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Finally

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Jimin shoved what scraps of food he had managed to save and steal into his bag, along with a few bundles of blankets and coats and slipped into his worn out shoes. He swallowed down any hesitance he had before leaving the hut and sneaking off into the trees, out of the Kim territory.

Kim Namjoon was a kind alpha pack leader, but he wasn’t the problem.

It was the pack as a whole, and Jeon Jungkook, Jimin’s mate.

At the thought of his significant other, Jimin inhaled sharply and willed the urge to return back to the warm bed away.

Jungkook didn’t love him, never had. Jungkook mated because he had to, and chose Jimin because the omega had no choice. Jimin was practically a hostage when he was taken into their pack.

The Park pack had been led by a ruthless, disgusting, vile leader who had taken many mates. He sought out the prettiest new beta or omega, made them his, and then disposed of them when he got bored.

Jimin had been next.

No one refused courting from the head alpha, especially not the Park’s.

The night Jimin was prepared to be mated off was the night he thought had been saved, and yet, that wasn’t the case. He was overruled again and forced to mate to survive.

The Kims and Parks had been rivals for years, pushing each other’s limits, venturing onto each other’s territory to purposely aggravate. The tension snapped when the Park leader sexually harassed one of the Kims’ mated betas. They decided enough was enough, and that this time he had gone too far. They weren’t going to stick around and wait for something worse to happen, like the revolting threats he whispered into the terrified beta’s ear.

They attacked, and killed the wolves who fought back, showed mercy to those who surrendered. They took over their territory and allowed the remaining Park wolves to stay for a few days before they had to either pledge their allegiance to Kim Namjoon, or leave and find a new pack. Many wolves had friends in other packs which they left for, others decided to stay and, under scrutinizing watch, earned a place under Namjoon’s protection.

Jimin wanted neither. He had no relatives or friends to go to, but he did not want to stay in a pack who hated him. In their eyes, he was the Park alpha’s mate, many argued he should, by extension, be killed also. Namjoon felt it was unfair considering they had not yet mated. Jimin pledged loyalty with a heavy heart. It didn’t stop the insults, the dirty glares, the lack of companionship from anyone.

Why Jungkook asked for his mating had shocked him. Jungkook was devastatingly handsome, disarmingly charming, and despite his taciturn composure he seemed sweet. Silently, Jimin had been flattered, and then later worried it had been a joke, a trick to see if Jimin, the disgusting, good-for-nothing Park alpha’s mate would fall for it. It wasn’t til a few days later that Jimin heard the rumours.

Jungkook needs a mate to secure a higher position within the pack.

Jungkook was a young but highly skilled alpha wolf, but even the best needed mates to become higher ranked in the pack hierarchy. It was a safety blanket – that even if a wolf no longer supported the pack leader, they would be true to their mate, who was under the pack leader’s protection.

At the time, Jimin told himself he didn’t care. He had long given up on finding a sincere mate who would court him properly, shower him with love, hold him during the winter and make him feel safe and like he belonged. But he underestimated how much a mating would do to him.

Jimin craved affection in a way he never had before. He grew up with disappointed parents who had wanted an alpha. They had been happy when the Park leader chose him as his – possibly fifth – mate. Then, after the invasion, they took off without him. Jimin grew up with criticism, he was no stranger to cold stares and clipped tones, but since they mated, Jimin longed for approval, praises, acknowledgment from his alpha. Jungkook gave him none.

He doesn’t even like me.

During the mating, Jungkook had been gentle and patient, but none of it had been passionate or loving. Jimin felt cold and empty since they made the bond. A terribly weak bond. Jungkook shut him out almost instantly. He got his promotion. Jimin got another broken promise.

He told himself it was purely for survival. A month and a half later he finally admitted it for what it was. A part of himself he can never get back. Omegas couldn't mate again, and what alpha would mate him anyway? He was useless. Jimin couldn’t hunt, couldn’t sew, couldn’t please his alpha. The few times he’s cooked for the pack he learnt the dishes the Parks ate were not to the Kim pack’s taste. He would go to collect berries and herbs with the other pack omegas but couldn’t distinguish the poisonous from the edible. Nevertheless, he used to pick out blueberries to give to Jungkook. The first time he did it his alpha had blinked at him, surprised, before taking them quietly.

Jungkook always accepted them, sometimes with a quiet thank you, but a few months later an omega had sided up to Jimin with a sneer. “Jungkook hates blueberries.”

Jimin stopped after that. Jungkook didn’t say anything when he came back with nothing for him.

Jimin tried taking interest in Jungkook’s likes. He once asked if he’d take him hunting – Yoongi always took his mate Hoseok hunting – and Jungkook agreed. But Jimin was quite sure he ruined all their potential kills by his clumsy running and lack of stamina, and in the end Jungkook told him to just wait and left to hunt by himself. Jimin did his best to make Jungkook a coat out of bear skin but the sewing and stitching got too difficult and he when he asked for help from the other omegas he was met with looks of judgement. He gave up and turned it into a blanket instead. He wasn’t sure if Jungkook even knew about his failed attempt.

Jungkook spent his rut elsewhere too, and rumours floated around that he had been with another omega.

Due to that, Jimin decided to bear his heat alone despite how much he desired Jungkook. It had been awful. He sobbed into the rugs as his body flushed over and over, mating bite painful and burning, Jungkook so close nearby. After the heat, Jungkook had given him an apologetic look.

It wasn’t all bad – Jungkook could be sweet, and sometimes did kind gestures. He once brought back a flower from a hunt, a pretty, white lily. He sat next to Jimin during the dinners and would offer to get the food for him, so Jimin didn’t have to go up and get it himself. He’d throw the others a glare and tell them to shut up when they started badmouthing Jimin’s almost mating.

Jimin liked Jungkook a lot, but he couldn’t stay in this pack. He was an outsider, a nobody, a stepping stone. He was convenient. And now, unnecessary.

Jimin trudged down the path, shoulders slumped despite the determination. Jungkook and the other alphas were out on some hunt to get resources for winter. By the time he got back, Jimin would – hopefully – be long gone. Out of the territory, out of the pack.

It was a bit terrifying. Jimin knew he was probably going to freeze to death. He had little food and water, and no destination in mind. But he was at his breaking point. This was where he belonged – to no one, nowhere.

A shiver ran up his skin and his teeth chattered. Jimin shoved his hands into his coat and walked faster, eyes scouring for a place to huddle up and stay until morning. He eventually found a bush where he could make space within the branches. It wasn’t warmer, but at least Jimin would be concealed from predators. He brought out a blanket from his bag and brought it to his nose, Jungkook’s warm ginger scent still on it. Jimin hated how it comforted him, eased the ache and emptiness in his chest.

Their bond was already so weak it would surely break in a matter of months. Jimin wondered if he’d even feel it. He doubted Jungkook would.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jimin was starving.

It was the second day of his plan to escape – though he was sure no one was searching for him – and his stomach ached. He knew had to hunt for food, and at the idea of that his stomach plummeted even further.

Leaving his bag and supplies on the ground, he shifted into his wolf form, a sandy blonde coat. Jimin sighed dejectedly as he raised his nose to the air, ears turned and listening for prey. He had never been the greatest hunter, but what was even worse was the skinning of the animal. His parents told him he was too soft for his own good.

After an hour of searching and finally hunting down a small rabbit, Jimin shifted back, donned his clothes whilst shivering uncontrollably from the cold, and stared sadly at the dead animal. It was always different when he had to look at the fresh kills – it was easier to ignore when he just saw the meat already skinned and cut and cooked. This was life though, there was a food chain. There was always a hierarchy, an order, and maybe Jimin sympathised with the poor rabbit because he was also on the bottom – looked down and used.

Jimin steeled himself as he pulled out a knife he had brought, clenching his jaw as he cut into the rabbit. He tried to dissociate himself from the breaking of bones, messy, staining blood, but before he knew it was bending over the ground vomiting what little was in his stomach. Hot tears stung his eyes and he wanted to sink into the ground and cry.

Jimin should be used to loneliness by now.

He wiped his nose on his sleeve and distracted himself by building a fire, then cooking the meat over, relaxing when the smell of blood was slowly swept away. He wondered what Jungkook’s reaction would be when he came home. Maybe he’d be surprised. Maybe glad. Maybe he’d search all over the territory for him. Maybe he’d come looking for him. Jimin shook his head at that with a sad smile.

After putting out the fire, much to the disappointment of his freezing hands, he began his trek further south. He was quite sure he was out of Kim Namjoon’s territory, and now he could be seen as a traitor. They could kill him if he tried to come back. Jungkook could kill him.

Jimin wrapped his coat around his small frame tighter, shivering from the cold winds and quite sure occasionally he could see small flakes of snow. His teeth chattered and more than ever he craved Jungkook’s body heat. They may have shared a bed but they didn’t hold each other, but the alpha’s heat warming up the blankets was enough for Jimin to feel cosy during winter. Sometimes, in the rare mornings Jimin woke up before Jungkook, he’d find himself tangled with Jungkook’s long limbs, or his sleeping face close to his, or a hand resting on his waist. For a moment he could pretend this alpha was his loving mate, that they’d chosen each other and had some beautiful romantic story behind their courting. Or, even if it wasn’t the greatest story, even if it was simple and plain and quite honestly cliché, Jimin wouldn’t mind. Anyway, he’d miss those mornings.

Jimin’s feet were sore and tired, and though he could travel in wolf form he’d have trouble holding all his supplies, besides, he wasn’t exactly in a rush to get anywhere. Still, his toes were freezing and his nose getting cold. He felt pitiful and pathetic, like he did after he realised mating with Jungkook had been a mistake. He supposed, for once, he just wanted to be wanted.

It could have been nice, Jimin thought to himself. Jungkook was an ideal mate – Jimin’s parents would have handed him over to someone like Jungkook in a heartbeat. But now, Jimin understood it didn’t matter how attractive the person was, or how good he was at providing, Jimin felt empty and discarded. It wasn’t like he was forced into it – he could have said no, maybe he should have to see if Jungkook would have court him further or merely move on to the next available omega – he brought this on himself, and he deserved what he got.

But, it would have been nice if it had worked out. Jimin saw a shot of happiness. Yesterday, he gave up on that.

I hope he’ll at least miss me, even a little.

Jimin sighed, breath visible in the cold air, and got lost in hopeless ‘what if’s.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jimin knew something had been off when he felt a strange scent permeate the air. It was about midday, and he was starting to get a bit dazed and weak from dehydration, so he hadn’t paid heed to the prickles of a predator’s stare.

It wasn’t until a large wolf stepped out in front of him that Jimin felt his heart thud against his ribcage and his breath catch in his constricting throat.

Growl low in his throat and teeth bared.

Alpha.

It was slightly scrawny, but still built with muscle, and from the dark, vicious look in its eyes it was ready to kill.

Jimin was frozen to the spot. There was no use running, he’d hardly have time to change even if he tried. The wolf must be rogue, and judging from its reaction, Jimin had ventured too close into his territory. Rogue wolfs didn’t take kindly to outsiders – they had little morals and ethical values. This wolf wouldn’t care that Jimin was a weak omega and an absolute threat to no one. He’d have no qualms ripping him apart.

Jimin’s hands clenched into fists, sweat breaking out on his skin. He was trying to think but his mind was racing. I’m going to die.

He took a deep breath and tried to maintain his blank expression, tried to conceal the fear rushing through his veins, tried to ignore the way he pleaded for Jungkook, bond throbbing between them, the only indication that there was still some connection there as weak as it was.

He wished Jungkook was here.

Jungkook was the strongest, most agile, most skilful fighter in the Kim pack – he was the one who killed the Park pack leader, the one who found Jimin bundled in the corner of the hut, trembling from fear and whimpering as he tried to move away, just having watched his future mate slaughtered in front of his eyes.

“I’m not here to hurt you.” Jungkook had said after he shifted back, wiping blood off his arms and indifferently picking up one of the Park alpha’s coats to put on, merely for the sake of concealing his nudity, scowling a bit at the scent. “Are you his mate?”

Jimin shook his head, mouth sealed shut, eyes brimming with tears.

Jungkook’s eyes had fallen to his neck to check for a bite mark all the same. When he spotted none, he offered a hand. “Come. There’s nothing left for you here.”

This man had just murdered his pack leader and seemed scarily nonchalant and calm about it. He was a stranger, a rival pack alpha. But from the second Jimin took his hand, he trusted him.

Jimin slowly slipped his hand into his pocket and found the knife. He wasn’t going to die without a fight.

The rogue wolf took a step forward.

Jimin steadied himself.

Then he pounced.

It happened so fast Jimin didn’t have time to think before the adrenaline kicked in. He drew out the knife and managed to drive it into the side of the wolf but the effect was minimal. The wolf knocked him over and his jaw came snapping down into his neck –

There was a swish of the air past Jimin’s ear and then the wolf went limp above him.

Something hot trickled down onto his neck and chest.

A sharp, bitter scent invaded his senses.

Blood.

Jimin’s mind was in a daze. Is that mine? What happened? Am I dead? The wolf’s weight was pinning him to the ground but he was motionless. The liquid oozing onto him was making him frantic. Jimin hated blood. Tears stung his eyes as he tried to force the body off, the head shifted into the crook of his neck, nosing directly at the mating mark and Jimin screamed. He began shuddering uncontrollably, his heart rate was fast and his breathing was uneven. His feet scrambled on the ground and his fingernails dug into his palms –

The wolf was suddenly hauled off his body and hurled away, back smacking across the icy forest floor. He was still.

Jimin felt air finally enter his lungs and then –

Jungkook. His mate.

Relief. That was the first thing that raced through his body.

Jungkook came for him.

His alpha stood above him frowning, eyes dark and angry, but they softened when they met his. Jungkook was still in human form, long coat draped over him, black hair falling across his forehead and slightly panting.

Jimin slowly looked to the side at the dead rogue wolf and noticed the large hunting knife piercing straight through the neck, just under his jaw. He saved him.

“Jimin…” Jungkook whispered quietly, as if persuading himself that Jimin was actually here. He bent down and helped Jimin sit up, large hand on his back, the other grasping Jimin’s hand. “Shh, breathe.”

Jimin realised he was whimpering. Blood was becoming sticky on his neck and chest and the adrenaline was still in his system. The panic hadn’t worn off yet. “J-J-Jung-kook –”

“Hush, just breathe.” Jungkook commanded gently and wiped his cheeks. Jimin hadn’t even realised he was crying.

Jimin wanted to sob. His mate – the mate he abandoned – came for him. He saved him. He had every right to kill Jimin too, punish him for his disloyalty, his betrayal, and yet here he was thumbing away his tears, whispering reassurances.

Jimin didn’t know if he should be happy or upset. How could he leave now? How could he tell Jungkook, face to face, that he didn’t want to stay in the pack? How was he supposed to let go of his mate?

“The b-blood…” Jimin managed to stutter. The smell was making him sick.

Jungkook wordlessly helped Jimin out of his stained coat and used it to wipe up the blood on his skin. The cold made Jimin shiver and without a second thought he pressed into Jungkook’s side, into his body heat. Jungkook shrugged off his larger, thicker coat and wrapped it around Jimin.

“But –”

“I am fine, don’t worry about me.” Jungkook cut off Jimin’s protest sternly. He was upset with Jimin, that was obvious enough. “Are you hurt?”

Jimin shook his head. He couldn’t register anything anyway, except that his mate was here and being so kind. What has Jimin done to deserve this? Why did Jungkook come after him?

“Can you stand?”

“I t-think so.”

Jungkook held his arms as he assisted Jimin to his feet. His knees were weak, his back hurt and he leaned on Jungkook more than he would have liked, but as he gained his balance, so did his resolve. He expected Jungkook to scold him, snap at him for running away, ask him why he did what he did, but instead, he adjusted the coat around Jimin’s smaller frame, the outerwear too large and drowning the omega.

“Let’s go home.”

Jimin’s heart ached.

He wanted to, he really did. It sounded so tempting – a hut, a warm bed, clothes, food, Jungkook. But the Kim pack was not his home. Jungkook was not his home. He was an outsider, a wolf living within a pack that didn’t accept him, with a mate who did not know him.

“I can’t…” Jimin stood firm and pulled his hand away from Jungkook’s gentle grip.

His alpha froze, eyes boring into Jimin’s. “Stop this, Jimin. You’ve made your point –”

“I hate living there. I’m not going back.” Jimin snapped and he felt like utter dirt. Jungkook had just saved his life, given him his coat which dripped of his scent and made Jimin feel comforted and safe, and here Jimin was acting like a spoilt child. But he couldn’t go back to feeling isolated and alone, feeling like he was useless and unwanted. He couldn’t keep pretending that it wasn’t killing him inside every day.

“You’re being ridiculous.” Jungkook began but there was something in his tone, a desperation, a small tremble. “Where are you going to go? You’ll freeze out here, or starve.”

“I’d rather starve.” Jimin retorted and felt new tears gather in his eyes. Jungkook’s nonchalance slipped and there was hurt. “Everybody hates me. I have no friends. I can’t do anything. I ruin your hunts, I can’t stitch you clothes, I-I don’t know how to get through to you, I feel so – so dumb and worthless.”

Jungkook remained silent, looking a combination of shock and anger.

“Nobody cares that I’m gone, right? Has anybody even noticed?” Jimin continued as tears trekked down his cheeks. “You can find a new mate, Jungkook. Don’t you already have one anyway? I’m sure they’re much better for you – and I’m not mad – I get it, you know, I’m just – such a disappointing – I was supposed to mate the Park leader, I’m disgusting –”

“What are you talking about?” Jungkook interrupted, tone lowering and it was dangerous. He sounded livid. Jimin took a step back, an action that did not go unnoticed by the alpha. “What other mate do I have?”

Jimin gulped. “Your rut...”

“What about it?”

“Didn’t you… did you not spend it with another omega?” Jimin mumbled.

Jungkook looked incredulous. “What?”

“I understand why you would –”

“You shouldn’t. Do you hear yourself? I am your mate. Why on earth would I spend it with someone else?”

“Well, you didn’t spend it with me!”

Jungkook flinched, but composed himself a half second after. “We can talk later. You’re freezing, and I bet you haven’t eaten a proper meal in the last two days –”

“Please, can’t you hear what I’m saying? I’m not going back!”

“Why?” Jungkook snapped and Jimin wanted to ease the despair off his face. He looked confused and… scared.

“I just told you!”

“Then what about how I feel?” Jungkook challenged and rounded on Jimin who felt pressure to bare his neck in submission. “Do you have any idea how much it fucked me up when I came back and you were just gone? You didn’t even give me a chance to try fix things. You didn’t give me any warning. What the hell was I supposed to do?”

Jimin glanced down and felt his chest tighten at every sentence that left Jungkook’s mouth, deepening the cracks in his heart, tearing through his guilt. He never imagined Jungkook to react like that. “I don’t know – I didn’t think you would care,” he murmured quietly.

Jungkook was silent as Jimin sniffled into his sleeve.

“Come back, Jimin. I know I’ve been a shitty mate. I haven’t looked after you, and that’s all on me.” Jungkook sighed and stepped closer, words sincere and pleading. “Let me try again, I’ll do better, I promise. Don’t go – I don’t want you to go.”

Jimin stared at the ground, wet from the cold and scattered with leaves.

He wanted to believe Jungkook. He wanted to think that things would be different, but what if nothing changed? What if he was just saying those things just so Jimin would come back and he wouldn’t have to bear the shame of having an omega leave him? What if no matter what he did, Jimin would never be accepted there? Was that the kind of life he wanted to live? Was that a life worth living?

Please, I can’t sleep knowing you’re out here alone.” Jungkook reached for Jimin’s hand, but the omega moved away. “Can’t – our bond, can’t you feel it straining?”

“It’s been strained for a while.” Jimin whispered.

“Doesn’t it hurt you?”

“Of course, it hurts me.” Jimin shot back and felt hot tears in his eyes, and a flush of frustration. His omega is crying for affection from his alpha. “But it hurts more when I get ignored, and have to eat in silence, when your pack send me dirty looks, when I have to do everything alone because no one wants to get near the Park slut.”

Jungkook flinched and anger filled his eyes, but there was also sadness and regret. He bit on his lower lip and looked away for a few seconds, gathering himself. Finally, he peered down at Jimin with delicacy. “Our pack.”

Jimin scoffed to mask the way his stomach clenched at the softness of his tone. In his old pack, he would have gotten a beating for speaking to an alpha like that, but Jungkook was composed, and even if he had been upset by the words, he controlled his temper.

“So there is nothing I can say to make you come back?” Jungkook resigned finally.

Is he giving up? Jimin fought the panic that rose in his chest as the mark in his neck ached. “No.”

Something seemed to break within his alpha. Jungkook took a sharp breath and his stance loosened, as if the will had left him. Still, his gaze was surprisingly warm. “Then, let me at least find you somewhere to go.” He sounded more desperate now. “I’ll arrange a pack to take you in – a good one – and I’ll take you there so you don’t get hurt and – and then you never have to see me again. Just come back ‘til spring and then you can go. You don’t have to re-join the pack, just until winter is over, and then you can leave, okay?”

Jimin stared at him, heart pounding furiously in his chest for a reason he was not ready to acknowledge.

“I won’t force you to stay. I just want you to be safe. I know a pack up in the mountains – you’d like it there, I think, they have these fields with flowers and the pack is really nice… would that – would you be happy, then?” Jungkook stammered and he looked young, vulnerability betraying the stoic mask he often wore.

Jimin was speechless. The offer was unbelievably thoughtful, and despite looking like it pained Jungkook to say it, was earnest. He hadn’t prepared himself for that. Jimin hadn’t thought about joining a new pack – why would they take him in? An omega who left his alpha, his loyalty would be questioned instantly. Especially since Jungkook was such a decent mate. I’m leaving someone so inherently good.

He was so confused. He didn’t know why the offer tore his heart apart, why he felt a pull to his mate’s arms. He was just lost.

Would he be happy?

What did that even feel like?

Jimin glanced up, vision blurry. When he spoke his voice was very small. Wavering. Unstable. “I just want to belong.”

That’s all I ever really wanted.

The second it took for Jungkook to walk closer and hold him was the time it took for his bruised and beaten heart to crumble, breaking down after years of enduring verbal abuse and neglect.

“You do belong. With me.”

Jimin allowed himself to be brought into Jungkook’s embrace. Jungkook hissed as Jimin’s freezing skin met his, pulling the coat tighter around him, body heat warming him up. “Give me another chance. If spring comes and you still want to go, I won’t stop you.”

Despite how pathetic he felt running away for two days and then returning with his tail between his legs, Jimin nodded.

"Okay."

Jungkook sighed into his neck, eyes closed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“You had me so worried.” Jungkook mumbled as Jimin wiped his body down of the remaining blood. He was turned away, giving Jimin his privacy.

Jimin’s hands were trembling as he finally cleaned the last stain of blood, dropping the rag back into the bucket of water Jungkook had warmed up by the fire. “How did you find me?”

“The hunt ended earlier than expected, and I could still follow traces of your scent.”

Jimin quickly slipped into warm clothes and shamelessly shrugged on Jungkook’s coat again, scent wrapping around him. Protective. “You can turn back around.”

Jungkook faced him again, gaze gentle but sad. “I’m sorry, Jimin.”

Jimin sat down in the blankets of their bed, body glad to be back. He was so pitiful for thinking he could run away successfully, it was tragic.  He couldn’t even do that. And yet, here was Jungkook apologizing. “For what?”

“For everything.” Jungkook replied and moved towards him slowly, sitting down beside him and pulling a blanket up – the one Jimin had tried to make into a coat – around his shoulders. “I’ve failed you as a mate.”

Jimin remained silent.

“I always thought having a mate would be a bother. I didn’t have an omega I liked, so I chose you because I figured you’d say yes and expect nothing much from me. You think I played you like a fool, but the fool is me. The pain I felt when I realised you left, I brought onto myself.” Jungkook played with the loose threads of the blanket. “I got so used to you being here, to sleeping next to you, seeing your face when I got back from hunts. I knew you weren’t happy and I just felt stupid and guilty. I didn’t want you with me during my rut because I’d already forced you into the mating. I didn’t think you’d be comfortable, and I didn’t want to make you feel obliged to be with me any further.”

Jungkook took a deep breath and glanced at Jimin who was staring at his knees.

“But I heard you crying during your heat and I… I just felt like the worst mate in the world. I wanted to try to be better, but – I don’t know – it’s hard. I don’t know how to act with you because I did this mating thing all wrong,” Jungkook ran a hand through his hair, eyebrows narrowed like he was angry at himself. “Then you left and I – I freaked. You took everything of yours with you – like you were just gone and… I thought I’d find you dead somewhere, to be honest. I screamed at the pack, and got in a bit of a fight with Namjoon-hyung, and – I was a mess.”

Jimin swallowed heavily. He didn’t realise his absence would affect Jungkook so greatly. He felt guilt pooling in his stomach and it sickened him. He couldn’t deny a part of him was happy Jungkook missed him so much. He licked his lips, mouth dry and eyes stinging. “But I’m such a useless mate, Jungkook. I can’t do anything.”

“What do you mean?” Jungkook tilted his head, looking confused.

“Like – this blanket. I tried to make this into a coat for you, but I couldn’t.” Jimin motioned weakly to the blanket around his alpha’s broad shoulders. “And the blueberries. You don’t even like them but I would bring them back for you each time.”

Jungkook gave a small chuckle, something so endearing about it that Jimin faltered. “I know. I waited for you to say something, gift it to me properly, but you didn’t. But I don’t really need a new coat anyway, and I like this. It… it smells like you.” His cheeks were a light shade of pink. “And I didn’t mind the blueberries. Is that why you stopped?”

“Why didn’t you tell me you didn’t like them –”

“Because you got them specifically for me. It made me happy, knowing you were thinking of me. I didn’t want you to get embarrassed or stop, I guess. I liked seeing your face when you’d give them to me. You’re so… gentle. I’m just, I’m just so fond of you.” Jungkook tugged at his hair and found Jimin’s hand under the blanket.

Jimin felt like an idiot. Part of him was in disbelief, and the other just urged him to accept this moment, accept Jungkook’s words. Fond. That wasn’t a word he heard often associated with him. His mating bond burned and Jimin wanted to wrap his arms around Jungkook and kiss him. He was finally receiving the kind of affection he had been longing for his whole life.

“Can I scent you?” Jungkook whispered cautiously.

Jimin swore his heart almost stopped. Scenting was one of the most intimate acts a couple could do, it was a sign of love and protection, of devotion and trust.

“Okay.”

Jungkook leaned in almost instantly, mouth against the mating mark causing a shiver to run down Jimin’s spine. Jimin unconsciously gripped Jungkook’s hand tighter. The alpha’s scent washed upon his scent glands, spread across his body and made him feel strangely nostalgic, like finally coming home.

“Don’t run off again. Please, don’t do that again without talking to me first.” Jungkook said against his neck, body shaking against Jimin’s.

Jimin nodded because he was too choked up to say anything.

They laid back in the bed and for the first time Jungkook pulled him close and held him, warming him from the winter, body like a furnace.

Jimin hesitantly placed a hand on Jungkook’s chest, heart beating under his fingertips.

I’m just so fond of you.

Maybe he did belong somewhere.

And maybe, it had been here all along.