Jin tries to be unnerved when he steps into the classroom, tries not to be discomfited when twenty people quiet and turn his way with gold and blue and red irises, tries not to be rattled when they simultaneously lift their chins and sniff the air.
He knew this would happen - his new guidance councillor had warned him in their interview and handed over pamphlets that said the same thing in different words - but knowing and experiencing are worlds apart. He thought he was prepared, but when he stands the lone human in a class of wolves with his palms clamming under their unblinking stares and his heart picking up speed he realises he had no clue. He could not be more other here, and it’s a frightening thought that he should not be thinking because wolves smell fear.
“That’s enough,” Mr Kang says. “Seokjin, you are assigned to Namjoon’s pack. Your seat is over there.”
Under the unrelenting gaze of the class he takes the spare seat, not daring to look at the boy- wolf next to him.
Jin pulls out books and a pen, leans to the side to drop his bag under the table, and when he sits back the wolf is practically sharing Jin’s chair.
Jin leaps back.
The wolf stays where he is, either not noticing or ignoring Jin’s discomfit. “Hey,” he says, and after a pause, “human.”
Is the wolf mocking him? Is this the conventional greeting? Is ‘hey wolf’ an appropriate response? Jin’s mind backtracks through his wolf knowledge, trying to dig out the memorised section on first meetings.
Don’t bow. Don’t hold prolonged eye contact. Don’t avoid eye contact. Don’t make any sudden movement. Avoid gestures that might be interpreted as aggressive. Avoid behaviour that might be interpreted as passive or weak. Be polite but not deferential.
There’s more, so much more that Jin had felt like he was preparing for an exam trying to take it all in, but he still has no answer for ‘hey, human.’.
The silence is strained. Is his lack of response rude? Has he disrespected the wolf?
“H-hi,” Jin says. Fuck, stuttering is probably a sign of weakness. He quickly meets the wolf’s gaze and tries to project an aura of confidence, but not arrogance, then glances away to show he’s not trying to intimidate, then looks back to show he’s not intimidated.
Is he doing this right?
It doesn’t feel like he is, not with the way the boy has his brows raised and not with the way Jin is sweating.
"You're stressing him out," someone behind Jin says. He turns as the wolf leans across his desk, also into Jin's personal space. He sniffs up the side of Jin's face before edging back. "I'm Kim Namjoon, alpha, and Jung Hoseok here is my second in command. Welcome to my pack."
"Oh," Jin says, because what is there to say to that? Except, "Thanks..?"
"And this is Min Yoongi, another one of mine."
The wolf beside Namjoon nods. Unlike the other two he doesn't fling himself across the desk to get a whiff of Jin's scent. Jin likes him the most for that.
"The rest of our pack are in the year below," Namjoon says. "I’ll introduce you to them at lunch."
"Right." They continue to look at him. Are they expecting a different response? Should he be grateful or honoured for the privilege of temporarily joining the pack? Is there etiquette for accepting a lunch invitation? Formal acknowledgement to show his gratitude for inclusion?
Mr Kang raps on his desk and Jin turns his way, discovering that every wolf is watching him. Then Mr Kang’s eyes glare red and Jin doesn't know if it's because of that or another wolf gesture he can't read but in the next second Mr Kang has the entire class' attention.
The lesson is then like any other lesson from his previous school, and he almost forgets he's surrounded by wolves until one of them growls or he catches them staring with those weird eyes. His nerves don't quite settle and he doesn't quite get used to the strangeness of it all, but he does make it through unscathed.
The lesson ends and in the minute between Mr Kang leaving and their next teacher arriving, Jin is once again the focal point. There's whispers and looks and more sniffing, and then, "Why are you even here?"
Jin find the question asked by a large wolf with narrowed eyes.
There's a challenge in way the wolf spoke, and Jin feels as though a quiet weight has been attached to his answer, like his place in this class, in this school, rests on what he says and does next.
Avoid gestures that might be interpreted as aggressive. Avoid behaviour that might be interpreted as passive or weak. Be polite but not deferential.
"My dad got a job here," he says, relieved his voice holds, "so I'm here." He shrugs with the aim of nonchalance - a balance between aggression and passivity. He hopes.
The wolf straightens his shoulders and there's red in his eyes.
He fucked up. He's pissed off an alpha. The only thing he could have done worse would be to piss off an alpha pack leader, which this wolf might be.
And then the wolf's gaze flickers behind Jin and when he turns Jin sees Namjoon with the same red in his eyes.
"You're really gonna defend him?" the wolf asks.
"Yes," Namjoon says.
"He's under my protection."
"He's not your pack."
"Are you doubting my word to protect him?"
The wolf's expression hardens.
Hoseok's posture shifts and Jin then realises both he and Yoongi are tense, tenser than Namjoon who - at least to Jin's human perception - appears calm.
The wolf must take this all in too because the red dims from his eyes and he flops back into his seat, not without a sneer in Jin's direction first.
He's made an enemy. An alpha enemy in his first class of the day.
Jin rubs his face and regrets agreeing to transfer to a wolf school.
The rest of the morning classes pass and Jin's presence loses some of its novelty. But then it's lunchtime and as Jin follows Namjoon through the halls it's like the morning all over again - every wolf catching his scent and coloured eyes chasing his movement. Yoongi and Hoseok stand either side of him and he's not ignorant enough to mistake the message they're sending; that he's with them.
And the message seems to be understood because he's not approached and the group leaves behind the school building for a table out on the grass.
There's three wolves already there, the rest of the pack, Jin presumes. One of them looks up, catches sight of Jin, and nudges the wolf beside him and kicks the other under the table.
"Woah," one wolf says, "you're human."
"I'm betting he knew that already," Yoongi says and take a seat.
"This is Kim Seokjin," Namjoon says. "And this is Jeon Jungkook, Park Jimin, and Kim Taehyung."
The three wolves are out of their seat and circling Jin before Namjoon finishes speaking. They sniff at his neck and nape and hairline and Jin holds himself like a statue while they take their time.
"He smells a bit like a beta," Jimin says.
"He does not," Yoongi says, sounding offended.
Jungkook inhales next to Jin's ear. "He kind of does."
"Bullshit." Yoongi jumps up and joins in the scenting. And then Hoseok ploughs through them and Namjoon follows.
Jin's doesn't know if he can ask them to stop or if it would be like refusing to return a bow so he stands and waits and listens to their arguing over his smell until one by one they fall away. Except for Taehyung.
His body is curled around Jin, his nose pressed against Jin's throat, his hair tickling Jin's face. He radiates heat and it makes Jin even hotter than he was when all six of them were tucked around him.
Taehyung's hand sneaks up Jin's chest and makes him jump.
"Tae," Hoseok calls. "Haven't you had enough?"
Taehyung shakes his head. "He smells so good." His voice is deeper than Jin expected, and dreamier too. His gaze lifts to Jin and there's an extraordinarily blue hue to his irises. "Why do you smell so good?"
Jin’s ears and face warm.
"Stop pestering him," Namjoon says.
"He smells like an alpha," Taehyung says, addressing them but with his gaze locked on Jin's. "Like the most delicious alpha I've ever met."
"You need your nose checked," Jungkook says. "He doesn't smell anything like an alpha."
Taehyung’s nose and mouth graze along Jin's Adam's apple. "How are you a human?"
“Er,” Jin cleverly replies, searching out the pack at the table with an expression he hopes reads ‘help’.
Jimin takes pity, tugging at Taehyung’s arm but he resists until Jimin manhandles him away. “What’s got into you?”
Taehyung blinks at Jimin, then reaches back to grasp Jin's sleeves. "Come sit with me, sunbae," he says and Jin lets himself be dragged to the table.
It's a tight fit, Jin squeezed between Taehyung and Jimin, drawing himself in so his shoulders are less obstructive. It makes it a little more awkward to get his lunch from his bag but neither wolf makes a fuss when he bumps them.
"What's all that?" Jungkook asks, leaning low across the table, nose crinkling next to Jin's food.
Jin looks at his meal, then to the wolves lunches. Theirs is primarily meat, three to five different servings, and a bowl of or noodles rice on the side. Jin's is kimchi jjigae with noodles, rice, kimchi, nori seaweed, cucumbers and onions in a spicy sauce, and mini pajeon. It's definitely different. Jin relays the individual dishes and they take in every word with fascinated regard, carefully passing the bowls to one another and nibbling a bite when Jin gives them permission.
Maybe it should make him feel more of an outsider but he's tickled by their rapt attention.
Jin turns to the side, to Taehyung’s shy smile.
"Do you want to try some of mine?" he asks, holding up a bowl of cubed steak.
Jin spares a glance around the table, trying to figure out if there's a right or wrong answer, if the offer is freely given or obligated courtesy. He finds no approval or disapproval, just distracted indifference.
"Sure," Jin says.
Before he can unpack his chopsticks Taehyung holds a piece to Jin's mouth, his fingers against Jin's lips and his eyes large and earnest.
Is this how wolves share food?
Jin hesitates but accepts, taking the cube between his teeth and tasting the juice seeping onto his tongue. Taehyung's fingertips linger, trailing down Jin's bottom lip, slow to retract, and Jin's stomach swoops.
Dark brown eyes lighten to blue, almost glowing in their brightness.
"Taehyung-ah," Namjoon says, loud and stern.
Both Taehyung and Jin startle.
Everyone's staring at them. Jungkook's eyebrows are raised almost off his face and both Hoseok and Namjoon's are lowered into a frown.
Did Jin commit some faux pas? Is he about to be dumped from their pack and left to fend for himself in this school?
Then Jimin giggles and Yoongi snorts and the tension deflates. Jin eats the steak - cooked as though it had been dropped in a pan and bounced immediately out - and switches back to his own food, keeping quiet as the conversation picks up around him. They talk about tests and teachers, school clubs and classmates. It's all a little pedestrian, exactly the same mundane topics he participated in at his old school and Jin is disappointed that he's not privy to wolf culture.
It could be because he's here, could be that they're purposely withholding wolf secrets from the outsider at their table. It'd make sense - it's not like he's their friend, he's just some human assigned to their pack.
A touch on his arm kicks Jin from his thoughts.
Taehyung's fingers slip between the folds of Jin's blazer. His eyes are back to brown and back to fixated on Jin. "Where do you live?" he asks.
"Umm." Jin might be under Namjoon's protection but he's not sure he wants him or this kid he's barely spoken to knowing his home address.
“Taehyung-ah. Leave him,” Hoseok chides.
“I was only going to ask if he wanted to walk home with us,” Taehyung says, with his head down. “I mean, it is his first day and he probably doesn’t know the area and we shouldn’t leave him alone in case he gets targeted-
“-and he is sort of a temporary pack member so we should look out for him.” Taehyung looks to Namjoon, eyes huge and sad and bottom lip protruding. “Please. Alpha.”
Jimin giggles while Jungkook swivels his attention to Namjoon.
Jin awaits an answer, now hoping for a yes after Taehyung’s worrying speech. Taehyung is right in that Jin doesn’t know much of the area and without Namjoon’s protection any wolf could seek him out for any reason. His journey home is suddenly a lot more daunting than it was two minutes ago.
Namjoon sighs. “Where do you live, Seokjin-ssi?”
Taehyung’s pout transforms into the biggest smile and there goes Jin’s stomach again.
Jin slings his backpack over his shoulder and follows Hoseok out of the classroom.
“What are you doing here?” he hears Yoongi ask someone.
His mind conjures up the angry wolf trying to catch Jin alone, but then Taehyung’s head pops up over Hoseok’s shoulder. His eyes flash blue when his gaze meets Jin’s. Or seems to, it happens so quick. “Got out early,” Taehyung says, a little breathless. He circles round to Jin’s side. “How was your first day, sunbae?”
“Good, I guess.”
“Can I call you hyung?”
Jin’s initial response is to tell off Taehyung’s presumption but Taehyung has been kind to him. Plus he’d rather make a friend than an enemy, the one he has already is enough. “If you want.”
“Seokjin hyung,” Taehyung says, like he’s testing it out.
“I usually go by Jin.”
“Jin hyung.” Taehyung wraps his arms around Jin. “Thanks, Jin hyung.”
Jin holds himself awkwardly. He’s never been great with physical affection outside of close friends and family but he knows wolves are tactile creatures and this is their normal even if it’s not his. Although the hug does seem to go on, Taehyung nestling his head against Jin’s chest. Jin pats his back. And then once more when they’re still embraced.
“What is with you?” Hoseok asks and pinches the scruff of Taehyung’s neck.
Taehyung releases Jin with a whine. Hoseok prods him until he follows Namjoon and Yoongi and the pack - and Jin - leave the school.
Outside Jimin stands with Jungkook, leaning over his shoulder watching whatever Jungkook’s doing on his phone. “You caught him then,” he says to Taehyung when he sees them.
“Omegas don’t catch,” Taehyung says. “We have to be caught. Did you know that, Jin hyung?”
Before Jin can tell him, no, he did not know omegas had to be caught and also what does that mean, Namjoon says,” “Jin hyung? Isn’t that a bit familiar?”
“No,” Taehyung says. “Jin hyung said I could.” He loops his arm with Jin’s. “Right?”
Jin rubs the back of his neck. “Yeah.” Was agreeing too forward of him? Is the honorific supposed to be saved for pack ties?
“Do I get to call you Jin hyung too?” Jimin asks, sidling up to Jin and loosening his tie.
Taehyung tries to bat his hand away but Jimin takes it instead, and then they’re pulling each other back and forth, which somehow cumulates into a hug with Taehyung draped across his back and Jimin cosied up against his front. Jin stands trapped in their middle with arms squished to his sides, less a involved participant and more an ignored or forgotten barrier between them. It’s… odd, but maybe this is one of those bizarre wolf behaviours the pamphlets warned him about.
“You won’t be able to call him anything if you suffocate him,” Yoongi says. “Come on, I want to get home at some point today.”
They loosen their grip and Jin hides his relief. And general confusion.
“So,” Jimin says, arm around Jin and leading him out of the school grounds, “are you our Jin hyung?”
“When is your birthday?” Hoseok asks.
They figure out Jin is the eldest by three months though he doesn’t expect the older ones to address him as hyung, especially not the alphas. His wolf knowledge is limited but the hierarchal graph in the pamphlet placed alphas almost at the pinnacle, only below their pack leader. His age means nothing in wolf society.
As they separate from the other students Jin expects the double takes to lessen but he finds the same reaction from every stranger on the street, children pointing and loudly asking their parents why he smelt wrong, old folks muttering about politics. This is a designated wolf community with an almost non-existent human population so he’d known he would be the odd one out, he just didn’t realise his difference would be a neon beacon to every passing wolf.
It makes him all the more grateful for the pack. For them ignoring the looks and the whispers, for them keeping him distracted, for them walking along with him the centre of their circle. He balloons with gratitude knowing their actions are voluntary. Their protection ends at the school gates, his guidance councillor had warned - a warning that Jin now understands though hadn’t at the time - and he fears how this journey home might have gone.
“What do you like to do for fun?” Taehyung asks, his hand sliding up Jin’s arm and resting on his shoulder.
“Uh, I like gaming.”
Taehyung’s grin is huge. “Me too!”
“So do I,” Jungkook says, pushing between Yoongi and Jin.
Taehyung’s fingers glide to Jin’s nape and twist softy in his hair.
“Jin hyung?” Jungkook asks.
“I said what do you play?”
“Oh, I’m kind of addicted to MapleStory.”
“Never played it,” Jungkook says.
“Me neither. But I’d play it for you.”
When Jin glances to his side Taehyung is so close Jin’s eyesight blurs.
“Taehyungie,” Jimin singsongs. “This is our exit.”
Taehyung blinks and sweeps his gaze around them. “But, we should take Jin hyung all the way home. It is his first day.”
“I’ve got it,” Yoongi says.
“Come on.” Jimin takes Taehyung’s arm and peels him off Jin.
Jimin hoists Taehyung over his shoulder and slaps his backside. “Say goodbye.”
“Bye Jin hyung,” Taehyung shouts as Jimin carries his away. “See you tomorrow.”
The pack hover at the corner watching Jimin spin in circles and Taehyung kick his legs and squeal.
“That’s going to be a problem,” Hoseok murmurs.
Namjoon watches Taehyung’s manic waving and sighs. When he turns to Jin he’s smiling. “Our Taehyung can be over friendly but he doesn’t mean anything by it, he’s just never met a human before. Don’t read into his behaviour.”
His words are light but there’s something behind his smile and tone that makes Jin feel threatened rather than warned. Maybe they can tell because Namjoon’s demeanour changes and he pats Jin’s back. “I don’t mean to worry you, I’m just looking out for you both.”
Jin nods but doesn’t completely relax until Namjoon and Hoseok break away from the group. Then Jungkook and Jin talk about games until Jungkook splits off and leaves Jin and Yoongi in stilted silence.
“I used to live in Daegu,” Yoongi says, after a painful long stretch of nothing and Jin is grateful for the conversation starter. “With humans, I mean.”
Jin looks sideways at him, reassessing. “Really?”
Yoongi nods. “Until I was thirteen. I lived in a human town, went to a human school, had human friends. And then I moved here and everything and everyone was different. I became the weird one that people whispered about, the wolf that was barely a wolf. It took me a long time to fit in.” Yoongi turns to him. “It’s going to be difficult but you’ll find your place here.”
“Even though I’m human?”
“Human or wolf you can still be one of us.”
A bead of hope sprouts within Jin. “Thanks,” he says, not looking at Yoongi.
“Yeah,” Yoongi says, not looking at Jin.
They lapse into silence again, the good kind that doesn’t require filling. At the top of Jin’s road they stop. “I’m one street over, Yoongi says and points. “Number twenty-six if you need anything.”
They swap quiet goodbyes and part.
Jin grew up in Seoul, used to claustrophobic high rise buildings and constant activity, pollution and cramped flats. Here the houses are all two storey and detached, each with giant front and back gardens. It’s quiet and green, grass and trees lining the pavement, a park always within a five minute walk, a field within ten. There are smaller woods in each neighbourhood and surrounding the whole town is a vast, wild forest with lakes and mountains and danger.
The forest is wolf territory, and he’s not to go in.
Jin pushes open his front door, switches his shoes to slippers, and wanders into the living room where his mum sits on the sofa typing on her laptop.
She pushes it aside and pats the sofa beside her. “How was your first day?”
How to describe it? The wolves interest in him, the alpha enemy he made, the pack looking after him, everything he didn’t understand. Taehyung.
Jin flops onto the sofa and stretches out his legs. “It was a lot.”
“Did they take to you alright?”
They’d both read the articles of students attacking humans, both signed the document saying the school was not responsible should the student body reject Jin. Violently, was the word that had made them both hesitate.
They’d discussed other options but there was no better alternative; travelling to a human school was far too far, boarding school too costly, and home schooling would only make Jin more a pariah in the community. He needed to be accepted.
“Yeah,” Jin says, choosing not to mention the aggressive wolf. “The pack they assigned to me are nice. They even walked me home.”
His mum exhales and smiles her posture less rigid. “I’m so glad. Though they would be fools to not like my baby boy.” She pinches his cheek.
“Mum,” Jin whines, but half-heartedly.
“Did you get much homework?”
“Some.” Wolf schools focus less on academics and extracurriculars and more on socialisation and physical activities. It had been Jin’s biggest draw in transferring to a wolf school, and his parents biggest concern. Tutors had been discussed but tabled until his first review.
“Anything you need my help with?”
“No, I’m good.”
“You better get to it then,” his mum says, and gives him a nudge. “Don’t want you falling behind so soon.”
Jin makes a dramatic show of getting up and slouching off to his bedroom.
“And no games until you’re done,” his mum calls after him. “I will check.”
Jin changes clothes and messages his old school friends, answering their many curious wolf questions until he hears his mum’s footsteps on the stairs and throws himself into his desk chair, pretending to be deep in thought as she pokes her head in the room.
The homework is boring but a breeze, stuff he’s already studied back in his old school. He scribbles the last sentence and slams the notebook shut with accomplished release. In the next second MapleStory is loading.
He quickly loses himself in the game, the new messages on his phone a background buzz.
“Is this MapleStory?”
Jin screams, spinning round and falling off his chair.
Taehyung jumps back, looking as surprised as him.
“What are you doing here?” Jin asks. “How did you get in?”
“Your mum let me in. She’s very lovely.”
“How did you find me? How did you know I lived here.”
Taehyung tilts his head, a little furrow between his eyebrows. “I followed your scent.”
“What? You can do that?” Can any wolf track him? All the way to his front door? Can the alpha wolf?
“Of course.” Taehyung kneels beside Jin. “It helps that you have a good scent.” He crawls forward on his hands and knees and dips his head to Jin’s clavicle. “A really, really good scent.”
Don’t read into his behaviour.
Taehyung’s over friendly, enthusiastic to meet and interact with a human. He’s just an excited wolf.
Taehyung shifts position and he’s straddling Jin’s leg, and his hands are bracketing Jin, and he’s getting closer and closer and pushing Jin almost flat on the floor.
Don’t read into his behaviour.
Taehyung bites him. Bites him.
Jin shoves him back. “What- what are you doing?”
“You bit me!”
Taehyung blushes, looking down and away. “It was just a nip.”
“…I wanted to taste you.”
Jin gapes at him. Wolves don’t eat humans. He’s almost certain wolves don’t eat humans. Though he’s heard stories… Fuck, what if he smells like delicious food? Taehyung’s favourite meat?
“Didn’t you like it?” Taehyung asks shyly.
Jin gapes at him. Like it? Like being bitten? Do wolves go around spontaneously biting each other? Is that another strange wolf behaviour he hadn’t known about? It wasn’t in any pamphlet.
“Sorry,” Taehyung mutters, quickly getting up and putting distance between them.
Shit, has he fucked up? Has he hurt Taehyung’s feelings? Was his shocked reaction offencive?
“No, no, it’s fine,” Jin says, scrambling to his feet. “I didn’t, er, hate it.”
“You just surprised me.”
“Oh. Does that mean I can do it again?”
Taehyung beams. “Yeah?”
Taehyung’s gaze flickers to Jin’s neck and Jin hunches, hands twitching to cover his skin. “Another time,” he says before Taehyung approaches again.
“Another time,” Taehyung repeats.
They stand opposite each other, Jin straightening crumpled clothes while Taehyung examines his room.
“Did you drop by for a reason?” Jin asks, trying to phrase his wariness as casual curiosity.
“We forgot to invite you to walk to school with us tomorrow.” Taehyung strolls by Jin’s shelves, inspecting the Mario figures and manga. “Wow, you like these too,” Taehyung says, awed. “We have so much in common.”
Like what? Jin wants to ask. “My dad drives me to school,” he says instead. “You don’t need to walk me.”
Taehyung stops flicking through titles and looks over his shoulder at Jin. “But, but you have to. I mean, you should. It would be for the best.”
“Because. That’s what packs do, and you’re an honorary member so you should be with us. And it’s better for you to show up with us instead of alone. Shows everyone who you’re with, right? Makes a statement.”
That makes sense. He’d rather arrive at school with six wolves at his side than as a lone unprotected human. This morning he had the luck of attending when everyone was already in class. Tomorrow he has to be on time.
“Okay? Okay!” Taehyung continues his roam, stopping at the framed photos of Jin. “Who’s this?”
“Friends from my old school.”
“But who’s this? He’s in all your photos.”
Jin joins him. “That’s Jaehwan, my best friend.”
“You two look close.”
Taehyung’s gaze flits to Jin. His eyes aren’t completely brown, aren’t completely blue. “How close?”
“As close as best friends?”
“And everyone else? All just friends?”
Jin tries not to be intimated by the ferocity in Taehyung’s eyes and the glint of teeth. He nods.
Taehyung’s eyes shift back to brown and he grins. “Good.” He wanders round some more, asking if Jin can play or is the guitar for show, asking about the music he listens to and the shows he watches, asking if he can try on Jin’s oversized hoodie.
When he reaches the bed he stops his questions and trails his fingers across a pillow to RJ. “Who’s this?”
“RJ,” Jin says, embarrassed that Taehyung’s found the plushie he sleeps with. He can’t imagine wolves snuggle stuffed toys.
“What he is?”
“He’s cute. Can I hold him?”
“Go for it,” Jin says, relieved he’s not going to be ridiculed.
Taehyung picks him up gently and sniffs. And sniffs and sniffs, lowering to sit on the bed as he does. And then lies on his bed, wriggles around and drags Jin’s pillow over his face like he’s trying to smother himself.
“Are you alright?” Jin asks.
Taehyung falters and lowers the pillow. His irises are so blue. “God, I want to smell you all day, hyung,” he says, voice rough. “I’d wear your scent like a cologne. I’d bathe in it. I’d breathe it in like oxygen.”
Jin waits for a punchline, and laughs awkwardly when it doesn’t come.
None of this was in the pamphlets. The scent section could be condensed to ‘wolves have a better sense of smell and will sniff you’. There was no paragraph or diagram or bullet points for handling a wolf writhing on his bed worshipping his natural body odour.
Don’t read into his behaviour.
Would Namjoon still say that if he could see Taehyung now? Jin wishes he’d gotten Namjoon’s number, or Hoseok’s or Jimin’s or anyone, just someone he could call up and ask for guidance or to remove Taehyung from his bed.
Should he run round to Yoongi’s house?
He pictures himself in Yoongi’s doorway trying to describe this scene, or Yoongi bursting into his room to discover Taehyung on Jin’s bed, in Jin’s hoodie, gasping into Jin’s pillow.
Taehyung scoots to the of the edge of the bed, looking up at Jin with a flush of pink in his cheeks. “Do I look good in your clothes, hyung?” he asks.
The question catches Jin off guard and makes heat travel his neck.
The hoodie floods Taehyung’s fame - more than it does Jin - but it softens him, rounds out the angles in his face, makes him look delicate, innocent. ethereal, tempting.
Jin steps back, bumps into his desk. “You,” he clears his throat. “You look nice.”
Or charming. Or enticing.
“The, er, colour suits you.”
Taehyung’s smile droops.
He’s said the wrong thing. Jin scours his mind for the information on omegas, remembers his dad’s comment that omegas live for compliments. Was his not enough? Not the right compliment?
“It’s better on you than me,” Jin says, truthfully.
Taehyung tilts his head up to Jin. “Yeah?”
“Definitely. I should probably let you have it.”
Taehyung’s eyes widen and he draws his knees into his chest, appearing smaller than ever. “Really?” he whispers.
Well, no. It is his favourite hoodie and he’s more attached to it than he is Taehyung, but the idea of it seems to lift Taehyung’s spirits, for whatever reason. Perhaps he just covets the hoodie; it is incredibly comfortable, the inside still velvety even though its been washed a hundred times.
“How about you wear it when you come over,” Jin says, aiming for a middle ground between disappointing Taehyung and losing his clothes.
“I can come over again?” He bounces to his feet and into Jin’s personal space.
“If you want.”
“I want,” Taehyung says. He steps closer, toes touching. “Hyung, can I teach you a pack gesture?”
The image of him stripped naked and running through the woods makes him ask, “What kind of gesture?”
“Only a small one. Packmates do it all the time.”
“Should you be teaching me this?” Jin asks. “You know I’m not a wolf.”
“You don’t have to be a wolf to be in a pack.”
“But I’m not in your pack.”
“Not yet but you will be.”
“I will?” Had the pack discussed bringing him in already? They barely know each other.
“Yes,” Taehyung says, aggressive. He holds eye contact as he backs Jin into the desk, holds eyes contact as his fingertips land on Jin’s chin.
“It’s okay,” Taehyung whispers. His fingers follow Jin’s jawbone, electrifying all the nerves in his skin as he goes, sending Jin’s stomach fluttering. Jin holds his breath as Taehyung’s hands settle on the back of his neck, his thumbs rubbing along a pulse point, simultaneously soothing and agitating.
Jin’s slowly raises his hands, intending to mimic Taehyung but it’s too much, too intimate, and Jin deviates to his shoulders instead. But Taehyung’s still right there, and Jin’s still touching him, and still being touched by him. And, he’s very, very aware of Taehyung’s hooded gaze and Taehyung licking his lips.
And that Taehyung is a wolf.
Jin’s heart beats fast, loud, clangs in his chest and he knows Taehyung feels his battering pulse, maybe hears it too with his sensitive ears. He doesn’t address it though, just leans forward until their foreheads touch. Jin expects more - desires more, dreads more - but no more follows.
“Is this it?” he croaks.
“Is it not enough?” Taehyung whispers, a hint of playfulness in his tone.
“No, I mean yes, it’s good. Enough. I just- nothing.”
Taehyung’s face is fuzzy this close but Jin catches him grinning, catches his eye colour transform. His fingernails lightly scratch Jin’s scalp and tingles scatter down his spine.
Do wolves really do this? Is is always this intense? Or is this different, because he’s not a wolf, because it’s Taehyung?
He can’t ask and risk accusing Taehyung of lying about the gesture, or risk snatching this moment and speaking it into a tangible thing to be forcibly identified. It’s better to keep unknowing. Safer.
“How long does this usually last?” Jin asks instead.
When Taehyung doesn’t expand Jin asks, “Depends on what?”
Taehyung doesn’t answer. But he does pull back, though his hands are still in Jin’s hair. His eyes fade back to brown. “I hope you’ll like it here,” he says.
“Uh, yeah, me too,” Jin mumbles, thrown by the unexpected comment.
“So tomorrow, you’re going to walk with us?”
“Good.” Taehyung leans forward and- Taehyung is going to kiss him. Taehyung is going to kiss him.
Jin’s insides tumble and his head bursts with images of lips and tongues and Taehyung spread across his bed but this time with him there-
Taehyung bumps his forehead against Jin’s. It’s just a quick tap and then he rocks back on his heels, arms flopping to his sides.
Jin is relieved. Definitely not disappointed. Kinda confused.
Taehyung pulls off Jin’s hoodie. A light trail of hair leads to his navel. Jin lifts his gaze as Taehyung hands him the hoodie and tugs down his top.
“See you tomorrow, hyung,” Taehyung says as he’s halfway out the door, vanishing as quick as he materialised. Jin stands in place, struck with him, with their meeting, with everything, until he peeks out his window to see Taehyung strolling down the garden path. At the gate he stops and Jin jolts when he spins and instantly catches Jin watching. Taehyung’s smile takes up his whole face. He waves, and Jin automatically waves back until he’s gone from sight.
Jin slumps into his chair.