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My Honey, You Taste So Sweet

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“This tastes awesome,” Jimin moans as the thick taste of grilled deer fills his mouth. He closes his eyes and licks the sauce from his lips, jumping in his seat giddily.

As a response, all Jimin gets is a warning growl. He opens his eyes and sees an alpha and a beta rushing away. If they were in their wolf forms, Jimin is sure their tails would be stuck between their legs.

Jimin slaps Taehyung, mindful of the sauce on his hands as he does so. “Those wolves are too young to be scared by you like that.”

“Young, maybe,” Taehyung says as he finally turns around to face Jimin, having successfully scared away the wolves, “But not innocent enough.”

Jimin rolls his eyes. He can feel the protectiveness oozing out of every pore of Taehyung’s skin. It has become Taehyung’s habit to protect Jimin after Jimin presented as an omega, something that Head Alpha Park welcomed with open arms.

Nibbling on the last bits of pieces on his bone shyly, Jimin glances in the direction the beta and alpha have disappeared in. They are barely eighteen, and Jimin admits that having their attention is flattering, he still doesn’t want a soulmate that young though.

Jimin looks up when he hears Taehyung sigh and pouts. Taehyung brushes off some sauce from his lips, nudging Jimin. “You’ll find your soulmate. Twenty-one is still very young.”

Huffing, Jimin takes another bite of the meat. Twenty-one is young. Jimin admits that. There are a lot of alphas and betas that are older than him and still haven’t found their mate yet. But they are alphas and betas. Being twenty-one and not having a mate is normal for them but not for an omega. It’s very rare for an omega to reach his twenty-first birthday and still not find his mate.

“I’m twenty-two soon,” Jimin reminds Taehyung begrudgingly.

“In like two months, so what?”

“Less than two months. The new month has already started.”

Taehyung sighs. “We’ve been over this already, haven’t we? You will find your mate once he becomes twenty and you will have lots of small pups together. I promise. You have to let your soulmate become twenty first.”

Jimin frowns. He doesn’t need any reprimand or anything similar to that from his alpha friend who already has his mate at his side. The problem is not only his age. Jimin knows there are at least two other omegas in his pack that haven’t found their mates yet. Another factor that makes the whole mate situation even worse is the fact that Jimin is the head alphas elder son. Everyone has his eyes on Jimin. Either judging eyes that say that there is something wrong with him or scrutinizing eyes that try find a fault in Jimin. Every time someone has his second coming of age, all pairs of eyes are on Jimin again, trying to find out if that wolf is Jimin’s mate. And every time it’s not, Jimin deflates a little more.

At this point, even his two years younger brother Jihyun will find his mate before Jimin.

Jimin doesn’t respond to Taehyung’s question and takes some meat off of Taehyung’s plate to fight the sadness back. Taehyung furrows his eyebrows but lets it happen, always lets Jimin have his will.

“I have to start my shift for border controls,” Taehyung says, dusting off his pants when he gets up from the ground. “When someone bothers you, throw bones at them.”

Jimin snorts and throws a bone at Taehyung. “I know your shift starts later. You just want to go and make out with Mina.”

Taehyung grins and wiggles his eyebrows at Jimin. He sends Jimin a flying kiss and then disappears into direction of his cabin, as Jimin predicted. Jimin wants to sit some time longer around the fires and bask in the cosy atmosphere for a little longer but all the mates cuddling so openly make him want to puke. They mainly make him jealous but Jimin can pretend that’s not the case.

Collecting Taehyung’s and his own plate, Jimin leaves them in the kitchen and then goes to his cabin. He prepares himself for crashing his parents’ alone time, only slightly feeling bad about it. But hey, if their eldest son can’t have romance in his life then they shouldn’t either. They have spent twenty-four years alongside each other. Jimin is allowed to crash one of their no-children nights. He admits he must have crashed more than one but this is the first one that he is crashing intentionally.

“Mom! Dad! I’m back,” Jimin screams as soon as he enters his cabin. Even if he wants to crash his parents’ evening, it doesn’t mean he wants to walk in on some funny business.

Jimin opens the living room door and expects to see his parents sitting at the fire place because it is getting colder in the evenings, but is instead met with the sight of his father, Jihyun and the Kim pack’s future head alpha hunched over a table.

Jimin feels the tense atmosphere immediately and curls in on himself a little as all eyes set on him. It’s alarming to see Namjoon this late in their pack. It’s not like he’s joining one of their feasts again as he has done in the past, would have been out by the fires if that were the case, but he’s obviously here because of pack issues. Issues important enough to go to another pack at ten in the night.

“Jimin,” Namjoon greets him with a smile. “Come in.”

Jimin shifts his weight on his feet for a moment, contemplating whether he should leave or not. He knows there are some changes happening in the packs living close to them. The fact that the Park pack is not on friendly terms with all of them make the changes even more disconcerting. Maybe Jimin should leave this business to the alphas, but he has never been asked to stay out of pack business, and even if he is an omega and Jihyun will lead the pack in the future, it is still Jimin’s pack. So Jimin slowly skips over, standing between Jihyun and his father.

“Welcome, son,” his father says, hand brushing over Jimin’s hair.

“Hey,” Jimin mumbles.

He looks at Jihyun to see how bad the situation is, suddenly worried about Taehyung and the other alphas on patrol. Jihyun smiles but Jimin can tell it’s only to reassure him.

On the table in front of Jimin is a vague map laid out that shows the territories of each pack. West of the Park is the Kim pack, which belongs to Namjoon and is the biggest pack known to Jimin. East of them is the Min pack. It’s almost bigger than the Park pack but not by much to count. That pack has only recently announced his alliance with the Jeon pack, north from the Park pack, shortly after the head alpha was murdered by his own son. Now that son is leading the pack.

There is one thing that is concerning to Jimin when looking at the map. The river that belongs to the Kim pack is announced as neutral grounds and since a little over a decade a few acres are also announced as neutral grounds between the packs. The difference between the river and the land is that the land used to belong to the Jeon pack. After the now Head Alpha Jeon started a war twelve years ago and lost it, land was taken away from the Jeon pack and announced as neutral ground that is more supposed to serve as barrier between each pack. That land now is marked in a red colour.

“That kid is insane,” Jimin’s father says after studying the map. “I can’t agree to this.”

Namjoon licks his lips and nods. “I understand. It is too early for Jeon Jungkook to make demands like giving him back the land his father lost but it’s also understandable because the pack has grown since then.”

Jimin inhales sharply. “He wants the neutral ground back?”

Namjoon nods, pointing at the map. “The Jeon pack is mostly forest. Jeon Jungkook said that he wants the land the in the north to be used for farming whereas his pack relocates more to the south because they are short on land. For that they need the neutral ground to be under his control again. He is also requesting free reign over an area where they can hunt. He says his pack is closer to death each day due to limited amount of prey and thus also furs for the winter.”

“Is it wise to move this close to another pack? So far only Head Alpha Min has spoken his support out to him. Nothing more.”

“Yoongi gave Jungkook the neutral ground between their packs back.”

Jimin’s eyes widen as he looks at Namjoon. That is a big step that Jimin hasn’t been aware of. Giving the Jeon pack their ground back is giving them a bigger chance to prosper and get closer to the other pack. This in any other case isn’t bad but with the Jeon pack it’s not advisable.

Namjoon looks at everyone and then clears his throat. “Head Alpha Song has also spoken in favour of Jeon Jungkook.”

“What?” Jihyun blurts out, Jimin’s father straightening his back as he hears what Namjoon says. “How does Jeon Jungkook know Head Alpha Song?”

“I don’t know everything. When Yoongi came to talk about Jungkook he only mentioned the most important details. Jeon Jungkook is Head Alpha Jeon’s eldest alpha son. The two before him have both died as we know,” at that Namjoon raises his brows to indicate that natural death wasn’t the cause, “His other siblings are either betas and omegas or haven't even presented yet. When Jeon Jungkook was sent to the forest after his first coming of age for the ritual that some future head alphas are supposed to go through, he wasn’t in the best condition to do so. Yet he went. I don’t know how but Jeon Jungkook met the Song pack and apparently befriended Head Alpha Song.”

“Isn’t that forbidden?” Jihyun asks. “Per arrangement the Jeon pack isn’t allowed to meet up with any pack in secrecy and make a pact or alliance. Jeon Jungkook has no right to any land or wolves.”

“When you’re going through an initiation, the ritual, you don’t count as a member of any pack. You’re a lone wolf on your own with no name or background. And we don’t know if Jeon Jungkook made an alliance with Head Alpha Song back then. Even if, the rules from the arrangement only count for Head Alpha Jeon. Not Jeon Jungkook. And in case Jeon Jungkook did this for Head Alpha Jeon, Head Alpha Song would have never agreed. She offered us our help in the war, not him. The fact that she is siding with Jeon Jungkook must mean that Jeon Jungkook is different from his father.”

The silence after Namjoon finishes lays heavy between them. The Song pack is far away from them but since it doesn’t lie behind the mountains it still belongs to their area, as a part of their system. The distance also doesn’t lessen the importance of the pack lying in the far north. That Jeon Jungkook earned the favour of this pack, is a huge surprise.

“What does the Jung pack say?” Jimin asks.

“The Jung pack says that if everything Yoongi said about the farming and housing of the pack is true and Jeon Jungkook is different from his father, then they agree that the Jeon pack should be given a chance. But they refused the request of giving them back the neutral ground. The Choi pack was of the same opinion,” Namjoon explains.

In total that makes the packs equal. It’s the Song pack, Min pack, and Jeon pack on one side and on the opposite side it’s the Jung pack, Choi pack, and Park pack. The Kim pack is a neutral pack that only sides with someone in the most important cases, like the war twelve years ago where they sided against the Jeon pack.

“I have seen that kid,” Head Alpha Park says. “You have seen that kid. You have seen how small he was.”

“I have,” Namjoon agrees. “Jeon Jungkook was small and meek. Everyone was surprised when we heard he was sent away for the initiation ritual because he wasn’t strong enough to be a threat to Head Alpha Jeon so why send him away?”

“All of us gave up hope on him the first day he was gone and we were sure he was dead when he didn’t come back after a month,” Head Alpha Park says and adds. “Apparently we all underestimated him. If all Jeon Jungkook needed to become strong enough to murder his father was one year in the forest, then what can he do now? What did he even do in that year?”

Namjoon shrugs helplessly.

“I don’t like to judge that boy solely because he is his father’s son but all of this is happening too fast. All these plans he has come up with, all these alliances come too soon into him taking over the pack which, by the way, isn’t allowed because he hasn’t reached his second of age. This doesn’t only seem as if he wants his pack to become normal again but like he wants to build up an army,” Head Alpha Park says.

Jimin can feel how riled up his father is. His heart is aching for the boy who had to kill his own father because he was tyrant, but on the other hand, he can also understand his own father. The Jeon pack is closest to the Park pack. In case Jeon Jungkook is planning a war then the Park pack will have to deal with the brute first, just like twelve years. It doesn’t help that other pack closest to them, the Min pack, is also on Jeon Jungkook’s side. The Park pack is thus in risk of facing a war at two fronts. The Jeon pack has direct support from two packs and only direct rejection from one pack, their pack. The Jung pack and Choi pack are alongside the Kim pack neutral yet, even if they don’t want the Jeon pack to have the neutral ground back.

“Even if it seems rather unrealistic to me because he has very few alphas in his pack, I understand your point,” Namjoon says after a pause.

“What do you think of him?” Jihyun asks.

Jimin looks at Namjoon and then lowers his eyes. It’s a question that he has wanted to ask but didn’t want to bring over his lips. Firstly, he knows whatever Namjoon does is going to be the correct choice. Secondly, he knows Namjoon won’t take Jeon Jungkook’s side but also not his father’s.

“I decided to visit the Jeon pack tomorrow, which is why I’m here so late. I’ll decide on what to do and think after that,” Namjoon says, looking at Head Alpha Park directly.

Head Alpha Park nods. “You should be careful. And take enough men with you.”

“I will. I don’t trust Jeon Jungkook but I trust Yoongi.”

“Yeah, Head Alpha Min surprised me here a lot. Didn’t expect that from him.”

“He must have seen something in him.”

Jimin and Jihyun exchange one look. Hearing that Yoongi is on Jeon Jungkook’s side is also surprising to Jimin. He doesn’t know the alpha well but he knows that the Min pack disliked the Jeon pack a lot. Since the war Yoongi’s father is no longer head alpha and it’s obvious that this plays a big role on why the Min pack is on Jeon Jungkook’s side.

“Well,” Namjoon speaks up again. “Thank you very much for letting me in so late, and I’m sorry about disturbing your time with your family.”

“It’s fine. I know you didn’t want to go to the Jeon pack without talking to me first, and the Jeon pack needs to be taken care of fast too. We don’t mind,” Head Alpha Park replies.

Namjoon smiles. “I will send someone over to let you know what the further procedures will be. Good night.”

“Good night.”

Jimin’s father and Jihyun remain in the room and Jimin follows Namjoon outside. Namjoon turns to him with a dimpled smile, different from the one he offers his father or Jihyun, more in the direction of how he smiles at his mate.

“How is Seokjin? And the pup?” Jimin asks.

“Both are fine. Seokjin misses you. Told me to tell you to come over again, chat with him and see how the pup has grown up.”

Jimin nods. “I would love to.”

Namjoon smiles again, sighs and looks at the star-filled sky.

“A lot is happening,” Jimin whispers after a while, careful not to disturb the peace too much.

“Yeah,” Namjoon mumbles.

“You must be stressed. Try to take care of yourself. I’m sure it’ll be fine.”

Namjoon turns to Jimin again. “Thank you. I’m just thinking about Jeon Jungkook a lot lately.” Namjoon says it carefully, as if he’s testing the waters. Even after a decade, the Jeon pack is quite difficult to talk about.

“What exactly?” Jimin asks because he feels Namjoon’s need of indulging a third person.

“Growing up with that tyrant and being forced to call him your father, his time in the woods, his return. Yoongi said he suffered his whole life. I never thought about him much before, was too occupied with other things. Now I feel like I as the neutral pack should have done more. And I’m afraid those feelings will affect my decision and father’s.”

“I’m sure it won’t. You make good decisions, are a great leader. You can do this. And Jeon Jungkook isn’t your responsibility. My heart hurts for him too but what could we have done? We couldn’t have just killed Head Alpha Jeon.”

Namjoon averts his gaze from the sky and looks at Jimin. “Yeah, we couldn’t have.”

“It’s sadly also not easy to trust him,” Jimin adds as an afterthought, thinking of Taehyung and the other alphas on patrol. “What?” he asks when he sees Namjoon observe him.

“I just think it’s not that difficult to believe him. How bad can an alpha who believes in the equality of each status and banished all alphas who believed in his father’s principles be?”

Jimin stares at Namjoon open-mouthed. That sounds like the opposite of what Jimin knows about Head Alpha Jeon. It’s also surprising to hear that he banished alphas when the pack already has that few of them.

Namjoon ruffles Jimin’s hair and that rips him out of his thoughts. “I’ll be going now. You should head inside. Good night.”

“Good night.”

---

“That’s it?” Jimin asks when Taehyung ends his lecture about Jeon Jungkook.

Around the afternoon, after giving Taehyung enough time to catch up on the sleep he had missed on during the night, Jimin went to Taehyung and asked him to collect some information on Jeon Jungkook. He had tried to do his own research but bumped into multiple dead ends. For whatever reason, no one is willing to talk about the new alpha. The elders have very little to say about him, and Jimin doesn’t know why, if it’s his father who declared Jeon Jungkook as a taboo or if people really don’t know much about him. All he found out, is that everyone is afraid. The Jeon pack isn’t a dangerous pack per se but apparently many feel threatened by him.

Since Jimin didn’t find out much about Jungkook because in his search he also couldn’t ask every source, afraid his father would find out, he had hoped Taehyung would find out more. He told Taehyung to meet up with him at the river where most surely won’t be any wolves listening in on their conversation even by accident. Seems as if Taehyung didn’t get more information than him.

Jeon Jungkook is the only son of Head Alpha Jeon’s second omega mate. His omega father couldn’t get any pups for a very long time. Once Jungkook was born, he was very weak and there was little hope for him to survive. He somehow did. Furthermore, Jungkook is the third alpha son of Head Alpha Jeon. His older two alpha siblings died in ‘mysterious’ ways before they could reach their second coming of age. Right after Jungkook’s first coming of age, he was sent into the forest for, what Head Alpha Jeon called, ‘an alpha training’ one and a half years ago. After Jungkook went, just like Head Alpha Park had said the day before, everyone had expected him to not make it. After month of him not coming back, everyone was sure he had died. Instead Jungkook had come back a year later as a fully equipped alpha every other head alpha would be proud to have as their son.

Head Alpha Jeon most probably saw how dangerous Jungkook was for him, most probably tried to kill him multiple times but was killed by Jeon Jungkook half a year later. It has been roughly three months since then, and no one from his pack knows what has happened since then in the Jeon pack.

“What else did you expect?” Taehyung asks.

“Just more information about him personally,” Jimin retorts.

“All we have is observation information about him as outsiders. And even if I am an alpha that is active in the defence of this pack, I am still on the lower rank of the chain and information from the elders isn’t easily given out to me.”

Jimin sighs and sits himself defeatedly on the stone behind him.

Taehyung sits himself next to him and asks, “What do you need that information for?”

“I just wanted to try and understand him.”

Jimin stares at the river and thinks about the fact that they’re now on Kim pack territory. Taehyung told him that this access to the river is the closest to the Jeon pack but no one comes here to get water because it’s also close to the Park pack. The threat of a confrontation was so great in the past, the Jeon pack members took it upon themselves to walk the longer way to the river north of it.

“Why?” Taehyung inquires.

“I don’t know. Just the way Namjoon talked about him was very…positive? Everyone around us thinks of him as the bad wolf but what if he isn’t? There must be a reason the Min and Song pack support him. I don’t think he has anything that he can bribe them with. So it must be him they’re interested in.”

Taehyung hums. “Do you want to visit Head Alpha Min?”

“Dad would never let me. Not now.”

“Didn’t you say Namjoon wanted to go to the Jeon pack today?”

“He did.”

Taehyung and Jimin look at each other, then at the river that separates them from official Kim territory, and then the wooden bridge. Technically, they’re allowed to go onto Kim pack territory, Jimin even more so as Head Alpha Park’s son. But Namjoon might not be back from the Jeon pack yet or maybe hasn’t even gone yet. And in case Namjoon has gone and come back already, he must be busy with reporting everything to his pack elders and discussing with them the things he has seen and discussed with Jeon Jungkook. Jimin will only be disturbing him.

Taehyung hums and Jimin sighs. He will have to wait. It will be rather impossible for him to get something out of Namjoon. Telling Jimin things on his ground where Jimin has no relevance to the situation and letting Jimin hear things on his territory in front of his father are two different things. It will be much easier to find out something from Seokjin but he also has to let Namjoon tell Seokjin things. Only if Seokjin knows can Jimin ask him questions. Jimin will visit Seokjin the next day.

“Where exactly is the border?” Jimin asks, getting to his feet.

“Wow, sweetheart, wait,” Taehyung says and grabs Jimin’s arm. “That Jeon Jungkook is making your head spin, right?”

Jimin sighs and swats Taehyung’s hand away. “What?”

“You want to go and explore the borders? After Jeon Jungkook has demanded them back? Head Alpha Park is going to kill you and me, and I don’t want to die yet. I don’t even have pups yet.”

Jimin rolls his eyes at his friends’ dramatics. “He asked for it, not demanded. And even if, he hasn’t gotten it back yet. All I want is to see the border to the neutral ground which we are allowed to be on. I don’t even want to see the border to the Jeon pack. And how dangerous can it even be when you patrol on it every night?”

Taehyung chews on his lower lips, watching Jimin closely.

“Please?” Jimin begs, jutting his lower lip out. “Please before the Jeon pack actually gets the land back. Then it might be dangerous. And I’m going with you, a skilled alpha. What if my curiosity gets too big and I explore the border on my own?”

With a devastated look on his face, Taehyung groans and looks up at the sky for a moment. “You’ll babysit the pups every time I have a rut or Mina is in heat for a year.”

Jimin cheers, knows that Taehyung will be too attached to his pups to actually leave them with someone, and in case Taehyung does leave them with him, Jimin doesn’t mind babysitting them. He loves pups.

Taehyung leads the way and Jimin follows him. They don’t walk far away from the river, enough so that even Jimin knows that they have now left behind Kim territory. Taehyung grabs Jimin’s hand and leads him only a little further north. Jimin can no longer see or even hear the river. He doesn’t remember ever being this far north of his pack.

Taehyung picks up a stick, walks three steps forward and draws a line into the earth left of Jimin and then draws another line horizontal to the vertical one. He taps left of the vertical line, the side where they just came from and says, “That’s Kim pack neutral ground. That,” Taehyung taps under the horizontal line, “Is Park pack territory and that,” Taehyung jumps over the horizontal line and faces Jimin, “is Park pack neutral ground. If we give the Jeon pack this piece of land back I won’t be allowed to stand where I am right now without permission from Jeon Jungkook. Right now, the neutral ground is safe, or is supposed to be per contract. We don’t know what the Jeon pack is doing right now. But if the Jeon pack gets the neutral ground back, they’ll be this close to us. Do you understand why your father doesn’t want to agree to these terms? It’s dangerous. Too much of a risk to take.”

Jimin looks at the two lines in front of him. Jimin wouldn’t even know they would be there if it weren’t for Taehyung drawing them into the ground. It’s fascinating that something as invisible as this can be killed and fought over. Just two lines, separating three packs. It’s only a line and Taehyung is waiting on the other side, yet Jimin feels dread at the thought of crossing it.

---

“Jiminie!” Seokjin exclaims when he sees Jimin. The pup sitting on the ground looks up to see what the commotion is about, toys forgotten for a second as she watches her father hug Jimin.

“Seokjinie!” Jimin calls out just to annoy his friend. He knows how much the man hates the nickname but Jimin can’t resist.

Seokjin narrows his eyes at Jimin but the scowl turns into a smile soon. “I can’t believe you haven’t visited me for this long. What kind of friend are you?”

Jimin pouts. “I was busy. A lot has been going on recently. And you also didn’t visit us. Who said I have to be the only one to visit you?”

“Don’t look for any excuses,” Seokjin scoffs. “Once you have a mate, you’ll understand why it’s not that easy to just visit someone for a whole day with your pup. Especially when your mate is an overprotective alpha.”

“Mhm. Didn’t see you complain when you were gushing about his knot.”

Seokjin makes a protesting sound, swatting Jimin’s arm. “Shut up. Someone might hear you. And how could you right in front of my daughter?”

Jimin laughs at Seokjin’s dramatics. As if Seokjin hasn’t unashamedly let everyone know how much in love him and Namjoon are. Rolling his eyes at the complains that are still falling off Seokjin’s lips, he turns to the pup on the ground and coos, “Hey, Heeyeon.”

The pup looks at him, shaking the toy in her hands, and goes back to playing. Jimin pouts.

“Come on, we used to be best friends. How could you forget me in a month?”

“That’s what you get for not visiting.”

Jimin sticks his tongue out at Seokjin. He takes the small box out, removing a biscuit and handing the rest to Seokjin. “For you, by the way.”

“Namjoon loves those,” Seokjin exclaims, putting the box on his bedside table. Jimin knows for a fact that Seokjin loves those biscuits more and yet he puts them aside for his mate.

Seokjin's and Namjoon's mating fascinates Jimin. Seokjin is from a pack far away. He still remembers seeing Namjoon on his twentieth birthday, asking him about his mate multiple times. Back then Namjoon had said he felt no real pull which must mean that his mate still wasn't twenty. But as the days passed, Namjoon got sicker and sicker. At one point he had barely escaped death during an accident on a hunt. After that his father had sent him away to concentrate on himself and find his mate. The fact that he got sicker each day could only mean that his mate was from another pack. And that was the case. After a month, Namjoon had come back with Seokjin.

Often Jimin wonders if his mate is also in another pack but then again he doesn't feel sick, and he knows from Seokjin that Seokjin was just as sick as Namjoon when Namjoon took too long to find him. 

Jimin kneels on the ground and holds the biscuit out to Heeyeon. “Here,” he coos, shaking the biscuit to get Heeyeon’s attention. “Do you want one?”

Heeyeon lets the toy drop and crawls over to Jimin, closing her small fingers around the biscuit, looking gigantic in her tiny fist. Jimin lets the biscuit go and slowly pulls Heeyeon into his lap as she’s busy with stuffing her cheeks full of the biscuits.

Seokjin makes them a cup of tea but Jimin’s gets cold on the bedside table because he refuses to let go of Heeyeon. Jimin lets Seokjin lead the conversation but never once forgets his second reason to visit his friend: asking him about Jeon Jungkook.

“Can she walk?” Jimin asks, trying to make Heeyeon stand.

“Of course, she can walk already. She can even run,” Seokjin says, sounding scandalized.

He stands up, determined to show Jimin, and picks up Heeyeon, helping her stand on her feet. Jimin kneels in front of the open door and holds his arms out invitingly.

“Come here,” Jimin coos.

Heeyeon looks at Jimin with big eyes, still tightly holding on to her father’s fingers. Seokjin pushes her gently into Jimin’s direction. Slowly, Seokjin takes his fingers out of her grips but holds his hands close in case she falls. Heeyeon is still for a moment but then takes a tentative step towards Jimin.

Jimin’s eyes widen, mouth falling open when Heeyeon wavers, Seokjin’s moves his hands around her in case he needs to catch her but it’s not needed. She gains her toddler-like balance back, still swaying from side to side, but taking certain steps towards Jimin nonetheless. Jimin beams at her, quietly clapping into his hands and urging her to walk into his arms. Heeyeon walks towards Jimin, walks around him and then out of the door.

Jimin looks at Seokjin wide-eyed, a little offended she walked pasted him, a little mesmerized by her. He turns around and follows her out of Seokjin’s bedroom. He has caught up to Heeyeon in two seconds but doesn’t catch her. Instead they play a round of tag, Heeyeon’s squeals filling the empty house as Jimin chases her in a ducked position. She falls down a handful of times but Jimin is quick to set her on her feet again.

Jimin stubs his toe against a chair in the living room and lands on his ass, fingers tightly wrapped around his toe. Heeyeon looks at Jimin with big eyes, her squeals having stopped.

Jimin points at his foot, pouting, and whines. “I hurt myself.”

Heeyeon squeals again and runs out of the living room. Jimin knows that she’s only a pup and doesn’t know what the proper reaction to someone hurting themselves is, pups are sadistic little shits anyway, but Jimin still feels hurt.

He gets up with a pout, about to tell off Seokjin because it’s his daughter laughing about his pain – he can hardly tell off the pup for it – turns around the corner and almost walks into someone. Jimin holds himself back last second but is already too close to the person, face buried in his chest. Jimin can smell that it’s an alpha but he isn’t alarmed for some reason.

Jimin raises his head and looks into dark brown eyes. The alpha is almost a head taller than him, dark hair, but with a cute button like nose and doe eyes. There is a mole under his lower lip, and Jimin almost goes cross-eyed looking at it.

Jimin’s gut clenches when he looks at the unmoving alpha, the air crackling around them with tension. He wants to say something, apologize and leave but he can’t move. He only does so when Namjoon appears next to them.

“Jungkook, you’re here already.”

Jimin blinks at the alpha owlishly, neither of them breaking eye-contact. Then Jimin processes Namjoon’s words. His mouth falls open, eyes widen as he looks at the alpha properly for the first time. Jeon Jungkook, his mind helpfully provides.

Jungkook cocks his head and Jimin wants to coo at how cute the alpha looks but then he’s suddenly turned around by his elbow, another hand coming up to grip his other elbow so that his back is towards Jungkook. Namjoon stares down at Jimin, turns both of them around so that Jimin’s frame is shielded by Namjoon’s and Jungkook won’t see him anymore. Jimin doesn’t protest when Namjoon gently pushes him and he has to walk backwards because Namjoon won’t let him go. Once they’re in Namjoon’s bedroom, Namjoon closes the door behind them, sitting Jimin down on his bed and letting go of him.

“What’s wrong?” Seokjin asks, Heeyeon in his arms.

Jimin stares at the omega, at a loss for words. Namjoon wasn’t harsh nor did his grip hurt but Jimin is still taken off guard by it. Never has he been treated in this way, ripped out of a situation in such a blunt way.

“Wait five minutes and then send him back home with Sungyeol,” Namjoon whispers.

Although Seokjin wants know what is happening, he only nods and sits down next to Jimin. Jimin lowers his head after Namjoon leaves, feeling like a child that has been scolded for something he didn’t even do. Seokjin notes Jimin bad mood and pats his head.

“I didn’t do anything,” Jimin murmurs. “Jeon Jungkook was just suddenly there.”

Seokjin inhales sharply and then lets the breath out in a sigh. He puts Heeyeon on the ground and then turns to Jimin, making sure that he has the boy’s attention. “Your father doesn’t want you or any other Park wolf near the Jeon wolves. You know that, right?”

Jimin nods weakly.

“Namjoon is only looking out for you, trying to respect your father’s wish because he has to look at this from a head alpha’s point of view. We trust you when you say you didn’t do anything but we still can’t let you be with Jungkook.”

“I know,” Jimin says. He opens his mouth to say something else, to explain himself but nothing comes out. Closing his mouth defeatedly, Jimin pouts and waits for Sungyeol to appear and take him back.

Jimin bids goodbye to Seokjin, wonders what Namjoon and Jungkook must be talking about, and bemoans the fact that his visit had ended this way. He didn’t even ask Seokjin about Jungkook

---

“Stop pouting and eat,” Jimin’s mother says and pushes his plate closer to him.

Jimin picks up his spoon but only pushes the food around his plate without eating any of it. It has been a week since the day Jimin met Jeon Jungkook in Namjoon’s cabin and two days since Jihyun found his mate and has disappeared into his future cabin to mate with her.

“Jimin,” Head Alpha Park says when he sees what Jimin is doing.

“I feel sick,” Jimin whines, which is true. Jimin hasn’t been feeling well since the whole morning. He feels nerves and excitement rush through him at the same time, confusing him more than he already is.

“You have been moping since two days,” his father reminds him. “You should be happy for your brother.”

“I am happy for him.” Jimin’s voice is laced with guilt. “I am sad for myself.”

“Do you really want a mate that bad and move out? Do you not like your old parents a little bit?”

Jimin furrows his eyebrows at his mother’s questions. “That’s not what this is about. Everyone my age, all of my friends, have found their mate. Wolves who are younger than me have found their soulmates. How much younger than me is my soulmate going to be? It’s already almost two years already.” His wolf whines in the end for good measure too.

“Well, you can’t control that.”

“Remember when we were children you used to say you could do everything as a head alpha,” Jimin reminds his dad. “Now do it.”

His parents laugh out loud, making Jimin pout even more. Jimin does his duties for the rest of the day to distract himself and manages to finish everything by noon. Afterwards, he locks himself in his room, burying himself under the blankets. He hopes a nap will be able to get rid off the giddiness inside him that makes his stomach flip. It has been only getting worse since the morning,

Seems like fate even now decides to be an asshole to him, not letting him sleep. Jimin makes himself a cup of tea and even eats some biscuits to get something into his empty stomach but it doesn’t help. He spends an hour, tossing in his bed after he falls asleep. It has barely been half an hour when the door bursts open loudly.

“So you’re actually still moping?”

“Piss off, Tae. This is a single wolves area only.” Jimin’s voice is muffled from the blankets and raspy from the nap.

Taehyung rips the blankets off of Jimin and tugs him into a sitting position. Jimin whines but Taehyung doesn’t show any mercy. His wolf tells him to bite off Taehyung’s hand but welcomes the idea of getting out anyway. His wolf is sometimes a big traitor.

"You're being way too ridiculous. You need to go out a little bit," Taehyung says and brings Jimin to his feet.

“I don’t feel well,” Jimin protests but it goes on deaf ears.

Taehyung proceeds to tug Jimin out of his cabin, and in the fresh air it feels like Jimin can finally breathe freely again. They walk around aimlessly until they reach the forest, and Jimin gets giddier by each second again. His uneasiness turns into excitement.

Taehyung notices it and before he can say what he wants to, Jimin gives him this look that Taehyung recognizes immediately even though it doesn't happen often. Jimin usually has this look on his face when he is going to do something mischievous.

"Jimin," Taehyung says warningly and Jimin breaks out into a smile.

Taehyung takes a step towards Jimin but in the same moment Jimin starts running too. He barely escapes Taehyung's grip and runs, runs because he feels like doing so and walking is not fast enough. Running feels a lot more freeing and even though the nervousness in Jimin's chest flows into his whole body, it feels right. It feels like Jimin is getting closer and closer to a place where he should be.

Jimin isn’t faster than Taehyung per se, but he always been a fast runner. This time, Jimin runs without Taehyung expecting it so he’s taken off guard and he even falls to the ground in his unexpected pursuit after Jimin, but by then the gap between Jimin and Taehyung is huge.

Jimin's lungs feel like they are going to burst and he laughs out loud, not knowing where he gets the air for it from. He should have listened to Taehyung from the beginning on then he would have spared himself from a lot of moping. But that’s how he is: stubborn and thick-headed, just like now.

Taehyung is still screaming something that Jimin can’t decipher. The run reminds Jimin of what he and Taehyung used to do when they were children. Back then, everyone expected the first born of Head Alpha Park to be an alpha, so Jimin trained like one. Taehyung would gladly participate in Jimin’s games of tag and hide and seek which was their children form of going hunting.

Jimin loves those times. He imagines how he’ll go back home and tell Sooyoung and Minjae how he can still win this game after so many years, even going as far as imagining going against the other beta and alpha too. The fantasy is still playing in Jimin’s head when he hears a howl. Jimin looks to his left, seeing a big grey wolf approach him, and knock him off his feet. Jimin hits his head on the ground, hard, and cries out in pain.

When the black dots in front of Jimin's sight vanish slowly and the world stops spinning, he identifies the weight on top of his chest as the grey wolf’s paw. Fear fills him upon the discovery. Jimin manages to avert his gaze from the threatening canines in front of his face and looks back to see Taehyung standing a couple of meters away, as if an invisible force is holding him back. The border.

Jimin tenses when a second wolf approaches, and Taehyung, who is already rigid, forms his hands into fists. It’s a way of his to maintain his control, has often gotten Taehyung into trouble because it’s misinterpreted as anger but Jimin knows. His friend is desperately trying to cling to his sanity.

The second wolf halts a few steps before he reaches Jimin and shifts back into his human form. Jimin sighs in relief. It means they’re ready to listen and maybe even negotiate.

“You’re Park wolves,” the man says, “What are you doing on Jeon territory?”

Jimin gapes. He didn’t even know in which territory he went over to.

“It was an honest mistake,” Taehyung says through gritted teeth. “Please let him go.”

The man looks back at Jimin, assessing him for a second, then turns to Taehyung again. “We can’t do that. We have strict orders to bring every trespasser to our head alpha.”

“You have no right to keep someone as a prisoner without a serious offence,” Taehyung protests, volume rising. “Let him go.”

The man chuckles humourlessly. “You Park pack have always loved telling others what to do and what not. He has left the neutral grounds and entered out territory without asking for permission. It’s our right to keep him.”

The wolf on top of Jimin steps back, getting Taehyung’s and Jimin’s attention. He shifts back and pulls Jimin to his feet, grip tight enough so Jimin can’t escape.

“Hey!” Taehyung exclaims, walking towards Jimin. He only makes few steps towards Jimin when the second wolf attacks him, pinning him to the ground. Jimin gasps and heads towards Taehyung, to beg the alpha not to hurt his friend but is pulled back by the beta.

Taehyung kicks the alpha off of him, landing one hit on his jaw and then turning to the beta. The beta’s eyes widen but he lets go of Jimin, attacking Taehyung. Taehyung dodges his fist, throwing the beta onto his back. Evading the alpha’s punch, Taehyung knees him in the stomach and throws him to the ground again.

Jimin doesn’t know what to do. It’s obvious in the way the Jeon wolves are fighting that they are beginners. They don’t have the right balance, hold their fists wrong, and are too slow and clumsy in the execution of their attacks. Taehyung is in no danger and has the upper hand as the trained and skilled alpha. But this is still a problem on another level. They are on the Jeon pack territory unrightfully and are fighting Jeon wolves. Taehyung may only want to protect Jimin but he is still in the wrong just as Jimin.

Jimin is overwhelmed with the situation. His heart is beating too fast and he feels dizzy, feeling sick again.

The wolves are laying on the ground and groaning, having given up on the idea to stand back up again. Taehyung grabs Jimin’s wrist but instead of leading him past the border again, he pushes Jimin out of the way and is pounced on by a wolf.

“Tae!” Jimin screams, laying on the ground.

Taehyung is still under the wolf who is snarling into Taehyung’s face, claws right above Taehyung’s heart. Jimin sits up, not having the chance to stand up as a wolf growls right next to him. As if he has it in him to fight four wolves.

After finally having gotten back up again, the alpha and beta grab Taehyung by his arms and drag him to Jimin where he is forced on his knees. Jimin feels like crying but he bites his lower lip, not feeling like has a right to shed tears when all of this is his fault. His wolf is whining pathetically too.

“Please don’t hurt him,” Jimin begs when Taehyung grimaces.

The young alpha’s eyes soften. He looks at Jimin once and then averts his eyes. “As long as he behaves, we don’t plan to.”

“H-he will,” Jimin promises, “Right, Taetae?”

Taehyung looks at Jimin once and sighs. “Yes. What are we waiting for?”

The alpha wolf who attacked Taehyung shifts back, answering. “We’re waiting for Head Alpha Jeon.”

Jimin’s eyes widen, stomach sinking when hears that. Taehyung shows no reaction other than clenching one hand. Taehyung and Jimin exchange one glance but no one knows what to do. This is protocol. If someone had trespassed into their territory, they also would have brought the trespasser to Head Alpha Park. Jimin doesn’t know whether this is a good thing for him or bad.

“Hey,” Taehyung says after a moment of silence. “Are you alright?”

Jimin notices only now that he is shaking, badly, sweat rolling down his temples. He doesn’t know why he is but the feeling that has accompanied him since that morning is getting overwhelming per each passing second.

“Hey,” the alpha who is holding Taehyung coos. “It’s fine. Head Alpha Jeon won’t hurt you. He’s really nice.”

“Don’t talk to him,” Taehyung snarls before Jimin can respond.

The alpha furrows his eyebrows, the beta laughing. The wolf next to Jimin and the second, older alpha don’t move.

“You’re always so smitten with omegas,” the beta says.

“Am not!” the alpha protests, heat rising up his cheeks.

“I’ll claw your eyes out and rip off your arms,” Taehyung growls.

“That’s enough,” the second alpha bellows. “No one talk anymore.”

After that they don’t have to wait any longer. Jimin’s world is still spinning and the wolf is still standing next to him, blocking most of his view which is why he doesn’t Jungkook approach but hears him.

“What’s going on here?”

Jimin looks up. It’s his first time hearing the alpha’s voice but Jimin’s insides still scream in recognition.

“They trespassed and the alpha attacked us,” the beta explains.

Jungkook steps forward, Jimin now seeing his legs from where he’s still sitting on the ground. The energy in him reaches its peak.

Jungkook’s voice is much sterner, colder when he speaks up again, “Is there a reason you attacked my pack members.”

Jimin can’t hold it in anymore. He jumps to his feet, right in front of Jungkook, and shields Taehyung with his body. His plan was to tell Jungkook that this is his fault and that Taehyung only wanted to protect him, appeal to his alpha side and remind him of their meeting in Namjoon’s house, hoping that Jungkook will be merciful in his punishment. But as he stands in front of Jungkook, looking into his eyes, he does none of it. Jimin’s mouth remains open, voice lost and heart hammering against his chest. Blood rushes in his ears, all sounds around him subdued. All he can hear is his own heartbeat and faintly a second one that gets louder each second, almost exploding in Jimin’s head. Jimin gasps, knees giving out under him.

Jungkook catches him. He wraps his arms around Jimin’s waist, pressing him close against himself. In the same moment, the older alpha next to Jimin puts his hands on Jimin, the other alpha and beta letting go of Taehyung to steady Jimin. Jungkook turns to the older alpha and snarls in his face, eyes having turned red. The alpha pulls his hands back as if he has been burned, the other two pulling back as fast as possible, too, the wolf whimpering and lowering his head – all of them looking terrified. Taehyung remains on the ground, wide-eyed and unmoving.

Once the wolves are a safe distance away, Jungkook turns back to Jimin and helps him to his feet. Jimin is panting weakly, hands fisted into his furs, and eyes closed. Jungkook purrs into his ear and then nuzzles his neck. Jimin’s omega feels calm in an instant, going putty in Jungkook’s hold. He wraps his arms around Jungkook’s torso and hides his face in his chest. The overwhelming feelings from the whole day disappear without leaving a trace.

“Mate,” Jungkook breathes, Jimin and his omega almost mewling at being addressed so intimately. “You came for me.”

Jimin looks up, smile coy as he nods. Jungkook’s smile turns soft and his grip on Jimin’s hip tightens, eyes sparkling. He noses along Jimin’s temple, Jimin shivering in his hold, tilting his head to allow Jungkook to reach his neck. His omega excitedly jumps up and down at the possibility of mating right then and there, no matter how unrealistic it is. Jimin is fine with being scent marked, fingers tightening his hold Jungkook’s furs.

Before any of that can happen, Jimin is ripped away from Jungkook and out of his fantasy. His omega cries out, pain filling Jimin’s chest as he’s pulled against a firm chest and away from Jungkook. Jungkook growls loudly, hands reaching out to grab Jimin but coming up empty but he stays where he is, chest heaving and body shaking.

Taehyung turns Jimin to himself and shakes him by his shoulders. “Have you lost your mind?” he barks.

Jimin’s distress grows when he hears Jungkook growl warningly.

“He’s my mate,” Jimin whispers, wanting Taehyung to understand. Shouldn’t Taehyung be happy for him that he found his mate?

“He’s Jeon Jungkook. Head alpha of the Jeon pack and rival of Head Alpha Park,” Taehyung says, gaze having turned sad from angry. “We need to leave.”

Jimin’s heart breaks when he hears that and then shatters into a million pieces when he can’t find a reason to protest. Without looking back, Taehyung tugs him away and Jimin lets him.

The young alpha blocks Taehyung’s way before he can leave their territory. “You can’t just take away Head Alpha Jeon’s mate. He belongs to us.”

“Move,” Taehyung growls, getting so close to the alpha that their noses almost touch.

The alpha blanches but looks back to Jungkook. Jimin turns when he hears Jungkook approach him.

“I won’t ask you to stay,” Jungkook says, the red in his eyes gone, leaving behind dark brown irises. Jimin wants nothing but cuddle into his side. “But I want you to know that you can. You’re always welcomed here.” Jimin’s heart starts to go haywire, Jimin trying to swallow the lump in his throat. “I would like it if you visited me.”

Jimin’s eyes fill with tears. His wolf is asking him what he’s waiting for. His mate is standing in front of them with open arms. He only needs to jump right into them. He will protect them, not let anyone hurt them, and keep them safe from all harm. Look at how tall he is, how strong he felt. Jimin almost keens at the memory.

Taehyung tugs at his arm, voice weak when he says, “We need to go.”

Anger flashes across Jungkook’s face but he shakes it off fast. He takes a step closer to Jimin, scent enveloping Jimin and calming his nerves. Jungkook’s hand raises into the air but stops before it can make contact with Jimin.

“Your name. Can I know your name?” His voice is soft, lulling Jimin into him.

The way Jungkook asks breaks Jimin’s heart. It’s as if he’s asking if he’s worth knowing Jimin’s name, and Jimin wants to scream that he’s worth so much. So much more than Jimin can provide and give.

“They’re looking for us most probably,” Taehyung mutters close to Jimin’s ear, urgency lacing his voice. Jimin knows he’s trying to keep him from telling Jungkook his name. Just because Jungkook doesn’t know how Head Alpha Park’s son looks like, doesn’t mean he doesn’t know his name, and right now, it’s only a precaution to let no one know his real identity.

His name is the first thing his mate, his alpha, is asking of him and Jimin can’t even give him that. Jimin sobs and lowers his head, wolf howling in pain, hoping Jungkook won’t hate him. Taehyung pulls Jimin again, and this time no one tries to stop him. Jimin doesn’t dare look back.

Chapter Text

Jimin doesn’t tell his father about Jungkook being his soulmate and spends the next days with crying, only coming out of his room when he needs to do his chores and fulfil his responsibilities. Taehyung is always hovering around him, his parents and friends, having grown concerned, but Jimin can’t help it. He didn’t even have his mate for five minutes, and every time Jimin thinks back to that day he finds more and more reasons to get sad about.

Jimin is already twenty-one which must mean that on the day he and Jungkook met for the second time it was Jungkook’s twentieth birthday, his second coming of age. It was the day where he can officially take over the pack as a head alpha without anyone questioning his claim, where he became a full alpha, reaching his whole potential to do with it whatever he wants to. Jimin met him on such an important day, and didn’t even remember to congratulate him.

Not only that but Jimin didn’t even tell him his name. Jungkook asked for it on his birthday and Jimin denied his wish. His wolf will never let Jimin forget that. Jimin’s heart constricts painfully when he remembers that he didn’t even say a word to Jungkook. His soulmate doesn’t know his name, doesn’t know how he sounds. He’s awful.

On top of that, Jimin must have hurt Jungkook in the wort way possible. If his omega is hurting this much, how hurt must Jungkook’s alpha be? It is highly advised against spending the first few days where you find your soulmate separated from each other, and that’s exactly what Jimin is doing.

It’s not helping that Jimin’s father is growing more and more against Jungkook. Namjoon came over the other day to discuss Jungkook’s request about the neutral grounds again. Jimin joined the meeting in hopes of finding a change in his father’s stance towards Jungkook but instead walked out almost crying after witnessing his father’s vehement refusal to consider a negotiation.

In hindsight, it wasn’t that dramatic. Jimin is only exaggerating because he is overly emotional and sensitive, both him and his wolf yearning for Jungkook. Jimin knows his father’s refusal is justified. Just because Jungkook is his soulmate doesn’t mean Jungkook is that different from his father.

Head Alpha Jeon won’t hurt you. He’s really nice.

Jimin’s wolf whines against every bad thought about their mate, whispering how Jungkook is most probably the nicest alpha on earth. He, after all, let Jimin go without forcing him to stay or mating him although he kind of has a claim on them as their soulmate.

And that’s all that Jimin has been doing the past three days.

Taehyung tries to cheer Jimin up and distract him from the whole problem but neither Jimin nor his wolf want to see him at the moment. A voice in him hisses how Taehyung is the reason he’s away from his mate, why he’s in pain. It’s unfair, Jimin knows that, but he can’t help it. Taehyung is hurting for him a lot. It can be seen in the guilt written all over his face and the pain in his voice when he’s begging Jimin to talk to him.

On the third day, Jimin decides that him and Jungkook hurting is enough wolves hurting, he doesn’t need to hurt Taehyung too, and spends a good amount of time crying in Taehyung’s arms, apologizing profusely. He cheers up in front of others, also allowing Jihyun to be happy with his beta soulmate, but in the confines of his own room Jimin lets the façade fall.

He can live without Jungkook. It’s only a matter of days until Namjoon and Yoongi find a way to convince his father to give the Jeon pack a chance. Then Jimin can tell his father that Jungkook is his mate and everything will be fine. If Namjoon and Yoongi fail, then well… He’ll have to spend the rest of his life without Jungkook.

In his weakest moment, Jimin plays with the thought of going to Jungkook. Jungkook told him he’s always welcome in his pack, but then Jimin would have to leave behind his family and friends, his whole pack, and Jimin doesn’t think he can do that. Living away from Jungkook, however, also seems impossible. Fate is too cruel to him.

Jimin manages well in keeping up the façade. During the day, he takes over more chores to keep himself distracted and busy. When night falls, Jimin has a lot of problems to keep the memories of Jungkook away. He thinks of Jungkook’s body against his, his scent that calmed him so fast. He wonders about all the way Jungkook could hold him, the ways Jungkook could smell to him. Jimin dreams about spending a lifetime with a Jeon Jungkook that is as nice as Namjoon and even more. Imagines his father welcoming them over for a dinner or Jimin fussing in his own cabin with Jungkook, expecting his family over and panicking that not everything has been prepared.

Jimin thinks of skin against skin, hot breaths mingling as there is no space left between their bodies, the dark of the night covering their most intimate moments. Jimin imagines smelling like Jungkook and Jungkook smelling like him, thinks about the ways Jungkook would mark him up for the world to see whose mate Jimin is. The dream about how Jungkook gives Jimin his rightful mating bite feels so real, Jimin wakes up with his pants creamed and his body feverish, fearing the dream triggered his heat.

Jimin works himself into exhaustion so at the end of the day he’ll be too tired to think, welcoming the sweet thought of an unoccupied and unbothered mind, but then his dreams take over. They’re more overwhelming than his thoughts and daydreams. Jungkook feels real in them, calling his name, breathing it as he laughs, burning it into Jimin’s skin. Waking up and realizing it’s only a dream, faintly feeling Jungkook’s touch but knowing it’s not his is the worst. It hurts more than the dreams in itself. Once it’s so bad, Jimin starts crying and sobbing so loudly it wakes his parents. His mother spends the rest of the night with him.

Jimin starts not sleeping.

It’s not a wise decision. Sometimes Jimin only manages to sleep for an hour, on good days for five. It takes a toll on his body and mind, making him more sensitive and irritable. He falls asleep randomly during the day and once almost sets the kitchen on fire.

It’s the tenth day, and Jimin walks out of his cabin looking and feeling like a corpse. He is assigned to taking care of the pups, the elders hoping that the pup’s presence will calm Jimin and in case Jimin nods off again, the other omegas will be able to keep an eye on him. Jimin only notices Taehyung after he’s standing right in front of him.

“Oh,” Jimin murmurs, forcing a smile, “Hey.”

Taehyung stares at him with a devastated look and then shakes his head. “Come on,” he says, taking Jimin’s head and pulling him in the opposite direction of the nursery.

“Where to? The nursery is in the other direction.”

“I know. The elders gave you a free week, and we’re going to use that week wisely.”

“They told me to go to the nursery,” Jimin protests. He doesn’t want a week full of calm and silence that can be filled with thoughts of Jungkook. He wants to be exhausted and not think.

“I requested it today. I’ll explain later. Hop on,” Taehyung orders and kneels in front of Jimin, urging him to hop onto his back.

“Tae.”

“Jiminie, please. Trust me.” The urgency is Taehyung’s voice makes him relent, slowly climbing on his back and closing his eyes. The next time Jimin opens his eyes, he’s in Taehyung’s arms and they’re on their rock near the river.

“Hey,” Taehyung coos, shaking Jimin slightly.

Jimin blinks his eyes, licking his chapped lips, and buries his nose in Taehyung’s neck. He nuzzles his scent glands, chasing the purest form of Taehyung’s scent he can get to calm him down. It reminds Jimin of his childhood and teenage years, way before Taehyung mated Mina and his scent got tainted for Jimin. Taehyung’s own scent is what Jimin is missing the most, Mina’s scent that is mixed with Taehyung’s is there to keep him away from the claimed alpha. Taehyung himself tenses a little but forces himself to relax.

Jimin wants to swat Taehyung’s hands away and request five more minutes for as long as he makes up for all the lost sleep, but the thought of dreaming of Jungkook is what makes him oblige to his friend’s request.

“Do you want to elope for a week?” Jimin asks, smiling when Taehyung chuckles.

“Mina will kill us,” Taehyung retorts, making Jimin smile wider.

“Then what else do you want?”

Taehyung wraps his arms around Jimin properly. “I talked to Namjoon.”

Jimin hums, urging him to continue.

“I asked him about Jeon Jungkook.”

Jimin freezes. Taehyung tightens his grip on him, crushing Jimin, but it’s what he needs to remain calm.

“I didn’t tell him why. He said Jungkook is nice. He thinks he deserves a chance to make his plans real, give his pack a better future.”

“So?” Jimin dares to asks after Taehyung is quiet for a while, breathing harshly.

“So, I thought you two deserve a chance too.”

Jimin recoils. “Don’t,” he begs, trying to push Taehyung away but Taehyung won’t let him go.

“Jimin, listen.” Jimin fists his hands into Taehyung’s shirt, closes his eyes in hopes of finding enough strength to hear what Taehyung has to say. “This is nature, Jimin. Jungkook is your soulmate and you can’t fight against that.”

“Dad,” Jimin protests, shaking his head.

“Will understand,” Taehyung interrupts before Jimin can finish his sentence. “Your dad loves you. He will be able to look past his prejudice towards Jeon Jungkook once he finds out he’s your mate.”

“Just because he’s my mate doesn’t mean he’s nice, that he’s different from his father.”

“Do you really think every pack would give Jeon Jungkook a chance if he were like his father? Did you see those kids that called themselves betas and alphas but couldn’t raise a fist? Do you really think they would follow someone like Jungkook if he were like the tyrant he freed them from? I don’t trust him. I can’t yet but I am willing to give him a chance. And even if he has bad sides to him, doesn’t mean you can’t show him the right path.”

“I can’t,” Jimin protests, physically hurting at Taehyung’s words. His wolf is also whimpering pathetically.

“It was wrong of me to keep you from your soulmate, Jimin. I thought it was for the best but now we know that it isn’t. You’re hurting and that’s not right. It can never be right,” Taehyung says. “Lets visit him today. Only today,” Taehyung adds when Jimin starts shaking his head again.

Jimin starts crying softly, puffy eyes going red again. It’s fascinating how Jimin still has so many tears to shed after crying for hours on end and barely drinking anything. Taehyung rocks him back and forth, carding his fingers through Jimin’s hair gently.

Jimin’s wolf is whimpering and howling pathetically, craving his alpha. In the end, Jimin doesn’t need much persuasion at all to agree.

“I’ll always be there,” Taehyung promises right before they set out.

Taehyung holds Jimin’s hands all the way to the Jeon pack’s border. He leads Jimin along a way that isn’t next to the Park pack’s territory but the Kim’s and where he knows for sure there will be barely any patrol. Jimin follows Taehyung this time, not taking a step ahead of him no matter how much his heart starts beating faster. Excitement and anxiety fill him again, leaving him a mess and uncertain of every step. When Taehyung stops right in front of an invisible line like he did the last time, Jimin hides behind him, clutching to his arm as if his life depends on it.

Taehyung looks around the trees, trying to detect with his hearing and his nose whether someone is near. He picks up a stone and throws against a tree. They don’t have to wait long for a wolf to appear between the trees.

“Hey,” Taehyung says, raising one hand to wave awkwardly. “We’re here for Jeo- I mean Head Alpha Jeon. Can you tell him it’s someone important from the Park pack?”

The wolf stares at them for a moment, eyes wandering to Jimin’s form hiding behind Taehyung. Then he disappears into the distance.

Taehyung sighs and faces Jimin. “Guess we have to wait now.”

Jimin nods and doesn’t let go of Taehyung’s hand. While he’s waiting he has a moment where he wants to yell at Taehyung for making him do this, and almost runs off. He writes it off for being sleep-deprived and stays rooted to his place, leaning his head against Taehyung’s arm. Taehyung rubs his back up and down, trying to offer as much support as he can.

When Jimin hears movement behind him, he tenses and tightens his grip on Taehyung’s hand. He feels like throwing up.

“Hey,” Taehyung whispers, patting his head. “It’s fine. You can look.”

Jimin turns around ever so slowly, gaze stuck to the ground. He is still gripping Taehyung’s hand when he raises his eyes. He sucks in a sharp breath when he spots Jungkook, heart going haywire. Jungkook looks just like he has the other two times Jimin has met him, tall and muscular, stance demanding attention and respect, only with ruffled hair and slightly pale skin. Jimin wonders if he is the reason for the alpha’s bad state, his wolf howling in agony at the thought.

Jimin lets go of Taehyung’s hand and takes a small step towards Jungkook. A small smile takes over Jungkook’s face and he starts walking too. Jungkook is the one to cross the border and stand three meters away from Jimin. Those three meters seem larger than the distance when Jimin was in his own pack, taunting him.

“Hey,” Jungkook whispers loud enough for Jimin to hear.

Jimin should greet him back but it’s the first time he will speak to his mate, so he is nervous. He doesn’t just want to say ‘hey’, he wants to say something meaningful but his brain has stopped working. “Jungkook,” he croaks, voice breaking at the end.

Jungkook’s eyes widen, body tensing. He stands unmoving for a moment. Then he inhales deeply and nods. “That was surprising.”

The corner of Jimin’s lips twitch and he feels a little embarrassed. Jungkook must think he’s desperate. Which he is at this point but that doesn’t mean he wants Jungkook to know that.

“You don’t look very well. Do you want to sit down?”

Jimin looks back at Taehyung, as if he has been asked the hardest question of his life. Taehyung nods once, smiling reassuringly. When he looks back at Jungkook, Jungkook seems distant but looks at Jimin with kindness nonetheless.

“I would love to.” Jimin retorts.

Jungkook nods and then points at a tree to his right, still out of his own territory. “Is there fine?”

Jimin nods and follows Jungkook to the tree. He rests his back against the trunk and watches Jungkook sit down against a tree in front of him, now away for more than three meters.

Jimin’s wolf is aching. So is Jimin’s chest. He wants to be closer to Jungkook, let his presence heal his wounds. Jimin wants wants wants. Distance is the reason why he got them so how come they’re still apart from each other? Jimin’s wolf doesn’t understand, and honestly, neither does he anymore.

“You must have been busy,” Jimin says after some silence. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s fine. You’re important too.”

Jimin’s omega purrs at that, finally calming down. It gets silent again for a while.

“So you are a Park wolf?” Jungkook asks cautiously.

It’s obvious why Jungkook is asking. He’s hoping that Jimin will say he’s from another pack, most likely from a pack that is on good terms with the Jeon pack, and it breaks Jimin’s heart that he can’t give Jungkook the answer he wants to hear. Jimin nods once, curtly.

A sad smile takes over Jungkook’s face and he lowers his head for a moment. “I just…thought that you might be from the Kim pack because I saw you at Namjoon’s cabin.”

“I was visiting Namjoon’s mate. We’re friends.”

“You… didn’t get into any troubles in your pack because of… us, right?”

Jimin shakes his head, not knowing how to tell Jungkook he didn’t tell anyone about this. He doesn’t want to hurt the alpha’s feelings and let him think that he is ashamed of him. It’s just precaution because he doesn’t know what effect it will have on the negotiations. “I didn’t tell anyone,” Jimin admits quietly.

Jungkook remains stoic, not a muscle moving that would betray his feelings or thoughts.

“So you’re safe?” Jungkook asks.

“I’m always safe. No one would hurt me because of this,” Jimin says fast.

“Yes, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to insinuate something. I’m just worried because you look sick.”

Warmth fills Jimin’s chest, spreading into his body. “I just couldn’t sleep well. T-the distance didn’t… do well with my wolf.”

“I hope you didn’t suffer too much,” Jungkook says softly.

“Not more than you apparently,” Jimin retorts, taking in Jungkook’s pale skin and dark circles under his eyes. “I’m sorry I took so long to come back.”

Jungkook smiles softly. “I understand. You can’t just go against your pack. I hope today’s meeting won’t be a problem.”

Jimin shakes his head. “The elders allowed me a week off of my duties. Taehyung,” Jimin looks into Taehyung’s direction who is sitting facing them but has his face lowered, looking as if he’s asleep although he’s definitely not, “Requested it for me and brought me here.”

“I guess I have to thank him then.”

“Didn’t do it for you,” Taehyung exclaims.

Jimin pouts but doesn’t say anything. Taehyung, after all, told him he doesn’t trust Jungkook yet.

“I still owe you,” Jungkook calls.

Taehyung raises his head, assesses Jungkook once and then lowers his head again. “Just don’t make me regret this.”

Jungkook nods and looks at Jimin again. “I will try my hardest to protect you from all harm. You have me.”

“You don’t even know me,” Jimin says after a while of being stunned into silence. He can still feel his cheek burn.

“You’re my mate. I don’t need to know you but I would like to. If you allow it.”

Jimin lowers his head in shame, feeling like he is the reason why Jungkook can’t have his mate on his side. “I want to,” Jimin mumbles, “Can you be patient with me?”

“That’s the first thing you asked of me. How could I say no?”

Looking up, Jungkook is already looking at Jimin, smiling slightly. Jimin would love to smile back to be as reassuring as Jungkook is right now but he again remembers how he denied Jungkook his first request. Jimin doesn’t know what he’ll say when Jungkook asks for his name again. Then Jimin remembers something.

“Oh, happy belated birthday,” Jimin rushes to say, “I forgot to say it the other day.”

The biggest smile takes over Jungkook’s face, revealing a row of teeth. His chest shakes with the force of his laughter, eyes crinkling and upper front teeth sticking out cutely. His nose scrunches in an adorable way. It renders Jimin breathless.

“Thank you,” Jungkook says, looking down. Jimin almost protests, almost asks Jungkook to look up again just so he can stare at Jungkook’s smile for a little longer. “I guess you’re older than me.”

“I’ll be twenty-two next month.”

“You waited a long time for me then. Even on that day.”

“It’s not like you could just come marching into our pack.”

“Why not?” Jungkook asks, lips turned up at the edges. “You did.”

Jimin gapes, then closes his mouth as his ears start to burn. “I didn’t mean to. I didn’t realize where I was running.”

“I’m glad you did but…” Jungkook hesitates, shifting in his seat. “You should be more careful next time.”

“I won’t cross the border again.”

“I don’t mean to my pack,” Jungkook says. “You’re welcome in my pack. I’ve told my pack to not attack any wolf who crosses the border unless they have to defend themselves or someone else. You’re free to come as you please. I tried to keep it a secret that you’re a Park wolf but it kind of got out of hand and everyone found out. I told them to keep it to themselves, though.”

“That’s a dangerous order you’ve given your wolves,” Jimin remarks. He’s amazed at the lengths Jungkook goes to make sure Jimin is comfortable and safe.

“I doubt anyone will attack us. The negotiations are still going on.”

Jimin lowers his head at the mention of the negotiations again. His father is still adamantly against allowing the Jeon pack to relocate further south. He is ripped out of his thoughts when Jungkook speaks up again.

“I hope my wolves didn’t hurt you or your friend.”

Jimin did have a couple of bruises from that day but he recovered from them the same day. “I was fine. Thank you. Taetae was a little rough with them. I apologize for that. He only wanted to protect me.”

Jungkook’s eyes wander to Taehyung again and then back to Jimin. “I heard he’s a great fighter. I’ll see it as an experience for my wolves.”

“They’re very young. I’m a little surprised to see them do border patrols,” Jimin says, remembering how unexperienced they also were but he doesn’t mention that. He doesn’t want to offend Jungkook.

“We’re short on alphas and betas, as you may know. I know I shouldn’t put them in danger like this but it keeps the rest of the pack calm to see that they have a defence. I am trying to train them to my best abilities but I am no teacher.”

“I’m sure you’re doing a great job,” Jimin protests, “They seemed to adore you.”

Jungkook assesses Jimin for a few seconds, making Jimin writhe, and then looks in the direction of his pack. “It’s getting late. You must be hungry. I’ll get you something.”

Jimin’s wolf instantly protests when Jungkook gets to his feet, and in a moment of panic, Jimin gets up too. Jungkook turns to him with a quizzical look.

“I-it’s fine,” Jimin stutters. “You do-on’t have to. I’m not hungry.”

“You should eat though. To recover faster. You already seem weak.”

Jimin wrings his hands, desperately trying to come up with an excuse for Jungkook to stay. He’s not sure why this makes him uneasy but he doesn’t want Jungkook to leave. Something could happen to him. He could get attacked, walk into a trap, or not come back anymore. Jimin doesn’t like this idea at all.

By now, Jungkook has fully turned to Jimin, observing Jimin closely. His eyebrows are knit together and his hands hover in the air, uncertain.

“He’ll back soon.” Jimin didn’t even hear Taehyung approach him. He’s standing next to Jimin and talking in a firm tone. “You will, won’t you?” Taehyung asks Jungkook.

Jungkook glances at Taehyung and then looks at Jimin, tilting his head. “Shall I stay?”

Jimin looks from his hands up and shoots Taehyung a side-glance. He shakes his head. “You should eat something. It’s getting past lunch time.”

Jimin doesn’t see Jungkook’s reaction, too busy looking down at his hands and trying to stop them from shaking too much. He fails miserably.

Jimin’s omega feels it before Jimin can, the step Jungkook takes towards him. Taehyung tenses next to him but doesn’t try to keep him away. Jimin’s heart starts hammering against his chest as if it wants to break out. If a small step like that has this effect on Jimin, then he doesn’t want to know what will happen when Jungkook gets much, much closer.

“I’ll be right back,” Jungkook breathes. Jimin nods after sneaking a small glance. He only raises his head after Jungkook has turned around, watches the alpha disappear between the trees.

“Are you okay?” Taehyung asks, hand coming up to stroke Jimin’s hair. Jimin flinches away. It’s impulsive. Jimin doesn’t even know that he has done it until he sees the alarmed look on Taehyung’s face.

“I’m sorry. I don’t know why I did that.”

Taehyung lowers his hand and takes a step back, Jimin’s uneasiness going down a little.

“It’s fine,” Taehyung reassures. “It’s your omega. He doesn’t want any other alpha near him other than his mate.”

“Oh.”

It makes sense. Jimin replays the image of Jungkook leaving in his head, his heart aching every time he thinks of it. His wolf feels like it has been abandoned and rejected. Knowing that this is exaggerated, Jimin can’t help but wonder how broken he will be when Jungkook actually rejects him. Jimin is already making it so hard for the alpha on top of all the other problems and responsibilities he has, he doesn’t need an omega that is only a burden. Jimin’s wolf howls in agony, just as scared as Jimin at the thought of being rejected.

It’s fine, Jimin tells himself, all I need to do is become unreplaceable for Jungkook. Then he’ll never want anyone else. Jimin shakes his head to get rid of the thought. Jungkook is his soulmate. Why would he want anyone else? It doesn’t make sense. But then again, Jungkook’s father had also mated two omegas who weren’t his soulmates. He had snatched the soulmates of others and forcedly mated them. That alone proves that no one has to be a soulmate to mate someone. Mating can also occur between non-soulmates.

That doesn’t mean it’ll be a nice and cosy relationship. The wolf who doesn’t mate his soulmate will be torn apart between his longing for his soulmate and the bond with his mate. Both powers are equally strong, never once letting the wolf have some peace. That’s why it is forbidden to mate someone who isn’t your soulmate unless the soulmates are dead. Then a mating is allowed.

Jimin thinks of it, thinks of Jungkook mating someone who isn’t Jimin because Jimin is taking too long to tell his pack or because Jimin never tells his pack. As the head alpha it’s his duty to provide his pack pups that will take over one day. If Jimin isn’t the one to bring pups to the world then someone else has to. And if Jimin never tells his pack, can he be mad at Jungkook for mating someone else? For not wanting to be alone his whole life? Jungkook feels just as obligated towards his pack as Jimin does.

Fear is about to seize Jimin, almost rendering him unmoving, when something is put next to him. Jimin looks up, surprised, and comes face to face with Jungkook.

“Are you okay?” Jungkook asks, head tilted to the side. Taehyung is hesitant to go back to his spot form before.

Jimin wrings his hands, clears his throat, and nods. “Shall I?” he asks and motions to the basket next to Jungkook on the ground.

“I’ll do it.”

Jungkook takes a blanket out of the basket and lays it on the ground, holding a second one out to Taehyung. Taehyung eyes it warily, Jimin observing his reaction closely, and takes it reluctantly. Taehyung walks back to his spot. Jungkook takes out different items of food and puts them on the blanket. Jimin picks out some fruit, bread and cheese for Taehyung, and brings them over. When he turns around, Jungkook is sitting against the tree again, taking a bite of an apple. Jimin’s heart sinks.

He walks over slowly, sitting down on the blanket while keeping his eyes on Jungkook. There is a knot forming in Jimin’s throat and he sits in front of the food without an appetite.

“You should eat something,” Jungkook speaks up.

“What about you?”

Jungkook stares at Jimin silently, and then holds his apple up. “I have this.”

“You should eat something proper, something that will sate you. Please,” Jimin adds quietly at the end.

Jungkook blinks multiple times and then slowly gets to his feet, walking over to Jimin as if he’s afraid of scaring Jimin. Jimin wishes the alpha could be comfortable around him, heart hurting for both of them. With some bread and cheese in hand, Jungkook gets up again.

“You can sit here,” Jimin chokes out, voice strained with effort to hide his panic.

Jungkook remains still in front of Jimin, making Jimin regrets his request because maybe Jungkook doesn’t want to be close to him. Maybe he doesn’t crave Jimin’s presence as much as Jimin craves his and he’s only annoying the alpha.

“Are you sure?” Jungkook asks.

“If you want to.”

Jungkook’s eyes flick over to Taehyung, coming back to Jimin afterwards. Jimin’s stomach summersaults when Jungkook sits opposite of him, his wolf’s ears perking up in excitement. This is the closest Jungkook has been to Jimin after such a long time, the incident where Jimin bumped into Jungkook coming back to him. Who would have known that this would become one of Jimin’s most treasured memories?

Now that Jungkook is sitting in front of him, Jimin is finally calm enough to pick up some bread himself. He takes the first bite with a smile on his face.

“I’m sorry. I don’t have much to offer,” Jungkook says, eyes on the bread in Jimin’s hands.

“It’s fine. I didn’t come here to eat anyway. I…came here for you.” Jimin mumbles the last part, playing with his fingers, too shy to see what Jungkook’s reaction will be to his words. He doesn’t want to seem like a clingy omega when he’s the one hiding his soulmate from his pack.

Partially, Jimin is grateful that Jungkook doesn’t comment on his confession and partially he’s a little bothered by the lack of reply. Jungkook surely must have thought something when Jimin said that. It must have had some kind of reaction on him that his soulmate said that. But Jungkook doesn’t say anything and Jimin is too embarrassed to look up and see for himself. So he quietly debates with himself.

“Don’t you want to eat?”

Jimin’s head shoots up, eyes widened in alarm. “I-I do,” Jimin stutters, leading a berry to his lips. He has already popped three berries into his mouth when he notices that eating has become a lot easier. He no longer has to force himself to eat food but it comes more naturally, his stomach accepting the food gratefully. Compared to the days when Jimin hadn’t found his soulmate it’s still nothing, but Jimin is making progress. Both him and his wolf know it’s their soulmate’s presence that is making it easier for Jimin to get back to his normal routine.

Jimin’s wolf is craving Jungkook’s attention, begging Jimin to indulge him into a conversation, to ask him to come closer and hold them. If our mate’s presence is this soothing, his touch will be magical, his wolf whispers. Jimin wants to. He desperately wants to interact more with Jungkook. He barely knows anything about the man. There are countless things Jimin could ask, get to know him better, but somehow he can’t think of a single correct question.

There are so many wrong questions Jimin could ask. Anything he asks can be taken the wrong way. Jimin doesn’t know where to start. He can’t ask about Jungkook’s childhood because he fears it’s a topic that Jungkook wouldn’t like to go back to since he most probably didn’t have the best childhood. In the same way, he can’t ask about Jungkook’s teen years. The topic of his year in the forest is also a no-go because Jimin knows it’s a highly sacred process, even if Jungkook’s was meant to be his death. If Jimin asks Jungkook anything about him as the pack leader, Jungkook might think that Jimin may use the information against him.

What else is there to talk about? Nothing. Jimin can’t even ask about his siblings because he doesn’t know what kind of relationship Jungkook has to them. It surely must not have been easy to see his elder alpha siblings get killed, to think he will be next any moment. Jimin doesn’t even know whether Jungkook likes his beta and omega siblings, what he thinks of his only remaining alpha sibling.

Jimin also doesn’t know whether it will be insensitive to talk about himself, boast his safe and secure childhood with a loving pack in front of Jungkook. He’s also not sure whether Jungkook even wants to hear it. So Jimin remains quiet, deciding it’s best to do so.

“It’s getting late,” Jungkook speaks up, talking slowly as he looks at Jimin. “I have to get back soon.”

Jimin’s heart sinks. The fragile peace his wolf settled into in the calm is now broken, his wolf whimpering pathetically. Jimin forces a smile on his lips and nods. Jungkook doesn’t look convinced, expression unreadable but it’s also not like he can call Jimin out.

Just to not watch Jungkook get up, Jimin occupies himself with picking up the food and putting it in the basket. Jungkook who outstretched his hands to pick up the food, pulls them back and watches Jimin. He gets up at the same time as Jimin does and accepts the basket after Jimin folded the blanket neatly and put it inside. Their hands almost brush, Jimin tempted to reach his pinky out and stroke Jungkook’s skin with it but is too shy to do so. He lowers his gaze and lets go of the basket.

Jimin’s heart is beating heavily, chest aching as he stands there. He wants to beg Jungkook not to go, not to leave him because he doubts he’ll survive the separation. It’s illogical. Jimin doesn’t even know Jungkook, has no idea what kind of wolf he is, and yet Jimin is this affected by him. Only because Jungkook is his soulmate. Nothing more.

“I’m sorry I have to go this soon. I can’t leave the pack alone for too long.”

“No, I understand. You’re their head alpha. I already took too much of your time away. I’m sorry,” Jimin murmurs, throat closing up.

“Don’t apologize,” Jungkook retorts, a hint of desperation in his voice. “You’re my soulmate. I have responsibilities towards you and you have a claim on me just like they do. I promise I’ll try to find a balance between you two.”

Jimin lowers his head, mostly in shame. He wants to tell Jungkook that he also has a claim on Jimin, Jimin also has responsibilities towards Jungkook, and yet only Jungkook is the one trying to fulfil them so far. Jimin is afraid, though, that Jungkook will agree and choose to take his words back, so he stays quiet, hoping that the day he will be able to give Jungkook back will come fast.

“Goodbye.”

Jimin looks up, waves awkwardly with one hand and mumbles, “Bye.”       

Jungkook opens his mouth, Jimin biting his lip in anticipation, but after remaining like that for one second he closes it again. Jimin exhales shakily, heart fluttering when Jungkook gives him a small smile. Jimin doesn’t think he can watch Jungkook leave again, see his form disappear between the trees until he can’t see him anymore. That’s why he turns around, sees Taehyung waiting for him already, and joins him.

Taehyung smiles reassuringly and motions south with his head. “Lets go home. You did great.”

Jimin smiles weakly in response and follows Taehyung quietly, grateful that Taehyung doesn’t extend his hand like he usually would. He doubts he can let Taehyung get close to him this fast. Before he fully disappears between the trees, Jimin looks back once and is surprised to find Jungkook still standing there, watching him. Jimin’s heart makes something funny that he can’t pinpoint, a pleasant tingling replacing the ache in his chest. Leaving is a little easier when he can believe that Jungkook will wait like this for him. He doesn’t want forever, just some time.

Before they enter the pack, Taehyung scents Jimin, much to his dismay. He stays still though, knowing that it’s necessary and only for his good. If he ever wants to visit Jungkook again, then he should raise no suspicion so himself.

Mina wrinkles her nose when she smells Jimin all over Taehyung and her mate on Jimin. Jimin looks at her apologetically although he knows that she’s kind of used to this. He leaves them alone for the rest of the day, letting them scent each other and bask in each other’s presence.

Jimin sleeps much calmer that night with Jungkook’s memory fresh in mind and images of his smile.

The thought that Jungkook didn’t even ask him to come back starts bothering Jimin the next morning. But as Jimin goes to the border, heart racing, forcing himself to walk and not run, Jimin is pleasantly surprised when he sees Jungkook sit where they sat the day before. The same surprise is written on Jungkook’s face. The alpha looks like he can’t believe Jimin appeared again, just like Jimin can’t believe Jungkook is sitting there without Jimin having called for him. Maybe they don’t need to ask for too much right now, Jimin thinks as his heart fills with fondness. Maybe this is enough for now.

---

“Dad, what helps you relax?” Jimin asks, taking three bites of his toast at once.

His mother stares at him in wonder, smiling when she sees Jimin take another toast. It has been three days since Jimin started meeting up with Jungkook secretly and Jimin has been doing better. There’s obvious improvement in his sleeping and eating habits, even if he tries to hide them a little so he can have the whole week free. He doesn’t think anyone will tell him to go back to his chores earlier than agreed, everyone too happy that he is doing better, but he still doesn’t want to risk it.

Things with Jungkook have been…normal, as much as they can be. There is nothing much happening besides them meeting for a couple of hours and making small talk, nothing real yet but Jimin still likes it. He likes going over at different times and seeing Jungkook there every time he goes. Taehyung still accompanies him, will do so even that day but Jimin doesn’t mind. As long as he gets to spend time with his mate, that he grows more and more fond of each passing day, he’s fine with it.

“Any specific reason why I’m stressed?” Head Alpha Park asks, referring to Jimin’s question from before.

Jimin hums. “Well, you can’t really sleep or eat. Just stress from being a head alpha, I guess.”

For some reason, Jungkook hasn’t been getting better. Where Jimin is now getting more sleep, has gained his rosy cheeks back, and stuffs them full with food, Jungkook has been almost the same pale, exhausted alpha the day Jimin met him three days ago. Jimin doesn’t know whether he can help, not understanding the position of an alpha, the Jeon pack’s head alpha no less, but he’s willing to try everything that will make Jungkook feel better. If there’s something Jimin can do, Jimin will do it.

“Your mom’s scent.”

Jimin freezes, spoon halting awkwardly in front of his open mouth. His parents throw him a funny look and exchange a glance. Jimin licks his lips and puts the food in his mouth.

“Anything else?” he asks tensely.

“That depends on what each wolf does to relax but your mate’s scent and presence has a hundred percent success rate. Any specific reason you’re asking,” his dad questions.

“Just wondering, you know? How head alphas don’t go nuts with everything they have to do.”

“Oh, some of us do get nuts. Just think of Head Alpha Jeon.”

Jimin manages not to freeze this time, his movement only stuttering for a small second. He doesn’t feel that hungry anymore.

The news that Jungkook took over the pack officially has spread to every pack now, everyone of them now forced to acknowledge Jungkook’s new status. None of his words can now be dismissed as the one of an overzealous wannabe alpha. If someone does, then that’s an insult can be sorted out in a duel even.

With the spreading of the news, the situation has grown even tenser. Jungkook is now able to call in a meeting where no head alpha has the right to refuse. They may postpone the meeting once to a better fitting date but can’t deny attending. Jimin wonders why Jungkook isn’t calling a meeting in.

They finish breakfast, Jimin immediately going to his room. He pushes his father’s comment out of his mind and concentrates on the important things. Relaxation.

Scent.

Jimin presses his palms against his burning cheeks, shaking his head. The thought of Jungkook smelling like Jimin makes his heart flutter, his world spin, but it’s not possible. They don’t know anything about each other. Which isn’t really a problem in itself because a lot of soulmates mate before they really know each other, but it’s a different case for Jimin and Jungkook.

The problem here is, again, that Jimin doesn’t know Jungkook. He doesn’t know how he could make Jungkook relax. Some relax while taking a bath but that can’t really happen on the border and it’s getting way too cold to take a casual stroll through the river. Maybe Jungkook would like it if Jimin cooked something for him. He sees his mom always make his dad’s favourite dishes when he’s stressed or even when there is something to celebrate.

But will Jungkook like his cooking? Jimin sighs, hanging his head low. This can’t go on like this. He’s thrilled at the thought of cooking something for his alpha. He knows how much weight his mother puts on cooking for her mate, providing for her family in a way that an alpha does. But then again, Jimin has no idea what Jungkook likes. Technically he should like everything Jimin makes. He remembers how Mina once knitted one of the most awful looking scarves for Taehyung and Taehyung still wore it, even though he complained to Jimin how awful it looks. And Jimin’s cooking isn’t nearly as bad as that scarf, which Taehyung, by the way, still has and wears from time to time although Mina admitted to testing Taehyung’s love with it.

But what if Jungkook can’t eat. Jimin has recovered a lot but he still doesn’t eat as much as he used to. Jungkook is much worse than him. Food won’t make Jungkook feel better in the long run.

The word ‘scent’ echoes in Jimin’s head, leaving him flustered and red again. Even Jimin has to agree that this, like his father said already, has a hundred percent success rate. And Jungkook might appreciate that more.

Jimin thinks of Jungkook close to him, impossibly close where they’re touching and breathing in each other’s air. He thinks of Jungkook leaning in, covering Jimin’s small frame with his broad one, wrapping his strong arms around Jimin’s waist to press him close. Jungkook’s nose and lips on Jimin’s neck, on his scent glands, canines sinking into the flesh.

Jimin gasps, more falling than sitting on his bed. He presses his legs close in an attempt to keep the slick in in case his body decides to react to his fantasy. Closing his eyes, Jimin tries get his breathing under control again and remove the smile plastered on his face before someone walks in. His keening and purring wolf is not making it easy for him.

He almost whimpers when he thinks that he can’t let Jungkook scent him. Not only because of the risk of losing control and whatever happened in Jimin’s fantasy may happen in real life, but also because Jimin doubts he’ll be able to get Jungkook’s scent off of him. No matter how much Taehyung scents him, the scent won’t get off. And how shameless would Jungkook think he is, offer himself to the alpha in the open, in the broad daylight while his best alpha friend will only be a couple meters away.

Jimin also wants to avoid getting scented by Taehyung at all costs. He understands now wholly why Taehyung tensed up when Jimin scented him after his mating. It’s awful. He still likes his friend’s scent but he loves Jungkook’s even more. The tiny whiffs he could get because the wind blew Jungkook’s scent in his direction were nothing short of heavenly.

Shaking his head, Jimin reprimands himself. This isn’t about him. It’s about Jungkook and how Jimin can help Jungkook. Jimin takes a shirt out of the pile his mother put on his bed, buries his head in it and groans loudly. He immediately backtracks when he inhales Jihyun’s scent, wrinkling his nose. Jimin’s mother must have accidentally put it here.

Oh.

Jimin stares at the shirt in wonder, finally having found his answer to his problem. Jungkook doesn’t have to scent Jimin. Jimin can give Jungkook something that smells like him. His handkerchief maybe. He could tie it around his neck, close to his scent glands so it’ll drench in his scent properly. Then Jungkook can even take it with him and…wow. Jimin really is shameless.

There is nothing to be ashamed of, Jimin tells himself. This is normal. But nothing is normal in their case. Jimin groans and lets himself fall backwards on his bed. He’ll just make food for Jungkook and keep the handkerchief as an emergency plan in case Jungkook doesn’t feel better after eating the food. Yes. That’s what he’ll do.

As soon as Jimin finds the handkerchief, he ties it around his neck. He halts for a second, playing with the material and the thought of giving it to Jungkook. Before he can lose himself in that fantasy again, Jimin pinches himself and heads into the kitchen.

“Should you be in the kitchen?”

Jimin stops stirring in the pot and turns to his mother. “I’m fine, mom. Don’t worry.”

His mother stands next to him and cards her fingers through his hair. “How can I not worry after my omega pup was so sick and hasn’t recovered fully yet?”

Jimin smiles, guilt nagging at his insides. “I’m better now. Trust me.”

His mother tastes the meat and adds some salt. “What is this for?”

“I thought a small picnic would be nice outside for me and Taetae, and decided to make portions for you and dad too.”

“What do you and Taehyung do all day?”

It’s the first time someone bothered asking, and it leaves Jimin a little flustered. It’s obvious he can’t say the truth but Jimin also hasn’t thought of what else he could answer.

“We talk and run around. Elder Jiwoo said that trying to get in tune with the nature and one’s wolf more would help.”

“Really?” his mother asks, tone distant. “For a moment, your dad and I thought it might have been because of your soulmate.” Jimin tenses, heart skipping a beat. “We thought it might be someone from another pack, far away, and that we would have to say goodbye to you.”

Jimin turns to his mother slowly. He is inclined to tell his mother everything. At least his mother. She will surely not tell his dad, will certainly understand and know what to do but he can’t do it. He can’t put his mother in a situation where she would have to choose between her mate and her son.

Jimin forces a smile on his lips and looks at his mother. “I’ll never leave, mom.”

His mother laughs loudly, pulling his ear teasingly. “We’ll see about that once you find your mate.”

Jimin pouts, sighs.

---

“Do you think it’ll ever be a good time to tell dad about us?” Jimin later asks Taehyung as they’re walking to meet Jungkook.

“There will be, Jimin. You only need to wait until the negotiations are mainly over. Then there will be no misunderstandings in them. “

Jimin hums, not really believing his friend. Who knows when the negotiations will start, let alone end.

“You do know that you should let Jungkook woo you.”

“Huh?” Jimin stares at Taehyung baffled, thrown off by the sudden change of topic.

“I mean this food,” Taehyung says, raising the basket he’s carrying. “You shouldn’t woo an alpha. The alpha should woo you.”

Jimin gapes, feelings his cheeks heat up. Taehyung smirks mischievously. “I’m not trying to woo him.”

Taehyung snorts. “Yeah, and what’s this then?” Taehyung asks and raises his hand. Before he can touch the handkerchief around Jimin’s neck, Jimin swats his hand away. “You even dressed yourself up for him.”

“I can’t- No! I didn’t. This is just- My throat was feeling a little sore. I don’t want to get sick,” Jimin stutters, his whole body on flames by now.

“Pfft, yeah. You can’t lie to me, Jiminie.”

Jimin pouts, choosing not to kick Taehyung’s shin because he might drop the food Jimin worked so hard on. He will get back at him later when they’re back with Mina. If Taehyung uses his soulmate against him, Jimin will use Taehyung’s soulmate against him. That easy.

When their meeting spot is in view, two things happen at once. Jimin sees Jungkook and feels like running to him, and he immediately regrets bringing the food.

“Maybe we should leave the food be,” Jimin mumbles, gripping Taehyung’s arm.

“What? Why?”

“Maybe he doesn’t like it. Maybe it’ll taste awful. Just put it here and we’ll take it back on our way home.”

“Too late,” Taehyung says, waving at Jungkook.

“I hate you,” Jimin hisses but lets Taehyung push him in front of him.

Jungkook gets up from where he was leaning against the tree, a blanket spread out on the grass as usual.

“Hey,” Jungkook whispers with a soft smile when Jimin arrives. Those have also become a more frequent occurrence.

“Hey.”

“Are you okay? Did you get sick?” Jungkook asks, motioning to the handkerchief around Jimin’s neck.

Jimin reddens, hand reflexively raising to touch the cloth. Next to him, Taehyung snickers, earning himself a swat that he barely notices from Jimin.

“He’s fine. His throat was a little sore,” Taehyung retorts.

“What’s in the basket?” Jungkook asks with an amused smile, thankfully changing the subject.

“Food,” Taehyung answers. “Lots of heavy food that he made me carry all the way here. He spent the whole morning in the kitchen to make it.”

Jimin gapes, resisting the urge to hit his friend. “That’s not true.”

“I wouldn’t eat too much of the food,” Taehyung continues unbothered. “I can’t guarantee you’ll survive.”

Jimin gasps. This time, he does kick Taehyung’s shin, smiling satisfied when the alpha howls in pain. “See if you get any of it.”

“Oh thank goodness. I’m safe.”

Before Jimin can hit Taehyung again, he runs away fast, going back to his usual spot. Jimin pouts, looking at the ground. He can’t believe his best friend would do this to him in front of Jungkook, humiliate him like that. He will definitely kill Taehyung once they get back. He’ll skin him first and then kill him.

“I’m sure it tastes great. Thank you.”

Jimin fiddles with his sleeves, embarrassment being replaced by a feeling of flattery. He hasn’t even gotten a proper look at Jungkook so far, only because of Taehyung, and now he’s too shy to look at him. Clearing his throat, Jimin sits on the blanket, smiling to himself when Jungkook sits opposite of him without his prompting.

“Do you want to eat now?” Jimin asks, anticipation coursing through him. It’s a little past lunch time, and he hopes Jungkook hasn’t eaten. He wants to hear Jungkook’s opinion about his dishes, wanting to be done with it so he can calm down and see if it helps. The handkerchief around his neck feels like it tightens a little bit.

“It’s still warm,” Jimin continues. “But only if you haven’t yet.”

“That would be great. I’m starving,” Jungkook says with a gentle smile.

Jimin nods, unloading the content of the basket all over the blanket. He smiles sheepishly when he sees Jungkook’s wide eyes, knowing he packed too much but not able to resist it.

“I didn’t know what you liked,” Jimin starts explaining quietly. “So I made a little bit of a couple things. What would you like?”

Jungkook eyes the dishes a little lost, Jimin’s heart sinking each second Jungkook spends thinking. He feels like has already failed Jungkook.

“What do you like?” Jungkook asks after a while.

“I? Oh, um, the zucchini is nice but I would eat the meat. My omega parent made it and they’re a great cook. I don’t know if you like zucchini. It’s caribou, by the way. I also tried to steal some eggs from the chicken house but I’m not allowed to go inside there anymore after this one accident. I don’t know why I told you that. Sorry.”

Jimin stops with a sigh, cheeks colouring red from embarrassment. Jungkook is silent one second and the next he breaks out laughing, throwing his head back. Jimin wants to pout and tell Jungkook not to laugh at his misery but he’s hasn’t heard enough of the beautiful sound, wants to hear more of it. So he sucks it up and watches Jungkook calm down.

“I’ll take the zucchini,” Jungkook says, smile still present on his lips.

Jimin puts more than just the zucchini on Jungkook’s plate, putting some meat and rice on it too. He’s flattered that Jungkook would try his favourite dish. He prepares a plate for Taehyung too, ignoring his wiggling eyebrows. It’s a little off-putting when Jimin sits back down and Jungkook hasn’t eaten a bite of the food, but Jimin barely contains his fluttering heart when Jungkook waits until Jimin has taken a bite and then eats too.

“It tastes great,” Jungkook commends.

Jimin curls in on himself, nodding. “Thank you.”

He watches as Jungkook mixes the rice with the sauce and eats it. His posture is like always, straight, almost stiff, and he’s still a little pale, making the dark rings under his eyes stand out even more. His hair has lost its glance and the way he’s eating looks like he’s forcing himself to do so. Food apparently isn’t the answer.

“Did you not sleep well?”

Jungkook finally looks up from his food, doe eyes focused on Jimin, and looking like he has been caught red-handed during a theft. It makes Jimin smile a little.

Jungkook swallows and clears his throat. “I still have a little trouble falling asleep and staying asleep but I’m fine.”

“Oh, if there’s anything you need or anything I can do, then please tell me.”

“Don’t worry. I’m fine.”

Jimin isn’t convinced but he nods because of the smile on Jungkook’s face. Both resume eating, Jimin’s hand impulsively going back to the handkerchief around his neck. How should he give it to Jungkook? Taehyung is already teasing him because of every minor thing. If he gives that to Jungkook in front of him then Taehyung will never let him have a calm second. But that’s not what’s important, Jimin tells himself, his wolf immediately agreeing. Jungkook’s well-being is, and Jimin wants to be the one to help his mate. He, after all, doesn’t know for how long he’ll be able to meet Jungkook.

The question of whether Jungkook doesn’t care about Jimin and their meeting creeps into Jimin’s mind again, gnawing at his insides. Jungkook hasn’t once asked Jimin any personal question, hasn’t even asked for his name after that one time on his birthday. Jimin always calms himself and his wolf by thinking that Jungkook doesn’t want to make them uncomfortable but Jungkook must have some lines that can’t be crossed.

The day before, Jimin had thought of telling Jungkook about his intentions, telling him about the tensions between the Min and Song pack but he had chickened out. Today he’s more determined to do so.

“Jungkook,” Jimin speaks up quietly, “I- Uhm. I wanted to talk to you about something.”

“Okay, go on please,” Jungkook prompts, looking up from his plate and giving Jimin his full attention.

“I thought you’d ask and then I’d tell you but you never did. I don’t know if it’s even on your mind but it’s about why I won’t tell my pack about us.” Jimin pauses to gauge Jungkook’s reaction, continuing when the alpha nods, “I know that out of all the packs, our two…aren’t on good terms with each other. The negotiations haven’t even started, and I know it’s a lot to ask, and you don’t have to agree- It’s a ridiculous request but-”

“Hey,” Jungkook interrupts him softly. “You can tell me anything you want, you know that, right?”

Jimin gapes at Jungkook, bites his lower lip, and nods.

“Then please go on without any hesitation.”

“I want to wait with the announcement of us being soulmates until the negotiations are mostly over,” Jimin rushes out, holding his breath at the end.

Jungkook remains stoic, not a single movement betraying his thoughts. Jimin is sure he didn’t like what he heard. He wishes Jungkook would show it.

“Namjoon’s mate told me that after Namjoon came to pick him up, his pack made this huge feast and these various rituals to bless their mating and wish them well. I want that kind of start for us too. I don’t think that’s possible when our packs are forced to agree to terms only because we’re soulmates. I want you to prove to them that you’re a good alpha, a head alpha worthy of being respected and given chances to. I don’t want anyone to doubt the set negotiations and say that my pack agreed to them because a child of theirs is your mate, like you’re holding me a hostage or using me as blackmail material, even if some may be nice enough to call it unknowingly. Jungkook, I want our packs’ blessings for us, and not what happened to the Song and the Min pack.”

Jimin inhales deeply at the end of his speech, breathless after talking everything off of his chest. He is tightly gripping his pants in his hands, hoping that Jungkook will be sympathetic. Maybe Jungkook doesn’t want to wait that long. Jungkook has no reason to agree to any of this. Jimin is his mate and no one has the right to put any taint on that but that’s not what people will talk nonsense about. They will pity Jimin, victimize him and demonize Jungkook. Jimin doesn’t want that. He hopes Jungkook sees his motifs that way too.

“Okay. I agree.”

“You agree?” Jimin chokes out, not believing what he’s hearing. “Why?”

Jungkook knits his eyebrows together. “You’re thinking about my honour and position as a head alpha like a true mate would. How could I not do as you ask of me?”

Jimin sighs relieved, nodding at Jungkook’s words. “Thank you.”

“I should be thanking you. You think so much of me.”

“You bear so much more because of me,” Jimin protests instantly.

“Hey,” Jungkook interrupts before Jimin can go on. “Lets not make a competition out of this, and just support each other, okay?”

Jimin looks at the way Jungkook is leaning towards him, wonders how it happened and how he’s noticing it only now. Thinking of how easy it would be to reach his hand out and touch Jungkook’s cheek now, just like that. Jimin gulps and busies himself with filling a glass of water for himself.

“Thank you for explaining. I don’t think I’d ever have asked you. It’s nice to know the reasons for why you’re keeping this secret,” Jungkook says after Jimin is done drinking.

“I should have told you sooner,” Jimin protests. “It’s not really easy to talk.”

“We should do more of that.”

Jimin isn’t sure if he’s imagining it but Jungkook looks a little hopeful after saying that. If the thought weren’t so ridiculous, Jimin would even say that he looks nervous.

“Yeah,” Jimin agrees. “We should.” They remain quiet for a while until the silence gets too much and Jimin blurts out. “You have to make me one promise though.”

Jungkook looks up, curiosity glinting in his eyes. “What promise?”

“When we tell my pack about us, you have to challenge my younger brother to a duel and win.”

An amused smile takes over Jungkook’s face, giving him the cute, bunny like appearance again. “Why?”

“He’s always picking on me. He found his mate two days before me and made my life miserable. He has only stopped teasing me because I got sick. Once I get better he’ll go back to teasing me about how great his mate, and you have to prove to him then that my mate is much better.”

“Do you really think that?”

The question takes Jimin off guard, making him tilt his head in confusion.

“Do you really think I’m a good mate and good alpha. You sound so certain when you say it,” Jungkook explains.

Jimin lowers his eyes in embarrassment, saying, “Well, I’m not ‘sure’ but I hope that you are. There must be a reason why the Min and Song pack, who have disputes, are both on your side, and why Namjoon also invited you to his pack. I feel like you’re much better than everyone thinks. Yeah.”

Jungkook doesn’t immediately say something, choosing to avert his gaze and scratch the rice corns to one spot on his plate with the spoon.

“I will try my hardest to never betray your trust or give you any reason to regret trusting me.”

Jimin swears his heart stops beating after hearing Jungkook’s words. He smiles to himself, feeling his chest swell with pride. He has an alpha who is living to work hard just so he won’t disappoint Jimin. There is hardly anything else Jimin could have wished for

“I’m not sure I can ask your brother to a duel, though. It might be taken the wrong way.”

Jimin smiles. “Oh no, don’t worry. You have my permission.”

They continue with small things, Jimin deciding he doesn’t mind because they had enough heavy topics for one day. Another reason is because Jungkook tells him about his siblings, telling him how the youngest used to sneak into his bed. Jimin wants to ask him why he stopped but for some reason doesn’t.

By the time Jungkook has to go, Jimin has one of the biggest smiles on his lips. His body feels light, his head dizzy. Jimin fears this might be a dream. Jungkook packs the basket for Jimin, takes his own blanket, and stands in front of Jimin with a subtle smile.

“Thank you for the food,” he says. “It tasted great.”

Jungkook barely ate anything but Jimin doesn’t want to point that out. The handkerchief around his neck seem to cut into his throat. “You’re welcome.”

“Bye.”

“Bye.”

No question of whether Jimin will come the next day. No promise that Jungkook will wait for him. They know and that’s all they need.

Jungkook turns around, Jimin exhaling silently. “Wait,” he calls out, hand reaching out and taking hold of Jungkook’s furs. Jungkook stares at Jimin open-mouthed, eyes flickering to Jimin’s hand and his face again. Jimin lets his hand buried there for a second and then slowly lets go. “I have something for you.”

Jungkook faces him, eyebrows furrowing when Jimin untangles the handkerchief around his neck. He holds it out to Jungkook, gaze lowered, taking big breaths to calm his racing heart.

“My alpha parent said that my omega parent’s scent helps them calm down and relax when they’re stressed. I thought the food might help you but I guess it didn’t really. I know it sounds stupid, and you don’t have to take it but-”

Jimin stops talking when Jungkook’s hand shoots out and grabs the handkerchief. He stands there frozen, Jungkook’s hand mere centimetres away from his and gripping the handkerchief as if his life depends on it.

“T-thank you.”

Jimin looks up, inhaling sharply when he sees Jungkook’s red eyes. The handkerchief slips out of his hand, Jungkook pulling it out slowly. Jimin’s eyes widen when Jungkook takes a step towards him, his wolf going haywire at the proximity. Jungkook grips Jimin’s hips and Jimin hiccups, eyes fluttering when Jungkook leans down. Jimin doesn’t know what he expected, but it certainly wasn’t Jungkook’s soft lips against his forehead, barely pressing against Jimin’s skin.

Jungkook pulls back, hands letting go of Jimin hesitantly, as if he doesn’t want to let go. Jimin wants to pull him back but is aware that this isn’t an option, not yet. Maybe in the future it will be.

“Goodbye.”

The red in Jungkook’s eyes is gone, Jimin treasuring the image as a precious memory. He waves, not finding his voice or even trusting himself to say something. Jimin watches Jungkook leave and joins Taehyung.

My throat was feeling sore,” Taehyung parrots, pitch higher to match Jimin’s voice.

Jimin hits Taehyung but he doesn’t really mind Taehyung’s teasing. Jungkook kissed Jimin’s forehead, and Jimin has spared their packs from a future full of mistrust and rivalry. The Jeon and Park pack won’t have to live in a constant tension with each other like the Min and Song pack, claws only put down because a Min pack member’s mate turned out to be someone from the Song pack. They’re fine. For now.

Chapter Text

Jimin is usually a fast thinker. He gets the hang of situations almost instantly and can react accordingly. For some reason, Jimin didn’t get the gravity and depth of his departure from Jungkook the day before. Jimin had seen Jungkook kiss his forehead, had felt it, and then said goodbye to Jungkook. He had realized that this was no small thing, but only now does Jimin get that Jeon Jungkook kissed his forehead.

There is still the tingling sensation of Jungkook’s lips making contact with Jimin’s forehead. Jimin wants to raise his hand and touch the spot but he feels like he will erase all evidence of it having happened. He didn’t even wash his face the night before but knows he has to do it this morning, doesn’t want to step in front of Jungkook with a dirty face.

Will he do it again today? Jimin squeals at the thought, hiding his face in his hands.

That morning, Jimin woke up too early with an ache in his chest and was unable to fall back asleep. It was a little surprising, the feeling that didn’t let him sleep before Taehyung decided Jimin should meet Jungkook had come back out of nowhere. After last day’s event, Jimin thinks his wolf should be satisfied but appears like it’s too selfish, wanting more than the mere peck on his forehead. In the end, the wolf will give him no calm second until Jungkook mates Jimin, the soulmates tied to each other by a mating bond, but it’s still too early for that.

He hopes at least Jungkook slept better with his handkerchief. The thought makes Jimin’s cheeks heat up. Imagining how Jungkook would be sleeping with it clutched in his hand, pressed to his nose, and thinking of Jimin has the omega basically mewling. Maybe someone will even be able to pick up Jimin’s scent on Jungkook.

Deciding that he has wasted enough time in his bed, Jimin gets up and washes his face in a bowl, changing clothes afterwards. Jimin still doesn’t have to go back to his chores yet, and he feels guilty because of that. His pack is working hard, every wolf earning its place while Jimin is hiding from his chores and lets others do them for him. That’s why he has convinced his mother to let him do the chores at their cabin at least, prepare breakfast, wash the dishes and clean up as his mother is free to help wherever she pleases. Since Jihyun no longer lives with them, having moved out with his mate days ago, there is not much work to do at their cabin anyway.

Jimin misses his brother a lot. He has gotten so used to his constant presence and the noises he always makes that the house seems much emptier. He remembers Jihyun refusing to go to his own cabin because of Jimin’s sickness, wanting to be there for his older brother but now that Jimin is better, they were able to lure Jihyun out with the mentions of him spending some time alone with his mate. It’s better that way, Jimin decides as he sets up the table, Jihyun has only such little time to spend with his mate before he has to take over as head alpha and will have to share it with everyone else.

“You’re awake already?”

Jimin looks up to find his father standing in the doorway. He smiles, offering his father a cup of tea.

“Yeah, I woke up and thought it’d be good to prepare breakfast.”

“You’ve been awake longer than that. Do you have troubles sleeping again? Are you hurting?” his father interrogates, hand carding through Jimin’s hair as his face wrinkles more and more in worry.

Jimin laughs softly and shakes his head. “I’m fine, dad. It’s nothing. I’m getting better.”

“You should still rest though. I can help your mother in her chores. It’s not much anyway.”

Jimin smiles at the thought of his big, buff alpha dad standing in the kitchen and helping his mother with her chores like he has seen him in the past a few times. He shakes his head, moving to get the bread out of the cabinet.

“I’m fine, dad. I get tired of sitting around. This isn’t much,” Jimin insists.

His father nods, worry still visible in his face. Jimin doesn’t say anything when his father takes four cups out of the cabinet and places them on the table. He turns to Jimin with a confused face, Jimin already aware that he’s going to ask about the fourth plate and cutlery missing, when realisation hits him. Jimin pats his father’s back as he puts the fourth cup back. They all miss Jihyun, even his mom mentions him during breakfast.

“Don’t make any meals today,” Jimin’s mother says on her way out. “We’ll eat with everyone else together. Don’t forget to take food with you.”

Jimin nods, bidding her goodbye. He prepares a basket with food again but not as much as the day before. When his mother asked what they ate on the other days, Jimin had to lie and say that Taehyung is responsible for food. His mother scolded him a little and said that he should bring food with him since Taehyung has to take care of his own mate now.

“Did you steal the pack’s whole supply again?” Taehyung asks later when they’re on their way to Jungkook and he sees the basket with Jimin, yawning loudly afterwards. The hunt he went on this morning must have taken a toll on him, and yet he’s going with Jimin.

“No,” Jimin protests. “Mom said to take some with me because I said you always take care of the food.”

“Well, it’s not nice to let me bring it all the time.”

“You never did, you jerk!” Jimin exclaims, thinking about hitting Taehyung again.

Taehyung makes fun of Jimin for the rest of the way, even asking him how his sore throat is. Jimin sometimes truly wonder why he’s friends with Taehyung. The day he met Taehyung, must have been very inauspicious.

Jimin is walking behind Taehyung, eyes focused on the ground when he suddenly walks into Taehyung. He whines, swatting Taehyung’s back which the alpha doesn’t take notice of.

“Is that a pup?”

Jimin peeks from behind Taehyung, looking for a pup. He finds him in Jungkook’s arms, sitting on Jungkook’s lap. The sight makes Jimin freeze. He wants to coo at how cute both look but his mind is right now occupied with Jimin thinking of Jungkook holding their pup. Well, that is a good start for their meeting.

To Jimin’s delight, Taehyung doesn’t notice his odd behaviour. They walk over to Jungkook, who is already looking at them, Taehyung also sitting down beside Jimin unlike the other times where he immediately went to his spot. It’s the pup’s fault, not that Jimin minds because the pup is cute. The little boy is currently sticking to Jungkook and is watching Jimin and Taehyung carefully.

“Hey,” Jimin says to Jungkook, needing to acknowledge his soulmate first before he can do anything.

Jungkook smiles widely, teeth on show like Jimin loves them, and greets Jimin back. His attention is diverted when the pup suddenly whimpers, hiding his face in Jungkook’s chest. Jimin coos, then looks at Taehyung who is frozen, hand stretched out.

“What are you doing?” Jimin asks, heart hurting for the scared pup.

Taehyung pouts and pulls his hand back. “I just wanted to touch him.”

“He’s no pet that you wanted to touch him. Now you scared him.”

Taehyung’s pout deepens and he whines, “I didn’t mean to.”

“It’s fine,” Jungkook speaks up, hand cradling the pup’s back. “Eunwoo is shy around strangers.”

Jimin coos, clapping in delight. “Is that your brother?”

“Yeah, he didn’t want to let go of me today. Hope that’s fine.”

Guilt fills Jimin and he nods, assuring, “Of course. You have spent such little time in your pack lately. I’m sure he missed you a lot.”

Jungkook pulls the pup back, who makes a protesting noise, and asks in a higher pitch, “Did you miss me?”

Jimin stares for a moment, unmoving as he takes in what just happened. Then he’s squealing as he replays the image of Jungkook speaking so cutely to his brother.

“Disgusting,” Taehyung grumbles as he gets up, taking something to eat out of the basket, “I can’t believe this. I bring you to your mate and this is how you repay me?”

Jimin ignores him in favour of watching Jungkook get all flustered. He clears his throat, and Jimin would love to tease him but he’s too shy to do so. Maybe later. Instead he leans down a little, speaking also in a higher tone when he addresses the pup, “Hi, pup.”

The pup stares at Jimin cautiously, hands clutched to tiny fists into Jungkook’s furs. Jimin thinks that if there is one thing he could tell the pup that Jungkook wouldn’t hear, then it’s how he also would love to cling to Jungkook like that.

Jimin waves, smiling at the pup in hopes of seeming less of a threat. The pup leans a little his way, Jimin holding his breath in anticipation as the pup sniffs the air, trying to familiarise himself with Jimin’s scent. After a moment, the pup leans back into Jungkook’s embrace, putting his head on Jungkook’s chest. Jimin would be jealous if the image weren’t that cute.

“Seems like a shy one,” Jimin comments, looking into Jungkook’s eyes. “I wonder who he has that from.” Okay, maybe Jimin isn’t as shy as he thought.

There is a knowing glint in Jungkook’s eyes that lets Jimin know that Jungkook picked up on the teasing. Impulsively, Jimin widens his eyes little, curling in on himself, fluttering his eyelashes. That seems to throw Jungkook off guard and he coughs, clearing his throat.

One point for Jimin.

Jungkook looks much healthier that day, his cheeks having a rosy colour he was missing before. Jimin almost blushes at the thought that the cause for it could be his scent, helping his alpha calm down and relax.

Turning his eyes back to the pup, Jimin is determined to win him over. Jimin has spent a lot of time with pups. He knows what they like. Getting a biscuit out of the basket, Jimin holds it out to the pup.

“Eunwoo,” he coos, waving the biscuit around slowly, “Do you want one?”

Eunwoo looks at the biscuit with glinting eyes and then looks up at Jungkook. Jungkook smiles at him, nudging Eunwoo. Eunwoo points at the biscuit in Jimin’s hand and whines. At that, Jimin feels bad, almost handing the biscuit over immediately. He doesn’t cave though, remembering his mission to win the pup over. Eunwoo slaps Jungkook’s chest with his small fist, making Jungkook’s chest look broader than it already is, and jumps a little in Jungkook’s lap.

“Take it. It’s fine. He’s nice,” Jungkook mumbles, nudging Eunwoo towards Jimin again.

Jungkook puts Eunwoo on his feet, softly encouraging him to take the biscuit from Jimin. Eunwoo stares at Jungkook pleadingly one last time before he accepts his fate and turns towards Jimin again. He takes a hesitant step towards the omega, eyes flitting from the biscuit to Jimin’s face and then back again.

Jimin takes his time to analyse the pup. He has the same big eyes as Jungkook but other than that there is no similarity between them. Jungkook’s features are hardened by his years, probably by the one in the forest the most, and his two comings of age. In case Eunwoo presents as an alpha, he may turn out the same but if not, he will always look softer than Jungkook. His light brown hair makes him even more different from Jungkook.

Eunwoo assures himself that Jungkook is still there once before he gets more confident. Jimin slowly pulls his hand to himself to force Eunwoo to come closer to him and thus get more used to his scent. Technically, Jimin should have no problems. Pups are always more open to omegas than they are to betas or alphas.

Eunwoo’s steps waver, Jungkook’s and Jimin’s hands simultaneously reaching out to keep the pup from falling. The pup’s eyes widen for a second and then focus in on the biscuit in Jimin’s hand when he regains his balance. Jimin smiles, coaxing Eunwoo towards him. The pup still doesn’t trust him, Jimin very much aware of this fact, but his hunger for the biscuit wins over. Then again, the pup knows he has an alpha brother like Jungkook keeping an eye on him. Who would be afraid while they have Jungkook on their side?

Jimin’s hand is now pulled close to him, Eunwoo standing right in front of him in search for the treat. The omega makes sure he doesn’t make any hectic moves that will scare the pup away, and smiles at him, breathing a small greeting. The pup still stares at Jimin cautiously, his hand reaching out to take the biscuit. His small fingers close around the treat, pulling to get it out of Jimin’s hold. Jimin pouts that the pup doesn’t warm up to him and only wants the biscuit. But as promised, he lets go of the biscuit. He still has more time to make Eunwoo love him. More time and more treats.

On his way back to Jungkook, Eunwoo stumbles and falls on his butt, the biscuit falling out of his hand and on the blanket as his eyes fill with tears. Jimin whines, reaching out to comfort the pup but Jungkook is there already, picking his brother up and settling him in his lap.

“Did you fall?” Jungkook coos, rubbing Eunwoo’s back with one hand and stroking his cheek with the other. “It’s fine. It’s okay.”

Eunwoo sniffles but seems to listen to Jungkook. His right hand is still formed into a fist but is now missing the biscuit. That seems to set off Eunwoo again, lower lip jutting out in a pout as his chin shakes.

Jimin crawls closer, holding a biscuit out to Eunwoo. “Don’t cry,” he mumbles, trying to sound soothing, using a tone he always sees parents use with their pups. “Here. You’re a good pup, aren’t you?”

Eunwoo takes the biscuit from Jimin with a shaky hand, this time not needing Jungkook’s approval. The tears that have been gathering in his eyes fall but they’re the only ones and Jungkook wipes them away fast. The whole event is forgotten as Eunwoo stuffs his cheeks full with the treat, content now that he finally gets to eat it. Jimin feels too mean now for denying the biscuit from the pup for so long. Just for his own selfish reasons.

Now that Eunwoo has calmed down and is happily munching on the biscuit, Jimin finally realises how close he is to Jungkook. He can feel the alpha’s body heat, his skin burning from feeling the warmth, and Jungkook’s summery scent tickling his nose. His wolf is buzzing with excitement, yipping at being so close to his mate and being able to smell him. Jimin breathes from his mouth and tries not to freeze as he cards his fingers through Eunwoo’s hair. Eunwoo isn’t acknowledging him but he’s also not rejecting his touch which Jimin counts as a win. Jimin can feel Jungkook’s gaze on him but he’s not sure if he’s just imagining things. He wants to look up and see for himself, allow himself to be close to his mate and then get even closer but he doesn’t, neither trusting himself nor his wolf this close to Jungkook.

Eunwoo stares at his empty hand when he’s finished, hand and mouth full of crumbs. Jimin giggles and coos at the pup. Eunwoo extends his empty hand to Jimin and for a moment Jimin thinks he wants Jimin to clean his hand but he’s asking for another biscuit.

“Eunwoo,” Jungkook chastises the pup.

Jimin, who’s over the moon that Eunwoo asked him for a biscuit and not Jungkook, happily gives Eunwoo a biscuit in each hand.

“You’re going to spoil him,” Jungkook says.

Jimin can’t pick up on any real hurt or chastising so he shrugs and plays with Eunwoo’s hair again. “He deserves some spoiling. How old is he? One year old? Almost two?”

“Three.”

Jimin looks up surprised, all thought of not looking at Jungkook because he’s certain he won’t survive it thrown out the window as he takes in the information. His hand on Eunwoo’s head stills as he tries to come up with an explanation to Eunwoo’s small frame and his age.

“He’s so small,” Jimin settles on, feeling unnerved that the pup isn’t acting or looking his age at all, hand slowly picking up on his previous stroking. He thought he was exaggerating when he called the pup almost two years old.

“He’s malnourished. His mother wasn’t very healthy during her pregnancies, isn’t much healthy in general, but it was the worst while she was pregnant with him. She almost died,” Jungkook explains. “We also don’t really have the best assets to help cases like that. Eunwoo needed medicines that we didn’t have. Our old healer died years ago and the new one is too inexperienced to know much. It wasn’t an option to send someone to another pack and let him get his education there, not that Head Alpha allowed it. It didn’t help that our supplies are limited either.”

Head Alpha. Is that what Jungkook’s alpha father made him call him. No ‘father’ or ‘dad’?

Eunwoo chokes, coughing as he put too much biscuit into his mouth. Jimin pours some water in a cup, patting Eunwoo’s back lightly to get rest of biscuits from his throat out. Eunwoo drinks greedily, both hands closing around the cup to get more water into his mouth but Jimin controls the angle of the cup so Eunwoo doesn’t choke on water too. Jimin cleans his hands and his lips with his sleeve when he’s done, the pup letting his head rest against Jungkook’s chest again, chest moving up and down fast because of the breathlessness. This time, the way his heart squeezes is more painful than delighted.

“Does your healer now get help from other packs? I’m sure Head Alpha Min will allow him to study with his healer,” Jimin asks, thinking back to how Namjoon said Jungkook had direct support from the eastern and northern pack.

“I would have loved for him to go to the Song pack but it wasn’t the right time for that. That’s why he’s with the Min pack’s healer. I’ll be forever in their debt for that.”

Jimin looks at Jungkook, wanting to raise his other hand and pat Jungkook’s back too, offer some comfort but he doesn’t

“Can he talk?” Jimin asks as he focuses on Eunwoo again.

“He can actually,” Jungkook retorts, a smile taking over his lips as looks at his brother. “He just chooses not to. Do you know how surprising it was to think he can’t talk but said a whole sentence when I was gone for a whole day?”

Jimin smiles automatically upon hearing Jungkook chuckle, the memory no doubt one close to Jungkook’s heart.

“You don’t scent him,” Jimin remarks, finding it odd that Jungkook wouldn’t scent his brother to calm him although the pup clings to him that desperately. Not even once during all the times he almost cried did Jungkook lean down to offer some comfort in the purest form possible between two wolves, family members no less.

Jungkook looks a little taken aback by the sentence, and Jimin wonders if he shouldn’t have said that. It is all in good intent but also a painful reminder that they don’t know each other.

“His mother doesn’t like strange scents on him,” Jungkook says, words carefully chosen as he says them slowly.

“But you’re not a stranger. You’re his brother.”

“Half-brother, but it still hasn’t been long since she lost her bonded mate. She is sensitive to alpha scents especially.”

Oh, Jimin thinks. It really must not be easy to smell the scent of the alpha who killed your mate, on your pup no less. Jimin is at a loss for words, not knowing how to comfort Jungkook, whether the alpha even wants it. Jungkook just admitted he’s disliked by his omega parent, and even though it may be a stepmother, it is his mother nonetheless, the mother of the pup who clings to him like that.

“I’m sure it’ll get better in the future,” Jimin mumbles, hoping he sounds at least a little comforting.

“Yeah,” Jungkook agrees, “She just needs time.”

Jimin, no matter how much he would love to, doesn’t believe those words.

Eunwoo pulls himself up on Jungkook’s furs, standing in his lap. The pup really isn’t behaving his age, making Jimin wonder how many more pups in the Jeon pack are like him.

“Is food that scarce?” Jimin asks, remembering Jungkook’s comment from earlier. It isn’t a good change of topics but one that Jimin wants to hear about nonetheless. He wants to know how the conditions of Jungkook’s pack are.

Jungkook is quiet for a while, playing with Eunwoo and then looks at Jimin when he says, “Sadly yes. That’s why I want to move further south so our northern ground can be used for farming since it’s more fertile, and requested from Head Alpha Song to allow us to hunt on her southern ground while they hunt more in the north for a while. We can’t do that really unless I’ve met all packs.”

Jimin thinks about his father who refuses to invite Jungkook over and as per custom acknowledge Jungkook as the new head alpha of his pack. His father is doing it because when Jungkook now calls in a meeting, his father is under no obligation to attend the meeting, which is somehow a cowardly move.

“How many other packs have invited you already?”

“Everyone so far did besides the southern packs. Head Alpha Min is negotiating with the Choi pack, whereas Namjoon talked to Head Alpha Jung. Head Alpha Park might be a little harder to crack.”

Jimin lowers his head, guilt and shame filling him. It’s not fair that Jungkook and his pack are suffering because his dad is too indecisive. He might need to talk to his dad, which Jimin for now has tried to avoid. Then again, his father’s worries are comprehensible to a certain point. Just like Jungkook has to take care of his pack, his father has to too.

“Dada.”

Jimin is snapped out of his thoughts, looking up to look for the source of the tiny voice. He finds it in Eunwoo who is patting Jungkook’s cheek with one hand, demanding Jungkook’s attention.

“Dada,” Eunwoo mumbles again, hiding his face in Jungkook’s neck.

Jimin coos, pressing one hand to Eunwoo’s back. “He really doesn’t like sharing you, does he?”

Jungkook chuckles, pressing a kiss to the side of Eunwoo’s head. “I guess not.”

“Why does he call you dada?” Jimin asks, finding it odd to call a brother by a name one calls their father.

Jimin regrets asking as soon as he hears Jungkook’s cautious tone. “Eunwoo barely spent any time with Head Alpha but he always craved his presence. Once…I killed Head Alpha, Eunwoo became sick. I felt guilty and didn’t go to him, didn’t go to his mother to give them the space they needed. One day I saw him in the infirmary with the other pups and he instantly called me dada.” Jungkook is silent for a while, Jimin slowly choking on a knot in his throat that he can’t swallow. He knows there is more to come. “I look like him.”

Jimin closes his eyes, letting his breath escape in a slow exhale. “How much do you look like him?” he asks tentatively.

Jimin doesn’t necessarily want to know. He doesn’t care. He has never seen that Jeon Junghwan, has never seen what he did and what he’s capable of. There is no way Jimin could ever associate Jungkook with that man. He’s only wondering because his father hasn’t seen Jungkook yet. He wants to be able to guess what his father’s reaction will be when he sees Jungkook, knowing his father’s dislike for the man very well.

“A lot,” Jungkook whispers, looking at his brother’s face and playing with his small fingers.

At that, Jimin almost groans. He had hoped Jungkook would say the pup is mistaken and that he doesn’t look like his father at all. If his father is already associating Jungkook with the previous head alpha, then he will do that even more now.

“Are you scared now?” The small voice Jungkook is talking in makes Jimin’s heart squeeze painfully. Never would he have associated that tone with the alpha.

Jimin shakes his head and looks at Jungkook. “You’re still my Jungkook. Nothing will change that.”

Jungkook’s eyes widen, shock written all over his face momentarily. Then he clears his throat, pink dusting his cheeks.

“Disgusting!”

Jimin turns around to glare at Taehyung, then smiles to thank him for getting rid of remnants of the heavy atmosphere. Jimin’s chest feels heavy with Jungkook’s words but as long as Jungkook feels lighter now, he doesn’t mind.

---

“But what’s so bad about the Jeon pack coming further south?” Jimin asks Jihyun who is over at their cabin. Their parents are out, allowing Jimin to interrogate Jihyun without anyone listening in. Not that Jimin minds asking these questions in front of his father but he wants Jihyun’s sole opinion on the matter first.

“You know that,” Jihyun answers, sounds exasperated.

Jimin leans further towards Jihyun. “No,” Jimin retorts. “I don’t see anything bad in the Jeon pack moving closer to us.”

Jihyun lets his spoon drop into his bowl, assessing Jimin with narrowed eyes. “I also don’t necessarily see anything bad in it,” he says after a while, “But I get why dad doesn’t want to risk that. Because of the war our pack suffered the most since we were the closest to the Jeon pack. Alpha Jeon not only-”

“Head Alpha Jeon,” Jimin interrupts. Jungkook is no longer the heir to the Jeon pack. He’s the head alpha and needs to be addressed like that.

Jihyun closes his mouth, then goes on with a huff. “Head Alpha Jeon not only wants to move further south but also wants the neutral ground back which for the past decade served as a wall for us. Not to forget that the war is the reason why dad lost grandfather.”

“I know. But that was all the old Jeon Junghwan’s doing and not Jungkook’s.”

“Why are you calling him by his name?” Jihyun asks, sounding scandalized.

Jimin almost says it’s because he’s allowed to but can stop himself last minute. “It’s because you’re our future head alpha. You should always be careful with formalities.”

“Yeah but you’re also Head Alpha Park’s son.”

Jimin sticks his tongue out. “That’s not what this is about. This is about dad’s refusal to invite Jungkook over as per custom and what kind of consequences that can have for us while every other head alpha is already doing so.”

“Head Alpha Jung and Head Alpha Choi haven’t yet.”

Yet. But Head Alpha Kim has already invited him over. Do you think those two are going to wait for long after that?”

Jihyun slurps the soup that Jimin made, seeming unbothered. “Well, then we’ll wait until they have. What’s the hurry?”

Jimin huffs, pulling his bowl back and ignoring Jihyun’s protests. “You’ll get that once you become a more diplomatic Alpha Park.”

Jihyun takes the bowl back, Jimin not fighting him on it anymore. When he speaks up again, he sounds as serious as Jimin wanted him to until now. “How are you doing, by the way?”

“I’m good. Much better.”

“Did the healer not find out what’s wrong with you?”

“No, but it doesn’t matter now anyway. How’s Chaeyeon?”

Jihyun smiles at the mention of his mate, Jimin’s eyes flicking over to the mating bite on Jihyun’s neck that he’s sporting proudly. His wolf whines.

“She’s fine. We’re doing well.”

Jimin smiles impishly, seeing the tips of his brother’s ears become red. Jihyun tries to act nonchalant but Jimin knows him too well to not notice the little signs. He gives up on trying to get Jihyun to convince their dad to invite Jungkook. Seems like he has to be the one to talk to his father. He has always liked to listen to Jimin more anyway.

---

Jimin’s head is facing the ground, pout ever present on his lips since he has reached his meeting spot with Jungkook and surprisingly Jungkook isn’t there.

“Do you think something happened to him?” Jimin asks. For the third time.

Taehyung, who is leaning against a tree, sighs. “I’m sure he’s fine. Something might have come up.”

“Something like what?”

“He’s the head alpha. It could be anything.”

“Head Alpha Jeon is a little busy right now.”

Jimin flinches, surprised by the strange voice. He turns to his right, seeing a figure appear between the trees, and relaxes once he recognises him as the older alpha who was with Jungkook on his second coming of age.

“Will Jungkook not make it today?” Jimin asks, heart calming down slowly.

“I don’t know when he’ll be free.”

“Oh,” Jimin huffs, sounding as dejected as he feels.

He had been looking forward to meeting Jungkook. The day before it was their first time where they talked about something real, where Jimin thought he was finally getting to know Jungkook. Over the night he made the decision to ask Jungkook more about his life, even if it might be a little uncomfortable. If Jimin wants to support Jungkook properly, he needs to know everything about him.

Jimin remembers Jungkook’s words that he’s always welcome in their pack, that he can enter and leave their territory as he pleases. But should he go into rival territory? Jimin almost decks himself for thinking that. At home, he tries to convince his father and brother of accepting Jungkook and no longer demonise him as the big bad alpha, and here he is thinking of Jungkook’s pack as a rival pack. How hypocritical of him.

When Jimin looks up, the alpha is still leaning against the tree, watching Jimin from his own territory.

He looks at Taehyung who in return is watching him. He starts with a small voice, “Jungkook said we’re always welcome in his pack.”

Taehyung’s eyes fall shut, slowly groaning. “Really?”

“It’s our penultimate day. I really want to see him. Please!”

“Can we visit him? What is he even doing?”

Jimin turns to the alpha and asks tentatively. “Would it be okay if I visit him?”

If the alpha is surprised by Jimin’s question, he doesn’t show it. “I’m sure he’ll appreciate it,” he retorts.

Jimin nods, looking longingly to where he assumes the pack is located. It’s not that hard. All he has to do is walk forward maybe take some turns here and there. It’s the same when he’s going to his own pack. He turns back to Taehyung who is looking as if he’s having an inner battle. Jimin pouts, Taehyung groans.

“You owe me so bad, do you know that?” Taehyung grumbles as he gets up.

Jimin cheers, promising to repay Taehyung for this. He inhales slowly so the alpha doesn’t see it, is ashamed to admit that he needs courage right now but is determined not to let the alpha see it. In Jimin’s defence, his whole life he has been told one of the worst things he could do is cross the border to the Jeon pack. A few days ago, the closest Jimin ever got to the border was go to the river that leads to the Kim pack. The first time he crossed the border doesn’t count because he did it unknowingly. This time, he will do it while being fully aware of it. He will defy his father and his whole pack.

Jimin hopes he looks more certain than he feels right now, not wanting Jungkook to hear that he hesitated. It helps that he doesn’t know where exactly the border is so he doesn’t know when he’s crossing it, and that Taehyung walks ahead of Jimin. Only when the alpha stands far closer than before does Jimin know that he crossed the border. He’s on Jeon pack territory now.

“Shall I accompany you to the pack?” the alpha asks once Jimin stands in front of him.

Jimin shakes his head. “It’s fine if you only show us the way.”

The alpha raises his arm and points to his right. “You should go straight forward. You’ll see some abandoned cabins on your right. You’ll be safe but don’t go there. Turn only a little left and just go straight ahead. You’ll see the pack a little after the abandoned cabins.”

“Thank you.”

The alpha follows Taehyung and Jimin with his eyes, basket in hand as they disappear between the trees. Jimin’s heart is beating loudly but his mind is surprisingly silent. He’s going to his mate. How could anything in him tell him that he’s doing something wrong? His wolf couldn’t be any happier at the moment.

They reach the abandoned cabins faster than Jimin thought they would. He knows that the Jeon pack used to live further south before they were kind of chased away more north so there would be more distance between the Jeon and the Park pack. Those abandoned cabins are proof of that, making Jimin’s heart wrench. If his father agrees to the request, Jungkook will be living in one of those cabins again. Jimin with him. But before that they need repairs and renovating. After being abandoned for a decade, those cabins are barely in any condition to live in. If Head Alpha Park refuses to agree to Jungkook’s request, the pack will continue to be in a bad condition further north.

Jimin shakes his head to get rid of the thoughts, turning a little left where he can see inhabited cabins. This time, since no one besides Taehyung is around, Jimin inhales deeply and sighs loudly before he starts walking. He will soon meet the wolves of the Jeon pack, his future pack, and he hopes that it won’t end in a disaster.

As far as Jungkook told him, his pack knows he is someone from the Park pack, maybe that’s why no other wolf who might be on patrol has approached them so far. When they reach the pack, his steps do get tentative, not because he’s afraid as he was before entering Jeon pack territory, but because he doesn’t want to scare anyone. He is a stranger after all, could even be called an intruder. Taehyung matches his steps, even standing behind Jimin since he’s an alpha and could be seen more of a threat than Jimin could but he’s close in case of a disaster.

The noises of life in a pack get louder as they get closer to it, seeing wolves walking here and there. Once he comes out behind a cabin, Jimin stands still and clears his throat. “Hey!” he exclaims, trying to sound polite and nice but ends up sounding tense.

The wolves instantly stop doing what they were occupied with and move back as if Jimin is out to kill them. It alarms Jimin, wanting to back off too but he stays where he is. Once they have calmed down, some of them huddled against each other, all of them looking at Jimin and Taehyung cautiously, Jimin clears his throat and hopes nothing bad happens.

“I’m-” He stops as soon as he starts, remembering that they don’t know his name. Saying he’s Jungkook’s soulmate also seems a little off so he settles for asking where Jungkook is. “Can you tell me where Jungkook is?”

The wolves gasp, starting to whisper between them. Jimin wonders what he has done, ready to apologise and specify that he means Jeon Jungkook, when they’re interrupted by someone else.

“Hey!”

Jimin looks up alarmed, wondering what he’s supposed to do in case he gets attacked. He doesn’t want to fight anyone and sighs relieved when he recognizes the beta from Jungkook’s second coming of age, the one Taehyung fought against. Okay, maybe this isn’t that good.

“Hey,” Jimin greets once the beta stands in front of him, waving awkwardly.

The beta looks at the wolves and waves with a hand. “It’s fine. He’s harmless and allowed to be here. You can continue.” Then he turns to Jimin, briefly glancing Taehyung, and asks, “What are you doing here?”

“I wanted to meet Jungkook. Can you take me to him? Please?”

The beta blinks at Jimin and then shakes his head. “Sorry, it’s a little weird to hear someone other than his family call him by his name after such a long time. He’s doing some repair work. Follow me.”

“Should I not call him by his name?” Jimin asks as he follows the beta, Taehyung tensely following him, the reactions of the wolves now making sense.

Jimin doesn’t mind calling Jungkook Head Alpha Jeon but they’re soulmates and ‘Jungkook’ feels so much more personal. But he doesn’t know what kind of customs the Jeon pack has. Maybe a head alpha is always referred to by their title, even by their soulmates.

“No, you’re his soulmate. And if he hasn’t told you not to then it’s fine,” the beta assures.

Jimin sighs, relieved that he’s allowed to call Jungkook whatever he pleases.

“I’m Myungsoo, by the way.”

“Hey,” Jimin retorts, happy that Myungsoo doesn’t ask him for his name and wonders whether Jungkook talked to them about this. Does Jungkook even talk about him?

All the wolves they walk by stare at Jimin curiously, stopping what they’re doing to look at him. They end up at a barn, the doors to it wide open, the place illuminated by sunlight. Jungkook is sitting on a pole around two meters above the ground and is working with a girl on something that Jimin can’t see.

“Head Alpha Jeon,” Myungsoo calls out.

“Wait. I’m a little busy,” Jungkook replies without looking.

“I’ll come later then,” Jimin says, smiling cheekily already. He hopes Jungkook will be happy to see him.

Jungkook turns around so fast, he loses his balance and falls from the pole. Jimin gasps, letting the basket fall to the ground as he rushes to Jungkook’s side. Jungkook jumps to his feet, clears his throat and tries to appear collected as he dusts himself off. Hay is poking out from his head in all directions.

“Are you okay?” Jimin asks, tentatively touching Jungkook’s arm and chest.

Jungkook nods, doe eyes directed at Jimin, and looking vulnerable. “I’m fine. What are you doing here?”

Jimin slowly pulls his hands back, voice small when he asks, “Should I not have come?”

“No!” Jungkook exclaims, hands wrapping around Jimin’s lower arms and pulling him closer slightly. “I’m just a little surprised. I’m glad you’re here.”

A bashful smile takes over Jimin’s lips, Jimin lowering his head to hide it. Jungkook’s grip on his arms is firm, as if he doesn’t want to let Jimin go, and Jimin wonders how it would feel to hug Jungkook, to have those strong arms around him. Unlike other times Jimin met Jungkook, the alpha isn’t wearing his furs but a thin shirt. Jimin almost reprimands him for it but remembers in time that alphas aren’t cold easily. Jimin looks up at Jungkook, feeling his grip on his arms tighten a little.

Jimin raises his arm, Jungkook’s eyes following the movement. Clearing his throat, Jimin points at his head and mumbles, “You have hay in your hair.”

He collects all courage he has and pulls out some hays from Jungkook’s hair. Then Jimin sinks his fingers into Jungkook’s hair, shamelessly using this chance to touch his mate. His wolf is preening, urging Jimin to go closer. It goes almost insane as Jungkook’s scent around him thickens, Jimin being reminded of early summer mornings and pelting rains in summer. His eyes flutter but he forces them open and moves his hand further into Jungkook’s soft locks.

Their little bubble is burst when they hear someone clear their throat. They jump apart, Jungkook’s hand going to the back of his head as Jimin’s lips form a thin line and he plays with his sleeves.

“Hi, I’m Yoonah,” the girl says, waggling her eyebrows knowingly.

“Hey,” Jimin greets, not able to hold her gaze for long because of his embarrassment.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t come today. Today’s plans got a little overthrown,” Jungkook explains which Jimin is happy for because he can now move on from the event.

“It’s fine,” Taehyung says before Jimin can answer, “It’s not like we have anything else to do other than seeing you two flirt.”

Jimin swats his chest and Jungkook clears his throat. Myungsoo tries to cover his laugh with a cough.

“What? I could be flirting with my own mate right now instead of seeing you two do it.”

“I’ll get going now,” Myungsoo says, leaving the barn already.

“What are you doing?” Jimin asks Jungkook.

“We’re trying to find a temporary solution for the weak pole. I didn’t want to exchange it yet.”

“Taetae can help you with that. He’s good at repair work.”

“No, I’m not.”

Jimin turns to him with a tight-lipped smile and says through gritted teeth, “Yes, you are.”

Taehyung sighs, smiling tensely. “Yes, I am.”

Yoonah goes down the ladder and Taehyung takes her place. Jimin puts the basket he let fall properly on the ground and then steps next to Yoonah who is holding the ladder Taehyung is standing on. From up close, Jimin can tell the wood is about to break, the years and maybe even carelessness, having it worn down. Like Jungkook said, holding it together with metals is only a temporary solution.

“What changed your plans for today?” Jimin asks Jungkook who is back on his previous spot on the pole again.

“A messenger from the Choi pack came to invite me over.”

“The Choi pack invited you?” Jimin repeats, not quite believing what Jungkook said. “That’s wonderful news. Congratulations.”

Jungkook smiles at him and then directs his attention back to the pole. “Thank you. Yoongi also came by for a while to let me know what he discussed with the Choi pack so I’m better prepared for the meeting.”

“That’s nice of him. You call Head Alpha Min by his given name?” Jimin asks, quite surprised by it. The Head Alpha isn’t casual with many wolves. As far as he knows it’s only Namjoon, Seokjin by default and Head Alpha Jung’s beta son Hoseok.

“He insists I do.”

“He must really like you then. Head Alpha Min barely does that with anyone.”

“I need to have a talk with him,” Taehyung pipes in, pouting because he has tried to impress the alpha for some reason since a long time now and never really succeeded.

Taehyung and Jungkook finish repairing the pole, Jungkook rolling his shoulders when he comes down.

“Are you hurt?” Jimin asks, remembering Jungkook’s fall.

“Don’t start again,” Taehyung and then turns to Yoonah. “Please take me somewhere where I can’t see them be gross.”

Jimin feels the tips of his ears burn at his friend’s exaggeration but doesn’t protest. He’ll be better off without Taehyung nearby to embarrass him anyway.

“Where would I take you?” Yoonah asks.

“Show me your pack.”

Yoonah turns to Jungkook as if silently asking him if that is okay. Upon a nod from Jungkook, she shrugs and motions Taehyung to follow him.

“Keep your hands to yourself, Alphaboy,” Taehyung says to Jungkook, and then follows Yoonah out.

“Can you even talk to our head alpha like that?” Yoonah asks as they exit.

“He’s my best friend’s mate. I have best friend privileges and responsibilities,” Taehyung explains, saying something more that Jimin doesn’t catch.

“I’m sorry about him. He’s doing that to take revenge on me for doing the same to him,” Jimin apologises as soon as the alphas have left.

Jungkook smiles, Jimin gladly seeing that he doesn’t look offended at all. “It’s okay. I’m glad to know you always have a friend at your side that will protect you. Even from head alphas. Helps me sleep better at night.”

“You worry about me?” Jimin asks, wondering if he should curse himself for his loose tongue around Jungkook.

Jungkook focuses his eyes on Jimin, suddenly more serious than before. “I always worry about you.”

“You don’t have to,” Jimin assures, not liking the idea that Jungkook stays awake at night because of him. “I’m fine.”

“I know that but I still worry because-”

Jimin remains silent to see how Jungkook is going to finish his sentence. He waits and doesn’t get to hear the ending. Instead, Jungkook visibly deflates and sighs.

“Because?” Jimin prompts.

Jungkook opens his mouth and then shuts it again. His eyes flick all over the barn, averting from Jimin as soon as they land on him.

“What’s wrong?” Jimin is getting worried.

Jungkook chuckles but it sounds humourless. “No matter how I form the sentence in my head, it doesn’t sound correct at all.”

Jimin closes the distance between them and carefully takes Jungkook’s hand in his. As expected, Jungkook’s hand is so much bigger than his, his hand almost getting fully covered by it.

“You don’t have to hold back when you’re with me, Jungkook. I’m your soulmate. If you’re not going to share your thoughts with me, then who?”

“I’m-” Jungkook starts, stops and shakes his head.

Jimin can’t explain what happens to his heart when Jungkook pulls his hand out of his. It just hurts. Jimin’s wolf instantly sees it as rejection, howling in pain because Jimin hasn’t even been properly Jungkook’s and he’s being rejected already.

Jungkook is inhaling and exhaling deeply through his mouth, chest visibly moving up and down with the motion. When he opens his eyes, connecting with Jimin’s, his face goes blank. Then he’s cupping Jimin’s cheeks with both hands, eyes flickering all over Jimin’s face. Jimin sniffles, nuzzling into Jungkook’s hands to let the touch soothe him but he still feels the sting of the rejection.

“Hey,” Jungkook coos, “What’s wrong? Hm?”

Jimin shakes his head. He wonders when his eyes filled with tears, blinking heavily to get rid off them.

“Tell me,” Jungkook urges, thumb brushing away the tear that escaped. “I’ll make it go away.”

Jimin covers Jungkook’s hands with his own and says. “It’s nothing.”

“You’re crying. How is this nothing?”

“I just worry about you.”

Jungkook’s eyes widen a fraction before Jungkook closes them and inhales deeply through his mouth. There is a small smile on his lips when he opens them again.

“You can’t say that,” Jungkook says, voice breathy.

“Why not?” Jimin asks, chest feeling lighter again.

Jungkook hesitates again, and Jimin wonders if it’s him, why Jungkook can’t be open with him. But can he blame Jungkook when he hasn’t even told Jungkook his name yet?

Jimin puts his hands on top of Jungkook when he feels Jungkook pulling them back. Jungkook lets Jimin hold his hands in place but he looks like he’s pain.

“You don’t have to be careful around me?” Jimin breathes. “I want to know all of you.”

Jungkook opens his mouth, not saying anything for a while. Then he croaks, “It’s hard when I don’t know who I am.”

Jimin doesn’t stop Jungkook from pulling back this time. He doesn’t know how to hold onto him, how to keep him grounded when he himself feels like he’s floating somewhere far away, helpless.

Jungkook turns around once to smile at Jimin. Maybe it’s supposed to look reassuring but it’s only sad. Jimin inhales deeply, wiping away the remainders of his tears. This is no time to cry. He needs to spend his time with Jungkook wisely.

“I’ll do that,” Jimin says, putting his hand on the broom Jungkook is holding. Jungkook opens his mouth to protest, already pulling the broom away but Jimin speaks before him, “Please. Let me help you.”

Jungkook’s eyes flick over Jimin’s face and Jimin wonders if Jungkook can see at least some of Jimin’s resolution to be a good mate for Jungkook in him. He may not know how to yet but he’s willing to do his all. Jungkook leaves the broom to Jimin and goes to the back of the barn to separate the trash from the things they can still need.

How Jimin would have loved to tell Jungkook who he is but the truth is that Jimin doesn’t know.

I look like him.

Jungkook had said it so easily, as if that’s all Jungkook is. Jimin wonders if that’s who Jungkook thinks he is. Caught by the ghost of his own alpha father, Jungkook has ceased to exist somewhere along the way. It doesn’t help that Jungkook looks like him. His father and even the small Eunwoo see Jeon Junghwan in Jungkook. Who else does?

For a second, Jimin wishes Jungkook would have gone far away. Why did Jungkook come back? What made him decide to kill his father and become the head alpha? The boy who was supposed to die came back strong enough to kill the biggest nightmare this pack had seen and yet he’s still haunted by it. Did Jungkook even want to be head alpha?

Jimin can imagine that Jeon Junghwan had never wanted any of his children to become an alpha. Yet here Jungkook is. Jungkook was never meant to be head alpha. His oldest alpha sibling was supposed to, and yet here Jungkook is. Jungkook was never meant to survive, and yet here he is. Jungkook has defied so many odds, Jimin wonders if Jungkook is where he’s supposed to be. Jungkook is only a twenty-year-old wolf, barely an adult, and has the weight of so many lives on his shoulders.

All Jimin wants is to get close to Jungkook but there are so many things that are pulling the alpha away from him. How is Jimin supposed to beat an enemy he doesn’t know? Can Jimin, with his sheltered and privileged life, even attempt to win. Small pups like Eunwoo have gone through more than he has. What even is Jimin in Jungkook’s world?

Jimin thinks about his mom, what she does as a head alphas mate but comes up empty. He doesn’t know how her life was when her father took over as head alpha. His mother might be able to give him very much needed advice since his father took over in a moment of pure chaos. Jimin’s grandfather had been killed and there had been no other option for Jimin’s father other than take over as soon as possible since the war was still going on back then. It must not have been easy for any of the parties.

Jimin glances at Jungkook and sees the alpha try to carry big parts of what was once a mill alone. There is one thing that Jimin finds out about Jungkook as he sees him struggle alone with the weight. That is that the alpha is different from his own father. Jeon Junghwan took too much, so Jeon Jungkook cannot even ask for something.

Jungkook puts the wheel on the ground with a huff, wiping the sweat from his forehead with the back of his hand. Before he can catch Jimin watching him, Jimin finally sweeps the last dirt away.

“Want to go and drink something?” Jungkook asks.

Jimin isn’t thirsty per se, only swept the place, but nods for Jungkook’s sake, taking his basket. Jungkook walks ahead, his shirt clinging to his skin because of how much Jungkook sweated. His chest is heaving up and down, and his movements are slow. It’s obvious that Jungkook is exhausted.

It was expected that Jimin would be the centre of attention again when he goes out but he’s still not prepared for the looks he gets once he looks away from Jungkook. It’s not guessable whether Jimin is the reason for the tense atmosphere or if Jimin is only imagining it. He hopes it’s not always like this.

“How is Eunwoo?” Jimin asks in order to distract himself from the stares.

A smile appears on Jungkook’s face at the mention of his brother. “He’s fine. Today he was more willing to let go of me than yesterday.”

Jungkook leads Jimin to a cabin that is slightly bigger than the rest of them and obviously better built. It’s not surprising to see that the head alpha lives in this cabin. It’s not a place Jungkook would live in willingly, Jimin decides. It has remained from Jeon Junghwan. The inside is sparsely decorated. There may have been a time once where the inside looked just as grand as the exterior but it has long since passed. Maybe with Jeon Junghwan’s death.

“Have you eaten already?” Jungkook asks and leads Jimin into the kitchen. He fills two glasses with water and sets one in front of Jimin which he accepts with a thank you.

“Have you?” Jimin retaliates, putting the basket on the table. He doubts the alpha has.

Jungkook downs the rest of his glass and chuckles. “No. Do you want to eat together?”

“You should shower first. You worked hard.”

Jungkook shuffles around, suddenly seeming embarrassed at the praise.

“Jungkook!”

Jimin turns around to face the door, wondering who would call for Jungkook inside his cabin. Before he can ask Jungkook, he screams, “Yes, dad?”

Jimin’s eyes widen and he steps around the table to shake Jungkook’s arm. “Your dad is home?” he asks in a hushed whisper.

“Where else would he be?”

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

Jungkook faces Jimin wholly as Jimin starts panicking. He should’ve known that Jungkook’s omega father is home. Like Jungkook said, where else would he be? But Jimin didn’t and now he isn’t prepared to meet Jungkook’s dad. He’s neither clothed for the occasion nor mentally prepared. In his emotionally riddled mind, Jimin never even thought of meeting Jungkook’s parents. Fuck, Jungkook has three parents Jimin has to meet.

“Hey, what’s wrong?” Jungkook asks, noticing Jimin’s inner turmoil even if he doesn’t know what exactly it is about.

What’s wrong?” Jimin repeats. “Wrong is that I’m not prepared to meet your dad. He’s going to hate me. Look at me. I look awful and I didn’t even bring a gift.”

Jungkook chuckles which Jimin almost hits him for. “It’s fine. You don’t need a gift. My dad already loves you.”

“How can he when he doesn’t even know me? That’s not possible. I’m going home,” Jimin announces and turns towards the door, ready to disappear and go as far away as possible.

Jungkook holds him back though, instantly stopping Jimin with his words. “But dad must already know that you’re here. He’d be sad if he finds out you left without meeting him.”

That’s not what Jimin wants. Jungkook is right. Jimin can’t just disappear. That will only make him look worse than his appearance now. He sighs defeatedly, wondering why he got himself into this mess.

“He’ll hate me,” Jimin pouts.

Jungkook puts his hand on top of Jimin’s and smiles. “He won’t.”

“He’ll think I’m a bad mate and he’ll hate me.”

Jungkook chuckles at that, making Jimin feel even more miserable. “He’ll adore you.”

Jimin pouts some more, almost hanging himself off of Jungkook’s arm as he grips it. “Will you be with me?”

The corners of Jungkook lips twitch and something glints in his eyes. “Always,” Jungkook says.

It strikes a chord in Jimin, the omega feeling like Jungkook has promised so much more to him than he can comprehend at that moment. He wants to ask for the severity of the promise but is distracted by a figure in the doorway.

“Oh, I didn’t know we have a guest over,” the calm voice resounds.

Jimin tightens his hold on Jungkook’s hand and almost hides behind him. What good is Jungkook’s tall and broad frame when Jimin can’t make use of it, but he stays where he is. Jungkook squeezes Jimin’s hand, telling him he’s there, that he’ll be fine, that he will protect him.

“Dad, this is my soulmate,” Jungkook starts, stepping to the side a little so his dad can see Jimin properly. Jimin wants to whine at the betrayal. Then he looks at Jimin and says, “This is my dad Sooyeon.”

“Hello,” Sooyeon greets with a smile.

“Hey.”

Jungkook’s omega father is…beautiful. The years have obviously worn him down and he looks fragile in his shirt that is too big on him. He looks ill, as if he’s going to fall any second, but all of this can’t hide his sharp features and stunning eyes. Sooyeon is inarguably a beautiful omega.

“If I had known you are going to come over I would have prepared something.”

Jimin shakes his head, momentarily distracted by Jungkook who walks out of the kitchen, having to let go of Jimin’s hand. He comes back with some furs he drapes over his father’s shoulders.

“It’s fine. Thank you.”

“It’s your first time coming over. I should have,” Sooyeon says, lets Jungkook help him to one of the chairs.

“It was not planned,” Jimin explains, “Jungkook didn’t come over so I thought I should. I’m sorry for suddenly appearing like this.”

Sooyeon smiles and makes a dismissive gesture with his hand. “You’re always welcome here. This is your pack too, you know that, right?”

Oh.

Jimin never actively thought about his position in the Jeon pack and what his relationship to it will be. Looking at his mother, yes, Jimin will have a leading position alongside Jungkook if the alpha allows it but he’s also a stranger and the reaction to him has been mostly hostile do far. Not that Jimin blames anyone. The pack needs more time to get used to him, not that he’s present anyway, and they’re in the middle of countless changes, but calling the Jeon pack his own doesn’t sound wrong. Unfamiliar but definitely not wrong.

“I know,” Jimin says

As soon as Jungkook has helped Sooyeon into one of the chairs, Jungkook joins Jimin again. He doesn’t hold his hand like before but the proximity still calms Jimin’s nerves.

Sooyeon’s eyes flicker between Jimin and Jungkook which makes Jimin wonder if he’s standing too close to Jungkook, if he maybe shouldn’t be so casual with Jungkook. Jimin has no idea what the rules are in this pack.

“What?” Jungkook asks when Sooyeon averts his eyes, smiling to himself.

At Jungkook’s question, Sooyeon stares at Jungkook and then at Jimin, says, “You look good together.”

Jimin is still for a moment and then he feels himself flushing, automatically lowering his head. It makes his wolf preen and purr in satisfaction.

“Have you eaten already?” Jungkook asks after clearing his throat.

Sooyeon gladly doesn’t further comment on Jimin and Jungkook, and shakes his head.

“You should have. Let me cook something fast.”

“We’ll eat together. You should shower first. I’ll prepare something in the meanwhile.”

“I can help,” Jimin offers. “I already have some dishes with me anyway. I’ll need to cook only something small.”

“That would be very much appreciated. Thank you.”

Jimin beams at Sooyeon’s praise, feeling like he won the world.

Jungkook surprisingly doesn’t comment on that but asks Jimin, “Do you want to look for your friend and invite him over?”

Jimin had completely forgotten about Taehyung. He nods and says, “I’ll go look for him after I’m done.”

“Be careful.”

Jimin watches as Jungkook leaves the kitchen, too late noticing the pair of eyes on him. He reprimands himself mentally, and then turns to Sooyeon who’s watching him with a small smile. “I have some meat, some rice and some freshly cut vegetables but I think it won’t be enough to feed two omegas and alphas. What should I prepare?”

“Seems like you always take good care of my son. Thank you for that.”

Jimin almost squeaks. He’s torn apart between wanting to roll on the ground proudly and happily like his wolf and hiding himself away. This must be the punishment for teasing Taehyung and Mina so much when they found each other.

“We have some beans I earlier soaked in water. It would be nice if you could cut some onions and tomatoes for them,” Sooyeon says, releasing Jimin from his torture.

Jimin nods and goes to the bowl Sooyeon pointed at, removing the lid. Sooyeon helps him finding the onions and tomatoes, and instantly starts cooking. He can faintly hear Jungkook shower in the cabin but before his mind can wander to dangerous places that involve a naked Jungkook, he occupies it with the omega in the kitchen.

Would it be okay for Jimin if he asks him questions about Jungkook? It wouldn’t necessarily be spying on Jungkook but could be seen as such. Jungkook is a topic he has to approach differently. Instead he tries to think of a question about the pack life.

“Sooyeon?” Jimin mumbles, his heart hammering against his ribcage.

“Yes?”

Jimin makes sure the beans aren’t burning and faces the omega. “I was wondering if you’d like to tell me what I need to keep an eye on as the head alpha’s mate. Our packs are different in some of our customs and traditions. I would like to avoid embarrassing Jungkook.”

“That’s very thoughtful and considerate of you,” Sooyeon says slowly, appearing to look for the right words. “I’m not sure if I’m the right person to ask because I was Head Alpha Junghwan’s second mate and not his soulmate, like you might know already. But even if, none of the rules that existed so far in this pack do so anymore. Jungkook has abolished them all.”

“Why?” Jimin asks, glad he doesn’t have to comment on the first part of Sooyeon’s sentence. He had known about it, and is embarrassed he didn’t think of it.

“The rules were made to benefit Head Alpha Junghwan. They weren’t particularly fair or logical. Jungkook abolished them to create a better capacity for equality. But that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. You can create your rules together with Jungkook.”

Jimin feels more and more dejected with each word of Sooyeon’s. The ground he’s walking on is so new that he’s constantly making mistakes.

“I’m sorry if I made you uncomfortable by reminding you of past things,” Jimin apologizes. “That was never my intention.”

“It doesn’t matter, love. Jungkook says I need to talk about it if I want to get over it. My son is sometimes too wise for his age.”

“He does seem too good to be true sometimes,” Jimin agrees without thinking and then bites his tongue. He turns to the beans to avoid looking at Sooyeon’s knowing smile. Could Jimin be anymore shameless and drool over Jungkook in front of his father?

“Seems like Jungkook is done showering. Maybe you should look for your friend now. “I’ll take over,” Sooyeon says.

Jimin wants to protest but he also doesn’t want Jungkook to go and look for Taehyung. That’s why he lets Sooyeon take over and runs outside to look for Taehyung. The reaction to Jimin is the same as before, and while it makes him fidget to be without Jungkook and Taehyung, he decides to suck it up and look for Taehyung. Gladly he doesn’t have to look for long, Taehyung only standing a few feet away with Yoonah, Myungsoo and another familiar figure.

Jimin jogs over, hoping Taehyung isn’t offending the young alpha from their first meeting in his usual annoying way. Hopefully the alpha also is friendly towards Taehyung, but upon coming closer, Jimin sees a frown on his face.

“Hey,” Jimin greets, ready to reprimand Taehyung. The alpha turns to him, frown disappearing instantly as he recognises Jimin.

“Hey, short stuff,” Taehyung says before Jimin can even say anything else. “Tell Haneul I can call you whatever I want to.”

Jimin is too stupefied for a moment to say something, mouth falling open. Never would Jimin have thought his friend would betray him like that and take his “privileges” as his best friend so far to insult him in front of his future pack, and take more heed of his responsibilities. He gets over his shock and gasps, “Take that back. Right now.”

Taehyung snorts, standing straight, rolling, his shoulders back so he looks even taller and broader than he already is. “What would that do? I already said it and I’ll say it again. Short stuff.”

Taehyung uses his forefinger and middle finger and tips Jimin’s head back by pushing his forehead. Jimin immediately retaliates by pushing his shoulder. Taehyung doesn’t move an inch, only laughs at Jimin mockingly. That maddens Jimin only more, Haneul frowning again.

“Okay, that’s it, you stupid alpha,” Jimin huffs and attacks Taehyung.

Taken off guard, Taehyung can’t keep his balance. He falls on his back, all breath leaving him in a huff as Jimin lands on top of him. Jimin uses the advantage of the surprise to straddle Taehyung’s hips and land punches to his chest and his stomach. Taehyung curls in on himself from how hard he’s laughing, arms weakly shielding his chest from Jimin’s attacks.

Jimin expects it when Taehyung grips his upper arms, something he always does when Jimin is on top, but he still can’t find enough balance in time to stop Taehyung from throwing him to the side to lean over him.

Jimin faintly hears the shout but doesn’t look unlike Taehyung whose head snaps into the direction it came from. Seeing that as his chance, Jimin knees Taehyung’s side, not with as much force as he can but enough to throw Taehyung off. Taehyung clutches his side and is unable stop Jimin from changing their positions, so he’s under Jimin again. Jimin digs his toes into the ground and is ready to tickle Taehyung to make him yield when he’s suddenly pulled away from Taehyung.

“How dare you?” Haneul growls at Taehyung, pushing Jimin behind him. His eyes are red, Myungsoo and Yoonah looking equally as tense.

“Haneul, stop,” Jungkook orders, pulling Jimin to his side and blocking Haneul from reaching Taehyung with one arm. Jimin doesn’t know where he appeared from but he’s relieved he did.

Haneul is shaking, jaw tense as he looks at Taehyung who is laying motionless but alarmed on the ground. When he talks to Jungkook, he lowers his head. “He attacked your mate.”

Jimin’s mouth falls open, eyes widening. He grips Jungkook’s arm to tell him that ‘no, it was all fun and games’ but then Jungkook speaks up again. “Raise your head.”

Haneul does so slowly, eyes still not set on Jungkook.

“They’re friends, Haneul. Friends play with each other.”

Haneul looks like he wants to protest, but Jungkook silences him with a raise of his hand.

“I’m fine,” Jimin chimes in, “He would never hurt me.”

Haneul’s shaking subsides and his eyes take on their usual brown colour. This time when he lowers his head, he’s doing it out of shame. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay. You only wanted to protect me.”

Jungkook offers Taehyung one hand to help him up. Jimin looks around and sees that every wolf who has seen what happened is standing still, some holding their pups close as if to protect them. Everyone looks alarmed and cautious, even afraid.

“I’m sorry,” Jungkook apologizes to Taehyung.

“It’s fine. I’m happy to know that your pack is ready to protect my friend. Even from alphas who can easily beat their asses.”

“You didn’t beat my ass,” Haneul protests, suddenly embarrassed again.

Myungsoo pats Haneul’s shoulder and says, “He totally beat our asses.”

Haneul pouts, asking Taehyung about his training as an alpha. Taehyung lists everything with pride, making sure to rub salt into the alpha’s and beta’s wounds. Jimin looks around one last time and then says to Jungkook. “I’m sorry.”

Jungkook smiles. “It’s not your fault. We’re not used to seeing an omega challenge an alpha so openly, even if it’s only a joke. But it’s nice they get to see that. Then they know that we can be like that too one day and leave Head Alpha’s days and rules behind. I can deal with the alphas easily. Even the betas are okay but I can’t get through to the omegas. There is a lot this pack can learn from you.”

Jimin isn’t so sure about this but there is one thing he feels like he has to do. He turns to Jungkook, putting a hand on his lower arm and making sure he has Jungkook’s full attention. “He’s not head alpha anymore, Jungkook. You are.”

Jungkook’s eyes widen a fraction and he lowers his head, taking a deep breath. Then he looks at Jimin and says, “Seems like there is a lot I can learn from you too.”

Chapter Text

Jimin doesn’t want to get up. It’s the last day where he can meet Jungkook, and if he stands up now, it will go by faster. He knows that doesn’t make any sense because time doesn’t wait for him and he’s uselessly spending his time in his bed, but he feels dread at the thought of getting up. With a heavy heart, urged by noises coming from the kitchen, Jimin gets to his feet.

“Do you not feel well?” his mother asks as soon as he enters the kitchen.

He plasters a smile onto his face, telling her he’s fine. She doesn’t seem convinced. “You should go to the healer later. So he can check up on you again.”

“How about I rest for the whole day and go there tomorrow morning?”

After some further discussion with his mother and waiting until arranged time, Jimin finally manages to slip out of the cabin with the basket in his hands again. On his way to meet Taehyung at the border of their pack, an alpha appears out of nowhere directly in front of him. Jimin gasps, not being able to stop himself in time, and lands in the arms of the alpha. His heart jumps but the panic doesn’t come because his wolf recognizes the familiar scent of his pack. After balancing himself, Jimin steps back and stares baffled as the alpha closes a hand around his lower arm to keep him steady. Jimin almost recoils when he smells the tangy spike in Minjae’s scent, which is something that happens a lot when Minjae is around him.

“Minjae,” he says. “Hey.”

Minjae smiles, appearing a little nervous and red in the face. “Hey.”

The thing about Minjae is that he is a little smitten with Jimin. At first, Jimin didn’t think much of it, treating the alpha as friendly as anyone else, but when a couple of weeks ago someone told Jimin that Minjae thinks Jimin will be his soulmate, then Jimin distanced himself. Minjae doesn’t seem to be getting the message.

“I didn’t mean to scare you. I’m sorry.”

Jimin nods, pulling his wrist slowly out of Minjae’s grip. Minjae seems reluctant to let go, eyes set on his hand around Jimin’s wrist, but does so in the end.

“It’s fine. It happens,” Jimin assures. “Did you need something?”

“Oh, uuh… No. I was just wondering how you were doing?”

“I’m fine. Thank you.” Jimin’s answer is short. He knows he sounds rude but he just wants to leave, feeling his time together with Jungkook decrease. “I have to go now.”

“Oh, where to?” Minjae asks, walking alongside Jimin. “You shouldn’t be walking around alone.”

Jimin sighs, wondering how to get rid of the alpha. Minjae can be very persistent.

“I’m meeting up with Tae. We’re having a picnic.” Jimin holds up the basket, hoping Minjae will back off now.

“You shouldn’t walk around as a pair either. It’s dangerous lately.”

Jimin stops, turning to Minjae. “What happened?”

“Nothing happened. It’s just dangerous because of the Jeon pack.”

“The Jeon pack didn’t do anything,” Jimin says, needing to control his voice so he doesn’t sound too angry.

“No, but they could. It’s safer to stay away from them as much as possible.”

Jimin groans inwardly, wondering who has been talking in the pack. Gossip goes around too fast. It’s as if people don’t have enough responsibilities to keep themselves busy with.

“What’s going on?”

Jimin turns around, thanking everyone for Taehyung’s arrival. He motions to Minjae with his eyes, telling him to take care of the alpha. Taehyung barely nods and focuses on Minjae with a smile. Walking over to Minjae’s side, Taehyung wraps an arm around his shoulder and leads him further inside the pack.

“You go ahead. It’ll take me a little while.”

Jimin is surprised by Taehyung’s sentence, never having expected his friend to allow him to go Jungkook on his own. It seems as if Taehyung has started trusting Jungkook, and that makes Jimin’s heart fill with warmth. He decides not to wait for Taehyung and makes sure to go in the direction of the Kim pack because Minjae still has set his eyes on Jimin, and changes the route once he’s out of sight.

Even though it’s his second day in the Jeon pack, wolves still get silent around Jimin and stare at him as if he’s an intruder. Jimin greets them with a smile, albeit nervously. At least this time he doesn’t need to look for long before he finds Jungkook. The alpha currently has his back towards Jimin and is talking to an elder wolf who spots him. Jimin puts his index on his lips, asking the wolf to be quiet who obliges. Moving on his tiptoes to make as little noise as possible, Jimin creeps up on Jungkook, touches Jungkook’s arm, and calls out, “Boo!”

Before Jimin knows what’s happening, he’s pulled forward, his arm wrung onto his back, and a hand is holding him down by his neck, the basket falling to the floor. It doesn’t hurt. The world is just a blur for two seconds maybe and then Jimin is staring at the ground, his heart racing from the growl that Jungkook lets out.

Jimin almost whines, wolf wanting to submit to Jungkook and bare his neck. He’s a little surprised by Jungkook’s reflexes. It’s not unknown to him that wolves, especially alphas, can be this fast, has even seen it but never experienced on himself. It’s exhilarating to say the least.

The next second Jimin is set free, no hands restraining him. He stumbles a bit and turns around with wide eyes to Jungkook, Jungkook looking just as wide-eyed, eyes red. Jimin lunges forward and grips Jungkook’s arms, jumping up and down excitedly.

“How did you do that?” Jimin asks with a beaming smile.

One of his foot suddenly lands on a small rock, twisting his ankle as his foot lands uneven on the ground. Jungkook’s hands surge forward to steady him, gripping him tightly. The red that has been slowly disappearing from his eyes, reappears full force as he sniffs the air. Jimin’s heart almost stops beating when he realizes Jungkook is sniffing him.

“Are you fine?” Jungkook asks. Jimin is alarmed by how distressed he sounds. “I’m sorry, I didn’t recognize you. You have someone else’s scent on you.”

Oh. It’s Minjae’s scent. Jimin’s mouth falls open and he waves his hand in dismissal.

“I’m fine,” he assures and adds to distract Jungkook from Minjae’s scent, “You never told me you were this good. Like, I know alphas are talented and you must be even more so, but I still didn’t know how much.”

“I- uh. Um,” Jungkook stutters, looking a little lost.

“And why have I never seen you in your wolf form?” Jimin inquires. Only now does he think of this important fact, getting more excited as he tries to think how Jungkook would look as a wolf. “Isn’t it unfair? I’m your mate.”

“Yeah, I guess. Are you sure you’re not hurt? I really didn’t mean to. I’m sorry.”

Jimin huffs and swats Jungkook’s chest. “I’m fine.”

He flinches when he hears some gasps, something falling to the ground in the distance. Jimin looks around to see every wolves’ eyes on them, looking shocked and scandalized. Even the elder is looking at Jimin with bulging eyes. Then Jimin realizes what he has done and instantly pulls his hands back and hides them behind his back. He automatically curls in on himself, cheeks growing red.

“I’m sorry,” he apologizes, eyes flicking between the pack and Jungkook.

Jungkook takes a step forward, now brown eyes filled with worry. “It’s fine. You didn’t do anything wrong.”

Judging by the reactions of everyone around him, Jimin doubts that he hasn’t done anything wrong. He feels like he has committed a crime that he deserves the worst punishment for. Yeah, Jimin is handsy with everyone close to him. He hits Taehyung and Jihyun on a daily basis but Jungkook is something else. Jungkook is his mate and the head alpha of the Jeon pack. Jimin should know better.

Jungkook cups Jimin’s cheeks with his hands, gaining the omega’s complete attention. “It’s fine. Like you said, I’m your mate. I’m yours.”

Jimin flushes instantly. He can’t believe Jungkook said that right in front of everyone. But while a side of him is embarrassed, another side and his wolf are over the moon. Jungkook is neither mad at Jimin for being so casual with him and nor is he telling Jimin to stop being himself.

Jimin allows himself a small smile before he clears his throat and whispers, “Everyone’s watching.”

Jungkook’s eyes widen a fraction and he pulls his hands back, clears his throat. Jimin smiles some more at Jungkook’s reaction. Embarrassed Jungkook is just too cute. Jimin leans down to check whether the food in his basket has survived and to occupy himself with something.

“Where’s your friend?” Jungkook asks after clearing his throat.

“He’s still at the pack. Had some stuff to do.”

Jungkook furrows his eyebrows. “Does he know you’re here?”

“He knows I came to meet you,” Jimin says and adds when Jungkook raises his eyebrows, “But he doesn’t know I’m here. It’s fine though.”

“If you can’t be here, then it’s fine. You shouldn’t do something that could get you in trouble. I wanted to come to our spot later anyway.”

“I want to be here. He trusts you. He wouldn’t have let me come alone otherwise. And I trust you.”

Jungkook stops talking and remains silent for some seconds. Then he nods, accepting Jimin’s decision. For the first time that day, Jimin looks at Jungkook and sees that the alpha looks tired, a little pale. Has he been sleeping not well again?

“I guess we’ll talk later, Head Alpha Jeon,” the elder wolf speaks up.

“Oh, you can continue whatever you were doing. It’s fine,” Jimin says, having forgotten about the wolf next to them.

“Thank you. It won’t take long. You can leave the basket here. I’ll take it to the cabin,” Jungkook promises.

“It’s fine. I’ll just look around a bit, if that’s alright.”

“Yeah. Be careful.”

Jimin almost snorts, finding Jungkook’s repeated words a little odd. He’s on Jeon territory. Who would hurt him here? Jimin thinks as he walks away from Jungkook. Then he almost stops walking when he thinks about how there may be someone who would want to hurt him. But why? He shakes his head, trying to get rid of those thoughts. Jungkook wouldn’t let him walk around on his own if someone from his pack wanted to hurt him.

The Jeon pack, Jimin notices, is a slow pack. There isn’t much going on which isn’t surprising because it’s much smaller than the Park pack, or any other pack at this point, but it’s odd to Jimin. He knows bustling and noises from his pack, that is never silent for too long. It’s not like the Jeon pack is completely quiet but it’s still unnerving to Jimin. He has always associated the noise with livelihood and happiness. There has never been a day where he was so annoyed by the noise that he wanted it to stop forever.

Upon hearing some voices talk animatedly with each other, Jimin follows them to the back of a cabin near the woods. A group of omegas and betas is huddled around a dead deer with knives in their hands, talking about how to best remove the fur.

“Just do it,” one of them says, sounding frustrated.

A woman raises her knife, and when Jimin sees that she’s about to cut right into the animal’s back, he screams. “NO!”

The wolves flinch, the woman dropping her knife and staring at Jimin wide-eyed. Jimin lowers his hands that he had raised in an attempt to stop them and clears his throat. He slowly walks closer and says, “Don’t cut it like that. It’ll ruin the fur.”

“May I?” he asks when he crouches next to them, holding the hand out for the knife. He points to the stomach area and says, “Cut it from here. It will be less damaging and much easier to cut. Try to make as few cuts as possible so there won’t be too many pieces. If there are any cuts from the kill then it’s better to cut from there and not have them in the middle of the piece.”

 Jimin demonstrates it as slowly as possible, every wolf watching him with hawk eyes. After a few cuts he holds the knife out to the beta again and encourages her to follow his steps. It’s done clumsily and Jimin has to step in a few times to lead the knife in her hands but in the end she manages to do it.

“Do the alphas not do this?” Jimin asks, bloody hands held away from his shirt.

The wolves look at each and then shake their heads in unison.

Jimin frowns. “Well, that’s inconvenient. You should at least be taught how to do it then.”

“Hyoyeon’s mother usually skins the animals but she’s busy with other things right now,” one omega says, head held low.

It reminds Jimin of Haneul and Jungkook asking him to raise his head. He wants to ask why they do this but is then distracted by the name the omega just spoke.

“Hyoyeon?” he asks and looks at the beta who was skinning the animal. “You’re Jungkook’s sister.”

The beta’s eyes widen. She looks up briefly to stare at Jimin baffled and then lowers her head again. “Yes.”

Mindful of the blood, Jimin turns to Hyoyeon with a glint in his eyes and pleads, “Tell me something about him.”

“Excuse me?”

Jimin looks at their horrified faces and then back at Hyoyeon. “About Jungkook. Tell me something about his past. Please,” he adds with pleading eyes.

“Uuuh.” Hyoyeon looks around with wide eyes, backing away from Jimin slightly. “I don’t know Head Alpha Jeon that well. I’m sorry.”

Jimin halts immediately. His pleading expression falls from his face and he’s suddenly painfully aware of the tension around them. The wolves seem antsy, fidgeting as they avoid Jimin’s gaze. Jimin feels unwelcome. Maybe he shouldn’t be here. Is that what Jungkook meant?

“He’s your brother. You must know something about him.” Jimin says carefully.

Hyoyeon lowers her head even more which terrifies Jimin because she looks willing to kneel in front of Jimin.

“I’m sorry. I don’t want to annoy Head Alpha Jeon but if you wish I can ask mother and-”

“No,” Jimin interrupts, unease filling him with each second. “Please raise your head. You don’t have to do anything. I just thought you could maybe tell me something about him because you’re siblings. Siblings are very close in my pack and I thought you would be too. You don’t owe me anything. I’m sorry.”

Hyoyeon raises her head but not her eyes. Jimin feels at a loss for what to do and decides to let it be for now. He doesn’t think he can do much here anyway.

“Where can I wash my hands?” Jimin asks, wanting to escape the situation. He feels cowardly. This is his future pack after all but he doesn’t feel ready to take care of it right now. He really needs to talk to his mom or maybe even Seokjin.

Hyoyeon points to the cabin on the edge of the forest. “There is a rain barrel behind that. You can wash it with that water.”

Jimin nods and gets up, leaving with a heavy heart. He is thoroughly confused and lost. The differences between the two packs get more and more noticeable. Jimin wonders how much more there is that he doesn’t know, not only about the pack but also about Jungkook. How can Jungkook’s sister not know him? That’s something unimaginable for Jimin. Again, his privileged life is put on the spot. Ready to go back to Jungkook because he’s the reason Jimin is even on Jeon ground. What he doesn’t expect is to run into two women cuddled up in each other’s arms, kissing each other. Jimin raises his bloody hands to shield his eyes and turns away, squeaking slightly.

“I’m sorry,” Jimin apologizes, peeking out from under his eyes to check whether it is safe to look or not. He’s sure his cheeks are just as red as the ones from the women. Jimin only now notices that both are omegas.

Once it’s safe to look, the omegas being meters away from each other, Jimin removes his hands and smiles apologetically at them. As soon as his face is revealed one of the women pales and then practically throws herself on the ground, right in front of Jimin’s feet. Jimin’s heart jumps into his throat and he takes several steps back, horrified at the omega’s actions.

“O-omega Jeon,” the omega on the ground stutters.

Jimin has no time to think about the implication of the title because the second omega freezes when she hears it and then kneels in front of Jimin too, forehead pressed against the ground.

Jimin flinches, gut coiling and hands shaking as he takes the image in. He’s lost, neither knows what’s going on nor what to do. He takes a shaking breath and leans down to help the omega in front of him up but doesn’t dare touch her.

“W-what’s going on? Please get up,” he pleads.

“Omega Jeon. Have mercy,” comes the first omega’s muffled voice.

Jimin looks around, wonders where Jungkook is or someone else at this point. He doubts he can do this on his own. Is this something normal in the Jeon pack?

“Please. Please get up.”

The first omega raises her head from the ground but remains on all fours. “We beg you.”

Jimin looks at the shaking omega behind the first one and takes another step back. “What? Why?”

“Please don’t tell Head Alpha Jeon about us.”

“I don’t understand. You’re soulmates, aren’t you? Why would I tell Jungkook? Why should I not tell him?”

“W-we aren’t soulmates,” the second omega stutters, then adds rushed, “Omega Jeon.”

“It’s forbidden for omegas to be in a relationship. We know, and we’re sorry for breaking that rule. But please, please spare our lives and don’t tell Head Alpha Jeon. We won’t repeat it.”

Jimin is speechless. He has no idea what to say to any of this. The fact that he's an outsider is even more obvious now. Why would that be forbidden? They're not soulmates but that's fine. Jimin knows it's fine. But maybe not in the Jeon pack. Why wouldn't it be though?

"Why is it forbidden for omegas to be in a relationship?" Jimin asks. He can't quite believe that Jungkook would do this. But then again he also doesn't know Jungkook.

"Head Alpha Jeon forbade it," the first omega replies.

Jimin's blood freezes. "Jungkook forbade it?"

"No, his father did."

Jimin sighs. "But that doesn't mean that Jungkook forbids it too," Jimin argues. "Please get up."

The omegas stand up hesitantly, wring their hands and look abashedly at the floor.

"I know you don't trust Jungkook, but he isn't like his father. I'm sure he won't judge you when you tell him."

The first omega's head whips, the second shaking her head.

"Please don't tell him. Please," the first one begs.

Jimin wants to rub his face but sees the blood on his hands again. He opens his mouth to reassure the omegas but then someone else is faster than him.

“Is everything alright?”

Everyone’s heads whip around to the source of the voice, heartbeat spiking by hearing someone else. Jimin watches the male omega with wide eyes and turns to him fully. He has to act fast.

“Everything is fine,” Jimin says and smiles, tries to look not as panicked as he feels. Seeing a female omega behind the male one doesn’t help the slightest.

The male omega looks at the female omegas who lower their heads. “He saw us,” the first one speaks up.

Jimin is a little surprised that she admits it in front of another wolf.

“What?” the female omega hisses. The male omega puts a hand on her shoulder, smiles reassuringly at the other two omegas and motions with his head to the side, prompting the omegas to leave after bowing to Jimin. Jimin watches them leave and turns to the male omega.

“Hello, I’m Junho, Jungkook’s half-brother from our mother Minyoung. That’s mother Yoojung.”

Jimin stares baffled at Junho, instantly noting the difference in how formerly Jungkook’s sister addressed him and how familiar Junho does. Then his eyes flick over to Yoojung, Eunwoo’s mother.

“Hello. I’m Jungkook’s soulmate,” he introduces himself after getting over his initial surprise.

“Do you need help with that?” Junho asks, pointing to Jimin’s hands.

Jimin looks down and then nods. “I’d be grateful for some help.”

Junho helps Jimin wash his hands, pouring the water for Jimin as he scrubs the blood off his hands. Yoojung is silently wringing her hands, a scowl on her face.

“The Jeon pack must be quite a change from your own pack,” Junho says once Jimin has washed his hands.

“It is,” Jimin agrees, trying to judge what kind of wolf Junho is. He’s different from every other Jeon omega and beta Jimin has seen. More confident.

“The rules must be different too.”

“Sooyeon said there are no rules in this pack,” Jimin points out. He can’t imagine what Junho is trying to imply.

“There are always rules.”

“Jungkook wouldn’t hurt them for loving each other,” Jimin tries to level his voice so his emotionality won’t show but Junho notices it.

“You sound quite certain,” Yoojung says. Jimin has no time to respond to her, Junho speaking up again.

“There are quite a lot of alphas in this pack who not only see Jungkook as their head alpha because he’s next in line but who also genuinely like him. At least half of the betas like him while one quarter share the same thoughts as the other alphas and one quarter is afraid of him. Omegas mostly avoid him and there is less than a handful of omegas who like him and aren’t afraid of Jungkook, me being one of them. But that doesn’t mean I know him enough to say that he will allow relationships between wolves from the same status when our father didn’t. You also don’t know him no matter how much you would like to believe so.”

“He’s my soulmate. I ought to know him a little. Just like you know your soulmate.”

“My soulmate is one of those alphas Jungkook banned from the pack because he refused to acknowledge Jungkook as the new head alpha and supported our father even after he got killed by Jungkook.”

Jimin is stunned into silence. Even after opening his mouth to say something, nothing comes out. What does one say to that?

“I like Jungkook. I do,” Junho says, and at this point Yoojung interrupts him, “We omegas survived in this pack because we stuck together. I doubt that will change in the next years. That’s why I’m asking you to not mention this to Jungkook.”

“Just because he’s your soulmate, doesn’t mean he’s good. You should start seeing him for what he is and stop romanticizing him,” Yoojung says.

Jimin shuts his mouth. He doesn’t have anything to argue against that. Is that what he is doing?

“You should go back. Jungkook must be worried about you.”

Jimin feels defeated and weak. He should be able to do something for Jungkook. He thinks of Seokjin who told him that in his pack omegas are trained to fighters just like alphas and betas, that alphas take pride in having a strong omega. No alpha is ashamed to let an omega protect them.

“What if I prove that he doesn’t mind?” Jimin rushes out after Junho turns the other way, following Yoojung.

Junho turns back around. “That will be great news for all of us. I will anticipate that day.” Yoojung looks unconvinced.

Jimin watches the two leave and then breathes in deeply. He didn’t think the day would turn sour this fast. He only wants to go to Jungkook to forget all of this but a voice tells him that Jungkook isn’t the one he should be turning to. Never did he think he would doubt his soulmate this much.

With a last deep breath, Jimin makes his way back to where he last saw Jungkook. He sees Jungkook when he walks past his cabin.

“Hey,” Jungkook says

“Hey,” Jimin mumbles.

“Are you alright?”

"Yeah. Are you done?" Jimin asks. “Or do you need to do something else too?”

"I can do the rest later. Have you eaten lunch yet?"

"No, wanted to eat with you," Jimin admits coyly. He’s surprised and satisfied when Jungkook reddens slightly, the act lifting his mood a little.

Jungkook nods and asks Jimin to follow him inside.

"Dad isn’t home," Jungkook says as soon as they enter the cabin.

“We can prepare lunch and then you can go look for him,” Jimin suggests, only feeling slightly bad for wanting some alone time with Jungkook.

Jimin doesn’t even think about it when he follows Jungkook to his room and enters after him, too set on being with Jungkook and calming his nerves. Jungkook gladly doesn’t question him and takes a new shirt out of his closet. Jimin almost lets out a surprised squeak when Jungkook just pulls his shirt over his head without minding Jimin, and turns around.

Nudity isn’t a problem. Jimin barely ever looks the other way when wolves start undressing in front of him to shift or when they shift back and put on their clothes. He also doesn’t mind too much getting naked in front of others as long as there is no wolf like Minjae who is interested in him. But this is Jungkook. His mate. His very being is supposed to affect Jimin in all kinds of ways and it also does. Jimin doesn’t need any visuals for the small fragments of dreams he has been having lately of Jungkook, some in more intimate situations, though never explicit and detailed. To distract himself from what is going on behind him, Jimin looks around Jungkook’s room.

The first thing Jimin notices in Jungkook’s room is that it’s, obviously, filled with the alpha’s scent. Jimin is a little overwhelmed by it. He likes how it envelopes his whole body, calming him since he’s still shaken up from the previous incident.

Jungkook’s room is a small mess. There is a map laid out on the desk that is standing in the corner of the room, several papers laid out next to it. Jimin doesn’t look at them because he doesn’t know whether Jungkook would want him to. Clothes are thrown over the back of the chair and on his bed. On the bed he also sees the handkerchief he gave Jungkook. Does Jungkook sleep with it?

Jimin blushes at the thought and takes the handkerchief into his hands. Leading it to his nose, Jimin notes that it barely smells anything like him anymore. It’s filled with his mate’s scent, taking him off guard. Jimin inhales the scent second time, whining at the pure scent. Jimin has never inhaled Jungkook’s scent like that. It has always been mixed with other scents. Jungkook’s pure, unadulterated scent makes Jimin’s heart race and his omega mewl.

He barely manages to listen to reason and remove the cloth from his nose, almost falling over by how overwhelmed he is. His omega whines, wanting Jungkook’s scent close, wanting Jungkook close. Jimin wants that too but he doesn’t want Jungkook to see him smell the handkerchief like a desperate omega in heat. Okay, that’s not the direction his brain should go.

Remembering Jungkook’s sleepiness, Jimin wonders whether the distance to Jimin is keeping him from getting the needed rest again. He checks whether there is anything on him that he can leave behind for Jungkook but he’s only wearing one shirt and a pair of pants. So he takes the handkerchief and rubs it against his scent gland, hoping enough of his scent remains on it. It would be too embarrassing to wear it and give it back to Jungkook at the end of the day.

Jimin whips around and throws the handkerchief on the bed just when Jungkook speaks up.

“Are you alright?” Jungkook asks once he has changed into his clothes and turns to Jimin.

Jimin nods, stomach filled with uneasiness still. “I’m fine.”

“You look a little pale. Did someone say something?”

Jimin snorts, shakes his head. “I feel like everyone is way too scared to say something. I’m just a little out of it today. Nothing serious.”

Jungkook’s eyebrows furrow and he looks guilty as he says, “I want to apologize again for earlier. I shouldn’t have been so rough with you.”

“It’s fine,” Jimin assures. “Like you said, you didn’t recognize me. It was Minjae’s scent. I know you wouldn’t hurt me.”

Jungkook stays silent for a while, eyes on Jimin, and then asks, “How can you be so sure?”

“Well, I can’t really be sure,” Jimin says, sensing the undertone in Jungkook’s question. “But you’re my mate and I trust you.”

“But just because we’re mates, doesn’t mean I’m trustworthy.”

“No, but you have proven to me in these past days that I can trust you. Every single thing you did showed me that you’re someone who I can be proud of to call my mate.” Jimin closes the distance between him and Jungkook, and takes Jungkook’s hands in his in the heat of the moment. “I know you don’t think well of yourself, Jungkook, and I know you live in the shadow of your alpha father and that’s how some other wolves see you too, but it doesn’t always have to be like that. You can show them you’re better than him. You already have shown some of us. The rest will believe in you too.”

Jungkook stares at Jimin speechlessly for a while and then at their hands. He loosely intertwines their fingers, Jimin’s cheeks tinging red, and says, “Thank you.”

Jimin nods and then clears his throat. “You know you can’t always keep your room like this. I know you’re a busy head alpha but still. Mom says how an alpha keeps his room says a lot about him.”

“I’m sorry. I’ll do better,” Jungkook says with an embarrassed smile. It’s not the reaction Jimin hoped for.

“I’m teasing,” Jimin says in a soft voice. “You’re supposed to tease back. Like I said, you’re busy, and in the future, I’ll be here to help you anyway.”

Jungkook’s eyebrows shoot up, eyes blinking. “You think you’ll be able to handle this pack and your responsibilities in your pack? I don’t expect that from you.”

“Well, I won’t stop caring about my pack but my responsibilities will be here in our pack. Especially when I’ll be living here. I don’t have any big responsibilities there anyway.”

Jungkook freezes, gapes. He closes his mouth and presses his lips together, forehead creasing.

“What?” Jimin asks, chuckling tensely.

“You, uh… want to live here?”

Jimin frowns and bites his lower lip. He automatically pulls his hands back and looks at Jungkook uncertainly. “You don’t want me to?”

“No!” Jungkook exclaims, hand closing around Jimin’s wrist. Jimin looks at their hands and then back at Jungkook. “I mean, yes. I just didn’t think you’d want to live here.”

Jimin is stunned into silence. He’s confused and so is his wolf. Jimin wants to calm Jungkook, senses his unease, but he also doesn’t know what to do.

“Soulmates mate,” he says, hurt evident in his voice despite his attempts to not let it leak. “And they live together. I thought we… You don’t want to?” He trails off at the end, too embarrassed to continue.

Jungkook’s grip on his wrist tightens and his other hand hangs in the air awkwardly as if he doesn’t know what to do with it. There’s a certain desperation in his voice when he speaks up. “I do want us. I want you. I just- I can’t leave my pack.”

Jimin is confused, and it’s only riling him up more. “Of course, you can’t. I’d be leaving my pack to live here. That’s what I thought.”

Noticing Jimin’s emotionality, Jungkook finally cups Jimin’s cheeks with his free hand and shushes him. “Relax. Breathe,” he coos, voice low. Jimin closes his eyes, lets Jungkook’s touch soothe his nerves and follows Jungkook’s advice. It’s the first time Jungkook is really touching him. Jungkook’s scent would help even more but Jungkook is keeping it in. Jimin can still smell him this close.

“Are you okay?” Jungkook asks after a while.

Jimin nods. His hand shoots up when Jungkook pulls his hands back and takes a step backwards. Jimin isn’t ready to leave the embrace of Jungkook’s heat and unaltered scent.

“I didn’t know you wanted to live with me,” Jungkook says and Jimin almost whines.

“You’re my mate. Why wouldn’t I?” Jimin says instead, looking at the ground.

“Because I can’t ask of you to leave your world behind and come into mine.”

“I won’t be leaving my world behind. It’ll still be here. Every time I miss it, I can just go back. Can’t I?” Jimin asks, looking up at Jungkook through his eyelashes.

Jungkook’s eyes widen a fraction at the question and he nods eagerly. “Of course, you can. You can do whatever you want.”

“Then what’s the problem?”

“You just never talk about your world. I just assumed you don’t- I don’t know.”

Jungkook assumed Jimin doesn’t want him to be part of his world, of his life. Because Jimin always goes back. Because Jimin doesn’t tell Jungkook anything. Because Jimin still hasn’t told Jungkook his name. Jimin feels so stupid now. He’s upset with Jungkook for no reason. If there’s anyone who has a reason to be upset then it’s Jungkook. Not Jimin. How does Jungkook even put up with him?

“I-I’m still figuring things out,” Jimin mumbles and licks his lips. “I just need some time to find out what to do.”

“Hey,” Jungkook coos, bending his knees to look into Jimin’s eyes. “That’s alright. Take your time, okay?”

Jimin wishes what Jungkook just did would console him but instead it only adds fuel to the fire. He wants more than just Jungkook’s hand on him. He wants to be properly consoled by Jungkook and console him too. Jimin intertwines their fingers and takes a step towards Jungkook. He doesn’t know what he wants to do but as soon as Jungkook steps back from Jimin, Jimin freezes. He inhales deeply, fighting against a new wave of tears, pulling his hand back. The rejection stings.

At this point, after being rejected by Jungkook so often, Jimin shouldn’t be surprised. He knows Jungkook is hesitant to approach him. Even the day before Jungkook always kept a safe distance between them and Jimin always goes against that. He always gets too close to Jungkook although Jungkook often enough pulled away from Jimin.

“I’ll prepare lunch,” Jimin chokes out, fiddles with his fingers. “You must be hungry.”

He doesn’t wait for Jungkook to respond, leaves as soon as he says that. The trembling of his hands gets worse, going to his hands and making him take in shaking breaths. Jimin takes a small moment to calm down and then starts moving when he sees Jungkook enter the kitchen from the corner of his eyes.

 “Are you mad?” Jungkook asks when he steps next to Jimin.

“No,” Jimin answers, continuing to take the food out of the basket.

“You seem mad.”

Jimin turns to Jungkook and opens his mouth to tell Jungkook about how he can’t keep himself distanced from Jimin. They’re mates and should trust each other and confide in each other. They only have each other. That’s how it seems to Jimin sometimes when he looks at how the world appears to be against Jungkook. But then he closes his mouth. What right does he have to tell Jungkook off? Jimin never showed that he trusts Jungkook. He only keeps saying that but has no action to back up his claim. Jimin has to show Jungkook he trusts him, even if Junho and Yoojung put a seed of doubt towards Jungkook in his heart.

“Jimin,” Jimin whispers hastily.

“What?”

“My name,” Jimin elaborates and looks up at Jungkook. “It’s Jimin.”

Jungkook’s mouth falls open and then he says after a small break, “You don’t have to force yourself to tell me things. Like I said, take your time.”

“I’m not forcing myself,” Jimin protests. “I wanted to tell you when you asked the day we met and thought about doing so quite a few times. And like I said, I trust you.”

“Okay. Jimin.”

Jimin blinks a couple of times before what Jungkook said catches up with him, and then he’s a blushing mess. He may be dramatic but Jungkook saying his name out loud feels as if he knows Jimin a little better. Jimin lowers his head. For a moment, the tension in the room dissolves and there is only a warm tingling.

Their moment is interrupted by the front door being thrown open, shouts of Jungkook’s name filling the silence. Jimin and Jungkook both walk into the hallway, the frantically screaming alpha almost running into Jungkook.

“H-head Al-pha Jeon,” the wolf pants, “Your father.”

Jungkook goes wide-eyed, almost bolting out the door but forces himself to ask, “What about father?”

“He, he fell over and then s-started shaking. We don’t know what to do.”

“Where?”

“Near the old cabins.”

Jungkook only exchanges one glance with Jimin, tells him to stay inside the cabin, and then runs off. Jimin disregards his words and follows after Jungkook. More than ever, he’s glad to be a fast runner, follows Jungkook easily to where his father is. Sooyeon is laying on the ground and no longer shaking like the alpha said he was, unconscious.

“What happened?” Jungkook asks as soon as he reaches his father and the wolves surrounding him.

“He just fell. He felt weak the whole day but refused to go back because he wanted to inspect the cabins with us and then he just fell over and started shaking heavily. We had to hold him down so he wouldn’t hurt himself,” one beta explains.

“That’s not shaking,” Jimin says. “It sounds like convulsing.”

“Convulsing?” Jungkook parrots.

“I’m no healer. We only had one case like that and it was years ago. He needs to go to a healer as fast as possible before he gets worse,” Jimin says. Sooyeon looks white as sheet.

Jungkook blanches. “Our healer is still with the Min pack. He hasn’t come back yet.”

Jimin jaw falls open.

“I’ll go and get him,” an alpha says.

“No,” Jimin interrupts. “You won’t make it back fast enough.”

“We have to carry him there then.”

The Min pack’s healer is settled in the south of the pack. Jimin still doubts that they will make it fast enough to the pack and be able to help Sooyeon. He tries to think whether it won’t be easier to bring him to the Kim pack. They have multiple healers but the pack is farther away. The nearest pack is the Park pack, and Jimin knows that their healer is available the whole day today.

Jimin watches Jungkook carefully pick Sooyeon up, Sooyeon even looking smaller than he already is. Before Jungkook can start running, Jimin grips his arm.

Jimin breathes in deeply. “Take him to the Park pack.”

It’s silent for a second, Jungkook just as frozen as Jimin is, and then the beta and the alpha start protesting.

“The Park pack is the closest,” Jimin says, ignoring the protests, “We have two healers and one is settled in the north, close to the border. She is very skilled.”

“With all due respect, Omega Jeon,” the alpha says, “That sounds ridiculous.”

“Even if we go to the Min pack we don’t know if they know what to do. This healer is also the one who treated a similar case to your dad that I mentioned earlier.”

“Head Alpha Park won’t let us inside his pack. We will be wasting precious time in which we can bring Omega Sooyeon to the Min pack. We already are wasting too much time.”

Jimin tightens his grip on Jungkook and takes a step closer. “Jungkook, you can trust me on this. I will make sure your father is let in and treated.”

Jungkook opens his mouth and blinks heavily. “You can assure my father’s safety?”

“Yes. No one will harm him.”

“Okay,” Jungkook agrees and Jimin almost jumps in relief but his celebration is short-lived when he remembers who he is and where he is leading Jungkook.

He puts his other hand on Jungkook too and stands in front of him. “You trust me, don’t you?” Jimin asks.

Jungkook nods, doe eyes directed at Jimin. “I do.”

“Whatever happens today, whatever you find out, it won’t change anything between us.” Jimin is afraid to ask so he only asks for a confirmation. He thinks of blurting it out right now that he’s Head Alpha Park’s son but it’s not the right time. When Jungkook is in his pack, it also won’t be the right time but right now it’s important to get Sooyeon to the pack and not create another discussion. Especially in front of wolves who don’t want to send Sooyeon to the Park pack.

Jungkook merely nods again and says, “Nothing. You’ll always have me.”

This simultaneously calms Jimin but also causes another turmoil in him but he can’t talk about this right now either. He nods and let’s go off Jungkook.

“There will be border patrols so be careful near the border. They only patrol on Park pack and try to remain out of the neutral grounds as much as possible. I will go ahead as a wolf,” Jimin says and starts taking off his clothes. “Go a little towards east when you go south so you arrive in the middle of the Park pack territory. It’s the closest spot to the healer.” Jimin, now naked, looks at Jungkook one last time and says, “I’ll wait there.”

Jungkook nods and Jimin shifts, skin ripping and bones readjusting. He picks up his clothes in his snout and starts running towards his and Jungkook’s meeting spot. Jimin tries not to think of how Jungkook looked and what he said. It’ll distract from the most important thing right now.

As soon as he crosses the border to the neutral grounds, Jimin shifts back, ignores the cracking of his bones and the pain it that comes with it because of the little attention he’s paying to it, and puts his clothes back on. Disoriented from the shift, he needs a little time to find which way to go before he finds east and starts running there. He doesn’t expect to run right into Taehyung’s arms.

“Jimin?” Taehyung grips Jimin by his upper arms, steadying his shaking and panting figure. “What’s wrong?”

Jimin grips Taehyung’s hand and starts dragging him after him. “Jungkook’s dad collapsed,” Jimin pants. “And Jungkook is coming this way with him and we need to convince the border patrols to let him in.”

“What?”

Jimin doesn’t let Taehyung stop him and continues dragging him behind as he explains, “I think he had a seizure. I didn’t see it but they were saying he was shaking badly and they had to hold him down. The Jeon pack’s healer isn’t there and also not skilled enough to treat this. The Min pack’s, Kim pack’s and Song pack’s healers are too far, and we also don’t know whether they ever treated a case like this, but we do know that healer Somin has, who is also the closest to the Jeon pack.”

“This… Can we even let him in? What will your dad say?”

Jimin turns to Taehyung and asks, “Will you support me in this?”

“Undoubtedly,” Taehyung answers instantly.

Jimin smiles. There have been multiple times in his life where Jimin has felt invincible. All because of Taehyung. Jimin will never be able to repay Taehyung for everything he has done for Jimin.

“Then let me handle this. Now come,” Jimin says and this time, Taehyung runs with him.

They leave the neutral ground and then run straight in the direction of east. Close to the agreed spot, Jimin finds two alphas bordering the patrol who look at the friends as soon as they’re in sight.

“Look who’s there,” Eunji sing songs. “What are you doing here?”

“Playing tag,” Jimin pants and stands in front of Eunji. “I would tell you to play with us but you’ll lose against me anyways. Like always.”

The second alpha, Minho, shakes his head with a smile, everyone used to Jimin’s banter with some alphas, and leaves, mumbling about how he’s too old for this already.

Jimin is glad to see Eunji. Though he and her quarrelled a lot in their childhood, one of the reasons their rounds of tag and other games, he still has a solid relationship with her. He wouldn’t call them friends but Eunji is one of those wolves he respects and who respects him. They may have grown and their dynamics may have changed for the better but the teasing survived all the changes.

Eunji scrunches up her nose. “Times have changed.”

“Oh yeah, you’ve become this big and strong alpha.”

Taehyung snickers behind him, Eunji’s frown deepening. “You shouldn’t be around the borders.”

Jimin huffs. “If I can beat you, I can beat any alpha.”

“I mean it,” Eunji says, tone urgent

“Everything is fine, you scaredy cat. Besides I have Taehyung with me.”

Eunji opens her mouth but snaps it shut when there is a call. Jimin turns around instantly, looks in the direction Minho disappeared into, and runs towards him. That also sets a cursing Eunji and Taehyung into motion. Jimin almost runs right over to Jungkook when he sees him, the unconscious Sooyeon in his arms. Jungkook’s shoulders sag when he sees Jimin. The alpha and beta are with Jungkook too.

“What’s going on?” Eunji asks, eyes Jungkook scrutinizingly.

Minho remains gaping so Jungkook speaks up again. “I’m Jeon Jungkook and I’ve come here to ask for your help.”

Eunji’s eyes wide, mouth falling open. Jimin rolls his eyes inwardly. “What kind of help?”

Everyone looks at Jimin and then back at Jungkook when he speaks up. “He started shaking., badly, and our healer isn’t there to help him.”

“You mean convulsing?” Jimin asks, remembering the term their healer used. Minho and Eunji are stiff next to him, not knowing whether to stop Jimin from interacting with Jungkook or not.

“I guess. I don’t know.”

“So it hasn’t happened before?”

“No,” the beta speaks up. “But he used to faint a lot. The… convulsion happened for the first time.”

Jimin nods and turns to Eunji. “Go ahead and inform healer Somin. We’ll come-”

“Jimin!” Eunji interrupts him, looking disbelieving. “You can’t possibly be serious.” Minho looks just as disbelieving as Eunji.

“Why not? We have a patient here who needs our help and we’re wasting precious time that we may not have. If you don’t want to, then Alpha Minho please you do. Now!”

“He’s our enemy,” Minho protests.

“Jeon Junghwan was our enemy. Jeon Jungkook is the new head alpha of the Jeon pack that does not stand under any restrictions and rules. He’s not our enemy,” Taehyung adds.

“He’s head alpha of Jeon pack who we have not invited yet. He also does not stand under any restrictions and rules on how to behave in our territory,” Minho says.

“We should go to the Min pack. We’re wasting time,” the alpha says to Jungkook.

“We are trying to make peace. Jeon Jungkook has come to us for help, wants to trust us with his father which is equal to a peace offer, in my opinion. Now it’s our time to accept that offer and not be the reason of an innocent omega’s death. We have no right to deny him any help because as of right now Jeon Jungkook stands under the neutral rules set by the Kim pack which all packs agreed to, the same reason why Head Alpha Jeon won’t attack anyone in our pack. Now go and inform healer Somin,” Jimin hisses, breathless at the end of this rant.

Eunji sighs and looks at Minho who in return nods at her. Jimin sighs relieved when Eunji starts running towards their pack. He turns to Jungkook who now looks just as relieved as him, and before he can invite Jungkook in, Minho speaks up.

“Only Head Alpha Jungkook is allowed to enter.”

“No,” both the beta and alpha object simultaneously.

“We don’t have time for this,” Jimin points out, trying to stop further delaying from happening.

“I can’t let four Jeon members into our pack,” Minho says. “Already agreeing to this is quite dangerous.”

“We can’t let our head alpha into a pack who sees him as their enemy without any protection either,” the alpha says through gritted teeth.”

Jimin looks at Jungkook for guidance but he looks lost himself. Before Minho can speak up again, Jimin says, “I swear on my blood.”

It gets silent instantly, everyone including Taehyung and Jungkook looking at him with wide eyes. Jimin only looks at Jungkook.

“I swear on my blood that I will protect Head Alpha Jeon Jungkook of the Jeon pack and his father Omega Sooyeon with my life. I will die for them.” Jimin turns to the alpha and asks, “Is that enough?”

It’s eerily silent for a second and then the alpha speaks up. “They seem to listen to you and you swore on your blood. If your pack doesn’t kill you in case they attack our head alpha, we will.”

“Seungcheol,” Jungkook growls. The alpha lowers his head, Minho stares between them with a confused look.

“We should go now,” Jimin says to Jungkook and motions Jungkook to follow him. He’s already half turned around.

Jungkook stares at the ground for a second and looks at Jimin afterwards.

“I’ll come by as soon as I can. Don’t do anything stupid. Go to Head Alpha Min before you decide on anything,” Jungkook says to Seungcheol and beta, the two instantly doing as he says though there is clear distaste on both their faces.

Then he takes a step forward, now officially in the Park pack. Jimin starts running, Jungkook, Taehyung and Minho behind him. There is no going back now.

For a moment, Jimin regrets telling Jungkook to come to his pack. Jungkook will soon find out that he’s Head Alpha Park’s son, he has no idea how his pack will react to Jungkook, and he never meant for any of this to happen. The next moment he feels guilty for thinking this. If he hadn’t made this suggestion, Sooyeon might have died. He just hopes nothing disastrous happens.

Jimin wonders if Jungkook is scared. For him, Jimin tries to calm down and force his heart to beat at a more normal pace. Jungkook needs him. He can’t be weak right now.

The handful of wolves who see them run into the pack ground stop what they’re doing in favour of looking at them. Jimin is too preoccupied by Somin approaching them to pay them any attention.

Jimin wants to explain the situation to her but she raises her hand and motions in the direction of the infirmary. “Not here. Let’s get them into infirmary first.”

Jimin turns to Jungkook who nods in return and then follows them. Somin grabs Jimin by his arm and tugs him close as they lead the way. “Are you aware what you’re doing?” she hisses.

“Listen, I can’t let his father die when I know you can heal him. It’s too late now anyway. I swore on my blood to protect them from any harm.”

Somin inhales sharply, face contorting in displeasure. She remains silent though, letting go of Jimin and opening the door to the infirmary they have finally reached. Jimin is glad they can finally escape the eyes of all the wolves who have noticed the stranger and unconscious omega in his hands.

Minho enters the infirmary with them unsurprisingly, and Jimin is glad that he doesn’t stop Taehyung from entering too. He can use someone who’ll side with him once it starts going down.

“Put him on the bed,” Somin orders as she goes to wash her hands.

Jimin pulls the blanket on one of the beds back and helps Jungkook put Sooyeon comfortably on it. He looks pale, skin almost too white, and Jimin wonders whether he’s even alive. He checks for a pulse and then his breath. Both are there but weak, as if he can’t hold on for longer and panic starts settling into Jimin. Before he can freak out, not even knowing how Jungkook isn’t going berserk, Somin pushes Jimin out of the way and starts inspecting Sooyeon by opening his eyes, checking the roots of his hair, his nails and so on. Everyone in the room watches anxiously, and Jimin moves next to Jungkook. He wishes he could curl an arm around the alpha’s waist and comfort him, help him get rid of the tenseness that seems to be pushing his shoulder high up, but for now his presence is the only thing Jimin can give him.

“So he got a seizure, you said, Jimin?” Somin asks as she further inspects Sooyeon.

“From the description it seemed that way. Jungkook said he never usually convulses, he only faints from time to time.”

Somin eyes Jimin with a sharp look when he addresses Jungkook with his name and then turns to Jungkook.

“Since when has he been fainting?”

“Since before my birth actually. It started when Head Alpha killed his soulmate and forcedly mated him. It got worse over the years and then again after I…  killed Head Alpha.”

Somin stops for a short second, most probably surprised by the news, before going on to pulling up Sooyeon’s shirt. It’s good that she’s an omega too. Who knows what Jungkook might have done if she were an alpha.

“What did he eat today? What does he generally eat?”

“He only ate some lentil soup in the morning, just a small bowl, and then nothing. His eating habits have been getting worse,” Jungkook explains.

“Well, he has probably protein and vitamin deficiencies and… is basically malnourished. I can say that his body is weak without him even being awake to answer me questions properly. He shouldn’t be eating lentils when he’s like this.”

Jungkook’s shoulders sag and then tense up even more than before. Jimin feels helpless as he watches multiple expressions wash over his face, each darker than the one before.

“Food is scarce,” Jungkook says in the end, sounding as defeated as he looks. His hand shoots out to hold onto Sooyeon’s hand but he never touches the omega as if afraid of something. “We don’t have fertile land where we live and hunting grounds are too limited to find anything properly.”

There is an embarrassed silence, Jungkook’s head hung low in shame, and it only gets worse with each passing second. To admit to oneself that one can’t help their own pack as the head alpha is bad, but admitting it in front of strangers, a rival pack no less, is even worse. Jimin glares at Somin who looks abashed, and then puts a hand on Jungkook’s shoulder.

“That’s not your fault,” Jimin mumbles low. He can feel Minho move behind him but he doesn’t pay him any attention.

Jungkook turns his face towards Jimin and gulps audibly, not saying anything. Then he looks at Sooyeon again.

“For now, I think the reason why he had a seizure is his malnourished state. I can’t say whether it’s anything more serious unless he wakes up. I’ll prepare a medicine for him that will help him get better for the time being, maybe even come back to consciousness, but in the long run, only food can help him.”

Jungkook nods and croaks out, “I’ll think of something.”

Somin frowns, opens her mouth to say something but then closes it against without doing so. She simply turns around to prepare the medicine for Sooyeon. Jungkook sits next to Sooyeon on the bed, Jimin’s hand that has been on his shoulder until now, slips off. He caresses Sooyeon’s pale face, one hand intertwining with his. Jungkook’s lips move, and Jimin can’t hear him, but he knows that Jungkook is apologizing. Apologizing to his father for failing him. Jimin’s heart breaks at that.

Somin mixes the drink together fast and feeds Sooyeon some with a spoon. She’s explaining the effects to Jungkook and the ingredients she used, when the door to the infirmary opens and Head Alpha Park enters. Jimin’s heart falls to the floor, freezing to the spot. He inhales deeply and tries not to flinch when his father’s eyes land on him. When Head Alpha Park’s eyes flicker to Jungkook who is staring at Head Alpha Park with doe eyes, hand still intertwined with Sooyeon’s, Jimin moves to shield Jungkook with his body. Head Alpha Park’s eyes harden at that. Behind him is Jihyun.

“Head Alpha Park,” Taehyung says, sounding a little panicked. He looks a little lost at the head alpha when he turns to him, only wanting to warn Jungkook indirectly. Behind Jimin, Jungkook gets to his feet.

“Head Alpha Park,” Jungkook repeats, voice tight. “I-”

“Care to explain what you’re doing?” Head Alpha Park directs at Jimin.

Jimin closes his eyes and bites his lower lip, feeling Jungkook deflate a little behind him at being interrupted so rudely. Jimin’s father just disregarded Jungkook’s head alpha status. Even if Jungkook doesn’t want to be head alpha, it must still hurt for this to happen.

Jimin opens his eyes and releases his lip. “Helping a son bring their sick omega parent to a healer,” he answers.

“Even if that son is him?” Head Alpha Park spits with a look at Jungkook.

“Even if it’s him.”

“Head Alpha Park,” Jungkook says before the older alpha can say something again. Jungkook tries to move Jimin behind him, Head Alpha Park tensing when he sees Jungkook’s hand on Jimin’s elbow. Even Jihyun moves a little. Jimin refuses to budge though, so Jungkook stands next to him. “I’m Head Alpha Jeon and-”

“I know,” Head Alpha Park interrupts him again. “I can see that you’re his son.”

Jungkook stops breathing for a second and Jimin groans internally at his father’s words. He hopes it won’t get worse than this but he knows it’s wishful thinking.

Jungkook breathes in again and continues, “I am not here to cause any trouble. My father was sick and our healer wasn’t in our pack. It was the fastest to come here because I didn’t know what was wrong with my father and how much time he had left. I will forever be indebted to you as a son and to Jimin.”

“And as a head alpha?”

Jimin’s gapes at that, even Jihyun eyes their father with wide eyes.

“I have to think of my own pack,” Jungkook says.

Head Alpha Park nods, distaste apparent on his face. Then he looks at Jimin.

“Is your blood worth that little that you swear upon it for anyone?” Head Alpha Park asks.

“Saving someone’s life is worth it,” Jimin responds without hesitance.

“You have never defied me before. Why would you now?”

“I am not defying you…, dad,” Jimin forces himself to say the last word after a small pause. Even now it’s better if Jungkook finds out from him then from someone else, he guesses.

From the corner of his eyes he sees Jungkook’s head turn to look at him sharply, Taehyung also moving away from his spot on the wall and closer to Jimin. Jimin is scared to look at Jungkook so he doesn’t, instead concentrates on his father.

“The laws created over a decade ago were for Jeon Junghwan and not Jeon Jungkook. Currently, especially because you haven’t invited Jungkook over, there are no agreements, no terms or conditions for crossing the border. On top of that there are the rules of the Kim pack that count in this situation. No matter what way we look at it, I didn’t do anything wrong.”

Head Alpha Park nods. “You will be responsible for everything that happens because of this,” he says.

“I know. Nothing will happen though. Not from Head Alpha Jeon’s side.”

Head Alpha Park doesn’t react to that. Instead he faces Somin and asks, “How is he?”

“I think stable for now. It’s hard to tell. We have to wait until he wakes up. It may take a while and it would be best if he stays the night.”

Jimin swallows the lump in his throat and looks at Jungkook. The alpha is pale, body rigid as he stares everywhere but Jimin. When their eyes meet for a second, Jungkook instantly averts them.

“You know I can’t allow you to stay the night,” Head Alpha Park says to Jungkook.

“I can’t leave him here alone,” Jungkook protests.

“I’ll stay with him,” Jimin intervenes before his father can answer. When Jungkook looks at him, his gaze is detached. Trying to make Jungkook remember his meeting with the Choi pack the next day, he adds, “I’ll remain by his side and not even leave once. Your pack must be worrying and you surely have matters to take care of. After you’ve taken care of everything tomorrow, you can come over again. But I suggest you wait at the border and be escorted by a Park alpha.”

Jungkook contemplates the offer for a moment, obviously ripped apart between letting his father stay here alone and taking him with him.

“You can trust me,” Jimin says, trying to make Jungkook let Sooyeon stay here. The omega is so weak. It will do him well to stay in the presence of a skilled healer for a day.

“Can I?” Jungkook retorts, and Jimin is stunned for a while. He didn’t expect for this to happen.

The side that desperately wants to believe that Jungkook is only keeping up an act in front of his father, remembering Jungkook’s promise of how Jimin will always have Jungkook, but the rational – and paranoid – side of Jimin is telling him that Jungkook hates him now that he knows who he is. Jimin did lie to him in a way.

“You have my word that no one will harm your father,” Head Alpha Park says. “You can come and see him tomorrow, and if he needs to stay another day, then that is fine as well.”

“That’s very kind of you. I-”

Head Alpha Park silences Jungkook by raising his hand. It takes a lot of energy for Jimin not to call his father out on his rudeness.

“I am doing it for Omega Sooyeon’s dead soulmate. He was… a friend.”

Jungkook, who has been standing there gaping, closes his mouth and nods.

“Minho is one of our leading alphas in the pack. He will take you to the border and then will come back to guard your father with Jimin. I will let my pack know that there will be consequences if anyone dares to touch Omega Sooyeon, though I doubt that this will happen.”

“Thank you. I will most probably be back by evening. I have to go to the Choi pack tomorrow,” Jungkook says.

Head Alpha Park nods once and then motions to Minho who instantly walks over to the cabin door. Jungkook turns to his father and kisses his forehead before following Minho out. He doesn’t look at Jimin even once.

Chapter Text

Jimin should be delighted, ecstatic even. Sooyeon woke up during the night and though he was confused about his whereabouts and change of scenery, he trusted Jimin enough to not question him too much and rest. Then he woke up multiple times during the night and even woke up to eat breakfast, though he ate little, and Jimin was happy. Jimin was even happier when Sooyeon woke up in the afternoon and felt energized enough to not fall asleep instantly afterwards. It even masked the worry he feels for Jungkook for a little while.

As promised, Jimin spent the night with Sooyeon and with him were Minho and Somin. Jimin sent Taehyung back into his cabin because he didn’t get the permission to not do his duties the next day. Since his father told his pack to stay away from the infirmary, there is no reason for Taehyung to stay with him. Jimin would have been glad for his presence but this is just the way it is.

Right now, he’s conflicted for a completely different reason. Sooyeon was calm when he woke up and was awake enough so Jimin and Somin could explain the events from the previous day to him and he answered all of Somin’s questions, even let himself be checked properly. There was some nervousness in his scent but generally he coped well for being in “rival” territory and away from his pack.

But Jimin handled all that well. Sooyeon was nice and knew not to act like he knew Jimin. What Jimin doesn’t know to handle is the fact that his father is currently sitting in the infirmary next to Sooyeon’s bed, Sooyeon having found out that Jimin is Head Alpha Park’s son. He can only hope that Sooyeon’s reaction won’t be the same as Jungkook’s, initial reaction one of stunned silence.

“So you’re just going to ignore me?” Head Alpha Park asks when Sooyeon doesn’t question his third question in a row. “May I know what I have done to earn this treatment?”

“What has my son done to earn the same kind of treatment from you?”

Jimin listens silently and hopes this doesn’t end in a disaster.

Head Alpha Park’s mouth clamps shut and he waits for a moment before he says, “So that’s what this is about? Doyun never-”

“Don’t talk about him like you know him,” Sooyeon interrupts. “When you aren’t the person you were back then, then you’re no friend of him and no friend of mine.”

“I am who I was back then.”

“No, you weren’t this irrational and judgemental which is why you even befriended Doyun. Now, though, you treat my son like a criminal without even knowing him.”

“I have a pack to protect. What do you expect me to do? Trust his son?”

Jungkook is my son, Jungkook is my blood, and he is Head Alpha Jeon to you.”

Jimin’s eyebrows are raised into his fringe, worried and impressed at the same time. That’s the level of courage Jimin wants to possess and never expected from Sooyeon. How much more fierce must Sooyeon have been in the past.

“With all due respect, Omega Jeon,” Minho says. “Seeing from that point, Head Alpha Park is Head Alpha Park to you and thus you must not forget all formalities and respect.”

Sooyeon fixes Minho with his eyes, looking murderous if not more. “It’s Head Alpha Park who wants to reminiscence on old times and evoke dead friendships. So with all due respect, it’s best not to intrude in those as an outsider.”

Minho bites his lower lip and remains silent, just like Jimin who wonders if he should say something. But even if he could, what would he say?

Head Alpha Park chuckles and shakes his head. “It’s fine, Minho. No one is able to compete with Sooyeon. It’s good to see you haven’t changed much.”

“Well, one of us at least had to remain the way they are.”

“Some of us are forced to accommodate to certain situations.”

It’s silent for a while after that, Jimin watching his father and Sooyeon closely, trying to find something that will tell him more about the two wolves in front of him. It’s only when Sooyeon rubs his temples with his fingers that Somin asks Head Alpha Park to leave and he takes Minho with him for something. Sooyeon lays down to rest and after a while Somin leaves too, leaving Jimin alone with the omega.

Jimin is a little afraid but he stills goes over to Sooyeon while making as little noise as possible. “Do you need something?”

Sooyeon opens his eyes and blinks up at Jimin, unmoving for a moment in which Jimin expects Sooyeon to tell him to leave, how he has betrayed them all or at least that he will ignore Jimin like Jungkook did, but none of that comes. Instead, Sooyeon reaches for Jimin’s hand and holds it in his.

“Your father and my soulmate liked to joke that our pups would end up being soulmates. Imagine their surprise if they knew,” Sooyeon breathes. If it weren’t dead silent in the infirmary, then Jimin wouldn’t hear him, but he also knows why whispering is necessary.

“I don’t think my dad will like it.” Jimin’s voice is laced with shame, averting his eyes.

“Does he know?”

“Now he does,” Jimin whispers and then adds with a pout, “I think he’s mad at me.”

“He’ll get around.”

“Do you think so?” Jimin questions, being unsuccessful in trying not to sound hopeful and eyes wide as he finally dares a proper look at Sooyeon.

Sooyeon’s other hand wanders to Jimin’s face and his fingers caress Jimin’s cheek softly. “As long as you have good reasons for keeping secrets from him and explain them to him, he’ll understand. My son is difficult at times but he’s quite fond of you. He won’t be able to stay mad at you.”

Fond. Jimin’s cheeks burn at that thought, at the possibility of Jungkook being fond of him. He wishes for it so dearly.

Jimin doesn’t know why he says it but he feels the need to, so he just does it while averting his eyes again, “I’m quite fond of him too.”

Sooyeon grabs Jimin’s chin and turns his face to him, smiles softly at Jimin. “I can see. I’m sure it will be fine.”

“I hope so.”

Sooyeon lets go off Jimin and closes his eyes with a tired sigh. “I’ll tell you if I need something.”

“Okay,” Jimin breathes and then goes back to the chair he sat on.

He wants to believe Sooyeon’s words so badly, wants to believe that Jungkook isn’t mad at him and in case he is, hopes Jungkook will forgive him after listening to his reasons. Jimin is still thinking about this long after Sooyeon has fallen asleep and Minho has returned back to his position in the infirmary. He’s still thinking about it when someone enters the infirmary.

Jimin’s heart leaps into his throat when the door opens and Jungkook’s scent hits his nose, instantly looking up from the leaves he has been grinding for Somin. Jungkook is escorted by two alphas and a beta. Jimin doesn’t understand why so many wolves are necessary but guesses that it is a little understandable due to the reputation Jungkook has.

Jungkook looks at Jimin as soon as he enters, eyes sunken in and visibly exhausted but he’s still holding himself up proudly. He looks like it too, dressed up in a fancier looking leather vest and furs, traditional bracelets made out of pieces of wood and leather and other cloths adorning his wrists and necklaces out of the same material around his neck. He looks beautiful, has Jimin’s breath stolen with how authoritative and dominant he looks. It’s the first time Jimin sees traditional Jeon clothing so maybe it’s that but he thinks it’s more the reason that Jungkook is wearing all of that which has him rendered speechless. Jungkook must have come directly from the Choi pack.

Jimin is ripped out of his thoughts when Jungkook averts his eyes and walks towards Sooyeon, the three wolves who accompanied him leaving after a nod from Minho. Jimin’s fingers are itching, in need to do something and mind restless. So he gets up and walks closer to Jungkook who is standing next to Sooyeon and is staring at him, unsure whether he should touch his father or not.

“He woke up a few times during the night,” Jimin explains, skirting around Jungkook and unsure whether he should get closer. “Then kept waking up and sleeping in the morning. Ate breakfast and was awake for a longer period after eating lunch. The medicine is helping.”

Jungkook merely nods after Jimin stops explaining. His eyes are still set on Sooyeon and he won’t look at Jimin. Jimin doesn’t know whether it’s because of Minho or because he’s angered with Jimin. It’s killing Jimin to think it’s because of the latter reason.

Jimin rakes his eyes over Jungkook’s frame, how exhausted he looks and how tense he is. Jimin’s wolf is whining and wants to reach out, comfort the alpha like he deserves it but this time Jimin doesn’t reach out to him, scared of his touch being rejected or taken the wrong way.

“You’re bleeding,” Jimin notes when he sees the wound on Jungkook’s lower arm.

“It’ll heal,” Jungkook says and tries to hide his arm behind his back.

Jimin won’t have that though. He grabs Jungkook’s arm to inspect the wound closer, Jungkook only trying to stop him for a few seconds before he gives up. It’s not a deep wound, having stopped bleeding a while ago from what it looks like, but it’s still showing a little flesh.

“Where did you get that from?”

“From hunting this morning.”

Jimin gasps, eyes going wide. He looks up at Jungkook who is already looking at him. “It should have healed by now.”

“It will heal,” Jungkook insists and takes his arm out of Jimin’s hands.

“If that were the case, it would have done so a long time ago. You’re overexerting yourself. Your body is too exhausted to heal properly. Did you even eat anything today?”

“I’ll eat when I’m back at the pack. Thank you for your concern, Omega Jimin, but do not tire yourself out because of us.”

Jimin inhales sharply through his nose. It stings, the way Jungkook addresses him formerly and the way he says it. Swallowing down the urge to demand from Jungkook what he did wrong and why he’s treating him like, not the place and time for this, Jimin inhales and turns to Minho.

“Can you get Head Alpha Jeon a plate of food from the kitchen please? In the meantime, I’ll tend to his wound.”

Minho’s eyes go comically wide, flitting from Jimin to Jungkook.

“That’s not necessary,” Jungkook says but Jimin ignores him.

“Can you?” he asks Minho again.

“I can’t leave you alone with him,” Minho whispers as if Jungkook can’t hear him. His tone is begging Jimin to understand.

“He won’t kill me if that’s what you’re concerned about. I’m sure Head Alpha Jeon has no death wish, even if he likes to torture himself.”

“Jimin,” Minho chokes out, sounding disbelieving.

“Please just go and get a plate.”

“Like I said,” Jungkook begins and Jimin interrupts him, “I’m not asking you.” Jungkook clamps his mouth shut.

“Jimin!” Now Minho sounds appalled.

“Just go,” Jimin tells Minho. “Before he faints too.”

Minho shakes his head and sighs but finally walks out to get Jungkook some food after some initial hesitance. Jimin walks to the cabinet where he knows Somin keeps her bandages and fluids she cleans wounds with and puts them on the table.

“Sit down,” Jimin says after he pulls out a chair for Jungkook to sit on.

Jungkook remains where he is stubbornly. Jimin sighs, his shoulders dropping but he refuses to accept defeat.

“Do you really want your father to see you like this and worry about in his sickened state?” Jimin provokes.

It does the job. Jungkook stares at him and then takes a seat on the chair, putting his arm on the table. The wound has mostly healed but it still has some trouble to close. There’s some debris and dirt inside, and Jimin can see a small splinter at the edge. Jimin, by no means, is a professional but he knows how to clean small wounds. He also doesn’t want to wait for Somin, uncertain whether Jungkook will let her examine his wound.

So he sanitizes the tweezer with the liquid Somin made and pulls out the splinter and as much debris and dirt as he can without pressing deeply into the wound in fear of making Jungkook bleed again. When there’s still debris inside the wound, Jimin grabs a large bowl and a bucket of water.

“This might hurt a little,” Jimin says and places Jungkook’s arm inside the bowl. He pours water onto the wound, rubbing softly with a cloth to get the remaining debris out.

“That’s too much water,” Jungkook says after Jimin poured half of the bucket onto Jungkook’s wound and still keeps going.

“It’s not enough,” Jimin retorts and keeps pouring water onto the wound, taking another cloth to rub a little harder. He stops abruptly when Jungkook stiffens and mumbles ‘sorry.’ When Jimin is finished with the bucket, he dries Jungkook’s arm and examines the wound again.

He ties it up and says, “It looks clean now but should still be checked daily. Maybe our healer should look at it again, give you an ointment.”

“There’s no need for that,” Jungkook says and pulls his arm out of Jimin’s hands. “You already did too much.”

Jimin feels a sinking sensation in his chest and he inhales deeply. “What’s wrong?” he whispers. “I get that you’re mad but can you at least let me explain.”

Jungkook merely gets to his feet and says, “You shouldn’t be so close. Your pack will get suspicious of your dirty, little secret.”

Jimin grips Jungkook’s arms and forces the taller wolf to look at him. “Why are you talking like that?” Jimin has trouble keeping his voice low and steady.

“Am I not that?”

“No! You’re my soulmate.”

“Can any of those wolves out there testify that I am?” Jungkook hisses. The subtle change in his scent tells Jimin that he also has trouble controlling his feelings.

Jimin must have hurt him badly.

“Taehyung can,” Jimin says after some silence filled with tension, shame coiling in his gut.

Jungkook scoffs. “And what significance does he have in this pack?”

Jungkook walks past Jimin before he has a chance to reply. Jimin watches him take a seat next to Sooyeon and softly caress his hand with the tips of his fingers. There is nothing he can do besides trying to swallow the lump in his throat and fight against the sting in his nose that is announcing the incoming tears. This isn’t the time and place to discuss this matter.

To stop himself from staring at Jungkook’s back, Jimin puts back all the utensils he used which is the same time Minho enters the infirmary with a plate of food again. Minho waits for Jimin’s orders at the door. There are good reasons to believe Jimin shouldn’t be the one to give Jungkook the food but he also doubts Jungkook would take it from Minho. For a moment, Jimin considers sending Minho away so Jimin can feed Jungkook himself but Minho would never go. And maybe it’s good he’s here. Jungkook won’t be able to fight against Jimin when they have an audience. So Jimin simply takes the plate from Minho and places it in front of Jungkook.

“Please eat,” Jimin whispers and then goes back to his spot. Jimin doesn’t know why Jungkook obliges, but all that matters is that he eats.

While Jungkook eats, Sooyeon starts getting restless in his sleep again, and although it’s quite normal for him, having tossed and turned in his sleep all night long, Jimin still watches him with hawk eyes. He concentrates again on Jungkook when Sooyeon doesn’t do more than frown and mumble to himself something incoherently, Jimin unable to catch what he’s saying.

Jimin is glad that Minho put a huge pile of food on the plate because Jungkook finishes all of it, puts the empty plate on the table and thanks them for the food.

The door to the infirmary opens and Somin stumbles in, then stops in the doorframe when she sees Jungkook in front of her. “You’re here,” she blurts out.

Jungkook opens his mouth to respond but is interrupted by the noise of a cup falling to the floor. Jimin gets up when he sees Sooyeon flailing his arms in his sleep but stops as soon as he hears the blood-curdling scream Sooyeon lets out. Jimin becomes goosebumps, the scream chilling him to the bone and rooting him to the spot. Jungkook is at Sooyeon’s side before the second scream, Jimin still needing time to comprehend what is happening.

“Dad!”

Sooyeon doesn’t wake up but continues flailing with his limbs, eyes shut tightly. Jungkook grabs his upper arms and tries to hold him still. Jimin is terrified and has no idea what to do, how to help Jungkook or Sooyeon. He wants to move, go over to Jungkook ad offer his help but his thoughts are too fast for his frozen body to catch up. Even Minho is rooted to his spot, Somin not daring to move closer than three steps to Jungkook.

“Dad. Wake up. Dad!” Jungkook exclaims and shakes his father slightly.

Sooyeon rips his eyes open with a gasp, heaving for air. He looks at Jungkook and then recoils, pushes Jungkook’s hands away and scrambles away from him, muttering something incoherent. The almost mad whispering sends a chill down Jimin’s spine.

“It’s me! Dad, it’s me. Hey,” Jungkook coos and holds onto Sooyeon so he doesn’t fall of the bed. Jimin is confused.

Sooyeon struggles further against Jungkook’s grip and only when Jungkook says, “It’s Jungkook, dad. I’m your son,” does Jimin understand. Jimin presses a hand against his mouth but is unable to suppress the gasp. Somin takes a step back too.

Sooyeon stops pushing Jungkook away, chest heaving and body tense as he looks up at Jungkook. Jungkook moves slowly as if not to alert the omega who is still eyeing him with suspicious eyes. Jimin stands there confused and unbelieving of what is happening right in front of him.

“Jungkook?”

Jungkook wipes the wet hair sticking to Sooyeon’s forehead out of his face and he nods. “Y-yeah. It’s me.”

“Jungkook,” Sooyeon sobs. His body sags in on himself and he raises one hand to cup Jungkook’s cheek. Jungkook takes Sooyeon’s hand and presses a kiss against the palm.

He slowly wraps his arms around Sooyeon, one arm around his shoulders while the other rubs his back soothingly, cooing soothing words into his hair. Sooyeon doesn’t protest but his arms remain limp next to Jungkook, shaking and not touching the alpha.

Nausea starts settling into Jimin’s stomach and he has to press his hand harder against his mouth so he doesn’t start sobbing right there. Jungkook needs to take care of his father and Jimin can’t act up now.

Tears are threatening to fall and his whole body is shaking but he keeps them in, trying to calm his racing heart. The image of Sooyeon flinching away from Jungkook won’t leave his mind even as he stares at the alpha and omega in front of him. It reminds him of Jungkook who said he looks like his alpha father and Eunwoo’s mother who doesn’t like Jungkook’s scent, not even Jungkook. Jimin thought that in all this mess, Jungkook would at least have his omega father unconditionally on his side but even he’s haunted by Jungkook’s resemblance to Junghwan.

Jimin wishes there were a way to change everyone’s minds. How could they think about Jungkook like that? Jimin doesn’t want to tell anyone what to do, especially since he doesn’t know how Junghwan looks and how much Jungkook resembles him, what his victims went through. It can’t be easy to have a face in front of you that reminds you of a wolf who harmed you so bad, traumatized you and marked you in the worst way possible, but none of this is fair towards Jungkook. The alpha doesn’t deserve any of this. His mate doesn’t deserve any of this.

Jungkook’s eyes flash red and he lets out the smallest growl when the door to the infirmary is ripped open, a red-eyed Head Alpha Park standing in the doorway, three other wolves behind him. Jungkook shoulders fall down and he turns his face back to his father, no longer heeding Head Alpha Park.

Somin walks over to Head Alpha Park and talks softly to him. “He had a nightmare,” she explains. “Everything’s fine.”

Head Alpha Park nods and dismisses the wolves behind him, entering the infirmary. Sooyeon now has wrapped his arms around Jungkook’s middle loosely and is letting Jungkook scent him.

“I want to go home,” Sooyeon says when he pulls back.

Jimin automatically takes a step forward and looks at Somin.

“You’re not well enough,” Head Alpha Park chimes in. “You should wait at least another night.”

“That’s very kind of you,” Sooyeon says, managing to smile with a great effort, “But I’d like to go home. Thank you for your hospitality. Jungkook.”

Jungkook looks at Somin who contemplates for a while and then gives in. “I’ll give you the medicine I made for him and the instruction how to make it for your healer. Let him take it twice a day but he has to make sure to eat properly, fresh vegetables, fruit, meat, and fish. Just a wide variety of everything. He shouldn’t eat the medicine for more than three days. Maybe give him valerian root tea so he can sleep better. Do you have any?”

Jungkook thinks about it for a second and then shrugs. Somin packs him some and tells him how to make it and what they have to keep an eye. In the meanwhile, Jimin contemplates asking Sooyeon to stay or ask Jungkook to convince Sooyeon to stay but he has a feeling it won’t do any good. He now knows how stubborn Jungkook can be and he has a feeling Sooyeon is no better. So he watches silently as Jungkook takes everything from Somin and picks Sooyeon up despite the omega’s protests.

He only follows until the door to watch Jungkook leave. A few Park wolves are standing around and watching Jungkook, whispering to each other, and Jimin wants to scream at them, tell them to rush into their cabins and not stare at Jungkook and his father. He’s just another head alpha, nothing more.

It’s when Jungkook is already gone out of sight, the talk in the pack and remnants of his scent in the air the only things letting Jimin know he was there at all, when Jimin has an epiphany.

 Jungkook, even with two fathers and two mothers, doesn’t have a single parent.

His alpha father was a tyrant who tried to kill him. The way his Sooyeon flinched when Jungkook touched him proves that not even he can see Jungkook solely as his son but also sees his abuser in him, the one who took away his soulmate and forcedly mated him.

It’s the same with his youngest omega step-mother. Jungkook himself said she doesn’t like his scent on Eunwoo, most probably reminds her too much of Junghwan. And the oldest omega step-mother. Jimin doesn’t know her but Jungkook is the killer of her soulmate. Her soulmate may have been a tyrant who treated her badly but he had still been her mated soulmate. It must have hurt to watch him get killed and loose the bond to him.

Jungkook needs more love than Jimin does, that’s why he also hasn’t gotten better with just Jimin’s presence. He’s in need of affection and support, and Jimin has been depriving him of it.

---

“Just go. I’ll be here waiting for you,” Taehyung says.

Jimin wonders what he would be doing without his friend. He would have loved to refuse his friend’s offer to help him go to Jeon pack this late, the sun slowly setting, but it has been three days since Jungkook went to his own pack with Sooyeon, and Jimin can’t think of anything how to make his situation with Jungkook better. In the past days, there wasn’t a moment to spare so Jimin could go to Jungkook to talk to him. And since Jungkook can’t go to him, the pack already in uproar after the two visits Jungkook paid them, this is the only way for Jimin to meet Jungkook.

Jimin nods and hugs Taehyung once, muttering a ‘thank you,’ and takes off. It would be better if he turns, would reach the pack faster but he doesn’t want to approach the Jeon pack in wolf form. It would alarm them and someone may even attack Jimin.

There’s no timidity this time in Jimin’s walk as he enters the pack ground and walks past the wolves. He does notice some of them following him with his eyes, the news that he’s Head Alpha Park’s son most probably having reached every corner in the Jeon pack. Jimin has only one goal in mind, though, so he doesn’t pay them any attention. If anyone has a problem with him because of ancestry, he’ll deal with them after he deals with Jungkook. He enters Jungkook’s cabin with the hope of at least meeting Sooyeon in case Jungkook isn’t there but he is. He’s standing in the kitchen, Haneul, the alpha from their first meeting there with him and Eunwoo sat in front of him at the table.

“Jimin?” Jungkook asks, seeming surprised to see Jimin.

For a second Jimin thinks that him and Jungkook are fine, that Jungkook is as relieved as he is to see him and that his alpha isn’t mad at him, but then Jungkook’s expression hardens and he adds, “What are you doing here?”

Jimin ignores the sting he feels at Jungkook’s remark. He had hoped that Jungkook would be mindful of the late hour he came to him, but he guesses he hurt Jungkook more than he imagined.

“I thought we should talk about what happened. Alone,” Jimin says.

“At this hour?”

“Why not?” Jimin asks and shrugs.

Jimin looks at Haneul and the alpha which sets them in motion.

“I’ll bring Eunwoo to his mother,” Haneul says and picks Eunwoo up who instantly trashes in his arms.

Jungkook goes with a hand through his hair and kisses his forehead, mumbling some words to Eunwoo that calm him enough so Haneul can carry him out. On the way past Jimin, Haneul smiles at him and mouths ‘good luck’ and then disappears with the alpha.

“You shouldn’t be here.” Jungkook says as soon as the front door closes behind the alphas. He’s exhausted, cheeks sunken in slightly and dark rings under his eyes.

If there were any doubts about whether Jungkook is angry at Jimin or not, then they’re diminished now. Jungkook is definitely angry. The alpha grips the table tightly in his hands and waits for Jimin to talk.

“I have a right to be here. You can’t take that away from me.”

“No. There’s nothing I can do apparently.”

Jimin gulps down the bitter taste filling his mouth. “I know you’re mad. I hid a very important fact about myself from you and-”

“A fact?” Jungkook interrupts and faces Jimin. “You hid your whole life from me. All this time I trusted you and always told you that I do, and you never opened up to me or trusted me one bit. Why are you even here when you think so lowly of me?”

“That’s not fair,” Jimin protests and steps closer to Jungkook. All the calmness he talked into himself evaporates as hurt overcomes him. “You said I could take as much time as possible. And you knew that you know nothing about me. I know you didn’t expect me to be Head Alpha Park’s son but don’t you think there was a valid reason why I hid that from you?”

“It’s not fair that you are using my words I uttered in ignorance against me,” Jungkook says, also taking a step towards Jimin, irritation filling his voice. Something sharp fills Jungkook’s scent and invades Jimin’s nostrils. Jimin stays right where he is as Jungkook goes on. “What did you think I would do if I knew that you’re Head Alpha Park’s son? That I would use this fact to my advantage? Keep you here, forcedly mate you and blackmail your father and pack to fulfil my demands about the territory borders and the rest?”

Jimin gapes, gut twisting at Jungkook’s words. Does Jungkook really think Jimin thinks so lowly of him?

“No!” he protests but it goes on deaf ears as Jungkook continues his rant. Now he no longer looks exhausted but angered.

“You were always talking about how I need to step out of Head Alpha’s shadow and how I should forget him, how you didn’t see him in me, and then you go and hide yourself from me. How are you better than anyone else out there who feels entitled to their biased opinion of me?”

Jimin suppresses a frustrated groan, heart thundering in his ears.

“I hid that fact from you because I wanted to avoid such accusations. I admit I didn’t tell you in the beginning because I didn’t know what you would do, but then I didn’t tell you because I didn’t want anyone to doubt your place between the head alphas. So no one could say you used me for your own advantage but got acknowledged by everyone because of your rightful claim on your status.”

“And then they could have said that the reason why I didn’t use you for my advantage is because I didn’t know who you are, that I certainly would have used you if I knew,” Jungkook counters, all fight in Jimin dying. He watches wordlessly as Jungkook’s anger leaves him too and defeat replaces it, his shoulders sagging. “Everyone is going to do whatever they want, Jimin. I just, … I just thought in between all of this we’d at least have each other but I guess I was wrong.”

Jimin’s heart breaks at that and he suppresses a sob, choking out, “No. Jungkook you have me. You know that.”

“I don’t know anything.”

 “Why are you saying that?” Jimin almost screams, can’t control his voice and feelings anymore. He feels like Jungkook is slipping through his fingers and he will lose him if he doesn’t convince Jungkook now.

 Jungkook scoffs, the sound piercing Jimin’s heart, and shakes his head as he steps away. “You have given me no reason to think you trust me.”

“That's a lie, and you know it. And it's not fair. Taehyung and I trusted you when we came to the border to meet you. We trusted you every other day when we came here secretly, no one in our pack knowing where we were, in hopes that you and your pack would be good enough to not kill us, and you say we didn't trust you? I trusted you again when I asked you to take your father to our healer although I knew what could happen after you find out the truth about me. I went against my own father, against my head alpha, against my own pack for you and you say I don’t trust you? It was you who never trusted me!”

Jimin is angry now. He’s just too overwhelmed. He is panting at the end of his rant and his eyes are filled with anger, feeling misunderstood by Jungkook. Jungkook’s eyes look no less dark at the end of it though.

“I never trusted you?” Jungkook repeats, tone low. “I told my pack members not to attack wolves coming into our pack, I let you and your friend come into my pack every day without asking any questions although you could have been spying on us the whole time. I came to you with my brother although you could have hurt him. I did not listen to my pack, but I listened to you.”

With each sentence Jungkook steps closer until his shaking form is crowding Jimin against the table. Jimin’s wolf wants to bare his neck and nuzzle Jungkook’s neck at the same time to calm him down, wants to submit. He hates seeing Jungkook distressed, even more so because he is the reason for it. Jimin doesn’t give in to his wolf’s whimpers though and breathes in through his mouth so Jungkook’s tangy scent doesn’t affect him even more.

“I trusted you with my father,” Jungkook adds, eyes travelling all over Jimin’s face. “I trusted you when I went into your pack without any kind of security or guarantee that we would come out alive. I trusted you with everything I still have, but you never did.”

Jimin hates hearing that sentence. The fact that it’s coming from Jungkook isn’t only disappointing now but also enraging. Jungkook isn’t even listening to him. Jimin pushes Jungkook away with both palms, Jungkook only moving half a step away, eyes narrowing.

“You trusted me with your pack, but you never trusted me with yourself!” Jimin screams, all frustrations showing. “You won't let me touch you, you won't touch me, and you won't even look at me properly.”

Jungkook’s forehead creases, anger dissolving as confusion replaces it. Jimin should stop. He’s revealing way too much, even to himself, but he can’t stop as the pain, the sting of rejection he felt during the past days and the days he spent with Jungkook comes back all at once.

“I tried to be there for you, I asked you what’s wrong, and you never trusted me once. You always push me away, go silent and turn the other way, and then act as if it never happened. I may not have told you my name or the name of my father but at least I trusted you with myself. I always let you know who I am and what I think. You never even let me know what you think, what burdens you. You won't let me help you. You don't trust me. You don’t even want me.”

The last thing slips out before Jimin even knows that he’s thinking it. He is stunned into a silence after he says it, eyes widening with shock. There’s a little fear nagging at him that Jungkook will confirm this. But it’s better like that, he tells himself, if Jungkook doesn’t want him, then he wants to know.

“IT’S NOT YOU WHO I DON’T TRUST, IT’S ME!” Jungkook screams. Jimin goes silent, panting as he watches Jungkook unfurl. “I don't trust myself with you. I don’t trust myself with touching you, with being you close to you and with loving you. I am only trying to keep you safe from me.”

Jimin has no idea what Jungkook is talking about. He inhales deeply and waits silently when Jungkook closes the remaining space between them. He looks up at Jungkook, who is now shaking even more, red trying to fight its way into his irises. Jimin chokes on his next breath, gets completely overwhelmed by Jungkook’s spicy and heady scent.

“You want to know what I think? You want to know why I don’t touch you or look at you? It's because I'm afraid I will never let go once I have you in my arms. You want to know me?” Jungkook asks.

Jimin gasps when Jungkook wraps his arms around his waist and hips and presses him against his own chest. Jimin’s hands come up to grip Jungkook’s biceps. He can barely look at Jungkook.

“Jungkook,” Jimin gasps with no purpose other than saying his soulmate’s name. Jungkook ignores it.

“Do you really want to know what I think? I think I want to keep you here and never let you go. I feel like I go insane as soon as you’re out of my sight. It feels as if you're in danger and any time of the day I could lose you, and there is nothing I could do because you're not here right in front of me. You could be attacked by the wolves that I abandoned, could be attacked by any other stray wolf or animal or whatever. My mind comes up with those ridiculous scenarios where you die, and I am not there to protect you over and over and over again.”

Jungkook’s grip on Jimin tightens with the confession, Jimin too overwhelmed to know what to do with Jungkook’s words. The red in Jungkook’s eyes is drowning out the brown now and Jimin can also see a golden hue in his sight. The reason his wolf is coming out is different from Jungkook’s though. Jungkook is mainly frustrated and angry while Jimin is reacting to Jungkook’s alpha. His omega threatens to take over control and he doesn’t have the will to stop it from happening, especially not with Jungkook’s next words. This time, the angered edge has left Jungkook’s tone and he’s whispering, as if he’s speaking directly to Jimin’s omega.

“My wolf goes crazy, and tells me to keep you here, and never let you out of my sight because there is no one in this world who I would trust you with, who I would trust to protect you and keep you safe. I want to drown you in my scent until all you smell like is me. I want to mate you and claim you, so everyone knows you’re mine and you belong to me.”

“Jungkook,” Jimin repeats and wraps his arms arounds Jungkook’s shoulders.

From all the horrors Jimin imagined, from Jungkook not wanting him to Jungkook being ashamed of him, he never thought this could be the reason for Jungkook’s odd behaviour. Nothing from how Jungkook behaved insinuated that he feels like this about Jimin.

Jimin doesn’t question why Jungkook’s behaviour and his thoughts are so contradictory. He just lets it be for now. His eyes flutter shut as his gut twists with heat caused from Jungkook’s confession. This time, Jimin doesn’t resist, let’s his omega take control and bares his throat. Jungkook growls at the sight.

“Don’t tempt me,” Jungkook hisses through his teeth.

Jimin only nuzzles Jungkook’s jaw, lips moving against his skin as he says, “Don’t push me away again. Please. I won’t be able to bear it.”

“Jimin-”

“Alpha, please.”

Jimin gasps when Jungkook picks him up and seats him on the table. He is pushed onto his back, hands ripping his collar to the side so Jungkook can bury his nose into his neck. Jimin moans, wraps his legs around Jungkook’s hips and his arms around his shoulders, presses him against himself.

There’s no holding back now, Jungkook let loose and his hunger for Jimin out in the open. It’s overwhelming how Jungkook is breathing him in deep and pressing Jimin down, caging him against the table as if Jimin is his meal and Jungkook is intent on devouring him in one bite. Jimin feels oddly wanted, encourages Jungkook by pressing him closer, exposing more of the column of his neck to Jungkook and getting louder with each mewl he lets out.

Arousal mixes with the anger and angst in the air, and Jimin’s stomach feels funny. Jungkook moves and his hard cock brushes against Jimin’s, making him choke on air. He moans wantonly and raises his hips to grind his cock against Jungkook’s bigger one, feeling how big he is, slick leaking out of his hole and staining his pants.

Jungkook growls and abruptly rips himself away from Jimin. Jimin is a little delirious and needs some time to realize that Jungkook is no longer in his arms but away from him now. He wants to whine and beg Jungkook to come back, his omega feeling rejected, but he fights the tears away and pulls at his hair to make himself concentrate on what’s important right now.

“Jungkook,” Jimin pants, out of breath and chest heaving.

Jungkook is no better. He is at the other side of the kitchen, almost out of the door, and has his back turned to Jimin. His whole frame is shaking, and his scent is still full of arousal, intoxicating and luring Jimin in. Jimin wants nothing more but go over, hug Jungkook, comfort him, but also pull down his pants and get his hands on Jungkook’s cock that he was feeling mere seconds ago against his own crotch. He can still feel it against him, his body reacting to the memory by leaking more slick and that has now imprinted on it.

Jimin wants to push all those dirty thoughts away and calm Jungkook but the way Jungkook tenses and his grip on the doorframe tightens when Jimin leaks some more slick weakens Jimin’s wobbly knees even more, and he only wants Jungkook in his rawest form again.

“Jungkook,” Jimin repeats and this time he gets an answer.

“Please don’t,” Jungkook pleads. “I can’t. I can’t.”

“Why not, Jungkook?” Jimin almost sobs.

“This is not the time.”

“I know I said I want to wait but we don’t have to. We can take care of everything afterwards. Please, Jungkook. We’ve been away for too long. I didn’t know what I was saying back then, what it takes and what it means.”

“Don’t move,” Jungkook warns, Jimin not even having noticed that he was walking towards Jungkook. “Don’t come closer. We can’t.”

“Why not?” Jimin cries.

“Because I can’t just take you like that.”

“It’s not taking when I’m offering myself to you. It’s accepting,” Jimin says. Jungkook stops moving, and Jimin dares to take one step towards him. “I don’t know what you’re thinking of yourself but I’m here because I want to be here and not because you’re allegedly forcing me.”

“No, you’re not,” Jungkook interrupts and turns around.

“Yes, I am.”

“It’s your omega. It’s the bond of our souls that brings you here.”

“I am my omega. And even if my omega is here because of your alpha, I can still see whether you’re an awful wolf or not, what kind of head alpha you are, and you’re amazing.”

Jungkook sighs and rests his head against the wall, looking up at the ceiling. Jimin closes the distance between them cautiously so he doesn’t alarm Jungkook again and ghosts his hands over Jungkook’s sides.

“We don’t have to mate now,” Jimin says, ignoring the whines his omega lets out, and puts his arms loosely around Jungkook’s middle. “But you have to understand that you’re not a bad wolf and that I like being with you and that when we mate it will happen because I want it to and not because you’re forcing me.”

Jimin rests his forehead against Jungkook’s chest and breathes in deeply, breathes in all the anxiety Jungkook radiates and the whirlwind of emotions.

“I like you, Jungkook. Don’t you get it?” Jimin mumbles in a last attempt to make Jungkook understand and it seems to work.

Jimin’s shoulders sag in relief when Jungkook wraps his arms around Jimin and presses him closely against himself. He hides his face in Jimin’s neck, Jimin cooing over and over again that he likes him and that everything will be fine. At one point, Jungkook starts crying and shaking in Jimin’s arms, and both drop to their knees because Jungkook can’t hold himself up anymore and Jimin is too weak to do so. But he still holds onto Jungkook, sits in his lap and lets Jungkook cry.

“I’m so-rry,” Jungkook heaves, chest shaking with the force of his sobs.

Jimin pulls back and kisses Jungkook’s cheek. Once he starts, he can’t stop anymore and kisses Jungkook’s face all over; his nose, his cupid’s bow, his moles, eyes, forehead, and kisses his tears his away, nips along his jaw until he has reached Jungkook’s neck, and breathes against his scent gland. Jimin scents him, feels Jungkook’s relax in his arms and his hiccups lessen.

Slowly, Jungkook stops shedding tears, the anxiety and sorrow in the air turns to something heady, and Jungkook’s arms around Jimin into an iron grip. Jimin knows he should pull back and give Jungkook space, that his alpha is reacting to him and that Jungkook himself still needs time but it’s hard when Jungkook’s hands are wandering up and down his back, and Jimin can feel his cock harden underneath him again. Jimin can’t help but grind against Jungkook’s cock, even as he pulls back and puts his forehead against Jungkook’s.

 “I’m here. I’m always here,” he promises softly, suppressing a whine.

Jungkook nods and opens his eyes, exhaling harshly. “How am I supposed to let go now? I thought I’d scare you off.”

Jimin giggles. “Yeah, you’re such a scary, naughty alpha.”

Jungkook chuckles and then inhales deeply, eyes turning droopy. “Fuck, you smell so good.”

Jimin’s omegas starts yipping and basically rolling on the ground like an overjoyed wolf. Jungkook thinks he smells good. It brings a smile to Jimin’s face.

“You’re such a bad alpha, using bad words like that,” Jimin tuts. He squeaks when Jungkook bites his jaw.

“Don’t tease.”

Jimin huffs and uses all his energy to pull back and out of Jungkook’s arms. Jungkook whines and stares at Jimin with sad eyes but lets go of him in the end. They sit in front of each other for a moment, both trying to come down from their emotional high as they stare at each other longingly. How Jimin would have loved to kiss Jungkook and go to Jungkook’s room to just lay with him, in his arms, Jungkook’s room which undoubtedly would be their room if it weren’t for their situation.

Jimin inhales deeply and then gets to his feet, Jungkook doing the same. Before anyone can say anything, there is a knock on the front door. Jungkook walks over and Jimin follows him. As soon as the door opens, Haneul has to take a step back and pinch his nose closed. Jimin’s cheeks turn red at the obvious arousal in their scents but at the same time he wonders how much like Jungkook he smells.

“He wouldn’t stop whining,” Haneul explains, face not fully turned towards them, and motions to Eunwoo in his arms. “I’m sorry for interrupting.”

“It’s fine,” Jimin says. “We’re done talking anyway, and I have to go back now.”

“I can accompany you to the border,” Haneul suggests, handing Eunwoo over to Jungkook who has been holding his arms out impatiently.

“No need. I’ll do it,” Jungkook says, face set into a scowl.

Haneul gapes for a second, nods next and takes a step back. Jimin takes Eunwoo’s hand in his and smiles when Eunwoo closes his hand around his finger. Maybe it’s Jungkook’s scent on him that makes the pup trust Jimin but he doesn’t care, is happy that Eunwoo accepts him.

“I’ll go then. Goodbye,” Haneul says and turns around immediately.

“Bye!” Jimin calls after him absentmindedly, too busy caressing Eunwoo’s cheek.

“Shall we go?” Jungkook asks.

Jimin looks up at him and nods. Now that Eunwoo is with them, there’s not much reason for embarrassment to reign between them though a little tension is still there. Jimin opts for distracting himself by playing with Eunwoo but that’s hard when Jungkook is the one holding him as they walk to where Taehyung is waiting for him.

“Eunwoo looks better now,” Jimin comments, the pup playing with one of Jungkook’s ears.

“He is. His mother is also getting healthier, so I guess that’s also having a positive effect on him.”

“That’s great. How’s your dad?” Jimin asks, belatedly realizing he never asked about him.

“He’s fine. Much better now. Thanks to you. I never properly thanked you for what you did. Thank you, and I’m sorry.”

Jimin shakes his head, now feeling courageous enough to put a hand on Jungkook’s arm. “It’s my fault too. So I should also be apologizing for everything that happened. And there’s no need to thank me. I only fulfilled my responsibility. This… is my pack after all.”

Jimin looks ahead as he says that, feeling Jungkook’s gaze on him and his cheeks redden under it.

“But still, thank you.”

“Thank you for letting me explain,” Jimin says. “We should talk more in the future. If we want this to go well, and be honest with each other.”

“Yeah,” Jungkook agrees. “We should.”

Eunwoo falls asleep in Jungkook’s arms, the two reaching the border faster than Jimin would have loved to. He wants to stay with Jungkook, separation from his soulmate harder now that they’ve had each other in a way they never did before.

Soon, Taehyung comes into their views and Jimin turns to Jungkook. “I may not be able to come over a lot in the next days,” Jimin mumbles.

Jungkook bites his lower lip and nods multiple times. “That’s fine.”

“I’ll try though.”

“Don’t if it’s too much of a bother.”

“It won’t be. I like visiting you,” Jimin adds the second part when Jungkook opens his mouth again to protest.

He nods and Jimin pats Eunwoo’s back softly who is fast asleep, head resting on Jungkook’s shoulder.

“You should get him to bed and you should sleep too. Good night.”

“Good night.”

Jimin takes a step backwards and then turns around. Jungkook waits until he has reached Taehyung, waves and then leaves.

“What did you do? Bathe in Jungkook?” Taehyung asks as soon as the alpha is gone, scrunching his nose. “We have to get that scent off you.”

Jimin faces Taehyung with a pout. “I don’t want to.”

“You have to. What are you going to tell your parents?”

Jimin whines but lets Taehyung push him in the river and then scent him, ultimately rubbing dirt all over himself to mask the last bits of Jungkook’s scent. At the end of it, Jimin’s omega is furious with him and Taehyung, and Taehyung tugs Jimin all the way to the pack where he takes a shower.

---

"Mom," Jimin speaks up.

It’s afternoon, Jimin having done his work for that day. Jimin is yearning to be back in Jungkook’s arms, go over to the Jeon pack and ask Jungkook to mate him right now. To distract himself from that thought and the fact that he’s missing Jungkook and is worried about him, Jimin came to join his mother in their cabin. She has been drinking her tea and sewing a hole in Head Alpha Park’s shirt when Jimin laid his head in her lap.

“Yes?”

"When dad took over the pack, what was your role in it?"

“What do you mean?” she asks, her hand carding through Jimin’s hair stopping for a second.

“Well, how did you help the pack? How did you decide what’s good for it?”

“Well, that depends on what your role is. The more you’re present in different parts of the pack life, the more you know what your pack is missing and have a say in decision about the pack. It wouldn’t make any sense to let you decide when you don’t know the pack.”

Jimin sits up and faces his mother who is surprised by Jimin’s sudden eagerness.

“So does that mean I am allowed to decide what position I have in a pack?”

His mother smiles quizzically. “Yes, Jimin. You know that already. We never forbade you to take over any role in the pack as long as you prove yourself worthy.”

Jimin thinks about it for a second, tries to imagine himself in a position where he helps the Jeon pack and comes up empty handed. It frustrates him.

“But how are you so good for the pack?” Jimin asks. “I know you’re a member of the Council of Elders and help in the harvest and wherever else you can. How do you do that all?”

“By being there, offering myself to the pack and working with them. And I grew up in this pack, they all knew me and I knew them. That’s also something that made it much easier.”

Now that’s not something that Jimin wanted to hear. He visibly deflates at the information, losing all his excitement. Jimin would love to take over that role for Jungkook’s pack but he doubts he can. Besides the obvious fact that he’s not present like his mother said he should be, he also doubts that anyone will trust him. His mother was part of the Park pack. She had lived with it, lived with his father, and had given him two sons already. People already knew her as she took over and most probably also trusted her. Jimin is an outsider. No one from the Jeon pack knows or trusts him. He can’t be the wolf that helps the pack. He’s not what they need.

Jimin tries to think of who could possibly help Jungkook make the pack’s situation better. There has to be someone who isn’t afraid of Jungkook and whom Jungkook alike other wolves trust. There has to be someone.

Then his mind wanders to Seokjin, who just like him is an outsider to his mate’s pack. He could be more of help to Jimin than his mother. He puts his head back on his mother’s lap and leads her hand to his hair. He hopes he can be of help to Jungkook.

Chapter Text

It has been five days since Jimin saw Jungkook and two since his birthdays. It was celebrated in the whole pack for some reason, not too big of a feast but Jimin’s favourite dishes on the menu and the pack sitting together after they made fires after sunset. Jimin enjoyed himself a lot and was overall happy but for the times he thought of Jungkook. He wished Jungkook was there with him to share this happiness with him.

Later, when his father asked Jimin what he wanted for his birthday he asked to be allowed to spend a few days with Seokjin and the Kim pack. He wants to learn from the omega, and was delighted when his father granted his request, seeing a great rolemodel for wolves in Seokjin, but that is for the next day. Now, Jimin is on his way to Jungkook.

Jimin doesn’t have much time to spare. It took him long to finish his chores and be able to sneak away, this time without Taehyung who found out that Mina is pregnant and basically refuses to leave her side or let her out of his arms. It’s cute to see him be a big puppy who is in love and just can’t stay away from his mate. They deserve to have a pup and raise it together. The pup will be so loved, Jimin is jealous thinking of it. He wants one too.

Jimin can’t wait to see his soulmate and get his hands on him. After their last encounter he felt Jungkook for many hours afterwards, and he felt like he could even smell his soulmate on himself despite the dirt he rolled in to mask his scent. Jungkook visited him in his dreams and touched his naked skin, kissed him and claimed him. Jimin still blushes at the thought of feeling Jungkook’s big cock against him, hard and ready to penetrate him.

Jimin clears his throat and forces himself to think of something else. These thoughts have been haunting him a lot in the past days, making him leak slick, his cock hard, body hot all over and omega whining pitifully, getting worse day by day. The day before even Jihyun commented how he smells sweeter, his omega no doubt trying to attract Jungkook and be more attractive for him. It makes Jimin’s ears burn red and his gut twists how desperate Jimin is for Jungkook and how he wouldn’t mind begging for him on his knees.

His thoughts stray far like that, hard to control.

Before Jimin gets too close to the Jeon pack, he breathes in deeply and tries to get rid of any lingering scents of his hard concealed thoughts. He doesn’t need his future pack to know that he has been lusting after Jungkook and still is.

As soon as he’s on pack’s ground, he heads straight for Jungkook’s cabin to check whether Jungkook is there, getting more restless at Jungkook being so close. Instead he finds Sooyeon.

“That disappointed to see me?” Sooyeon asks when he sees Jimin’s expression drop after seeing him.

Jimin shakes his head and puts a smile on his face again. “No, of course not. Hello.”

Sooyeon smiles and pats the empty spot on the couch next to him, Jimin joining him. “Hello, Jimin. I’m glad to see how you enter this cabin without knocking.”

Jimin gapes, not even having noticed. “I just always thought that this is…”

“Your cabin,” Sooyeon ends his sentence for him, taking Jimin’s hand in his. Jimin likes how comforting Sooyeon’s touch and scent is, can smell Jungkook a little bit on him. “That’s because it is!”

Jimin lowers his gaze, his cheeks heating up with the warmth in Sooyeon’s voice. Guilt soon worms its way into it, and Jimin squeezes Sooyeon’s hand.

“How are you feeling? Are you better? Do you need some of the medicine or tea again?” he asks.

Sooyeon laughs and cards his fingers through Jimin’s hair. “I’ve been getting much better thanks to your help. Thank you. Head Alpha Min gave us some more so don’t worry about me.”

“That’s good, but you can still always ask me for anything you want, you know?”

“I know. Thank you.”

“I hope everything got cleared up with Jungkook,” Sooyeon says, hand still in Jimin’s hair.

Jimin gets shy when he remembers what happened between them, tries not to let it show, and says, “We fought but everything is okay now.”

“Hmm, fighting is good among couples sometimes. Gets out everything you keep inside. I’m sure you two had a lot to say to each other.”

“Yeah, we need to learn how to talk. It’s just not-”

“Easy?” Sooyeon asks with a smile. “I know. You have to understand that Jungkook doesn’t know how to behave around omegas. His whole life omegas have been avoiding him because of his father and even now because some fear Jungkook will be just like his father. He still has to not only get to know you but also your omega. And it’s important that you let him get to know you.”

Letting Jungkook get to know him is already hard but now he also has to let Jungkook get to know his omega.

“What do you mean?”

“Jungkook is afraid of his alpha. Right now, he’s solely leading and living with his non-instinctual side but that won’t work well for long. As a wolf and pack alpha he needs a bond with his pack and as your soulmate he needs to strengthen his bond by letting your wolves connect. You have to lure Jungkook’s alpha out, gently coax Jungkook. I know that’s not the thing you would say about alphas but alphas are only living being too. Just like omegas and betas, they need care and attention.”

Now that Sooyeon said it out loud, Jimin sees that he noticed these things about Jungkook. He knows Jungkook needs love and care that right now only he can give him and he also noticed that Jungkook was afraid of being an alpha like Junghwan but he never saw it the way Sooyeon put it.

“How do I do that?” Jimin asks, facing Sooyeon properly.

“You have to be more open towards him, let your omega out more, let your instincts take over more. I don’t know what you and Jungkook discussed, your situation makes it even harder for you because you don’t want to mate right now, and I know it’s scary to just let loose, but it’s important to bond as much with Jungkook as possible before nature catches up with you. It’s not as kind as we think it will be.”

Jimin bites his lower lip, taking in everything Sooyeon told him. It sounds logical. Of course it does, but as Sooyeon said, it’s not that easy. Jimin wants nothing more than to get closer to Jungkook but losing control is too easy. Who knows what they’ll do if they let their instincts take over.

Jimin is still thinking about it all when Jungkook walks into the cabin, seeing Jimin and Sooyeon on the couch instantly. Jimin freezes, inhaling sharply, and is brought back to their moment in Jungkook’s kitchen, in Jungkook’s arms.

“You’re back.”

Jimin rips his eyes away from Jungkook and looks at Sooyeon. Jungkook also seems to wake up from a stupor, looks at his father a little confused and nods mechanically.

“Yeah.”

His eyes flicker to Jimin again, Jimin looking up tentatively and looking away as soon as they make eye contact. Jimin’s heart goes haywire, body buzzing with energy.

“I should go and check up on Yoojung,” Sooyeon says suddenly. He squeezes Jimin’s hand once and then gets up. Jimin follows suit, standing up with Sooyeon as Jungkook walks forward to help Sooyeon.

“I can walk on my own. You take care of Jimin.”

“I’m fine,” Jimin mumbles, cheeks tinging red at the thought of Sooyeon having caught them red-handed. It shouldn’t matter. Jungkook is his soulmate, his to-be mate and if they were in a normal situation they would have done so much more by now. Maybe Jimin would even be pregnant with Jungkook’s pup by now.

Jimin clears his throat and then focuses on Sooyeon again.

“Let go, you two,” Sooyeon says, shakes off their hands and turns to Jimin, “I’ll see you later, if not, then another time. Goodbye.”

“Bye.” Jimin waits until Sooyeon is gone and then asks, “Is Yoojung fine?”

“Yeah, she just wasn’t feeling well this morning. I think this was more of an excuse to… leave us alone.”

“Oh.”

“I mean, we won’t be alone anyway,” Jungkook rushes out, “I have to check on some land in the north.”

“Oh, what a bummer,” Jimin notes, saddened by the thought of not spending time alone with Jungkook.

“You can come too,” Jungkook adds with wide eyes. “Or you can stay. With… dad?”

For the first time that day, Jimin looks at Jungkook, really looks at him. He doesn’t know where the courage comes from, his need to test Jungkook in that situation much bigger than his embarrassment of looking at the alpha, but he stares into Jungkook’s eyes and wonders what Jungkook wants him to do. Jungkook seems a little taken aback by Jimin’s stare, mouth falling open to wordlessly gape at him and then stand there frozen. After half a minute of not having found an answer and remembering Sooyeon’s words from before, Jimin inhales and lets his omega take a little control. He cocks his head to the side and looks up at Jungkook through his eyelashes, locks his hands behind his back, his scent getting a little thicker in the room.

“Would it be okay if I join you?” Jimin asks lowly.

The slow and steady rise of Jungkook’s chest halts, Jungkook’s hand that was going to his hair having stopped mid-air. Then he lets out a shuddering breath and nods repeatedly.

“We-we have to go north.”

Enjoying Jungkook’s reaction, Jimin smiles and points out, “You said that already.”

“Yeah, I did.” Jungkook nods to himself and then points to the door behind himself. “We should head out.”

Jimin watches as Jungkook swiftly turns around and exits the cabin. Then it dawns on him what exactly he just did and he buries his face in his hands, letting out an embarrassed whine. How could he have been so shameless? How is his omega so shameless? If this happened when Jimin gave his omega such little control, then what will happen if he gives his omega complete control? Even now he can hear his omega whine at him to let him take over, repeats the beautiful reaction Jungkook showed him again and again but if Jimin is one thing, then it’s being as persistent as his omega. He shakes his head and finally follows Jungkook out.

Jungkook is standing to the right of the cabin with some wolves and immediately turns his head when Jimin opens the door. Jimin eyes the other wolves wearily, assured a little by Haneul’s presence who is waving at him excitedly, and joins Jungkook. He uses the alpha’s broadness and height to hide from the other wolves as much as possible.

“Ready?” Jungkook asks lowly and Jimin nods. “We have to shift to reach the land. Should I take you on my back?”

Jimin can’t believe that Jungkook is offering this. Judging by the reaction of the other wolves, they’re just as surprised as Jimin. He should decline, embarrassed by the mere thought of getting on Jungkook’s back but Jimin is also afraid of turning when Jungkook is turned. It’ll be much harder to control his omega when they’re in wolf form, his omega’s true form. In the end, he chickens out. He shakes his head and says, “I’ll shift.”

“Okay. We’ll shift in the woods.”

Jimin follows Jungkook silently, the wolves stopping at the beginning of the woods, Jimin and Jungkook walking in a little more before Jungkook stops and tells Jimin to walk a little farther, keep his clothes there because they’ll have blankets and furs at the land to cover themselves with. Jimin only walks far enough so a few trees cover him, a little embarrassed at the thought of Jungkook seeing him naked. His heart bursts into million pieces when Jungkook turns his back to him to give him more privacy and then almost jumps out of his chest when Jungkook starts undressing. The sight of the deep scars on Jungkook’s toned, broad back is what rips Jimin out of his thoughts and makes him avert his eyes.

He has seen scars on wolves before. The older wolves, the ones who participated in the war, have them too, but he has never seen it on younger wolves. He wonder where Jungkook got them from.

With a shaking breath, he finally starts undressing and turns, welcoming the little pain that comes with the cracking of his bones and ripping of his skin.

Jimin is a little out of it once he turns. His wolf just as much in distress as him and the shift too sudden so that his wolf hasn’t gained back his sense of direction yet. He hobbles on his paws, turning left and right, and then howling in pain when a sharp pain shoots through one of his paws. Jimin whines as he shakes his paw and licks the wound, a sharp wood having pierced his skin. Though the wound closes, it’s only when a snout nuzzles his neck and licks him, warmth filling Jimin, that Jimin stops sulking. He rubs his head against Jungkook’s neck and yips happily.

In wolf form, Jungkook is much taller than him and bigger. Though Jimin is used to seeing wolves bigger than him, Jungkook’s form is still a surprise. If Jungkook fought his father in wolf form, he’s not surprised that Jungkook won. Jungkook’s alpha has a such a strong presence behind that dark brown fur that Jimin would feel intimidated were it not for the fact that Jungkook is his mate and is comforting him. They break apart when they’re joined by the other wolves, Jimin falling in step with Jungkook at the front, reaching the spot in under ten minutes.

After having reached a certain part of the woods, Jungkook stops and turns first, right in front of Jimin. Jimin follows his examples, wanting to turn fast and cover himself before the other wolves catch up with them. He lands on his hands and knees, body shaking as a cold gust of wind wafts over him. Jimin is still getting used to his non-wolf form when a blanket is thrown over him, saving him from the slight cold. Jungkook holds Jimin by his upper arms and helps him to his feet, concern displayed on his face. Jimin holds the blanket together with both hands.

“Is the blanket enough or do you need the jacket too?” Jungkook asks.

Jimin blinks owlishly at Jungkook, distracted by how Jungkook rubs up and down his arms to warm him up, gapes at Jungkook and then the jacket hanging from Jungkook’s arm. The jacket, if it can be called that, is a sleeveless, long vest that will barely reach up to Jimin’s knees, and in case Jungkook wears it, to mid-thigh. Upon that thought, Jimin’s eyes wander to Jungkook’s thigh and blushes when he sees his crotch and muscly thighs and abdomen. He averts his eyes and shakes his head, embarrassed that Jungkook most probably saw him looking at his cock. It doesn’t help that all his omega, still powerful so soon after a shift, can think of is that big cock penetrating him, most favourably while he’s in heat. Would Jimin even be able to fit that inside him? Jimin clears his throat.

“I’m fine,” he whispers. “You should cover up.”

“Yeah, sorry.”

Jungkook lets go of him and pulls the jacket on, tying it around his waist with a belt. The rest of the wolves join them, also clothed with something, and Jimin’s mind finally slowly stops thinking about sex and heat and Jungkook’s cock. All thoughts completely stop when he takes in the forest around him, or what’s left of it.

It’s in a bad condition. The whole ground is burnt down, there is weed here and there, no sign of fresh grass, plants or animals, and countless trees have fallen. Upon closer inspection, he can see that they have been cut down. And it goes on, for acres and acres. Jimin’s heart aches at the sight, breath punched out of him.

“What happened?” he breathes out when he feels Jungkook join him, body emitting calming pheromones. It helps but it doesn’t take all of the pain away.

“Head Alpha.” Jimin sighs and closes his eyes at that, opening them again as Jungkook continues to explain, “Cut down the trees, burned the ground and drew the animals away.”

No longer being able to look at the horrible sight, especially after that information from Jungkook, Jimin faces him and asks with tears in his eyes, “Why?”

“So he could starve us, keep us weak and easier for him to control.”

Jimin groans, a tear falling. Seems like there is no end to Junghwan’s horrible deeds at all.

Jungkook cups Jimin’s cheeks and takes a step closer, shushing him and wiping the tears away.

“How could he do that?” Jimin asks more to himself than seeking an answer.

Jungkook lifts Jimin’s face gently up so they look at each other and says, “We’re trying to restore the habitat of the animals, bring them back. It kind of worked with an area near the Min pack. I’m sure we can restore this one too with the help of the Song pack.”

“There are more?”

Jungkook chuckles humourlessly. “Three in total.”

“All this big?”

“They’re smaller but not by much. Come on. Sit down.”

Jimin doesn’t want to sit down. He’s hurt and furious and wants to murder Junghwan, but he listens to his alpha, trusts that he knows what’s best for him in that situation and sits down as asked.

“Are you okay?” Jungkook asks once Jimin has sat down on a fallen tree and Jungkook has kneeled in front of him.

“Yeah. Just mad. Really mad.”

Jungkook smiles and squeezes Jimin’s hands. “I have to get to work because we need to send a report to the Song pack today so we can try restoring this area as soon as possible. Is that okay?”

Jimin nods, feeling foolish for getting so emotional.

“Call me if you need anything, okay?”

Jimin nods again, squeezes Jungkook’s hands back and then lets go. Jungkook smiles reassuringly at Jimin and then walks over to the other wolves who have started working already. Jimin watches in silence as Jungkook and the rest run around the area, Haneul and another wolf being sent out to the farthest part of the ground. They inspect different spots of the ground and trees and put samples in small bags.

Soon Jimin’s attention is diverted from the horrors done to the forest to the horrors done to Jungkook. He can’t see many of the scars, the jacket revealing only few of Jungkook’s scars on his chest, his arms having even less of them, but he remembers some of the scars on Jungkook’s back, some of whom were long slashes that had to be deep when they were fresh. It’s just another proof of how much Jungkook has suffered and how little Jimin knows about Jungkook.

“You okay?”

Jimin whips around, seeing Haneul behind him with a worried expression. He turns back around and nods. “I’m fine.”

“Do you need anything?”

“No. Thank you. Sit down.”

Haneul takes a seat on the fallen tree but sits almost at the other end.

“Will you not sit closer now that you know that I’m Head Alpha Park’s son?” Jimin asks.

“Nooooo!” Haneul exclaims with wide eyes and sits a little closer to Jimin. “I just thought maybe you or Head Alpha Jungkook won’t like me sitting close to you. It has nothing to do with you being Head Alpha Park’s son.”

“You must have been surprised.”

Haneul shrugs as if it’s no big deal. “I mean, we all were, yeah, but it also explains a lot of things much more. As the head alpha’s son you must have a lot of responsibilities and it’s good to see that you’re taking them seriously.”

“It’s okay,” Jimin says, eyes drifting to Jungkook again. “I just want to do things the right way.”

“He… really likes you.”

Jimin looks at Haneul, the alpha squirming where he’s seated, a little embarrassed. “He was sad when he found out that you hid from him that you’re Head Alpha Park’s son but mom said that shows he likes you.”

“Yeah. Dad once said betrayal comes from your loved ones only because they’re the ones you trust.”

“Good that you didn’t betray him then,” Haneul says and smiles brightly.

Jimin smiles back hesitantly and then nods. He still hurt Jungkook but he’s intent on not letting that happen again. What he realized today, though, is that he can’t stop the hurt Jungkook receives from others. He can’t undo the scars on Jungkook’s body and also can’t stop everyone from hurting Jungkook. He understands now why Seokjin’s pack is so intent on making a fighter out of everyone. It is reassuring to know that one can protect their partner from harm. Jimin can barely fight, barely take on every beta and no alphas at all.

But there will be peace soon between every pack anyway. There will be no need for him to learn fighting. Hopefully.

They stop with the inspection in the next half hour, Jungkook sending Haneul to the Song pack to let them know what they found out and the other wolves going back to the pack. Jimin watches everyone leave and Jungkook approach him, apprehension and excitement filling him,

“Hey,” Jungkook greets when he sits down next to Jimin, facing Jimin.

“Hey. Done?”

“Yeah. I didn’t want to go back yet. I hope that’s fine.”

“Of course,” Jimin agrees, unsure about what to talk about so he asks the next best question that comes to his mind, “How long will it take to restore this area?”

“Maybe months. Maybe years. It depends on how fast and best we can restore the natural habitat and make animals move back here which definitely helps with the restoration.”

“But won’t that take too long. Restoring this much area seems impossible.”

“It will take some time but we have to make it work. And until then, we’ll try to make the rest of the territory more attractive for animals. This is why getting the neutral ground is also so important. That is a lot of undamaged and inhabited land that we can hunt on and find our supplies on. Winter is close. We need it as soon as possible.”

Jimin lowers his eyes, shame burning in the pit of his stomach. He feels guilty for not being able to help, convince his father and make him see that Jungkook deserves the help. He is ripped out his thought by Jungkook nudging him with his shoulder, forcing Jimin to keep his eyes on the alpha with just one glance.

“Stop blaming yourself,” Jungkook says softly. He raises one hand, hesitates, but then takes Jimin’s hand into his. Jimin is so surprised, he has to look down and make sure that Jungkook really is holding his hand.

“I just feel guilty,” Jimin admits after breathing in deeply. “I feel like I have to act and do something, help you make all this better but I don’t know how. I’ve missed so much, I have so much to learn and it gets overwhelming. And then I feel weak. If the thought of having to take care of this scares me, then how hard must it be to live this? Like you. I feel so helpless and useless and-”

Jimin bites his lower lip to stop himself before he can say anything else. He already has admitted so much, shown Jungkook how unfit he is to be the alpha’s mate, and he doesn’t want to make it worse.

“I’ll become better, I promise,” Jimin blurts out as soon as regret hits him full force, panic seizing him. “I can learn to be better and stronger and how to help you le-”

“Jimin, stop,” Jungkook orders, and he says it with such a finality that Jimin clamps his mouth shut, staring at Jungkook dumbfoundedly. “Do you think I know how to lead this pack?” Jungkook continues, lowering his head so he can be on Jimin’s eyelevel. “I have no idea what I’m doing and more than half of the time I am running to Yoongi or to the elders of my pack and asking them for help. We can work through this. We’ll learn and we’ll learn together. It’s fine.”

Jimin inhales, shuffles closer to Jungkook and puts one hand on the back of Jungkook’s neck, Jungkook freezing.

“You’re just twenty,” Jimin whispers, not daring to speak louder of fear that the sting behind his eyes will expand and make him cry. “You’re so young and have to carry such a big burden. I just want to make it easier.”

Jungkook exhales and relaxes under Jimin’s touch, scent enveloping Jimin like a blanket. Jimin feels better as soon as he takes a small whiff. “It may be tiring because there is so much to do but my pack is not a burden to me.”

“So much has happened to you,” Jimin breathes, hand sliding lower until he’s fiddling with the neck of Jungkook’s jacket and can feel the dent of one of his scars there. “I just want to make it easier for you.”

Jungkook leans closer, barely rubbing his nose against Jimin’s but it’s just as effective as if Jungkook had rubbed their noses together fully. “You’re already making it so much easier for me. What has happened in the past does not matter. My future with you is important.”

Fondness fills Jimin when Jungkook talks about their future, the promises that unvoiced words bring. It hangs in the air between them, filling the already too small space between them and choking them with their mixing scents. For the first time, they have time for each other. There’s no urgency in their touch but pleasant warmth and innocence, and Jimin wished their first interactions had been like this too.

The scar he can still feel underneath his thumb brings him out of the bubble with Jungkook.

“I want to know all of you though,” Jimin says and brings his hands to the belt around Jungkook’s middle. He has long since forgotten his own blanket that is carelessly pooling around his hips. The cocoon created around him from his alpha’s warmth is more than enough to keep him safe from the cold. “May I?”

Jungkook’s expression turns into something unreadable but Jimin doesn’t let that deter him. He means it when he says that he wants to get to know all of Jungkook. He wants to see what Jungkook has gone through and ask Jungkook about it if he allows it.

As soon as Jungkook nods, Jimin unties the knot hastily and then walks behind Jungkook. His movements slow down when both hands are on each of Jungkook’s shoulders, ready to pull down the jacket and reveal his Jungkook to him. That thought is enough to give Jimin the needed push and pull down the jacket, revealing skin, toned muscle and multiple scars.

There are scars of different sizes on Jungkook’s back, long and dented, giving Jimin an inkling on how deep they must have been. Wolf healing is outstanding. A big amount of wounds can heal without leaving a single scar and even more so with the help of ones soulmate. Sliding his fingers along the scars, barely touching because, no matter how illogical it is, Jimin fears he might hurt Jungkook. He wonders if he could have helped Jungkook get rid of these scars, helped him heal his wounds and make his suffering easier. For how long Jungkook must have carried these wounds, how they must have tormented him.

Jimin is overwhelmed by his own thoughts and his omega’s need to heal Jungkook and make sure the alpha is alright. He touches the biggest scar, the one that starts on Jungkook’s left shoulder blade and reaches down to the middle of his spine.

Jimin is breathing irregularly and the knot in his throat isn’t making it any easier. He presses one hand flat on Jungkook’s back, does not think much about what he is doing and does as he was told, lets his omega take control, and presses his lips against Jungkook’s skin, right where the scar starts. Jungkook hisses, freezing and fingers digging into the log he’s sitting on. Jimin slides his lips lower, only a little, never leaving Jungkook’s skin, and presses another kiss to Jungkook’s scar. He goes on, each kiss leaving him hazy and with pride after he smells Jungkook’s pungent scent. It’s getting thicker with each kiss of Jimin, Jungkook’s chest heaving, scarping against the wood.

Jimin mewls when he feels the want in Jungkook’s scent, his alpha reacting in the most delicious way and it only fuels Jimin on. Having reached the end of the first scar, he moves his lips to the next one, reaches Jungkook’s lower back, the scars on the right side of his back. It doesn’t take long for Jimin to kiss the scar on the side of Jungkook’s rips. He crawls under Jungkook’s arm and sits back on his spot, almost in Jungkook’s lap, facing him.

Jungkook’s eyes are red and his jaw is tense, biting his teeth together as he harshly breathes in through the small gap between his lips. Jimin’s eyes linger on his face for a small moment and then he’s lowering his head, presses his lips to Jungkook’s neck. Jungkook lets out a small growl, letting Jimin feel the vibrations through his neck. Jimin whimpers pathetically and presses his legs closed, shame filling him when he realizes how Jungkook is affecting him.

Jungkook’s skin gets hotter and hotter under Jimin’s lips, emanating more heat and cocooning Jimin in his scent. All of Jimin’s walls break down, no longer hiding but letting himself react to Jungkook. His scent is just as strong as Jungkook’s, his omega feeling pride at the pants Jungkook lets out, signs that he is the one causing this.

He breathes in Jungkook’s unaltered scent once and then kisses lower, feels the muscles of Jungkook’s pectoral dance with each kiss. Jimin wraps his arms around Jungkook’s middle and presses himself closer to the alpha, wanting Jungkook’s arms around himself but too busy with kissing him to voice his thoughts.

Jimin shamelessly kisses Jungkook’s nipple and upon hearing Jungkook’s choked out moan, can’t help himself but lick it with the flat of his tongue. Jimin’s head is suddenly pulled back from Jungkook’s chest by a firm grip on his hair, his scalp burning with the pull. Jungkook growls in Jimin’s face, more wanton than warning, and Jimin, not heeding the tight grip on his hair, pushes forward and connects their lips.

Jimin moans against Jungkook’s lips when Jungkook envelopes him in his arms, presses Jimin closer as his lips move automatically against Jimin’s. Jimin is the one who started kissing Jungkook and expected himself to have the upper hand but is taken off guard by Jungkook’s fervour and hunger. It feels as if Jungkook has gotten his first meal after a long time and is ready to ravish Jimin.

Jimin squeaks when Jungkook suddenly loops his arm under his thighs and sits the omega in his lap. Jungkook’s lips are on Jimin’s again in less than a second, Jimin moaning into the kiss and trying to rearrange his legs into a more comfortable position. Too focused on the kiss, Jimin forgets the ground is too far away when he reaches back to put his hand on the ground to balance himself better and falls off Jungkook’s lap. Jungkook reaches for Jimin and manages to slow Jimin’s fall but is dragged down with Jimin. Jimin lands on his back, Jungkook on top of him.

Staring at Jungkook with wide eyes, blanket long forgotten where they’ve been sitting, Jimin notices only now that they’re both completely naked. Now Jimin not only managed to ruin their kiss but he also made them both fall. It only now dawns on him how he behaved, so needy and shameless. Jimin closes his eyes tightly when Jungkook raises his head, too scared to look the alpha in the face after humiliating himself so much.

“Hey,” Jungkook breathes, holds himself up by one arm and caresses Jimin’s hair with his free hand. “Are you alright? Did you get hurt?”

In search for injuries, Jungkook’s hand wanders down the side of Jimin’s face, down to his neck and shoulder, and before it can go any lower, Jimin rips his eyes open and grabs Jungkook’s hand.

“I’m fine!” he exclaims. His confidence leaves him as soon as Jungkook looks at him with doe eyes and he turns his face the other way, heat crawling up his neck.

In the sudden silence it gets embarrassingly obvious that Jimin is wet between ass cheeks; the smell of his slick pungent and the more audible Jungkook’s, “Shit.”

The dried leaves on the ground crunch loudly as Jungkook moves off Jimin and Jimin has to press a hand against his mouth to not beg Jungkook to stay. His omega whines loudly, his heart aches and sudden rejection fills him. Jimin knows it doesn’t make any sense but he still can’t help that it hurts so much. It’s the first time he had his mate this close, was this intimate with him and felt his raw alpha side. It hurts too much to have him distance himself from Jimin so fast.

Jimin turns his body the other way so Jungkook won’t see how hard he is even if he has to risk showing Jungkook his wet ass. He hides his face in his arms, breathes in slowly through his nose and breathes out through his mouth, trying to calm himself and his hurting omega down. It’s not easy considering his omega had full control of him just mere moments ago.

Jimin is a little surprised when Jungkook covers him with the blanket, his omega instantly soothed by the action. The corners of Jimin’s mouth raise a little as he thinks that maybe Jungkook didn’t reject him at all but is merely overwhelmed just like him. The tears slip out anyway but he’s fast to curl into the blanket and save himself from the cold now that Jungkook’s body isn’t close to his.

“Jimin? You okay?”

Jimin smiles at the low tone of Jungkook, can hear the worry in it. He sits up, his back still towards Jungkook, wraps the blanket tighter around. Clearing his throat before he speaks up, Jimin also doesn’t dare to speak up louder than in a whisper, “Yeah. I’m fine. Thank you.”

“We should head back. It’s getting late.”

“Okay.”

“Fold the blanket. We should take it with us. It… it smells like you.”

It smells like my slick , Jimin thinks and closes his eyes as shame in a red colour makes its way onto his cheeks again. Jimin nods in response.

“I’ll be a few steps ahead,” Jungkook says and then leaves Jimin alone.

Jimin breathes out shakily, gathers himself for a moment, gets up and folds the blanket as advised by Jungkook. As soon as he turns, he takes the blanket into his snout and follows Jungkook who is waiting for him already.

Jimin is more than happy to slip back into his clothes but he doesn’t do so. He only puts on his pants and leaves his shirt and furs be because that’s when he notices how much like Jungkook he smells, the scent of the alpha sticking to his and enveloping him. It’s the first time Jimin smells like Jungkook, how he should be smelling since weeks. Sadness and happiness fills Jimin at once, that threatens to overwhelm him but it’s again Jungkook who keeps that at bay.

“Sorry. I thought you were done,” Jungkook says and turns around, ready to leave.

“Jungkook, wait.” Jimin closes the distance between them, trying to cover his naked chest as good as he can with the folded blanket in his hands that is drenched in his scent and slick even, and stands there awkwardly. “I have to go back. It’s late.”

Jungkook opens his mouth, seemingly to protest but thinks better of it, closing his mouth and nodding once.

“I’ll try to be back soon,” Jimin promises. “I’ll be at the Kim pack for a few days because I want to spend some time Seokjin. I don’t know if I can sneak away from there.”

“It’s fine. I can wait. Be careful, okay?”

Jimin’s cheeks redden at the sudden appearance of worry, his stomach fluttering. He nods and says, “Yeah. You too.”

“I guess, goodbye then.”

Jimin remembers the blanket in his hands and clears his throat awkwardly. It takes more courage than he thought it would after he so unashamedly kissed Jungkook in the woods, but he presses the blanket into Jungkook’s hands firmly and closes the remaining distance between them, looking up at Jungkook coyly afterwards. Jungkook freezes, hands automatically holding onto the blanket tightly as he looks down on Jimin, eyes flitting over his face.

“You should keep the blanket,” Jimin whispers. He then stands on tiptoes, kisses the corner of Jungkook’s mouth and turns around immediately.

Jimin exhales shakily, heart hammering against his chest and does not turn around like his omega is telling him to. If he looks back now he might not be able to leave. He picks up his clothes and walks further away from Jungkook before he takes off his pants and shifts, running as fast as he can.

It’s the first time Jimin cries when he washes off Jungkook’s scent in the lake.

---

“HEEYEON!” Jimin exclaims as soon as he sees the pup, now even bigger than the last time he saw her. Heeyeon flinches when she hears her name suddenly being yelled and runs over to Namjoon to hide behind him.

“Don’t be like this,” Jimin whines, kneels on the ground and holds his arms out to the pup.

Seokjin pulls Jimin back to his feet and into a hug that Jimin melts into despite being pouty about the pup not hugging him.

“You shouldn’t have scared her,” Seokjin chastises when Jimin doesn’t let go of him.

“I just get so excited when I see her.”

“Wait till you have your own pups. You can cuddle them all you want then.”

Jimin’s mind instantly wanders to Jungkook, imagining him being surrounded by pups, and blushes. He turns from Seokjin away and makes a dismissing movement with his hand, mumbling and stuttering about Seokjin’s vivid imagination. Seokjin narrows his eyes at him, and Jimin knows it’s because his reaction is unusual. Usually he would start ranting about how cute his pups will be in case he does have a soulmate, but Jimin can’t help himself. Especially after what happened the day before in the woods.

Suddenly, there’s hand on Jimin’s forehead and Seokjin’s face right in front of his.

“Are you alright?” Seokjin asks, forehead creased.

As a matter of fact, Jimin is not alright. While he dreamt of Jungkook and his touches during the night, he has been feeling queasy throughout the whole day, a little hot and weak. He didn’t want to tell anyone, though, because then he would have been stopped from visiting Seokjin and he needs to talk to Seokjin as soon as possible. So Jimin went over to the Kim pack, accompanied by Taehyung until the border, and decided if he doesn’t feel better, he’ll go to the Kim pack’s healer.

“I’m okay,” Jimin says, enduring Seokjin’s hand touching him all over. “I do feel a little off but I’m okay.”

“But there’s more,” Seokjin insists.

“I can see it too,” Namjoon chimes, looking as worried as Seokjin now. “More like feel it, but yeah. It’s there. Do you want to go back?”

“NO!” Jimin exclaims, startling everyone and the pup too. Jimin holds Seokjin’s hands in his and shakes his head. “I’m fine. I just may have eaten a little too much of the porridge today. If I don’t feel well, I’ll just go to one of the healers. I promise.”

“Okay, I need to go,” Namjoon says and gently removes Heeyeon from his leg. “I’ll see you later. Don’t set the pack on fire.”

Seokjin smiles impishly, pecks Namjoon’s lips and calls after the alpha as he walks out the door that he can’t promise anything. Jimin does know of an instance where Seokjin set the log some alphas were sitting on fire after Seokjin had tied them down to it because they were making fun of him. Jimin kind of thinks they deserved it, fully well knowing that Seokjin wouldn’t have hurt these alphas. Or so he likes to believe for his own sanity. Head Alpha Kim said it was a perfect lesson for the alphas to find out what to do in a situation like that. He is known to have a soft spot for Seokjin, proud that the future head alpha’s mate is a warrior.

“So what are we going to do today?” Jimin asks, trying not to get distracted by Heeyeon walking around the room. Though she can walk on her own perfectly fine, he’s still not fully convinced she won’t fall down. He also finds her ever struggle with her growing hair falling into her face cute.

“How about you start telling me what it is exactly you’re looking for?” Seokjin questions, sits on the bed and pats the spot in front of him. “Your message from a few days ago was rather vague.”

Jimin takes a seat and takes his time to choose his words wisely. “I want to learn from you how it was for you when you came to this pack at first and the things you struggled with, how you handled them. I want to know how you won the pack’s trust and became a support system for the pack and Namjoon.”

“That’s quite specific. Any reason why you want to learn?”

Jimin suppresses the urge to squirm under the scrutinizing gaze of Seokjin who appears to have a sixth sense for knowing when he is being lied to. “With everything that’s going and so many people trying to better things, I feel like I have been slacking off. I feel like I need to take better care of myself and the pack. So coming to you seemed like the best option. Even though I’m not a stranger in my pack, I still have no definite position in it and I do have to work from scratch.”

Seokjin nods thoughtfully and hums. “If you’re looking for a specific answer, then I don’t have it,” Seokjin says after a while. “Every pack is different. My old pack is completely different from this one and your pack is again different. You and I are different, and so are our situations, but the thing is that you have to work a lot. The whole pack had expectations towards me when I came here. I messed up quite a lot because I didn’t know what was expected of me and how to do it. Some wolves even may enjoy seeing you fall and there’s barely anyone who will tell you how to do things. You have to figure it out yourself and try to ask those you trust for help.”

“So you mean there’s nothing specific that I should improve in?” Jimin asks, tone defeated. He had hoped for more, but then again Seokjin isn’t aware of how similar their situations truly are.

“It depends on what position you want to have in the pack. For example, your mother. She’s more active in the inner part of the pack, takes care of the pups, the kitchen and helps wherever she can in familial troubles. I, on the other hand, work more in the outer pack system, the politics and rules even if I try to keep an eye on other things too.”

Jimin sighs, shoulder slumping. He would feel more devastated if it weren’t for Heeyeon crawling into his lap. Sitting her in her lap securely, Jimin turns to Seokjin again. “What if I want to be everywhere? In all the parts?

“That’s difficult,” Seokjin says with a worried frown. “You can’t take care of everything. You need to let others take care of things too. Especially in a big pack like yours.”

“Okay. How do I start with what you know best?”

“That depends on what the weaknesses of your pack are. If you want to convince your pack you can help, you need to work directly on that. Look at the problem, try to find out where it comes from and try to find solutions. Looking at your pack, I suggest you start with the inner affairs. Your pack seems to have an impeccable defence and order. I don’t see how there is anything too obvious that can be improved. I don’t know about other matters but inner affairs always need work, a helping hand.”

Jimin gnaws on his lower lip, the trip to Seokjin having proven rather useless far too soon. Seokjin can’t help him with what Jimin revealed to him and Jimin can’t reveal any more to him without giving away that he wants to work on the Jeon pack. So Jimin wonders if he can trust Seokjin with his secret, throwing away the thought as soon as it comes. He doesn’t doubt he can trust Seokjin. It’s just that Jimin would bring Seokjin in a tricky situation. As the future head alpha’s mate, Seokjin surely isn’t allowed to keep certain secrets from Namjoon, who in return has to report to Head Alpha Kim. He doesn’t want to bring his friends into a situation where they have to lie to their loved ones for him.

Jimin is ripped out of his thought by Heeyeon’s hand patting his face, the pup bringing a smile to his face. He would love to take care of the inner affairs of the pack. His mother always says how the core of the pack has to be healthy and a beautiful one for the rest of the pack to bloom too, and Jimin agrees. He would love to give Jungkook the base he needs to build his pack on.

Jimin wraps a hand around his stomach when a sharp pain makes him bend over out of nowhere. He groans, Seokjin reaching out to steady Heeyeon and him.

“Are you alright?” Seokjin asks, puts Heeyeon on the ground and rubs Jimin’s back.

Jimin huffs and hesitantly tries to sit upright. When there’s no repetition of the pain, he straightens his back but lets his hand rested on his stomach. His breathing is irregular and he suddenly feels too hot in his furs.

“I’m fine,” Jimin assures and takes his jacket off, fans himself with his hand.

Jimin flinches when Seokjin leans in and smells the air around, forced to stay still when Seokjin grabs him by his shoulders. Jimin pushes him away once his hands feel too hot on his arms. His senses are more heightened. He can feel a drop of sweat roll down the side of his face, can feel Seokjin’s body heat despite the meter of space that is between them, his pants are too scratchy suddenly and his hands feel clammy.

“I think I do need to go to the doctor right now,” Jimin says when he bends over because of the pain in his stomach again. Then he realizes with horror that he’s leaking slick.

“We can’t,” Seokjin says, not moving from the spot he’s sitting on.

“Why not? What’s going on?” Jimin feels hotter each second and he doesn’t know whether he’s hallucinating or if his body temperature is really rising. It gets even more confusing when his omega whines, the sound slipping past Jimin’s lips.

“You’re in heat.”

Jimin blinks up at Seokjin, thinking he heard wrong but Seokjin’s expression only further confirms his words.

“What? I am what?”

“You’re in heat,” Seokjin repeats and moves back from Jimin as if he’s going to get infected. “Why are you in heat? When did you find your soulmate? Who is it? Why do you have no mating mark?”

“Fuck,” Jimin curses, heat pooling in his stomach at the mention of his soulmate. Jungkook. He needs Jungkook. He whines once again, tightening his ass cheeks so no further slick will slip out. He needs to leave. But where?

Despite how touching Seokjin makes him shudder, Jimin sill grabs his hand with an iron grip and begs. “You can’t tell anyone,” Jimin croaks.

“Oh my gosh, you have found your soulmate already,” Seokjin says with wide eyes. Then his expression changes from surprised to angered. “Why aren’t you mated? Did you forget that you get your first heat after you meet your soulmate?”

“I-I thought you get heats when you m-mate and the bond is created.”

“No! You get your heat after you find your soulmate. It’s nature’s way of making sure that the soulmates create a bond and don’t try to defy nature by not bonding. Jimin, how could you not know this? And who is your mate? We need to get them here. Now!”

Jimin shakes his head, whining when he notices his cock getting hard slowly. His temperature is rising steadily, body sweaty on multiple parts, and the room is getting stifling with his pheromones. “We can’t bring him here.”

“What? Why not? You need him! Did you not hear the part where I said you can’t defy nature, Jimin?”

“I heard but… I can take suppressants and just wait it out.”

“Wait it out?” Seokjin asks and lowers his head so he’s on eyelevel with Jimin. “You feel this pain? It’s only going to get worse. You can’t wait this out, and suppressants won’t help you much. Your heat has already started and on top of it it’s a heat from an unmated omega. All the things you heard about heats apply to mated omegas. And how did you not notice your pre-heat or anyone else?”

“There was no pre-heat.”

“That can’t be. There’s always a pre-heat. Albeit with ubmated omegas it’s different but there’s at least one day. Unless you did something that you usually don’t do with your soulmate.”

Jimin looks at the ground and mumbles abashedly, “We did get kind of intimate a little yesterday.”

“Well, that must have triggered your heat. Be happy it happened so late and not directly there.”

“I- Fuck.”

Jimin wraps his arms around his stomach as another wave of heat and pheromones hits him, his body shuddering with the force of it. Heeyeon starts crying suddenly and Jimin whimpers when Seokjin moves away from him.

“D-don’t go,” Jimin begs, tears welling up in his eyes.

“I’ll be right back after I take Heeyeon to Namjoon’s mother. I can barely breathe in your presence. Heeyeon must be dying. Just wait here.”

Jimin whines as soon as the omega leaves the room and closes the door after him, finally giving in to the pain and laying down. From what he can remember, heats are never downright painful like his. They’re only uncomfortable and the pain is easily relievable temporarily by masturbating and permanently by spending it with their mate. Jimin guesses his pain has to do with him being an unmated omega. The thought that it may get even worse than this brings more tears into his eyes.

Jimin grabs the pillow nearest to him to muffle his whines, not wanting anyone to hear him – and in the worst case have an alpha walk in on him – but throws the pillow aside when he chokes on the pungent alpha smell on it. Namjoon had never smelled as bad to him as now, the scent making him gag. Jimin whimpers, hides his face in his arms and lets his tears soak his sleeves. He only notices Seokjin is back when he rubs his back softly, whispering close to his ear.

“Hey, get up. You need to take this.”

Jimin sits up slowly, hands shaking when he reaches for the flask Seokjin is offering him. In the end, Seokjin has to hold it for Jimin as he drinks the bitter medicine.

“It should get a little better soon, may make you tired. Take off your shirt. I’ll be back.”

Jimin doesn’t have it in him to beg Seokjin to stay, only does as Seokjin told him to, letting out a relieved sigh when the cloth doesn’t scratch his very sensitive skin anymore. He lets himself fall back on the bed and contemplates also pulling off his pants but is stopped by Seokjin entering the room. Seokjin has a bowl filled with his water that he puts on the ground next to the bed, wrings the water out of one cloth and puts it on Jimin’s head, using the other one to wet Jimin’s chest with it. The water is ice cold but Jimin barely feels it. It does help get his temperature under control.

“It’s only going to be this calm for a little while,” Seokjin says when Jimin stops breathing harshly. “Your heat will act up again. Now tell me, what’s going on? I need to know if I’m supposed to help you as best as I can.”

Guilt over being a burden to his friend outweighs his caution and he groans, remaining on his back when he says, “It’s Jeon Jungkook. My mate’s Jeon Jungkook.”

Seokjin inhales sharply, disbelief making his eyes wide and mouth stand open. “Jeon- The Jeon Jungkook? As in Head Alpha Jeon? The twenty-year-old alpha who killed his father?”

Jimin frowns, making his distaste over Seokjin’s words known. “He’s not a ruthless killer. Stop saying that.”

Seokjin looks apologetic, says softly, “Sorry. So, Head Alpha Jeon, is it?”

Jimin inhales deeply and lets the breath out in one go. “Yeah.”

“Wow. That’s why no one knows.”

“Yeah, I asked Jungkook to wait with the revelation until he makes peace with dad, so we can prevent what happened with the Min and Song pack.”

“That’s a valid and noble reason but you know nature is not kind enough to wait that long. I don’t know whether the suppressant will work on you, and if so, it will maybe only lessen the days of your heat but not the pain or lessen the pain but maybe you’ll have your heat for a whole week. What do you do then? What do I tell your dad? With Jungkook here, not only will your pain lessen but also the number of days you’ll have your heat. You don’t even have to mate. Just spend your heat together,” Seokjin says.

Jimin closes his eyes and thinks about his options. He could ask Seokjin for help. Omegas help each other through their heats when their mates are gone off to somewhere else for multiple days, but this feels wrong. Not only is Seokjin mated and his mate is right here, but Jimin also feels as if he’d be cheating on Jungkook. The thought of anyone else other than Jungkook touching him intimately, and that before Jungkook could, makes his skin crawl. But the pain is also not an option. Jimin has been crying only fifteen minutes into the heat and that while the heat was only starting. A fully developed heat is much harder.

“Think about it, Jimin. Did Jungkook ever lose his control around you? Did he ever do something to you that you weren’t consented to?” Seokjin asks.

“No, but a heat is something different. I don’t know if he’ll be able to stop himself from mating me or if I could stop myself. I already want it so bad. I always think about how it would be to finally be his mate. I can’t spend this heat with him without mating him.”

“Why don’t ask Jungkook how well he’ll be able to control himself. He’s your soulmate, Jimin, and you need him. We can test it out slowly. Namjoon and I will be here and stop him if he loses control. And to be honest, it’s not even that hard to stay sane and in control during a heat for both partners. You barely ever go brainless and animalistic during a heat. Only your inner desires, like, wanting to mate or get pregnant, come out more. An alpha is more primal during a rut. So let me call him, okay?”

Jimin closes his eyes and knows he can’t say no. This is way out of his control and he wants Jungkook here just as much as his omega. So he merely nods and remains still when Seokjin gets up to call Namjoon. In his heat-induced state where he’s more concentrated on remaining calm, Jimin doesn’t even notice how much time goes by. He only comes to himself when he hears Jungkook’s voice faintly on the other side of the door and instantly whines, trying to sit up so he can get to Jungkook. Jimin has barely sit up when the door opens and Seokjin enters the room.

“Hey, you alright?” he asks, closing the door after himself and kneeling in front of Jimin.

Jimin nods and croaks, “W-water.”

Seokjin reaches over to the nightstand and fills one glass for Jimin, helping him down the water, and puts the glass back.

“He’s here,” Jimin mumbles afterwards. His temperature is still low, his boner gone for the time being but the slick isn’t that merciful to disappear just like that. Jimin is ashamed to be seen by Jungkook like that.

“How could he not come?” Seokjin smiles softly. “We’ll be asking him inside after letting him smell you for a little while out there to get him used to your scent. Namjoon and I both will be here. Are you ready?”

Jimin isn’t but he only nods. Seokjin walks out and is the first one to enter the room after a while just like he promised. Jimin inhales deeply through his mouth and only manages with the little self-control he has left to not whimper when Jungkook appears in the doorframe. Jungkook gasps, hands shooting out to grasp the doorframe tightly when he is hit with the full force of Jimin’s heat, eyes colouring red in an instant. He tenses up for a small moment, Jimin’s omega whining pathetically for his alpha in the meanwhile, and then relaxes slightly, his hand still gripping the doorframe. Namjoon stands behind him just as tense.

“Hey,” Jungkook whispers, voice tense and shaky.

“H-hey.” Jimin tries to smile to reassure Jungkook but only manages to grimace awkwardly.

“Are you alright? Sorry. Dumb question.”

Jimin shakes his head. “No, I’m… fine.”

“Well,” Seokjin chimes in. “I’m not going to lie to you like our Jiminie here. Jimin feels like shit.”

“Hey,” Jimin protests but it falls on deaf ears.

Seokjin continues unbothered. “You, kind of, have to spend the heat with Jimin without mating him or this will be a real bitch.”

“Y-you don’t have to,” Jimin interrupts but gains Jungkook’s attention for only a second.

“As someone who has gone through an unmated heat because my little alpha there took a long time to find me,” Namjoon smiles abashedly when Seokjin says that. “Let me tell you that these heats are awful. It feels like you’re dying. Even though we gave Jimin suppressants, we don’t know whether it’ll have an effect at all. So if you don’t want your soulmate to feel unbearable pain, you better spend his heat with him.”

“He doesn’t h-have to do anything he d-doesn’t want to do,” Jimin stutters with a frown. He doesn’t want to guilt-trip Jungkook into spending his heat with him.

“Do any of you two look like you don’t want to do anything?” Seokjin retorts. “You wouldn’t have gone into heat, Jimin, if both of you didn’t feel attracted to each other sexually.”

Jimin feels heat crawl up his neck, which he thought is rather impossible since he is boiling hot already. He can smell Jungkook’s arousal, having mixed with Jimin’s heat scent but still remaining distinguishable.

“I don’t know if I can spend your heat with you without mating you,” Jungkook says to Jimin.

“Even cuddling is enough to make the heat more bearable,” Namjoon chimes in.

Jungkook opens his mouth to say something but Jimin interrupts him. “I trust you, Jungkook.” Jungkook clamps his mouth shut and listens quietly. “Y-you don’t have to spend my heat with me. I’ll be fine but just know that I trust you.”

Jungkook relaxes, shoulders falling, grip on the doorframe loosening, and asks Jimin, “Are you sure?”

“Oh my gosh,” Seokjin groans before Jimin can answer. “I can’t believe the two of them think that the other doesn’t want him.”

“They’re going at their own pace, sweetheart,” Namjoon answers.

“But still. How can they not see and just feel? You two need to feel. Let go of all thoughts and just let your wolves out. It’ll come naturally.”

Jimin remembers Sooyeon’s words suddenly and what happened the day before when Jimin let his wolf take over. Namjoon coaxes Seokjin out of the room, says how they’ll be close by and bring over food regularly. Jimin exhales shakily once the door closes and looks at the ground in front of him. Surprisingly he doesn’t tense up when Jungkook walks over to him hesitantly and crouches in front of him. Jungkook takes the cloth that fell to the ground when Jimin sat up and dunks it into the water, wrings it and presses it to Jimin’s forehead, eyes not moving to Jimin’s exposed chest.

“You don’t have to do this,” Jimin mumbles. He would like to reach up and remove Jungkook’s hand but he’s afraid of what will happen once he touches Jungkook.

“You’re burning. I can feel it. And I want to do it,” Jungkook says.

Jungkook’s other hand slowly comes up to cup Jimin’s cheek, Jimin sighing relieved and digging his fingers into the mattress. Jungkook’s touch is much more different than Seokjin’s, more welcomed. Jimin nuzzles Jungkook’s palm and inhales Jungkook’s scent. It relaxes him and his omega and makes them go ballistic at the same time.

Jungkook cups Jimin’s other cheek too, caressing Jimin’s face as Jimin’s breathing picks up. Before Jimin knows what he’s doing, or rather not seeing the purpose of not doing what he wants to do, he’s kissing the palm of Jungkook’s hand until he’s leaving open-mouthed kisses. He only stops when Jungkook says his name, cupping his cheeks more firmly. Once Jungkook has Jimin’s attention, he leans forward and brings Jimin’s face down, slow enough to give Jimin an out if he wants but Jimin doesn’t even think of it. He closes the distance between them faster, smashes their lips together which makes Jungkook lose his balance from the force Jimin puts into the kiss and lands on his ass.

“Sorry,” Jimin apologizes and crouches in front of Jungkook, checking whether Jungkook got hurt.

Jungkook smiles widely and envelopes Jimin’s wrists with his hands. “It’s fine. Come here.” He sits Jimin down in his lap so he’s facing Jungkook, wraps one arm around Jimin’s waist and cups Jimin’s cheek with his free hand. Jimin lays back comfortably, staring up at Jungkook with expectant eyes.

“You should be careful,” Jungkook whispers and leans down, cautiously connecting their lips.

Jimin tries to heed Jungkook’s advice, slow in responding to Jungkook’s kiss, opens his mouth almost lazily for Jungkook and doesn’t push back the way he wants to. A hand of his comes up to rest on the back of Jungkook’s neck, fingers softly playing with the strands of hair there. Jimin presses closer to Jungkook and tilts his head so he can deepen the kiss.

Jimin’s heat catches up with him fast though, and he whines into Jungkook’s mouth, tongue darting out to lick his lips. Jimin’s gut twists in anticipation, moving around so he can straddle Jungkook’s thighs as Jungkook wraps his arms around his waist and presses him closer. Settling down onto the alpha’s lap, Jimin moans when he sits right on top of Jungkook’s hard cock, rutting against it. Jungkook chokes out a breath, hands finding Jimin’s hips and angling them in a way so Jimin ruts against his cock more properly.

“Sorry,” Jimin mumbles, a contrast to his actions. He hides his face in Jungkook’s neck, nuzzles his scent gland automatically upon smelling Jungkook’s woodsy scent. It has become so much more familiar to him in the past days.

Jungkook’s callous hands wander up Jimin’s back, having stopped rocking Jimin against his crotch and now busy feeling Jimin up. Jimin likes the contrast between his own soft skin and Jungkook’s hard muscles and callousness, wraps his arms around the alpha’s shoulder so he can feel him more, better. Jungkook grabs underneath Jimin’s thighs and gets to his feet without so much as a warning. Squeaking, Jimin tightens his arms Jungkook’s shoulders and clings to him even tighter when Jungkook lays him on the bed. Jimin almost asks Jungkook if he’ll fuck him now but bites on his tongue last second. He shouldn’t make this any harder for Jungkook than it already is.

“Did I startle you?” Jungkook asks once he pulls back.

Shaking his head, Jimin pulls him back in for a kiss, Jungkook instantly obliging. He lays next to Jimin, wrapping one arm around Jimin’s waist. Kissing Jungkook is a little awkward. Both of them are new to it, have no experience which results in them bumping noses and their teeth clashing a lot. Jimin simultaneously doesn’t mind and is embarrassed by it, doesn’t mind kissing Jungkook but wishes he were better at it.

Jungkook pulls back when Jimin’s movements slow down and become sluggish. Concern is written all over his face but Jimin feels better. The burning sensation is gone, just as his boner, and he feels lighter, sleepy, just like Seokjin said he would.

“‘s the suppressants,” Jimin mumbles, tongue heavy.

Jungkook nods and pulls the blanket over Jimin’s body. Jimin clings to his arm when he tries to leave and buries his face in Jungkook’s chest, not wanting to be far from him. He relaxes once Jungkook wraps an arm around him again and pulls him closer. Sleep comes easy afterwards but is also snatched just as easily.

Jimin doesn’t know how much time passed and for how long he slept, but when he wakes up he’s burning up again and Jungkook is asleep next to him. One of his arms is wrapped around Jimin’s waist tightly, pressing Jimin firmly and protectively against himself. Jimin’s omega keens at the discovery, shuffling closer to Jungkook. He’s overcome by longing, needing to be closer to Jungkook.

Jimin slips a leg between Jungkook’s, moaning when his hard cock rubs against Jungkook’s thigh. He presses a kiss to Jungkook’s jaw and wraps an arm around Jungkook’s shoulders, shaking the alpha lightly.

“Jungkook,” Jimin moans and shakes Jungkook, leaving multiple kisses on his jaw and trying his hardest not to grind down harder on his thigh. Jungkook doesn’t even stir so Jimin shakes him a little harder. “Alpha.”

Jungkook growls, immediately fixes Jimin with his eyes when he opens them, and before Jimin can beg Jungkook to get him off, he’s flipped onto his back, Jungkook hovering above him. Jimin’s heart stops for a second, restarts and then goes haywire. Jungkook’s glare directed at him is furious, his fingers gripping his hips and pressing them down into the mattress merciless but so, so delicious. Jimin wouldn’t want it any other way.

Jungkook lets out another growl that sends shivers down Jimin’s spine and makes him squirm underneath Jungkook. It’s instinctual when Jimin throws his head back, revealing the column of his neck to Jungkook. He chokes on his breath when Jungkook nuzzles his scent gland, assaulting his neck with fervent kisses, wraps his arms around Jungkook’s neck to press him even closer, encourage him to go on. Jimin bucks his hips up so he can rub his neglected cock against Jungkook’s hip or thigh, but it proves to be too difficult, so he reaches down to palm himself with one hand over his pants, tangling the other one in Jungkook’s hair when he goes from kissing to sucking and nipping.

“Please,” Jimin begs and throws his head to the side to give Jungkook better access to his neck, his silent wish being granted when Jungkook bites down on the sensitive skin with a grunt.

Jimin thrashes underneath Jungkook, his hand gaining on pace. Close to his orgasm, Jimin becomes more frenzied, his actions desperate. He’s hazy from Jungkook’s scent, mind muddled from his growls. He cries out when Jungkook bites down harder, threatening to break skin. The thought of finally being mated to Jungkook has his orgasm washing over him so suddenly he’s curling his toes and digging his heels into the bed. His grip on Jungkook’s hair tightens and he pulls harshly, Jungkook’s warmth gone in an instant, Jimin too weak to prevent it. He lays there, chest heaving and body still shaking from his orgasm.

Once Jimin comes down from his high, breath having regulated a little, he looks at Jungkook sitting at the end of the bed, watching Jimin with wide eyes. Jimin gets on his hands and knees, and wobbles over to Jungkook, wanting to kiss Jungkook but is held back the alpha.

“I almost mated you,” Jungkook murmurs, eyes still wide.

Jimin smiles sultry and kisses Jungkook’s jaw, snuggling up against Jungkook. “Why didn’t you?”

Jungkook inhales shakily when Jimin sucks on his jaw but still tries to keep Jimin at a distance. “We decided not to, remember? I don’t think I can do this.”

“No!” Jimin cries out and clings to Jungkook desperately, his mind still heat-lead but a little clearer. “We can. I promise I’ll control myself.”

Jungkook opens his mouth to protest but Jimin doesn’t let him say a word. He doesn’t try to hold back the tears springing into his eyes but uses them to his advantage. “Please don’t go. I just came and I’m still so hard. I can’t do this without you.”

“Jimin, I-”

Jimin interrupts Jungkook again. “It hurts so much. Please.”

Jungkook’s resolve falters and he nods, letting Jimin sit him against the headboard and straddle his lap. Jimin makes sure to thank the alpha, repeatedly murmuring the words into his skin as he presses kisses everywhere he can reach. The alpha gasps when Jimin starts scenting him, nose firmly pressed against his scent gland and doesn’t try to stop him.

Jungkook remains unmoving as Jimin scents him, makes Jungkook smell like him too, preening at the thought of finally being as close to his alpha as he should've from the beginning, of leaving his mark on his alpha in at least one way and letting others know that he belongs to him. Meanwhile, Jungkook shudders and puffs out small breaths, bites on his lip to not make too much noise. It makes Jimin even more determined to get under his alpha's skin and make him lose control, makes him competitive.

Before Jimin knows it, he's moaning lowly and humping Jungkook's thigh, gut coiling with heat. Jungkook doesn't stop him, merely holds onto his hips to move Jimin's hips. Jimin gives up on scenting Jungkook, looks at his wrecked expression and moans at the sight, leans forward to suck Jungkook's lower lip into his mouth. He can't concentrate on it, though, too distracted by his impending orgasm.

Jungkook nuzzles Jimin's temple and breathes into his ear, "You're so needy. How are you so needy?"

"Alpha, please," Jimin moans, unable to voice his request.

"Come for me, little omega," Jungkook whispers, Jimin coming as soon as he hears the words. Having Jungkook address him like that was a little too much for him and too unexpected.

Jimin leans his head against Jungkook's shoulder, catching his breath. Jungkook's grip on Jimin's waist remains tight, fingers digging into the skin, eyes unfocused and cock hard. Everything becomes a blur after that.

Jimin always remains on Jungkook’s side, not letting the alpha get away for long. Even when Jungkook gets up to get the food Seokjin puts in front of the door for them, Jimin whines and follows Jungkook. All of Jimin’s inhibitions are gone after the third time he comes, having taken off his cum and slick stained pants and also Jungkook’s shirt. Even if Jungkook sticks to some of his barriers and inhibitions, most of them get broken down, like Jimin convincing him to also take his pants off at some point. The alpha’s eyes are constantly red.

Jimin’s heat gets worse each hour and so does his suffering and need to come, all of it making Jimin lose any sense of time. Driven by fervid lust and burning ache, Jimin manages to convince Jungkook to mark him up all over and fuck him with his fingers, thrusting in and out of Jimin’s slick-wet hole.

“Faster,” Jimin moans, attempting to meet the thrusts of Jungkook’s fingers which is hard when he’s laying under Jungkook.

Jungkook obliges, ramming four fingers into Jimin mercilessly, tips of his fingers adamantly rubbing against his prostate. Jimin mewls and reaches for Jungkook’s cock, pumping him in the rhythm of the thrust of his fingers. He gives up on that after his orgasm hits him, ecstasy coursing through limbs, body spasming with the force of it. When he comes down from his high, Jungkook is laying next to him, chest heaving up and down, and there’s way too much, still warm, cum on Jimin’s stomach for it to be only his. It’s no surprise. There’s cum all over Jimin, even in his hair, most of it Jungkook’s, but this time, seeing it like this on top of his stomach, it fascinates him somehow. Jimin glides two fingers through the mess, playing with it thoroughly and smearing it all over his stomach because he wants to smell just like his alpha. When he looks up, Jungkook is watching him with an appraising look, sweaty and silent

Jungkook has stopped talking a few hours ago, only responding in growls and grunts or glares and soft looks. Jimin assumes it’s because he afraid of losing control if he says anything. It doesn’t hold Jimin back from making it any harder for the alpha. Jimin straddles Jungkook’s stomach, his motionlessness expected.

Jimin glances on the cum on his stomach, Jungkook following his gaze and then looking back up at him, and then breathes in a sultry voice, “You know, this cum should be inside of me right now.”

Jungkook’s body tenses under Jimin but he makes no move to remove Jimin from on top of him or muting him.

“Imagine if you’d knot me and then pump me full of your cum so my stomach gets all bloated.”

Jimin basically sees Jungkook perk up at that, the alpha seeming more awake and more concentrated despite having focused on Jimin the whole time anyway. Maybe Jimin finally has him where he wants to. Maybe Jimin can finally make the alpha fuck him and knot him.

Jimin takes one of Jungkook’s hands and presses it against his own stomach, smiling down coyly at his soulmate. “I could give you so many healthy pups.”

Jungkook sits up suddenly, trying to pull his hand back but Jimin clings to it. Now face to face with Jimin, the alpha is breathing harshly against Jimin’s face, jaw as tense as the rest of his body.

Jimin presses his hand against his stomach again and says, “I’d give you as many pups as you want. A whole litter of it. Even two. You want it, right?”

Jimin navigates cautiously on Jungkook’s lap, sits up so he can grab Jungkook’s cock and line him up all the while staring into Jungkook’s eyes. He sinks down slowly on the alpha, gasping when the tip breaks through the ring of muscles. His eyes flutter shut despite his attempts to keep them open, mouth forming a circle when more of Jungkook’s cock enters him, the burn punching all air out of Jimin’s lungs because after having had four of Jungkook’s long and big fingers inside him, Jimin still isn’t loose enough for the alpha.

Jimin doesn’t even notice it when he’s suddenly thrown onto the bed. It takes him a moment to realize that Jungkook threw him onto his back and off of his cock.

“No,” Jimin sobs, trying to get a hold onto Jungkook’s arms and get himself onto Jungkook’s cock again, but Jungkook is too strong for him. He manages to not submit at the growl Jungkook lets out, intended to make his omega calmer and give in, and keeps fighting off Jungkook’s hands that try to keep him from fighting back but to no avail. Jungkook flips him onto his stomach, ignoring Jimin’s incessant protests and sobs, and pins Jimin to the bed like that. He cries out, scrambling limbs coming to a halt, breath knocked out of his lungs when Jungkook rams his cock inside him. He’s granted no time to recover from the sudden intrusion and the pain, Jungkook raising his ass into the air, angling his hips into a better position and then pulling back, only to ram his cock back inside Jimin.

Jimin gasps for air and fists the sheets in a desperate attempt to get a better hold onto consciousness. The burn of the stretch subsides slowly so that Jimin can finally register what’s going on around, hears Jungkook’s animalistic grunts, the slaps of skin meeting skin and the squelching noises Jimin’s wet hole makes when Jungkook thrusts in and out of him. His own low moans get louder with each thrust, Jimin mewling when Jungkook finally finds his prostate and hits that spot again and again.

“Alpha,” Jimin whines, repeats it again and again like a mantra, a plea. Jungkook only grunts in response and thrusts harder into Jimin.

Jimin chokes on his breath when he feels Jungkook’s knot form. Jungkook’s knot stretches him even further but it’s still too big to enter Jimin. All the while Jimin is too overwhelmed by Jungkook’s cock constantly brushing against his prostate, body tingling with his impending orgasm already. He comes onto the bed sheets when Jungkook uses his hands to stretch Jimin’s cheeks apart and plunges himself deep into the omega, successfully locking himself inside. Jungkook only needs to thrust in deeper thrice and then he also coming, draping himself over Jimin’s back, Jimin drooling onto the sheets by now and hiccupping with each thrust.

Jimin’s body shakes with the effort of propping himself up on one elbow but he wants to press one hand against his stomach where he can still feel Jungkook come inside him, spilling more and more warm cum into Jimin. Jimin moves his legs because he’s about to fall onto the bed from exhaustion and gasps when Jungkook’s knot tugs on his insides and makes it impossible for him to move.

Jungkook grabs his hips, stops him from moving, and nuzzles the back of his neck. “Let me,” Jungkook croaks and wraps one arm around Jimin’s hips. Jimin remains pliant as Jungkook manoeuvres them both, resting his back against the headboard and laying Jimin on his chest.

Resting on Jungkook’s chest, Jimin can finally calm down and recover, Jungkook’s knot disappearing slowly. Jimin is half-asleep when Jungkook starts rocking up into him, waking Jimin up with a gasp for air.

-:-

Jimin never thought he’d one day wake up on top of his soulmate and with a sore body, but here he is, laying on top of Jungkook and barely able to move from how much his muscles are aching. He gives himself a moment to wake up fully, and in the meantime registers Jungkook’s arm wrapped around his waist, a plate full of food on the nightstand that is probably their last meal they never got to eat, and, with shame, that Jungkook’s cock is still inside him, now soft. Careful not to wake Jungkook up, Jimin removes the alpha’s heavy arm from his waist and tries to sit up, only to end up whining when Jungkook’s cock slips out of him and a torrent of cum and his slick drips out of him, down his thighs and onto Jungkook. Jungkook wakes up too. Alarmed from Jimin’s whine, he sits up and envelopes Jimin in his arms, too many questions slipping past his lips at once.

“What happened? Are you alright? Was it a bad dream or did you get hurt?”

Jimin giggles, overwhelmed and breathless, and stops Jungkook’s inspecting hands and questions instantly. Instead, Jungkook leans in to scent Jimin, warmth washing over Jimin as Jungkook buries his nose in Jimin’s neck.

“I-” Jimin’s voice breaks and he clears his throat. “I’m fine. Just hurts a little,” Jimin explains and wiggles his hips, action stopping when more cum leaks out and lands on Jungkook’s lap.

Jungkook freezes, stops scenting Jimin and then buries his head in Jimin’s shoulders. His arms around Jimin are rigid, his scent spiking suddenly. It alarms Jimin, changes the playful atmosphere into a more serious one.

“You,” Jungkook starts carefully and adds after a break, “don’t hate me, do you?”

“What?” Jimin asks and pulls back to look at Jungkook who has his head lowered. “Why would you say that?”

“Well, we never planned on… getting this intimate,” Jungkook explains with red cheeks, eyes flitting all over the room and not staying on Jimin for longer than a millisecond. “What if you’re pregnant. What-”

It’s Jimin’s time to freeze now, the words sending a shiver down his spine. He stops hearing the rest of what Jungkook has to say, drowns it all out as horror makes his stomach twist unpleasantly.

“Do you not want a pup?” Jimin asks with a small voice, ending Jungkook’s rant.

“No!” Jungkook exclaims and shakes his head, Jimin’s heart breaking with those two letters. “I mean, yes,” Jungkook adds, “but we’re not even mated. There’s still so much to do and-”

Jungkook stops talking when Jimin sniffles, can only stare with wide eyes at Jimin’s head moved to the side and hiding his tears from him.

This is exactly what Jimin hadn’t wanted. He thought telling Jungkook that he doesn’t have to spend Jimin’s heat with him would be enough, but he guesses he underestimated how little control Jungkook has over himself when he has his soulmate who’s in heat in front of him. Of course, Jungkook must have been influenced by his pheromones. Whatever pain Seokjin was trying to protect him from, Jimin is sure it wouldn’t have been as painful as seeing Jungkook regret spending Jimin’s heat with him.

“Jimin,” Jungkook whispers, hand coming up to wipe Jimin’s tears which only makes Jimin cry harder. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to. Don’t cry.”

Jimin wants to hug Jungkook and hide his face in his neck but he feels scared to do so, already ashamed of his tears. Instead, he hides his face in his hands. “I’m sorry,” Jimin sobs. “I didn’t mean to force you to spend my heat with you.”

What ?”

“I shouldn’t have called you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Please don’t be mad.”

Jungkook removes Jimin’s hands from his face and raises Jimin’s chin with his index and thumb. It’s hard to say for Jimin whether Jungkook is hurt or angry. “What are you saying? Do you regret spending your heat with me?”

“Don’t you?” Jimin asks in a small voice, tears still flowing down his face.

“No! Why would you think that? I loved every second of it. What I meant was that we’re not mated, and an unmated pregnancy is probably too hard, especially when you’re spending it away from your soulmate. And then, how will you hide your stomach or your scent from your pack and your father? I never meant that I regretted this or didn’t want this. Maybe I should stop talking,” Jungkook says at last, defeatedly, and hides his face in Jimin’s shoulder, arms loosely wrapped around Jimin’s torso.

Jimin chuckles and shakes his head, hand carding through Jungkook’s hair comfortingly. “Or maybe you should stop thinking so much. Bonds, mating, heats, ruts, and pups are all beautiful things. Given the situation I put us in, I couldn’t have wished for a more perfect heat. Being able to spend it with you is more than I ever thought was possible, and I’m not planning on staying away from you for that long. If dad makes peace with you within the next weeks, then fine, but I’m not planning to stay away any longer from you than a few weeks. I hate the time I’m apart from you. I finally want to mate and be yours.”

Jungkook looks at Jimin cautiously, wide eyes glinting with hope. “Really?”

“Yeah. I, I also want us to be closer after this and not get back to how distanced we used to be. This can be a new, a better start for us. I want to be close to you in every way possible.”

Jungkook surprises Jimin with a sudden peck to his lips and then whispers, “I want that too.”

Jimin bites his lower lip to stop himself from smiling too much and kisses Jungkook softly, no heat or rush behind it. It’s then that he realizes that his heat has passed and that this means that he has to get back to his pack and say goodbye to Jungkook.

“How many days passed?” Jimin asks once he pulls back.

“Three and a half,” Jungkook responds and then adds, “I think. I… was kind of out of it after a few hours in case you noticed.”

The blush rising on Jimin’s cheeks matches the one on Jungkook’s, both remembering too well how out of it both of them were.

“Well, that happens, I guess,” Jimin says and then clears his throat. “I guess we have to say goodbye soon, huh?”

Jungkook nods but his arms around Jimin tighten, Jimin also nuzzling Jungkook’s neck once, scenting the alpha one last time because, unlike him, Jungkook can walk around with his scent on him, and then lets go. Jungkook prepares a bath in the bathroom connected to Seokjin’s bedroom, heats up the water for it in a cauldron, and cleans himself up with a cloth as well as he can before he goes out to inform Seokjin that Jimin’s heat has finished.

Jungkook showers first, for the sole reason that Jimin will need much longer to get off Jungkook’s scent and use certain oils to do so. Seokjin is in the room, has not only changed the sheets but also the pillows and blanket and won’t let Jimin sit on the bed again before he has showered. Jimin is way too embarrassed to complain about it.

“I have to leave,” Jungkook whispers once he’s out of the bathroom and is standing in front of Jimin, fully clothed. Jimin mourns that he couldn’t appreciate Jungkook's body more. “I have to get back to the pack fast. You’ll be fine, right?”

Jimin nods, pushing Jungkook towards the door lightly. Jungkook leans down to kiss Jimin once, their lips lingering, and then leaves with a smile. Jimin smiles even brighter at the thought of how kisses will be a given for them now, shared every time they see each other.

Jimin is awoken from his daydream with Seokjin poking his arm with one finger and ushering him into the bathroom, ranting about how gross they are, all the while he’s smiling brightly. Getting himself cleaned up with warm water and soap is a dream after being soiled with cum and slick for so many days but he starts crying at the same time when Jungkook’s scent on his skin starts disappearing slowly, the scent of the oils taking its place. Seokjin does everything to cheer him up, even brings back Heeyeon so she can cuddle Jimin while he eats, and ends up accompanying Jimin back to his pack. They meet Taehyung halfway there, who instantly throws his arms around Jimin and hugs him tightly.

“Oh my gosh, you’re alright,” Taehyung breathes next to Jimin’s ear, making Jimin chuckle and Seokjin protest loudly.

“Of course, I am. What did you think happened?” Jimin says and pats Taehyung’s back. He missed him so much, missed his scent and his warmth.

Taehyung pulls back but keeps his hands still on Jimin’s shoulders. “I didn’t know what to think. You spent more time there than you said you would, and then Seokjin wouldn’t even let me see you yesterday even though I had something important to tell you. Nothing happened to you, right?”

Jimin feels guilty now. If Taehyung worried this much, then how much must his parents have been worried. He pushes it all aside; not like it was his fault.

Seokjin starts making up an excuse, probably repeating the one he used when Taehyung visited but Jimin interrupts him, “He knows.”

“Of course he does. Why did I not know?” Seokjin says.

“He was there when it happened so there was no way around it. And yeah, I’m fine. I went into heat,” Jimin adds slowly and turns to Taehyung, feeling Seokjin move closer behind him.

Taehyung’s eyes widen and then look Jimin up and down. “Heat?” Taehyung repeats and then moves Jimin’s head to the side, inspecting his neck.

Jimin recoils, and before he knows what he’s doing, has pushed Taehyung away, hand coming up to cover his neck, barely controlling his omega who wants to furiously hiss at Taehyung. Taehyung is baffled but doesn’t move closer.

“Sorry,” Jimin mumbles, plays with his sleevey sheepishly.

“No, no. It was my fault. You’re… just not marked so….” Taehyung apologizes and drifts off at the end.

“He controlled himself pretty well,” Jimin explains and lets out the part about how he might be pregnant, watches Taehyung’s eyebrows raise. “What’s the important thing you wanted to tell me?” Jimin asks, suddenly remembering Taehyung’s words from before.

Taehyung perks up, back straightening. “Head Alpha Park invited Jeon Jungkook.”