You were perfect, and all of the bidders knew it. A human, with features that hybrids found especially appealing, and an untainted bloodline. You had been tested for fertility, and were found to be excessively fertile.
Which was another reason the bidding was climbing so high. With female hybrids slowly becoming less and less fertile, less able to have kids as time went on due to less variation in the gene pool from humans, the hope of the future rested in humans. But since human populations had crashed, what few humans were left were snatched up.
Your own parents had died trying to keep the people who owned you from getting you, on some homestead that they had hidden on for six years, losing you when you were four.
After that, your life had been as you remembered it. Plain, educational, but boring. Your life was spent preparing you to be the perfect mate for a hybrid, learning specific things to please them
You didn’t pay any attention to the glamour of the auction around you, having resigned to your fate many years ago. You were more surprised that you were clothed while in front of all the bidders, even if it was just simple cotton dress.
Then again, that might have been to keep order. The bidders seemed a little…hungry. Their gazes were glittering in the low light, licking their lips and sizing you up despite your lack of attention to any of them.
To pass the time you were admiring some of the dresses that the women were wearing and wishing that you could have some of the food that you could just barely smell from the stage. You were hungry, but not looking forward to the bland dinner you would receive after the auction.
“One billion,” a voice called out, causing gasps and murmurs.
You looked up, eyes wide. That was…quite the jump.
“One billion to the gentleman in the back, going once…twice…sold! For one billion dollars.”
You were led off of the stage, carefully now that you were worth so much, as if that would change the bruises and scars on your skin from all the times you were treated like trash.
You silently counted the seconds and minutes until your new owner came to get you as you were washed again and fed a plain dinner to keep your stomach from grumbling when you’re with your new owner.
You waited in a cage, sitting cross-legged on the cold cement floor.
Finally, he was guided back into the room where you were being held. Your new owner. The father of the children you would bear in his service.
4,942 seconds or 82 minutes and 22 seconds.
He was handsome, especially compared to the men you were usually around. He had a head of thick black hair with white and black ears that were mostly rounded at the tip. His tail was white with black stripes and you realized that he was a white Bengal tiger hybrid.
And he looked angry.
You dropped your gaze to the cement floor, fear spiking in your stomach and tightening your chest.
“Get her out of there. Is this acceptable to you? Treating her like an animal?” His tail lashed behind him, the only thing you dared look at.
The cage was opened by the worker. “Get up!” The nasty woman hissed at you.
“Don’t talk to her like that,” He snapped, then he stepped toward you. “Are you alright, y/n?”
You were surprised at the gentleness in his voice as he addressed you, but you nodded quickly in response. You didn’t want to anger him.
His hand gently tilted your chin up so you were looking into his eyes. They were gentle and sad, flicking over your face. He had chocolate brown eyes, unusual for a white Bengal tiger. “Are you okay?”
“Yes,” You quickly answered.
He took a breath. “Rule one: No lying.”
You dropped your gaze. “Yes sir.”
He sighed. “Come with me. We’re going home, y/n.” He turned on his heel gracefully and briskly walked away.
You quickly followed him, not wanting to risk his wrath being directed toward you.
He didn’t look back, but he paused when you stumbled and when you had to catch you breath. Then he would continue, at a slightly slower pace than before.
He led you into a new room, where he grabbed a dress and held it out to you. “Put this on.”
You swallowed hard, but started to obey.
His eyes widened and he grabbed your wrist, pointing to a door. “In there.”
You felt your face grow unbearably warm and hurried into the room to change into the soft dress. It wasn’t fancy like some of the gowns you had seen on the women at the event, but it was the prettiest and softest dress you had ever worn. You went back out to your new owner, keeping your gaze down.
“Better,” He purred, then cleared his throat. “Toss that thing in the trash. You don’t need it anymore. Y/n, you are safe with me. No one will ever hurt you again. You will never go hungry. I will take care of you.”
You nodded, knowing that it was all offered because you would have his kids. You were a means to an end: offspring. He would use your body, and care for you so he could use your body again.
He was watching you closely, reaching forward and touching your hair.
You flinched back. “It’s not clean, sir.” They had cleaned your body, but your hair hadn’t been washed properly.
He frowned. “Call me Jimin. We’ll go home and get you cleaned up properly.” His eyes were soft and joined his face in a look you had never seen directed at you. “When was the last time you smiled?”
You were surprised by his question. “I don’t know, s—Jimin.”
He looked conflicted. “You don’t know?”
“I do not think of smiles, they just happen without my knowing, , Jimin.” You kept your eyes on the shoes. They looked expensive, reminding you that he spent a lot of money on you. “I will be more aware of myself, sir.”
“Jimin, please, y/n. I didn’t mean it as criticism. I simply didn’t understand in my concern for your health and happiness,” He explained, gently cupping your face in his hands and tilting your face to gaze at his smiling one. “What makes you smile?”
You hesitated, then looked down at the new dress, feeling a smile tug at your lips. “I like soft things.”
“Me too!” He sounded happy. “We’ll get you lots of soft things, y/n. I already have lots of soft blankets but we’ll get you sweaters and pajamas and slippers.”
You risked a look at your new owner, taking in the genuinely happy expression on his face.
His smile turned into a grin as he caught your eyes on him. “In my house, we are equals. Lets go home, y/n.”
You tensed slightly, realizing he would probably breed you once in his home. It was probably better that way, but you weren’t sure why it was suddenly hitting you so hard.
He waited a moment then offered you his hand.
You took it, reminding yourself that you had always been aware of your fate and that he at least seemed benevolent.
His fingers closed gently around yours, and the gently tension from the contact caused you to move closer to him as he turned and walked back into the hallways. He led the way out of the endless hallways, then into a large room full of warm light and carpets with people milling here and there.
Jimin’s grip tightened, his gaze becoming stony. “Stay close. I’ll protect you.”
You stepped closer, slightly behind him.
He walked confidently through, giving cold looks to anyone who attempted to approach him. He walked out into the night air with you in tow, handing a piece of paper to the man standing there, then turned to you after taking his jacket off and helping you put it on after a moment of confusion.
Then the paper man came back driving a sleek car that shone darkly, and quickly got out, tossing Jimin the keys with a strong flick of his tail and hurrying to help the next person as Jimin helped you into the passenger seat of his car.
He didn’t seemed to relax until he was driving you both away from the building. “I honestly thought we’d run into trouble before we got out of there. It’s a bit of a drive, you can nap if you like. There’s a blanket in the backseat.”
You glanced at the back seat. “I’m…not really tired, sir.”
His smile faded. “Jimin.”
You winced. “Sorry. Jimin.”
“It’s alright, I know that they…trained you to say that. I can’t wait to show you the house! There’s a pool and I have a great garden and we can see the stars! I don’t cook, but the kitchen is great.”
You listened to him talking excitedly, wondering if that meant he wanted you to cook for him. Better safe than sorry. Wait, had he been implying before that you should rest because you’d be up for a while once you reached his home?
“Sorry it took me so long to get back there, they insisted on me filling out a bunch of paper work and then they tried to make me wait until the auction was over.”
“4,942 seconds, or 82 minutes and 22 seconds. That’s actually less time than some owners take.” And you knew, you counted every time someone else was bought.
“Really? Sorry. They tried to force an extra fee on me too since you’re an endangered species. Which I argued was exactly why a fee shouldn’t be forced on me since I’m technically an endangered species as well.” He kept talking, and you realized he was trying to fill the silence.
Your throat was dry and your tongue felt thick as you scrambled for something to say so that he wouldn’t get upset with you. “So an heir is needed as soon as possible.”
He got quiet, and looked rather surprised. “Um…well…I…not…not that soon. I mean…” He was turning red in the face. “I don’t even really know you, and you don’t really even know me. I don’t want to do anything until you’re ready. It’s just…I knew I could take better care of you than those monsters and…I can’t have kids with another hybrid. I do need an heir, but…I also want companionship. A lifelong partner.”
“And…you’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. Wait, how do you know how many seconds?”
His eyes widened. “You…counted the seconds?”
“I’m very good at keeping track of time. Some days there’s nothing else to do.”
He shivered slightly. “Do you read?”
“What kind of books do you like?”
What kind of question was that? Wait, were there different kinds of books? You’d only read four books your entire life, two of which were about pregnancy, one about keeping a house and pleasing a husband, and one about sex.
He glanced at you. “Fantasy? Romance? Sci-fi?”
You stared at him blankly. “Um, instructional?”
He made a face. “They didn’t let you read other kinds of books? What about movies?”
You fidgeted in your seat. “Instructional.”
Jimin glanced at you again, looking both curious and concerned. “What kind of instructional movies?”
He looked upset. “Tomorrow, we’re having a movie marathon and you’re seeing all the best movies I own.”
“That…” He sighed with frustration. “Okay. Here’s how life is going to be. You’re going to make your own choices, you’re not going to need orders from me, we’re not going to be together…sexually until you’re comfortable, and I’m not actually ready to have kids just yet. Maybe in a couple years. I want you to be happy and healthy. I mean, I won’t complain if I could cuddle with you every now and then. I’ve been lonely for a while.”
“Cuddle?” The word sparked hazy memories of arms wrapped lovingly around you. You were safe and warm. “I…I haven’t done that since my parents, I think.”
“You…” He struggled for a moment. “Okay, so I need to reintroduce you to cuddling…” He pulled into the driveway of his…huge home…and then parked in one of the garages.
You got out, guessing that it was the next logical step.
He smiled at you, then took your hand gently. “I’ve got you, y/n. Come on. The house can seem big and overwhelming, but after you explore it some it won’t be quite so daunting. You’ll have free reign.”
You looked up at him, letting him pull you close to his side. You had to trust him.
He led you into the house, which led straight to a huge kitchen.
You looked around in awe as Jimin led you through the house. “You live here? Alone?”
He nodded. “I only have a housekeeper. Comes in every Tuesday and Thursday. He’s a friend, needed some extra work. Hangs out with me. But yeah, it’s just…me.” He led you up stairs.
Putting together everything you knew of him, it was a logical to assume that it might please him if you at least slept beside him. You had no qualms about just sleeping beside him. He was nice, and seemed gentle. Soft, almost. Maybe a little moody, but also excitable and cheerful.
He gestured to the hallway. “You can pick—”
“Can I stay with you?” You whispered in a rush.
He looked at you in surprise. “Are you sure?”
You nodded, pressing closer to his side.
He smiled softly, wrapping his arm around your shoulders. “Alright.” He seemed a little smiley and shy. It was adorable.
His smile grew. “You have a beautiful smile.” He led the way down the hall to a room that was quite obviously the master suite. He opened the door and you beheld a huge sitting room with beautiful wood floors and high ceilings. The couches had blankets and pillows thrown around. Everything looked incredibly plush, yet sophisticated.
You took it all in with wide eyes.
He led you through a pair of French doors and into an even bigger bedroom. He waited by the doors, his arm dropping from your shoulder and he nodded for you to go in and look around.
You tentatively walked further in, studying the windows and the flooring, the seating in the rounded area to your left. Then the large bed to your right.
You looked back at him, sucking in your lower lip before releasing it and looking back. “That’s a big bed.”
“It’s a lonely bed,” He murmured, coming over and tentatively wrapping his arms around you. “Do you want some of my clothes to sleep in?”
You blinked. “Oh…I suppose so.” You leaned back against him, surprised at how nice it felt to be held by him. You could feel the strength in him, and it made you feel surprisingly safe to be in his arms.
You remembered suddenly that your hair wasn’t clean and jerked away. “My hair isn’t clean.”
“Mmm, so you said before.” He murmured. “Bathroom is through here.”
You followed him into a spacious bathroom that looked far too nice for you to be using.
He turned on the shower. “Go ahead and use my shampoo. Take your time. Here’s a towel and I’ll set some clothes out for you to wear in the closet just over there.” He kissed your forehead and then went into the closet to do that while you stared after him, then looked at the shower.
You bathed quickly, even though he said to take your time, because you were nervous. You were certain that at any moment he would come back in and scold you for taking so long.
But when you came out in the shirt and shorts he had set out for you, he just smiled at you. He was wearing pajamas different clothing as well and apparently getting the bed ready to be slept in.
You went over and stood beside the bed, then climbed on when he gestured for you to lay down next to him.
He carefully wrapped his arms around you and pulled you close to him, he guided your head to his shoulder and smelled your hair. He made a contended sound and snuggled close. His body relaxed. “Are you comfortable?”
You smiled a little, making a contented sound. This was very nice, and despite everything you had been taught and every assumption that you made you liked him and were happy to be with him. You knew that it could have been much worse. Much, much worse.
He hummed happily, then started singing softly, an angelic voice coming out of that perfect mouth. It wasn’t a song that you knew, but it was beautiful and it put you right into the absolute best sleep you had ever had.