This book is dedicated to an omega too beautiful for this world and too strong to be put down any longer, Kim Seokjin
I still love you and our children with all my heart, and I will never stop fighting for you.
~ Kim Namjoon
Jin wished he did two things differently.
He wished he didn’t let his pride take hold of him in times he needed to remain silent, and he wished he didn’t take hold of pride in times he needed to remain cautious. But those were mistakes he couldn’t change. These were mistakes he made when he thought he had the world in his hands, and these were mistakes he made when he thought he wouldn’t have another chance to even just touch it. And now in the darkness, these only became regrets that he would harbor deep in his heart forever.
November 12, 1889
The day the 'Omega Unemployment Law' was passed:
Jin sighed and pulled his pen out of his coat, sitting down in a chair beside the table his patient was sitting on as he wrote in his notepad and explained, “The tests came back Mrs. Rybakov, and it seems your exhaustion and nausea are just simple symptoms caused by pregnancy. We can schedule you for an ultrasound later this week to check the progress of the baby, but judging by what you’re saying, you should be just a little over a month along.”
He spoke as if this news was bad, because if it were him, he’d probably already be searching for the nearest underground abortion clinic to get rid of it, but the woman only smiled proudly like how most omegas did, her face lighting up as if she already knew before she gasped, “That’s amazing! I can’t believe I’m actually…” she pressed her hands to her stomach and her smile softened, “Kangy is going to be so excited… We’ve been trying for years; we were just about to give up!”
“Well congratulations,” Jin faked a smile and stood up since it seemed like he wouldn’t be having to convince her that this was a good thing or secretly recommending underground clinics to her. “I’ll send in a nurse to help you fill out paperwork and schedule your next appointment.”
“Alright!” she smiled, kicking her legs happily off the side of the table. She looked like she was spaced out and thinking about what the future held with her new unborn baby that she was finally getting to have as Jin left, but before he could leave and move on to his next patient, she let out a sound of shock and quickly asked him, “Dr. Kim, you’re an omega, right?”
Jin had his hand on the handle, wishing he had escaped the room before she could have asked him about his secondary gender that he felt meant nothing to his actual status due to his high ranking job, but he stayed and nodded his head anyway, answering her with a small smile, “Yes, I’m an omega. Why do you ask?”
“Well…” she looked down and frowned, “Haven’t you heard?…”
Jin tilted his head in confusion, “Heard what? I’m always busy with running this clinic, so I don’t have much time to read the news,” his smile widened so his words wouldn’t seem rude, but he hated being lumped in with all of the other omegas who had nothing better to do with their time than make children, be happy housewives, and gossip.
He was a doctor.
Sure, he was engaged to his alpha partner who he ran the clinic with, but that didn’t change anything. He loved Minjae, and that’s why he decided to say yes when the alpha proposed, but that didn’t mean he was going to quit his job and become a homemaker for the rest of his life. In fact, it was quite the opposite. Minjae knew that he wouldn’t leave his job for anything, and he respected that. Jin’s first love was his job, and no omega stereotype or alpha could change that.
His patient seemed apologetic now as she regrettably told him about what he had been missing out on while being buried in his passion for work, “Well… There’s a new law that was passed yesterday and will be officially enforced throughout the next week across the country. Omegas aren’t allowed to work anymore,” she bit her lip and look down at her lap, “I actually was forced to quit my secretary job as soon as my employer heard about the law because the government is threatening to shut down any business allowing omegas to work under them.”
“W-What?” Jin laughed a little under his breath and shook his head, “Did you’re boss make up that excuse just to have you fired? No way would the government allow such a-!
“It’s true…” she looked down, messing with her hands in her lap, “It’s part of the new movement. The government is wanting omegas to return back to our place where we are supposed to be in society. We can either choose to be homemakers, or we can be outcasted or homeless because we can’t afford to take care of ourselves on our own. They are shutting down omega bank accounts too. If you haven’t heard about it, then you might still have time before they reach your account. You should take everything out before you lose it all, just because-!”
The door opened and Jin was forced to tear his attention away from the omega that was spouting nonsense that Jin could only hope was nonsense since it was sending chills down his spine. He turned to see his alpha entering, glancing about the room until his eyes landed on Jin and he smiled, “Oh, there you are! We have a patient with a broken nose, and I was wondering if you could handle it because I’m busy dealing with a toddler with a fever.”
“Ooh, fun,” Jin smiled, automatically feeling calm from sensing Minjae’s pheromones that smelled like black tea and honey. He was sure Minjae also smelled like that because that was what he was constantly drinking in order to keep himself calm with patients constantly walking into their clinic with broken bones, fevers, and concerns about their health, but Jin didn’t care where it came from just as long as he got to smell it on his fiance.
He turned to his patient and was reminded of his previous feelings of fear though, his smile fading as he spoke in a low tone of voice now, “I’ll send a nurse in. Congratulations on your pregnancy.”
“Good luck to you, Dr. Kim,” the woman called out to him one last time, and Jin left, assuring himself for now that she was a crazy omega that blamed the government for her lack of status instead of the fact that she probably got fired because she gossiped like this all day long and didn’t do her job right.
Yeah, he was sure that must be the case. Why would the government come all this way in giving omega’s rights only to rip it away from them all over again? It just didn’t make sense.
Minjae followed behind him as he walked, and he wrapped his arm around Jin when they walked down an empty hallway towards the patient with the broken nose’s room, “Hey, we should close up the clinic a little early today and pick up some food to eat while we listen to the radio. I heard a new podcast channel opened up, and they read short stories all day! How does that sound?”
Jin turned to Minjae and smiled a little, his eyes soft as a light pink color slowly crept up on his cheeks and he said sweetly, “Minjae, don’t wrap your arm around me at work, please.”
“Oh, sorry,” Minjae quickly took his hand off of Jin’s waist and stuffed them into his pockets instead, “We’ll talk later about dinner then?”
“No,” Jin shook his head and glanced around himself to make sure they were all alone before he leaned up on his tip toes to kiss Minjae on the cheek, “Closing up early and picking up dinner sounds great. How about you finish up with your last patient and go pick up something while I close up here and meet you home? I heard about that new podcast too so I’m excited to hear the stories they read.”
“Sounds like a plan,” Minjae grinned and stepped towards his current patient's room, “I’ll go pick up the food right after I'm done. See you at home in thirty minutes?”
Jin grinned, “Forty-five.”
“Of course,” Minjae laughed to himself and shook his head before attending to his last patient of the day and then finishing up by sending the little boy and his family home with some medicine and a note to give to his school since he had missed the day because of his fever.
He then quickly changed out of his white coat he wore at the clinic and into a fur coat to go out into the cold November air that enwrapped the whole city with a sharp chill that always hit roughly against Jin’s face and made his cheeks feel raw to the touch. He hated the cold air that always rushed in when someone opened the door to his clinic, but he went to the front anyway and wrapped Minjae up in his scarf before kissing him on the nose and wishing him luck on his journey outside to pick up some food for dinner, “Be safe, baby. Please be quick with getting from place to place because I don’t want you to catch a cold.”
“Oh I won’t mind that if I get to have you as my doctor,” Minjae teased and leaned in for a kiss in which Jin quickly reciprocated before opening up the door for him and ushering him out, “That’s enough out of you Minnie,” he couldn’t help but grin from ear to ear though and laugh as he pushed Minjae out into the cold, “I’ll see you at home in half an hour!”
“Half an hour, I’m timing it!” Minjae held up his watch, “Don’t ditch me for work again!”
Jin rolled his eyes and walked back into the clinic with a smile still on his face. His patient with the now fixed broken nose had left along with Minjae's last patient of the day, so now he just needed to do some last minute scheduling, documenting, and organizing before he could go home and eat dinner with his fiancee.
He walked towards his calendar and notebook to start writing down appointments a week in advance so he could be ready, but before he could, someone ran into the clinic without so much as knocking or even attempting to be respectful with how loud they were. The entrance bell rang with the swing of the door and the person’s breathing was ragged as he huffed and rubbed his hands against his arms to warm himself up.
He was a short old man in a mail carrier uniform, and Jin turned around to tell him that the clinic was just now closing so he’d have to make an appointment, but before he could, the man quickly pulled a letter out of his bag and smiled, “The bank is sending out these directly to their account owners. They say it is of utmost importance that all owners must know by tomorrow of the news.”
“What news?” Jin asked and tilted his head, stepping forward to take the letter as a sense of dread spread inside of him like a gallon of water being forced down his throat and then shaken up to make him feel sick to his stomach. When he heard that the letter was from the bank, he couldn’t help but remember his omega client’s words just hours before telling him to check his account before anything too bad happened.
And what if it was too late? What was even going to happen?
He took the letter from the mail carrier and awkwardly thanked him before the little old man went off on his way to try to track down other omegas. Jin was about to open the letter right where he stood, but because he didn’t want anymore interrupts, he hurried to the front door and locked it before flipping over his open side to announce that the clinic was now closed.
He then sat over by his calendar and tore open the letter to read:
Dear Kim Seokjin,
In according to the new law now heavily regulated by the government, it is of our deepest apologizes to be the one to tell you that your accounts have been drained since they were filed as an omega class account. It would have been transferred into your mates account, but seeing as you don’t have one, the money has become government money. If you would like to be informed more of how this works, please visit your nearest bank and we’d be happy to explain it to you.
Since there is no way to get it back or earn anything more with this new law, we strongly advise you find a mate to help sustain your financial needs and be your provider.
Best of luck,
AlphaBeta Banking Inc.
Jin felt his blood run cold when he finished the letter. He felt like he was going to throw up and faint at the same time when he realized that what the omega was saying might actually be true. And then when he thought about how she said that omegas were going to be forced out of their jobs within the next week and punished by the government if they refused to cooperate, he felt like he was going to break down.
His whole world was going to fall apart wasn’t it? He tried not to let himself think too dramatically, but what if society really was taking ten giant steps back with omegas? And for what reason? Domesticity? Alphas needing to feel superior once again by stripping omegas of everything they stood for?
Whatever reason it was, he was not going to be taken down that easily. Not after years of slaving away to study and prove himself at an alpha college that only let him in because of his father’s influence, not after all he had sacrificed to get to where he was today, and especially not after all the good work he had done since he had officially become a doctor. No law was going to make all these years worth nothing.
Jin decided that he could save organizing and planning appointments for another day because right now he needed to talk to Minjae about this and find out what they were going to do. Minjae was going to be pissed when he heard about the law, and surely he would have some good ideas on how Jin could overcome it.
Jin quickly changed into his long trench coat, grabbed his briefcase, and raced out of the clinic to go back home to where Minjae hopefully would be soon.
As he ran back to his apartment, he saw groups of omegas protesting. Signs painted in red and black and fire and smoke were spread out across the city, the sounds of shouting were the only thing more defining than the sight of omegas fighting and throwing rocks at the bank by the clinic. It seemed like an apocalypse was happening or doomsday was here and the people were blaming the banks and the government for it, but in a way, it really was.
A workforce without omegas?… There was no way that could work for more than a week without the whole economy collapsing.
Jin was sure that if this was really happening, it would only last a few days before the government realized what a mistake they made and take it back while also humbly apologizing and offering a raise to omegas all around in hopes of earning their forgiveness.
This was a shitty thing to do though and Jin was never going to forgive them for even just thinking about a law like this for so much as a second, but a raise would keep him from walking into the nearest bank and killing the disgusting alpha pig who somehow thought it was a good idea to strip omegas of everything they have just to make them dependent on alphas again.
He went into his apartment and quickly dropped his briefcase down by the door and hung his coat up on the coat rack before running to the radio to turn it on and try to hear if there was more news on whatever was happening right now, and to Jin’s horror, every radio was playing the same thing: “We now interrupt this story to announce the news of the new law just passed against omegas having jobs. From now on, omegas will be dependent on alphas and betas in order to help problems in the economy. By tomorrow, ninety-five percent of the omega population will be jobless and will be required by law to be unemployed within the next forty-eight hours. Any business providing employment for omegas will be fined or shut down depending on the number of strikes they receive.”
He kneeled down in front of the radio in shock, staring at it and wishing he was dreaming though this was so, so real. He could feel himself wanting to cry, but he stayed strong until Minjae came home, swaying through the door and singing out happily, “I bought Italian! Hope you don’t mind. I know you prefer traditional Korean, but I wanted to-!”
“Minjae do you know anything about this new law?” Jin interrupted him to ask, his eyes now finally glassy with tears and his voice trembling in fear.
Minjae froze by the door and awkwardly stood their for a few seconds chewing at his bottom lip in thought before nodding once and muttering out, “I mean, I’ve heard about it. Have they really passed it?”
Jin stood up from where he was sitting on the ground on his knees, “You mean, you knew this was happening and you didn’t tell me?”
“Well it has been in the works for a few years now and it was only finalized last week,” he tried to explain while hurrying to the kitchen and setting their food down on the table before making his way over to Jin, “I didn’t think it would actually happen though until I was told yesterday by a patient that he lost his job because of the new law.”
“And you still didn’t bother to tell me?” Jin asked, ignoring most of what Minjae had to say because he didn’t know what to freak out about more. The fact that he was going to be forced to become dependent on his future husband and quit being a doctor which was something he worked so hard for or the fact that Minjae knew this was happening but didn’t even give him some kind of warning. “You just wanted to me to find out on my own when I got a letter telling me that I lost everything in my bank account and was going to have to find a mate quickly so I’ll be able to live from now on?”
“Well it’s a good thing you have one right?” Minjae tried to smile, but the look on Jin’s face told him that now was not the right time for that, “Baby, I honestly didn’t think the patient was telling the truth. I mean, I’m sure you heard stuff about it too but didn’t think the government was that crazy, right?”
“Well the government’s fucking crazier than we both thought isn’t it,” Jin looked down and ran his fingers through his hair, trying not to break down and cry though tears were falling down his cheeks already, “You know what? We can work around it. I was never an open omega and the clinic is completely owned by the two of us, so I can just wear scent maskers and pretend to be a beta! I can also-!”
“Jin,” Minjae sighed and lifted his hand up to put them on Jin’s shoulders as a way to calm them down, “I can’t risk our business… Maybe you can just be my husband and sometimes do some work behind the scenes? Like organizing or scheduling appointments?”
Jin blinked at his fiancee and sniffled, “But… But I’m a doctor?…”
“Not anymore unfortunately,” Minjae looked down, “Maybe you can do what omegas are supposed to do?” he smiled a little and pressed a hand to Jin’s stomach, “Now we can finally have kids, and you can take care of them. I’ve always wanted a family with you, so this law really makes things work out better! Don’t feel bad-!”
“What omegas do?” Jin scoffed and jerked his shoulders away from Minjae, “What I do is help people! My job isn’t to make kids for you, in fact, I never wanted that! You know how much I hate the idea of having kids,” Jin groaned out, “I can’t believe this law is being passed for omegas like it’s now our only purpose in life to find a mate and make more alphas for this messed up fucking world!”
Minjae frowned, “Jin, you have no choice now, so just accept it. I’m not risking the business.”
“I’ll accept nothing,” Jin snapped back, taking off his ring as he glared at Minjae, “I thought you would always be on my side, but I guess not.”
Minjae’s eyes widened, “Jin, what are you doing? You can’t survive now without me! You’re dependent on me!”
“That’s exactly what alphas want, huh?” Jin laughed a little and stepped towards the bedroom since he was going to pack his things and find somewhere else to stay until Minjae stopped acting like a high and mighty alpha and agreed to let Jin keep doing the work he loved so much. Before making his way to the bedroom, he set his ring down roughly on the kitchen table and glared back at Minjae who was watching with wide eyes and an opened mouth, “I’m not dependent on anyone, Minjae. I run my own life and I’ll be just find on my own,” he smiled and wiped the last of the tears from his eyes since he wasn’t going to let any alpha make him cry from now on, “Now let’s see how well you do without me.”
April 17, 1890
Six months later:
Jin was leaning against a brick wall littered with stains from unknown liquids and marks from smoke batting against it. Frost was on the ground, melting from the April sun but always freezing back over because of the cold night air that still came in. The omega was wrapped up in a blanket with his knees pulled up tight to his chest and his arms wrapped around them. He wasn’t cold but he still felt too stiff to move. His stomach was growling lowly, but he was too tired to get up to try to scrounge around for food.
He had been fighting for six months not to starve, but at this point, he didn’t even know why he was trying to stay alive. What was the point?… It used to be because he was sure he’d see an end to this law, but he was starting to feel like there may never come a day when it would change.
He started out trying to pretend to be a beta to get a job, but every company wanted to run a test on him just to be make sure because they didn’t want to run the risk of getting a strike and being shut down. He stayed with an omega friend of his for a few weeks while trying to find a job but because money was tight, he had to leave and ended up on the streets. He then thought about just going back to Minjae to see if he could try to be dependent on him, but he had too much pride for that. He didn’t want Minjae to see that he failed. He didn’t want anyone to see that he failed.
Attempting to fall asleep so he wouldn't feel the pains of hunger anymore, Jin rested his head against the brick and shut his eyes, whimpering since he felt a migraine coming on because his hunger was becoming too much for him to bear. Other omegas on the streets sold their bodies for money, but he couldn’t bring himself to do that just yet. He was a doctor. He wasn’t going to stoop down to becoming a prostitute because of this messed up law. He’d rather die before he did anything like that…
Jin heard someone walking down the alley towards him, their footsteps light but dignified with a confidence that echoed along the brick walls and to his ears. He used to look up at people walking by or even run away because he didn’t want to be recognized, but at this point, he had a feeling that it was just another homeless omega. There were tons scattered around the city, mostly previous bankers, professors, or lawyers. The ones that had too much pride to degrade themselves into just a house omega that made kids and took care of them. They were neither his enemy nor his ally… just another omega that was slowly losing reason to hold their pride that they used to protect so dearly.
The footsteps stopped when the person reached Jin, the smell of an alpha with an oaky scent becoming permeant in the air. Jin knew of alphas that raped the pretty homeless omegas that were struggling on the street. He knew that was probably going to happen right now, but what could he do? He was too tired to eat, he was going to be too tired to fight.
He looked up at the man through narrowed eyes and saw the alpha wearing a top hat, a long black trench coat, and a golden pendant on his coat to show off his status. And if that wasn’t enough, he held a golden cane to help hold his balance as he stood still in front of Jin.
Jin closed his eyes again and leaned his head back against the brick, hoping that the alpha would just kill him and end his misery. If it wasn’t the alpha, it’d be the cold night air or his hunger, so what was the point in trying to hold off his death or prolong his suffering?
The alpha saw Jin resigning to the fate that he was obviously thinking of and finally asked, “Have you had alphas coming by here before to do terrible things to you?”
“First time…” Jin muttered out, his voice sounding dry and hoarse since he was thirsty and this had been the first time he had spoken in days.
The alpha chuckled under his breath and nodded his head, “Well don’t worry, I’m not here for that. I have a beta at home whom I am happily married to.”
Then why was he here tormenting Jin now? Was he going to kill him? If he was so happily married to a beta, then what business did he have in an alleyway talking to a helpless omega?
Jin didn’t respond so the alpha continued, “How about you follow me to have a warm cup of tea, a shower, and a change of clothes?”
“I’m not some charity case,” Jin’s pride spoke before he could though he desperately wanted all three of those things and so much more.
“I know you’re not,” the alpha responded calmly, “You’re an omega kicked down by the law, and I want to help. See, I take omegas whom I assume are hard working and credited, and I give them jobs so they don’t need to depend on an alpha. I’ve been watching you for awhile, and I can see it in you that you are willing to work for your status back. Am I right about that?”
Jin finally opened his eyes and looked up at the alpha, blinking at him and cautiously wondering if this was a scam or not. The alpha seemed rich. Why would he scam an omega that held no worth? Jin had heard about alphas and betas taking omegas off of streets and selling them into prostitution rings, so this was probably that, but…. but what if it wasn’t?
“What kind of job?” Jin asked, wondering what the alpha would make up on the spot if he was truly lying to him.
The alpha didn’t seem to even have to think about his answer before saying, “Depends on where we see you fit. You could be a labor worker or a desk worker. Do you have a preference?”
“A paid worker,” Jin answered and the alpha chuckled, nodding his head and replying, “Well you get fifteen an hour. I know it isn’t much, but-!”
“I’ll take it,” Jin spoke as soon as he heard that he would be getting fifteen whole dollars an hour. He hadn’t even seen that much money in the past two months, so to get that much money an hour? He needed to take the chance. He would kick himself to his grave if he didn’t, so he nodded his head and spoke again to make himself clear, “I’ll take the offer, so when do I start?”
The alpha smiled eerily and held out his hand, “Right now. I’ll take you back to my company where we’ll feed you, wash you, and dress you to prepare you for a life as a beta worker in the government’s eyes. You won’t ever have to lower your worth to depend on an alpha for as long as you live.”
And that was all Jin wanted. To not lower his worth or depend on an alpha, so despite how stiff and tired his body was before, he reached up and took the man’s hand. He took it and grabbed on for dear life thinking it was his only way out.
But this was the thing he wished he never did the most… Taking the hand of pride and holding it tight as if it had never forsaken him before.
For little did he know that this was only the beginning of a world he was soon going to be forced to live in that would tear him down and break him in so many ways that he couldn’t even comprehend at the time. The following year, he was going to do so many horrible things, feel unimaginable pains, and have so many regrets. And with every terrible deed that passed, he would look back at this moment and know that this was the start of it all.