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Jaemin is three seconds away from having his greatest emotional meltdown.

 

He wants to scream his frustrations out, but the duct tape haphazardly stuck by the masked men to his lips prevented him from doing so.

 

Why now? Jaemin thinks. He knew one way or another that he’d end up in a situation like this. His own boyfriend had been the one to warn him that dating a mafia boss put him in every single rivaling groups’ hit list.

 

Come to think of it, it’s a real miracle that it took almost a year of secret dates and sneaking around to go to the older man’s multiple rest houses before the other mafias caught up to them.

 

They’ve had countless of dates and vacations all over the world, too wrapped up in each other and were (potentially) vulnerable to other groups, yet these men chose this exact moment to attack him. unbelievable.

 

If he was being honest, the looming shadow of his lover’s rivals caused him to be paranoid. Having memorized seven numbers by heart, ready to call in any panic-inducing situation. The first five being all of Jeno’s different numbers, the sixth being his housemate Mark’s, and the seventh being his mother’s. Always looking over his shoulder whenever he was walking around even remotely suspicious streets.

 

Shoes tightly laced (double knotted) and ready to run.

 

He’d like to think he was always prepared, even when he was inside his university.

 

So naturally, it happened on a Wednesday afternoon while he was just in his room, specs hanging dangerously low on his nose. Well, technically, it was his and Mark’s room already. The house they’ve been renting for two years now was small and humble, having two floors and two rooms in total. But the two college students preferred to stay together in one room in order to save electricity, their quiet and respectful natures making it easy for them to coexist.

 

He was casually sitting in front of his and Mark’s shared desk, in nothing but a loose tattered shirt and pastel pink pajamas with baby pig prints. Truly, it was not the best outfit to be seen in by your lover’s enemies.

 

One minute he was innocently finishing number 16 on his Differential Calculus worksheet, the other a gun was pressed to his temple and suddenly everything was a blur of limbs, crushed specs, duct tapes, ropes, and a nasty cut on his right cheekbone. In his panicked haze, he couldn’t even tell if it was done by a knife or a fist.

 

One minute he was going to have a meltdown because of his workload, the other he was going to have a meltdown because of the two masked men inside his room. None of them his sweet and admittedly a spaz of a roommate.

 

Jaemin was fucked.

 

It took him two whole minutes to let the situation sink in. His thoughts a constant annoying cycle of shit shit fuck what the fuck shit shit shit fuck.

 

Okay, Jaemin thinks. He can do this.

 

He didn’t work his engineering student ass off just to be killed at 20.

 

“Assess the situation,” He remembers Jeno always saying, “When you get into trouble, assess the situation first. Then immediately call me for help.”

 

So he squints his eyes and observes his surroundings as best as he can with his pitiable vision. Two men clad in all black clothing, masks covering half of their faces. One taller than the other, while the other was tanner. Taller was raven haired. Tanner’s hair was dyed an ugly shade of red. At least one knife and one gun.

 

“Yes, sir.” The taller speaks into his phone, voice gruff. “He’s contained.”

 

“Poor pretty little thing,” Ugly red squats right next to him, and to his horror, tucks a stray hair behind his ear. “you know we’ve always known about you. 2nd year civil engineering student in one of the top universities in the country. Staying just a five minute walk away from his elite university. On scholarship, with one other housemate. Mark Lee. He’s not here, right? Lucky bastard. Poor you. Eldest son to a single mother living two hours away from here. Little brother studying in the Kim Jongin Hope Primary School.”

 

No.

 

Jaemin’s eyes widen at the mention of his younger brother, suddenly screeching and struggling. Not my Jisung, his mind protests, but the masked man only laughs. “Don’t worry, kid, we still got a few stray morals… You know it didn’t have to be this way. We only asked one thing from that stuck up boyfriend of yours. Offered a whole lot for it too. But he wouldn’t take billions from us, Jaemin. Do you reckon he’d give it to us for you?”

 

He’d kill you for me, Jaemin wants to say, but the duct tape fortunately stopped him from snarling it into the masked men’s faces.

 

Half of him is still shocked to the core that this is happening. Even when he was preparing himself for this day to come, he’s still not actually prepared.

 

And the worst of it all was that he had about a thousand deadlines dangling above his head.

 

He hadn’t even finished number 16 in his worksheet yet for God’s sake, there were 14 more numbers to go. Deadline: tomorrow. Not to mention his paper in Chemistry. Friday. And the advance reading he has to do in Physics because he cannot afford to fail another quiz.

 

He also has to juggle the new choreography for the dance team and the event proposal he has to finish for his youth organization. And these are things he loves so dearly and holds so so so close to his heart, but right now they’re just another additional boulder to his 345-floor-building of Work.

 

He knew Jeno would get him out of this situation. He’s not going to get hurt. He trusts the older man with everything he’s got and he knows for sure that there’s nothing Jeno wouldn’t do for him, but the mere thought of losing all this precious time being held hostage when he could be finishing all his homework and revisions choked Jaemin up.

 

He could’ve finished his works and sneaked a few naps in between. But at this rate, he wouldn’t be getting any sleep till the weekend. If he’s lucky.

 

The thoughts of seeing another physics test marked 0.0 scratched his lungs.

 

It wasn’t helping that he was so frustrated because of his poor vision. When all of this is through, it’s going to take him a while to get new glasses and working without them would be a complete nightmare. He’s going to have the hardest time seeing the lesson in class even if he sits upfront.

 

His chin wobbled (albeit difficultly) under the duct tape, and the droplets of tears he tried so hard to hold escaped his eyes.

 

If you ask Jaemin, he’d say that he was honestly not a crybaby (and he wouldn’t be lying). But today is just not the right time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

He doesn’t know how long he’s been sniveling, and it’s really so stupid that he can’t stop himself from crying, because the tape over his mouth is making it hard for him to breathe.

 

It was about half an hour later when the taller of the masked men went up to him and ungracefully pulled the tape from his mouth, making him scream.

 

A knife was pressed to his throat by the taller man in a heartbeat.

 

“Keep it down, kid.” Ugly red head hisses at him, before pressing a black phone to his ear.

 

For a while, Jaemin only hears static.

 

A beat passes, then a low, “Hey, baby.”

 

Hey, baby, his lover says. To the untrained ear, it would sound like every single time the mafia boss calls him when he’s picking him up from his university. Or when he calls in the middle of the night, because he just knows that the younger boy feels off.

 

Hey, baby, he says, like everything’s completely normal.

 

But Jaemin’s ears were very much trained to recognize these types of things. Jeno is livid.

 

He hears it. The edge to his lover’s voice. He can almost imagine the iron grip on his phone, the tense shoulders, and the dangerous glint of Jeno’s eyes. He knows it’s there.

 

He cries harder.

 

Baby. You’re crying.” Jeno almost whispers. “Don’t. Those scums don’t deserve your tears.”

 

“I—I can’t help i-it—”

 

We’re almost there. I’m coming to get you.”

 

Jaemin sniffs, “I know.”

 

“I’m going to rip them apart for laying a hand on you, Jamie.”

 

“Y-yes, please.”

 

“Okay. Be a good boy for me love, will you? I told you to assess the situation. Are you tied? Say baby if you are.”

 

Jaemin casts a worried glance to the men inside the room, “Baby.”

 

The man on the other line grumbles, clearly angry. “How many are inside the room with you? Say okay for how many there are.”

 

“O-okay, okay.”

 

Jeno hums, “There’s no need to be scared, Jamie. Hyuck’s on foot so he might reach you first. You need to follow whatever he says alright, pet?”

 

The college student sags in relief at the thought of Jeno’s top employee, as Jaemin likes to call him. The sunkissed man was playful and affectionately called by his own boss as an “annoying, ungrateful, and loudmouthed little bitch.” But Jeno trusts him, so therefore Jaemin trusts Donghyuck with his life.

 

“Okay.” He replies in a small voice.

 

Good boy.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

As if he was summoned, not even a few minutes later, a strong foot dramatically kicks the door of their room down. Much to Jaemin’s horror. Mark’s going to be pissed about that.

 

“Hello boys,” The sunkissed man declares, entirely too enthusiastic.

 

Without even giving the masked men the chance to react, a blur of bronze limbs fly across the room.

 

Jaemin couldn’t see clearly, oh his poor specs, but he hears punches and kicks. Grunts here and there. A little scream Jaemin pretends he never heard to save whoever it came from’s pride.

 

He has seen Donghyuck in fights before. At least for training. He somehow wishes he could see it clearly now, even in their small room. He can imagine how gritty his grin is, can almost feel the excitement of the other as he knocks them out expertly. The man’s crazy, Jaemin thinks. It’s nothing short of entertaining.

 

What was that, not even two minutes? How embarrassing. “Not a lot of blood today, Hyuckie. You feeling generous?”

 

“Not at all, sweetheart, but boss wanted to do the honors. Ordered a few guys to bring these monkeys to our slaughter house.” The sunkissed man’s eyes zero in on his cheekbone the second he turns towards the younger, a pile of limbs at his feet. “Oh, today’s going to be great.” He declares, giggling. “Does it hurt, Nana?”

 

Jaemin sniffs, “It stings a little.”

 

Donghyuck’s grin widens. “Make sure to tell Jeno that, yeah? With that wide eyes pout thing you do. He’s going to dismantle them.” He giggles, giddiness evident in his features. “Promise me you’ll tell him to let me watch?”

 

Used to Jeno’s second-in-command’s antics, he merely nods.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“What the fuck is that on your face?” is the first thing Jeno says when he enters the room, clad in a navy blue suit. Regal, as always, but it still knocks the breath out of him.

 

He’s angry, Jaemin’s sure. He calmly walks over the fallen door, carefully evading the debris of Donghyuck’s playtime. Jaemin can almost feel the heat simmering just above the surface of his skin. The lot of the masked men are absolutely done for.

 

Jeno doesn’t spare the two masked men inside the room a glance. The college student’s captors are now tied by a single rope, back to back. Hands and knees immobile. Both still clearly knocked out.

 

Jeno reaches him, still sitting down, back to their desk. And suddenly all the frustration, the dull ache in his head, and the fear in his heart is gone. Suddenly, the only thing that exists is he and Jeno. Jeno crouching down and leaning closer to him, faces merely inches apart. Jeno holding his left cheek with one of his hands and holding the side of his neck with the other.

 

“Did they hit you?” The older man’s voice is low and deep. dangerous. His sharp gaze zeroed in intensely on the sting on the younger’s left cheek.

 

Jaemin feels the slight trickle of blood on his cheek, “I — I don’t know, Jen. I panicked, you know how I get when I’m— I was scared I — I didn’t even see who did it— Are there really others? What if Mark comes home, he might—” 

 

“Shh, pet. It’s okay. I’m taking you away from here, and Mark can come too if he likes. Don’t worry, Chenle and Renjun are having their fun with the men outside.”

 

The younger frowns, “Lele and Injunnie? Just the two of them? Will they be okay?”

 

Jeno’s lips curl upwards at that. Top fighters of one of the most notorious mafias in the country, and his baby calls them Lele and Injunnie.

 

“Chenle and Renjun can take on a hundred men blindfolded. Fifty amateurs won’t be a problem.”

 

“Why did they do this, anyway? I—”

 

“It’s because they were asking me for a new weapon we manufactured. It’s still new but it’s brilliant. Worth more than the billions they offered.”

 

Of course, Jaemin thinks. He remembers his boyfriend once answering his question of What does your mafia group thingy really do? The other had chuckled at him before vaguely answering that more than anything, what generates most of their income is arms dealing.

 

When the younger doesn’t reply, Jeno stares intently at cut on his cheekbone, softly running his finger just below it, “They’re all going to die for this.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hours later, when they’ve left Jaemin and Mark’s home in disarray, they lay in Jeno’s king-sized bed.

 

Jeno took him immediately to one of his rest houses in the next city, with the promise of Donghyuck waiting for Mark back in their rented house, to guard him or to take him away, whatever the other college boy prefers.

 

Jaemin couldn’t help it, he asks, “Would you have given them the thingy they wanted… if there wasn’t any other way?”

 

His boyfriend smiles softly at him, and he marvels at how he is the only one who can see Jeno Lee this way. “If there wasn’t any other way, I’d give them a thousand. For you. Anything for you.”

 

Jaemin’s heart swells, still in his tattered shirt and pig pajamas. But Jeno, a 26-year-old mafia boss and bajillionaire, probably, can do anything, and would do anything. For him. “Okay.”

 

“I missed you, pet. Come closer and give me my kiss.”

 

For a moment, Jaemin just stares at his lover. His back was against the headboard, as his long legs stretch above the comforter. His navy blue blazer abandoned and long forgotten on the floor, but the white button up remained, albeit almost half unbuttoned, exposing his chest. The younger boy’s eyes linger on the older’s rolled up sleeves and the glinting rolex around his wrist. His throat becomes a desert.

 

Slowly, he crawls up his lover, caging the older’s hips with his knees, carefully settling himself on the other’s thighs.

 

With a sort of gentleness Jeno has never received from anyone but his lover, Jaemin obeys him and presses his lips against the other’s.

 

“I— I missed you too, Jen.” He whispers in between their kisses.

 

Jeno’s hands lower to the younger’s hips, almost immediately. He uses his hold to pull the younger flush to his chest.

 

The older was greedy, grabbing and tightening, not letting the younger pull away even for a second to breathe. Like everything else he does, he kisses like it’s a command. powerful.

 

The younger feels a very slight ache on each side of his hips from where he was tugged, but he ignores it completely in favor of entertaining the insistent mouth moving against his own.

 

Jaemin is absolutely in love with how the older man kisses. It was always too much. Too intense and too passionate and just so full.

 

Jeno’s kiss is an overflow.

 

It was such a complete 180 to the calm and untouchable façade he always portrays in front of his workers and enemies.

 

The younger’s fingers get tangled in his lover’s hair, his hands dipping under the older’s button up to caress his wide shoulder blades from time to time, as he feels strong arms tighten around him.

 

When he struggles to breathe, Jaemin has to forcibly pull away from the other, but not without his lower lip being bitten down.

 

He presses his hands against his lover’s chest, to keep the other away or to steady himself, he’s not even sure anymore.

 

Babe. Let me breathe, I need to breathe.”

 

Jeno hums, eyes half-lidded. He doesn’t even look like he’s listening.

 

Not even a heartbeat later, Jeno takes both of his wrists in a single hand, moving it from his chest and caging it against the bed to the side.

 

He gently tilts the younger’s head to the right, but he’s next actions were anything but gentle.

 

Instantly he buries his nose in the crook of his lover’s neck. “You smell like strawberries, pet.” He inhales softly, voice muffled by the other’s skin.

 

And of course, Jaemin can do nothing but release an embarrassing sound from the back of his throat.

 

He scatters kisses, some soft some long some openmouthed, along the column of the younger’s neck.

 

Jaemin’s breath hitches when he feels a velvet tongue drag from his collarbone to the back of his ear. “Babe.

 

The older man merely hums again, scattering butterfly kisses across the other’s throat. Not leaving a single centimeter unkissed and untouched. The younger turns even softer and more pliant in his hold.

 

Breathless. There wasn’t any other word for how Jaemin felt.

 

He doesn't remember how long he stayed like that, arms to the side, sitting on Jeno’s lap, head tilted to the side to give his lover the freedom to do whatever he desires.

 

The younger gasps when he feels Jeno bite down harshly, “Babe. Babe, please.”

 

Jeno exhales loudly, pulling away, and immediately freeing the other’s wrists from his hold. A beat passes, before he softly presses a single kiss to the tip of the younger’s nose.

 

After a quiet moment, Jaemin speaks again.

 

“Will you help me with my calculus worksheet? Problem number 16 has been bugging me all day.”