. If he looked at them head-on they were nothing but glimmering humanoid shapes.

Baekhyun turned slightly in his chair to peer behind him. When he faced Jongin again, his expression was cool. "Reapers."

Jongin's eyes widened. He had read about reapers long ago. They were chaperones of death. They culled human souls and either brought them to their final resting place or they consumed them, forever damning their remains to haunt the earthly planes. They essentially bore worldly spirits into existence.

Other than that, Jongin didn't know much else about them. Not much data could be gathered on the afterlife and the beings that dwelled within it. Sure, worldly spirits could make their presence known to humans if they focused hard enough. But very few people, Night Worlder or Day Worlder alike, had the chance to meet with a reaper and come out unscathed.

The itch to interview one grew within Jongin until he was practically buzzing in his seat. He begged Baekhyun to just take a peek, and the vampire relented. He never could turn Jongin down and Jongin knew this. He burst to his feet and briskly walked to the door, trying to seem as inconspicuous as possible.

The only thing was, when Jongin got to the door and peered outside, he couldn't even see the glimmering figures. They were just....gone. Damnit. He’d been too late.

Baekhyun appeared at Jongin's side not too long after and corralled him back to the table with the intent to finally enjoy a nice dinner with Jongin, but alas, the gods of fate were feeling rather devious that night. So, when they returned to their table, all pandemonium broke out.

It started with the single startled, but piercing scream that made Jongin's hair stand on end. He had been just picking up the menu when it happened and the leather bound booklet tumbled from his hands as the first spidering of blood spread over the white tablecloth just a few tables down from them.

Oh fuck.

 

 

 

Tonight let’s talk a little about the Grim Reaper. He’s the bringer of death, skeletal in appearance and carrying a menacing scythe used to reap your souls. Sound right? Ah, then you’ve been brainwashed by media. See, the Grim Reaper isn’t just one being, he’s many. So, let’s dispel these myths one by one...

Chapter Text

Baekhyun was pissed and by that Jongin meant that Baekhyun was absolutely burn-down-the-whole-quarter livid. While any normal person would be terrified, Jongin was just kind of turned on. Seeing the way Baekhyun's dark eyes flashed before he pinched the bridge of his nose, closing them. The set of his jaw as he took a deep breath to calm himself made Jongin a little hotter under the collar than he wanted. It had to be something about the way Baekhyun's angry expression made him seem even more vampire-like. When he opened his eyes, he glanced at Jongin and for a split second, the fury in his face melted away before he plastered that mask of indifference and walked to the scene of the crime.

The scene wasn't too gruesome – a thought that had Jongin reeling for a moment. There was a dead body in front of him for perhaps the second time in his life and– It was as if his brain had to force restart because of the overload. How had his life taken such a turn? Here he was about to step into a massive puddle of blood, littered with tiny shards of glass, discarded silverware, and bits of food slowly moving as the blood continued to pour to the ground. It was surreal. The river of blood, the startled faces of the patrons, stricken with fear and confusion, and of course, Baekhyun’s bristling figure, were all secondary to the fact that despite the gore, the woman looked as those she was sleeping. Well if you could call a person with a massive deadwood stake in their chest sleeping. She was definitely dead, but Jongin hadn’t realized that sometimes death looked so...serene.

Her golden wavy locks were spread around her head in a sort of halo. Her eyes were closed, face slack, and then, of course, there was the huge stake driven into her chest with dark blood staining the pale yellow dress she was wearing. Jongin stared a bit too long at the deadwood that was pinning the woman to the table. If it had been anything other than the wood from a deadwood tree, the vampire would have survived, but seeing as she was utterly dead, Jongin now had full confirmation of how to kill and hurt a vampire. It caused a shudder to run down his back and he thought about the deadwood tree that was on his campus. How rare were these trees?

Jongin stepped closer, his dress shoe nearly slipping in the blood, but Baekhyun caught him by the arm and pulled him back. Jongin looked at him and bit his tongue. Baekhyun looked like he was going to go supernova. The longer they stood there, the heavier the air felt. It was almost suffocating and when Jongin pulled at his collar, thinking it was restricting his breathing, he realized that everyone in the room was doing the same thing except for Baekhyun.

It was the first time he had seen his elemental power lash out from anger -- actually, it was the first time he had ever seen Baekhyun this upset. He clasped his hand over Baekhyun's, which was still gripping his arm very gently. Apparently, the vampire was still in enough control to monitor his strength. Baekhyun visibly relaxed a bit and the air felt lighter instantly. This death clearly was a challenge to Baekhyun, that much was clear.

"This the work of one of your enemies?" Jongin asked, trying hard to look inconspicuous, but all Night Worlder eyes were on him anyway. Jongin gave a particularly blatant dog-hybrid a glare and then rolled his eyes. Fine. If people wanted to stare, then they could. It didn't bother him that much...okay, it bothered him a lot so Jongin shifted until all he could see was the way Baekhyun's jaw muscle was twitching. He could still feel everyone's eyes on him and it made him uneasy.

"B-"

"We're leaving," Baekhyun hissed, grabbing Jongin by the wrist and yanking him into the shadows without much warning.

The compressing feeling surrounded Jongin again and for a moment he thought he caught a glimpse of a man in a pinstriped suit as they shadow walked, but they were back in the hotel before he could get a good look. He pushed the thought from his mind and then whirled on Baekhyun. Shadow walking without warning was something he really hated and with Baekhyun's anger seeping into him, he could not stop his backlash.

"I thought I asked you to tell me before you do that?" Jongin narrowed his eyes. He pulled his wrist from Baekhyun's grasp and crossed his arms over his chest. He was all for Baekhyun embracing his vampire side while in the French Quarter, but if he was going to be a jerk, Jongin was not about that.

"I thought you were my human and supposed to do what I tell you, when I tell you, and with no complaints?" Baekhyun spat and glared at Jongin.

Jongin gave Baekhyun a disbelieving expression. "I'm going to let you slide right now because I know you're mad, but if this is how you're going to act while we're here, I'm not going to sit around and take it." Jongin sighed when Baekhyun said nothing. "I'm still human, so yes I have some sensitivities and shadow walking is one of them. I'm seeing things when we travel like that, and it's unnerving."

A swath of concern flowed through the claim and Jongin realized that he had let Baekhyun's anger from the claim take over his own emotions. He frowned and tried his best to push Baekhyun's feelings to the very back of his mind and focused on his own. There had to be something they could do about the claim before Jongin did something rash because of Baekhyun's emotions controlling his own. It was a recipe for disaster and if Jongin was honest, he was becoming mildly annoyed that he had to constantly push Baekhyun’s emotions aside for his own. It made him feel overlooked, as though his own weren’t important.

"You're seeing things?" Baekhyun asked, brows pinching with worry. "What kind of things?" There was a spike of fear from him, but Jongin pushed that away, too. He had enough of his own feelings to deal with.

Jongin bit his lip. The tone of Baekhyun's voice did make him feel a bit anxious. Was he not supposed to see things when they traveled? Was this a symptom of the claim being unbonded? Or was it a part of his ancestry? He was lost in his thoughts when he felt Baekhyun's fingertips brush against this cheek.

"Yeah, I see these weird writhing things, and I think I saw a Reaper?" Jongin said. He could tell that Baekhyun was still very upset about the death at the restaurant. However, Jongin was always his first concern and if the thought of that didn't make him preen a bit, well nothing else would. "I'm sure it's nothing, right?"

"Yes, don't you worry about it, okay? We just won't shadow walk for the time being," Baekhyun said, turning away to hide his expression. He was not successful.

Jokes on him, Jongin thought, because he opened his mind to the claim and could feel Baekhyun's growing anxiety over what Jongin had just told him. It was definitely not nothing, that was for damn sure.  "You know I can feel what you're feeling, right?"

Baekhyun nodded. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't lie to you. This is something I need to go see the Madame about. I apologize that we can't seem to have a nice night together. But I will make it up to you."

Panic sparked in Jongin, but Baekhyun took his hand in his and brought it to his lips. "I'll stay here until Junmyeon or Kyungsoo get back. I don't want you to be alone, especially not after that blatant move against me at the restaurant."

Jongin nodded his head, happy to change the subject from whatever the hell was going on with him. "Yeah, what was that all about? Who just stakes a vampire in the middle of dinner?"

Baekhyun lead Jongin to the sitting room. He only spoke after Jongin situated himself on the couch next to him. "When I left here to set up Club Isis, I burned some bridges with some important people."

"Why?" Jongin asked and leaned into Baekhyun, who lifted his arm and draped it around Jongin's shoulders.

"They didn't want me to leave. Didn't believe Seohyun could handle things and she's more than capable enough. I'm sure they're just set in the Old Ways and don't like answering to a woman," Baekhyun said, taking Jongin's other arm in his hand and tracing his veins with his thumb nail. It tickled a bit at first, but each passing grew with slight pressure until Jongin started feeling little shivers.

"Well that's dumb," Jongin snorted and watched the way Baekhyun caressed his wrist.

"I agree. She did a great job while I was away, not that I expected anything less from her," Baekhyun smiled. Then, he brought Jongin's wrist to his lips and kissed it softly before turning those dark fathomless eyes on him with a playful glint. "I'm actually quite excited for you to spend time with her at court."

Jongin tensed. He had forgotten about that part of the trip already. Tomorrow was the Coven and then just two days after that was Vampire Court. Ugh. He hoped that after that they would be able to stay a bit longer just to explore. There were so many people and Night Worlders alike that he wanted to talk to.

"Don't fret," Baekhyun said and then kissed Jongin's wrist again. He was playing at biting him and Jongin knew this from the way his lips lingered on the sensitive skin there. It reminded him of their first meeting, where Jongin had let Baekhyun drink from him after only knowing him for a few hours. Damn. He was reckless.

"I'm not," Jongin answered. He then shifted until he was laying in Baekhyun's lap, arm outstretched to the vampire's mouth. "Go ahead and bite me, I know you want to."

A smile danced on Baekhyun's lips and he let out a soft chuckle. "I should practice restraint. I don't want the Coven coming after me for feeding off their precious-"

Just then Junmyeon burst through the doors, carrying a very very drunk Kyungsoo. "If you grope my ass one more time, demon, I swear I will turn your hand into a goat hoof."

"I'll just fist you with my goat hoof, then. Let me at that ass, witch," Kyungsoo slurred and stumbled into the room.

"No, you won't. Before you even get the chance I will-"

"Oh hush you, I'm just teasing. You're too easy," Kyungsoo laughed and stood on wobbly legs.

He looked positively out of it, but very happy. He made his way over to where Jongin and Baekhyun sat and climbed on top of Jongin. "Baby, give me some of that good dick."

Jongin exploded into laughter, rocking Kyungsoo on top of him, who only seemed to pout. "You're drunk, how do you even get this drunk?" Jongin giggled and sat up, shifting Kyungsoo on his lap. The incubus seemed determined to get some action so he started grinding on Jongin, who just gave Baekhyun an alarmed look.

"The clubs! They. Have. So. Much. Tension. Drunk tension. People fucking against the walls." He punctuated each word with a roll of his hips. "Walking in was like being slapped in the face with an all you can eat buffet. I had some virginal tension from this one couple as an appetizer. Then I moseyed on over to this group dancing in the cages with their hands down each other's pants. They were delicious. I-" he hiccuped and continued moving his hips, getting caught up in the motion.

"I was full in about five minutes and spent the rest of my time in this haze just indulging . But god, now I just really need release. Please Jongin," Kyungsoo whined and ghosted his lips over Jongin's ear. "I need you. I need you inside me, I need..." he kissed along Jongin's neck and then to his jaw, stopping just at the corner of his mouth. "I need your lips on mine, please."

"I-," Jongin started and then found himself gazing into Kyungsoo's blown out eyes. He pressed his forehead against his, mind clouding over and tilting his face up to him. Maybe just a tiny brush would be okay? After all, Kyungsoo really wanted this and Jongin could not turn him down.

"Kyungsoo," Baekhyun warned and the incubus froze, seeming to snap out of his haze. His icy blue eyes constricted until his pupils were no longer blown out. He looked around at his surroundings and then his entire demeanor changed.

"Oh," he mumbled and climbed off Jongin. He looked at the two of them and then frowned slightly. "Lost myself a bit there, huh?"

"Baekhyun what the fuck?" Jongin said and shot to his feet. His chest was heaving and he had to admit that half of his anger was from the fact that he almost kissed Kyungsoo. The other half was from fear of him no longer being protected by the claim. It was acting so strange. The claim should have stopped him from being affected by the incubus, but if anything it was spurring him on. He gave Kyungsoo a sidelong glance, an ache forming in his heart. He wanted Kyungsoo to feel better.

"I'm... just... going to go run an errand and give the three of you some space," Junmyeon said and started backing out the front door. He slipped outside and shut the door only to open it once more and peek his head in, "Don't forget, tomorrow Jongin, we have a busy day!"

Jongin stared at the door for a moment before he turned on Baekhyun. "Why'd you stop him?" Jongin asked and then immediately felt stupid. Of course, Baekhyun would stop him, if he didn't then Jongin would have died. His mind was clearing by the second and the longer it took for Baekhyun to respond, the more Jongin regretted his words.

Baekhyun stared at Kyungsoo and an understanding between the two of them passed. With a nod, Baekhyun said, "Because he might die."

"He- what?!" Jongin balked and then it dawned on him.

Incubi could not fall for humans or else when they gave them the Kiss of Death, they would be absorbed into the human and trapped forever. But, that meant Kyungsoo was really in love with him. Holy shit. Holy fucking shit. How was he supposed to handle this information? When he was told by Baekhyun that the vampire was in love with him, they kissed, but that type of affection would hurt Kyungsoo. Right now, all he wanted to do was give him that confirmation.

Jongin sighed. If only he wasn't human. If only he was changed, then maybe he would be able to share that affection, but now? Now all he could do was the thumb kiss and quite frankly that was not enough at all. "What do I do?" Jongin whispered.

Kyungsoo placed a hand on Jongin's shoulder and gave him a sad smile. "Nothing for now. But at least you know?"

"Yeah," Jongin nodded. "You could've just said it to me. I already knew from that time I saw you kissing Baekhyun. I heard what he said." For some reason dredging that scene back to his mind made him feel bitter, but he ignored it. Now was not the time. "I feel the same, you know?" But did he really? Sometimes Jongin wasn’t sure if it was interference from Baekhyun’s emotions, or if these feelings he had for Kyungsoo were real. It was hard to tell, but he knew one thing for sure, he definitely cared for him, a lot.

Kyungsoo was silent as he eyed Jongin with suspicion. It hurt a bit to be second guessed by him, but Jongin had to admit that his recent actions had been confusing at the least. He had feelings, he just really wasn’t sure where exactly they lay. Jongin stared at him waiting for a response, but the incubus just walked away to the bedroom. He definitely had a penchant for being melodramatic – well that was unfair, but sometimes Jongin made snap judgements that stuck more than he wanted them to. Jongin sighed and then looked at his boyfriend. Perhaps Baekhyun would know what to do.

Baekhyun touched Jongin on the back and led him to the doorway. “This is something we need to do together to show him, okay? Is it okay if I kiss him?"

From the claim, Jongin could sense Baekhyun's excitement but also his hesitance. It compounded Jongin’s own hesitance. Was he ready for this? Was this something he could handle? It was just a kiss, but for some reason it left a heavy feeling in his stomach. He agreed that Kyungsoo needed reassurance especially because he never really talked about his feelings, but now?

He couldn’t tell if he was feeling jealous because he wanted to be the one to kiss Kyungsoo or if it was the fact that Baekhyun was. They had history – a lot of history – and Jongin was starting to feel more and more insecure as the seconds ticked by. Still, Baekhyun’s sincerity made Jongin want to just bite the bullet and let him do it. He could handle it. It would make Kyungsoo feel better and that was what mattered, right? He could push his discomfort aside for the time being. It was for the greater good, he told himself.

Baekhyun’s concern passed through the claim and Jongin shut the connection off as much as he could. He knew he was taking too long to offer an answer and perhaps that was answer enough, but with the tiniest of nods, he and Baekhyun entered the room. Wringing his hands in front of him (and out of Baekhyun’s sight), Jongin walked slowly. It felt almost like he was walking to his death – and he called Kyungsoo dramatic for leaving earlier but here he was feeling like he swallowed a handful of dirt with no water to wash it down with.

Kyungsoo was sitting at the foot of the bed staring at his hands. He didn't look up when Jongin and Baekhyun came in, in fact, he seemed to let his head drop lower, which was a bad sign. Jongin sighed and swallowed around the lump in his throat, grateful that Baekhyun could not feeling his feelings through the claim. He knew he should have said something to him instead of pushing through with this, but sometimes he did things without really knowing why. This was one of those times.

He sat next to Kyungsoo and pulled the incubus into a brief hug, burying his face in his neck to hide his expression. He knew he could only hold back so much from both of them, so he took this moment to collect himself. Kyungsoo was warm and folded into the embrace with reluctance at first, but after a moment, his arms wound around Jongin’s middle and squeezed.

"Baekhyun has a gift from me to show you how he- we feel," Jongin whispered and parted the hug.

Icy blue eyes suddenly met Jongin's and the incubus gave him a confused look. He knew he could have said something then, and maybe this whole thing would stop. Maybe he could find a different way to show Kyungsoo that he wasn’t unwanted, but the words died in his throat. This was going to happen and Jongin was doing nothing to hinder it. He was passively watching Kyungsoo’s expression as Baekhyun moved in front of him.

“This is from both of us,” Baekhyun said and leaned down.

Jongin’s heart jumped to his mouth at the way Kyungsoo’s eyes dilated. His full lips parted as though he was going to say something, but after a quick glance to Jongin, the incubus wet his lips.

There was a buzzing sound that started, and Jongin’s hand flew to his claim. It was vibrating in his palm but neither Baekhyun nor Kyungsoo seemed to notice. They were too caught up in the moment for anything Jongin was doing to distract them. Dread spread from Jongin’s stomach and made his mouth taste bitter. His breathing quickened, but he still said nothing. If he did, then this delicate moment would be ruined and by extension the whole trip. Kyungsoo needed this, and Jongin needed to be selfless. Afterall, there was no one else here who could show him such affection without dying.

Jongin watched as Baekhyun leaned down to kiss Kyungsoo, in slow motion. He was warring within himself to say something or to let it happen, and it was the latter that won. By the time the immense rush of love poured into Jongin from the claim, Jongin was balling his hands into fists and chewing his lip to quiet his voice. Just suck it up and let it happen. Deep down, he knew he wanted both of them to be happy even if it was at his expense. It was an act of selflessness that he thought he could afford. Or not.

The kiss looked sweet and gentle, judging by the soft sound that came from Kyungsoo as they parted just slightly and gazed into each other’s eyes. It felt too intimate and Jongin felt displaced. He stood awkwardly when Kyungsoo pulled at Baekhyun’s shirt and they kissed again. It was like he wasn’t even there. He gave Baekhyun a tense look, but it fell upon the back of his head, so he excused himself from the room.

Kyungsoo needed this, he told himself again and closed the door. He paused to lean against the wall for a moment before pushing off and going outside. He needed fresh air to help him clear his mind.

Standing on the balcony, Jongin was hit with a gust of cool wind. He leaned on the railing, letting his hair be ruffled and stared down at the scene below, quietly enjoying the music of some type of brass horn. It was almost forlorn but Jongin assumed it was because of his own conflicting feelings making him interpret it as so. If he focused hard enough, he could ignore the interference from the claim and just watch the way the two worlds collided on the streets. It brought him a bit of solace to his very confused heart. He had feelings for Kyungsoo, strong ones, but everything he saw in that room made him feel useless. Kyungsoo didn’t need him, he needed Baekhyun and it stung.

Baekhyun was supposed to be standing in for him and while Jongin thought he could accept it, now everything just felt weird. He wanted Kyungsoo to be happy, he really did. He wanted to be the one who made him happy. But, he couldn’t and conveniently Baekhyun could. It just left a nasty taste in his mouth. Their past was bleeding into Jongin’s present and he felt pushed aside. He wasn’t mad, no, not this time. He had encouraged it to happen and thought he could handle it, but apparently he couldn’t. He wanted to be mature, he wanted to be the all-accepting-happy-go-lucky-Jongin that he thought he was, but right now he just felt shitty.

So far all this trip had shown him was that being human kind of fucking sucked. He couldn’t do anything without being targeted or hurting someone and it killed his spirits. That and he was realizing that while the idea of the three of them being together was still something he very much wanted, he couldn't help but feel like somehow he'd be forgotten.

Jongin stayed outside for a long while, just watching the people go about their lives. He saw so many mixings of the day and night world. So many families and children walking hand in hand, blending together like it was the most natural thing in the world. It was strikingly mundane but also so beautiful and for the moment, Jongin found himself wondering if everywhere could be like this in the future.

A melancholy nostalgia filled Jongin's being and after a while, he came back inside and sat on the couch, unsure what to do with himself. He felt so strange right now. In the distance, he could hear Kyungsoo and Baekhyun talking in the room and that only made him feel even more like he didn't belong. So despite feeling tired and knowing that he had to be awake early tomorrow, he snuck out the front door and down the hall, intending to give himself some space.

As soon as he exited the hotel, Jongin was met with a strange suffocating feeling. It was similar to the way he felt when shadow walking, only he definitely was not doing that right now. He glanced around, trying to look out of his peripheral vision and discovered that just to his left was a man in a pinstriped suit and a nice hat. When Jongin turned to face him head on, he saw the shimmer, and then the man was fully visible. A person who was walking towards them, jumped a bit, but with a shake of their head they gave them a wide berth and continued down the sidewalk.

"Not your garden variety vampire pet, are you?" the man said, a sly smile adorning a dark-eyed face. He had black hair that was gelled back under the hat.

Jongin shook his head, grimacing at the word pet being used for him. "And you're not a garden variety reaper are you?" This was proving to be just the distraction he needed.

"Clever boy," the reaper said. Then he reached inside his suit coat and pulled out a black card with silver writing embossed on it. "Stop by my office if you get the time, it seems we have some important matters to talk about, human ."

Jongin took the card in his hand and noted that the reaper was wearing gloves. He supposed the touch of death had a more sinister origin story than he had previously thought. He stared at the name Huang Zi Tao and then looked back up at the reaper, slipping the card into his back pocket. "I guess I'll see you around?"

The reaper smiled, "Usually when people see me, they run away. But you, my interesting little human, seem to be running right towards me." The reaper started to shimmer and said one final thing, "Nice to see Baekhyun back in town. Guess things are about to get fun again."

Jongin paused at that statement, but the reaper was gone before he got the chance to question him further. It seemed that other than Baekhyun's enemies and being vampire royalty, there was a lot more to him that Jongin really didn't know. Couple that with the scene in the bedroom and Jongin was feeling even more uneasy than when he started. He knew they promised no more secrets and Jongin wanted to trust him, so he shrugged it off. He wouldn't let it bother him now.

Jongin stood there, staring at the place the reaper had been and then sighed. His distraction was gone which meant the negative thoughts were returning. He half wondered what they were doing upstairs in the suite but he knew it would make him feel worse to think about it so he shook his head. He also knew he shouldn't go around town without someone to guide him, but given the choice to return to the suite or wander around town, he chose the latter. Baekhyun be damned, he thought. If the vampire wanted to stop him, he could just swoop down now and prevent Jongin from going any farther from the hotel. Jongin paused, half hoping that Baekhyun would in fact show up. When no one appeared before him, he sighed. Whatever, he was going to make this night his own.

Tuning in on a guitar being played not too far away from him by a fairy, Jongin got another idea. He glanced over his shoulder at the balcony to their room and squinted. A dark figure was hiding just within the shadows and Jongin stuck his tongue out at it. If Baekhyun wasn’t making a move to stop him, then clearly, he had his blessing. With that in mind, Jongin tugged at his sleeves, checked that his phone was charged and headed into the streets. He was off to interview some people for the blog.

The bar wasn’t anything remarkable, but the booming music in the background gave Jongin something to focus on. It was some nameless song in a nameless bar – literally, the bar had no name, signs, or anything, just open doors, people standing in line, and a rather scary looking bouncer with two small antenna that twitched periodically. Jongin had half a mind to ask what hybrid they were, but once he was close enough to see the bug-like eyes, he shied away. That was not something he saw every night. Insect hybrids were exceedingly rare and rather short-lived.

Once inside, the music was much louder and the crowd was lost in the beat. Bodies swayed and gyrated in time. Faces lax and loose as if they were all high. Instead of the usual alternatively dressed individuals, Jongin noted that most of the people here looked like students at his school. A mix of bright neons, soft pinks, deep reds and purples, and of course black. There was a lot of that, but sprinkled within the crowd were a few telltale vampires dressed in tight leather pants and strappy harnesses.

As Jongin passed by them, they lowered their heads while keeping their eyes on him. It was weird being shown this kind of respect, but Jongin puffed out his chest a bit more and pushed through to the bar. He was in dire need of a drink to not only help sort his conflicting thoughts about what had happened at the hotel and well, to loosen him up for interviewing.

Leaning against the counter, Jongin ordered the sweetest drink he could find on the menu and went back to people watching. He noted that the vampires had moved to the opposite end of the club, shining eyes picking up the lowlights, but other than that they kept their distance. People were sloppy around him, but he didn’t mind. Watching the way everyone seemed to move as one unit to the music was mesmerizing. It kept his thoughts in the front of his brain and out of his heart.

“Here you go, sir. Drink is on the house,” the bartender, a regular human with arms full of tattoos and bright orange hair, said.

Jongin paused and furrowed his eyebrows. He took the drink tentatively and sipped it, unsure why it was free until another set of vampires passed by him, giving him the same nod of respect. Oh. That was why. He frowned and suddenly his drink tasted bitter. Everything in this town revolved around Baekhyun and no matter how hard Jongin tried to escape it, he couldn’t.

He settled against the bar, no longer touching his drink when a small imp came up to him. It had a small bulbous head, two tiny horns erupting from hits forehead and leathery wings that flapped frantically.

“Need some company?” The imp asked. It’s voice was a lot deeper than Jongin expected, but slowly the imp transformed into human shape before his eyes. “Ah, that’s better.”

Jongin smiled to himself. This was the first time he had seen an imp in person, and he had no idea they could change size at will. Nor did he know that when they took on a more human appearance, their wings remained folded behind their backs and their horns seemed to gleam. Maybe this would be the perfect distraction after all.

Putting on his best interviewer persona, Jongin introduced himself. “I’m Jongin. If you have time for a few questions, that’d really help me out.”

The imp considered them for a moment, bottom lip jutting out a bit before it smiled a rather unsettling grin. Each tooth was finely sharpened to a tiny point. “As long as you aren’t selling me something, I’m your imp.”

“No, no,” Jongin said and pulled out his phone, opening the recording app and starting it. “Have you ever heard of the Night World blog?”

That was how Jongin ended up spending his night. Surrounded by dozens of sweaty dancing bodies, leaning against the bar, interviewing perhaps one of the more interesting creatures of the night. A Hellion. Imps as it turned out came and went to Hell as they pleased. Apparently things down there got boring with all the eternal suffering, so they popped into the human world for fun.


The next morning Jongin found himself being woken up by the clang of a cauldron being beaten. He groaned and rolled over, not sure how the hell he had gotten back home at all. In fact, his last memory was shotgunning drinks with the imp and a few of its friends while they all chatted. He hoped he got some good information for the blog.

Next to him, he saw Baekhyun perched up in bed, shirtless and with glasses resting at the tip of his nose while he read the newspaper. He looked completely unbothered and instantly that annoyed Jongin. Why hadn’t mister big-shot-vampire stopped him from leaving last night? If he had then Jongin wouldn’t be nursing the world’s biggest hangover right now. The light was too bright, even the sound of Baekhyun turning the pages of the paper hurt his ears. Jongin burried his head under the pillow and groaned, hoping to garner Baekhyun’s attention.

What the fuck happened? Jongin asked himself as he rolled over and tossed the pillow on the ground. Before he could even answer the question, the banging came back and Jongin thought he was about to have an anneurism. "Junmyeon! For the love of all that is holy, stop fucking banging that shit!" He rubbed his temples and then glowered at Baekhyun. "You're just letting him do that? Doesn't it hurt your ears too?"

Baekhyun shrugged and turned the page. Was he... was he ignoring Jongin? Ouch. That hurt more than Jongin wanted to let on, so he glanced to his lap to collect himself. Then, narrowing his eyes, Jongin glared at him and the flung the sheets off him to discover that he was donning his birthday suit. He balked at Baekhyun and then crossed his arms. "Why am I always naked?"

"I brought you home and you tried to cook something and set your shirt on fire, so I had to douse you with water. After that I put you to bed to prevent you from injuring yourself more," Baekhyun said, all while not looking at Jongin. Why was he being so standoffish? Didn’t he essentially give his blessing to Jongin last night? Or did he forget that part of the night in exchange for whatever the hell he did with Kyungsoo. Oh yeah, Jongin was feeling bitter about that now.

"Are you mad at me?" Jongin pouted, letting his arms fall to his sides. While had no recollection of doing  anything Baekhyun said, it sounded like him. He had a tendency for disaster when he was drunk. Ugh. He steadied himself while the whole room spun for a moment. How many drinks did he drink? He had a hazy notion of the number eight, but he could have been pulling that out of his ass.

"No. But, I'm disappointed that you would willingly disobey me," Baekhyun closed the newspaper and gave Jongin a pointed look. "I’ve told you that I have enemies in this town and you waltz off and get hammered by yourself. Jongin, I couldn’t even feel your location through the claim, do you have any idea how much that frightened me? I had to wait for a phone call from the bartender to come pick you up. It’s embarrassing Jongin, not only that, but you could have gotten hurt.” He softened his tone and reached for Jongin. “I don’t want anything to happen to you."

Jongin scoffed. "Oh really? Well guess what, I'm a grown man. And, it's not like you didn't see me leave. I saw you looking at me from the balcony."

Whatever. Jongin rolled his eyes and braced himself against the nightstand. The room was spinning still and he really didn’t want to fall over in front of Baekhyun now. Not when he was trying to sound angry. He really wasn’t, but through his sluggish, hungover thoughts, he was regretting last night’s kiss. All he could do was hope that it helped somehow and tell himself to get over it. It wasn’t healthy, but Jongin didn’t always take his own advice.

"You couldn't have," Baekhyun said and then frowned. For the briefest of moments, Jongin felt panic through the claim, but them he shut off the connection with his mind, only feeling blunt anxiety poke at his heart.

"Why? Because you were preoccupied with Kyungsoo and forgot about me?" Jongin blurted and then spun on his heel. Shit. He was putting his foot in his mouth already and had only been up for about ten minutes. Time to run and run fast. The Baekhyun he knew would sit him down to talk about what he said, and Jongin desperately wanted to get the visit to the Coven over with, without feeling like a total jackass for being a dick to his boyfriend and by extension Kyungsoo.

He sighed and Baekhyun appeared in front of him, clad only in dark silk boxer briefs. He stopped Jongin from going to the bathroom and made him look at him by grabbing his jaw gently, but forcefully. "What did you see?”

“Of you and Kyungsoo? I saw enough to know that I needed to leave the room,” Jongin spat. And here he went again, shoving his foot in his mouth. If he kept this up, it would crest from his ass in no time.

“Jongin-”

“And another thing, if you were so hellbent on making me third-wheel in my own relationship, why didn’t you stop me last night? I could have sat there and watched you two talk about old times and canoodle. Isn’t that what you wanted?” By now his foot was in his abdomen. Way to go Jongin, he thought.

“That’s not what I intended. Clearly I made a mistake last night, but I wasn’t out there on the balcony,” Baekhyun explained and then let go of Jongin. “We will need to talk about this in detail later, but for now I need to know who you saw out there.”

“Talk, schmalk,” Jongin muttered under his breath. It earned him a hurt frown from Baekhyun and Jongin sighed. He was being petulant and he knew it, but damnit, he was hungover, confused, and grumpy. So excuse him if he was being rude for no reason.

Then, Jongin shrugged, deciding to play it cool.  "I guess I don’t know who it was... just someone standing by the door watching me leave. They were in the shadows so I assumed it was you on your way to the Madame." At least he hoped it was.

"That wasn't me, I left from inside the room after Kyungsoo had fallen asleep," Baekhyun whispered and then stared over Jongin's shoulder at Junmyeon who – after Jongin turned to see what Baekhyun was looking at – had his hand over his eyes and was backing out of the room.

"Should've known better than to come barging into any room Baekhyun is in," he said.

"You. Shower," Baekhyun said and then disappeared. He wasn’t acting like himself at all and it made Jongin’s heart squeeze a bit.

Jongin stood there, mind all bleary with a dozen more questions and head hurting like a million elephants had stomped on him. He sighed and hopped in the shower, hoping the water would soothe his hangover and get him ready for the day. Time to be on his best behavior, he thought ruefully.

By the time Jongin got out and was dressed, towel around his neck to keep his hair from dripping on his shirt, all of their belongings had been packed away. He jutted his chin towards them as he sat down across from Junmyeon at the dining table. "Why are we all packed up?"

"One of your boyfriends is concerned about your safety, so you will be staying with him at the vampire court after today," Junmyeon sighed. "Not that my charm didn't work. That thing was foolproof. But, there still seemed to be some kind of breach... I'll have to talk to the Coven about that later." He muttered to himself and then seeming to actually notice Jongin for real, he shoved a full plate of food at him. "Eat up, we got a lot of running around to do before we even step foot on the plantation."

Jongin shoveled a mouthful of eggs into his mouth and said, "Like what?" He was hoping this day wouldn't take too long that after learning about his heritage he could relax for a bit, but who was he kidding? It was his life and the Night World. He should’ve known to prepare for the absolute worst.

After eating and having Baekhyun see him off with a quick kiss to the temple, carrying all their bags like they weighed nothing more than tissue paper, Jongin climbed into the back of a black sedan. It was only once he was inside that he gave Junmyeon a look because this car looked a lot more vampiric in nature than something the witch would have had them take.

"Yeah, yeah I know. Baekhyun made me promise to use his car service for the day," Junmyeon grumbled and leaned forward to knock on the partition. He then rattled off an address for the driver and sat back. "Okay, the first stop is to see my sister, and then we're going to pick up the tools needed for the ceremony."

Jongin nodded and then froze. "What ceremony?" He thought today was supposed to be about finding out his heritage.

"Oh shit," Junmyeon said and then whipped out a scrap of paper. He rolled it tightly and then put the window down and let it fly out.

Jongin turned around to watch it twirl in the air before disappearing with a flash. Well, that was pretty damn spectacular. "What was that?"

"Couldn't risk you looking over my shoulder while I wrote that," Junmyeon said and then almost immediately the scrap of paper poofed in front of him with a cloud of smoke. It had one line on it, written in Baekhyun's neat and looping scrawl.

Way to go genius.

Jongin tried to take it from his hands, but the second he touched the paper, it crackled away into dust. Now, Junmyeon was being really flashy. It seemed being in the French Quarter also brought out the witch in him. Great, everyone was becoming more like their nature and Jongin was stuck being a dinky old human. How boring.

Junmyeon rolled his eyes and then clapped his hands, "Right, so we're going to see my sister. She's been anxious to meet you."

Jongin screwed his face up. What on earth was Junmyeon talking about? He had already met his family when they became roommates. "I know who your sister is, Junmyeon."

"Yeah but you didn't know she was a witch, a special kind, mind you," Junmyeon replied. He dug through his bag and a few petals fell out, again, giving Jongin pause.

"Okay, what's up with the flowers. I saw them all in your room, and now here?" Jongin leaned down to pick up one of the petals and rub it between his fingers. It was smooth and cool.

Junmyeon blushed and then snatched the petal from Jongin's hands. "It's from someone special."

"Just petals?" Jongin asked, incredulous.

Junmyeon's face deepened in shade. "Some must've stuck to me."

Holy crap. Had Junmyeon been getting busy with some type of wood nymph? That would explain the flowers and it would also explain where he was last night, too. " Oh. "

"Not like that! I wasn't laying on a bed of them or anything- oh my god I've said too much," Junmyeon blubbered and then turned to the window for a moment of silence. Then, he whipped around prepared to say something but a bump in the road shut him up.

Okay, he was definitely frazzled. Jongin settled into the back seat, smiling to himself. At least, he'd get to bother Junmyeon all day. It had been some time since just the two of them spent time together anyway.

The rest of the drive was relatively quiet, with Junmyeon sending the popping messages back and forth with someone. Jongin wanted to peek, but his phone was being blown up by Baekhyun asking him for his room preferences and what kind of sheets he wanted and if he cared if they stayed in the east wing or the west wing. Jongin gave him short answers, only because he honestly did not care in the slightest. But, then Baekhyun sent him a picture of the small bag that had lace fabric in it, and Jongin felt his face warm.

He stared at the picture trying to angle his phone hoping it would give him some kind of hint of what exactly was in it. It was this action that drew Junmyeon's attention back to him, and Jongin wasted no time, shoving his phone in the witch's face and asking him what it was.

Junmyeon's eyes grew round and he let out a snicker, "So Kyungsoo wasn't lying."

"What? What is it?" Jongin asked, trying to zoom in on the picture, but it kept bouncing back to its original size. Sometimes he hated technology. Especially when Baekhyun refused to answer him back. He shoved the damned thing into his pocket and stared at Junmyeon. "Well?"

"I'll let you find out," Junmyeon said with a laugh. Then, he perked up, "Ah, we're here!"

The car pulled around to a side street and the two of them got out. Jongin blinked against the bright sun and looked around. Everywhere they went in the French Quarter seemed to have similar gothic architecture. Jongin followed after Junmyeon as he walked up to a door and opened it, not even pausing before he announced their arrival.

Junmyeon's sister sashayed into the entry room, her long black hair swaying. She had a similar head shape, eyes, and nose. The only difference was the fact that her lips were a little bit rounder and fuller. The resemblance was uncanny though.

"Myeonie!" His sister cried out and swept Junmyeon into a hug which made the latter laugh as they both swayed.

"I know, I know. I should visit more often Yoona," Junmyeon said. Then, he stepped aside and gestured for Jongin to enter the group hug.

Jongin approached them awkwardly but then Yoona stopped him with a shake of her head. "Oh come on, Jongin. I've known you for what? Three years now? You can at least give me a hug." She pulled him into an embrace, squeezing him until he could barely breathe and then let him go. "How've you been? Getting good grades? Is Baekhyun treating you right?" She then turned to Junmyeon with a bright smile. "The claim looks impeccable, great work as always, Myeonie."

Jongin smiled. Yoona had a way of making him feel right at home instantly. "I've been good, getting grades, and yeah, Baekhyun is amazing."

She ruffled his hair and tsked. "You're due for a haircut, but I'm glad to hear that! How's Kyungsoo? Did he finally confess to you? I heard all about the Masquerade. It made the papers here, actually."

Jongin's stomach dropped. He had no idea that the masquerade would make the paper. In fact, he figured if anything people would find out what happened by word of mouth, not from it being legitimate news. "Say what now?"

Yoona ushered the two of them out of the foyer and into her breakfast nook. Jongin sat down at the table and played with the deep purple table-cloth. Junmyeon sat next to him and rested his head on his elbows on the table. "Vampire Masquerades are a big deal, there is always a summary of what happened in the Night World Times."

Jongin blinked. That explained so much. It explained why he was getting so many stares on his own and how even if he wore a high collar shirt, that others knew about the claim. He really was becoming something of a celebrity, and he didn't even realize it. "Is there anyway I can see the article?" Jongin asked, suddenly very nervous about his representation.

Yoona reappeared from whatever room she was in, carrying a box. "Yes, absolutely. I have a copy on my fridge."

"Oh my god, why would you have that?" Jongin jumped to his feet and walked over to the fridge.

When he saw the article, he almost dropped the paper. It was straight out of a rather famous fantasy novel.  There were moving pictures of both Jongin and Baekhyun descending the staircase. Baekhyun looked positively regal in his mask, holding his cane, and Jongin's hand in the crook of his arm, while Jongin looked, well, awestruck.

It was strange seeing himself in third person like that, but the more Jongin watched, the more he smiled. He and Baekhyun both looked like royalty that night. He hadn't even realized how their suits complemented each other's so well or how nice their masks were until he was seeing it with fresh eyes.

After staring at the visage of them long enough, Jongin glanced down to the article and cringed a bit. They were calling him Baekhyun's " golden-skinned paramour " and there was a huge emphasis on Jongin being Baekhyun's first lover in the last few decades. They were also calling them a " modern-day romance " and somehow had all the minuscule details of their first meeting, starting from Jongin running the Night World blog (which explained the sudden influx in followers) and ending on the heated moment of Baekhyun drinking from Jongin on that first night.

It was embarrassing to say the least, but alarming at the most. How did they find all that out? Who on Earth told them all that? And what part of their meeting was fairytale esque? Vampires sure had a funny sense of romantic literature if that was the case. Jongin and Baekhyun practically had a one-night-stand that first night, and if it wasn't for Jongin catching Baekhyun's eye, then it would have been just that.

He kept scanning the article, eyes picking out only keywords until he hit the paragraph explaining the last moments. According to the journalist, after an outburst from an estranged and deranged ex, Baekhyun's and Jongin's Blood Bond was cut short. It was after that that the perpetrator was removed from the premises only for chaos to break out.

All of that was correct except for Kyungsoo being estranged and deranged. Kyungsoo was neither of those things. But, the next part was when Jongin had to roll his eyes. Apparently, instead of reporting that everyone had gone crazy with bloodlust, the article stated that Baekhyun had and Jongin had completed the Blood Bond.

Jongin took the article from the fridge and brought it back to the table. "Um, why did they leave out that I almost died at the masquerade because everyone lost their minds over my blood?"

Both Yoona and Junmyeon shared a look with each other and then stayed silent. Jongin raised an eyebrow. "You two know something, don't you?"

Junmyeon nodded but then promptly shook his head no. "I’m not supposed to tell you."

Yoona grinned and then started unloading the box. "Good thing I'm here," she smiled. "I'm not aligned, so I can do as I please."

Junmyeon jumped up and stilled her hands. "Please don't. You remember the last time you did something like this." The witch then gave Jongin a frightened look before leaning closer and whispering into Yoona's ear.

Alright, this was treading on cliche horror movie territory, so Jongin decided to walk around the kitchen while the siblings bickered in hushed tones. The kitchen was homey. It had pale yellow cabinets with little sunflowers for knobs, white stone countertops, dated but functioning appliances and a window above the sink that had little plants lined up on the sill in varying stages of growth.

Jongin stretched over the sink to pet one of the fuzzy leaves only to have it curl away from him in a strangely animalistic way. He jerked his hand back, frowning at the plant. Freaky. Why did witches always have the weirdest things in their houses? It was one thing going into Junmyeon's room. At least he knew what to expect, but Yoona's house looked so ordinary until he scrutinized things.

At first glance the hallway looked like a normal narrow walkway with several doors lining it, but if Jongin squinted he could see the planes and lines shifting with energy. Yoona had one hell of a spell going on in her house. Jongin walked down said hallway, fingers dragging along the walls and remarking on how every place he saw swells of energy, felt thicker somehow? It had to be Yoona's doing, that was for sure.

After a few moments, peering into various rooms, Jongin heard his name and plodded back over to where the siblings were. When he entered the room, the curtains had been drawn shut, and several dark waxed candles were lit, flames flickering just slightly with their movement. When Jongin got closer, the flames grew in size and the siblings shared another look.

"Jongin, what we're about to do is generally frowned upon," Junmyeon warned but held out his hand and guided Jongin to the chair across from Yoona. “These types of magic are reserved coven members only and seeing as I am banned from explaining to you, Yoona is taking a risk.” He glanced at her, lips forming a thin line.

On the table there were several tools that Jongin had never seen before. A tarnished silver hand mirror sat face down on the table. Black tarnish wound its way through the intricate flowering designs on the back and gathered in the center where a single black rose was carved into the metal. Yoona picked it up and handed it to Jongin gingerly.

"I want you to take a look inside and tell me what you see," she said and then gave Junmyeon a sidelong glance.

Jongin took the mirror in his hands, noting that it felt heavier than it looked and then stared at the surface. At first, he saw nothing but his own distorted reflection staring back at him, but after a few moments, he began to see something else. Behind his reflection were shimmering figures that looked intangible at first.

He squinted and they seemed to buzz into more solid looking figures. He could see a figure that looked strangely like Baekhyun walking somewhere, but he couldn't see his face or discern where he was. A second later and Baekhyun was gone and that was when Jongin realized what he was looking at. It was the shadow plane where vampires shadow walked. But, why was he seeing that?

"Do you see anything?" Yoona asked and then Junmyeon interjected. "Of course he doesn't. He just sees his reflection, right?"

Jongin shook his head. "No, I saw Baekhyun just now and..." he trailed off and stared at the mirror harder. "I think I see other vampires? They're washed out, but they're walking?"

"Fuck," Junmyeon muttered under his breath and Yoona smacked him.

"Can you see their faces?"

"N-no? They are just white silhouettes," Jongin hesitated. "Is this the shadow plane?"

Yoona smiled and nodded, "Yes. Interesting that is what you see on your first try. You must be hypersensitive to it. Do you ever see things when you shadow walk with Baekhyun?"

Jongin glanced at Junmyeon, who looked like he was cross between being sick and complete and utter shock. Slowly he nodded. "Yeah, I think I saw a reaper once, too."

Suddenly Junmyeon jumped up from the table. "We shouldn't have stopped by here, Yoona. This is a mistake, let's just quit before they find out."

"Who? Your Coven? What are they gonna do to me? I've already been excommunicated. Not much they can do to punish me now is there?" Yoona hissed.

Jongin rubber necked between them as they continued.

"They can take your powers away," Junmyeon whispered. "You know what happened to--"

"We don't talk about her!" Yoona suddenly snapped and the room's temperature dropped.

Ice frosted all the smooth surfaces of the room and Jongin placed the mirror on the table before his hand froze to it. The two siblings stared at each other in a silent standoff. Then Junmyeon scooted his chair back and sat down in it hard. Yoona must've won whatever battle they had just had.

She snatched Jongin's hand in her own and then pricked his finger. Before he even had a second to yelp, she was pinching his finger over a bowl of dark water. Then, she let go of his hand and Jongin brought his finger to his lips and sucked on it. In the back of his mind, he thought about how Baekhyun would have found that hot, but it was gone almost as fast as it appeared in his head.

Yoona leaned over the bowl and hummed to herself. "Just as I thought," she said and then beckoned Junmyeon over to the bowl.

When he looked in Jongin saw him go rigid and then sigh. He shook his head at Yoona and whispered, "You're fucking crazy, but now it's been confirmed."

"What's been confirmed?" Jongin asked. He tried to look into the bowl but Yoona covered it with her hands.

"That'll set off the ouroboros. Can't have you looking at that," she said and then picked up the bowl gently, taking it over to the sink.

The room was silent except for the sound of water sloshing down the drain. Yoona turned on the faucet and Jongin heard her mutter that it was for good measure before she turned and leaned against the edge.

"Anyone ever tell you the origin stories of witches?" She said nonchalantly wiping her hands on the front of her pants.

"Yeah, you were given magic by the Old Folk," Jongin said.

Of course, he knew that. It was pretty much common knowledge that all witches (and apparently fairies) were descendants of the Old Folk. They had a more layman's name of Elf, but no one used that term for them anymore. They used Old Folk to pay respect to the ones that had given them the gift of magic all those millennia ago.

There was one thing however, no one had seen or heard from an Old Folk in the last two thousand years, so they were thought to have mysteriously vanished, but the more accepted theory was that after giving their magic to the witches and having it stolen by the fairies that they simply died out via breeding with the primitive humans of that time.

"So you know that no one has ever talked to one for a long time," Yoona said and Jongin furrowed his brows.

"Where are you going with this? Are you saying that I've got some Old Folk in me? Oh god, that sounds so wrong," Jongin cringed and let out a tiny laugh. He was trying to keep things light lest his head explode from the gravity of this knowledge. This was not what he was expecting to learn at all.

"You've always been so bright, Jongin," Yoona smiled and then crossed the kitchen to him. She patted his head and draped herself over him, her long hair tickling his neck. "But, also... yer a wizard Jongin, " she laughed and gave Jongin a back hug before he could even react.

"Oh, so she can say that and you don't threaten to hit her," Junmyeon muttered.

Jongin sat there frozen, mind absolutely at its limits. Was he even human at all? The room felt like it was closing in on him hardcore, and he gripped the table as he tried to wrap his mind around this. What the fuck was he?

In the background, he was aware of Yoona and Junmyeon going at each other over using such references for every witch discovering their heritage, but Jongin's ears were starting to ring. His throat felt tight and the more he thought about it the more he felt like he couldn't breathe. Had his parents known? Was that why they were okay with him being into the Night World? Why did they raise him as human if he wasn't?

"Woah, woah, woah. Calm down Jongin. I don't want that claim sending a distress signal to Baekhyun and having him show up here," Junmyeon said in his ear. He started massaging him, but when Jongin didn't respond, he snapped his fingers and a vial of something appeared in them.

Jongin jerked back, nose assaulted by the harsh smell and knocked into Junmyeon's chin with his head. "Ow! What the fuck was that for?"

"You were going all glassy-eyed panic machine on me. I had to snap you out of it," Junmyeon answered, rubbing his chin. He sat down in the chair next to Jongin and grabbed both of his hands. "Now I know this is kind of crazy, but I need to you put this all in the back of your mind and act surprised when the Coven tells you the same thing."

"Does Baekhyun know?" Jongin asked. It was the most important question to him. If Baekhyun was planning on turning him, he had to know this. It could fuck things up big time.

"Yes, he knows," Junmyeon said. "So does Kyungsoo."

"Wait why does everyone know but me? Oh god, am I even human?" Jongin asked. The panic was back in full force. He reached for the vial and inhaled deeply, feeling the calming and light feeling enter him. Ah, that was better. For something that smelled so awful it really loosened his body and calmed his mind. He made a note to ask Junmyeon about it later.

"You're essentially human. About as human as a full-blooded witch. It must be why Night Worlders tend to think you're a half-breed. They must be sensing the Old Folk in you and think it's witch because your witch's blood is so diluted," Yoona offered as she opened her drapes, letting sunlight spill back into her impossibly bright kitchen.

"Anyway," she started as she spun around, cheery smile on her face. "When the handsome Mr. Byun changes you, you have enough witch's blood to be elemental, so that's exciting, isn't it?"

This was too much information for Jongin to process, so he honed in on the change and whirled in his chair. "What about the Old Folk blood? What does that do?"

"Oh, we don't know. You'll be the first of your kind if you survive, which you will," Yoona shrugged. "I'm more than prepared to break a few rules to let you see the other side of that change," she said and her face darkened.

"What are you talking about?" Junmyeon hissed suddenly at her side. "Is this because of--"

"I said we don't talk about her! That's twice now you've brought her up and I've been doing just fine not thinking about it." Yoona's face tightened. She looked at the door and gestured. "Leave."

Junmyeon opened his mouth to say something but Yoona's glare made him shut up so he nudged Jongin as said, "Come on, we have to hit the emporium anyway."

Jongin hesitated by the door and then turned on his heel, jogging back to Yoona and giving her a hug. "Thank you, for you know, putting your life in danger for me."

"Anything for you and my loghead of a brother. He has loose lips, but I love him and his friends. Just promise me that when you and Baekhyun tie the vampire equivalent of the knot, that you invite me. I want to give Baekhyun a piece of my mind and embarrass the hell out of you," She said as she hugged Jongin tighter, rocking with him a bit. "And tell Kyungsoo that if he doesn't have his ass on that podium with you two that I will turn him into a cat for the rest of his life."

Jongin chuckled and backed out of the hug. "I'll send your regards to both of them. Bye Yoona, it was nice seeing you, for real this time."

"Good seeing you, too, scrub. Now go get in that car. I don't want to hear from Junmyeon that you made him late. Because he will not let you live that down." She ruffled Jongin's hair and sent him out the door with a gentle push and a wave.

 

The car ride to the emporium was pretty much the same as the car ride to Yoona’s. Junmyeon was busy sending the witch equivalent of text messages, and Jongin was stuck gazing out the window at the busy streets. The French Quarter had so much life to it, so much history in its streets. Even from the smallest of details, like the railings outside the shops, to the way people dressed left Jongin feeling more at home.

It was strange at first, feeling like he’d know this place his whole life, but when the thought dawned on him, he didn’t deny it. The French Quarter really felt like home to him. It had to be why despite knowing that he was going to have to put on the show of his life time for the Coven, he was so calm. He just really liked seeing all the blends of Day and Night Worlders.

It ended up leading him to start thinking about his future, what he should do when he finished school, and where he wanted to live. After being turned into a vampire, he knew he couldn’t stay in his town. People would grow suspicious. Maybe….just maybe once everything calmed down, Jongin would move here? That is if he could handle Baekhyun’s enemies and whatever the Coven had in store for him.

As they pulled up to a stoplight, Jongin suddenly turned to Junmyeon, who was very oddly staring straight ahead with that faraway look on his face. Jongin nudged him and the spell or whatever it was, was broken and Junmyeon gave him a worried look before collecting himself.

“Can I help you, Chosen One?”

Jongin almost rolled his eyes into the back of his head. So what if he had Old Folk blood. He certainly could not be the only one, and even if he was, well that didn’t make him that special. He was just living an average life, with a vampire boyfriend and an incubus almost-boyfriend and a witchy roommate, and holy crap, Jongin’s life was anything but normal. When the hell did he step into this fantasy novel? What if Jongin was actually a work of fiction? What if he was just a character in a book and the ones he thought of as gods were in fact normal people who liked to fuck with his life in their free time? It almost hurt his brain to think about it.

Jongin shook his head to dispel those existential thoughts and perked up. He had a burning question on his mind. “Where was Kyungsoo this morning?”

Junmyeon visibly deflated as if he was relieved that Jongin had asked that and not any of the other questions reeling in his mind. He snorted and then said, “Oh, he went out with his sex demon friends, he’ll be back by nightfall… but that probably means I’ll be picking him up again .”

“Wait, there’s more of them?” Jongin asked incredulously. It was more of a question to himself rather than, but the witch didn’t seem to notice and in fact seemed more than happy to respond.

“There’s dozens of them. Back in the day whenever witches were suffering from impotence, they would summon an incubus or succubus to aid. Of course, there were the witches that summoned them for more malignant reasons, but we don’t like to talk about them,” Junmyeon said.

“Woah, back that up a notch. Impotence? That’s what made witches summon sex demons? Why couldn’t you guys just make a spell to make your dicks work?” Jongin turned even more towards Junmyeon and stifled a laugh.

What kind of backwards logic was this? Summoning a sex demon to get their dingdongs hard. It was actually hilarious, but also sad as Jongin thought back to how witches used to enslave their summoned demons. Still, the idea was pretty out there as far as Jongin was concerned.

“Yeah, we used to bleed them and use their blood as aphrodisiacs,” Junmyeon stated rather nonchalantly. “Not that I would ever do that now, nor would I condone such a behavior. It was atrocious and I am glad that Demon Rights are a thing and–”

“Dude I know you’re not some closet species-ist or whatever you call it. I’m just amused that, that was what you guys thought to do before, I don’t know, making a charm or a pill, or taking a herb?” Jongin said, listing each thing off with a tick of his fingers.

Junmyeon shrugged. “I wasn’t alive back then, but yeah. Main point is that there are a lot of sex demons roaming around and they can’t all congregate in the same area, so they tend to pick territories and stick with them.”

Jongin nodded. It made sense. He went to a rather small university in a smallish town, so only having one seemed pretty smart. If there were more then maybe they’d make headlines more often, like back when Jongin had to babysit Kyungsoo.

“Why hasn’t he introduced me to them?” Jongin asked suddenly. Back at school, Kyungsoo was a bit of a loner aside from him, Baekhyun and more recently. So Jongin felt kind of miffed that Kyungsoo hadn’t introduced him to his friends.

Junmyeon smiled to himself and said, “Do you want him to introduce you to his parents too?”

Jongin felt his cheeks heat up and he hit Junmyeon’s arm. “No, I just thought he’d want me to meet them, that’s all. If I were given a choice, I’d introduce him to all my friends.”

“I’ll let him know you feel left out,” Junmyeon said and a small slip of paper appeared in front of him in a puff of smoke. He levitated it in front of Jongin so he could see and wrote out in what looked like his own handwriting:

Jongin feels like the secret fetish you keep hidden from your friends.

The slip rolled itself up and flew out the cracked window and disappeared in a flash. Jongin deadpanned at Junmyeon and shoved him playfully. “You could just send him a regular text, you know.”

Junmyeon grinned, “Nah, this way is flashier. Plus, it pesters Kyungsoo which is my new favorite pastime.”

“If it weren’t for the fact that I know you have a secret boyfriend, I’d say you two were on the road to dating,” Jongin laughed.

“Oh hell no. I wouldn’t date a sex demon. They are a little too spicy for me,” Junmyeon said, lacing his fingers over his knee. “I like the garden variety demons. They’re…” he smiled to himself again in that school-girl-crush kind of way. “Just my type.”

“Huh,” Jongin said and turned back to the window. Now he knew that Junmyeon’s lover was a demon and for some reason it made a lot of sense to him. Now all Jongin wanted to know was who exactly this demon was.

A reply to the witch’s text flew in through the window and smacked him in the face. Jongin stifled a chuckle, knowing full well that Kyungsoo had somehow instructed it to do that. Junmyeon peeled it off his skin and held it out.

Tell the princess that I’ll introduce him tomorrow. And stop sending me these damn things or I’ll find a way to make it fly in your dickhole.

Jongin guffawed and Junmyeon burned the scrap of paper with an indignant sound. “Well, there’s your answer.”

Jongin couldn’t be more excited. He wondered if the claim would keep him safe, and figured that when they eventually got to the Coven he’d ask them for something a bit stronger to protect him just in case.

 

The emporium, aptly named, Arcane Desires , was a whole lot different than Wycked Wishes , back home. Instead of taking them down many a winding road, the vampire escort pulled into a large parking lot filled with dozens of other cars. It seemed today was a busy day for witches.

Jongin climbed out and once again had to squint at the sun. It wasn’t for long though, because Junmyeon quite literally pulled a second witches hat out of his own and plopped it on Jongin’s head.

“Here. Damn vampire cars are always so dark,” he muttered and started towards the giant automatic doors.

The only thing Jongin could compare this shop to was Walmart and that gave him more than a sensible chuckle. Perhaps all witches didn’t enjoy the same cliches as the ones back home? Or so he thought, because once they entered, Jongin ate those words in their entirety.

Immediately beyond the automatic sliding glass doors, Jongin was hit by a frigid gust of air. What was it with witches and cold air? Jongin hugged his arms around himself and hovered close behind Junmyeon for warmth. He didn’t even seem affected by the temperature, in fact, no one was affected by it. Jongin hmphed under his breath while side-eying everyone.

There was a warm red color throughout the store and at first, Jongin thought it was because of all the red drapery around, but upon closer inspection -- something he was learning to do anywhere there were witches -- he saw that in place of all the light fixtures were tiny dancing flames. They ranged from around the size of a thumb to the size of a beach ball. It reminded Jongin of the ball of flames he had seen Baekhyun make and his chest tightened a bit.

With a shake of his head, he pushed the memory from his mind and continued looking around at the small, wooden tables donned with tiny trinkets. He paused by one to pick up what he thought was a small teardrop-shaped rock only for it to immediately stick to his hand and begin coating it, slicking his skin with an oily sheen.

"Junmyeon?" Jongin whispered desperately and when said witch turned around, Jongin gave him a helpless look. No matter how hard he tried to wipe it off, it just seemed to smear more and more onto everything he touched.

"Rule number one: don't touch anything you don't recognize," Junmyeon hissed and gently coaxed the black substance off of Jongin. "Some of these things are dangerous and others," he paused and nodded at Jongin's hand, "are just plain annoying. These are cursed devil's tears. They coat the victim with oil and then set them aflame."

Jongin's eyes widened. "Then why on earth are they just sitting there out in the open? What if a kid picks one up?"

Junmyeon jerked his chin towards the sign that read: 'Do Not Touch. Please Summon Sales Associate.' and Jongin sheepishly glanced at his feet. He probably should have been paying more attention than he was. It was just that with all this new stuff, Jongin was a bit overstimulated. He found out he wasn’t quite human and now he was in a giant emporium, what did Junmyeon expect from him? His mind was absolutely reeling.

"Most kids know how to read and are given a wristband upon entering that nullifies all the cursed objects in the store. Kids and humans..." he trailed off and then facepalmed. "I should've grabbed one for you. Don't touch anything else and don't wander off, I'll be right back."

Jongin was going to do just that, but after a while of lingering by the small table, he noticed that it started walking away from him and jumped. It looked kind of like a really tall spider and that gave him the heebie-jeebies. He glanced around for Junmyeon and figured that if he walked around a bit that Junmyeon could find him. He was a witch after all.

Jongin hovered by a display case for a bit, staring at the oddly shaped containers with strange labels on them that he could sometimes read if he used his peripheral vision. He kept turning his head to the side and shifting his head up and down to make the symbols float around until they rearranged themselves into something he could actually read.

Glowing Nettle. Ember of HellsFlower. Demon’s Leftmost Toe. Wasp’s Tongue Mold. Fangs of Spider Queens. Ambrosia.

They were ingredients. Not just any ingredients as they were quite well protected from anyone taking them (judging by the fact that Jongin couldn’t touch the cabinet). He tilted his head to the side again, and continued reading the jars until Junmyeon popped back up and slapped a bright neon green snake on his wrist.

The snake slithered around Jongin’s wrist for a second, before biting its tail and closing its eyes. It was pretty trippy. Jongin touched the small snake, but it only opened one eye as if it was annoyed and settled back flat on his wrist.

“Dude, it’s alive,” Jongin said.

“Neat trick huh? It keeps the kids pretty entertained and on humans they just think it’s one of those slap-bracelets from a decade ago,” Junmyeon smiled and started walking.

Jongin took one last look at the cupboard and followed after Junmyeon. He’d ask about it later when they were somewhere more private, because he had the feeling that he wasn’t supposed to be able to read the jars like he did.

Just past the clothing section (which housed only the finest of witch’s hats cloaks, dress wear, and some things that Jongin wasn’t sure they were), Jongin felt like he was traveling back in time. The linoleum floors faded into dusty orange sand and instead of sections, there were stands manned by various witches shouting over each other at customers to buy their products.

“Get your familiars here! One familiar, two familiars, three familiars, more!” A man screeched, holding up cages with different animals in them. Most were cats, but a few were medium sized black dogs, ferrets, lizards, snakes, and when Jongin squinted he was certain he saw a llama. How on earth someone was going to have a llama as their familiar was beyond Jongin, but he wasn’t here to judge.

Jongin turned to ask Junmyeon about the man’s familiars but he was no longer standing next to him. In the sea of black witch hats, there was no way for Jongin to even begin to find him. He stood on his tiptoes hoping to maybe get a better view but a large black crow flew right at his face, causing him to duck. When he rose back to full height, everything felt even colder and darker.

Mist swirled around Jongin’s ankles, tendrils climbing up his legs and brushing against his hips, guiding him farther away from bazaar area and to a more secluded one. Jongin whipped around and started walking back towards the crowd, but in an annoyingly comedic manner, his attempts were futile and he was dragged away to somewhere a lot more sinister.

“Okay, whose bright idea was it to capture me like this,” Jongin said with bravado. He hoped his voice conveyed all the confidence he was faking because the more he looked around the more fear settled into his stomach.

He was somehow so far away from all the other witches and the emporium completely. It was as if he was outside standing in the middle of a run down city. The buildings were dilapidated, broken windows and haphazard doors hanging open like screaming faces. If he thought he had traveled back in time when he entered the bazaar he had traveled back to the 1600s this time.

There was not an ounce of technology around him. Nothing but barren trees and empty houses. It was pretty fucking creepy in Jongin’s book. He tried to stop the mist from leading him through this ghost town, but the more he struggled the faster he moved towards his destination. All he could do now was hope that somehow he wouldn’t die here, because that would suck. Jongin wanted to die with a bang, not alone in some dark dreary area where the rats were the size of house cats. Yuck.

“Sister, let me have a look at him,” a voice from the darkness said.

Jongin squinted, hoping that he would be able to make out who it was, but only a cloaked individual melted away from the blackness at the end of the alleyway he was standing in. The figure approached him slowly, gliding as though their feet didn’t touch the ground and Jongin thought about running – well if his legs ever decided that they wanted to work again.

“Sweet child,” the hooded figured said in an unnatural matronly voice.

Jongin couldn’t exactly be terrified at this moment because the figure sounded so nurturing, but when he caught sight of a knobby gray finger reaching for him, all the panic in his body erupted with a startled scream. He bucked against the mist holding him in place and leaned as far away from the finger as he could, but it was useless.

As soon as it touched his flesh… nothing happened to him and Jongin felt kind of stupid for reacting the way he did. He let out a nervous chuckle and heat crept into his cheeks. At least the figure didn’t seem too startled by Jongin’s scream. Instead it was cradling it’s hand to its chest.

“Sorry about that, dearie. It seems you have the Sight and you’ve seen our true forms,” the figure said and then backed away. “We’ll keep our hoods up so you are not too alarmed, but…” she trailed and gestured back to the end of the alleyway. “My sisters and I would like to ask you a few questions. If you’d be a willing subject?”

Something about this was fishy and it didn’t take a genius to know that. Jongin gave the hooded figure a suspicious look and tried to focus on his claim. Maybe he could call Baekhyun to help him out. Part of him hated the fact that he needed him to get him out of sticky situations especially with how he was feeling after last night, but he really didn’t know who else he could communicate with semi-telepathically like he did with Baekhyun.

To buy himself some time while he willingly opened the bond with the claim, Jongin babbled on uselessly about himself, telling the strange figures about his classes, his favorite colors, his odd dreams, and by the time his mind was pittering out of things to talk, the figure seemed to grow impatient.

“If you’re done dithering, please come along, we just want to talk,” the figure said, against gesturing towards the dark end of the alleyway.

Nope. Definitely not true. Jongin could feel it in his gut. He was still struggling to reach out to Baekhyun, but was getting one hell of a helping of Baekhyun’s very conflicting emotions. It seemed the vampire had reached Vampire Court safely and was arguing with Seohyun about something – no, Kyungsoo. Ugh. Jongin sighed and closed off the claim and felt his shoulders droop.

He was on his own because despite all the alarms he’d been sending out, it seemed Baekhyun was too absorbed with everyone else but him. It stung a bit, but whatever, Jongin would talk to him about it when he got the chance. Besides, if the figures wanted him so badly they could just take him, not that it would make much of a difference. He shook his head of his dark thoughts and took a step back – much to his absolute surprise since he thought he was immobile.

Another step and Jongin gave the hooded figure a wonky grin and took off down the way he had come. They didn’t follow after him, but the mist grew thicker until he could hardly see what was in front of him. He had to rely on his senses to see and the farther he ran, the easier it was to see. He glanced back when he heard the telltale sound of rats chasing after him and picked up the speed. Holy crap, this was weird. Jongin couldn’t believe that the emporium had a section just for witches to get their creepy obsessions taken care of.

His lungs were burning but he could see the orangey glow of the bazaar and the moment he stepped over the threshold it was like crossing into clean mountain air. He gave one look over his shoulder and shook off the heebie-jeebies before dusting himself off. Maybe he’d keep this little experience to himself.

“Ah, there you are! You’re like a toddler always wandering around!” Junmyeon chastised and yanked Jongin by the arm. “Where’d you go off to?” He asked, taking out a bottle of water and sipping from it.

Jongin snorted. So no one saw the creepy mist or heard him screaming. Great. Just great. If he was going to be a sitting duck, he at least hoped that people would notice, but no. It seemed whoever those weirdos were back there, had charmed the whole emporium. That was a terrifying thought. So, on second thought, he definitely could not keep that to himself.

“I was kidnapped,” Jongin said matter-of-factly.

Junmyeon spit out the water he was conveniently drinking onto a perturbed passerby who then stopped and glared at him. Junmyeon waved his hand and all the water rolled off the stranger’s cloak and onto the ground. “You were what?!”

Jongin nodded. If he played it down, maybe it wouldn’t sound so bad. “Some mist swallowed me up and this strange hooded lady tried to convince me to go into a dark alley with her. But you see, jokes on her, I wasn’t born yesterday!”

Everyone froze and Jongin almost knocked into a one of those walking tables. He glanced around at all the unmoving witches and their stares made him fidget with his snake bracelet, which got annoyed enough at him to open both eyes and flick its tongue in and out. He gave it an apology pet and left it alone.

“You saw the Crones?” Junmyeon whispered.

Crones? Wasn’t that just a name for older witches? Why was Junmyeon making such a huge deal about that? Jongin knew he didn’t know everything there was to know about witches, but seeing as most of their information was easily found on the internet, he never really had to dig too deep. Still...crones? Maybe Junmyeon said crow? His brain wasn’t quite working the way it normally did and he blamed it on lack of sleep and learning that he wasn’t quite human. That’d do anyone’s brain in.

“Oh yeah! A giant black crow almost hit me in the face before the mist showed up,” Jongin said. Noticing that everyone was still staring, he leaned in towards Junmyeon. “Did I do something wrong?”

Junmyeon’s face was almost white, like he had seen a worldly spirit. “I don’t know why I thought bringing you here was okay,” he whispered.

He snatched Jongin’s wrist and uttered a few words under his breath until a symbol showed up on his skin. “This is a simple protection charm. You get in trouble, you touch this. It’ll alert me, Baekhyun, and Kyungsoo.” He reached and touched the claim. “I’m going to talk to the Coven about your claim. It’s not doing its duty and I’m beginning to think it has to do with the Blood Bond. You need to complete it Jongin. Please, before you end up dead.”

Okay, that was a bit spookier than Jongin liked. Hell, it was a lot spookier than he liked. Being told his life was in danger was one thing, but being told that the only thing that was supposed to protect him from danger wasn’t working put his mind in a not so good place. What if it wasn’t working because Baekhyun didn’t love him as much? What if it was because the claim was rejecting him?

“Why isn’t it working?” Jongin asked as everyone started moving around him, hushed whispers and frantic expressions on each of their faces.

Junmyeon lead Jongin to the checkout area in a rush and hissed, “I don’t know and it’s frustrating me. Then again, I’ve never seen a claim go unbonded this long. I think the Blood Bond is our best bet.”

Jongin stared at the symbol on the inside of his wrist. “Don’t claims weaken when feelings change?”

Again, Junmyeon froze. He handed the witch ringing up his supplies, some of which were from the cabinet that Jongin had been looking at earlier. “The two of you need to have a serious talk, if that’s what you’re worried about.” Then his face softened, “He’s not replacing you, Jongin.”

Jongin nodded and told himself to believe it. The only thing was, it was hard because whenever he thought to open himself to the claim, Baekhyun was busy feeling other things. One of the jars of ingredients flew into Junmyeon’s hat and Jongin turned to him, “Why do you need Embers of HellsFlower?”

The cashier chuckled, “Someone’s been studying up on their Old Language.”

Junmyeon gave Jongin a look and then nodded at the cashier, “Oh yeah, he’s an eager one.”

Jongin earlier suspicions were right. He was not supposed to be able to read the jars, and yet here he was. It was somewhat funny, but mostly unsettling because ever since he had come to the French Quarter, he has been doing more and more fantastical things. Maybe he really was being awakened like the others.

 

 

 

Welcome back to the Night World. Today I have some interesting information regarding the Old Folk. Old Folk, or as you guys in the Day World like to call them, elves, are the beginning of all of us. They walked these lands before we did, changing it how they saw fit, and when primitive humans came about, they vanished….or did they? Rumor has it that the Old Folk simply diluted their bloodlines to avoid being hunted down by the humans of their time. You see, survival of the fittest, didn’t always mean the strongest won. Sometimes, the ones who survive are the ones who should have been wiped out...

Chapter Text

The Coven resided in one of the largest and oldest plantation estates. It took a bit of time for Jongin to realize where he was at first. But, when he saw large sprawling fields of green speckled with large trees, he knew they were at the witch headquarters. There was a certain aura to the air that filtered in through Junmyeon's cracked window that made Jongin feel more at ease. Perhaps it was the charm of the land or maybe the Coven itself. Whatever it was, Jongin was grateful for it because after what happened at the emporium he needed something soothing.

It was now or never, and Jongin needed to play the part. He took a deep breath as they pulled up to the end of a long driveway and gathered his wits. He was to act surprised and collected about the truth of his heritage. He could do that, he told himself. It was simple. Raise his eyebrows here, let his mouth fall slack there, ask the right questions when needed and boom! The Coven would be none the wiser about how he actually found out.

Jongin half expected them to pull up to a horse-drawn carriage due to the old-timey feel to the plantation home and length of the driveway. But when they stepped out of the dark vampire sedan, Jongin found himself pulling on one of the new hats Junmyeon had bought him. This one was midnight black with small sparkling stars on it. Jongin had thought it was silly at first, but now that he was wearing it, he was grateful for its protection against the harsh sun.

The long driveway lead up to a grand Greco-Roman inspired house. Huge pillars decorated the front of the many windowed mansion. The grass was immaculately kept – complete with a small sign telling visitors not to step on the grass or they’d be turned into weevils. Shrubbery and other foliage were relatively sparse, but that was to be expected. The huge open fields and even bigger estate had always been markers of the not-so-savory past that haunted these plantation homes. Trees lined the walkway, their arching branches providing shade from the heat of the southern sun.

Just outside on the porch was a slender woman wearing a dazzling dress of pale gray. When she stood, it rippled gracefully, sending dazzling sparkles in every direction. Uncertain if she was who he thought she was, Jongin glanced at Junmyeon in question. Junmyeon wore an expression of awe and wonder and that was when Jongin knew he was meeting someone of importance. Imagine meeting one of the Graceful Four sitting outside a plantation. The absurdity of it made Jongin smile to himself, but otherwise he was excited. He had met Bo-Ah and now he was meeting the High Priestess. Maybe one day he would meet the Fairy Queen and the Alpha.

The woman met them halfway to the front door, and Junmyeon dipped his head saying, “High Priestess, it is a pleasure to be here.”

Jongin watched as her lips quirked, and she gently tipped Junmyeon’s face up to hers. “I’ve told you many times that you do not have to bow to me, Junmyeon.”

Junmyeon’s cheeks reddened and he looked at Jongin and then to the ground. “I’m sorry,” he murmured.

Jongin shrugged at Junmyeon’s behavior and also nodded his head in respect. “It’s nice to meet you, High Priestess. I’m Jongin.”

“I’m well aware of who you are, but please call me Mirae.” She smiled, and Jongin kind of froze for a bit. She was absolutely dazzling.

Everything about Mirae sparkled, her dark hair, her sun-kissed skin, the gray witch hat she wore tilted ever so slightly that it had to be purposefully placed that way. Even the air around her shimmered, and Jongin was left completely at a loss for words. He followed behind her, shooting glances to Junmyeon who was still in complete reverence. He nudged him, and finally that shook him out of the spell he was under.

“It’s always a bit like meeting your idol,” Junmyeon chuckled. “She’s the greatest witch ever born, so forgive me if I’m a little starstruck.”

Jongin smirked to himself for a second before he was suddenly hit by a burning question. The Graceful Four were all born at the same time. That meant that Mirae had to be as old as the Madame who was definitely older than Baekhyun who was over seven hundred years old. How did she look so young?

“Junmyeon how old is she?” Jongin whispered as they ascended the steps. The more time that went on with his mind reeling like this, the more he needed to know.

“That’s rude to ask Jongin, how would you feel if a perfect stranger came up to you and asked you how old you were?” Junmyeon hissed. Sometimes he seemed stuck in the old ways.

Jongin deadpanned at Junmyeon. “I'd tell them? You know what, I’m just going to ask her.” He had a way of acting fearless when he needed to, and right now that bravado was something he was clinging tightly to. It was the only thing keeping him sane amidst all this new information.

Jongin jogged to catch up to the High Priestess and opened his mouth, but she cut him off, “I’m a little over one thousand years old.” Then, she smiled at him like she was hiding a secret. It was freaky but also just as dazzling, and Jongin was definitely spellbound by everything she did.

Jongin's face went completely blank as he tried to calm the thoughts in his head. How was that possible? Witches were supposed to be mortal like humans. They were supposed to grow old and die. How was she that old? Maybe she did a spell or something. Or maybe...maybe she had Old Folk Blood like him, and Jongin had that to look forward to! That would be an interesting twist.

“It’s a simple reincarnation spell, my sweet. My body grows old just like all humans. I just get reborn. I do not keep the same body, nor the same appearance with every cycle, it’s all a matter of where and to whom I am born to. When it is time for my reincarnation, a family is chosen by the council and then prepared for my arrival. After that, I am born and raised here, and the family is given the choice to remain here or to return home. During the time I am maturing, I hand over control of the Coven to the Council. We do not practice the dark magic of immortality anymore,” she explained as they entered the estate. “Immortality spells use much darker magic, forbidden magic that has not been practiced for quite some time now.”

“How is that different than reincarnation?” Jongin asked. He was getting so caught up in the explanation that he had stopped walking.

Mirae smiled. “Death is a natural part of human life. It offers a cleansing of the soul and prevents corruption. To avoid death by the use of a spell corrupts the heart, mind, and soul. Afterall, we witches are simply magical humans. We must abide by some of the laws of nature.”

It was the perfect non-answer, and Jongin got the hint that he wasn’t supposed to exactly know how it all worked. Great, now aside from learning about his heritage, he was going to have this tiny detail nagging him in the back of his mind.

With all that said, Mirae continued leading them through the door. Inside was like stepping back in time. Witches, much like vampires seemed to have a nostalgic preference for the simpler times. Everything had a colonial aura to it. From the furniture to the wallpaper on the walls, it all sent Jongin back to the 1700s. He glanced up at the ceilings and marveled at the way the candles floated in thin air. They bobbed slightly with the air currents, but other than that they were stable. There was so much magic around him, he could practically feel it, but then again, it was all so simply used.

Aside from the hundreds of burning ceiling candles, there were small feather dusters and brooms doing all the housework around them. An ornate hand-brush swept behind their every step, cleaning any particle of dirt they may have tracked in. All the while, curtains drew themselves open as they passed them, and the rooms they entered warmed to the perfect temperature. No wonder this place was in mint condition.

Returning his attention to the High Priestess, Jongin asked, “What about vampires?” He had noted that she had called immortality dark magic and while he now knew she wouldn’t divulge witch secrets, she had to at least tell him a bit about vampires since he was going to be turned into one.

“They were gifted that,” Mirae said and lead them down an well decorated hall.

Jongin only had time to get a cursory glance at everything with how fast they were moving, but he did see portraits of the varying stages of Mirae's growth during the years and that was pretty trippy. Neat, but trippy. The portraits showed her as various infants of different ethnic backgrounds and then through the years of her adolescence and adulthood. In some portraits she had graying hair and a multitude of wrinkles and in others she looked just as young she did now. It was not only amazing, but telling of how the world of witches worked.

Just outside a set of large, off-white doors, Mirae turned to Junmyeon and said, “You are dismissed. Please go and speak to the Elders while I talk with Jongin here.”

“I thought he was going before the whole Coven?” Junmyeon asked. He looked a bit worried, but Jongin was starting to realize that was his natural expression here in New Orleans.

“He is, but his other origins must be kept a secret, now that I’ve been notified that The Crones are back. They’ll be seeking him out. You know how I’ve never quite gotten along with my elder sisters.”

Wait. What?! Sisters? And, how exactly did she know about the attempted kidnapping? Was she some type of god, or was this something that witches just did? Her omnipotence was a bit unsettling to Jongin, but he did remember Junmyeon growing silent during their ride. Perhaps he had contacted her through their weird mind-link thing. Jongin took a steadying breath to keep himself calm while he listened to the two speak softly.

“Am I not to mention anything to the elders about his...you know?” Junmyeon looked over both shoulders and crept closer to Mirae, face eager and anxious.

“Under no circumstance. Those that need to know, know and those that do not, will not until I deem it time. Now, go on, you mustn’t keep them waiting,” she said and shooed him off with a wave of her hand.

Junmyeon nodded and started backing away. He seemed relieved to be leaving her presence but hesitant to leave Jongin's. He gestured to his wrist and tapped it in reminder for Jongin and then bowed slightly. “As you wish, my Priestess.”

“No need to be so formal, Junmyeon. Remember, I’ve changed your diapers. We are family.”

At that, Junmyeon’s face turned a shade of red Jongin didn’t know was possible as he gave Jongin a dear-gods-don’t-tell-anyone look and dashed down the hall. Snorting to himself, Jongin followed Mirae into the room, noting that the door shut auto-magically behind him. Heh. Auto-magically. Sometimes Jongin had to pat himself on the back for his puns.

Ah, it was the little things in life that made him happy. And it was definitely the little things that were keeping Jongin together right now. He had pushed all the new information to the back of his mind during the car ride so he could remain calm, but with every step a new tidbit was climbing out of his mental trunk and to the forefront of his mind.

Am I human?

The thought was in and out of Jongin’s head, and he had to pause to breathe. He took the time to look around the room in effort to calm his anxiety. It worked immensely as the room was absolutely breathtaking.

Gauzy drapery dressed the windows, and everything was in shades of lilac, white, and yellow. It seemed the penchant for the dark and creepy was lost on the High Priestess. Everything was light and airy. The furniture was ornate but delicate looking. The metal work had flower designs in it that swirled and twisted in on itself. It looked almost fairy-like, and that gave Jongin pause. Witches and fairies weren’t supposed to get along as very obviously displayed by Luhan’s and Junmyeon strained interactions and Baekhyun and Luhan’s tense interactions. Yet, as Jongin examined the furniture, he couldn’t help but notice the abundance of leaves and flowers and vines that made up the metalwork.

The chair cushions were decorated with small glimmering wings that rippled when Jongin tilted his head from side to side. There were satin pillows with frills on the edges and jewels puckering the fabric. The backs were the same intricate design of leaves and vines, dotted with tiny sprite forms that flitted between the gaps. It made Jongin wonder if he would feel them moving if he sat down in one of those chairs, but Mirae led him past those to the back of the room. Silk throws spilled over the back of the chaise lounges in hues of soft pinks and silvers. This room was entirely unlike every other witch inhabited place Jongin had been, aside from Yoona’s cheery little house.

He sat down hard on a chaise lounge and grabbed a dainty sandwich off of a floating plate that passed in front of him. This was pretty damn fancy, and Jongin looked down at his street clothes and felt oddly out of place. Perhaps he should have dressed in one of Baekhyun’s billowing shirts and nice slacks. He shrugged, oh well, his ripped jeans and plain blue t-shirt were just going to have to do since he was already wearing them.

“I take it your visit with Yoona was enlightening?” Mirae said with a slight lilt. She was twirling her finger above a delicate, silver goblet, stirring the contents. Even a motion as simple as that was incredibly graceful. No wonder the four had been nicknamed the Graceful Four.

Jongin glanced at the door for a moment, the anxiety threatening to return before nodding. He wasn’t sure just how much information he was supposed to divulge and without Junmyeon available to keep him in check, he feared he would reveal too much. Still, it seemed that Mirae knew everything, so there really wasn't any use in lying.

“No need to worry. I am well aware of everything that happens in her house,” Mirae said and sipped from her goblet. She kept her pinky extended, and the action made Jongin smile a bit despite his mounting discomfort.

Mirae being aware of everything that happened at Yoona's didn’t make him feel any better. In fact, it made him feel even more nervous, and he glanced around again, hoping he hadn’t been brought into some type of trap. His breathing grew just slightly more labored, and he had to remind himself that he was okay.

Still, Jongin frowned and asked, “You have her house bugged?” It was kind of creepy, but maybe Mirae had her reasons.

“I have her house protected . She is aware of it as it was part of our terms after Tiffany betrayed us,” Mirae said with perfect composure. It was strange how calm and controlled she was, but Jongin assumed it was because she had lived the same life over and over again.

Jongin wanted to ask for details, but he remembered how Yoona looked whenever Junmyeon tried to bring up what happened, so he bit his tongue. It wasn’t his place to know, and he was going to respect that. He settled back onto the chaise lounge and munched on another sandwich while the silence dragged on. Mirae seemed totally fine with the lack of conversation, something that made Jongin uneasy. He had to fill the empty air with something when he was around unfamiliar people. It kept his head distracted and helped him gauge how to act around strangers. That, and it worked well for him when he was interviewing people.

But right now, he was just at a complete loss for words. Or well, he had too many words he wanted to say, but no idea how to get them out. He had learned some huge things about himself, and he wanted answers, but forming the proper question or even getting the first sound to leave his tongue was proving to be more difficult than usual. Jongin found himself reaching for a pillow to hug to keep his hands busy and picked at the frills. There was the tiniest loose thread, so he pulled at it, unraveling it more. The action was calming.

Maybe he should start by asking about something not entirely related to him. That was easier for him to handle. He loved learning about others. His brain was like a sponge to new information regarding the Night World. If he focused on that angle instead of the fact that he wasn’t exactly human, he could do this.

Finally, he got the courage to speak after telling himself to remain calm to keep the claim from signalling Baekhyun to come for him. He wasn’t exactly sure if he wanted that right now. Not when he was feeling so close to spiraling out of control or having a complete breakdown. Jongin sat up and sighed. Just spit it out already, he told himself.

“So I know witches and fairies have a lot of bad blood, but…”

Mirae looked unperturbed as she waved over a tray of fruit. She plucked off a ripe grape and popped it in her mouth, all while giving Jongin the look to continue. She gave off this aura of complete and utter dominance so Jongin had no choice but to answer.

He gestured around the room, “Everything looks fairy-made in here?”

“Quite the keen eye,” Mirae grinned and shooed away the fruit tray. “Everything in this room is a gift from the Queen. We are quite good friends as you know.”

“Right,” Jongin nodded. He looked around again, still feeling a bit uneasy being alone with Mirae but unable to put his finger on why. His thumb inched towards the mark Junmyeon had given him. He knew that if he touched it it would call not only Baekhyun to him, but also Junmyeon and Kyungsoo and that was definitely not something he needed to deal with right now. Besides it was only for emergencies, and Jongin figured he was safe here...for the most part. He could feel the magic pull at his gut and twitched his thumb away. He would be fine.

“You’ve come into a lot of new information over the past few months, no?” Mirae asked, steering the conversation.

Jongin nodded and exhaled in a controlled manner. The anxiety was creeping back and breathing was becoming a chore. “More than you can imagine.”

“I would think you had more questions about yourself, but you are avoiding the topic,” Mirae added.

Another nod and Jongin sighed again. “I’m honestly kind of overwhelmed and terrified.”

“Oh, but there’s no need,” Mirae replied. She leaned forward, a motherly look upon her face and patted Jongin’s knee. “You’re not in trouble, at least not directly.”

Jongin furrowed his brows. “What does that mean?” He felt his chest tighten a bit and thumbed towards the mark on his wrist again.

“How much do you know about the Old Folk?”

“That they were the original users of magic. They gave it to humans – who became witches. And that fairies stole the magic and were cursed. The basics, really,” Jongin stated. He wasn’t sure where exactly Mirae was going with this, but he knew he would get to learn a lot more from her than from Junmyeon regarding this, so he bit down his anxiety and tried to calm himself.

Honestly, he was on the verge of having some kind of mental break. Not only had he had learned that he wasn’t purely human, but that meant by default his parents had not told him. Or maybe they didn’t know. Jongin wasn’t sure anymore. He knew that he was being chased after by Baekhyun’s enemies and apparently the Crones. It was quite a lot to take in, and he was doing his damndest to stay calm and act brave because he was a firm believer in fake it til you make it. But, now? Sitting in this room of fairy furniture, alone with the High Priestess, Jongin’s mind was going a million and one miles per minute, and his heart was on the fast track to catching up.

“That is all correct.” Mirae nodded. “But you are aware that they went into hiding, right?”

Jongin shook his head, not trusting his mouth to keep down the bile he felt rising. He was slipping into full panic mode and wasn’t sure why. There was no way it was just the information load, it had to be– the claim! Jongin reached up and clasped his fingers around the small charm. It was vibrating violently in his grip and he gasped as his vision clouded over.

Baekhyun was writhing on the floor, clutching his his chest. A pained groan bled from his lips as the first spatter of blood hit the floor. No, no, this could not be happening. Why? Kyungsoo had promised him… they had promised each other…

Baekhyun coughed and more blood splattered on the ground. He wiped his lip, smearing the dark substance and braced himself as another wave of pain tore through him. It was as if his insides were being ripped out, as if they were being pulverized and shredded. He gasped, chest on fire and–

Jongin blinked. He let go of the charm as if it had burned him. He was gasping for air, trying to get his bearings all while Mirae watched him curiously. He gripped the chaise lounge, grounding himself and choked out the word for water. Mirae directed a tray towards him, and Jongin snatched the glass off greedily. After the first chug, Jongin heaved a huge sigh and then grimaced. The claim was getting worse.

It took his mind a few moments to catch up to what he had seen and then he shot to his feet, “Baekhyun!”

“Is okay,” Mirae said and gently pushed Jongin back onto the chaise lounge. “He is okay. And we’re going to talk about what happened.”

“The vision?” Jongin asked, still trying to wrap his mind around what he had seen. Why was Baekhyun on the ground? Why was he coughing up blood? Where was he? Shouldn’t he be doing something about it? He hovered his finger over the mark on his arm, half tempted to call Baekhyun to him just to see if he was in fact okay, but Mirae took both his hands in hers.

“Look at me, you’re okay. Baekhyun is okay.” She looked down at the mark and passed her thumb over it. “Wow. Junmyeon is phenomenal as usual. He is really on the fast track to taking his great grandmother’s place on the council.”

“I don’t understand. I saw him. He was hurt,” Jongin whispered.

“Breathe with me. In...and out. In...and out. Jongin you’ll be fine. Just keep breathing. What you saw was a memory, not the present.”

Jongin breathed slowly. He waited until his heart had returned to its normal pace and then nodded. “Okay. But why?”

“You’re unbonded,” Mirae said as if that was the answer to everything.

“Is that why it’s doing this?” Jongin asked. His throat felt raw, like he had been screaming, maybe he had been.

“That amongst other things,” she replied and then gestured for Jongin to come to her. “The craftsmanship is impeccable, as expected of Junmyeon. The charm is strong, and I can feel the passion and turmoil in every fiber. Tell me Jongin, do you know the history of claims?”

Jongin shook his head no. “Wait, what does this have to do with the bond? And weren’t we talking about the Old Folk?” His mind felt jumbled, like someone had taken his brain and given it a few hearty shakes.

“It’s all related. Let me explain this to you first. Claims have memory. They are a very primitive sort of magic. All blood magic is that way. They bind the souls of the individuals together. And in the case of vampire claims, they bind the soulless to the souled. It is through the binding of souls that the memories can be accessed because of the link. It’s why the connection is so strong. It’s essentially two being sharing one soul. In Baekhyun’s case, he had been bonded before, so the claim can sense the memories of the previous claim. It is trying to make sense of them because it has not been bonded,” Mirae explained.

“Wait, claims are alive?”

Jongin’s mind was completely shattered. He reached for the band and touched it. For the first time he was aware of the gentle vibration of the band. It mirrored his pulse, only just slightly delayed.

“In the same sense that fire is alive, Jongin. They have a drive to be bonded because it grants the claim stability. Lacking stability, unbonded claims become chaotic. They search for meaning, drawing from the claimed’s passion and thoughts. And with your Old Blood, you’ve been put in quite the predicament.” She paused and stared off into the distance for a moment.

Jongin watched her face go from wistful to narrow eyed and then relaxed. When she turned back to Jongin, she smiled. “Your Old Blood comes from a special clan of Old Folk. They were known as the Dreamwalkers. They specialized in memory retrieval and of course, dreams. You are aware that all Old Folk communicated through a connected mental network, correct?”

Jongin shook his head. His knowledge of Old Folk was limited to what he could find during his brief searches. Not much was known about them. He desperately wished he could find texts on them, but everything regarding them had vanished when they did.

“Ah, okay, let me start from the beginning, and then I’ll explain the link to your claim. The Dreamwalkers were a small and quiet clan of Old Folk. They were greatly outnumbered by the Gifted, and the Traversers. They were mostly nomadic, traveling from clan to clan to give aid and to take down memories of the cultures for their records. They were essentially the first historians and librarians of their time. Their records were extensive and revered. Every monarch the Old Folk had, would have their entire lives put down in their records. The Dreamwalkers were perhaps the most highly exalted of the Old Folk, but they lived ordinary lives.”

Mirae paused again, her face doing that faraway look that Junmyeon’s often took on when he was being notified of something. It lasted only a moment before she sighed and then smiled softly at Jongin once more.

“I’m afraid our time is being cut short, so I will summarize to the best of my abilities. The Dreamwalkers were the last of the Old Folk to disappear. The first were the Traversers, the ones who opened the Shadow Realm that elemental vampires use for travel. It is thought that they sacrificed themselves to create such a realm, but I know it not to be true. The Shadow Realm has always existed. It was just never accessed by the living. When they opened the doors, they brought about death and famine and were driven into hiding because of it. Well, until they disappeared.”

Jongin’s eyes could not get any bigger at this point, but he stayed silent so he could learn more. Never before had he ever dreamed of knowing all of this. In fact, the more Mirae spoke, the more he wanted to know where she got her knowledge from. Perhaps she had a stash of books somewhere in the room. He hadn't noticed any at his first glance, but he was well aware that with witches he needed to scrutinize things. He never got the chance however, because Mirae was talking again.

“After the Traversers disappeared, the Gifted, the most numerous of Old Folk, devised a plan to pass on their magic. They gave it to the humans, who later became the entire witch population. Then, they too went away. All that remained of the Old Folk to the known world were the Dreamwalkers. They continued their nomadic ways, taking down huge swaths of knowledge for their records. The last known location was Egypt. They had gone there in search of the Library of Alexandria and were never heard from again. They are your ancestors as far as we have been able to divine. There is a hint of something else, but we assume it to be closer to Traverser blood than any other Night Worlder.”

“Holy shit….I mean– wow! You’re saying I’m descended from all that?” This was huge. This was monumental. Jongin was actually special, and he really didn’t know what to do with that information. But it was pretty mind blowing. Here he was thinking he was just an ordinary human and then– boom! He came from a long line of historians and librarians. It explained his love for knowledge that was for sure.

“Yes, which leads to the business with your claim. Vampire claims are descended from the Old Folk nuptial claims. It was how they bonded two families together to create stronger ties. Their claims involved blood magic of a much greater scale, requiring blood from both parties and their parents to create an unbreakable joining of two families. It inspired vampire claims, and the bonding between two vampires as well. The claims that we witches create these days are a more diluted form, but because of your ancestry, you are experiencing the memories of the original claims as well as Baekhyun’s previous one. It is why being unbonded is causing you so much trouble. Bonding you to Baekhyun will quiet the drive for your claim to search for why it is in existence. It will give it a direct purpose.”

“So Kyungsoo stopping the bond…” Jongin trailed off.

“Has put you through undue stress, but without it, we would not have had the time to discover your ancestry,” Mirae said. She glanced towards one of the windows and then back to Jongin. “I have only a few moments before they are here.”

“Wha– who?” Jongin asked peering around her to look out the window. It was still bright as ever. But, he didn’t see anyone approaching.

“Bo-Ah, Hyori’s conduit, and Taeyeon, the Fairy Queen. Or as you know her, Queen Titania,” Mirae said.

“Wait, they’re all coming here? Why?” Jongin asked. His heart palpitated in his chest. This was entirely unexpected.

He was going to see all four of the Graceful Four. Well, not exactly. The Alpha had been laid to rest not too long ago so he would be speaking to her conduit in her place. Werewolves lived a long time, but in their old age they grew weak and frail. In order to preserve their version of a council, they put their leaders in a sleep-like state. It was during this state that their minds could be accessed by their conduits, who spoke on their behalf. It was a sacred job only given to those in werewolf royalty.

That was about all Jongin knew regarding werewolves as his own research had once again been rendered defunct. Searching for Night World creatures online seemed to have done him more harm than good.

“To discuss you,” Mirae replied. She stood up and gestured towards the door. “Come, I will leave you in Junmyeon’s care while we deliberate.”

Ice pierced Jongin’s blood. “Deliberate what?” His pulse pounded in his ears. He wasn’t in direct trouble, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t out of the woods just yet.

“Your fate as a vampire. But don’t worry, I am fighting for you,” Mirae grinned.

The doors opened to reveal three incredibly beautiful women standing right outside. The very first that Jongin saw was Bo-Ah. She was dressed in a pair of sleek black jeans and a billowing blood-red top with a high collar and a bow at her neck. It drew attention to her red ringed eyes and the slender curve of her neck. If it weren’t for the fact that she was a centuries old vampire, Jongin would’ve almost thought she was a (rather intimidating) regular human. As silly as it was, Jongin found himself hoping that one day he would be able to command all the attention in a room much like she did.

The next person Jongin saw was someone who wasn’t entirely unfamiliar to him. She had white blonde hair that fell to her waist, a delicate lace dress that ended at her shins and piercing blue eyes that seemed to almost see through Jongin more than they looked at him. She had a frosty aura to her that made Jongin shy away a bit and that seemed to please the fairy as her rose petal pink lips quirked ever so slightly.

The last woman was wearing a magnificent dress with blooming flowers lining the bodice and skirt. She had her hair pinned back from her face and big, inquisitive eyes that saw everything. She stared at Jongin with a peculiar expression but made no action towards him other than to watch his every move. The white of her dress seemed to almost glow, and for a second her gaze fogged over as if she was listening to someone far away while the other two greeted Mirae warmly.

Jongin had never been in a room with so much palpable power before. He could not help but shrink into himself in order to draw less attention, but honestly, after learning just how special he was, he knew he could not hide from these women. They were the ones that made up the Graceful Four along with Mirae.

“Jongin, my sweet, how lovely it is to see you again,” Bo-Ah said and pulled him into a warm hug. “I trust that Mirae has taken great care of you?” She tilted Jongin’s head from side to side and then frowned. “You haven’t given blood to Baekhyun recently have you?”

Jongin shook his head. “Haven’t seen him all day.”

“Ah, yes. He has been running around making sure your stay with us will be up to his expectations. I haven’t seen him this frazzled in centuries. You are very dear to him,” she said with a nod and then patted him on the shoulder as she entered the room in all her scarlet glory.

The Fairy Queen, Taeyeon, regarded Jongin cooly with only a slight turn of her lips. She said nothing, but her eyes held a thousand words. Jongin bowed slightly, unsure how to really address her, and she parted her mouth slightly with a small gasp, that was then quickly changed to a smile.

“How cute,” she said with a slight wrinkle of her nose and then she entered the room after Bo-Ah.

The final woman was someone Jongin wasn’t exactly expecting to be the Alpha. She was delicate and very fairy-like in appearance in her flowery sundress. She kept staring at Jongin like he held the answers to many unanswered questions. As she approached Jongin, she pressed something into his hand and gave him a nod, before she too slipped into the room without so much as a word.

Jongin turned to watch her leave, holding the object in his hand tightly, and then returned his gaze to Mirae, who gave him a wink. “You are very well liked. Hang on to that token. It’s the key to a very special place.”

With that, the door shut, and Jongin was left standing with Junmyeon, whose face was ten shades of green. He looked like he was going to pass out, but slowly his color faded back to normal. After a shaky breath he gestured to Jongin’s hand and raised an eyebrow.

Jongin opened his hand and saw a beautifully delicate coin. It was designed just like the backs of the chairs in Mirae’s room with tiny vines and leaves intertwined through each other. Small sprites flitted about too, but Jongin’s couldn’t feel them moving against his skin. He only saw them.

“Th-that’s a– oh my god Jongin, you’ve been invited to Faerie!” Junmyeon cradled Jongin’s hand like he was afraid to touch the coin. “This never happens. They never let outsiders in. What did you say to BingBing?”

“Who?” Jongin frowned. He knew the names of the other he had just met, so from that he deduced that BingBing had to be the conduit for Hyori. But, she was a fairy, so how did that make sense?

“BingBing, the first fairy conduit for the werewolves. What did you say to her?” Junmyeon was whispering as if entranced by the coin. For someone who claimed to not always get along with fairies, he was acting super starstruck.

“I-I didn’t say anything. She just kept staring at me. Then she gave me this.” Jongin closed his fingers around the coin and slipped it into his pocket. He probably should have put it somewhere else for safe keeping, but he didn’t have anywhere else to put it so his pocket would have to do for now.

“There must be something going on at Seelie Court for you to be invited. You’re always where the drama is it seems. Do you ever think back on how the most stressful part of your life was whether or not you had an exam?” Junmyeon asked.

Jongin snorted. “All the time, bro. All the time.” He swung his arm around Junmyeon’s shoulder in desperate need of some type of contact to remind him that everything that had happened was real and not a dream.

Junmyeon shook his head. “Ah, we must get going to the library. The Coven wants to meet you there to discuss your witch lineage.”

Jongin sighed. Today was fixing to be a long day.

 

The Great Library was a magnificent sight. Books lined every shelf from ceiling to floor. Floating platforms with railings were stationed at the end of every aisle. Jongin could see several witches using the platforms to reach the books at the highest shelves and then return the ground. If he had been in this library for any other reason than talking about his ancestry, he would’ve told Junmyeon to leave him to die here because surely he was in Heaven.

With so many volumes lining the walls, Jongin didn't know where to look first. He could see that the books were separated by fiction and nonfiction. Then, from there, they were separated by genre and year. There was literature in thick leather bound books and even some scrolls in the more ancient areas. It was a bookworm’s dream come true, and Jongin was enraptured.

He had thought Baekhyun’s library was impressive, but it quite honestly paled in comparison. It made sense though. Baekhyun had no need to amass this much recorded knowledge for his personal library. But, Jongin knew that once he was out of university, he was going to start his own collection. It was in his blood apparently.

The thought sent his mind reeling for a second, but Junmyeon clapped him on the shoulder and led him towards a more open area in the library. There was a single chair situated in front of a small desk with a large and old book resting on it. Sitting in a small circle of plush chairs were several men and women. They all had the same solemn but eager expressions.

Junmyeon stopped as they approached the center and gave Jongin a little push. Jongin stumbled slightly, looking back at Junmyeon with a startled look. He thought Junmyeon would be staying with him. But, as Junmyeon backed away, mouthing an apology, Jongin turned back to face the Council. He’d been left before the dogs, metaphorically speaking. He tried to swallow, but his mouth had run dry.

“Welcome, Jongin,” a dark haired man said with a smile. He was wearing a set of gray robes over a simple white button down and black slacks. He gestured with his hand for Jongin to take a seat in the center.

Jongin glanced around at all the witches and hesitantly walked over to the desk. He lowered himself slowly, telling himself he was going to be calm. He also told himself he was going to give Junmyeon a piece of his mind for abandoning him, but it was a short-lived thought.

“I am Jeong-Su. I handle all the birthing rites for the Council. Do you know why you have been invited here, young man?” the dark haired man asked.

It felt like being on the receiving end of a traffic ticket, and Jongin was positive that the only things speeding was his racing heart and thoughts. He had half a mind to make a smart remark, but a smaller voice in the back of his mind told him that would not be in his best interest. It was just that sometimes his snark came out as a self-defense mechanism.

After battling himself internally, Jongin nodded his head cautiously. “Something to do with my family, sir,” he said. He shifted his gaze to either side of himself. He was the only other person in this area. For some reason that chased away all desire to misbehave. He swallowed anxiously and really took in everyone’s expressions. This was serious business and with that in mind, Jongin’s earlier concerns came flooding back.

“Oh, no need for formalities. I know this is probably quite overwhelming for you. We’re all here to help you with any questions you may have. But first,” Jeong-Su gestured at the book. “Take a look and tell me what you see.”

Overwhelming was an understatement. With everything Jongin learned today, he was going to have a breakdown. It was coming, he knew it. He could feel it bubbling inside him. Every time he forced himself to calm down he could feel the threads snapping. At this point, he figured he had about three more left keeping him from a total breakdown. Three measly, straining threads that were screaming with every word that passed through his ears.

Jongin glanced down at the yellowed page and scanned the script, making sure to keep his breathing nice and steady. The script was made up of large looping letters much like Baekhyun’s but it seemed to be a kind of family tree. He started from the top, not recognizing any of the names until he saw his great grandmother’s. His head shot up, eyes dancing over the council member’s faces, and then he looked back down. He really was from a line of witches.

The records even had him on there. The only difference from his immediate family and the rest of the tree was the small symbol by each of their names. His great, great grandmother was the last one to not have a mark, but beside everyone from there on out, there was a tiny little triangle with a circle in the center. Inside the circle was what looked like a pinwheel and a dot in the center of that. Jongin traced over it with his finger and then looked up at the council again.

“What does this symbol mean?”

He could tell it had some significance, but he wasn’t sure what. He glanced down at it again, feeling his vision vibrate a bit as he traced the lines. There was some kind of magic in it. Maybe if he squinted at it or tilted his head like he did to read the Old Language he would be able to decipher it. He started to, but then remembered what Mirae had told Junmyeon before he spoke to her.

Those that know, know. Those that do not, will know when I deem it time.

He froze, feeling his chest tighten. Mirae had been very clear that those on the Council had not been briefed of his Old Blood. Why, he did not know, but he really did not want to mess things up by revealing himself on accident. Perhaps he could play off the squinting as him being unable to read it. The script was rather swirly, and he was a child of technology, so those styles of handwriting were often lost upon him. Hopefully, no one would suspect a thing. He trailed his finger over the page again and then sat back in the chair. That had to cover his tracks enough.

Jeong-Su was studying Jongin closely, but if he suspected anything, he didn’t give any signs. After a beat, he clapped his hands together and smiled. “Yes, of course. You see every family has a crest. It helps us keep track of which original bloodline you belong to. In your case, however, we have only been able to confirm these last few generations. It’s quite peculiar, but from looking at other records, it seems that your great-great-however-many grandmother had come upon one of our settlements and assimilated herself into a different family.”

“What do you mean?” Jongin asked. Was the family tree not correct? Another mental thread snapped, and he had to brace his hands on the desk to stop them from shaking. He glanced down to study it further, but his gaze kept being drawn to the symbol.

“We speculate that she may have been adopted. This explains our inability to confirm the rest of your family tree. What it doesn’t confirm is where she came from,” Jeong-Su said, clasping his hands together in front of him. “You see, witch records are quite extensive. However, this is the only book we have with your family’s maternal name in it.”

Jongin nodded, following along. While most witch records followed the maternal lines of the family, they still kept track of the paternal lines as well. So for Jongin’s father’s family to be missing from the already scarce records raised some red flags. What had happened for his ancestors to want to destroy all the witch records. It just brought more questions into Jongin’s mind. There had to be a reason for all of this, didn’t there?

“So you’re saying my father isn’t a witch?” Jongin chose his question carefully. He knew that the Council had not been informed of his Old Blood heritage and he didn’t want to give it away that he knew much more than they were aware. He could play the naive human well. He just needed to make sure he stayed nice and calm.

“Not within any of our records. Now that doesn’t mean he isn’t, but we can assure you that he is not a regular human,” Jeong-Su replied.

Okay, that comment about his father not being human was a tiny bit alarming to Jongin, but he hid his surprise with a steady inhale and glanced at the book in front of him. He wasn’t supposed to let on just how much he knew, so he was walking a very fine line.

Jeong-Su dipped his chin at the woman to his right as Jongin looked up again, facade fully in place. He could do this. Just a few more questions and comments and Jongin knew he could get through this briefing. It couldn’t be too hard, right? Jongin bit his lip as the woman smiled at him.

“Let me introduce myself. I am Hyoyeon. I take care of the Great Library. Most of these works you see here have been gathered over time, but a fair share have been recovered by me, including the volume you are looking at right now,” she gestured to the book on the desk and then stood up.

She wore a simple white dress that flared at the waist and bright red shoes that sparkled as she walked. Her blonde hair was neatly coiffed and a pair of glasses hung around her neck on a dainty silver chain. In her hands was a folder. She set it down in front of Jongin and then returned to her seat amongst the Council.

“In that folder you will find newspaper articles and a single visage of your great-great-great grandmother. Please take a look and when you are ready, we will continue,” she said.

Jongin touched the rough texture of the folder and hesitated. Right now he was desperately trying to keep it together. Mirae hadn’t told him which of his parents was the Dreamwalker, and Jongin had just kind of assumed it was his mother. She always had such a calming aura to her as he was growing up. But, when he thought about it, he guessed it made sense. His Dad was always the one to tuck him in.

Jongin had fond memories of his father telling him little tips to help him not have nightmares. He remembered his dad telling him to think of what he wanted to dream about really hard before he fell asleep, and then when he did eventually pass out, he would dream what he had thought about. Jongin knew his dad would sit by his side of the bed, caressing his hair from his face as he dreamed. His dad must’ve been making sure he didn’t have a nightmare each night.

He wanted to be mad that they didn’t tell him, but now that Jongin understood that the Old Folk had gone into hiding, he could understand why they didn’t tell him. It had been for his own good. Still, he knew he needed to talk to them soon. Maybe he would invite them at some point. Then they could meet Baekhyun and Kyungsoo and– these were strangely domestic thoughts he was having during such a moment. Jongin sighed and pushed them to the side. He was supposed to learn about his heritage, not plan The Meeting ™ .

Finally, Jongin opened the folder. The clippings were yellowed a bit, but Jongin suspected that was more for aesthetic than actual aging. He figured witches had anti-aging spells for stuff like this, but as he had noticed, witches had a penchant for the dark and creepy, and a bit of rustic aging fit the bill as well. Plus, with each of these clippings dating back several centuries, Jongin had a sneaking suspicion that the aging was done on purpose.

His eyes gazed over the first article. It was written in English, and this article was about that week’s events. It seemed that there had been a rather bad storm that had knocked off several roofs and destroyed a few buildings. However, due to the magic, their little town was able to rebuild quicker than normal and without the humans noticing. After the storm, there was an announcement for a wedding and then a few obituaries. It was normal community newspaper stuff, so Jongin didn’t really notice anything out of the ordinary until he saw a tiny section noting that a couple who had been deemed infertile suddenly had a young infant.

Jongin looked up at the Council, head swimming with questions. He wanted to ask them, but the words wouldn’t come out so he dipped his head. He lifted a different clipping from a Korean newspaper to find another page. This time it had a visage on it and a small caption that had been translated into English.

In the picture was a woman that looked a lot like Jongin’s mother. She had her dark hair pinned closely to her nape. She wore light colored robes in a particular style that Jongin was only familiar with seeing in televised dramas... a hanbok it was called; if Jongin remembered correctly. He knew he probably had a good idea of what it was, but the stress was making it hard to recall every morsel of knowledge clearly.

She was standing next to a man with a wide brimmed hat on, her hand in the crook of his arm and smiling up at him. The caption below read: “Wedding bells are in the air for Kanghwa couple as pictured above.”

After skimming the caption, Jongin paused. This clipping was from the 1800s. He stared at the corner of the yellowed paper while he gathered his thoughts. If his mother’s family went this far back in the witching community, when exactly did they leave? Why did they leave? What happened? Jongin’s mind was swimming with more questions but he wasn’t getting the answers he wanted.

Finally, deciding on what to ask first, Jongin planted his finger on the paper. “This is in Korea?” He glanced down every few seconds to see the couple smiling at each other and then back at the council.

“Yes,” Hoyeon said.

Jongin blinked and then shut the folder. Looking at their smiling faces sent a chill down his spine. They were too happy and Jongin couldn't shake the feeling that something bad had happened to that side of his family.  “Why are you showing me this?” He understood that it had a link to his heritage, but Jongin was well aware of where his family came from.

“Because, it is important for you to see. Please open the folder and take a look at the last page,” Hyoyeon requested.

Another thread seemed to almost snap in Jongin’s mind, but he closed his eyes and steadied himself before opening the folder. The final page was another short article from the UK Coven talking about a small emigration from the Korean Coven in the mid 1800s. It seemed that was the moment in time that Jongin’s great-great-grandmother had taken it upon herself to disassociate the family from witchcraft in general.

That explained why even though his family no longer practiced or were aligned, they still had a grimoire up in the attic. The grimoire that Jongin had found when he was a kid, nosing around up there one Halloween morning…. The very same grimoire that was on Jongin’s bookshelf back on campus. No wonder his parents never objected to his fascination with the occult. He was an occult creature.

With that, the final two threads stretched and snapped in Jongin’s mind. Staring down at the visage but not really seeing it, he shut the folder hastily and blinked. He had lived his whole childhood thinking that all of this was fake and that his parents had been indulging him and his obsession with the occult. But knowing now that he had been playing around with actual magic; magic that could have very well hurt him when he tried out a few spells, brought tremors to his hands. He almost crossed himself in thanks that he didn’t have enough witch blood in him to activate the spells, but then his eyes widened.

He had been successful in making the protection charm against Kyungsoo. It probably would not have worked without the tiny bit of witch’s blood in him Not only that, but it explained why he was able to see through the glamour on Club Isis. Everything was slamming down onto Jongin in this moment. How could he have not noticed the signs before?

“Can I leave?” Jongin asked. He could feel the panic building in him. It was really becoming way too much for him, and he knew he was moments away from breaking down. He didn’t care what else the Council had to say to him. He just needed to get some air, or really, just be alone with his thoughts before he had a defcon 1 meltdown.

Whispers spread through the Council members. The longer they took, the more Jongin had to focus on staying calm. He was sucking in oxygen like he was about to drown. After a few moments, an elderly woman stood up. She looked astonishingly like Junmyeon. With a gentle smile, she spoke. “Yes, my dear. We apologize for surpassing your limits today.”

Jongin stood, awkwardly bowed, and then took off running down one of the aisles. He didn’t care where he was going. He just needed to be away from as many people as he could. He rounded a corner, catching the edge of a shelf with his hand to help him turn, and then kept running. With every footfall, he could feel tears stream down his cheeks and his breathing stutter.

He was at absolute information overload, and the only way his body knew how to deal with it was to expel all his frustrations. He sprinted down another aisle and came across a small, darkened area of the library. There were a few plush chairs, but the general light from the rest of the library did not reach here. Jongin slowed, passing his hand over the book spines and sniffling intermittently.

He realized as he approached the chairs that all the spines of the books were written in the Old Language. Instead of trying to read any of them however, he flopped into one of the chairs and closed his eyes. It was quiet over here. There was a certain ambiance that comforted him in the strangest of ways. His drive for more knowledge was at its lowest due to the recent events, but being surrounded by all the available books here had a calming effect.

Jongin sighed. He could feel the pressure in his chest lightening and sunk in lower into the chair and pulled his knees up, curling into a ball. The chair was pretty comfortable and had a nice amount of cushion and give. After a few deep and steadying breaths, Jongin figured it was time to unpack everything he had learned.

First thing was first: he was not human. That was the glaring issue at hand. While he had always been so into the Night World, he never really thought he was actually a part of it, especially not in a way that could cause him danger. But what was done was done, and there was nothing he could do about not being human.

Sure, Yoona had told him he pretty much had the makeup of a half-witch due to his Old Folk blood from his father, but he was unable to do magic. The only magical thing he was even close to doing was being able to see things in that divination mirror and being able to read Old Language. That and apparently relive Baekhyun’s memories through the claim. But, that was more to do with the claim being unbonded rather than any magical ability.

So, he was not fully human. The more he said it in his mind, the more he was able to accept it. Still, it bothered him that this was how he had to find out. He could understand why his parents kept it hidden from. If they even knew. Jongin bit his lip as he stared at his hands. Did his parents know of their heritage? Would asking them endanger them? He didn’t want that. He was having a difficult enough time on his own right now, and being younger, he figured he would be more accepting to the idea that he was different.

But, that lead Jongin back to the nights his father tucked him in and made sure he had nice dreams. His parents had to know. That being settled, Jongin was now wondering if they had kept it all hidden from him to protect him. It sounded like something parents would do, especially given their circumstances. It just still left Jongin going in circular thoughts about why they didn’t tell him.

Jongin shifted in the chair, unfurling his legs and tapping his toes on the ground. He felt better as he went through everything he had learned. His father was definitely the source of his Old Blood. His mom was from a line of witches that seceded from the Coven. Why his great-great-great-grandmother did that, Jongin wasn’t sure. But, it did make him question how on earth his parents met and how they knew each other. Every moment he spent thinking, he just ended up with more questions for his parents. He was definitely going to have to have a conversation with them for sure.

His heritage aside, Jongin was still bothered by the fact that him being changed was now in jeopardy. No one knew what would happen when he was changed, so that meant it was going to be extremely risky. That and Yoona’s ominous declaration that she would do anything to make it work was not lost on Jongin. He had even more questions about her, but his mental capacity was still pretty close to his limits.

He let out a huge sigh and finally took the time to look around him. He was in a small alcove of shelves that curved around him in a half circle. Most of the light was absorbed by the dark bindings of the books, but not too much so that he could not see. The light was soft, sleepy almost, and it seemed to make the book spines glow. This was definitely something Jongin liked. He had to admit that being surrounded by books in Old Language like this was comforting.

From his vantage point, he could tell that most of the texts were about the early witch covens and their histories. Nothing he was too particularly interested in reading right now, but he made a mental note to ask Junmyeon to bring him back here before they left so he could dive into them and learn more about his mother’s side if he could.

Jongin settled deeper in the chair, absentmindedly looking around at the shelves. His mind was mostly quiet now. He was slowly coming to terms with not being human, and while he had a lot of concerns and questions, Jongin honestly wanted to discover things on his own rather than be told. That way he could control what he learned and how much of it he did. Today had been entirely too overwhelming, and he did not ever want to go through that again.

He didn’t cry too often, at least not from stress. (Sad books and movies were another thing altogether.) So being brought to the point where he couldn’t help but explode had left him feeling pretty fragile. He felt like sugar glass. If someone pressed too hard, he would shatter into hundreds of pieces, but that was better than feeling like the wind was going to take him away. He could handle being fragile. He just needed to make sure nothing happened that upset him too much or he would explode (or implode) once more.

Jongin wasn’t sure when it had happened, but the next thing he knew he was being roused by Baekhyun, who was peering over him, concern on his face. “Jongin?” Baekhyun’s voice was soft and laced with worry.

Jongin blinked up at him blearily. His heart jumped into this throat, and his stomach flipped at seeing Baekhyun so suddenly after spending most of the day teetering on the edge. He wanted to reach out to him and just cling until Baekhyun had to peel him off, but he hesitated. That hesitation did not go unnoticed by Baekhyun judging by the frown on his face. That made Jongin feel even more conflicted. On top of learning enough information to make his head explode, now he was being reminded of the tension in his love life. He just could not catch a break.

“Are you okay? I’ve been looking for you since you sent out that distress call, but pinpointing it through all this,” he gestured up at the air, “magic proved rather difficult. And the witches are extremely adept at delaying me every time I visit here,” Baekhyun explained. He was being entirely too formal, and that made Jongin feel worse.

When would things return to normal for them? He sighed and pushed himself to his feet. He didn’t say anything but looked around at all the books around him with longing. A gentle touch on his shoulder from Baekhyun turned into a tender back-hug, and Jongin let himself melt into Baekhyun’s arms. He had been craving touch all day, and Baekhyun’s touch always had a way of calming him.

Still, as he turned around to bury his face in Baekhyun’s neck, he could feel his breath stutter. Today had pushed him to his limits time and time again. He really felt like he was due for a full breakdown, but right now, Baekhyun was holding all his stitches together. Baekhyun held Jongin, rubbing soothing circles in his back and telling him he’d be okay. It wasn’t just empty words from Baekhyun either, Jongin could feel through the claim that it was a promise, and that brought a quirk of a smile to the corners of his lips.

After a moment, Jongin pulled free of the hug, and a tiny relieved laugh escaped him before he could stop it. He was definitely still incredibly fragile. “It’s been a long day,” he sighed.

Baekhyun pulled Jongin’s forehead against his and ran his fingers through Jongin’s hair. “I bet. You look like you need some rest.”

Jongin sighed again as he gazed into Baekhyun bottomless eyes and then pulled away. “I do. Please tell me there are comfy beds at court.” Jongin desperately needed somewhere comfortable to rest his head. He had been so overloaded, and his little cry session earlier wasn’t going to cut it. He needed to sleep it off so that he could wake up with a fresh mind to handle all the information.

“It’s like sleeping on a cloud, my human. With all the preparations I’ve made for you, it’ll be like a slice of heaven,” Baekhyun said. He stroked his hair. “I only want the best for you,” he said with a tinge of sadness in his voice. Jongin reached out to the claim, and he could almost see the subtext of the phrase. It had been something he’d said to Kyungsoo. That made Jongin’s mouth taste bitter, and he scowled.

Jongin knew he was being selfish and childish right now. He knew it wasn’t fair to have these feelings at all. He was the one who had suggested they open their relationship up because he knew there was something between Baekhyun and the incubus. But sometimes Jongin just wanted Baekhyun to care about him and only him, especially because he needed reassurance right now since he was so fragile.

Baekhyun stood there, watching Jongin with concern. It was written on his face that he knew what Jongin was thinking and that made Jongin scowl even more. Baekhyun already knew him well enough that he could read his expressions so easily. “We can’t ignore what happened Jongin. I think we need to talk about it.” It was more of a plea than anything else, but Jongin wasn’t having it.

Jongin shook his head. “Can this wait until tomorrow?” He was not ready to dive into that last reason. Not now. Maybe not until they went back home. With his fragile state, he was afraid that if Baekhyun persisted he would break, or worse, snap.

Baekhyun’s expression flickered, but he simply smiled and nodded. “Of course. You’ve had a long day.” He offered his arm for Jongin to grab onto and said, “We’ll even take take the back entrance into Court.”

That was perhaps the best thing Jongin had heard all day. He gave him a weak smile and looped his arm through Baekhyun’s. The vampire closed his palm over Jongin’s and returned the smile. Even though Jongin was still feeling a bit awkward after the whole kiss thing yesterday, at the very least he had high hopes for finding a nice soft bed to lay his head to rest in. At this point, Jongin felt like he could sleep for decades. His brain needed some serious TLC after the beating it had today.

 

It was about six in the evening when the car pulled to a stop and Jongin was mildly alarmed at their location. The car was sitting in front of a wrought iron gate surrounding Anne Rice’s impressive mansion brought more questions than it solved. It was breathtaking, and despite Jongin’s very heavy exhaustion, he could not help but fanboy a bit. He didn’t even wait for the door to unlock before he yanked the lock and burst onto the sidewalk.

It was a two-story mansion with white pillars, detailed bannisters on the second floor balcony, and open shutters on every window. It took every bit of strength in Jongin’s body not to collapse to his knees and praise the ground the house was built on. This was the Anne Rice house and he was less than two feet from entering the property.

Baekhyun appeared at Jongin’s side with a bemused grin. “I take it you know where we are?”

Jongin could only nod furiously. His words had definitely escaped him. Leave it to him to have that happen at such a moment as this. Here he was at his childhood hero’s house, and he couldn’t even make a sound. Beside him, Baekhyun chuckled softly, and Jongin leaned against him for support. He was still incredibly exhausted, but there was an inkling of a second wind brewing.

Several worldly spirits floated around the property, messing with the shutters and then giggling as the people on the tour screamed and jumped. Jongin snorted a bit. If the tourists could only see the worldly spirits, they wouldn’t be so shocked. Jongin watched as several more worldly spirits twirled in the air, messing with the tourists’ hair and clothing before diving into the house itself.

Jongin gave Baekhyun a suspicious look. “Please don’t tell me this is how you get to Vampire Court?”

Not only was it out in the open, but it was Anne Rice’s house that she grew up in. Plus with Anne Rice being the queen of all things vampire, having an entrance to the court was perhaps the most cliche thing Jongin could think of. But, he had to admit that vampires liked their cliches, so he really should not have been as surprised as he was.

“Why not?” Baekhyun asked with a wicked grin. “We vampires appreciate those that exalted us. It’s only natural that we allow her to take part in our world from time to time.”

Skrrrt! Jongin’s mind made a rather amusing car crash sound in his head. He smiled to himself for a second before raising an eyebrow at Baekhyun. “Woah, pump the brakes. Are you telling me that she was allowed in Vampire Court?”

Baekhyun chuckled. “Of course, she is a vampire after all.”

Holy shit. Now this was the kind of information that Jongin loved. Funny little discoveries that tied the Day World and Night World to each other. This little nugget of surprise was just what Jongin needed to end the day. Something light-hearted and quirky that would put a bit of pep in his step. And trust him, he could use all he could get. He gaped a Baekhyun, momentarily stunned before feeling his body start to buzz. This was easily the best way to end the day.

Feeling a burst of energy, Jongin grinned at Baekhyun and practically ran up the pathway to the front door. Just being in Anne Rice’s yard was pretty shell-shocking to him. She was the be-all-end-all for vampires when it came to literature, and even though back then Jongin didn’t know they were real, he had always hoped that real vampires would be a bit Lestat-like. Plus, growing up the way Jongin did, he could not help but be excited about the prospect of going inside her house. Sure she didn’t live there anymore, but the very premise of touching the same floor that she walked on was tantalizing.

“If I didn’t know you better, I’d say you were a bit too excited to go to court, but,” Baekhyun laughed as he walked up the steps. “We can take the tour if you’d like?”

This was the hardest decision Jongin had to make. He was dead tired and really needed to sleep after the day he had, but seeing  bit of the house was something out of his childhood dreams. Maybe he could take a tiny look around while they made their way to the secret entrance. That would be plenty to satiate him.

“I’d like that a lot,” Jongin said. He had to pause to yawn before they walked into the house, but once they crossed the threshold, Jongin jolted into attention. Anne Rice’s house was beautiful. It had beautifully dated furniture that screamed of French influence. There were lots of creams and soft golden colors accented with soft reds. The furniture reminded him a bit of Mirae’s room at times, but the majority of it was simply ornate in a human-designed type way.

The two of them did not take part in the regular tour with the rest of the tourists. Instead, Baekhyun lead Jongin through the house and told short stories of fond memories in the house. Apparently, he had spent many of night here with Anne Rice plotting her novels with her. The author liked to bounce ideas, and Baekhyun had always had a penchant for literature. It was kind of surreal to learn that Baekhyun had a hand in the novels, and what surprised Jongin even more was that Anne Rice had actually based Lestat off of Baekhyun. That had Jongin reeling for a moment while Baekhyun took his hand and gave him a wink.

“Where do you think she cultivated Lestat’s finesse?” Baekhyun asked as he pulled Jongin’s hand into the crook of his arm. “He was elegance personified.”

“But, Letstat wasn’t perfect,” Jongin offered as the two of them made their way outside. He had read the books so many times growing up, and each time he would notice Lestat’s faults, the parts of him that made him human at times, especially his softness for humans. It made Jongin wonder for the shortest of moments, but before he could get a good grasp on the thought, Baekhyun chuckled.

“Vampires are old, not perfect, my human. I’ve lived a long time and have made many mistakes, but that doesn’t mean I still don’t make them,” Baekhyun said.

It didn’t take a genius to gather what Baekhyun was hinting at, and while Jongin wasn’t exactly dissing himself, he knew his exhaustion was affecting his thought processes now. Still, claim or no claim, Jongin knew that Baekhyun was referencing last night and it made him tense a bit. He really wasn’t ready to talk about it. Not yet.

All it took was one look from Jongin for Baekhyun to apologize. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t push,” he said.

Jongin let it slide for now because he knew why Baekhyun wanted to talk about it. He was fully aware that Baekhyun knew he had hurt Jongin by acting too early and not including him during the whole thing, but Jongin still felt too raw. He had his whole heritage to dwell on, so relationship stuff was the furthest from his mind. But, it did make him wonder if this was ever going to work out. Maybe the two of them were just too different, too focused on their own needs. Maybe…

For the rest of their walk, Baekhyun was silent. He wasn’t closed off, just a bit more absorbed into himself. Jongin didn’t really mind because he was still extremely tired. He gave a wary look around the rooms as they passed through them and made a mental note to inspect them more closely on a different day. Right now the exhaustion was seeping into his bones, and he really just wanted to lay down.

Their private tour ended in the courtyard, standing a few feet away from the stoned-in pond. The surface was covered with a layer of lily pads. On either side of the stone barrier, were two pillars with winding ivy crawling up them. There was a statue of woman, holding a vase in the juncture of her neck and shoulder, head turned to the side and gaze to the ground. Just behind her was a brick archway over white stone. It made her look like she was coming out of a door of some kind.

Baekhyun clasped his hands together in a rather excited fashion and said, “Well, we’re here.”

Jongin snapped out of his thoughts and gave Baekhyun a confused look. “In the courtyard?”

Baekhyun nodded, red hair looking like it was catching fire as the sun set. “Yes, the doorway is through the arch.”

Hidden in plain sight , Jongin thought. He walked to the edge of the small pond and peered in at the murky surface. Lilly pads covered nearly every inch, but Jongin could catch the orange movements of koi fish in the tiny gaps. When he stood up, Baekhyun was perched on the edge of the low stone wall by the archway.

“You’ll have to step into the water to enter, but our quarters are close enough that you won’t be wet for long,” Baekhyun explained. He held out his hand, and Jongin took it, staring at the delicate fingers as they gripped his palm.

Together the two of them sloshed into the water and through the archway. There was a flash of bright light that blinded Jongin for a moment before he blinked away the green shapes. Then, his jaw dropped.

They had been deposited into a grand and beautiful courtyard within pristine, white marble walls. Jongin gaped quietly and turned in a small circle trying to absorb as much as he could. The garden was wild and lively with colors so vibrant that Jongin had to squint. The reds were scarlet and blood-red, the greens almost neon, and the blues were crystalline. It was like stepping into a fever dream of colors.

Baekhyun snaked his arm around Jongin’s waist and pulled him close as he started walking. “You’ll have more time to explore some other time, but if you don’t want to be seen, we have to hurry.”

Jongin blinked slowly as he nodded. It felt like he was moving through water. There had to be something in the air that was affecting him because all he could think about was the first time Baekhyun had bit him. His head lolled to the side as Baekhyun half carried him through the courtyard to a smaller hallway leading away from the courtyard.

“We don’t have a lot of humans here, but when we do, the moon-flowers keep them calm and docile,” Baekhyun explained as they entered the hallway.

Their footsteps echoed as they walked, and the farther from the garden they were, the clearer Jongin’s mnd felt. Once he was free of the fog, he dug his heels into the ground and turned on Baekhyun. Something about the word docile had set off alarms in his brain. “You drug humans?”

Baekhyun shook his head, “I don’t personally, but…we do it for protection for anyone who accidentally comes through that door. They’ll think they’ve been drugged while we take care of them and return them somewhere safe. We’re not fairies, Jongin. We are upfront about what we do.”

It didn’t exactly make Jongin feel better, but he could understand the need to protect the Vampire Court. It seemed the mixing of the two worlds on the streets of New Orleans wasn’t the utopia Jongin had imagined. There was still very much a divide between the Night World and Day World, and it made Jongin a bit sad.

Baekhyun touched Jongin’s cheek and turned his face towards his. “We don’t harm humans anymore. But, they greatly outnumber us, so we have to have some precautions. You’ll learn more about them when you spend time with Seohyun and the Madame.”

Jongin leaned into Baekhyun’s hand and closed his eyes. He didn’t have the energy to properly worry about the moon-flowers, so he was going to put his trust in Baekhyun and let that be it. They stood there for a moment, Jongin’s eyes closed and breathing slowing. He felt like he could fall asleep right there and then. He was just that exhausted.

 

Jongin’s eyes opened slowly as he realized he was prone in a bed. It seemed he had fallen asleep standing up, leaving Baekhyun to make sure they got to their quarters. That was fine and dandy to Jongin because now he felt a bit refreshed. He wasn’t sure how long he had slept, but it was enough for his body to feel pretty good.

He rolled over, half expecting to find Baekhyun in bed with him but it was empty. In fact, the whole room was empty and the only movement was from the flickering of a candle on the nightstand. It must’ve been late.

Jongin lifted the blankets, which he noted were incredibly soft and warm, and discovered that he was in only his boxers. Baekhyun must have undressed him before putting him to bed. That made Jongin smile a bit because he could just see Baekhyun pulling off his jeans and muttering to himself while Jongin’s limp body didn’t help in any way, shape, or form.

But, it was short lived because Jongin remembered that he had put the invitation to Faerie in his pocket as well as Tao’s card. It almost felt like that part of his day had been a million years ago, but as Jongin slid off the bed, he noticed that Baekhyun had placed both items on the nightstand next to the candle. That wasn’t all, however, there was also a small handwritten note explaining that Baekhyun had to go to training while Jongin was asleep and that if he woke up while he was gone, to call for Seohyun.

Jongin didn’t quite want to do that, so instead he picked up the card that Tao had given him and turned it over. In the dim light of the candle, he could see the embossed letters glitter and almost hypnotize him. He turned it over and over watching the way the letters seemed to dance and writhe in the candle light. He wasn’t really thinking anything as he flipped the card over and over. He was just entranced by the glitter in the light.

“You called?” a voice in the darkness said.

Jongin damn near leapt out of his skin as he swallowed his yelp. He dropped the card and yanked the blankets up to his chest. “Yo, what the fuck?”

Tao materialized with a shimmer and leaned over Jongin, a sly smile on his face. He winked and said, “Don’t worry, it’s nothing I haven’t seen before.”

“I’m–” Jongin started but in that very same breath he was surrounded by that suffocating feeling that stole away his oxygen. For a few long moments, Jongin struggled to breathe in, but when the air finally hit his lungs, he was doubled over on his hands and knees on the ground.

Tao held up a pinstripe suit and smirked at Jongin while he sputtered on the ground. “It’s about time for our adventure. Don’t worry, I won’t keep you long. But, now that you’ve learned of your heritage, there are some things that we Reapers need to inform you of.”

Jongin coughed a few more times before looking up at Tao with smarting eyes. “A simple warning would be nice, you know? I already hate it when Baekhyun shadow walks without warning me.” He stood slowly and snatched the suit from Tao’s hands and put it on.

“Lookin’ sharp, Dreamwalker,” Tao said with another wink. “We’ve got a few errands to run before I can take some downtime to explain what you need to know, so strap in. It’s gonna be a bumpy ride.” He held out a hat on the tips of his fingers and grinned.

Jongin buttoned the suit jacket and tugged it a bit. It fit pretty perfectly for this spontaneous adventure. Still, as Jongin snatched the hat from Tao’s he grumbled. “Everyone wants a piece of me, but no one wants to let me rest. What does a guy have to do for a day to himself?”

“Oh hush you,” Tao said. “As if you wouldn’t want to go on a ride along with a reaper.”

Wait what? Jongin’s head snapped up and for the first time he took in his surroundings. He was definitely not in Vampire Court. He was gods knew where and enveloped in darkness. He started towards Tao with the intent to make him take him back to Vampire Court, but the reaper simply handed him a briefcase and patted him on the back.

“Let’s go reap some souls.”

Without much of a choice, Jongin sighed and took the briefcase. It seemed he was destined to always find himself in the middle of things no matter how much he wanted to stay out of them. He’d had a hell of a day yesterday, and now as soon as he had woken up he was being whisked away into another adventure. What happened to the quiet days in his college dorms? Why couldn’t he just of back to that? Hell, he almost preferred having random Night Worlders show up at his bedroom door asking for help than this. Actually...who was he kidding? Jongin lived for this kind of stuff.

 

Welcome back to the Night World blog, my dear readers. Today we have a slightly different kind of entry for you all. Have you ever wondered where you went when you died? Well, my dear friends, the truth is a lot more bland than you initially thought. Imagine a hospital holding room, and you’ve got a pretty good idea. It’s literally just a bunch of souls wandering around until they are sent to their final resting place. But that’s not all folks….

Chapter Text

“Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.”

- William Shakespeare's Macbeth

 

The asphalt of the sidewalk outside the Masquerade bit into Kyungsoo’s palms as he landed on the ground. He immediately pushed himself to his feet and ran to the door to bang on it, desperate to get back inside, but the guards gave him a look that made him stop. This couldn’t be happening. Not like this, not right now. He slammed his fists against the entrance wailing more than making any kind of coherent sound because his mind was just so cluttered by his heart.

How could Baekhyun do this? How could he do this in front of him? He knew about his feelings for Jongin, he knew that Kyungsoo actually liked being around the human more than he cared to admit. Baekhyun knew all of this and still he claimed Jongin and that hurt. It was betrayal of the deepest level and Kyungsoo wasn’t sure he could ever forgive him.

He wanted to be where Baekhyun was, he wanted to be where Jongin was. He just wanted to be wanted. Kyungsoo reached up to his own neck, feeling the ghost of years past beneath his fingertips. It wasn’t too long ago that he wore Baekhyun’s claim around his neck. A flood of emotions surged through him. He should have hated Jongin, he should have wanted to see him dead because he was stealing away one of the only people who still genuinely cared for Kyungsoo. But, he didn’t.

He wanted to hate Jongin’s guts for all the pain he caused him, but he wanted to hold him, too. He wanted to hit him so hard that his head went spinning, and yet he also wanted to cling to him like he was the last man on earth. He wanted Jongin in his arms, he wanted to be in Jongin’s arms. Kyungsoo was so in love with Jongin it scared him. He thought he was immune to love after Baekhyun. He thought his heart was dead and gone, but no, it beat very strongly in his chest, so strong and so full of pain.

Kyungsoo should have seen the signs, he should have noticed the soft glances and he should have listened to the way Jongin sounded when he spoke about Baekhyun. Because then he wouldn’t have been so blindsided, like he was tonight. He should’ve listened to his brain when he saw Jongin’s face as he read the invitation. But, Kyungsoo just didn’t want to believe it. He’d been left in the dust while Jongin chased after Baekhyun, and Kyungsoo couldn’t exactly be mad. Baekhyun deserved happiness too. It was just that Kyungsoo didn’t want to sacrifice his own feelings again. He wished he had never met Jongin. Because then he wouldn’t have had that flutter of his heart turn to pure lead sinking to his feet after his eyes left Jongin’s mask and fell upon that thin band and charm just above his clavicle.

He wanted to leave right then and there. He wanted for his body to give up and keel over, because that would hurt less than seeing the pure joy and excitement on their faces. Kyungsoo wasn’t sure who it was that made him feel more pain, but he had an inkling that it was Jongin. Jongin was new; he was fresh; he was so divine. He was so lovely, and Kyungsoo didn’t want to admit to himself, but he was falling fast and hard. Now he knew he was going to have to bundle all those feelings up and leave. He could skip town, but that was drastic. He could talk to Baekhyun, but it had been weeks since the two of them were alone in person. Yet, he couldn’t help but remember the way it went last time.

“I can’t do this with you anymore Kyungsoo. What if he finds out?” Baekhyun said as he pushed Kyungsoo away and climbed out of his bed.

“Who?” Kyungsoo asked, but he had a feeling he knew who it was. All Baekhyun talked about now was Jongin this and Jongin that. It would be frustrating if it weren’t for the fact that Kyungsoo was beginning to grow a soft spot for the human after seeing him at that bar last night. Still, he was just a human, and Baekhyun being this obsessed was a little annoying.

“My human,” Baekhyun replied as he pulled on his flowing yellow shirt. “I’m thinking of inviting him to the Masquerade.”

A tiny pang clanged in Kyungsoo’s chest hearing Baekhyun claim ownership of the human like that. And why was he taking him to the Masquerade? Baekhyun usually took Kyungsoo….so why Jongin? The two hadn’t even really known each other long, so what was the big deal? Maybe he needed to try Jongin out – for real this time, and then he’d understand. Kyungsoo watched Baekhyun dress and then did the same. It was clear he wasn’t wanted here.

“Yeah whatever,” Kyungsoo huffed and turned to leave. He knew his way out of Baekhyun’s house. “Don’t come crying to me when you get your heart broken.”

Kyungsoo was starved for affection. Being an incubus wasn’t always so glamorous. In fact, most times it was frustrating because he had this insatiable hunger within him. No one had been able to quench it, until he met Baekhyun all those decades ago. The vampire had been the only person to quiet those urges. He had shown Kyungsoo how to indulge and how to control. He had taught Kyungsoo so much. He had become Kyungsoo’s everything and that was why when he was offered the claim, Kyungsoo took it without hesitation.

He had never been wanted like that, he had never seen someone so in love with him before. Incubi didn’t love. They didn’t believe in it, but Baekhyun proved Kyungsoo wrong. Oh so wrong. When he stood there, holding the hollowed out book in his hands, waiting for Kyungsoo to take the claim, Kyungsoo could see the apprehension rolling off of him. Baekhyun had always been so open with him. It was why Kyungsoo had always called him an open book, so the irony of the proposal wasn’t lost on him. Not in the slightest.

Kyungsoo had taken the claim, silently, with trembling fingers and shaky breath. He didn’t say anything to Baekhyun, but that was okay. They didn’t really have to speak to each other to know what the other was thinking. The only words that were passed between the two of them as Kyungsoo admired the deep ruby stone set in a silver chain was “I love you.”

It had been the delicate touch of Baekhyun that had brought their lips together once the claim was on, and Kyungsoo could only remember bits and pieces of the rest of that night. Tangled limbs, gasps of breath, sweat, skin between teeth, and blood were the biggest flashes in his mind and Kyungsoo blinked his eyes hard, returning back to present time.

His entire chest hurt and every breath seemed to constrict his airways. His eyes darted around in the darkness, catching glimpses of people walking past the building with not a care on their faces and suddenly everything was too much for him. He clutched at his heart, having forgotten how much heartbreak could hurt and stumbled down the steps.

“Don’t!”

The word repeated in his mind and he let his hand fall to his side as he sat down roughly on the steps. The tears were drying up now but his face felt brittle, like if something touched it, it would break into pieces and crumble. He knew coming tonight was a bad idea, but after seeing how excited Jongin was to come to the Masquerade, he had to be there, he had to keep an eye on him because he was worried for his safety, not that he let himself dwell on that. Jongin was just a kid, an obnoxious – albeit sexy – college student. But, he was so naive and so headstrong. Kyungsoo saw glimpses of himself in Jongin, and it had cracked open the walls he had around his heart. He had promised himself to never love again after Baekhyun, but things didn’t always go as planned.

He and Baekhyun had set up an arrangement between the two of them. Fuck buddies – would be what the current youth called it, but it was so much more than that. Sure, sometimes the two of them indulged in each other, but mostly it was the two of them being intimate without the necessity of sex. It was touch, it was love, it was a sense of closeness that they shared. It was what Kyungsoo needed, and even though it caused Baekhyun pain in the beginning, the vampire had always put Kyungsoo’s needs before anyone else. He knew he was Baekhyun’s weak spot. He knew it, and that was why he had taken off the claim. Vampire court had never been for him. Vampire life had never been for him. He didn’t like belonging to someone, even if that someone was the one who showed him what love was. He liked being wanted, but not owned. But maybe, maybe that was changing.

A stranger climbed the steps and sat down next to Kyungsoo, but he paid him no mind. He didn’t care for the man, not when his old ember and his latest flame were both inside getting hitched. He hadn’t meant to stop it the way he did, but at the same time he was just so broken.

“Kyungsoo,” the stranger said. That was when Kyungsoo noticed it was Taemin and sighed. He’d come to the Masquerade with him after begging, and now he regretted it.

“Why didn’t you tell me they were doing this tonight?” he muttered, wiping away the wetness that was pouring from his eyes and nose again. He’d never felt so weak and useless before.

“I had no clue it was gonna happen,” Taemin said and laced his fingers through Kyungsoo’s. They were cool to the touch, but they were not the ones he wanted.

He sighed, and let Taemin pull him to his feet. “I’m an idiot, right?”

“For loving?” Taemin shook his head, “No, never.” He gave Kyungsoo a sad smile. He always knew too much. He was able to slip into Kyungsoo’s heart and see who really resided there. Kyungsoo hated it, but he also welcomed it. He needed someone here right now.

Kyungsoo pursed his lips. He didn’t want to keep hurting Taemin, so he tried to rebuff him. “Never mind, you’re the last person to talk to about this.” He started to turn away, but a hand caught his wrist.

“You came to me. When Baekhyun abandoned you...you were the one who called me.” Taemin’s voice cracked. “That night Jongin got his invitation you asked me to bring you. I know what you’re going through. I’m watching it happen. I’m living it just as much as you,” Taemin said and then released Kyungsoo’s wrist.

Kyungsoo stared into black eyes and for a moment he saw Baekhyun’s face transposed over Taemin’s. He was an Elemental Vampire, so that meant he had immunity to Kyungsoo's incubus charms. But, he could see the way Taemin was looking at him. He could see the emotion in his eyes, and it did something to Kyungsoo. He was so starved, so starved for affection that anyone would do.

His chest was heaving as he contemplated kissing him, contemplated requesting affection from him, but the moment was cut short by the doors bursting open, and hundreds of vampires pouring out after the very two people Kyungsoo did not want to see. His breath stopped in his throat as he tried to shout after them.

But, before he even knew it, Kyungsoo was scooped up into Taemin’s arms and the two of them shadow walked out of the area. When they came out in the shadows of a broken light post, Kyungsoo waited for Taemin to release him, but the vampire held on to him tightly as if the thought of letting him go would hurt him.

“You can put me down, Tarzan,” Kyungsoo hissed, hoping it would rip the intimacy to shreds. He looked around at the empty street they ended up on and noticed they were close to his house.

“You’re feeling better,” Taemin replied and let Kyungsoo down onto his feet, looking at him like he might just shatter to pieces. Kyungsoo swallowed a frown.

“Hardly,” Kyungsoo admitted, brushing himself off and then gazed up at Taemin again. He was nearly the same height as Jongin. And in the right light, they looked similar. Ugh. No. Bad Kyungsoo. He chastised himself for having thoughts of using Taemin, but he had been more than helpful these past few weeks. And he had already told him that he didn’t mind. Still, it was so wrong of him to do this to Taemin. He knew his feelings, he knew what he wanted and was taking advantage of it. It was plain mean.

“I know that look,” Taemin said. He smiled, but it wobbled a bit as a hopeful glint shone in his dark fathomless eyes. Vampire eyes made Kyungsoo feel so weak. Then, he clapped a hand on Kyungsoo’s shoulder.

Kyungsoo winced. It was the wrong gesture, but he bit his tongue. “What look?” Maybe if he played dumb he could get through this without too much guilt.

Taemin’s hand traveled up Kyungsoo’s neck, fingers pressing lightly into the back, playing with his nape while his thumb brushed along his jaw. It felt foreign but comforting. “You’re lonely.”

Kyungsoo pulled out of his grasp, feeling annoyed. “So what if I am? I don’t need anyone. I just need to feed.” It was a lie. He knew it was a lie, Taemin knew it was a lie, but neither addressed it.

“You can feed from me, my little incubus,” Taemin said and this time offered his arm.

Kyungsoo stared at it and then punched it. “I’m not yours.”

“You’re not anyone’s,” Taemin hummed and for some reason that hurt more than anything else.

 

Kyungsoo threw his head back, panting as he rode Taemin. His hands were splayed across his chest, legs burning, but Taemin was filling him so well that he didn’t even care. The vampire had his hands around his waist, aiding him, and grunting every time Kyungsoo came down on him. Mutual benefits, Kyungsoo liked to call this. He fed on Taemin’s orgasm, got an orgasm himself, and the vampire got a little taste of incubus blood at the very end. Quid pro quo was another term Kyungsoo liked to use, but Taemin really hated it when he said that. He called it too clinical, but for Kyungsoo this arrangement really was just an exchange of benefits. He didn't love Taemin like Taemin loved him.

“Look at me. I don’t care if you call me his name,” Taemin begged, reached up for Kyungsoo’s chin with trembling fingers. “Just say it.”

Jongin’s name bled from Kyungsoo’s lips like an open wound. The kiss was salty, but Kyungsoo wasn’t sure if it was from his own tears or from Taemin’s. His mouth felt bruised from the force, but he didn’t care. He liked the roughness. He ached for it. He deserved it. A gasp and Kyungsoo pulled back and gazed into those dark eyes. He was falling deep into them, traversing through his memories. In flashes he saw Baekhyun, looking up at him with that look of devotion, of love.

In different flashes, he caught sight of Jongin’s smile, of the way he sometimes giggled during sex, and tears spilled out the corners of Kyungsoo’s eyes before he could even stop them. A strangled sob escaped, and he clamped his hands over his mouth to keep the crying at bay, but it wasn’t working.

Immediately, Taemin stopped. He wrapped his arms around Kyungsoo and kissed his temple, hushing him and telling him it was going to be okay. Kyungsoo let him because he didn't have the energy not to. Even this kind of affection was something he craved.

About half an hour later, Taemin was still caressing Kyungsoo’s hair. “I’m sorry.”

Kyungsoo stared at the wall across from the bed, feeling like huge chunks of his heart had been ripped out. He knew what he needed to do.“For what?”

“It was selfish of me to ask you that,” Taemin whispered.

Kyungsoo rolled over and looked at him. It wasn’t fair what he was doing. He knew it and Taemin knew it too, but the vampire never turned him down, and for some reason, he always accepted. “It’s fine. Just… stupid emotions.”

“You’re hurting and I took advantage of that,” Taemin said. He trailed a finger from Kyungsoo’s hairline, down his neck, over his shoulder and stopped at his waist.

“No, you didn’t. You and I both know which one of us is the one getting hurt because of all this,” Kyungsoo said coldly. He regretted it almost immediately when he saw Taemin cringe slightly.

He was in love with Kyungsoo. That much was obvious, but unfortunately Kyungsoo never reciprocated the feelings. He was too caught up in his own super-tornado he lovingly called ‘JongBaek’. A destructive tornado that could possibly take his life if he wasn't careful. But Kyungsoo knew that deep down he would die for them both. No questions asked, he would do it. He sighed.

“My feelings are my own, yes. But when I agreed to do this, I knew the price,” Taemin said.

He stayed silent for a long time after that and Kyungsoo wasn’t one to break it. He let Taemin trail his fingers over his skin, not feeling even the slightest of goosebumps like he did with Jongin or Baekhyun. Instead, all he felt was growing guilt. He had to get out of here. He had to put a stop to all this.

Another sigh and he moved to sit up. Again, Taemin caught him by the wrist, “Run away with me.”

A bark of laughter burst out of Kyungsoo before he could stop it, and he inwardly slapped himself at the pained expression on Taemin. “I’m sorry. You just caught me off guard.”

“No, you’re right. It was stupid. But I figured I should try.” He sighed and sat up, hand still lingering on top of Kyungsoo’s. “I just thought you know, after a while, you’d start to feel the same?”

"I don't."

“I know…”

Silence. Kyungsoo’s bedroom was starting to feel foreign.

“It’s not hard. Loving you, that is. You make it so easy,” Taemin laughed, but it was a sad little thing.

“But it is hard,” Kyungsoo protested. At least that was what he told himself.

Taemin took both of Kyungsoo’s hands into his, “I already knew the consequences going into this. I knew it would end in heartache, but I told myself it’d be okay." He paused, rubbing his thumbs over the backs of Kyungsoo's hands before looking up at him, tears welling in his eyes. "...Seeing you so hopelessly in love with another – two others, well…”

Kyungsoo gazed at him, studying his face and then inhaled deeply. He let it out slowly and said, “I don’t think this is fair to you. We should stop this.” The words hurt him as they came out, like a thorny vine being ripped from his throat.

“Or, you could love me, because I already would do the same. All your flaws, all your intricacies, I already love them Kyungsoo.”

“Please,” Kyungsoo whispered. It was all the words he wanted to hear, but they were coming from the wrong mouth. “Don’t.”

Taemin gave him a wilted smile. “You’re a lot nicer than you think.” He sighed deeply “But you’re right. For my own sake, I should call it quits.” He leaned forward and kissed Kyungsoo on the forehead, gingerly.

Kyungsoo’s breath hitched, but he said nothing. He didn’t even look at Taemin as he got dressed and hovered by the door. It was only when the vampire patted the frame, that Kyungsoo looked up and gave him a sad smile, feeling his heart tear in two from the guilt.

“Thanks for everything,” Kyungsoo murmured.

Taemin sighed by the door. He gave the room one final look, as if he was memorizing it, and then did the same to Kyungsoo. “Just take care of yourself, okay?”

Panic flooded Kyungsoo at his tone, and he sprung to his feet. Was he really pushing away the only other person who had shown him unabashed kindness? Was he sabotaging this for the right reasons? He reached for Taemin’s arm and stared into dark, fathomless eyes, searching for something that he knew he wasn’t going to find.

“Where are you going?”

Taemin gently removed Kyungsoo’s hand from his arm. He brought that same hand to his lips and kissed them. “Far away. No need for me to stay here. Take care, Kyungsoo.”

With that, he was gone, and for a long moment, Kyungsoo stood there, wobbling back and forth before the first shakes of sobs dropped him to his knees. It was just so fucking unfair. Why couldn't he love Taemin? Why couldn't he take the easy way out? Taemin was so selfless, so kind to him. He genuinely cared about Kyungsoo and all the incubus could do was spurn him. Why did he have to love someone who was in love with another? Was he doomed for an existence of pain and suffering? He deserved this. He deserved all of it.



Kyungsoo mused on the masquerade as he slept on the cold floor by the door. He had not taken the time to dress himself, nor had he even really moved other than to go to the bathroom once. He resigned himself to staying holed up inside his house for as long as it took for him to reach starvation. It would be the only thing that could stop the thoughts in his mind.

He was one of the ones to first see them descend the stairs and when he caught sight of the claim around Jongin’s neck, his whole entire body squeezed. The room suddenly feeling so small and stuffy. He desperately needed air but his feet had remained rooted to their place next to Taemin who in response had simply whistled softly. That was the proper response, not Kyungsoo's.

Kyungsoo wanted to run, he wanted to hide, but his body betrayed him in that moment and he was forced to watch the two of them make their entrance. Of course, Jongin looked perturbed by all the stares, and Baekhyun’s smug little smile and sparkling eyes at all the attention hurt. It was just so much pain.

Baekhyun had looked at him like that once upon a time. Sometimes he still did, if they spent too much time together. Kyungsoo had been determined at first to keep all of that under control. But he wasn’t careful, they fell into old habits so easily. A lingering hand here, a small satisfied sigh and a kiss that still had the power to steal Kyungsoo’s breath away.

They had this arrangement for the better of the last decade because honestly it was better to have someone than no one. And, the only person Kyungsoo had trusted was Baekhyun so it was so easy, just falling back into that routine. It was so easy to give him those looks and to lean his head on his shoulder and draw designs down his arm after they fucked, but all of that had stopped the second Jongin entered their lives. Kyungsoo should have known. He should have seen it coming because it wasn’t just him that was so powerfully affected by Jongin’s charm... but Baekhyun too.

After Jongin told him that Baekhyun had sent him to protect him from the hunters, well Kyungsoo was stunned. Not even the day before had Baekhyun been telling him about how amazing Jongin tasted. How they needed to end their meetings. Because Baekhyun felt very strongly for him and he didn’t want to have anything impede on that. And Kyungsoo scoffed at the idea of Baekhyun falling for the human. But how could he not? It was Jongin.

Jongin was different than the last human that had stumbled into the club. Very different. He was fearless, he was confident, and most of all he was sincere. He wore his emotions on his face, and every word that left his lips may as well have been sung by sirens because Kyungsoo was smitten by the end of their weekend together.

Never had a human kept up with him so easily both in mind, spirit, and sex. Never had a human left him so breathless and gummy or so stupefied. No human had done that to him, not one. But Jongin was special. He enjoyed being around Kyungsoo even when they were clothed and that made Kyungsoo’s heart melt a bit.

It wasn’t until he heard from Baekhyun’s lips that he had commissioned a claim for Jongin that it hit him. It hit him hard that Baekhyun was serious. But he never thought it would happen so soon. He figured he would have time to get over his feelings and respectfully bow out. But every time he was around Jongin, all he could do was notice the way his pulse pitter-pattered. The way his scalp tingled when Jongin so much as smiled at him. Or the way his breath hitched when Jongin would look at him. He was addicted to these little things. Little things that made Kyungsoo want to be around Jongin all the time.

But still, everything hurt, and he was not used to this. Scratch that. He had felt this before, and once again it was at the hand of Baekhyun. He had loved him, still loved him -- if he was honest -- and it sucked. To have to sit and watch the person who had been the love of his life fall head over heels for the person who he was too afraid to get closer to, lest he risk his life, it really just sucked .

And it didn’t help that the whole night they were all over each other, touching, flirting. It made Kyungsoo taste bile in his mouth. Not because it was disgusting, but because he could barely take seeing the two people he actually cared about happy without him. He couldn't handle the fact that he wasn't needed by either of them even though he needed them so much.

But then, why had Jongin danced with him? Why did he use him like that? Was he only good for sex after all? Incubi never really felt things like this. They never cared about their worth. For them, humans were a means to feed, to survive, but to Kyungsoo? There was now a human that meant everything and more to him. A human that he wanted not just for sex, not just to feed from, but for companionship. And he couldn’t have him. Not without dying. It was the first time that he actually hated what he was.

He figured it would be better if he had never been there that night when Jongin walked in the club. If he had never introduced himself. Or if he had really stuck to his guns about pushing him away. But it was all so difficult when Jongin actually wanted to get to know him for who he was.

And that wasn’t the worst part. No, the worst part was the way Kyungsoo felt when Jongin called him his friend because all he wanted to be more than that. He wanted to be the reason that Jongin smiled and laughed. He wanted to be the one that made Jongin’s heart flutter, not Baekhyun but he had already lost to him.

That claim. That stupid, stupid , claim. If only Kyungsoo had not taken it off back then, then none of this would be happening. He knew he could have been happy with Baekhyun, but after experiencing what he did during his enlistment, he no longer felt he deserved happiness. The things he had to do, the things that he saw. He may not have been human but those kind of horrors had changed him. They made him hate what he did. The lives he took. It made him question whether he should exist, if all he did was kill. It was the first time Kyungsoo thought about the moral dilemma of what he and Baekhyun had done. And, he could never look at himself the same.

He didn’t think something so beautiful could exist in a world so cruel. He didn’t think that he deserved to receive the affections that he did from Baekhyun. The gentleness, the hesitance that Baekhyun had towards him when he returned. All it did was make Kyungsoo close off from everything. He had put up these walls and drove a wedge between him and the man that had stood by his side no matter what. He was self-destructive and imploding and the claim was collateral damage.

Still, just when Kyungsoo thought he was over all that. Just when he thought he was free from the clutches of his over-eager and foolish heart, Jongin appeared. Jongin appeared and he ripped open those scarred wounds that had kept Kyungsoo together. He dredged up those old feelings. He made the butterflies flutter and Kyungsoo’s mouth go dry. He made Kyungsoo’s mind turn to mush and his knees weak. But worst of all, he made Kyungsoo afraid. Afraid that he was going to fall all over again and this time there wouldn’t be anyone standing at the bottom to catch him.

Kyungsoo had opened himself up, and all it got him was shit in his face. His mouth still tasted bitter from when he saw the Madame take the stage. He could still feel the cold sweat that ran down his back because he had put two and two together and suddenly he was in a nightmare all over again.

When she called Jongin and Baekhyun to the stage, Kyungsoo wanted to run, but his legs had grown roots and he was stuck. Stuck feeling himself collapse inwards, breath forced from his lungs and throat so tight he couldn’t inhale. He was shattering into pieces and no one had noticed until it was too late.

Every glance between the two of them tightened the vice around his heart. And Kyungsoo could not decide if it was because of his blossoming feelings for Jongin or because he had once received those looks from Baekhyun. All he knew was that everything hurt, and he had to make it stop. He had to make it all stop, and that was why it happened. That was why he screamed, and it wasn’t until he saw the flash of anger in Baekhyun’s eyes followed by pain that he understood.

Everything as he knew it was fucked. And it was all because of him.

 

How he ended up at Jongin’s dorm was beyond him. He had set off walking from his house and his feet took him to the college campus of their own accord. It wasn’t entirely surprising to him, but the witch who answered the door was.

Junmyeon stepped aside, blue-gray hair sticking up in every direction and day’s old stubble on his chin. “You look like shit,” Kyungsoo mumbled as he stumbled in. His feet were killing him.

“It’s four in the morning, what do you expect?” Junmyeon said and then peered around Kyungsoo out the door and shut it. “Where’s Jongin? I thought you were with him.”

Kyungsoo shrugged his shoulders and plodded over to the sofa. The memory of him and Jongin getting frisky on the piece of furniture made his stomach churn. But he needed something soft to lay his weary body on. He flopped onto it, feeling the way his nose had begun to sting and buried his face.

Junmyeon followed after him, puttering about in that concerned parent kind of way that usually annoyed the ever loving shit out of Kyungsoo, but right now, he appreciated it. He felt the soft dip by his feet and peered over his shoulder at the witch with red rimmed eyes. “Fuck’s your problem?”

“Well, this is my dorm, for one thing. And another, you look like you’ve seen death, so why don’t you tell me what’s going on?” Junmyeon said, patting Kyungsoo’s calves.

“Stupid Masquerade. Stupid claim. Stupid Blood Bond. Stupid Jongin. Stupid Baekhyun. There. That’s what happened,” Kyungsoo muttered and buried his face in his arms deeper. He could feel the next onslaught of tears and wanted to hide them from the witch. He hardly knew him, but somehow just talking to him was relatively calming.

“Oh,” Junmyeon said. “Sounds eventful.” He didn’t say anything else, but continued patting Kyungsoo’s calves until the incubus kicked his legs. “Watch it.”

“Sorry not sorry,” Kyungsoo spat and then felt bad. He shouldn’t be taking out his anger on Junmyeon. He hadn’t done anything to deserve this. “Actually, I'm sorry.”

“S’okay,” Junmyeon said and then moved Kyungsoo’s legs off his lap. “I’m going to make some tea, want a cup?”

“Take your tea and shove– sorry. Yeah, that sounds nice,” Kyungsoo said and slowly sat up. “Why are you being so nice to me?”

Junmyeon shrugged as he walked into the kitchen. Kyungsoo could hear him clinking around, the sound of water, the click of the stove being turned on, and then two mugs being set down on the counter. There was a loud sigh, and Kyungsoo leaned back to peer into the kitchen. He saw the witch leaning against the counter, bridge of his nose pinched between two fingers and shaking his head.

Kyungsoo sat back down normally and stared at his hands. He could at least be nice since Junmyeon was going out of his way to be hospitable to him at this odd hour. It was the least he could do. Maybe the witch would have insight on the whole situation.

The whistling of the kettle pulled Kyungsoo from his thoughts, and he perked up as Junmyeon came around with a small tray levitating in front of him while he carried both mugs in his hands. “I’ve got cream, sugar, and honey. I don’t know how you like your tea, so…”

Kyungsoo half smiled and took the mug in his hands, enjoying the almost burning heat. It gave him something to focus on other than the pain in his chest. “This is fine.”

They were silent while Junmyeon carefully added ingredients to his own cup, stirring with a twirl of his finger, rather than touching the small spoon. It wasn’t until they each took the first sip that the silence was broken.

“Want to tell me what’s really going on?” Junmyeon said, setting down his mug. He gave Kyungsoo a look that said he was extremely tired but out of the goodness of his heart, was doing this.

Kyungsoo dawdled for a moment, taking another sip and then sighing. “I fucked up big time…”

“Alright, why don't you tell me from the beginning,” Junmyeon said and levitated the mug to his hand.

Kyungsoo rolled his eyes at the action but dove into recalling the details of the night. He held back no punches, telling Junmyeon his every thought, his every feeling, and even the background information needed to understand Taemin’s involvement. By the time he was done, he was crying again, wiping his tears and snot off on his shirt and sometimes the sofa. If Junmyeon minded, he certainly didn’t say anything, and for that Kyungsoo was grateful. Just having someone outside of the whole thing listening was helpful.

“You have to tell him,” Junmyeon said.

“Why should I?” Kyungsoo asked, draining the rest of his mug and setting it down on the table.

“Because Baekhyun needs to know, Kyungsoo. He was unaware of your feelings…” Junmyeon replied and reached for Kyungsoo’s cup. He refilled it from the kettle, and Kyungsoo nodded at him in thanks. "I'm sure if he knew, he wouldn't have been so rash. Hell, I wasn't expecting him to give the claim to Jongin yet. It was too early."

The tea was keeping Kyungsoo calm and the warmth was focusing his attention away from the ache. He thought on it – telling Baekhyun that he had feelings for Jongin and residual ones for the vampire that threatened to reignite at the striking of a match. It wouldn’t take that much. They had always revolved around each other like orbiting bodies. Feeding off of each other’s gravity. And Kyungsoo always fell so easily.

“What about Jongin?” Kyungsoo asked carefully. Just saying his name brought the prick to his eyes.

“You should tell him too,” Junmyeon said after a while.

He didn’t seem too sure of it, so Kyungsoo took that as a sign. He’d tell Baekhyun first and ask for his advice regarding Jongin. Hopefully Baekhyun wouldn’t take it the wrong way. But the way he had glared at him from the stage had Kyungsoo feeling uncertain.

"Thanks," Kyungsoo muttered and avoided making eye contact. He heard Junmyeon clink his mug on the table and felt him stand up.

"I'm going back to bed, wake me up when Jongin gets back."

Kyungsoo nodded, but kept his gaze trained on his feet. He could feel the tears sting his eyes at the sound of Jongin's name, but he held back the sob until Junmyeon's door close. Then, he cried until his chest rattled, and his eyes were so swollen they could hardly open. Fuck love. Fuck Baekhyun. Fuck Jongin.

 

The next day, Kyungsoo was woken up by Junmyeon quietly having a conniption over the state of his sofa. Kyungsoo sat up slowly, feeling like he had the worst hangover in the history of existence and blinked. He yawned and then the wave hit him with the force of a million elephants. The first sob choked him, and in an instant, Junmyeon was sitting next to him and patting his back.

"You're pretty messed up aren't you?" Junmyeon said as he rubbed soothing circles into Kyungsoo's back.

Kyungsoo shook him off at first, and then looked up at him with an apology in his eyes. "Sorry, I'm just not used to this. This feeling shit. I hate it."

"No one is," Junmyeon added with a nervous laugh.

Kyungsoo studied him and then returned his gaze to his hands. "Why does it have to be them? Why couldn't it be a dog or, I don't know, a building? I could love a chair just fine. But them? They make it suck so much."

Junmyeon offered a small smile. "Who knows? You know, my great-grandmother made your claim... I remember my grandmother talking about seeing Baekhyun come to her to commission it." His eyes went misty for a moment and then he cocked his head. "Why did you and Baekhyun end up splitting anyway?"

Kyungsoo froze, feeling the tension build in his shoulders. This wasn't something he had talked about to anyone. But, Junmyeon had proved himself an amazing listener. He straightened up and said, "I did a lot of fucked up shit in the war, hated myself after it, and tore off the claim."

The memory came flashing to Kyungsoo's mind in an instant. It was as if he was standing in Baekhyun's study, staring at him while his fingers slipped under the silver chain of the claim around his throat. He tugged it slightly, tears welling in his eyes all while Baekhyun watched him, eyes red and nose flared.

"Just fucking do it," Baekhyun hissed. He sniffled, but his expression remained stony despite the tears that rolled down his cheeks. “Don’t know why it took you so long anyway.”

Kyungsoo felt so sick. He didn't want to do this to him. He didn't want to hurt Baekhyun like this, but this whole being claimed thing was fucking with him too much. He couldn't handle feeling Baekhyun's every emotion. He couldn’t handle the sorrow and pain he felt over Kyungsoo leaving. He couldn’t do it. He just could do any of it. But Kyungsoo needed space. He needed to be alone while he dealt with his trauma from the war.

The cruelty of humanity had changed him. It made him colder, made his heart turn to stone. And suddenly Kyungsoo wasn't so sure if he even loved Baekhyun for who he was or if it was just because of what he could give him. The status they had back before the war. The way humans had bent to their every will. Kyungsoo wasn’t sure if he wanted that or Baekhyun’s love. Because what was love anyway? What was it other than some pesky emotion that kept him so attached to the vampire? He could be so much stronger alone.

Kyungsoo felt like a stranger to himself. He didn't know who he was anymore and when he returned to Baekhyun after everything was said and done, he hated himself. He hated seeing how soft Baekhyun was, how much he loved him. He hated the coy looks and gentle touches. Kyungsoo hated the world.

He tugged at the claim once more, seeing Baekhyun's eyes close and his chest tighten as he braced himself. Kyungsoo knew that taking it off would hurt Baekhyun and maybe that was what Baekhyun needed. He needed to know that Kyungsoo was serious that he didn't want to try to be who he was before. Kyungsoo needed time apart, to find himself again. He needed to be alone. Completely and utterly alone.

"I said do it!" Baekhyun screamed.

But, Kyungsoo could see through the ruse. He knew that Baekhyun was hurting inside, he could feel it from the claim. He could feel the claim itself trying to still his hand so he wouldn't break it, but Kyungsoo tugged harder, hearing a scream in his head. It was only when he felt the snap that he realized he was screaming too. He was crying too. He was broken too.

He knelt beside Baekhyun, but was met with a painful smack across his chest as the vampire lashed out against him. Kyungsoo stared at him, chest aching, cheeks streaked with hot tears and confusion in his mind. What had he done?

Junmyeon's low whistle pulled Kyungsoo from the memory, and he caught himself, holding his hand to his neck. He touched where the claim had been all those years ago and then looked into Junmyeon's eyes. "I'm a fuck up."

Junmyeon clucked his tongue and shook his head. "You weren't ready..." he waved his hand and another tray of tea came floating towards them. "There's a reason why vampire claims on others are so rare. It takes years to be ready for such a thing."

Kyungsoo stared at Junmyeon, seeing him in a new light for the first time. It was as though Junmyeon had been inside his head, as if he had seen his memory. He understood Kyungsoo in a way that very few did. Maybe, just maybe, they could be friends?

"I don't know what Baekhyun was thinking giving Jongin that claim. I tried to talk him out of it when he commissioned it.” Junmyeon paused and sighed. “Jongin doesn’t know anything about them. He has no idea what he would be getting into. I just hope that Baekhyun fixes this.”

“Too late for that, don’t you think?” Kyungsoo mumbled. “Baekhyun never could hold back. Not with me, and not with Jongin it seems.”

“Well, if the bond wasn’t completed, Jongin could remove it. Claims aren’t meant to go unbonded for too long…” Junmyeon trailed. “But, there’s something special about Jongin. He might be able to handle it. I’ll just have to keep an eye on him.”

Kyungsoo furrowed his brows. Jongin was special, that much was something any Night Worlder would see, but he was just a human. A special human. They happened from time to time. Mediums, psychics, magicians. Some humans were extraordinary. Some humans were like Jongin. They just brought so much light into an otherwise dark world and light was something Kyungsoo needed. He needed Jongin to chase away all his shadows.

Junmyeon handed a mug to Kyungsoo and sipped his own. "I'm going to run some errands." He stood up and patted Kyungsoo on the back. "Try not to mope too much. Get some fresh air. Go for a walk. It's not the end of the world, okay?"

"It's the end of my world," Kyungsoo muttered into his mug. He sipped the tea and gave Junmyeon a cursory glance as the witch rolled his eyes and left the room. Now what was Kyungsoo supposed to do? He didn't have his phone, he didn't have anything. He couldn't call Taemin. He shouldn't call Taemin. But he needed affection right now. He needed to be held and told he was going to be okay.

As Junmyeon came out of his bedroom, witch hat on his head and comically large sunglasses hanging from the front of his shirt, he paused by Kyungsoo, a contemplative look on his face. "Stand up."

"Bite me," Kyungsoo retorted instantly. He may have been heartbroken, but he would be damned if he ever followed a witch's order.

Junmyeon sighed and came over in front of Kyungsoo, pausing for a moment as if he was warring within himself. Then, he awkwardly bent at the waist and hugged Kyungsoo. "Don't do anything stupid."

Kyungsoo sat there, blinking until slowly he raised his arms and hugged Junmyeon back, heat creeping into his cheeks. For some reason, as awkward as the hug was, it felt nice.

 

Kyungsoo wasn't sure how it happened, but he woke up to a dark room – flashing from the light of the television, covered with a blanket and a witch curled up at his feet with a bowl of popcorn. He blinked a few times, rubbing his eyes and sat up. "What time is it?"

Junmyeon tossed his phone at Kyungsoo and shoved more popcorn in his mouth instead of answering. Kyungsoo peered at the screen and discovered that he had slept for nearly twelve hours and shot to his feet. Where did the time go? The only times he ever slept this much was before he slipped into survival mode and –

Kyungsoo lifted his hand to find tiny protrusions at his temples. He hadn't been this long without food in a while. "Why didn't you wake me?"

Junmyeon wiped his hands on his shirt and paused the movie. "I tried."

"Well you didn't try hard enough," Kyungsoo hissed and tossed Junmyeon's phone back at him. "I need to eat."

"I know, that's why I put this movie on," Junmyeon said and then resumed the film.

Kyungsoo looked at the screen for the first time and deadpanned at the mess of tangled limbs and soft lighting of the scene. "Is...is this soft-core porn?"

For the first time that Kyungsoo had ever seen, Junmyeon's face went bright red and he nodded his head. "Took the liberty of typing you and since you feed on sexual tension I figured I could try to build some?"

Never and Kyungsoo meant never, in his life had he ever laughed as hard as he did just then. Kyungsoo's abdomen ached by the third minute but he was showing no signs of stopping. Did this witch honestly think he could create sexual tension between the two of them? He wasn't even Kyungsoo's type, and Kyungsoo knew the feeling was mutual. Still, once the last of his giggles subsided, he did feel a tiny pang of gratitude. At least, Junmyeon was trying.

"Well I couldn't think of anything else," Junmyeon offered, face looking like he wanted the sofa to swallow him whole.

Kyungsoo shook his head. His spirits did feel a bit lightened now, thanks to that laugh. "Appreciate the effort, but no that's not how this works."

"Got you to smile though," Junmyeon added and did finger guns.

Kyungsoo smirked despite not wanting to and turned away. Why was Junmyeon trying so hard anyway? They hardly knew each other, but here he was going out of his way to make him feel better. It was really nice. "Why though?"

"Jongin cares about you, so by default, that means I have to, too," Junmyeon explained.

Jongin's name made Kyungsoo's heart squeeze. "He hasn't come back has he?" As Kyungsoo asked the question all he could think about was Baekhyun and Jongin consummating the Blood Bond the same way he had all those years ago. It made his stomach twist in knots.

Junmyeon shook his head. "No, but let's keep your mind off that for now?" Then he floated the bowl to the table and leaned forward. "How about I treat you to a night on the town and you feed that way?"

Kyungsoo stared at Junmyeon, the prickling in the backs of his eyes subsiding for another fit of giggles. "I don't think you could keep up with me, witch."

"Try me," Junmyeon challenged.

 

Going to the club with Junmyeon had been huge mistake. While Kyungsoo was able to feed just enough to have his horns disappear, he didn't expect to end up taking care of the witch all night. Of course he should've expected it because the first time he even met Junmyeon, Jongin had been babysitting the witch. How could he not have foreseen this?

Luckily, a helpful demon, by the name of Yixing had seen Kyungsoo struggling with Junmyeon and swooped in. He had introduced himself as the flower shop owner down the street from Club Isis, and Kyungsoo had simply shrugged it off, thankful for the help.

"How'd you meet Junmyeon?" Yixing asked, hefting Junmyeon over his shoulder and giving his ass a pat for good measure. It earned a giggle from the witch.

"He's been helping me get through some shit," Kyungsoo said. He didn't want to reveal too much. I wasn't his nature.

"Oh! He does that, doesn't he? Always so mindful of those he loves," Yixing said. Clearly he knew Junmyeon and judging by the way he smiled softly to himself, all black eyes crinkling slightly, Kyungsoo guessed that the two were involved.

"You his boyfriend or something?" Kyungsoo asked gruffly. They were almost back to the dorm, which meant he could return home after making sure Junmyeon was okay. He didn't know why he cared so much for the witch all of a sudden. But they had the beginnings of a friendship budding, and Kyungsoo didn't want to mess that up like he did everything else.

"Oh, I wish," Yixing laughed. "He told me he already had someone..." Yixing trailed off. "I actually thought it was you until you asked me that."

"Oh gods, no," Kyungsoo replied and then froze. "Not that he isn't, you know, good looking. I just have my–"

"Relax, we're both demons here," Yixing said. He shifted Junmyeon and smiled. "Besides everyone knows about the Masquerade."

Kyungsoo winced and let his head hang. "Yeah."

The rest of the walk was silent on his end. Yixing talked like nothing was wrong, and after a while Kyungsoo started to wonder if he was really just that oblivious. He was quite a strange demon. All smiles and laughs and gentleness. He'd do Junmyeon some good, Kyungsoo thought and then shook his head. Why was he making assumptions about someone he barely knew?

When they arrived at the dorm, Kyungsoo took over for Yixing and waited until he left before he opened the door and half dragged Junmyeon to his room. It wasn't until he tried to pass through the frame that he realized Junmyeon had set up charms and sighed. Junmyeon was going to have to sleep on the couch then, which left Kyungsoo with no choice but to go home.

He laid Junmyeon on the sofa, grabbing the blanket he had used earlier and draped it over him. Biting his lip, he stared at the witch. It was still so foreign to him that he had helped him so much these past few days and honestly Kyungsoo was feeling a bit better about the whole situation. He patted Junmyeon's gray-blue hair and slipped out the front door, hoping that somehow he could gather the strength to call Jongin and talk to him. That and maybe try to fix things with Baekhyun while he was at it. He didn’t want to lose everyone.

 

~*~

“Ay me, for aught that I could ever read,
Could ever hear by tale or history,
The course of true love never did run smooth,
But either it was different in blood—”

- William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night’s Dream

 

“Kyungsoo what the fuck are you doing? You’re ruining dinner.” Baekhyun hissed as he grabbed Kyungsoo’s arm and pulled him toward him.

Kyungsoo’s knees almost buckled at the heat from Baekhyun’s hand, but he stood his ground. “I’m trying, okay? I’m fucking trying. But it hurts to see you look at him the way you used to look at me.”

Baekhyun gaped at him, confusion marring his features. “What are you talking about?”

Fuck! He said too much. Kyungsoo ripped out of Baekhyun’s grip, knocking a plate from the table in the process. “Forget it. I’m leaving,” he said and was out the door before he gave Baekhyun the chance to respond.

The dinner was a horrible idea, Kyungsoo thought as he dragged his feet across the pavement. He wasn't sure why he even agreed to stay for it. The moment he saw Baekhyun, he should've ran. But the thing was, he missed Jongin so much and wanted to spend time with him. It was strange missing him, knowing that he couldn't really be with him. Plus, his conversation with Baekhyun earlier had been anything but pleasant. He couldn't get the words out and seeing just how hard Baekhyun was trying not to even look at him stung in the worst way.

But, the beginning of the day had been kinda... nice? It took him a bit to drag Jongin out of his awkwardness, but once the two of them got going, Kyungsoo found it so easy just to be around him. He just felt so light around Jongin. It scared him how similar it felt to the beginning of his and Baekhyun's relationship. The way Kyungsoo's heart beat a little faster and how he caught himself stealing glances at Jongin. He couldn’t help but enjoy following the slope of his nose, dive into the plush of his lips that he so badly wanted to kiss.

That was another problem that Kyungsoo wasn’t ready for. What the actual fuck had happened in that grocery store? How had he lost control so easily like that? Was it what Jongin had said? Was it the way he was looking at him that had made Kyungsoo’s whole world stop? He’d been so close to kissing Jongin right then. He’d been so close to ending his own life just for a taste of those lips. They looked so soft and once again Kyungsoo was jealous that Baekhyun got to kiss them. It had taken everything in his power to pull away from Jongin right then. Everything . And that was what scared Kyungsoo more than anything.

Kyungsoo balked as he paced through his hallway. He brought his finger to his lip and then scowled. He couldn’t do this. It just wasn’t fucking fair. He needed to talk to Baekhyun and put a stop to this.

But then he thought about Jongin’s face during the dinner and found himself sliding to his butt against the wall. Why did Jongin have to bring up the masquerade? Kyungsoo was ready to put that past him and move on. Still, every time he saw Jongin smile at Baekhyun and vice versa, he felt like he was dying inside.

He should’ve left when he heard them disappear into Jongin’s room. He should’ve called it quits right then. But Kyungsoo sat on that sofa, listening to the two of them and cursing the tent in his pants. He’d made Jongin make those sounds before. He made those sounds for Baekhyun before. Once upon a time, he would have simply fed from two people in the act, but this tasted bad. It tasted bitter and sour and made Kyungsoo want to punch himself in the gut. It had been all downhill from then.

Before Kyungsoo knew what he was doing, he had crawled to his bedroom and pulled his phone off the charger. He scrolled through the contacts, knowing deep down that what he was about to do was messed up, but he did it anyway.

The line rang only once before Kyungsoo heard his voice on the other end. “Hey, what’s up?”

“Come over,” Kyungsoo whispered. He could feel the prick of tears sting his eyes. “Please, I need you.”

There was a soft gasp, and then the line went dead.

Kyungsoo let his phone clatter to the ground and curled in on himself. He felt so damn broken right now and didn’t want to think about anything at all. Everything just hurt so bad. Jongin hurt so bad. He hurt him so so so bad and Kyungsoo wasn’t sure if he was a glutton for pain or what.

He picked up his phone and scrolled through his messages in the few minutes he knew he had and dialed once more. The line rang until it hit the voicemail and Kyungsoo felt his throat constrict as he hoarsely spit out the words. “We need to talk soon, okay?”

It was all he could say before he hung up and switched his phone off. Just as he tossed it across the floor, Taemin materialized in the shadows in his dark room. Kyungsoo looked up at him, vision blurring as he pushed himself to his knees.

“Why did you come?”

Taemin knelt down and stroked Kyungsoo’s hair before giving him a sad smile. “I’ll always come when you call, you know that.”

Kyungsoo screwed his eyes shut, letting the sobs choke him into silence. Everything hurt so bad and here he was passing the pain along to someone who really didn’t deserve it. He let Taemin pull him closer and curled into his lap, gasping and sniffling. “You should hate me.”

Taemin chucked deep in his chest. “Believe me, I tried.”

“Try harder,” Kyungsoo said and sat up. “I want you to hate me. I want you to yell at me, to hit me, to do something. Just hate my fucking guts, please. Just hate me,” Kyungsoo wailed.

Dark fathomless eyes filled Kyungsoo’s blurred vision and soft hands tilted his face up. Kyungsoo blinked, staring into Taemin’s sad, pained eyes and felt the squeeze of another sob fighting to escape. Before he could let it out though, lips brushed against his, and Kyungsoo took to them hungry, starved for affection.

A whimper bled into Taemin’s mouth and Kyungsoo clung to him, crying and clawing at him. He could feel Taemin go tense and gently push him back, but Kyungsoo tried to capture his lips again.

“You know I want you Kyungsoo, but do you want me?” Taemin asked and Kyungsoo broke down all over again.

“I wish I did,” he whispered and crumpled on himself, feeling no desire to even look into Taemin’s face. “I wish it could be you.”

Kyungsoo heard a sniffle and he buried his face under his arms, hiccuping and gasping because this just hurt so much. Why did he call Taemin? Why did he subject him to this all over again? He was shitty. He was just a shitty, shitty person to do this.

“Me too,” Taemin said. He then pulled Kyungsoo to his feet and led him to his bed. “Shh, we’ll just lay here okay? We don’t have to move until you want to. But, this is the last time Kyungsoo.”

The way Taemin said it was almost as if he was trying to convince himself that his words were true. Last time was supposed to be the last time, and now Kyungsoo was climbing onto his bed and curling into Taemin’s side, staring at the thin fabric of his shirt.

“I’m sorry,” Kyungsoo said after a while.

“Don’t be,” Taemin replied. He turned to face Kyungsoo and gently traced his finger down the side of his face.

Kyungsoo wanted to feel something when he did that. He wanted to feel butterflies or tingles. He just wanted to feel fucking something so that things could be easier, but he felt nothing. He studied Taemin’s face, taking in his features and sighed. “No, I’m sorry for everything. For putting you through this, for making you hurt just because I’m hurting.”

“It’s okay...”

Kyungsoo sat up and shook his head. “No it’s not. Why can’t you just be mad at me? I fucked with your feelings!”

“I let you,” Taemin mirrored Kyungsoo, brows knitting. “I could’ve stayed in Venice, but I came here for you.”

“You were in Venice?” Kyungsoo asked. Taemin really had gone far away. He shook his head and clamped down on his lip to keep the tears at bay. He needed to not cry right now.

Taemin reached to caress Kyungsoo’s face and then stopped. “I needed a change of scenery.”

Kyungsoo felt his lungs deflate. “I fucked up again. I shouldn’t have called you.”

“It’s fine,” Taemin said. He leaned in and kissed Kyungsoo gently.

As much as Kyungsoo didn’t want to, he melted into the kiss, trembling. He shouldn’t have been doing this to Taemin. It was wrong to use him like this and now all Kyungsoo could think about while he was kissing him was how badly he wished he could kiss Jongin.

Taemin pulled back first and stroked Kyungsoo’s cheek gingerly. “Tonight, let’s say goodbye.”



It was a few days later when Baekhyun finally responded to Kyungsoo’s call, and for that Kyungsoo was thankful. He'd had time to grieve Taemin's final departure, time to figure out what he wanted to say, and time to really put his feelings into perspective. He knew that he was falling hard for Jongin at this point, but the fact that Baekhyun had taken so long to answer wasn't lost on him. It'd made him think about where he stood regarding Baekhyun...why he regretted taking off that claim all those years ago. He was falling for Jongin, but he had never really healed nor got over Baekhyun either.

Baekhyun's response wasn’t anything like how they used to talk, just a curt: ‘Meet me at the club.’ No flowery language, no emoticons, nothing other than that line. But Kyungsoo was ready for this. He'd practiced his lines in the mirror (and also in front of Taemin who looked like he as going to shatter the entire time which made Kyungsoo drop the topic.) He quickly got dressed, taking a moment to stare at the black rose Taemin left him on his nightstand before he left. He was going to miss him so much, but it was better this way. For both of them.

Kyungsoo didn’t waste any time paying attention to the clubgoers as he beelined for Baekhyun’s office. He shoved through the crowd, not caring who he disrupted because he was losing his resolve so fast. Every step was making him feel a little bit weaker. But, he needed to do this. He needed to tell Baekhyun because if he didn't he was going to continue to hurt and suffer until he couldn't bear it anymore.

He stopped just outside the door, heart hammering in his chest and sneered to himself. Since when had he ever been afraid of Baekhyun? Why was this so hard for him? Emotions had never really been his thing but now he was swimming through the murkiest of waters and barely keeping afloat. He was so close to drowning.

Placing a hand on the door he slowly entered it, blood rushing through his veins and making his muscles tense. He was debating between leaving before Baekhyun noticed him or standing his ground. Baekhyun was sitting at his desk, red hair messy as he fingers tangled through it, and Kyungsoo found his hands itching to smooth it down. Still unnoticed, or possibly being ignored, Kyungsoo looked around the room as he took tentative steps. There was a splash of blood on the wall and glass shattered on the ground. Kyungsoo flicked his gaze back to Baekhyun and sighed. Baekhyun usually never did stuff like that unless something was wrong.

"Are you okay?" He asked, watching the way Baekhyun's shoulders rose from stress. Part of Kyungsoo ached to go to his side and calm him down, but they didn't do that anymore. Not since Jongin came into the picture. Kyungsoo's throat squeezed.

“Now really isn’t a good time, Soo,” Baekhyun said and then he corrected himself. “...Kyungsoo.”

And fuck if Kyungsoo’s heart didn’t flutter a bit at his nickname. He'd suspected that Baekhyun still cared for him when Jongin told him he'd been told to protect him, but to hear that term of endearment from him dug all kinds of emotions up in Kyungsoo. Ugh, why did this have to happen now? “It can’t wait,” he said and cautiously walked over to Baekhyun and touched his shoulders.

The vampire melted into his palm, sighing and leaning back in his chair, eyes closed. His lips parted when he sighed. Kyungsoo swallowed as tingles ran down his spine. Dark eyes captured his, and Kyungsoo was falling all over again. He felt his heart lurch in his chest and jumped back, hand burning like it'd touched fire.

Baekhyun looked at him, an unreadable expression on his face. "What did you do to Taemin?"

The question came so out of left field that Kyungsoo actually staggered backward a step. "Wh-what?

Long, pretty fingers smoothed down the wild red tendrils as Baekhyun rose to his feet. "I got a call from him this morning telling me he was going away for a bit. Do you have to hurt everyone you come into contact with?"

Ouch. Kyungsoo winced and opened his mouth but no sound came out. Why was Baekhyun being like this? Was he really this mad? "I'm...I'm sorry. I'm a fuckup."

Baekhyun's eyes softened for a second but then the harshness returned, and he sighed again. "Kyungsoo....just why? Why are you here?"

Nothing could have prepared Kyungsoo for the way he felt right then. He could remember how not long ago Baekhyun had been happy to see him. How he would call for him when he needed him but now? Now he was looking at Kyungsoo like he was some type of lake scum and it fucking hurt.

"J-" he started but then fell silent. "This is a mistake. I should leave." He couldn't do this. He couldn’t stand in front of the very first man he had ever loved and receive this kind of vitriol. They had been fine less than a month ago and this was hurting more than it was helping. Maybe this was his karma for what he did to Taemin. Maybe he was supposed to hurt.

Warm fingers circled Kyungsoo's arm, and he hated how his knees weakened at Baekhyun's touch. Why couldn't he hate him at this moment? Why could he just be angry at him instead of feeling like a kicked dog? Kyungsoo stared at Baekhyun's hand and pulled it off him, letting his own fingers linger and a long pregnant moment stretched between them.

"Sorry, I shouldn't have done that," Baekhyun mumbled.

"It's okay," Kyungsoo said hollowly. He couldn't do this. He couldn't break this wall between them. It was only growing larger, and he wasn't sure if the ground would crumble under him, taking him into the darkness once more.

Baekhyun must have noticed because his brows creased, and he reached for Kyungsoo again, but his hand froze half lifted from his side. "What are we doing?"

Kyungsoo shook his head. "I really don't know. I should just leave."

"No, talk to me," Baekhyun said. But something was off. It was as though he was battling something inside of him, and Kyungsoo couldn't quite read him. He felt like he didn’t really know him anymore. Like he wasn’t privy to Baekhyun’s inner thoughts.

"I'm sorry for everything Baekhyun. I really am, but," Kyungsoo stopped. He couldn’t bring the words from his throat. They were stuck, choking him as his chest caved in. This was just so unfair.

A tiny spark of anger filled Kyungsoo at this moment. It was unfair. He had seen Jongin first. He had connected with him first, but Baekhyun went and claimed him. He gave Jongin the one thing that most vampires only gave once. He'd been Baekhyun's at one point and now he was no ones and it was just so unfair.

"It's not fair," Kyungsoo muttered.

“What’s not fair?” Baekhyun whispered. He looked like he knew exactly what Kyungsoo was talking about but was playing dumb. This was why Kyungsoo knew he was making a mistake. The bitterness that took over Baekhyun's features should've told him what was coming, but Kyungsoo was so absorbed in his own pain.

“All of this, Baekhyun. It’s not fair. I saw him first,” Kyungsoo’s chest was heaving, like he couldn’t get enough air in his lungs. “Baekhyun, you can’t just claim him like this!” Kyungsoo screamed. He didn't know why he was yelling or why he sounded so petulant but everything was hurting him so bad. Tears pricked the corners of his eyes and he turned to take a steadying breath.

Baekhyun was quiet for a moment before the low rumble of his voice broke the silence. “What? Are you jealous? Because if I remember correctly, you turned me down all those years ago.”

“I know…” Kyungsoo trailed off. He didn't turn Baekhyun down. He wanted to be with him, but not be tied to him. Why was that so hard for the vampire to understand? It was a foreign concept to him, it had to be because Kyungsoo couldn't even count on his hands how many times he tried to explain it to Baekhyun during their arrangement.

“Then why are you constantly trying to come between us? Why did you stop the bond? Am I not allowed to be happy? Do you have to rip that apart, too?” Baekhyun hissed. He sounded so angry.

Kyungsoo looked up at him, his retort dying in his mouth. “No, I-”

“Then why, Kyungsoo, why? Why can’t you just let us be?” Because he wanted to be an 'us'.

“Because I think I…” he trailed and then sighed. “It doesn’t matter, it would never work anyway.”

Kyungsoo fucked everything up. He consistently shoved his foot in his mouth and messed things up. He didn't know why he did these things, but he couldn't control his feelings. He couldn't make himself not fall for Jongin. Trust him, he tried his hardest not to, but something about the human just had him hooked from day one.

Kyungsoo started to walk away, not really in the right mindset to be getting yelled at like this. He should've just kept this all to himself and forced himself to smile and bear it. He should've bitten his tongue at the Masquerade. He should've done a lot of things that he didn't do, and now he was paying for it.

Baekhyun caught his arm again and spun him towards him. “Kyungsoo, are you still in love with me?” His eyes were searching like he desperately wanted to know the answer. He'd never seen Baekhyun this unstable before, flip-flopping between giving Kyungsoo these looks of hatred and then tenderness. Something was wrong and Kyungsoo should’ve noticed it sooner.

Kyungsoo's breath stuttered because the answer was yes. He'd never stopped loving Baekhyun, but this wasn't about him. This was about his budding emotions for a human that could kill him if he wasn't careful. “I don’t know…”

“Then why are you – oh.” Baekhyun whispered the next part, “It’s him, isn’t it?”

Kyungsoo tried to look away, but Baekhyun made him look at him, and he was falling into those dark eyes all over again. It was disorientating, feeling so much for the person standing in front of him but also someone else. Why did it have to be them?

They stood there, Baekhyun's expression so soft and tender that Kyungsoo couldn't stand to look at him. He didn't want his pity, but it wasn't pity. It was....understanding? And for some reason that hurt Kyungsoo. Baekhyun knew about Kyungsoo's feelings. He knew, and he still claimed Jongin. Was it to spite him? Was it to show Kyungsoo what could have been? Why did he have to do this?

“Oh, my sweet Kyungsoo,” Baekhyun whispered, thumb caressing Kyungsoo's cheek. Kyungsoo hated how he leaned into his hand, relishing Baekhyun's touch the way he always had. For the first time he wasn't wishing it was someone else’s. He was happy in a twisted way and all it did was tangle Kyungsoo's insides. “How long has it been since you’ve felt a loving touch?”

“You know how long it’s been, you were the one to end our arrangement,” Kyungsoo whispered. He was lying and Baekhyun didn't miss it.

"Taemin?" Baekhyun said even quieter and frowned. "Why didn't you come to me?"

Kyungsoo scoffed. "You know why." He was hurt, but he wasn't really angry. He knew he should have been but spending as much time as he had with Baekhyun before and after their break up had taught Kyungsoo one thing. There would always be something between them, no matter how hard he tried to squash it down. It was just too easy to fall into old habits, into old ways.

Kyungsoo's body was still except for the rise and fall of his shoulders as his breathing picked up. He stared at Baekhyun's face, slowly closing the distance between them until their noses were nearly touching. He didn't make the move though. That would be too selfish of him.

But, as it turned out, he didn't have to, because soft lips crashed down on his, molding so perfectly, and Kyungsoo's breath was stolen away. He clung to Baekhyun, arms circling him and holding him close as he breathed him in. It'd been so long since he felt like this. It was like heroin to an addict, that sweet rush of endorphins that made his head feel light and his whole body tremble.

They were so bad for each other, this much Kyungsoo knew, but he couldn't stop himself. He moaned softly, and Baekhyun responded the same. And God, did Kyungsoo miss this. He needed this. He craved this so badly, and Taemin had never been enough. He had never been Baekhyun. He would never be Baekhyun.

A sound from the door tore them apart and Kyungsoo caught sight of the last person who should have been there. Jongin.

Baekhyun gave Kyungsoo a pained look, one that spoke mountains of his emotions for Jongin, and it was almost as if they were on the same wavelength. "Jongin, no!" Baekhyun screamed, ripping from Kyungsoo's arms and then pausing.

"Go after him," Kyungsoo whispered. As Baekhyun's figure disappeared, Kyungsoo sunk to his knees. Somehow he'd fucked up worse than before. This time he had hurt Jongin.

 

~*~

 

“Speak of me as I am. Nothing extenuate,
Nor set down aught in malice. Then must you speak
Of one that loved not wisely, but too well.
Of one not easily jealous, but being wrought,
Perplexed in the extreme. Of one whose hand,
Like the base Indian, threw a pearl away
Richer than all his tribe. Of one whose subdued eyes,
Albeit unused to the melting mood,
Drop tears as fast as the Arabian trees
Their medicinal gum.”

- William Shakespeare's Othello



By some happy miracle, things worked themselves out. Granted it took Kyungsoo more time to figure out how to approach Jongin after the whole kiss thing, but he was finally starting to feel like himself. Between spending more time with Junmyeon and kinda sort of talking to Jongin about what happened, things were going great.

Plus, he and Baekhyun were on speaking terms again. It’d taken a long, long talk between the two of them. A long talk that had revealed many things that Kyungsoo had been wondering about. He found out why Baekhyun had claimed Jongin so suddenly and it wasn’t what he had initially thought either. They had talked about what they were to each other and what they meant to Jongin and it had made Kyungsoo feel better. Better than he had ever felt. So, all of that had him feeling good about this trip. Hopefully, it would mend things for everyone.

Speaking of mending things, Kyungsoo thought back to the thumb kiss that he had shared with Jongin. He guessed the acting classes he had taken had come in handy for something. It wasn’t the same as a real kiss, but it showed Jongin what he needed to see. That Kyungsoo had feelings and that he was trying.

Kyungsoo had never been one to fix things with words, that was more Baekhyun's area, but the three of them had had a lovely evening together. Lovely and at some points frightening because Kyungsoo had never been so drunk in front of Jongin before. Of course that was due to the massive waves that had been rolling off of Baekhyun the whole night, but honestly, it made things easier. He and Jongin made up, and well something happened, but it really only made Kyungsoo's heart sing.

It'd been something that he and Baekhyun talked about after Jongin had fallen asleep and it reminded Kyungsoo almost of the old days. Sitting up in his bed, talking into the wee hours of the night. The only difference was Jongin's curled up form between them. Kyungsoo had smoothed his hair from his face gently while Baekhyun watched him with curiosity.

"You really do love him, don't you?" Baekhyun had asked, pulling Kyungsoo's sheets up over Jongin's shoulder.

Kyungsoo gave Baekhyun a half-smile, knowing full well that the vampire would understand everything that it meant. "Yeah, I do." He stared at Jongin's sleeping face and the smile grew. Jongin had such a cute expression at that moment. He looked so small and peaceful and it made Kyungsoo's heart thud loudly in his chest.

Cool fingers laced through his on Jongin's head, and Kyungsoo looked up at Baekhyun. Something about the three of them felt so right. "I kissed him earlier," Kyungsoo admitted. "Not a real kiss, but one of those stage kisses. I wish you could've seen his face."

Baekhyun grinned, "I wish I could have too. I bet he looked so shocked, right?"

Kyungsoo nodded. "Yeah, he did...hey-"

"Kyungsoo-"

They both stopped and stared at each other before Baekhyun nodded for Kyungsoo to go first. It’d been a thought that had entered his mind earlier while they ate. It was why he’d been so quiet after his and Jongin’s show. Something about the three of them in the same room indulging in a way that felt very personal had brought it up. "Do you think this could work someday?"

A smile played at the corners of Baekhyun's lips. "More than you know, my love."

My love. The words still repeated themselves in Kyungsoo's mind as he zipped up his suitcase. He hoped this trip would be the one to fix things.

 

~*~

“But love is blind, and lovers cannot see
The pretty follies that themselves commit,
For if they could Cupid himself would blush.”

- William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice

 

A sense of deja vu washed over Kyungsoo as he shut the door behind him. He always ran when things got too tough. He ran from Baekhyun way back when. He ran from Taemin time and time again until the vampire stopped letting him go. He’d even ran from Jongin the night of the Masquerade. Running. It was what Kyungsoo did. But running wasn’t what he should be doing in New Orleans. Things were supposed to go well on this trip, so why was everything falling apart again?

The bed was soft when he sat down on it and the humid air was smothering. He came too close just now. Too fucking close to ruining everything again. Why did he agree to tell Jongin? He should have never let Baekhyun talk him into it. His heart was racing, as he played the scene over and over in his mind.

I feel the same, you know?

Jongin said the words but for some reason they just didn’t feel real. The doubt on Jongin’s face told him as much. It was like Jongin was trying to convince himself that he did. Kyungsoo had been there. He’d done that. But he never realized how much it hurt to be on the receiving end of words that were said only to placate him. It was too much for him. Why did Jongin have to say it like that? Why couldn’t he just continue on like nothing happened? Why did these feelings have to be so damn constricting.

Kyungsoo’s hand went to his neck, feeling the ghost of his old claim. He hadn’t even worn it for long, but now he wanted that comfort. That comfort that let him know where intentions lie. He wished he could believe, then. He wished that he didn’t doubt him, but it was almost as if every time he turned, Jongin was using him to get back at Baekhyun.

It was another cycle of unhealthiness that plagued Kyungsoo. Should he just let everything go? Should he disappear into the night here? At least in the French Quarter he could feed and stay distracted until he no longer felt anything. Or maybe he’d go somewhere else and see if the distance helped.

Kyungsoo’s hand fell from his neck to his lap, where he sat staring at them. Once upon a time he wore a multitude of rings and other embellishments on his fingers. Once upon a time things were simpler. Once upon a time Kyungsoo was happy.

The door opened and all the air in the room was sucked out by the look on Jongin’s face. He quickly looked down before he caught his gaze and felt his soul darken inside. He focused on his hands, following the lines on his palms and thought back to the fortune teller he’d met several decades ago.

“You will find love, but before you do you will suffer,” the woman said. Her jewelry jingled as she pulled Kyungsoo’s palm closer to her. “Here, this line right here, see where it forks?”

Kyungsoo nodded his head, a smirk on his lips. Incubi never fell in love and Kyungsoo wasn’t about to be the first. Still, he humored the woman, while his friends snickered behind the flap.

“You will love two hearts, one as old as time and another but a young spark that you will help grow,” she said. Her voice was rasping as she turned Kyungsoo’s hand over and traced down his jeweled fingers.

Kyungsoo pulled back and stood. “Nice try.”

The smell of Jongin assaulted Kyungsoo’s senses and he came back to reality, blinking hard and enveloped in Jongin’s arms. This sudden affection did something to Kyungsoo. He froze at first, and then after flashing a glance at Baekhyun, he snaked his arms around Jongin’s waist and melted into the hug. It was a form of intimacy that he loved but also only made him want more.

"Baekhyun has a gift from me to show you how he- we feel," Jongin whispered and parted the hug.

The correction wasn’t lost on Kyungsoo, but when he looked at Jongin, and saw the softness in his features, he felt a bit of the fear leave him. Maybe Jongin had been telling the truth. Maybe he did feel something for Kyungsoo beyond comradery. Jongin was an open book, he couldn’t hide anything if he tried. He was similar to Baekhyun in that respect and for the briefest moment, Kyungsoo’s lip quirked.

He could feel Jongin’s eyes on him as Baekhyun finally left the doorway. The two of them shared a long look, having a silent conversation before the vampire knelt down and whispered, “This is from both of us.”

Kyungsoo hadn’t been expecting it, and when Baekhyun’s lips touched his, he made a little sound of surprise. He tried to reach for Jongin’s hand to give him a squeeze, but Kyungsoo was falling again. He was falling so deeply in this moment, because if this was how Jongin wanted to kiss him, then he really meant it. He meant his feelings and for Kyungsoo that chased away all the shadows in his heart.

They parted and Kyungsoo stared up at Baekhyun, feeling a little breathless and shocked. Without much thought, he balled his fingers in Baekhyun’s shirt and kissed him back, whispering to him to pass it to Jongin in response, but when they separated again, Jongin was gone.

That familiar spike of fear pierced Kyungsoo’s stomach and he scooted back on the bed, away from Baekhyun. “I...fuck! Baekhyun I keep doing this.”

“Shh, calm down. I can feel him through the claim. He’s on the balcony. I’ll speak to him in a moment. I just wanted you to know that you’re not alone, Kyungsoo. You’ve never been alone,” Baekhyun said. He was still sitting on the edge of the bed, but half of his attention was focused on the door as if he was listening for Jongin.

“Are you sure he’s okay?” Kyungsoo asked, trying to calm his breathing. Why did he have to be cursed like this? Why couldn’t he show Jongin directly how he felt. Maybe they went about this the wrong way. “I don’t want to hurt him Baekhyun. More than anything, I don’t want to hurt him.”

“I know,” Baekhyun replied. “I’ll check on him and come back, because we have a lot to talk about now.”

Kyungsoo watched as Baekhyun crept out the door and held his breath. He felt like part of him had messed this up, but a larger part was hopeful. He hoped that Baekhyun would talk to Jongin and bring him back to the room so he could at least have the kiss be passed on, but then the vampire reentered the room and shut the door.

“I think I messed this up,” Baekhyun whispered, expression muddled.

Just like that Kyungsoo’s panic started and he sprung to his feet, ready to go after Jongin, but then he stopped. What if Jongin didn’t want to see him? What if his face caused more damage than it already did? He’d just make it worse. It was his speciality.

“How do we fix this?” Kyungsoo asked and almost felt his heart break into a million pieces. He had been trying his best to get used to the two of them and now he was breaking them up again and it was all his fault. He knew he should have put his feelings aside and let them go on as they were, but Kyungsoo was selfish.

A beat of silence and then Baekhyun raked his fingers through his hair. “Give him his space first, he’ll come to me when he’s ready.”

“Are you sure?” Kyungsoo asked. He was doubtful. As much as he needed affection, he didn’t want it at Jongin’s expense.

“If I try to talk to him now, he’ll blame himself,” Baekhyun answered. “It’ll be okay, just let me handle it.” He frowned like he wasn’t sure, and it didn’t make Kyungsoo feel any better.

In the distance, the balcony door opened and shut, and they both fell silent as Jongin’s plodding steps passed the door. Kyungsoo wanted to run out there, to hug Jongin and thank him for everything he had showed him through Baekhyun, but he couldn’t make his legs move. So, instead he sat there, heart tearing in two and chewing on his lip.

More silence followed until Baekhyun sat on the edge of the bed with a wilted smile. “I guess this isn’t the best time to bring this up but,” he paused.

“What?” Kyungsoo asked, pulling his knees to his chest and playing with the duvet. He twisted the fabric in his fingers, mimicking the way he felt inside.

“There is a Blood Moon in the next few days…” Baekhyun trailed again, his expression caught between concern and caution. “I want to complete the bond, but I want you there.”

Fate sure had a way of giving Kyungsoo second chances. He smiled to himself and nodded before looking at the door. “Will Jongin want me there?” That was what was most important to him. He wanted to make sure that Jongin would consent to all of this first.

“Without a doubt. But for now, don’t tell him,” Baekhyun shook his head. “With the way things are going with the Madame, I trust that she will let this happen, but when Jongin learns of his true nature, he may change his mind.”

“What makes you say that?” Kyungsoo furrowed his brows. Of all the people in the world, Jongin was someone who wanted to be a part of the vampire world. Kyungsoo had noticed all the books he had, how he talked about vampires to him, how he looked when he spoke Baekhyun’s name. It was so apparent.

“My own fear,” Baekhyun admitted, and the tone of his voice gave Kyungsoo pause.

The incubus sat up, crawling over to Baekhyun and placed a hand on his shoulder. “Stop hiding things from him. Learn from your mistakes. He loves you, that much I am certain of, but even I know you’re walking on thin ice.”

Baekhyun nodded. “I know.”

“Jongin is forgiving to a fault. He doesn’t like to give up, don’t give him a reason to,” Kyungsoo added. “It’s one of the reasons why I love him.”

“Mine as well,” Baekhyun said. “It’s just with the claim acting up, and him seeing things when we shadow walk, I’m scared Kyungsoo. I’m so scared.”

“Don’t be,” Kyungsoo slid his hand over to Baekhyun’s and laced them. “You told me I wasn’t alone and the same goes for you. We both love him and we need to start acting like it.”

Another nod and Baekhyun turned to Kyungsoo, dark eyes scanning his face. “You’re right.” He smiled, “I’ll go talk to him and then the three of us will have a nice long conversation about what is to come.”

“Sounds like a plan,” Kyungsoo replied as Baekhyun left the room. Maybe things would fix themselves all over again. Or so he thought, because after about two seconds, Kyungsoo saw Baekhyun descend into a frenzy that he hadn’t seen in decades.

Jongin was missing.

Baekhyun burst through the door, eyes wild and gripping the wood so hard it splintered. “You didn’t hear him leave did you?”

Kyungsoo shook his head, but sprung to his feet. Jongin lost in the French Quarter posed all kinds of problems. “Should we split up?”

Baekhyun was about to nod and then his eyes widened even more. “I can’t feel him…”

Kyungsoo saw the tiny little breaths he was taking as he nearly swung from the door frame and down the hallway. He moved fast and sloppy, knocking over tables as he ripped open every door in the suite. “Kyungsoo!” Baekhyun yelled and Kyungsoo went running.

This was not the first time he’d seen Baekhyun lose his shit like this, but Kyungsoo knew it was when Baekhyun was at his most reckless. He stopped as he stared at the vampire leaning over the balcony’s railing, wind whipping his hair everywhere.

“I can smell him. He was here not too long ago, but I don’t want to alert the Quarter. Call Junmyeon for me,” Baekhyun said, but his expression looked all strange. He looked like he was two seconds from melting down and Kyungsoo knew he had to calm him.

Crossing the space between them, Kyungsoo grabbed Baekhyun’s hand and led him back inside. “Calm down. Jongin can handle himself, okay? How do you think he survived before he met you? He isn’t a fragile doll.”

Baekhyun set his jaw, lips forming a thin line. “But the state he left in. I messed up. I hurt him and he left.” His face took on a distant look like he was reaching for something with his mind. After a moment, Baekhyun’s hands clamped down on Kyungsoo’s shoulders, panic constricting his pupils. “Kyungsoo, I can’t feel him. What if he is in danger? What if someone took him? I can’t even tell if he’s okay right now.”

That was when Kyungsoo fully understood. The claim. Baekhyun couldn’t feel Jongin through the claim. Anxiety made Kyungsoo’s pulse quicken but he pushed it aside. One of them had to be strong right now and since Baekhyun was two moments away from either tearing the whole Quarter apart brick by brick or collapsing to the ground, Kyungsoo knew it had to be him.

“Breathe, he can’t have gone far. I’ll check the east side and you take the west, okay? I’ll give Junmyeon a call and have him set up a location spell or something. We’ll find him,” Kyungsoo said. He took Baekhyun’s hands from his shoulders and gave them a squeeze. “Nothing will happen to him. Not when they have us to answer to.”

That seemed to calm Baekhyun down enough for him to take a deep breath. His usual mask of placidity returned, but Kyungsoo saw the frayed edges around his lips and the fear in his eyes. “You’re right,” Baekhyun said. He didn’t look like he believed that it was true, but the tiny sliver of hope was there underneath it all.

“I have my moments,” Kyungsoo replied and then he gave Baekhyun a little push. “Go, I’ll be right after you okay?”

When Baekhyun was gone, Kyungsoo took a moment to run to the bathroom and stare at his reflection in the mirror. His hands were shaking and worry was making his stomach twist and turn. He could hold the front only for so long before he cracked, but seeing Baekhyun like that had put the more primitive type of fear in him.

For a moment, Kyungsoo wondered if it was something to do with the claim and how it was acting up. Maybe it wasn’t just Jongin that it was affecting. Maybe Baekhyun was in danger too.

Still, Kyungsoo knew they needed to find Jongin. The French Quarter may have been where the two worlds collided, but there was always darkness lurking in every corner. A darkness that the Night Worlders hid.

 

~*~

“Doubt thou the stars are fire,
Doubt that the sun doth move,
Doubt truth to be a liar,
But never doubt I love.”

- William Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors

 

It was just after sunrise when Kyungsoo received a text from Baekhyun telling him that he’d found Jongin. Thankfully he did, because Kyungsoo’s energy was at an all time low. He may have been an incubus, but they still needed sleep at the end of the day.

After spending all night, checking every club, bar, restaurant that he could in search of Jongin, Kyungsoo’s muscles were on the verge of locking up. How was it possible for him to get so utterly lost in the French Quarter?

But, just knowing that Jongin was now safe eased a lot of stress of off Kyungsoo. Stress that had been eating away at him. He quickly sent a text to Junmyeon to remember to keep Jongin busy all day so that he and Baekhyun could get things ready. Planning a Blood Bond wasn’t exactly Kyungsoo’s expertise, but there was always a first time for everything. That and now that he was being included in the preparations and the ceremony, he didn’t feel like a third wheel. Maybe things would work out after all.

The bell rang overhead as Kyungsoo entered the store, humming a soft melody to himself. It was another flower shop, but this time it was the one Junmyeon had suggested. Kyungsoo paused to look at some of the arrangements, not knowing what any of them were called, but they smelled amazing.

“Oh, it’s you!” A voice from out of nowhere said.

Kyungsoo spun around and came face to face with Yixing. “How the fuck?”

“Demon powers,” Yixing said, his all black eyes shining with amusement. “What brings you here? Is it the Blood Bond?”

Again, Kyungsoo was caught off guard. “How do you– what?”

This time, Yixing wiggled his fingers. “Demon powers. Ah, I keep forgetting that you incubi are so limited.”

“Limited my ass,” Kyungsoo muttered under his breath. “Why are you here in New Orleans?”

“I bounce from place to place. Plus, I’m visiting someone while I’m here,” Yixing said with a wide grin. His cheeks dimpled, and Kyungsoo found it kind of endearing. The thought made Kyungsoo pause. Not too long ago he would have never had a thought like that, but now? Now he was seeing changes. Changes that he actually liked.

“Oh?” Kyungsoo asked. He usually hated smalltalk, but he liked Yixing well enough. It wasn’t often that he got to see regular old demons. They tended to hide in the darker parts of the Night World. Still, Yixing seemed like he had a good head on his shoulders. That and he had made a good impression on Kyungsoo the first time they met.

“Yeah, nice little witch stole my heart, or well, the demonic equivalent of a heart,” Yixing said with a wink. “So this Bonding ceremony. You looking for a specific type of flower?”

Kyungsoo tapped his lip, in thought. Baekhyun wanted red, that was one thing he insisted on. Red flowers, but not roses. He made a small sound of consideration and turned to look at the arrangements. There was one small arrangement that caught his eyes. In the center was a large dark red lily type flower. It was surrounded by another red flower with a black center and outside of those was a bright red flower with spider like petals. The filler wasn’t anything too significant but Kyungsoo recognized baby’s breath.

He turned to Yixing. “What about these?”

Yixing was next to Kyungsoo in an instant. “Ah yes, this was something small I was messing around with. I call it the Vampire’s Arrangement. Those dark ones in the middle are black Dutch amaryllis. Very beautiful flower, yeah? Those,” Yixing pointed to the flowers with the black center. “Those are red anemones.”

Kyungsoo nodded. “The spider-looking ones?”

“Those are lycoris,” Yixing picked up the arrangement and handed it to Kyungsoo. “Baby’s breath and eucalyptus are the filler. So it this the one?”

Kyungsoo pulled out his phone and snapped a quick picture and sent it to Baekhyun. Almost instantly Baekhyun sent a series of exclamation points and the word ‘yes’ in all caps. He turned to Yixing. “Yep, these are the ones,” he said with a smile. The day had really turned around. He buried his face into the arrangement, inhaling the pungent aroma and sighed. They were beautiful.

Yixing took the arrangement to the counter, marked down the number and filled out some other paperwork while making more smalltalk with Kyungsoo about the Blood Bond.

“Are you excited? It’s like the Royal Wedding.”

Kyungsoo’s heart twinged a bit, but he was happy. To compare this Blood Bond to something as big as that made Kyungsoo feel a little strange. It wasn’t that he didn’t quite agree, but with it being Jongin and Baekhyun, he just didn’t see it the same. It was important yes. It was going to help so many things. It was going to stop the madness the unbonded claim was causing. So, he was happy about that and he was happy that he was getting to plan it. But a tiny part of him wished that he would be up there with them.

“Excited would be an understatement,” Kyungsoo offered with a grin.

Yixing winked and typed in the final order on the cash register. “That’ll come to around five thousand dollars.”

A low whistle left Kyungsoo’s lips but he said nothing and handed over his card. It would cost a pretty penny, but it was worth it. Baekhyun was worth it. Jongin was worth it .

“I’ll have the order delivered to the Court later on today. Pleasure doing business with ya.” Yixing grinned.

“Anytime,” Kyungsoo said. He waved as he headed to the door and then paused. “Hey, do you and Junmyeon still talk?” It was such a random question but ever since Junmyeon revealed that he was dating someone, Kyungsoo kinda hoped it was Yixing.

If demons could look bashful, then that was exactly the face Yixing was making. A soft red tinge blossomed on over his cheeks and his dimple deepened. “We’re kinda a thing now.”

Warmth spread through Kyungsoo and he snickered a bit. “Good, I’d hoped it be you.”

 

It was a few hours later when Kyungsoo wandered out of yet another jewelry store. Finding the perfect gift for Jongin was proving to be difficult. He sighed. Everything in the stores just looked too modern, too new and Kyungsoo knew that Jongin liked older things. Older things like him and Baekhyun. It was painfully obvious now what Kyungsoo needed to do.

He pulled out his phone, scrolled through his contacts and when he found the person he was looking for, he dialed the number. Jongin was going to love this, Kyungsoo thought as he smiled. It was time to visit his folks at the crypt.

Chapter Text

Apparently, reaper briefcases were not just briefcases. This was something that Jongin really needed to get into his head. Things in the Night World were never really as they seemed. Still, how Jongin found out that the briefcases weren’t just briefcases was entirely because the one he held in his hand growled. Yes, that’s right. It growled. Growled like an angry chihuahua protecting its food.

The first time the briefcase growled, Jongin nearly chucked the thing in surprise. He yelped, flinging his arm with the intention of throwing the strange beast now attached to his palm, but it wouldn’t budge. It was fixed to his palm by some kind of magic, and by now, Jongin was growing exasperated by the way things worked in the Night World. Even when Jongin tried to yank the handle off his hand, it still wouldn’t move. He could spread his fingers, and the handle would still be hanging from his palm. It was entirely too freaky. That was when Jongin turned to Tao with an accusatory glare.

They were still standing right where Jongin had landed when Tao transported him. Exactly five minutes had passed, and with each one Jongin was beginning to doubt just how much he wanted to go on a ride along. If this was how it was going to start, then what other strange things was Jongin going to see? He wanted to be more careful now that he knew his ancestry. Any and everything would be coming after him. If he wasn’t careful he could risk exposing himself.

“Dude, what is this thing?” Jongin held up his arm, limp at the wrist, and the briefcase growling in low tones as the handle clung to his hand. It creeped the ever-loving bejeezus out of him.

“That’s your scythe,” Tao said matter of factly. He held his up, and the thing purred . “They take a while to get used to you, but once they do, you’ve got a companion for life. Comes in handy when everything you touch dies.”

Oh. Well that made sense...kind of. Jongin lifted his briefcase to eye-level and stared at it. It really looked like a regular old leather briefcase. There weren’t any eyes or a mouth, nothing that depicted anything animalistic about it. Yet the thing vibrated in his hand as it growled even louder. It clearly didn’t like him for some reason. Jongin scoffed. He knew that not everyone would like him instantly, but his experiences with animals were generally positive. They either clung to him or ignored him. But never had he run into something that outright disliked him. Maybe it wasn’t an animal. How it was a scythe was completely beyond him, but the thing made animal sounds so Jongin was at a loss.

“How do I make it like me?” Jongin asked as he followed behind Tao.

Tao flung his over his shoulder, two fingers wrapped around the handle and shrugged. “Don’t really know, honestly. They just start liking ya after a while.” As if to punctuate that, Tao’s briefcase purred. This was super freaky deaky.

He started walking away while Jongin stared at him. Where were they going anyway? From Jongin’s vantage point he couldn’t really see much of anything other than the occasional vampire shadow walking and a few shimmering figures bouncing here and there. The two of them were literally standing on a pale road with cracks and rubble all around them. There was nothing on the sides of the road, no plantlife, no structures. Just nothing. There wasn’t a light source either, but somehow there were shadows and pockets of blackness so dark they felt like they were consuming him.

Jongin wandered closer to one of those spaces, and Tao made a warning sound. He paused, looking over his shoulder and then gestured at the dark spot. “Okay...what is this?”

“Portal,” Tao replied. “Not the fun kind though. We don’t really know where these lead, but occasionally you’ll see vampires using them to shadow walk.”

“Wait, what?” Jongin stopped walking and blinked. Portals of shadows were how vampires shadow walked? Well, actually that made sense. The times he and Baekhyun had shadow walked they stepped into darkness and came out of darkness. It was just the in between that Jongin wasn’t really sure of.

Tao turned around, black shoes shining against the pale gray road and kicked a foot towards the portal. “We reapers don’t use them. But sometimes we do see vampires step through them. Usually when something goes wrong.”

“I am so confused. What do you mean by that ?” Why was this guy being so cryptic? Pulling information out of him was worse than pulling teeth. Yeah, yeah, Jongin knew that was a cliche, but right now, he wasn’t able to think of anything wittier.

“Sigh. If you look carefully, you’ll see portals all around. The ones with little rings of light lead to the material world. Where you live. The ones like that lead somewhere else. Reapers just reap souls and hang out in the underworld. If it’s not our business, we don’t intervene. We’re neutral and all that,” Tao explained.

Jongin nodded as he took all that in and looked around. He figured he wasn’t going to get much else out from him, but the reaper was right. Above him, below him, left and right of him there were dozens of person-sized portals with light rings around them. In fact, just as Jongin was staring at one of them, the shadowy outline of a vampire emerged from one and then snapped upwards to another one and disappeared. So that was how it worked. Neat.

At his side, the briefcase growled again, and Jongin gave it a little shake, making the growl grow louder until he stopped. He shuddered. These things felt so weird. Everything was so weird. Why was the shadow realm so strange? He could almost feel it grasping at his mind, but he blocked it out and shuddered again. “Hey, Tao.”

“Yeah?” Tao answered.

“Is it possible to talk to the briefcase?” Jongin asked. He had to walk a bit faster to keep up with the reaper.

Tao froze for half a second, and then looked at Jongin out of the corner of his eye. “Interesting,” he muttered, and then gave Jongin a huge smile. “Not for humans, but you’re not just human are you, Dreamwalker?”

“I thought that was why you brought me here,” Jongin deadpanned. He could feel the tickle again and shoved it away. Something felt wrong, and Jongin was not about to do something without knowing what it was first. He’d made that mistake one too many times now. A shiver ran down his spine.

“Technicalities,” Tao replied with a smirk. “Come, we’re about to be late.”

Jongin wanted to press for more information, but Tao was about as forthcoming as a rock, so he sighed instead and smoothed his pinstripe suit. He’d ask Tao again later, and hopefully then he’d let him know a bit more. In the back of his mind, Jongin wondered if he looked as mafia boss as Tao did, but something told him that he didn’t quite pull it off. It probably had to do with his constant state of curiosity and wonder as they walked down this long pale road with nothing but thin shimmering portals lining the edges. He probably looked innocent rather than calculating.

Jongin wasn’t sure how long they were walking for, but it had been mostly quiet aside from Tao’s melodic whistling. It wasn’t a bad silence, not at all. It actually allowed Jongin to retreat firmly into his mind and sort through his feelings regarding the trip to New Orleans so far. He felt more or less at peace with his heritage, even though he still had a lot of questions. But he assumed those would be answered at some point. Besides, he liked being called Dreamwalker. It made him feel important. And it maybe inflated his ego a bit. Not that he’d let it get to his head completely. But, he wasn’t making any promises. He was human after all.

Human.

The word brought Baekhyun’s image to his mind, and Jongin sighed loudly. It seemed they were always at odds with each other. Jongin knew he loved Baekhyun. Loved him so deeply and completely that it frightened the hell out of him, but this whole trip seemed to send him five steps back instead of forward. He was questioning Baekhyun’s love for him and if the vampire truly loved him for him or for his humanity.

Sure there were times when he could feel the pure unadulterated love rolling off of Baekhyun in frothy waves, but there were also times when Jongin felt a bit like prey. Not that he didn’t like that aspect, but Baekhyun was so focused on that quality of Jongin’s. Hell, he called Jongin his human, and now that Jongin was aware that Baekhyun knew he wasn’t human, it made his insecurities compound.

Everything that Baekhyun had done until now was being scrutinized by Jongin, all the hiding, the delaying of him being turned, the revival of his feelings for Kyungsoo. It all felt so suspect and–ugh. Jongin hated doubting Baekhyun. He hated having these kinds of thoughts. He hated it because the more he thought about them, the worse he felt. He wanted things to work out between them, but with these thoughts, Jongin felt unsure. That and the kiss.

Jongin had just gotten past the first kiss, and the second one didn’t really go any better. He had hoped that he would feel okay because he was involved, but he honestly felt so disconnected the entire time that he may as well not been there. Still, Baekhyun did ask him first if he was okay with it, and Jongin knew that if he had said no that it would not have happened. He knew Baekhyun would never force his hand like that.

So in reality, he didn’t have anyone but himself to blame for the outcome. He was only human – well not really; which brought him back to the troublesome thoughts about Baekhyun’s love – but for as much as Jongin was concerned, he was only human and had human emotions. He struggled with jealousy and insecurity quietly. He chose to bottle it up inside rather than let it out because he didn’t want to not be liked. He didn’t want to let Baekhyun down, and he knew that Kyungsoo needed it.

Speaking of Kyungsoo. Jongin still felt a bit conflicted, but he knew something was there. Something that would grow as time went on. He could feel the way his stomach somersaulted when he thought of Kyungsoo’s face or the way he’d played piano a few days ago. That had actually really impressed Jongin, and he definitely swooned a little right now as it crossed his mind. Kyungsoo had been so selfless towards him. He’d followed along with Jongin’s plans, no matter how they may have hurt him (and Jongin knew they did because the incubus was in love with him and Jongin had been nothing but a complete asshole to him).

But why did Kyungsoo love him? He understood Baekhyun. That much was easy. He could feel it through the claim. He understood why Kyungsoo cared for Baekhyun too. It was apparent on his face from the way that he looked at Baekhyun like he was the very sun in the sky. But why Jongin? Sure they had shared intimate moments. Moments where the world kinda stopped and everyone else ceased to exist. But those were just the beginnings of infatuation. So, how had it gotten this far? How had it gotten to the point where Jongin could hurt Kyungsoo if he wasn’t cautious, if he wasn’t mindful. Was that brushing against the corner of his mouth at the masquerade a near death experience for Kyungsoo? How close had Jongin come to killing Kyungsoo all this time? Why did he act the way he did towards Kyungsoo? Why –

“Earth to Dreamwalker,” Tao snapped his fingers in front of Jongin. “You in there?”

Jongin blinked hard and then smiled sheepishly. “Yeah, sorry. Just have a lot to think about.” He started to say something else, but then the briefcase growled rather loudly, so Jongin sighed again. He couldn't wait until they actually started doing some work. Maybe feeding the thing souls would make it like him. If that was how the scythe worked.

“Alright. Well, look alive Dreamwalker. We’re almost there,” Tao said. He seemed oddly chipper...almost to the point where Jongin was wondering why he had seemed so mysterious the first time they met only to be like this now.

Jongin glanced around at the barren surroundings and sighed. How did Tao know they were close? Everything looked the same to him. Darkness, shimmering portals, darker portals, and nothingness. Jongin wasn’t even sure if the road they were walking on was high up or low to the ground. Or if there even was a ground. He stepped close to the edge and peered over, but the darkness made it hard to tell just where the fuck they were in space. It was really nauseating so he slowly backed away before he got the spins.

They came up on a large grayscale building and both stopped. Jongin cocked an eyebrow at Tao, but it was lost in the brim of his hat. Instead, he nodded at the building, and Tao simply grinned. It was the first thing Jongin had seen here other than the shadows and glimmers. It wasn’t impressive other than the size. The thing was freaking huge. It had to be about the size of his entire campus. But, it was a big rectangular box with no windows and only one entrance. It was pretty depressing looking actually.

“Here we are. Death Headquarters,” Tao said with a smirk. He beckoned Jongin to follow him and started up the cracked steps. “It’s a bit drab, but I’ll take you to some of the cooler places later.”

Jongin hurried after him, feeling the briefcase rumble as he walked up the steps. He gave it another shake, and it went quiet. Huh, that seemed to work. Or maybe it was because they were passing through the doors now.“Okay...so what does this place do?” He asked as his eyes adjusted to the bright light.

What Jongin saw as soon as he entered was not at all what he was expecting. The outside had been shades of gray, and the building was in mild disrepair. But inside was white and sterile, like a hospital. People milled about, looking ghostly and hollow. Jongin reached out and passed his hand through one of them and earned a disapproving cluck from Tao. The spirit however did not react other than to reform where Jongin had separated it and keep on its trajectory.

“Most of the lower ranking reapers work here, sorting out souls, doing afterlife counselling. You know, basically some housekeeping. Nothing too special,” Tao shrugged. He kept walking with purpose, and the crowd of souls parted before them.

Jongin tried to get a good look at some of the faces, but most of the spirits refused to meet his eyes. He wondered if it was because of the pinstripe suit. After all, he did look more reaper-like than his regular, old self. Some of the souls wandered in groups, talking quietly but falling to a complete hush when they passed by them. Others were locked into simple board games like chess or checkers. A few were perched on incorporeal chairs reading magazines. But, the vast majority seemed to just be waiting. It was eerie.

“How long are they here?” Jongin asked as they reached a nondescript desk. It was bare except for a basket full of filled out forms and another nearly empty one with clean forms. There was a stack of pens with chains attached to them, and a single dark haired woman sitting behind the desk.

Her face was blank and long. She had deep set eyes and a permanent frown on her face. Not the most welcoming thing to see, that was for sure. Jongin looked around and sighed. This wasn’t the only desk, but it was the only one without a long-ass line. The other desks had spirits standing – er floating and swaying as they waited their turn. A few guards were stationed at the very end of the row of desks and a few more were in front of a large black door that read: Authorized Personnel Only. Jongin stared at the door, wondering what was behind it and growing slightly annoyed at how often Tao was ignoring his questions.

Next to him, Tao leaned on the counter, flashing a toothy smile at the receptionist. “Got a meeting with the Big Guy Upstairs, can you let him know I’m here?” He pointed upwards with a single finger with black nail-polish on it. Several rings were also on that hand, and Jongin wondered how he missed that at first. They were silver and black mostly. Some had shapes he recognized, but most of them were abstract.

The receptionist gave Tao a half-lidded bored look and clacked away at an ancient looking computer with a CRT monitor. “All set. He’ll call for you in about a week.”

“Sweet,” Tao said and then turned towards Jongin. “Alright that’s taken care of. What were you asking me?”

Jongin stared at him wide-eyed and blinked. It was like all his brain function had slammed to a stop. He was completely hung up on what Tao just said. Forget about the souls. Was the ‘Big Guy Upstairs’ God? Like big-G God? That was a hurdle that Jongin wasn’t able to get past. “Wait wait wait wait. What the hell is going on?”

Tao grinned, and his canines looked a bit sharper than before. “Just taking care of errands. Boring stuff, really. I was going to do these first, but you called me so now you have to see all the boring stuff before we go reap some souls.” He said the last part with a wriggle of his fingers.

“Woah. Back that up. Who is the Big Guy Upstairs?” Jongin’s mind was still quite blown. He wasn’t going to let this go. Not when he could actually find out what happened when people died.

“Oh? That’s Yifan. He runs this whole thing. You know, the Underworld. Where we are, right now? Have you even been paying attention? I thought you’d be down for a ride along.”

If the Windows 95 reboot sound could play inside Jongin’s mind at that moment, it did. Because he needed a full minute to reset his brain after hearing those words. “Am I dead?”

“No! You’re here on important Dreamwalking business. I just needed to make a pit stop. This was the last one, so don’t lose your breeches,” Tao smirked. “Alright, gotta get my next assignment. Time to go to my favorite place.”

Jongin couldn’t tell if Tao was being sarcastic or not just then, so he didn’t react. He was really still caught up on who Yifan was. As they left the same way they came, Jongin mulled over how to phrase the question without looking like a total dumbass. “Tao?”

“Mmm?” Tao hummed as they took the steps two at a time. He moved pretty quickly but never seemed out of breath.

“What is Yifan? I get you’re a Reaper, and that there are souls. But do gods exist? And speaking of souls, who – erm, what has a soul? What happens to vampire souls? Will I lose mine when I get changed? Does it die?”

Tao let out a tiny chuckle. “Yifan is a minor God, so yes, gods exist to a degree. And only the minor ones have jobs. The Old Gods are more or less caught up in their own thing. They don’t really care for the material realm or those who inhabit it. Y’all are too trivial for them.” He paused and gave Jongin a look. “As for your soul, I’m a Reaper, not a vampire, so I can’t tell you their secrets. I know them, but it’s not my place to tell you.”

Jongin nodded his head. Gods existing was pretty damn cool. He figured he’d do more research about them some other time and put a pin in it. If all these other creatures could exist, why not gods? It only really made sense that there were more powerful beings out there somewhere. But now the glaring issue was Tao knowing the vampire secrets but not telling him. The guys seemed a bit fishy. “Why won’t you tell me?”

“I’m neutral, and you need to hear certain things from certain people. The state of your soul is something you need to hear from a vampire, not me. All I can do is tell you that souls exist, I reap them, take them to Death Headquarters, and then wash and repeat.”

Jongin sighed again but let the topic drop. He’d ask Baekhyun when he returned, he guessed. That, amongst the other things he knew they needed to talk about. Part of him dreaded it, but he knew that talking it all out was for the very best. Lost in his thoughts, Jongin fell silent until his briefcase came to life next to his leg and vibrated. This was going to grow old fast.

“Poor thing is hungry,” Tao said as they slowed to a normal walking speed. He had his own briefcase over his shoulder again, two fingers wrapped around the handle. That hand was bare of rings and nail polish. Interesting.

“Hungry?” Jongin lifted the briefcase. It was strange that it was sentient especially because it looked so inanimate. “Do you feed it souls?”

Tao shook his head, “Nah, they eat the anchors. It’s what lets the souls go to the Underworld to be sorted. Otherwise they turn into worldly spirits. Annoying little buggers aren’t they?”

Jongin thought back to Sehun and snorted. “They’re not bad, but yeah, a little.”

“Tell me about it,” Tao laughed. It was a nice sound that was so stark in the darkness around them. “Had a fling with one of them when I first became a reaper. But the distance makes things hard you know?”

“Distance?”

“Yeah, the longer you spend time here, the more faint your anchor grows. The fainter your anchor, the harder it is to get back to the material world, yada yada yada. These scythes let us reapers travel easily because they eat the anchors, but I have so many souls to reap you know? People just keep dying. So I wasn’t able to see them much… Anyway, we have a time constraint, Dreamwalker. I wouldn’t want Baekhyun coming after me. He has quite the mean streak.”

“He does?” Jongin asked. Baekhyun had warned him that there were some things in his past that he didn’t want getting out, but he never really went into detail. Part of Jongin wanted to know what those types of things were, and maybe Tao was just the person to tell him.

“Ah man, when he first moved to New Orleans, he made quite the impression. I swear I had to rent a damn hotel room from all the souls I was reaping. Him and that incubus. They really knew how to clear out a place,” Tao said with a nostalgic smile. “I made good money off them.”

Jongin’s face must have given away his utter confusion because Tao laughed and continued explaining. “We have to do something to keep things interesting. A few bets here and there. A small black market. You know nothing too bad. Not that there are really any laws here in the shadow world. Kinda an every-man-for-himself type of deal.”

Okay. Jongin nodded his head like he understood and bit his tongue. He was starting to suspect that wherever Tao was taking him was going to be a lot like those underground societies that he read about in class. He sighed and guessed he should work on his mean mug. Those places were eat or be eaten, and Jongin was assuming that it would be the same here.

Still, Baekhyun and Kyungsoo killing that many people? It made Jongin’s stomach a little uneasy. He couldn’t exactly call it murder since they were more like predators hunting food, but it made Jongin’s mouth taste bitter. Maybe Tao was exaggerating. He seemed the type, now that Jongin thought about it. When he got back to Court, he was going to ask Baekhyun to be sure. The more time he spent here, the more time he realized they very badly needed to talk.

This time when they arrived at their destination, Jongin saw it coming. There was a strange faint light emanating in the distance. The closer they got, the brighter it shone until the sounds and smells could be discerned. It was a mixture of food, alcohol, and well less savory things. Jongin gave Tao a panicked look as they approached, but the reaper simply grinned and took his hat off.

Under that hat was a long mane of black hair that tumbled free. It was shaved on the sides with three stripes of white hair on either side. The length of his hair met the middle of Tao’s shoulders in the back and fell into shaggy bangs over his forehead. Tao ruffled it a bit to bring it back to life, and Jongin caught sight of dark tattoos on his arm. He was looking less mafia boss and more edgy rock star by the second which was certainly unexpected.

“Woah,” Jongin said. He had no shame admiring another person so obviously. He eyed Tao up and down and secretly wished he’d grown his hair out that long. It looked really good.

“Yeah, company code requires we keep our hair out of our face, but since I’m currently between jobs, I’m taking off this damned hat.”

Jongin followed suit and took his own off, raking his fingers through his hair and feeling a little self-conscious. He wasn’t sure what to do with the hat, so he held onto it in his free hand and followed Tao.

The city was magnificent from a distance. It wasn’t walled, but it seemed to just exist in this place in the shadow realm. Almost as if it belonged there. The gray road stretched toward it, widening where the purplish light met it. It was like looking at a mirage at first, but the closer they got, the clearer it became. Splotches of white grass started sprouting along the edges of the road, and Jongin noticed that there was a field of raw energy around them. This city was something new, something very, very magical. It was jarring.

When they reached the entrance – a gap in between stalls that Tao had pointed out was the way in, Jongin could hear shouting, singing, and pots and pans being banged together. He could see dozens upon dozens of people walking around on the streets, stopping at vendors and haggling. A good portion of them were wearing pinstripe suits. Some had their jackets, briefcases, and hats flung over their shoulders, and others were dressed to the damn nines. It was reminiscent of a bazaar, much more so than the one in the witch’s emporium.

This one had drunkards lying in the streets, tin cups sloshing full of whatever it was they drank, small and dirty children running about, chasing each other, and lots of animals. They looked like regular farm animals, but out of the corner of Jongin’s eyes, they had skeletal faces and red eyes.

“Where are we?” Jongin asked, voice full of awe.

“We are at the Amaranthine City. It’s where we go to retire after a long day of work. There’s drinking, gambling, games, and pleasure houses. Basically anything you desire can be found here, and there’s no end to it.”

“Who are all the people?”

“Other reapers. Some are souls who decided to stay and populate. The children? A lot of them will grow up to be reapers. The ones that don’t are stuck here. Reapers don’t have souls, so staying in the material world for too long without a scythe can hurt us. It’s why there are so many of us. We want to see what the material world is like, so we take up the job,” Tao explained.

“What happens when you stop working? Do you guys die?” Jongin asked as he ducked under Tao’s arm while they took a side road to another set of street-stands and raucous people living their lives. They seemed like a happy folk.

“No, we don’t die. We can be killed, but that’s a very well-kept secret. Besides, we’re only born when there is a need. Humans die a lot, so we need a lot of reapers. Just the city of New Orleans has dozens of us. Imagine what Beijing is like. Or Mumbai. Cities with high concentrations need more of us since we can only reap one soul at a time. It’s unfortunately the limitation of our scythes.”

Jongin nodded as they passed by various stands. He could see some of them selling different types of food and drinks. He started to reach for one but then remembered the story of Persephone. What if he ate something here and couldn’t return? Tao watched him curiously and then grinned.

“You do your homework,” he said. “I wouldn’t eat or drink anything here. I may have brought you here on Dreamwalker business, but I can’t save you from your own fate. Watch yourself and be careful. The shadow world is an unforgiving place.”

With that in mind, Jongin hung close. He didn’t want to get lost in the crowd. There was no telling what might happen. The city was beautiful though. There were tall buildings that seemed to go on forever. Some were crooked and leaning while others jutted out at strange angles. It was jarring, but in a geometric kind of way. The streets were very, very messy though. Litter was shoved mostly to the sides, in puddles of what looked like black water. Small skeletal rats scurried here and there, and one crossed Jongin’s path causing him to yelp. He jumped over the strange creature and almost ran into Tao who was a few paces ahead of him now.

Finally, they arrived at a regal-looking building. It had an onion-shaped dome made of black material that glistened. The walls were decorated with large murals depicting life and death and war and famine. It was hauntingly beautiful.

“Alright,” Tao said, scooping his hair into his hat and adjusting it until it sat right. “This is where I get my next assignment. It’s the last stop we have before I can take you to the The Records of the Dead. After that, I have to return you before it’s too late.”

“Too late?” Jongin asked. The way Tao said it was unnerving. It was as if Jongin was in danger being here, but also like Tao was telling him that he had a piece of lint stuck to his lapel.

“Your anchor, duh,” Tao said and pushed open the door. “Like I said, I don’t want Baekhyun coming after me. So we have to make this quick okay?”

“You’re the one taking all the time,” Jongin muttered. He had no idea how to return on his own, so he was at Tao’s mercy. He hoped the reaper would return him in time, but Tao just seemed so lackadaisical about the whole thing that Jongin had a problem feeling worried about it. He followed after Tao anyway and pouted while he looked around.

The inside of this building looked li