Jimin isn't spoiled.
He didn’t exactly grow up in a very poor household - he’s the son of a merchant, and his family did quite well for themselves, and there was always food on the table when he was young. However, they were hardly rich, either. They were pretty careful with their money, not spending ridiculous amounts on new fashions, exotic fruits or sweets, silly trinkets, mostly just investing in their business.
But if he's being honest, Jimin would admit that if he wanted something, he usually got it. Probably because he's the youngest, as well as the family omega. Maybe he’s just a little spoilt, but at least he’s aware of it, he thinks. His family would maybe call him naive too, a little sheltered, but of course Jimin would pout at that suggestion.
So he's not poor, and he's not a member of high society, so he guesses that he must just be in the acceptable bracket of wealth for what the royal family are looking for at that moment. The king and queen had sent out a memo that had been read by all of the local town criers a week ago that the royal family were looking for young omegas to work up in the castle. An unspecified position, and an announcement that had caused quite a stir amongst the people of their town, since everyone thinks it would be such an honour to have someone in their family working in the castle.
Jimin is curious, so he’d decided to go to the marketplace at the allotted time. His high sense of curiosity is a part of his personality he's always been quite proud of, something his father had always encouraged, along with his ability to think independently. He's curious about whether he fits what the royal family are looking for. He's never really had the chance to work anywhere other than his father's shop in the marketplace, and it might be an interesting experience. Secretly he also thinks it would make his mama really proud, too.
It was a short walk, one of his alpha brothers accompanying him in the regular, overprotective fashion. When Jimin had arrived nothing seemed amiss, all of the stalls out and decked in fresh produce, plenty of people milling around. The only unusual thing was the ostentatious carriage to the side of the square. He realised that that was probably where he should be headed so he pointed it out to his brother, who lead the way. It's much easier for him to make his way through a crowd, being almost a head taller than Jimin and all.
"What do you think it will be?" Minho asks, and Jimin just shrugs.
"Dunno." His dialect, indicative of his middle class status, always comes through strongly when he speaks to his family. He tucks a hand into the crook of his brother's elbow so they don't get separated.
"What if they don't let me come with you? You gonna be okay on your own?"
"Probably? If I'm not safe at the castle, I don't know where I would be..." Jimin ponders. The royal family are well liked throughout the kingdom, known for their fair tax laws and the king's dedication to keeping the peace. Jimin hadn't felt unsafe as he left for the short journey; they could see the tops of the turrets and spires from the garden of Jimin's own house, it's truly not far at all. The royals always took the path through their town on their celebration parades, too, the last ones being the marriage of the crown prince, and the anniversary of the current king's crowning.
It turned out that he did have to go on his own, and he watched his brother get smaller and smaller in the distance as they drove away.
There hadn’t been many omegas that had turned up for the position, apparently, but that wasn't that surprising. Omegas make up the smallest percentage of the population, after all, and most omegas are mated when they reach maturity and no respectable alpha would let their mate move away to live in the castle to work.
But Jimin is unmated, his parents giving him a few extra years after he had begged that he wasn’t ready. He’s only nineteen, but it's pretty rare that omegas remain without a mate after eighteen, their families usually eager to mate them strategically to form bonds with other pack families. He’s thankful to his parents for not forcing him into an arrangement he doesn't want, although he guesses it might have a lot to do with their stable economic position, the connection to another pack maybe not necessary right now. Either way, he'll take that breathing room and run with it.
The journey to the castle is short, but Jimin doesn’t know any of the other omegas there and he already felt intimidated; a feeling that only grows as they approached the castle, a huge place, grey walls and strategically lifted high on large rocks. Ivy grows on some of the turrets, creeping up and adding colour to a place that might otherwise look foreboding. Still, a sense of awe washes over him, childish wonder at getting to ride in a big, beautiful carriage and get assisted down the step by an actual footman. There are some gasps of wonder from their party as they get to look at the castle for the first time up close and outside of their carriage.
After a flurry of movement and guided by many attendants they come to be stood in a small meeting room.
Before he enters the room he certainly doesn’t expect the king and queen to speak to them, doesn't think the others did either. Jimin doesn’t even know why he’s in their presence right now, has so many questions about what he might be asked to do. He lines up with four other omegas, the one to his left trembling like crazy. They all bow deeply and hastily when they realise who was in the room, the royal couple standing on a raised platform designed for this kind of small audience. Jimin has never been so close to them before.
King Wookeun is an imposing presence, not necessarily as tall as some of Jimin's brothers but still taller than the omega, and wearing the kind of clothing that's reserved just for royals. Jimin can't help but stare. He would think him imposing even if he didn't catch his scent. It's strong, the scent of alpha filling the meeting room, a room that isn't exactly small. For some reason Jimin thinks there aren't many rooms in this castle that are small. Certainly not the ones that the king would deign to be in. Then the king is taking a step forward, clearly addressing the line and clearing his throat to speak.
“Firstly, we would like to greet you warmly, and offer our thanks for accepting the invitation to meet with us. I am aware that you are not fully informed as to what the role is that you are here for. I am going to explain it to you, so that if you decide that you are not interested, you may leave.” The alpha eyes them all, and Jimin can smell four distinctive scents of distressed omega. Maybe the others think he smells the same; Jimin doesn't feel that distressed, though. Just intrigued.
“The position in question is confidential, and we would very much appreciate it if you did not speak of it past the walls of this palace due to the sensitivity of the issue,” the queen says, and that is curious, Jimin thinks. Her tone makes it clear that this is something on the edge of a threat. Jimin hadn't heard particularly scary things about Queen Hyerin before, but he believes her now. What would require such secrecy?
There's a long pause before the king continues. The omega girl next to him fidgets. “The position in question is that of a surrogate, of sorts. You will know that the crown prince is mated. Unfortunately, thus far his mate has not been able to produce an heir.”
Suddenly Jimin realises where this is going. By the way the omega girl next to him tenses up completely, she seems to as well.
The king's words seem well rehearsed. “We are looking for a fertile omega to give us an heir to the throne. They will stay with us for six months, in which time if they are not expecting, they will receive fifty percent of the payment and be sent back to their home. Otherwise, they will bear the child of the crown prince and receive full payment. Afterwards they will then be required to leave the child in our care, and leave the castle, speaking to no other of this. Is this clear?”
Taking all of this information in is a difficult job; he realises after a few seconds that his mouth is hanging open. This really isn't what he expected, and it almost makes him want to laugh, an urge he squashes due to how inappropriate it is. It's so shocking, scandalous even, The royal family must be truly struggling to have to resort to such a thing.
His mind is already racing at the possibility. It’s a scary position, of course, and risky; unmated omegas having sex is dangerous to their social standing. Also it means giving up a baby, his baby, in the future. Although, he supposes it won’t be that hard, since the alpha that fathered it would be mated, and not to him. Also, this secret would be kept well guarded so Jimin surely wouldn’t have to worry about his reputation.
His mind strays to the vague image of the crown prince he has in his head. Somewhat imposing, handsome, regal, from what he's seen at the occasional celebratory parades where the prince had passed in his carriage, waving. Most of the image is probably fanciful as Jimin has never seen without at least ten people in front of him to separate them, has mostly just heard gossip about the alpha prince that would lead their kingdom next. Doesn't know what to do with this image, either, in combination with the idea that he would... well.
And then the queen explains the payment. “We will provide the omega that accepts with ten thousand pieces, and they can of course keep any clothing or items gifted to them during their stay. We hope that this is enough to persuade you to consider the position.”
“Wow,” Jimin whispers. He’s overwhelmed by mixed feelings of shock, disbelief, uncertainty and, well, excitement. This money, it’s a wildly high amount, and could see him live his whole life in comfort. He could give some to his family so they could live in true luxury, indulging in the things they want to, expanding the business, even. Could provide a huge dowry in order for him to get mated to a good alpha when he leaves. He's sure there's more, even, but he doesn't have time to think, not when he should be listening to the queen as she continues to speak.
"If any of you would like to take the opportunity to leave now, you may do that with our thanks for attending.” The king and queen do not look surprised when three of the omegas bow once again before almost scurrying out of the door. Jimin doesn’t move, mostly because he’s in shock. When he recovers he notes that he's standing next to a different omega girl that looks just about as nervous as he feels.
The king steps forward to the edge of the platform, looking between them. He really is so intimidating, a powerful alpha, doesn't even need to growl or use a stern voice to have Jimin ducking his head a little instinctively. “The final decision will be made in conjunction with the crown prince tomorrow, if you return. If you remain interested we would like you to return at noon. We will give you some time to consider the proposition afterwards.”
Jimin goes home in a daze, and when he gets through the door his mother is immediately on him, questioning.
“Baby! How did it go? Were they kind to you? I hope it wasn’t too overwhelming for you,” she says as she fusses over him. Jimin accepts her attention, letting her scent him a little in greeting. She smells worried, a predictable reaction.
“No, Mama,” he sighs, wrapping his arms around her briefly before pulling away. Looking around he can see that most of the family have arrived home, those that live in the house and some of those that don't. He comes from a big family, three alpha and two beta siblings, the eldest being twin sisters that are both now mated and yet still seem to find their way back to their family home for meal times. Mama's cooking is best, it seems.
"Minnie! Tell us how it went! What do they want up there?" his brother Jongdae questions him as he's shooed over to the table by their mother. There are no words to describe how glad he is that he didn't miss dinner; his stomach had rumbled loudly the whole carriage ride home.
"Um," he says, mind searching for some kind of explanation for what he may be doing in the near future, if he accepts. The journey back had his mind completely preoccupied by the possibility of coming back the next day, knowing this meant accepting the offer.
"Oh, let him take his cloak off first, Dae," one of his sister chastises Jongdae, who just rolls his eyes. Jimin gets a moment of reprieve while seven of his family members set up the table, bringing the food and fighting over where to sit. Most of the time Jimin can't believe that all of his siblings are grown adults.
His seat is reserved somewhere near the meat, as usual, his father at the head of the table, the traditional alpha's position. His eldest alpha sister piles up his plate before getting her own food. Meal times have always been a tad competitive in the Park household, the three alpha siblings always so loud and the betas working their hardest to keep up.
When everyone has food Jimin is questioned again, however.
"Tell us about your adventure today then, Minnie," his mother says. He immediately goes tense, and tries to maintain some kind of relaxed composure so as not to alert them to his future lies.
"They want some kind of domestic helper. Just within the castle, mainly for the prince? It's a good position, really well paid," he improvises. It's probably not that convincing, but he's not known for lying, so he hoped they'll let it pass.
"Really? That's so interesting! Strange that they wouldn't hire someone with a lot of experience for a job like that." His brother frowns as he speaks, and Jimin immediately goes to correct himself.
"I mean- it's more like, a domestic servant, but higher up?" His brother still looks unconvinced, so Jimin continues to try and fill in the lie. "They said- said something about looking to help people. Omegas. Give them some kind of... experience? Monetary help?"
"We don't need monetary help," his sister, Sooyoung, grumbles from down the table. Always ever so prideful.
"Maybe not," his father considers. "But I'm sure Jimin's future mate will very much appreciate it if he has domestic experience, can run his own household. I do hope that he won't have to come back here for meals every day like you lot," he complains at the others, to their chagrin. Five voices immediately cry out in protest and he laughs.
"I'm just saying, Papa, he doesn't need more money for a dowry. We can get him that," Sooyoung mutters when the hullabaloo dies down. A small smile spreads on Jimin's face as he looks down at his plate and picks at his food. She's right, they could, but what the royal family are offering is still significantly more than whatever they could muster up, all of them combined.
"I think we could, yes, but don't you think the experience as well as the endorsement from the royal family is also worth a priceless amount?" he asks her.
Everyone seems to consider it for a moment before two of his alpha start arguing over a chicken leg. He takes a moment to slump and breathe while nobody is watching. This is harder than he thought, not telling the truth. There's no way he can, though, since he had been directly instructed not to. On top of that there's no way they would actually let him go, and he wants to make that decision for himself.
His favourite brother, the only beta boy, Minseok, is the one who actually speaks to ask Jimin the important questions in the end. "Do you want the position, though? Is it something you'll enjoy?" There's concern in his eyes, and it riddles Jimin with guilt although technically he's done nothing wrong apart from tell a little lie. For now.
"I'm not sure yet," he says quietly. That's certainly true. He doesn't really have any time to decide, either, and he's been robbed of the ability to ask his family for advice, the people that would normally be his everlasting support. "I'd have to move away for about a year. I wouldn't be able to see any of you guys at all."
"You don't have to do anything you don't want to do." The way his mother looks at him feels like he's being examined, and he maintains her gaze in another attempt to not arouse suspicion. "Don't feel pressured just because it seems like an impressive opportunity."
"Yes, Mama," he says dutifully.
"I think we should let you make this decision for yourself," his father announces at the head of the table, using his booming alpha voice to overcut the noise, and Jimin rolls his eyes to himself. "It's clearly a respectable job offer, being from the royal family and all. I don't think a year is too bad of a wait to find him a mate."
Jimin is sure that his mother's eyes remain on him for the rest of the dinner, and as they take their usual roles to wash up after. Sooyoung ends up shooing him away from the dishes (okay, maybe he's more spoilt than he realised) and his mother catches him on his way up to bed.
"Minnie..." she starts, taking his hands. She has the most comforting omega scent he has ever smelled; probably because she's his mother and also associated with so many of his happy, safe memories. "Please don't feel that you have to do this for money."
Tendrils of anxiety curl in his gut. He really hates lying to her in particular, always has. "What you makes you think I would be, if I took it?"
She sighs. "I'm not sure. But I'm your mother, I know you. You're a sweet pup, you try so hard not to burden us all..." she drifts off for a second, and opens and closes her mouth as she thinks. "The whole reason you don't currently have a mate is because you said you didn't want one, so we didn't force you. We always wanted to give you a little freedom, because your position doesn't usually allow for it."
Jimin nods. He's more than aware that that's the truth for omegas. "I know."
"Just... don't do something you don't want to do just for money. Especially because you'll be so far away, for so long..." She squeezes his hands, and he can't help but step into her embrace, laying his head against the crook of her neck and shoulder like he would when he was a pup. Cradling him close, she hums. "You're still my baby, you know."
He stays silent, because he knows. It doesn't make his decision any easier.
If he thought the journey to the castle yesterday was nerve racking, he certainly doesn't have the words for how he feels on the one he does to meet with the king and queen the next day. The other omega - whose name is Jisoo - had also chosen to make the journey again, so he guesses he has some kind of competition. He doesn't really think about it that much though, contemplating more whether or not he's making the right decision by coming at all.
A whole year without his family, that's, well. It will be a struggle, that's for sure.
Led to the familiar meeting room, he and Jisoo stand mirroring the way they stood the day before, except this time their entry holds so much more weight, both fully aware of the significance of the role at hand. The room is also less empty; several more people stand in small groups around the platform. Jimin guesses that they must be trusted people to the king, possibly advisors; they all bow when the king and queen enter the room.
Jimin feels many pairs of eyes on him, and the room is practically silent. The new mixture of scents is possibly the most intimidating thing, so many of the new people are alphas, the number of omegas in important positions such as that always limited.
It's difficult to muster up the courage to try and look at the royal couple in the eye, particularly the king, so he avoids it completely, eyes on the attendant that has been sent forth to speak. Their voice carries well throughout the room, everyone remaining respectfully silent.
"The king and queen would like to thank you both for returning to us on this day. We understand that it is a difficult decision to make, to stay here for such a prolonged amount of time, as well as the sacrifices you will make."
It makes the rustle of movement from the left hand side of the room especially noticeable, the big, ornate wooden door being opened by a stiff-looking guard.
The man who sweeps into the room is undoubtedly the crown prince. Jimin has only seen him before in passing, and certainly never this close. Of course all he knew of the alpha were rumours; that he is a fantastic swordsman and strategist, that he has a bit of an ego, that he has an imposing presence.
The prince holds himself in such a way that it’s obvious he’s royalty, as well as militarily trained. He bows his head deferentially to his father, barely acknowledging those who bow to him as he walks past, and Jimin hears Jisoo's tiny intake of breath when he starts to head straight for them.
Today Jimin had dressed up in expectation of being judged - not that he hadn't the previous day, but this morning he had put effort into his appearance in a different way. Emphasised his unmated status with a low neckline, worn a few rings to draw attention to his small hands, something considered desirable in omegas. Tied a belt around his small waist to accentuate that too. Instead of respectful, he looks like he's attending a dance for matching unmated pairs. It had been so embarrassing when he readied himself at dawn, his cheeks reddening at the thought of dressing up for the prince's eyes, but as soon as he'd seen Jisoo at the carriage the feeling had waned as she'd looked much the same way.
Now, however, it dawns on him just what this was; he had dressed up for a mated alpha to appreciate. It's shameful, and he regrets it a little. There's something wrong there on an instinctual level.
Jimin's heartbeat increases as the space between them and the prince decreases. By the time the alpha stops a respectful distance away it's almost thrumming in his chest like a hummingbird's, or a rabbit’s. The latter might be a better comparison; he certainly feels like prey. The alpha has such dark eyes, it's hard to hold eye contact, they're so intense.
Prince Yoongi has an interesting face, Jimin thinks. It has the appearance of someone who doesn't necessary spend a lot of time in the sun, a tad pale, and the way his mouth purses is almost pretty. He has dark, thick hair, styled in the official manner with most of his forehead showing. Looks young, although Jimin knows that he’s older than him - there aren’t many lines on his face to indicate those few extra years, though. In fact, he has such soft features it might be difficult to determine his alpha status at first glance.
His demeanour, on the other hand, screams alpha. The steady gaze, the confident gait, as well as the broad set of shoulders. And his scent. So strong, earthy and warm.
It only becomes more potent as he nears, until it feels like the air is thick and hard to breathe. Jimin doesn't spend much time with alphas that he's not related to, so he's not used to or prepared for the feeling that takes over him then, the shiver that goes down his spine. He gets a strong urge to bear his throat, which is so ridiculous he spends around ten seconds berating himself in his head.
Jisoo's scent spikes when the prince comes to pause in front of her, and Jimin can smell fear and maybe also a little arousal. She fidgets a little; Jimin isn't even surprised by her reaction because he is experiencing something similar even though he's not even the one being examined.
"Can you tell me your name?"
"Jisoo, your highness," she near whispers. She sounds frightened, and Jimin wants to take her hand, but is afraid that it will seem disrespectful, so he refrains. The prince nods but doesn't spend much more time in front of her, and it's so obvious the way she slumps out of relief when he looks away.
It's like that tension is transferred straight to Jimin when he steps to the side, he brings his attention to him instead. His entire body freezes up.
"And you? What's your name, omega?" It's hard not to get distracted by that voice, it's gorgeous, smooth and authoritative. Jimin keeps his gaze at the prince's chin, partly out of respect and partly because he's really goddamn intimidated, to use one of his sister's favourite swears.
Tell him your name, the part of his brain that is actually conscious hisses at him.
"Oh, Jimin, Park Jimin," he croaks as he startles out of his reverie. To his left, someone chuckles. There's a hint of a smirk on Prince Yoongi's mouth that vanishes as soon as it appears, and Jimin frowns.
"How old are you, Oh Jimin?"
And now the prince is mocking him. Jimin's cheeks burn, he's possibly never felt more mortified in his life. All he did was get distracted and stutter, and now suddenly he regrets waking up this morning, regrets prettying himself up to just be mocked.
"I'm. Nineteen," he says hesitantly. He really just wants to melt into a puddle on the floor and get mopped up and thrown out that way. His statement earns another small nod, and then the prince is turning around and walking away from them already, back to where his parents are. Jimin lets out a deep breath of relief, and his head drops for a moment as he takes in what a mess he is, how badly he was affected by one alpha, a mated one at that. It's not really his fault; he's had such limited exposure to alphas his whole life, his siblings always working to keep them away and protect him. On top of that, it's the crown prince, such a powerful figure. He can't even blame the guy for laughing at him.
Jisoo takes his hand and squeezes for a moment and they exchange a glance, the expression in her eyes sympathetic. Letting another wave of embarrassment wash over him, he goes limp.
Looking at the prince again where he stands conversing with his parents, he can't help admiring his rich clothing, and the broadness of his shoulders through his military-style shirt. Jimin thought that the clothes that he’d worn today were expensive, a little showy, but they were nothing compared to the prince’s deep blue outfit. He jolts when he realises that the prince is watching him, sharp cat eyes focused on his face. Jimin instinctively makes himself smaller in response, then curses himself for it because he needs to carry himself better than that at court. If he’s chosen, that is.
After that disaster, he thinks it might be unlikely.
As the minutes pass, the people surrounding them also breaking into their own private discussions, he can't really figure out how he feels about that. On one hand, it means he gets to go home to his parents and forget this embarrassment, gets to to look after his mama, gets to witness which of his newly mated siblings first gets their partner with child. But, ten thousand gold pieces, the prestige that one gets from working in the castle...
Disappointment, he realises, is what is making his chest ache. He wants to do this, really wants it, with an intensity that he didn't have last night when he was missing sleep to consider whether he was going to come here or not. Maybe it's just because he got so close, a competitiveness drawn up from how he was raised to compete with five siblings of a higher rank.
There's no time to decipher the feeling as one of the official-looking people is stepping forward, the people around him falling silent. Jimin had been so busy wallowing in self pity that he hadn't realised that over ten minutes had passed, the three members of the royal family ending their conversation to turn to he and Jisoo, watching them expectantly.
He actually startles when his name is announced, jolting and probably squeezing Jisoo's hand far too hard.
"You have been chosen for the position at hand. Do you accept?"
Jimin's mind goes completely, perfectly blank.
"Really?" he says in disbelief, before covering his mouth. There's some more chuckling from the king's advisors, and he watches as the prince turns to give them an unimpressed look.
The man nods, probably unused to such informal speech, but he doesn't offer any complaints. "The carriage you came here in will take you home so you can collect your belongings and so you can say goodbye to your family for a few days. You will be expected to return when three days have passed; we will send transportation to your home on this occasion. Is this clear?"
Jimin nods mindlessly, head still swimming at the implication of what this all means. He needs to pack his things, move to the castle. Has to say goodbye to his mother. Has to, has to...
He looks back at the prince, standing straight and watching Jimin with mild interest, expression giving Jimin nothing, no hint of acknowledgement or satisfaction or nerves at their situation. For the first time he wonders about how he is feeling, this alpha, a mated alpha, frustratingly without children, an heir to the throne, something he has a duty to provide.
Jisoo holds his hand through his shock, all the way to the carriage and the way home.
"You can always choose not to come back," she whispers as they rock with the movement of the carriage on the uneven road. "I'm sure that's why they gave you an extra few days." Her eyes are wide, probably feeling the trembles that periodically take hold of Jimin's limbs.
"I don't-" he starts, and stops when he realises that he doesn't know what he was going to say. Don't want to? He's not sure about that, not sure whether he wants to run away or he’s just suddenly overcome with nerves. His mind keeps skipping through the next three days, past the part where he moves into a new room within the castle walls, and straight to sharing a bed with Prince Yoongi.
The next three days pass so quickly as Jimin tries to spend time with all of his siblings and his parents, omegean instincts putting on edge as he prepares to leave his family home properly for the first time. He can't stop himself from scenting them constantly; they indulge him, probably sensing his anxiety as well as wanting to spend as much times as possible with him before he leaves.
He occasionally tries to ask subtle questions to his omega brother-in-law and his mother about pregnancy; the latter gets suspicious very quickly so he gives that up in an attempt to prevent some kind of interrogation. Lying to his mother has always been something he hated.
The time he spends with his family gives him enough time to for panic to fester. The sheer magnitude of the task at hand is starting to weigh on him, the amount of pressure that will be on him to successfully conceive a child. The royal family must be so desperate for an heir. On top of that he's realising that maybe he doesn't know enough about sex with alphas, how this going to work, and how the prince is going to treat him. He might be gentle, if Jimin is lucky. But if he's unlucky, well.
The way people gossip about their future king doesn't give him any clues. He hasn't heard that Prince Yoongi is particularly cruel, but he has neither heard that he is kind - any charity he does is kept quiet and it's not like Jimin has ever interacted with anyone that knows him personally. The alpha is mysterious, and maybe normally Jimin would find that a little impressive but right now it's just scary, and the way he'd looked at Jimin the first time they met did nothing to assuage that feeling.
But Jimin wants to be brave, and knows he can be. He may be a tad spoiled, a little sheltered, but being raised with so many alpha siblings has given him that trait. It's really necessary, sometimes, in order to fight their need to coddle him too much; he's never liked feeling useless or not proactive. And at the back of his mind, he knows that what he'll be doing at the castle will be worthwhile, and not just for selfish reasons like money or what he may gain in terms of his future. In the end, he'll be providing a couple with a child, giving two people the chance to be parents. All omegas deserve that chance, he thinks.
So he stays resolute despite his wavers and doubts, and doesn't change his mind about going.
His goodbyes aren't made any easier by this.
It's late in the day when the carriage arrives to take him from his home - he supposes he's received something close to four days with his family rather than three, and he's grateful. There are no tears apart from that of his mother who holds him and scents him for a full two minutes before letting him go.
"Be good," she whispers in his ear, and Jimin only nodded as otherwise he might cry too.
He's whisked through a flustered set of greetings upon arrival at the castle, the head servants standing to greet him as must be customary with a new arrival. He doesn't see the king or queen, not that Jimin minded that fact, didn't want to embarrass himself any more than he already had.
There is, however, a short formal greeting with the prince, who is a little cold and withdrawn. He has a perfect, almost haughty, poker face, and Jimin can’t tell whether he’s dissatisfied or not. Jimin is then been introduced to a boy named Taehyung, a beta his age who the queen had indicated is his attendant.
“Well, Jimin, we will have someone escort you to your rooms.” the head domestic servant is called Joohyun, an omega with a pretty smile that drops to a stern face when she isn't addressing him. He reminds himself to not get on her bad side. "You have free roam of the castle, but his highness will come to your rooms when necessary."
Jimin immediately blushes at the implication. The idea of that , the thing he'd actually been brought here to do, looms in his mind. He's not sure he's quite been able to wrap his mind around it yet.
It's all very much a whirlwind and Jimin barely has time to get his bearings. Then on the way out of the entrance hall, led by Taehyung, he catches sight of Prince Yoongi's mate for the first time.
Jimin recognises him from the parades, like he had with the prince; his beautiful side profile, the big eyes, the way he is dressed to befit a royal consort. Elegant and stunning in green, jewels on his neck and fingers, his small wrists. Daehee at first glance is intimidatingly lovely, like a faerie or an elf from one of his old story books. His expression is congenial, and he smiles in a way that Jimin would describe as proper, not overly expressive. In fact, one of Jimin's first thoughts is that he and and the prince were well matched; he's sure they look absolutely wonderful together, the picture of a perfect arranged mating; their ability to control their expressions certainly similar too.
Except there's a moment where Daehee's gaze falls on Jimin just before he walks through the door, and that controlled expression falters, freezing Jimin mid-step with how icy it turns. It really is just a split second before he's turning around to speak to the woman beside him again, and yet it chills Jimin right to the core. Naively, he hadn't considered that Daehee hadn't been consulted in the decision of whether to acquire a surrogate.
Taehyung narrates the journey to his allotted bedroom as his thoughts are consumed with worry about Daehee. The castle itself is as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside and yet he can't even appreciate it. There's just something so utterly wrong about sleeping with another omega's mate without their permission; it's a sensitive issue even with their agreement, and probably the reason that the other omegas had walked away the week before.
"That portrait right there, that's Prince Taemin, the current king's brother... Are you all right?" Taehyung’s tone changes towards the end, the hand that was gesturing enthusiastically at said painting dropping out the air. Maybe Jimin's worrisome thoughts had been showing on his face.
Obviously these thoughts aren't appropriate for the attendant's ears, so he lies. "I'm fine. A little hungry, maybe. This place is too big, how do I not get lost?" he asks helplessly. He's not faking his concern; they have passed through so many corridors at this point, twisting up stairs and through several doors. The idea of getting lost in these huge hallways is terrifying.
"It's okay, I can help you!" Taehyung replies enthusiastically. "It's easy to learn, and it's not like you'll need to be in most of these rooms anyway."
The bedroom that Jimin has been allotted is luxurious, there’s no other way to describe it. The bed is huge and so soft, the room itself bigger than three of the bedrooms in his family’s house put together, probably. All of the furniture is made from dark wood, glossy and carved in intricate patterns. The view of the gardens is beautiful - since it’s summer, everything is blooming, and if Jimin opens the enormous double windows he can smell the flowers, the freesias right outside. He feels like he’s in a dream, a trance, like it’s far too good to be true.
"Well, this is it! I'll help you unpack your things, but I think tomorrow you'll have a fitting for some more clothes that you can wear at court and dinner and things like that. I think they're gonna bring some food too, if we wait a little. Are you sure you're okay? You're a little pale," Taehyung rambles off important information whilst he steps forward to press a hand to Jimin's forehead. He wonders how well Taehyung can smell his nerves; a betas' sense of smell vary a lot in their ability, usually nowhere near as accurate as an alpha's or an omega's, but Taehyung's nostrils flare as he gets close.
"I'm sure there's no need to worry," he says quietly. Jimin gives him a weak smile in response. He supposes that Taehyung is one of the best people he has to ask questions to, since he has clearly worked here for at least a little while.
"Do you- um." Jimin struggles with his words. How does he stay tactful and ask what he wants to? Taehyung waits for him patiently. "I just... do you know the prince, at all?"
"The prince? Not well, I'm only a lowly attendant," Taehyung quips, a grin on his face as he moves away to open one of Jimin's two boxes. The omega didn't see the point of bringing all of his belongings.
Jimin lets out a tiny laugh at that. "I just meant, is he, well, nice?"
Starting the job of taking out Jimin's clothing and put it in the wardrobe, Taehyung appears to consider this for a moment. "...I'm not sure. He's never rude to servants, never asks too much of us. I'm sure many of them would call him kind, in fact. Yet, he isn't exactly the most expressive of people, so I'm not sure I could call him nice. He's, well. He's a prince. He acts like one. Does that make sense?"
Jimin takes his words in quietly. From what Taehyung says, the prince doesn't seem likely to mistreat Jimin too badly. "Yeah, I think so."
"I don't think he'll hurt you, Jiminie," Taehyung smiles at him softly, before catching himself. "Can I call you that?"
"Um- yes, if you want to? One of my brothers always calls me Jiminie. The others call me Minnie."
Taehyung coos at him, laughing at Jimin's expression afterwards. They talk a little more about Jimin's family and he gets the feeling that Taehyung is trying to distract him, which he kind of appreciates. Food arrives to the room just as they finish putting things away and Jimin insists that he stay and share it, because he maybe feels a little scared of being alone in this new, strange place. The scent of everything is so unfamiliar and it's a little difficult to settle down. Luckily though, it doesn't seem that anyone has used the room for a while, there's no overpowering scent.
Jimin realises that it's more the absence of his siblings' mingling scents, the overall feeling of home that's missing.
The food itself is luxurious even by Jimin's standards, and it's not like he's had some luxurious foods before. He may need to re-think what his idea of 'luxurious' is. Before he knows it Taehyung is standing and collecting the plates.
"I'm going to take these dishes to the kitchens, I have a few other things to do tonight so I'll have to leave you, I'm afraid." He must see the panic on Jimin's face, because he pauses and kneels again. "Don't worry too much, it'll be okay."
What is Jimin worrying about, even? Being alone? That makes sense considering the eerie silence that envelops the room as soon as Taehyung leaves. Or maybe he's putting off the inevitable. The prince is eventually going to come and see him, he knows.
But as the minutes drag on into hours in his solitude, he wonders if he'll be receiving a visit tonight at all.
Waiting cross-legged on his bed, he thinks about Daehee and the way he'd looked at Jimin earlier. He isn't sure he's ever been looked at like that before. Sure, he'd received some dirty looks and borderline rude comments in the past when he's told people his age due to the fact that he's remained unmated for a little longer than is common, and sometimes he's been stared at for choosing to help with carrying things and some of the more active work at his father's business, since that is considered inappropriate behaviour for an omega. Nothing had the penetrative hostility of Daehee's glare.
There’s a knock at the door, and he’s brought back to earth.
“Come in,” he calls, filled with trepidation. Maybe it's a maid or Taehyung once again. He's not sure if he's hoping for that or not. He knows that avoiding isn't the best way to face your fears - he doesn't even know if this is a fear. Yet, his body tenses up out of anxiety and his heart starts to pound, stomach dropping a little as the prince appears from behind the door.
He freezes, rooted to his spot on the bed as the prince walks in, looking around in interest. His eyes settle on Jimin and the omega immediately wants to do that thing again, make himself small.
“Prince Min. I, um, didn’t expect you,” he blurted, and then curses himself for being so awkward and forgetting his manners, scrambling up to bow.
“You can call me Yoongi, it is okay.” The prince approaches, holding up a hand to stop Jimin bowing. Jimin kind of doesn’t want him to get any closer, his scent is so strong and has such a powerful effect on him even on the other side of the room, but obviously that’s stupid of him to hope. They’ll have to sleep together tonight, they're going to be close.
The thought sends a little shiver down his spine, fear or anticipation, he doesn’t know. He should have thought about this much more at the very beginning when he was offered this position. He didn’t realise it would be so hard, so scary. He feels vulnerable.
Remembering the resolution he made, he tries to knock himself out of that mindset mentally. He's going to do this, it's going to be worth it for so many reasons.
Everything's still kind of awkward. Jimin must be smelling distressed, his body betraying his worry, because the alpha is stepping closer. There's concern in the crease of his forehead, and when Jimin takes a deep breath to try and calm himself he realises that Yoongi is releasing comforting pheromones in response to him, on purpose or instinctually, he doesn't know. He closes his eyes for a moment, and when he opens them Yoongi is stood right in front of him.
Yoongi appears nervous, a completely different picture to how Jimin has seen him up until this moment. His hands are hovering around Jimin like he wants to comfort him, but he looks unsure.
“You do not need to- I am not going to hurt you, alright? I promise,” Yoongi is saying, and Jimin looks up at his face properly for the first time that night, and for some reason this placates him. He sees nothing scary at all. “We don’t need to do anything tonight, if you would prefer?”
Jimin tries to even out his breathing as much as possible; his first instinct is to take that opportunity and run with it, but he's not sure that he should. Yoongi has come so close now, Jimin can practically feel the heat radiating off of him. Even his voice has a powerful effect on him somehow, catching his attention and bringing it straight to the alpha.
“I don’t want to get in trouble,” he whispers, voicing his real fear. Yoongi shakes his head vehemently.
“No, that will not happen.” Yoongi sounds so certain, authoritative, and Jimin believes him immediately. It doesn’t stop the rising panic in Jimin’s chest, though, his breath coming fast and hard still.
Yoongi brings them to the bed with careful hands, sitting Jimin opposite him, both casually cross-legged, and visibly hesitates before taking one of Jimin’s hands in his. It's warm, maybe a little sweaty. Jimin focuses in on it, an anchor in his blind panic.
“Hey, why don't you talk to me about your family? Where do they live? Do you have any siblings?” Jimin can hear the way Yoongi tries to soften his proper use of their language, adapting a little to Jimin's dialect to try and make Jimin more comfortable. It's sweet.
He tries his best. “I have- have three, three brothers, and two sisters. I’m the only, only omega in my family.” His heart is still pounding. Yoongi squeezes his hand.
“I live, around- around half an hour from the castle. My father is a merchant, for fabrics. My siblings, the alphas, all work for him.” It’s getting better now. Jimin struggles instead not to lean into Yoongi’s solid alpha presence. His hand is so gentle wrapped around Jimin's.
“Are you the youngest?” Yoongi asks, and he does actually look interested, sincerely encouraging.
“I am,” he replies softly. Now they’re close and he’s a little calmer, Jimin can once again smell the way that Yoongi’s scent isn’t pure, it’s tinged with something else, something like sweet herbal tea. It’s Yoongi’s mate, he guesses. It makes him pull away.
“I’m sorry I freaked out. I won’t do it again.” He curls into himself, sinking into the soft bedding, embarrassed. The prince's face is more expressive than before for sure, and Jimin might even say he looks sad. He wants to apologise again but Yoongi shakes his head softly.
“Don’t apologise. I know how scary this must be for you. It’s something I have grown very used to,” he sighs.
Jimin frowns, confused. “I thought I was the first omega that had been chosen for this position?” They certainly hadn't told him about anyone else. But maybe it wasn't important enough for them to tell him?
“You are. But my mating, that was pre-arranged,” Yoongi says, before his words seem to catch up with him and his eyes widen. “I didn’t mean that in a disrespectful way to my mate, of course. I just- know what it's like. The unfamiliar.”
“It’s okay, I won’t say anything.” Jimin hugs his knees to his chest, and then loosens when he realises he's doing it again, the being small thing, like he's preparing to be attacked or something. To Yoongi it must look like he's frightened, and he doesn't want to make the prince uncomfortable like that. "Do we- uh. Can we really not do anything tonight?"
The prince smiles, a straight, wry thing, his eyes expressing what might be sympathy. "Of course. There is no rush. Six months is a long time."
They sit quietly, and Jimin isn't used to such silence, feels awkward in its presence. He wants to know more about the man he's supposed to be having a child with but has no idea how he's supposed to ask questions, what's appropriate. The prince looks so tired, too, looks like he should be in bed asleep at that moment.
His mother had always told him that it's in an omega's nature to worry, to care for others. Jimin can kind of feel it creeping up on him now; he really wants to tell the alpha to go to bed.
Yoongi catches his eye and smiles again. "Alpha, don't you need to sleep?" Jimin blurts out.
The use of his rank made Yoongi's eyebrows twitch up, and Jimin feels warmth creep up his neck. He hadn't really meant to do that.
"I suppose I should." The prince stretches, closing his eyes and cracking his neck to the side. When opened again his gaze settles right on Jimin once more. "I'm glad we could speak alone, omega."
Jimin can see a hint of the smirk that he'd seen once before, the first time they met, and now his face really is warm. It's so ridiculous, comedic, almost flirtatious, which in itself is so wrong. He clenches his fists into his bedsheets to stop himself from covering his face as Yoongi stands.
Jimin whispers his responding goodbye as Yoongi walks away. He kind of feels like the time that one of the huge rolls of fabric in his father's shop dropped on his head, disorientated.
He really hadn't expected his first night in the castle to go like this.
Jimin supposes that the next day is when he should be acclimatising, getting used to the atmosphere in the castle and understanding what he's supposed to be doing. He spends the morning getting fitted for new clothes and getting a tour from the first member of the royal court that he is introduced to, a beta named Jung Hoseok. Hoseok is effervescent, wonderfully happy and not judgemental of Jimin’s low societal position, probably due to the fact that he's not that high ranking himself, being the younger son of a small Count. Either way, it's an amazing relief to Jimin.
During the short tour of the palace gardens Jimin realises that he might not be spending too much time within the palace itself; the gardens are so beautiful, filled with luscious flowers and greenery, different sections within which he can hide away and read, maybe. He doubts he'll have much to do during the day, hopefully he won't be missed.
"I doubt you will see much of Yoongi during the daytime, he has many roles to fulfil," Hoseok had told him conversationally.
So, plenty of time to himself. Truly the dream job, he thinks wryly, then gets lost for a minute on why he thinks that may not be true. Paranoia, probably; it's not like he has anything to be less than gracious about. The prince was so kind to him the night before. He must go quiet because Hoseok is putting his hand on Jimin's shoulder.
"Don't worry, you shan't be bored! You have me to keep you entertained! And Taehyung is your attendant, yes? There will be never a dull moment," he laughs. Jimin manages a small smile. Hoseok seems to be friendly with everyone, including the servants.
They don't talk about what Jimin will be doing at night. Not that he would know how to handle something so private in a civil conversation, but he's very glad that Hoseok seems to treat him as a guest, rather than a servant or a whore.
Oh, that word. Whore . It has been rattling around Jimin's brain since his arrival, since Joohyun had told him about the way Yoongi would be 'visiting' him when necessary. It wasn't like the prince had treated him like one last night, he'd been so accommodating and kind, but when he thinks about his role it remains the word that comes to mind. It brings to mind the omega brothels around the city; would people really think he's any better than one of them? He'd always had a secret kind of respect for the omegas that chose to work in places like that, although it's such a complicated thing, some forced into the profession by hard times, and all of them so looked down upon by even the lowliest of peasants. Despite his admiration for those omegas, shamefully, he would be hate to be compared to one.
Surrogate is probably the better word, and the one he should use. He wonders what the people of the court think of him as. Hoseok seems fully aware of his background, probably also what he was here to do.
"The king keeps a small court," Hoseok explains. "He trusts everyone here, so you can walk with freedom within the castle and grounds."
The idea of everyone knowing what Jimin's here for makes him a little queasy, his stomach turning a little. That word enters his mind once again.
"Maybe not the guests, the ones that only come for a few days," Hoseok admonishes. "They think you’re from a small noble family of another territory, visiting under the king’s protection.” He ruffles the omega’s hair gently and grins. "Let me show you some more important rooms you'll need to be familiar with inside the castle."
Jimin is still in awe of the the sheer scale of the place, how grand it is, so he keeps to walking slightly behind Hoseok on their way around, giving in to the omegean instinct to hide a little. The people he passes, those that aren't servants, don't spare him a second glance.
“So, here is where we’ll eat dinner, since you’re an important guest, you will sit on this side, over here.” Hoseok waves a hand in the direction of the wooden tables directly in front of the high table, where the king's seat is obvious, placed directly in the centre so all may see him.
Jimin furrows his brow. “I thought the royal family wouldn’t want me anywhere near them. They don’t want to be associated with the likes of me, surely.”
Hoseok blinks at him. "Image is important, Jimin. I know I said that the king trusts everyone here, but..." He hesitates for a moment. "We must maintain the impression that he is not embarrassed by you. It certainly wouldn't do any good to tuck you at the back of the room, or have you eat at the servant's quarters. You're going to be baring the crown prince's child, if all goes well. You would probably be sat at the high table if that wouldn't be considered disrespectful to Yoongi's mate."
It makes sense. Yet, this means that he will have to sit with so many unfamiliar people and try not to embarrass himself on a daily basis. He decides to change the subject before he gets too anxious as they leave to go change for dinner (another unexpected necessity. Jimin is learning a lot about new things he need to do regularly, today). "You call him Yoongi, without any titles. Are you close?"
Smiling again (Hoseok has a handsome smile, so Jimin doesn't blame him for smiling so much), he wraps a friendly arm around Jimin's shoulders. "We're around the same age, and we've been training together since we were young. Yoongi's a great swordfighter and pretty good with a bow and arrow too, although he's always been a better planner than a fighter. You should come watch me thrash him at training some time!"
This startles a laugh out of Jimin. He can't imagine Yoongi losing at anything, to be honest, so that mental image is unexpectedly funny. He can definitely visualise him as a good swordsman though, despite his smaller build. The alpha is probably very fast. Their kingdom hasn't been at war for some time, but Jimin imagines Yoongi riding into battle in full armour.
Then he remembers the worried, open expression on the prince's face last night as he held Jimin's hand through his attack of panic, and his stomach twists a little. He's always hoped that his kingdom would never see another true war, but had known that in the event that it did, they would be protected by their huge and very capable army. Trained for this situation, Hoseok, and of course Yoongi would almost certainly have to lead their army in that occasion. He's never known anyone personally that has joined the army; now for some reason the idea of war scares him a little.
He shakes himself out of that train of thought when he realises how dark it has gotten, his imagination clearly running wild due to built up anxiety of his own current situation. Hoseok leads him directly to his door as Jimin thanks him profusely - he's unconvinced that he'd be able to go around in the castle by himself without getting lost.
"If you ever need anything, I know you have Taehyung, but I'm here too, you can come to me anytime," Hoseok tells him before he leaves.
"Thank you. So if I had, uh, questions about court..."
"I'm your man!" The grin on the beta's face is ever so infectious. He reminds Jimin a little of one of his sisters, a thought that makes him smile a little wider.
He's left to his own devices as he changes his clothes for dinner, and just hopes he's dressed formally enough as he uses the advice that the tailor had given him just that morning. Walking down to the dining hall he takes deep breaths and counts his steps to try and calm himself. He wants to make a good impression, to make these people like him - he has to live here for at least a year, if everything goes to plan, so he would rather not be too scared to leave his room. He doesn't know what the members of the court actually think of him yet but he's determined to change their minds if it's something bad. If it's possible, anyway.
Where he sits he has a full view of the high table; everyone rises as the king enters, followed by the other members of the royal family. The crown prince sits to his father's right side, the seat next to him occupied by his mate. They really do look like a powerful couple. Prince Yoongi avoids his gaze throughout the dinner, only really looking between his father and Daehee. Actually, Jimin doesn't know if it's truly avoidance, as he may simply not think to look in this direction, the people sat on the lower tables not occupying his thoughts.
Jimin's own attention is divided between watching the alpha interact with his mate, and the people around himself. He has been seated between two countesses, middle aged omegas that seem to take an immediate liking to him. Their alpha mates, maybe not so much.
"How far from the castle is your home, omega?" one of the alphas asks during dessert, the first time he had deigned to speak to Jimin. The rest of the table suddenly pays absolute attention to their conversation. Jimin realises that he'd going to be judged on his answer, as well as the fact that the alpha had subtly suggested that Jimin's home was not the castle, making him an outsider to the group.
"Around a mile," he says cautiously. He lets them come to their own conclusions of where he must live; most of the poorest areas are over three miles away.
"So you'll have grown up with the castle looming in the distance? How wonderful that you get to come and stay here! It really must be a dream for a person such as you," he says, a jovial tone covering how insulting his words are. Jimin is glad that he's not sat directly next to any of these severely intimidating alphas, as then he may not be able to maintain his composure.
Apart from the snide comments he makes it through the dinner unscathed, distracted by the gossiping of the two women he's sat between and the fantastic food. Mostly he stays quiet, wanting to absorb as much as possible. He notices that much of the effort has been put into the quality of the food rather than frivolous decorations or table wear, a decision he admires. By the time he leaves for his room he's feeling pretty proud of himself, as well as absolutely stuffed from eating so much; so much had been pushed onto his plate.
Night falls and Jimin is dozing on his bed because he’s eaten too much rich food and his bed is too comfortable. He’s so sleepy that he misses the soft knock on his door the first time it comes. It’s slightly louder the second time and wakes him; he calls out unintelligibly. Whoever is there must understand because the door opens.
It's Yoongi, and Jimin had been so distracted that he'd forgotten somehow that this might happen tonight. He scrambles into a sitting position to face the alpha in a comical mirror of the night before, and Yoongi actually chuckles.
"You don't need to move, I'll sit with you. How was dinner?" he asks conversationally as he approaches the bed. He looks far more relaxed than before, not surrounded by so many people.
"Rich," Jimin says without thinking. "I mean! It was fantastic, thank you."
Yoongi shakes his head and looks at him weirdly. Younger, he looks younger here too. Or maybe it's the warmth of the candlelight in his room that contrasts so much with the earlier cold reflection of the stone walls in the hall, making him look like he's only just a little older than Jimin for once. "Do not- don't thank me. If you want to thank anyone you could go down to the kitchens and thank the staff there, though, I'm sure they will appreciate it very much, goodness knows they don't get told it enough."
Much like the night before, Yoongi prompts him to talk about his family and his life before he came to the castle. Halfway through a story about how his alpha brother hadn't learned to swim until he was fifteen and Jimin once had to save him from a fast flowing river one summer, he realises what Yoongi is trying to do - he's really still trying to make Jimin feel comfortable. A deep breath in tells him that there's a lot more alpha pheromones in the room than before, and the prince is probably doing that on purpose to get him used to Yoongi's scent, the feeling of him being close.
It works to some extent, the strong alpha scent less of a shock to his system now, but it's still so nerve wracking because Jimin feels like any minute he might be asked to take off his clothes.
But it doesn't come. Yoongi leaves after around an hour, the same as the night before, and Jimin is left very much confused. He wonders if he was supposed to do something, he doesn't know how any of this works, not really. Is the alpha waiting for a signal? He's sure he hasn't been releasing any of the pheromones that warn alphas away from omegas when their company is unwanted. It's certainly not like he finds the prince unattractive; the opposite, in fact, which makes Jimin endlessly guilty. He was always told that omegas are not supposed to find mated alphas attractive. Maybe there's something wrong with him.
It makes for a restless night of sleep.
He doesn't make the mistake of forgetting Yoongi's visit again the next night. He even goes so far as to ready himself physically as well as mentally, dressing in his nicer nightclothes and bathing in bathwater with nicely scented oils, sitting on his window seat instead of his bed in an attempt to not let himself fall asleep before the he arrives.
But this time alpha doesn't even come. The stars that he can see through his window twinkle at him mockingly, reminding him of how late it has gotten. He ends up dozing against the sill before he jolts awake, sighing before blowing out the candles and getting into bed.
The next night is the same, and so is the night after, and Jimin's anxiety starts to build for a whole new reason. Nobody comes to tell him why he isn't receiving any visits, so he's left to his own assumptions. What if he has done something wrong? Did he say something insulting when they had been talking the other night? Or did he do something during the day, offend someone at the dining table, or not follow the proper etiquette at some point?
Or what if Yoongi has decided that he isn't good enough? Not pretty enough, or just not worthy of carrying his child? This idea made him swallow heavily whenever it floated to the top of his overly clogged and stressed brain. Out of anything this is probably the thing that scares him the most. It would be a horrible rejection if he was told to go away now because Yoongi doesn't want him. He's sure it's part omegean instinct, that he doesn't want to be rejected by a potential alpha mate, but that just doesn't make sense because Yoongi is mated and he hasn't even been courting Jimin. Maybe it's just because Yoongi has spent two nights just talking to him, and if it were someone else, if he'd been back home and Yoongi wasn't a prince, Jimin would maybe consider them friends. It just makes the rejection so much worse, that Yoongi had gotten to know him a little and then rejected him.
For three days he flickers back and forth between feeling anxious to feeling like he's being extremely paranoid. He's been staying at the castle for less than a week, and yet he's been through more emotions and more stress than any other point in his life. It's so bad that even Hoseok, with his nearly non-existent sense of smell, can detect his worry. Taehyung had noticed immediately, and although he doesn't seem to know exactly what's wrong he makes many attempts to comfort him, mostly consisting of taking him down to the kitchens and feeding him with comfort food, distracting him by introducing him to his friends that work down there. It takes Jimin a while to build up the courage to tell Taehyung what's wrong.
"Tae..." The nickname was something he picked up in the kitchens, to the attendant's delight.
"Something wrong, Jiminie?" Taehyung watches him expectantly from his position at Jimin's closet door. Jimin is so glad that he has someone in the castle he can talk to. Taehyung has been unbelievably kind to him, their friendship blooming easily, Jimin made comfortable by Taehyung's lack of intimidating social status but also by how nice he is to Jimin, always.
"Kind of? It's... Prince Yoongi hasn't come to my room. For several days." He says it quietly, embarrassed, but Taehyung doesn't wince, doesn't even look surprised.
"Ah, he's pretty busy, y'know?" Jimin must appear unconvinced, because he moves to sit next to him on the bed. "Listen, believe me. You probably don't see him around the castle apart from mealtimes, right? It's because he has so much stuff to do, all the time. He's the only prince, the only heir to the throne, he does it all. Diplomacy, military meetings, domestic stuff, everything. Sometimes there's days where he doesn't go to bed at all because he gets caught up in meetings and still wants to train. Ask Hoseok, he'll tell you about their night time training sessions." He pats Jimin's back reassuringly. "I wouldn't worry."
Slowly, Jimin lets his body relax down, the tension leaving him bit by bit. He doesn't think that Taehyung would lie to him. Clearly he just needs to calm down, stop letting his instincts and paranoid thoughts run away from him. "I. Thought he might not want me."
"Jiminie," Taehyung says helplessly. "Don't do that. I can't imagine an alpha not wanting you, really."
Letting out a shaky breath, he slumps back onto the bed, arms splayed. If he's being honest he wouldn't say his fears have been completely allayed, but he maybe feels a little better. "So I should just. Wait? For him to come to me?"
Taehyung flops down so he's resting beside him, leaning on one arm. "I think so? He knows he has a duty to visit you. It's also possible that he's trying to give you some time to get used to the castle, to being here. To the idea of... spending the night with him."
Sighing deeply, Jimin flings an arm over his eyes. "I wish we could just get it over with."
"Get it over... Jiminie," Taehyung laughs breathlessly. "Is it not going to be your first time?"
"Yeah, it is, but this scary anticipation is doing nothing good for my poor heart. I'm too old for this."
Taehyung shoves him, really laughing now. "Don't be stupid. It's a big deal, you're being very brave."
"Brave?" Jimin hadn't really thought of it that way. "I get a reward, you know?"
"Yeah, but," Taehyung turns more to face him, "it's pretty frightening, your first time, right? And people always say it's important. And on top of that you're trusting a stranger... although I don't think Prince Yoongi would ever hurt anyone."
Jimin bites his lip. Taehyung is suddenly not making him feel any better.
"Ah, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to make you feel worse," Taehyung exclaims. "I'm sure everything will be fine. Have you spoken to him alone at all, before?"
"Yes, twice. He was kind. I just... Tae, I hate being left alone," he confesses.
Taehyung is grinning again. "It's okay to want attention, especially from handsome alphas, Jiminie."
Making an indignant noise, Jimin hits him lightly. "Don't say it like that! He's mated!" It's a pretty scandalous thing to say, all things considered. He's not here for the prince's attention.
"Does it matter?" Taehyung laughs. "You're sad because you're being ignored. I'm just saying, that's okay."
"I'm upset because nobody has told me how any of this works, and I don't know what I'm supposed to be doing here, and I feel like I'm not doing my job even though that's not even my fault!" He smacks a hand down on the bed. Taehyung looks surprised.
"Jiminie, I'm sorry."
"It's not your fault, don't apologise. I just wish I knew what to do," Jimin pouts. He knows he's being childish, lashing out due to frustration, but he's under a lot of stress. Luckily Taehyung doesn't look mad, just sympathetic.
"I understand. Just trust me when I tell you he's busy, okay? He has so much to do, a lot of responsibility on his shoulders. He'll come to you when he can, I'm sure." He raises a hand to pet Jimin's dark hair soothingly.
Jimin can't help but curl into it. "Maybe I don't like waiting around for some alpha to come to me," he still says petulantly.
"You probably should have thought about that before you accepted to come," Taehyung snorted.
Groaning, Jimin goes to pinch Taehyung's stomach, starting a play fight that lasts several minutes only for him to lose inevitably. It only takes his mind off the problem for a moment; he doesn't think he's going to be able to stop thinking about it until it's resolved.
That night he doesn't prepare for the prince to arrive in his chambers. He reads a little of a book that Taehyung had grabbed him from the castle library this afternoon, changes into comfortable night clothes, and falls into bed. There's a very tiny part of him that really does get annoyed at the thought of just having to wait for the alpha to come to him, that he can just not come at all, whenever he wants to, that makes him petulant.
Of course, this would be the night that Prince Yoongi finds his way back to Jimin's room.
"Jimin? Are you asleep?" Yoongi's voice wakes him from his light slumber where he was just starting to grasp the edge of real sleep.
There's a haze over him, his mind still cloudy when he opens his eyes, so when he says, "Yeah," it's completely thoughtless.
Yoongi perches himself on the edge of the bed while he wakes up properly, until Jimin's brain catches up and he sits up, blinking. Panic fully takes over his brain.
"I'm sorry," he groans. It feels like he's embarrassed himself again, despite the fact that Yoongi is shaking his head and patting his foot awkwardly through the covers.
"Don't be sorry. I am sorry, in fact, for not telling you the past few nights that I would not be coming. You weren't to know." His voice is rough, rougher than usual, even, and Jimin notes how tired he looks, wondered what has possessed him to visit when clearly he needs to go and get as much sleep as possible.
Duty, that will be the reason. The alpha has shown himself to be nothing if not conscientious of his own responsibilities. Then the omega’s brain finally, truly wakes up, and he realises that this is it. When he’s supposed to be sleeping with the alpha. Getting knotted, trying for a baby. The idea doesn't fill him with the same kind of fear that he had felt on the first night of his arrival, but apprehension still has him clenching and unclenching his fists in the sheets.
“Have you ever done this before? Please be honest,” Yoongi asks quietly, and Jimin shakes his head. He’s not irresponsible, he’s never slept with an alpha before. The most he’s ever had is messing around with a beta, a family friend’s kid. It would be crazy and stupid to sleep around like that without being mated; omegas that did that were often ostracised completely, disowned by their families. Still, that makes him terrifyingly inexperienced for this situation.
“Okay.” Yoongi shifts forward so he's sitting closer, opposite him. "Well I want you to know, that it shouldn't- shouldn't hurt, not really. And if it does, you need to tell me. In fact I would like you to promise me that you will."
A warm feeling spreads through his stomach. It means a lot that the alpha would look after him like this. Makes him feel slightly less like he's just being used. "Oh- Okay. I promise."
He puts his hands on Jimin’s waist, and it's like he's small, somehow, even though the alpha isn't even that much taller than him. Yoongi’s hands are so big. He has a feeling that he could probably lift Jimin easily. “If you want to ask questions, that's okay too, all right?”
Jimin nods once more. Hopes that Yoongi will take the lead, because he’s- he’s not shy, exactly, but he’s not sure exactly what he’s doing, and Yoongi… Yoongi is literally royalty. Moreover, Jimin doesn’t know how clinical this is supposed to be. That's definitely not a question he wants to ask out loud, however.
Luckily for him, Yoongi does take the lead. Confirms Jimin’s suspicions about his strength when he lifts Jimin onto his lap, making him squeak embarrassingly. He winces afterwards.
Their faces are very close, now. “And you’ll tell me if you want me to stop completely, yes?”
Jimin hadn’t expected to be shown so much concern, and it’s touching. Hadn’t expect the alpha to be so sweet to him. When his waist is squeezed to garner his attention again, he whispers a, “Yes.”
Yoongi’s scent is stronger and warmer than ever, drawing him in. It smells just a little like arousal, and Jimin would be lying if he didn’t feel it too, the anticipation in his stomach. On an instinctual level it feels kind of wrong, because Yoongi carries the scent of his mate too. He has to reassure himself that it’s okay, he’s supposed to be doing this. He wonders how the prince himself is feeling.
“I’m going to kiss you, now.” Jimin can feel Yoongi’s voice where they’re pressed up against each other. Jimin closes his eyes, digging his nails into his palms where his fists rest on the alpha's chest.
Yoongi kisses far softer and more gentle than he ever imagined the alpha to kiss. He doesn’t know what he expected - the handful of times he’s done before have been hasty, messy, not really that enjoyable but Jimin had done it anyway because he thought he should, and the boys he’d kissed had played to his praise kink, calling him pretty and it had made him a little easy for it. Not that he'd ever really let it get past kissing.
But Yoongi was completely different, and even though he knows that Yoongi is kissing him with a purpose, might not have ever wanted to touch him at all if they weren't put in this position, he does a good job of pretending if that’s the case.
Yoongi coaxes his mouth open, and Jimin uses his tongue tentatively, nervous that his kissing ability will be found lacking. When Yoongi pulls away a little Jimin maybe expects him to instruct him to be better.
Instead, Yoongi looks worried. “Are you okay? You smell… you seem so nervous. Do you want me to stop?”
Jimin doesn’t; it feels good, but also he doesn’t want to keep putting it off, because he’ll just feel more scared as time goes by. If they don’t sleep together tonight, it’s not gonna get any better tomorrow.
“No,” his voice comes out small, and he clears his throat. Yoongi rubs his hands soothingly against Jimin’s sides. “I think we should- tonight. I’m okay.”
Yoongi looks at him for a moment longer, before nodding and drawing him closer again.
Where his hands are positioned on Jimin’s waist is so hot. Jimin wants to take off his shirt so Yoongi can touch his bare skin, but he doesn’t know how to put it into words. He lets out a tiny noise into the kiss when he feels himself start to get wet, a vaguely familiar sensation. Wants to rub his thighs together as a natural response, but since he's straddling Yoongi's lap he can't. Maybe he squeezes the alpha's legs between his instead because those warm hands fall to his thighs instead, massaging at the muscles. Fingers grip the areas that are the most sensitive and this gets a reaction from his cock, too.
They're close, and when there’s a rumble in the alpha’s chest Jimin feels against his hands. "One thing," Yoongi grunts as he turns his his head for a moment, nosing into Jimin's hair and making shiver. "Try not to leave marks."
"Okay," Jimin says as he exhales a shuddering breath, eyes on the rise and fall of the alpha's broad chest. Apparently Yoongi can sense what he wants or maybe he wants it too because he's moving his hands up again, fingering the hem of Jimin's nightshirt.
"Can I take this off?"
Heart jumping, Jimin nods, helping Yoongi to pull the shirt over his head. Yoongi proceeds to duck his head and kiss at Jimin's chest, and all the omega can do is grip his shoulders tightly at the feeling. He's probably soaking through his sleeping pants.
It's so much more than kissing, and Jimin's instincts are at war. This is a mated alpha touching him in such an intimate way, and Jimin can smell Daehee on him in the way that happens when couples are mated. It gives him a kind of bitter taste at the back of his tongue. On the other hand, the most basic, natural part of him tells him that it feels so good, that this alpha will treat him well, to let him just take. It makes him immobile for a moment, that internal conflict.
His mind wins out, higher thought telling him that he needs to do this, he can't pull away. Maybe it's coupled with the way that Yoongi's hands lower to his ass and squeeze, fingers grazing the spot that he's sure is wet with his slick.
"Alpha," he groans out. It's really already like a sensation overload, and he hasn't even been completely undressed yet.
"It's okay," the prince soothes him with a gravelly voice, picking him up and laying him back again against the pillows. Jimin lets himself be manhandled, it's the easiest way, although he does reach up and tug at his shirt.
Pulling it off, Yoongi gives Jimin access to his upper body. There's more scars there than he expected, no doubt from training, a great contrast to Jimin's smooth, unblemished skin. He can't help but trace one on his shoulder distractedly, a thin line that looked like it came from a sharp blade.
"That was from Hoseok," Yoongi half-laughs, pulling off his own pants quickly as he speaks and leaving himself completely bear. Jimin's automatic response is to look away, his face reddening. It felt wrong to look at the prince openly. Digging his nails into his palms, he presses his thighs together, the pause in their activities giving him time to be embarrassed; he'd never been completely naked in front of someone that wasn't family before. Yoongi is so brazen.
Or possibly not, he thinks as he sees Yoongi's face, possibly just as red as his own. "I know it's embarrassing," he mutters. Jimin swallows. "I was brave and went first."
Laughing helplessly, Jimin gives himself a second to cover his face with his hands, allowing also a little groan. Wouldn't it be wonderful to be a confident seductress, to be able to take his clothes off freely and not have to deal with such an awkward moment. An awkward night.
When he moves his hands the alpha is still sat on his knees in front of him, Jimin's drawn up legs obscuring his gaze from the prince's crotch. "It is embarrassing," he agrees, before kicking off his own pants. His face feels so hot; he knows Yoongi can see everything. Covering his face again, he lays back down. Might as well let him look.
There's a short moment of silence before he feels the bed dip closer to his feet, and there's a hand on his bare knee. "Jimin." The bodiless voice is a little rough, deeper than before. "Can I touch?"
Letting out a soft sigh, Jimin uncovers his eyes, letting his hands rest on his warm cheeks instead. His thighs press together again instinctually when he sees Yoongi's face, his expression so obviously want . He nods.
The alpha comes closer like he's trying not to spook a wounded animal, and spreads Jimin's legs ever so gently to sit between them. He watches Yoongi inhale deeply, nostrils flaring, and the smell of slick must be so much stronger now, and it should be embarrassing but he can see with his own eyes the way Yoongi's body responds to it, cock lifting between his legs. Those big hands return to knead at his thighs and he has to take a shuddering breath.
Jimin hasn't really seen a grown alpha's cock before so it's kind of a surprise, but what's more surprising is his body's reaction to it. It's like his hole actually throbs , which is so lewd he mewls and goes to cover his eyes again. Obviously he has nothing to compare it to so he can't tell if the prince is bigger than average, but it's so big he wonders if what he knows of coupling is actually right, because surely that isn't going to fit inside him?
Yoongi's voice startles him. "I can't tell if you're unhappy if you cover your face," he says, a hand touching one of his wrists gently.
"I just, don't-" He flaps a hand at Yoongi's confused face. "I don't know what to do, okay?" He whines out of frustration.
"I understand," Yoongi murmurs, crawling up Jimin's body to kiss his sternum, his shoulder, his jaw. "It really is embarrassing for me, too."
Jimin kisses his mouth to stop him talking. He's too kind and Jimin doesn't know what to do with it, part of him just wishing that he would get a move on and just take him because he's going so slow and Jimin is so wet already and it's unfair how good the alpha smells, how nice his hands are, and he's trying to treat Jimin well and it's just not making him any less embarrassed. The length of Yoongi's cock drags against his thigh and he groans, rocking his hips up, and Yoongi wraps his hands around him to help lift his hips, inadvertently grazing his slippery hole.
In reaction Jimin basically convulses, whining into Yoongi's mouth because it's so strange and feels so good to have someone touch him there. He swears he gets twice as wet as he was before, and Yoongi pulls away with wide eyes, probably to check that he's okay. Upon seeing Jimin's face he repeats the action, a finger dragging over his entrance, and Jimin bites his lip to catch the wanton moan that almost escapes.
"You're so sensitive," Yoongi says wonderingly, and Jimin is so fucking embarrassed but wants to snap at him to do touch him again already.
He manages to reign in his tone just a little. "Yoongi," he groans. "Please just touch me properly."
Swallowing, Yoongi nods, taking everything in. "Can you turn over?"
Jimin complies, relieved for just a moment because now he can hide his face, but that feeling doesn't last long as he realises that now Yoongi has a full view of him, completely exposed. As Jimin grabs a pillow to hold onto, Yoongi starts to touch him.
First it's his thighs again, and the soft stroke up the inside has him muffling a giggle because it's ticklish. He hears Yoongi huff out a laugh in response before he strokes a hand down Jimin's back, the dip of his spine.
Jimin lets himself relax into his bedsheets. He has to admit that he barely even feels self conscious in a way, feels attractive, even, and he wonders what that says about him. Definitely doesn’t when Yoongi whispers, “pretty,” before pressing a kiss to his spine sweetly.
Too sweet, for what this is, and if Jimin wasn’t so turned on he would overthink it, but right now he’s aching in a completely unfamiliar way. Well, maybe not completely unfamiliar, because he if he were to compare it to anything it would be the same kind of ache he feels in heat, but it's certainly less urgent than that. It's completely different having an alpha present, knowing what he's about to do.
The alpha in question can see as well as smell, now, how wet he is, and Jimin grips the pillow he’s holding tightly at the rumble from Yoongi’s chest. Yoongi starts to rub his index and middle finger around his hole, spreading his slick, and Jimin doesn't know if he should be embarrassed too by just how wet he is. It'll probably make it easier, he reassures himself.
When Yoongi slides a finger inside, though, he jerks, and a clean hand comes to his lower back to hold him down with minimum pressure. "It's okay?" Yoongi asks him worriedly.
"Yeah," Jimin replies, because it doesn't hurt, it's just so strange. And it's not like he hasn't ever fingered himself before either, it just never felt like this. Continuing when Jimin gives the go ahead, Yoongi slides that finger in and out of him slowly, and the omega tries his very best not to get tense when another finger comes to press inside too. It's a little uncomfortable, and yet Jimin can't help but feel like his body is made for it, the slide is so smooth.
But Yoongi only takes his two fingers in to the first knuckle, dipping in so, so slowly, rubbing his rim in between times. After he spreads his legs in an attempt at encouragement that doesn't work, he resorts to begging. "Don't tease me, it's too much," he chokes out.
"M' sorry, gotta go slow, or it might hurt," Yoongi mumbles.
He makes Jimin endure minutes upon minutes like that, opening him up with two fingers properly, and then three. Jimin starts babbling nonsensically because it's more than just sensitive. He feels ready, wants to present, knows it will feel good if Yoongi slides his cock inside now, but the alpha just isn't giving him what he wants, and on top of that he keeps grazing something inside him that's fantastic, has him getting louder and louder every time Yoongi touches him just so.
“Yoongi, ah, ah, please!” He eyes rolling back into his head when the alpha rubs against his prostate. He feels- feels fucking easy, and he reminds himself that this is his job, he’s supposed to be doing this. He's sweating, too, and can feel Yoongi is too, his hand on Jimin's lower back so, so hot.
Then the fingers inside him are slowly pulled out, and Jimin actually wriggles his hips because he's suddenly not being touched anymore and he doesn't understand. Turning his head, he sees Yoongi shifting around, backwards a little, and is taken a little aback by how affected he looks; damp hair from sweat, eyes positively hungry, and his cock hard and red, wetness beading visibly at the tip. Jimin is reminded of the first day he met Yoongi, of feeling like prey.
Yet the alpha's voice stays unforceful, careful. "Can you get up onto your knees?" Helps him, too, with hands on his waist, to stay upright. The embarrassment is gone, now, his body filled with a throbbing want that has him arching his back to tempt the alpha closer.
Yoongi takes him just like that, bringing him up to his knees, and it barely hurts; it feels like his body is made to take it. He’s producing so much slick it’s obscene, the scent strong enough for even him to smell it, and the sound of Yoongi’s cock sliding in and out of him absolutely filthy. The way Yoongi fills him is so much, so good, he can't keep quiet, whimpering and outright moaning throughout.
Pulling out, Yoongi spreads his legs a little further and pushes him down gently by the shoulders, before sliding back in slow, making Jimin cry out once more. He spreads his thighs as much as possible and shoves his pillow down so he has something to rut his cock against needily.
“Fuck,” Yoongi groans. He starts a fast, steady pace, an easy slide, and Jimin just moans, a shiver travelling down his spine as Yoongi grazes something amazing inside of him. He's completely at Yoongi's mercy, and yet Yoongi doesn't seem to take advantage, not careful but Jimin doesn't even blame him, wants it just as hard. Despite the desperation he still seems to try his utmost for Jimin's pleasure, changing angles to best hit where Jimin wants most, tucking a hand underneath Jimin's pillow to press it up to his cock, a broad pressure that's so delicious. At one point he smoothes a hand down Jimin's back when the omega lets out a whimper.
"Yoongi, ah, you-" Jimin isn't even surprised by how weak his voice is, how shaky. His mouth drops open for a moment when Yoongi hits just right, and has to concentrate so hard to speak. "Want, want more, uh-"
"Hm?" A strained sounding Yoongi shifts forward so his hands bracket Jimin's shoulders, getting somehow even deeper, and Jimin whines because he doesn't really know what he wants, although he thinks he's going to come very soon either way. "Jimin, tell me what you want."
All Jimin can do is push his ass back with a frustrated cry, not having the words for what he needs, and push a hand under his hips to hold the pillow up to his cock. Yoongi goes a little harder in an attempt to give him something, hips smacking against him and gripping a hip with one of his hands to hold him steady. The noises are obscene and Jimin only gets louder and louder as he gets closer to coming. That's when he feels something bump against his hole, something widening at the base of Yoongi's cock, and he practically wails because that's it, that's what he wants.
"Please, please, give it to me, that, oh, please," he cries, and maybe Yoongi realises what he's aching for because he growls, hips slamming into him as his knot grows, pulling it in and out of Jimin who gets increasingly vocal about the painpleasure .
It keeps growing and that's how Jimin comes, making a mess of his pillow as the alpha above him thrusts into him animalistically. He prolongs Jimin's orgasm, the time it takes for him to come down from his high, until it's all too much, his body tingling with sensitivity everywhere but especially his rim.
Luckily Yoongi is close too, struggling to pull out each time now until he really can't, hips still jerking against him, and Jimin curls his hands in the sheets and holds on. The knot is huge, and now his mind is a little clearer he has no idea how they did that. His mouth drops open and he shudders when liquid starts to spurt inside him. It doesn't feel bad but it certainly feels strange, warm, and maybe even a little good. His mind starts to drift as he hears Yoongi panting above him, their hips locked together and now unmoving. It's like he's tired down to his bones.
It takes a while for Yoongi to come back to his senses, his cock spurting inside of the omega for minutes on end. When he does, he sounds panicked.
"Jimin, Jimin, are you okay? Did I hurt you?"
Jimin hears his name being called distantly, and snaps back to reality when Yoongi starts to move them so they're lying on their sides. The tiny distressed noise he makes has Yoongi wrapping his arms around him.
"Are you in any pain?" he's saying, and Jimin looks up at him where he's hovering over his shoulder. They're still connected so intimately, and he's starting to feel the awkwardness again. He'd really lost himself for a minute there, doesn't know if he should be ashamed of himself for it.
"I'm okay," he whispers, throat hoarse from making so much noise. He wonders how long they will be stuck together for. It feels so strange inside.
When he's sure that Jimin is unharmed Yoongi's expression is difficult to read, and Jimin thinks he looks a little angry but he doesn't say anything to Jimin about it. Laying down behind him, Yoongi removes all contact apart from where their hips are together, and the room falls painfully silent.
Jimin is so, so thankful when Yoongi's knot starts to deflate, and it doesn't take more than five minutes before he's pulling out very, very slowly. Everything is so sensitive there, and the sensation sparks something like arousal again in Jimin's gut, so he whines at Yoongi to be faster. The alpha complies silently, but the rush of liquid out of Jimin afterwards has him absolutely mortified.
As Yoongi pulls his clothes back on, stumbling out of the room in the dark because nearly all of the candles had melted down, Jimin rethinks what he's always thought about why omegas don’t have sex before mating. He always thought it was because it could get you ostracised, make other alphas not want you as a mate, all kinds of societal reasons. There's no way he expected for his first time to be so much, so much feeling, without him even being previously romantically attached to the alpha in question. It was the buzz that he imagines magic to feel like, and so passionate, even though he has no idea how he's going to look Yoongi in the eye again. Or, he cringes, Yoongi's mate.
There's no doubt in his mind that he would never, even forget this night, Yoongi's touch on his skin.