the shiny, silver doors of laboratory nº 17 seem to taunt jimin as he stands before them. a vast array of conflicting emotions swirl inside the anxious knot that has had a tight hold on his chest since he woke up at exactly 4:07 in the morning after tossing and turning during most of the night, head full of thoughts of what was to come the next day.
jimin knows that if he felt genuinely uncomfortable, or even if he wanted to back out now for any other reason, he could still do it. they assured him over and over that he was free to leave at any moment if he so wished so, but -
jimin doesn’t know why he’s so nervous. he already has done it before, after all, but it just - it didn’t work out. not the first time, and not the second time, either. maybe that’s why. maybe the reason why he’s so jittery is because he’s scared that it won’t work again, that he will disappoint them. or maybe it’s the opposite; maybe the thought of it working is what really scares jimin.
third time’s the charm, and all.
he shakes his head, he can’t think like that. doctor kim reassured him both times that it wasn’t his fault, or jeongguk’s, for that matter. it wasn’t anyone’s fault, and they weren’t disappointed; the data they collected from both failed conception attempts is going to be extremely useful to prevent that from happening next time. they just needed to rest so they could be at their best for their next attempt.
keeping that in mind, jimin takes a deep breath and pushes the doors open.
the waiting area for the insemination rooms is deserted when jimin steps into it, with the exception of hoseok, the receptionist, who is sitting behind his desk. one of his hands is holding a steamy mug, the other two are tapping away at his computer. he uses his remaining free hand to wave at him enthusiastically as soon as he spots him.
"ah, jimin, good morning!" he chirps, blinking his four eyes at him. they close vertically instead of horizontally. according to hoseok himself, it's a very common trait of people that are born on saturn. that, and having glow-y, shimmering red skin. jimin still has a hard time adjusting to the whole vertically-closing eyelids. "you're here for a pre-dick appointment ambiance adaptation, right? to water and gas atmospheres and below zero temperatures?"
"for the love of Saturn’s rings, do you have to say it like that?," jimin says, blushing crimson red up to the roots of his hair, as hoseok’s squeaky laughter fills the room. hoseok is only joking around to ease up his nerves, and he knows for a fact that he does this with everyone, but it’s making him think of his last appointments and that’s just not helping right now. despite failing at their ultimate goal, both had been very… enjoyable. jimin doesn’t want to walk into the pre-app room with a boner. “and yes, I am. doctor kim thinks that doing it on a more, and I quote ‘jeongguk-friendly environment’ is gonna make all the difference when it comes to the egg’s survival in the long run.”
ambiance adaptations are necessary, doctor kim told jimin when he asked about it, in cases where the alien partner happens to come from a planet whose atmosphere their assigned human would not be able to survive in naturally, so that the human won’t inevitably die when subjected to such harsh conditions. jimin paled, remembering what jeongguk told him about his home planet: ninety-five percent of it its composed of ice-cold water that can reach temperatures of minus hundred degrees and lower. on the surface, the air is filled with carbon dioxide, which in large quantities is toxic to humans.
doctor kim had been quick to reassure him that the adaptation procedure was completely safe, and that in any case he didn’t need to worry because if something went wrong they would be right there to help him. jimin knew he was telling the truth but, still. choking or freezing to death or choking and freezing to death didn’t sound like a very appealing thing to go through.
“you’re early,” hoseok says, humming, one of his hands coming to scratch at his chin as he stares at his screen monitor where he has jimin’s information pulled up. “neither doctor kim not jeongguk are in yet.”
"I know,” jimin sighs. “but I couldn't sleep so I figured I might as well just get dressed and come wait here."
"if I were in your place, I don't think I'd be able to sleep either,” hoseok coos, sympathetic. “but honestly, you don't have to be nervous. you’ve already done this before, yeah? so you know you're in good hands."
jimin gulps, then nods. he knows that, knows that doctor kim and jeongguk are gonna be there like they were there all the previous times and he trusts them, but that’s not quite enough to completely tame his nerves, considering what they’re about to do. what if the adaptation fails and he chokes to death on carbon dioxide?
jimin appreciates hoseok’s words, nonetheless. he doesn’t think he’s ever seen him be anything other than straight-up sunny and supportive when he's working, no matter what time of day it is or how tired he is. hoseok is definitely a great professional, and one of the nicest persons (alien? humanoid extraterrestrial creature?) jimin has met in his very short time staying at the facility. he was an extremely good sport about the way jimin would just blatantly stare at him (and well, at every single alien he crossed paths with) when he first arrived.
jimin tried his very best not to stare for too long, fully aware that some of them could think his eyes got as wide as saucers when he spotted a few extra limbs, glow-in-the-dark skin or teeth the size of his forearm for all the wrong reasons, but it was a hard feat to achieve - he grew up on a human congregation, one of the very last ones still remaining in what is now called New Earth, mostly inhabited by humanoid aliens, as drastic climate changes and other factors pushed most humans to abandon their planet and seek out a new life somewhere else or risk perishing.
jimin had never seen a humanoid alien (or any kind of alien, for that matter) until he took the decision to sign up for an experimentation process to find viable means of reproduction between the humanoid aliens that are now the majority in New Earth and humans, hoping that successfully crossbreeding different alien races with humans will help saving the human race from going extinct on New Earth.
he had always wanted to go to university, but it was very expensive and his family could barely afford to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads on most days, so he had mostly resigned himself to the fact that going to university so he could get a better paying job than serving tables at a fast-food intergalactic restaurant so he could better support his family just wouldn't be a possibility for him.
but then he spotted a colorful flyer stuck to his community's announcement board. it didn't really catch jimin's attention at first, something about a scientific experiment with humans and aliens, but the more he kept reading, the wider his eyes got. they'd provide housing and food for all the volunteers and, most importantly, they would pay them handsomely for their effort and help.
jimin wasn't sure about it at first - neither was his family, but the more he thought it over the more he realized it was an opportunity he just couldn't let go. he would basically be getting paid for essentially getting fucked in the name of science and if it all turned out to be a scam and jimin somehow ended up with a bullet between his eyebrows then, well. it would still mean there would be one less mouth to feed at home.
(his family wasn't particularly amused by that last point, though)
in the end, it turned out it wasn't a scam at all.
jimin was kind of expecting to be met with the not very welcoming sight of a run-down shack where he would surely be getting stabbed, when he turned up at the address the kind voice on the phone gave him when he called the number on the flyer for more information; what he got instead was a massive sleek, modern building that looked more like one of those super-luxurious skyscraper office buildings seen on the capital of venus than a supposed reproductive research complex.
and it was as lavish on the inside as it was on the outside: it looked just like one of those fancy private galactic hospitals that jimin and his family could never hope to afford. on that first visit, jimin held himself as tightly as he could, too afraid that he would accidentally bump into a very expensive piece of equipment and he would have to pay for it by washing dishes at the cafeteria for the rest of his days.
but none of that happened. he had his first consultation with a lovely seven-foot alien with pink skin and tentacles for legs that said that he could call them sun-mi, because their actual name would be impossible to pronounce for him. intimidating height aside, they did a very good job at easing his nerves, told him that first, they would run a couple of routine tests on him to check his health and see if he was a suitable candidate to become a host; if the results came back okay, and jimin was sure he wanted to do it, he would have to sign a consent form to confirm that he was a willing participant in the experiment.
jimin will admit that what fully convinced him to sign and officially become part of the experiment was, at first, the bolded clause in the form that stated that "the facility will provide the subjects, human and non-humans alike, with living accommodations and food for the duration of the experiment. moreover, the subjects will receive economic compensation at the end of such", just like the flyer said. his family would get a break in the form of only having to feed three kids instead of four, jimin would get paid a hefty sum of money that he could use to help his family out for essentially getting fucked in the name of science, and science would get another young, willing, human body that would hopefully be of help in their quest to keep the human race from going extinct. it was a pretty win-win situation for everyone involved.
they explained to jimin, after he signed a pretty thick stack of agreement and consent forms that were presented to him, that he would get a couple of free days to walk around the facility and familiarize himself with the place and the living beings, humans and non-humans alike, that he would be cohabiting with until the end of his stay. once he was fully settled, jimin would be paired up with an alien whose biological parameters best matched his, for a better chance at successful reception of the eggs.
jimin was under the impression that they would get right to the ‘trying to find a viable means of reproduction’ part of the process right away after the partner assignment, but this was not the case. his partner and him would have to go through an “evaluation period”, first, under one of the doctors in charge of the experiment, to make sure they were a good match and the very least along before moving forward. this step was very important, apparently, because according to their research eggs were extremely sensitive to negative emotions and their development could be affected if both partners didn’t, at the very least, get along.
jimin had thought it would be as simple as just them fucking again and again until it worked. he thought wrong.
they officially met on jimin’s eighth day of stay at the facility, although jeongguk had been living there for about two weeks at that moment; apparently, they had quite the trouble finding him a suitable match until jimin showed up, and he didn't know how to quite feel about that. were they having trouble pairing him up with someone because they had particularly freaky genes or something along those lines, or because they liked to eat their partner right after mating?
(jimin would later find out it was the first option; jeongguk was quick to assure him that they didn't eat humans. some of their friends back home did, but they personally found the taste of human meat rather unpleasant.)
jimin wanted their first meeting to be on a public, open place, not exactly wanting to be caged in with a super-strong alien that he didn't know in his room, so they chose the cafeteria located near their living quarters on the seventh floor. sun-mi told him that he didn’t have anything to worry about, anyway, because their doctor would remain nearby just in case they had any problems.
he was surprised to find out he was the first one to arrive, even after he spent approximately one hour and a half just panicking over what to wear; he wanted to look nice, but he didn't know if his effort would translate well with his partner. the concept of wearing clothes wasn't of much importance to aliens as it was; even though some aliens seemed to be fascinated by human clothing and went out of their way to wear them the same way humans do, the vast majority of them either didn't wear clothes at all or if they did, it was specific clothing from their home planets.
“maybe they’ll think I look stupid,” jimin muttered, staring at his reflection on the shiny metal cafeteria doors as he fussed over his hair for the nth time just for the sake of doing something with his shaky hands. “and they will request a new partner right away because they don’t want to be with someone who dresses like an Old Earth clown – “
now, jimin will admit that they didn’t exactly have what one might consider an ideal first encounter: jimin, distracted as he was trying to get his hair to behave, didn't notice doctor kim approaching with jeongguk in tow. jeongguk, like many of the aliens that came from planets located in the southern galaxy, had a nonexistent concept of personal space, so when they called out jimin's name they were pretty much bent over him (which is a feat in itself, because jeongguk is - well, they're. tall), lips right by his ear. naturally, the sudden shout of his name right in his ear startled jimin so badly he could physically feel his heart leaping up to his throat and then settling back down as he whirled around, only to promptly collide face first with the owner of the voice's chest, not expecting them to be so close.
briefly, jimin wondered if maybe there had been a wall there that he had someone missed because ouch, that hurt.
then he stumbled, dazed from the pain shooting up his nose and forehead, but the owner of the voice quickly reached out for him to keep him from falling, forgetting to mind their supernatural strength in the process, which resulted in them squeezing jimin's arms so tightly it hurt, making jimin cry out in pain, which in turn made them let go and jimin, not expecting it, ended up falling on his ass, sore and disoriented.
"oh, holy venus I'm - so sorry - " the voice said, the panic thickening their accent to the point it was hard for jimin to catch what they were saying. "are - are you okay? um, doctor kim, I think I've broken them - "
a flurry of movement, and then a much deeper voice said: "oh, don't worry, jeongguk, humans are tougher than they look. it takes a lot more than this to break them." and then, "jimin, hey. I'm doctor kim. you with us?"
"ughngf - " jimin groaned, gently removing his hands from his tender nose, grimacing when The movement made his arms hurt even more. he didn't need to take a look at them to know they're gonna bruise. "I - I think so? but - holy shit, did I just run into a wall?"
doctor kim laughs. beside him, jeongguk nervously titters something on a language jimin doesn't understand.
jimin blinks up at the now two figures hovering over him, and once his vision stops swimming, jimin is rendered speechless yet again, but for an entirely different reason.
jimin didn't have any expectations regarding his partner, really, neither about their physical appearance nor how they would be like. he just hoped they were nice. and that they looked slightly more alien than human, but he didn't think he was ready to address that particular train of thought just yet.
and yet somehow, jeongguk managed to smash all of jimin's not-expectations to smithereens.
first of all, they were drop-dead gorgeous. standing on their full height, they were at least a head taller than doctor kim (and doctor kim was quite gifted in the height department as well, as much as it pained jimin to admit it) and they were bulky, but not overly so, and their waist was. tiny. it made jimin want to wrap his hands around it just to see if his fingertips would meet in the middle.
their impressive height wasn't anywhere near being the most striking thing about them, though (according to jeongguk themself, they were quite big, even for their species). there was their skin, a vibrant azure, covered here and there with patches of glittery scales so light they looked almost transparent under the hallway lights; there was also their hair color, that matched the almost white color of their scales and the way they reflected a rainbow of colors when the light hit them just right, so long the tips of their hair reached almost the small of his back even when they pulled it into a ponytail orbraid.
sharp claws, sharper teeth (when they smiled he looked like a bunny. a very deadly bunny), webbed fingers and pointy ears filled with shiny jewelry, three gigantic fins protruding from their back, from the base of their neck to his tailbone, and from the side of their arms, wrist to shoulder, respectively... jeongguk looked deadly. they looked like they could crush jimin with their index and pinky finger without batting an eyelash.
jimin should’ve been scared or, at the very least, a bit worried, considering what the ultimate goal of them meeting was and his overall inexperience with aliens, and especially aliens that looked as powerful as jeongguk did, but - as jeongguk helped him up, giving him a wide-eyed, apologetic stare, jimin found that he didn’t feel uneasy at all. in fact, he found it was quite the opposite: looking at jeongguk, at how tiny jimin’s own fingers looked as he held on to jeongguk’s hands, had warmth pooling at the pit of jimin’s stomach, had him looking down to the floor, unable to meet jeongguk’s eye, had him blushing.
jeongguk’s tongue, unnaturally long and pierced , peeks out of their mouth to nervously lick at their lips. jimin gulps, thinks about how that tongue would feel all the way down his -
“are you sure you’re okay?” jeongguk says then, mercifully cutting off jimin’s train of thought. their voice is deeper than jimin expected, their accent curling prettily around the sharp words of the common tongue. “I - I didn’t mean to scare you, or grab you so hard. I’m still getting used to - to being around humans. ”
jeongguk’s eyes never leave jimin’s as he speaks. they’re of such a light grey color they almost look white, with thin, black pupils. a reptile’s eyes. they pin jimin in place, making him unable to look away despite the wild pounding of his heart, how hot his cheeks feel.
“it’s fine, honestly. I’m - I’m okay.” jimin is quick to reassure them, waving his hands around just to really drive home the point that he is, indeed, okay. “it doesn’t even hurt.”
that’s, well. not entirely true. it does hurt quite a bit, especially when he moves or breathes, but there are stars shining bright in jeongguk’s eyes and jimin is suddenly overcome with the uncontrollable urge to not dim them under any circumstances.
“you’re - you’re just so - “ jeongguk starts, then pauses. they scrunch up their face like there’s something they want to say, but they can’t find the right words.
jimin relates to that. the common tongue for all New Earth inhabitants had already been implemented when he was born, but his grandparents and parents made sure to teach him korean as he grew up, the now old and almost forgotten human tongue their family used to speak before the Fall, before earth as they knew it gave up on them. before the aliens came. jimin only ever spoke it around his family or the handful of korean people that still remained in New Earth, and he found that it came easy to him in a way the common tongue just didn’t. often he found himself wanting to say something in the tongue but all his brain would come up with was in korean. it was extremely frustrating.
“... clumsy?” jimin supplied, aiming to break jeongguk out of whatever funk they had worked himself into, and he succeeded: jimin’s silly little quip got them to smile, eased the furrow of his brows a little.
they were still holding jimin’s hands in his. they didn’t feel as warm as a human would, but it wasn’t an unpleasant sensation at all. jimin found himself not wanting them to let go just yet.
“no, no. that’s not - ” jeongguk shakes their head, curses, mutters something in what jimin assumes must be their native tongue again, full of clicking sounds and croons. then, they look at jimin square in the eye and say: “you’re beautiful.”
jimin was extremely grateful he couldn’t see his reflection in that moment - he bet his cheeks were an awful fiery red by now. they sure felt like it.
“o-oh.” jimin ducked his head, shy, unable to hold jeongguk’s intense gaze any longer. “you think I’m beautiful?
jeongguk nodded, seemingly eager for jimin to understand. “the most beautiful human I’ve ever laid my eyes on.”
and jimin didn’t quite understand, not even to this date, why jeongguk affected him so much. all they had done was to hold his hands and call him beautiful and yet here jimin was, flushed to the very tip of his ears with rabid butterflies flying around in his stomach. was it because their supposedly insane compatibility levels? was it something else, something bigger, like fate? were they just horny?
(jimin couldn’t speak for jeongguk, but in new earth, hooking up was a luxury few people could afford. most people were simply too busy trying to scrape by on a planet that was trying its best to make their life a living hell for random sexual encounters, others just didn’t wanna risk pregnancy when birth control was so scarce and their circumstances were so dire.
other people just wanted to simply save themselves the awkwardness of having to see the person they hooked up with every day after the fact because their communities were small and everyone knew everyone else, so. hooking up was bound to become a vicious circle of having sex with all of your friends and acquaintances’ exes because it was the only option.)
regardless of the reason why they were so eager to jump each other’s bones, jimin had to admit it excited him. he truly hadn’t known what to expect or if he would even be attracted to his partner at all, but now? he was actually looking forward to the reproduction part of the process, all thanks to jeongguk.
“I - thank you.” jimin said, fiddling with jeongguk’s fingers. he wanted to tell jeongguk that they’re gorgeous too, that he loves their hair and would be more than happy to play with it if jeongguk allowed him to, but his throat was so clogged up with nerves he found himself unable to say a word.
a very deliberate cough sounded to their right, then, making them both freeze and jump at the same time.
gulping, jimin slowly looked over to his right and, sure enough, doctor kim was standing right there, hands in the pockets of the white lab coat he wore over his uniform (a loose-fitting maroon shirt with matching pants, a pair of that timeless footwear known as crocs on his feet), smiling smugly. when jimin meets his eyes, he raises his hands and his eyebrows in an "oh, just don't mind me" gesture that has jeongguk groaning, tipping their head back to stare at the ceiling like they couldn't believe they just forgot their doctor was there.
jimin was so overcome by embarrassment his knees almost buckled with it. as doctor kim started laughing, he let himself tip forward until his face was buried in jeongguk's sturdy chest, arms around their waist as he did his best to hide. he felt jeongguk stiffen for a millisecond, but before jimin could move back and apologize, jeongguk wrapped an arm around jimin's back, the other coming up to gently hold the back of his neck, play with the little hairs at the back of jimin's neck, hoping to comfort him.
jimin held onto him a little tighter. suddenly making a fool out of himself in front of his assigned doctor before they had even gotten the chance to exchange a single word was worth it.
"well, I was supposed to introduce you," doctor kim said. his voice was a lot deeper than jeongguk's, like it was coming from his chest instead of his throat. jimin couldn't see him right now but he could hear the smile in his voice as he spoke. "but I see you've got it already covered."
"I'm very sorry," jimin said, his voice muffled by jeongguk's chest. he wondered if his cheeks would ever feel like anything other than burning heat. "I'm not usually like this. I don't know what came over me, I -"
"oh, please, don't worry about it." doctor kim said, his voice overflowing with mirth. "I get it, jeonggukkie here is very handsome. between you and I, I would've been more offended if you hadn't reacted to them at all."
then he broke out in a fit of giggles, laughing harder when jimin groaned and jeongguk let out that same high-pitched nervous titter from earlier. jimin could tell he wasn't mad (which made him feel very relieved), but he seemed to greatly enjoy poking fun at them.
pulling away from jeongguk, jimin turned to face him completely. to a regular human being like jimin, it didn't really make a difference that doctor kim was a head shorter than jeongguk, because a head shorter than jeongguk was still way taller than any human could ever be, which meant still having to tilt his head back to be able to look at him in the eyes properly.
and the real kicker? doctor kim had horns. they protruded from his forehead and then curved backward, which jimin was sure was the only reason the tips of it didn't reach the ceiling. they looked to be made of purple amethyst quartz , much like the spikes coming out his back all the way down to the tail swishing behind him. what was visible of his skin was streaked through with purple, lavender and white veinings. his own eyes were an intense amethyst color. he looked like - he looked like a marble statue come to life.
jimin was left wondering if he would feel as cold to the touch. but not for long.
with a rather enthusiastic clap of his hands, doctor kim said. “so! like I said, I feel like you don’t need my help at all in this front, but I still gotta follow protocol and following protocol involves me making a report of your first impressions of each other in excruciating detail or the higher-ups will get mad at me again, so.”
“jimin, this is jeongguk of the jeon clan, a crystalline mermaid born in azlue.”
jeongguk raised his hand and wiggled his fingers in a shy little wave. jimin was so endeared.
“and jeongguk, this is park jimin, the oldest son of park hyosang and cho jihye, born in serendipity, one of the last surviving human communities here in new earth.”
“it’s a pleasure meeting you, jeongguk” jimin said, smiling bashfully. they stared at each other for a full second before jimin struck out his hand in a fit of panic, regretting it immediately when jeongguk just blinked at it, making no move to shake it.
jimin swallowed. maybe in jeongguk’s culture shaking hands wasn’t a thing, and he was yet again making a fool of himself. or maybe shaking hands was a terribly offensive gesture and jeongguk felt so insulted they were considering unhinging their jaw and swallowing jimin whole, starting from his feet -
slowly, jeongguk raised their hand and gently shook jimin’s.
“Likewise, park jimin,” jeongguk said, smiling bashfully. “I apologize, I forgot for a second that humans shake hands in greeting instead of tails.”
jimin meant to tell jeongguk that it was okay. instead, what came out of his mouth was: “oh. I’d shake your tail if I could. but I, uh - I don’t have one.”
jeongguk burst out laughing. by his side, doctor kim looked like he was having a very hard time holding back his laughter. a part of jimin wanted the ground to open up and swallow him up, but another part of him, a bigger part, the one that was in love with they sound of jeongguk’s laughter, would gladly do it again if it meant getting to hear that heavenly sound again.
“you’re very funny, park jimin. I think you and I are gonna get along just fine.”
jimin thought so, too. “you can call me jimin. just jimin.”
“jimin.” jeongguk said, slowly, as if he was testing out how jimin’s name felt in his mouth. he nodded. “okay. jimin.”
"jeongguk already knows me, but I believe we haven't been introduced to each other properly," doctor kim said then, taking a step forward to offer jimin his hand. "on this planet I go by kim taehyung, and I will be in charge of overseeing yours and jeongguk's progress for the duration of the experiment."
jimin took his hand, and they shook on it. doctor kim's - no, ( taehyung's ) - hand was big enough to swallow up jimin's, his fingers long and slender, like a pianist's, covered in pretty colorful veinings, pleasantly warm to the touch.
“it’s part of the protocol as well that I remain nearby during your first encounter, just in case you need me,” he said, giving jimin’s hand a squeeze before letting go. then he winked at them. “but I can just tell that’s not gonna be the case at all.”
and he was right - it wasn’t. jimin had to admit his nerves returned full-force when doctor kim left them to their own devices. as he lowered himself the plush seat of the cafeteria booth in front of jeongguk, he couldn’t help but wonder if maybe their “connection” was a fluke and now that it was just the two of them the conversation between them would become awkward and stilted until they eventually would just be staring at the table and playing with their food, not knowing what to say, or maybe jeongguk would turn out to be not as nice as he appeared to be in the presence of doctor kim.
instead, they ordered pink plasma milkshakes and spicy uranian fries and ended up talking about nothing and everything, from their childhoods to their home planets to their favorite books to how good doctor kim looked in his uniform. they fumbled with conversation at first, nervous but eager to get to know each other, but the more they talked the more comfortable they became with each other to the point where jimin almost had milkshake coming out of his nose from how hard jeongguk was making him laugh.
jimin noticed jeongguk’s grin was as it sharpest whenever he got jimin to laugh.
“you know,” jeongguk began, swirling his straw around his now empty glass. jimin wasn’t entirely sure if it was an alien thing or the beginning stages of him being whipped for jeongguk thing, but their voice sent tingles down jimin’s neck and spine. jimin would happily let jeongguk read him an entire dictionary.
“after things didn’t work out with my last assigned partner I started to get worried, because it seemed like I was just going to be unable to find a suitable partner. I even thought, when we were on our way to meet you, ‘maybe, if things don’t work out this time either, they will just simply send me back home’. because it’s not like they can afford to keep wasting time on me, yeah? my species isn’t endangered or anything, I’m not a priority. they can just bring someone else and be done with it.”
mermaid species were particularly sought after for their skin, fins and scales, jeongguk told him, but the extremely harsh conditions in azlue kept their species relatively safe from poachers, raiders and other similar invasive species. very few that ventured into their territory unprepared were able to survive long enough to try and hunt a crystalline mermaid down and succeed.
but other species weren’t that lucky, and so poaching was pushing some to dangerous near-extinction numbers to the point where cross-breeding them with other species was their only hope of survival. it made sense, then, that they would want to focus their attention especially on matching individuals belonging to endangered species.
although, thinking about it, humans could very well be considered an endangered species as well at that point. the thought made jimin shudder.
“I’m glad nothing worked out, now, though.” jeongguk murmured, watching jimin gently trace the webbing between his fingers with the tip of his finger. his fingers twitched occasionally; he was ticklish there.
jimin’s heart was pounding. he was pretty sure he knew what jeongguk was hinting at, but just to be sure, “yeah? and why’s that?”
“I wouldn’t have got the chance to become your assigned partner.”
“well,” jimin replied, playing coy. “we could have still bumped into each other in the cafeteria, or in the library or something.”
he still hasn’t forgotten the look jeongguk gave him at that moment. their heated gaze traveled from jimin’s lips all the way down to his exposed collarbones and then back up to jimin’s eyes.
“maybe so,” jeongguk conceded, their eyes two pools of melted steel. their tongue came out to lick at their lips in a way that felt deliberate. “but in that case, we wouldn’t be paired up, which would mean it wouldn’t be possible for us to… touch each other. and, excuse me if I’m being too forward, but I. I would really like to touch you.”
jimin gulped. he squeezed his tights together in what he hoped was a discrete way, fighting to not start squirming in his seat at the thought of getting physical with his assigned partner. with jeongguk. he knew it was going to happen eventually, and he was only a little bit ashamed to admit just how eager he was to start that evaluation period, to go for a tumble in the sheets with his assigned partner now that he knew that they looked like jeongguk.
“not at all,” jimin breathed. “I - me too.”
jeongguk’s answer came in the form of a dark, glinting smile full of promise.
a couple of tables away from them, taehyung put his pen down and leaned back in his chair, staring at his completed report with an air of satisfaction for a moment before looking back up at jeongguk and jimin making eyes at each other.
he smiled. he had a good feeling about them.
the sudden sound of quick, loud footsteps on linoleum coming from behind him snaps jimin back into the present.
before he can startle or react at all, a pair of hands cover his eyes and, well - the majority of his face. they feel soft against his skin, and by now jimin has more than gotten used to the way they feel a lot less warm than a human’s would, craves to feel them over his skin all the time, stroking his face, roaming over his body.
jimin’s mouth twitches, not succeeding at fighting off the smile threatening to take over his face. he would know those hands and the voice currently giggling in his hear anywhere.
“hm. I’m not sure,” jimin hums, pretending to think it over. “hobi, is it you? it’s you, right?”
“no, it’s not hoseok,” the voice says, whiny, as hoseok laughs softly from where he’s sitting behind his desk. “jiminie, come on.”
“oh, wait, I know who it is!” jimin says, trying with all his might to keep his composure and not laugh. at least, not until he’s done speaking. “it’s doctor kim, right?”
jimin stars laughing in earnest now, unable to hold it back anymore. “ah, I got it wrong again? is it maybe namjoon, the nice bhonsài that works at the cafeteria and that always writes nice messages in my coffee cups?”
“you know it’s not any of them,” the voice growls right in jimin’s ear. “like it wasn’t any of them who did that thing you like with their tongue the other day and almost made you - “
“jeongguk,” jimin hissed, whirling around quickly to face his menace of an assigned partner, who was looking at jimin with a rather smug smile on their face as hoseok’s loud laughter resonated in the empty waiting room.
they batted their eyelashes at him. “yes?”
“you’re insufferable,” jimin said, no real heat in his voice, pulling his mouth down into an exaggerated pout. “what are you doing up so early, anyway? you were asleep like a log when I got out of bed.”
jimin lets it happen when jeongguk crouches down and wraps his arms around jimin’s waist, pulling him in. after a bit of trial and error, they discovered that this was the best way for them to properly hug each other without having jimin’s face being directly on jeongguk’s crotch.
the thought of jimin being the perfect height to give jeongguk head while standing up hasn’t escaped his brain. jimin wishes it had.
“well,” jeongguk murmurs, nosing at jimin’s hair as jimin rested his head on their shoulder, playing with the strands of hair that had come loose from the low bun they had put their hair into. “I rolled over and saw your side of the bed was empty. I figured you would be here, so decided to come look for you.”
jimin traces a cluster of shiny scales on jeongguk’s back with his finger, says, “sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you. I know how hard it is for you to fall asleep on land.”
jeongguk, like the vast majority of aqua-based species, slept in water tanks that the facility provided for them. even though crystalline mermaids were fully amphibious and could survive outside of water, if they spent too much time away from it their scales could get too dry and end up falling off; and even if that wasn’t the case, most aqua-based species preferred to sleep in an environment that was actually familiar to them.
but when they started to get close, jeongguk would sometimes ditch the water tank in favor of sleeping with jimin in his bed, just like they did last night. and it was not like jimin was complaining; he loved having jeongguk in his bed, but jimin noticed it was hard for jeongguk to sleep when they were away from the water, and no matter how much jimin insisted that jeongguk should just go sleep in their water tank, that jimin would still be there in the morning, jeongguk’s stubborn ass wouldn’t listen to him.
their usual response to jimin asking them to please sleep in the water tank for once was merely turning around on the bed, folding his back fin until it laid completely flat and demanding that jimin spooned him. jimin usually conceded, and then proceeded to drag them bright and early to the shower so they could get some moisture on their skin.
or, maybe jimin would suggest that jeongguk should sleep in their water tank that night, and jeongguk would use that wicked tongue of theirs to distract jimin until he could not remember why he ever thought that was a good idea or his own name.
but last night when jimin’s stupid brain woke him up at the asscrack of dawn and refused to allow him to go back to sleep, jimin could tell jeongguk was genuinely asleep, they were even drooling a little on his shirt, so when he eventually got tired of staring at the ceiling and decided to get out of bed, jimin thought it would be better to just leave them be, let them sleep a little longer.
jeongguk tuts. “nonsense. you should have just told me you couldn’t sleep. I could have helped you with that.”
they duck their head to press a wet, open-mouthed kiss to jimin’s neck, right on that spot underneath his ear where he’s especially sensitive. jimin shivers, grips jeongguk’s shoulder tight as they continue to press kisses down the column of his neck, stopping to mouth at some the hickeys still adorning jimin’s neck.
ah, there goes not walking into the pre-app room without a boner.
jeongguk gives a particular hard suck to a spot on the base of jimin’s throat. jimin moans, loud. hoseok squeaks and covers his eyes with his hands, two over each eye.
“for the love of saturn’s rings,” hoseok groans as jimin pushes away from jeongguk, cheeks flaming. “save it for when you’re inside.”
“it’s not our fault you’re single, hobi,” jeongguk grumbles. “and a prude too, apparently.”
hoseok squeaks indignantly, waving all four of his arms in the air. “who are you calling a prude? if I didn’t say anything the next thing I knew you would have jimin bent over a chair.”
jeongguk opens their mouth to argue, realizes hoseok is right, and shrugs.
“you disgust me.”
jeongguk just blows him a kiss.
jimin wishes he could say something but. well. hoseok does have a point. jeongguk was shameless when it came to his horniness towards jimin and jimin had discovered that he may or may have not have a thing for public sex, so. there’s that.
during their first official meeting with doctor kim, right before their evaluation period began, he informed them that “physical closeness” was greatly encouraged among assigned partners, as long as it didn’t involve wasting eggs or laying eggs in the human partner without supervision.
anything else, he told them, with a big knowing grin on his face, was fair game.
doctor kim didn’t specify what he meant exactly by “anything else”, but that was fine. it just made experimenting with all the various ways they could touch each other all the more fun.
jimin was worried, at first, that jeongguk just wouldn’t get to come at all until doctor kim decided that they were ready to move forward to the next stage of the process since they couldn’t waste eggs and all, but when he brought it up with them, jeongguk just winked at him and said: “you’ll see.”
and oh, jimin saw alright. lying between jeongguk legs for the first time had been an almost out of this world experience in itself, but nothing could have prepared jimin what was waiting for him there.
jeongguk has two dicks. not just one, but two. two (2) dicks. and a self-lubricating slit, a bit further down, all hidden by what jeongguk referred to as his “sheath?lips”: they kept their genitalia protected and out of view; they were only visible when jeongguk was aroused.
crystalline mermaids, jeongguk explained, were born with both a “male” and a “female” set of genitalia. some fluctuated between using one or the other, some used just one and some used both. it was vital for their survival, back when the first of their kind came to azlue: it was extremely hard to keep their young alive, so the fact that all adults could potentially carry eggs helped immensely in the establishment and survival of the first colonies.
“what - what about you?” jimin had asked, his mouth seeming to be watering and going dry at the same time as he stared at the tips of jeongguk’s dicks peeking out from his sheath lips. “do you - both? both of them? can I touch? please?”
jeongguk laughed, and spread their legs further apart. “yes, jiminie. you can touch both of them. whatever you want.”
well, not exactly whatever he wanted. jeongguk’s right dick, the thicker one with a wider slit, their ovipositor, had to remain off-limits for now. jimin was pretty bummed about it, until he found out just how fun it was to tease jeongguk with it by pushing it back into its sheath every time it tried to slide out as he stroked their left dick, slender, longer and with a narrower slit. jimin would gently press it back inside, ignore jeongguk’s whining, and then shove his fingers back into their slit, which was so sensitive jimin could have them coming with just a couple of strokes. it was lovely.
it was like a dam breaking: once they put their hands on each other, they just couldn’t stop, and as time passed and they got more comfortable with each other and their boundaries they also got more… daring.
jimin doesn’t blame hoseok for thinking jeongguk would just bend him over right then and there at all. after all the times poor hoseok has accidentally walked in on them in storage closets, bathroom stalls and that one occasion with the empty office, it’s only fair that he’s so wary now. they’ve definitely given him reasons to.
they keep their hands to themselves, mostly, as they wait to be called in. jeongguk sits on a chair and pulls jimin into their lap, cradling him gently, whispering sweet nothings in azluan into his ear as jimin dozes off, feeling safe and protected in jeongguk’s arms.
jimin is not quite sure how much time passes after he falls asleep but the next thing he knows jeongguk is poking him on the cheek softly and telling him that it’s time for them to go inside.
jimin sits up, yawning and scratching his head. it’s then that he sees that the door leading to the pre-app room is open. suddenly he’s wide awake.
“it will be fine, yeah?” jeongguk says, sensing jimin’s apprehension. “I’m gonna be there, and doctor kim is gonna be there and lots of trained professionals are gonna be there. we’re not gonna let anything bad happen to you, promise.”
jimin gulps. realistically he knows that, but. it’s still scary. things could get pretty ugly for him if something goes wrong.
he squeezes jeongguk’s hand, takes a deep breath. he can do it. as long as he has jeongguk by his side, everything will be fine.
“okay. let’s go get ‘em.”
jinsoul, doctor kim's assistant, greets them right by the door when they step inside the room. she looks almost out of place standing there with her blond hair and regular human height and features among all the humanoid alien nurses running around trying to get everything ready as soon as they possibly could, as she's one of the few staff members that are human, but her presence made jimin feel comforted, somehow. human solidarity, and all.
jinsoul smiles at him like she's aware of this, too. she gives him a sympathetic smile. "how are you holding up?"
“I’ve been doing a fantastic job at keeping my mind off it, thanks to jeongguk mostly,” jimin says, going for total honesty and refusing to acknowledge the implications of his words. “so I’d like to get on with it as soon as possible before I have time to think and I truly start panicking.”
one could very well argue that jimin is, as a matter of fact, already panicking, but thankfully jinsoul chooses not to comment on it. bless her heart.
“alright,” she laughs, looking down at the clipboard she’s holding in her hands, flipping through the pages attached to it, frowning in thought until she finds what she’s looking for. “jeongguk, doctor kim is waiting for you on test room six, which is straight down from the door behind me and then left. jimin, you’re first coming with me to ambiance adaptation room three and then, if there aren’t any issues with your photosuit, we will meet jeongguk and doctor kim there to try for third egg implantation, okay?”
if there aren’t issues. photosuit. third egg implantation.
jimin’s throat is so dry with nevers it hurts to swallow. “okay. that’s - that’s okay.”
before they part, jeongguk gives his hands an encouraging squeeze, crooning at him in azluan. they would do that from time to time, after jimin confessed to them that they found it soothing, even if he didn’t understand what the words meant. jeongguk has been trying to teach him some azluan, but it was hard for jimin to pronounce most of the words. his human throat just isn’t made to wrap around some of the sounds jeongguk can make.
“remember to take deep breaths,” jeongguk crouches down in front of him, leans forward a little bit to whisper in jimin’s ear. “you’re gonna be just fine, and then you’re gonna come to me so I can fuck you like you deserve, yeah?
jimin shivers, nods because he doesn’t trust himself to open his mouth and not moan out loud.
“ah-ah,” jeongguk says, pressing a barely-there kiss on the shell of jimin’s ear. “you’re going to have to use your words, djarshka. ”
djarshka. that’s the azuloan word for honey.
great. just when he had finally managed to get his boner under control…
“yes,” jimin breathes out, his mouth dry for a different reason now. “ yes. ”
and jimin really wishes he could wipe jeongguk’s little satisfied smirk off their face, preferably with his mouth, but they don’t have the time. not now, at least; jeongguk presses a quick kiss to his mouth and stands up, heading in the direction jinsoul pointed them towards.
once the door has closed behind jeongguk, jinsoul turns to him and says, “shall we go?”
they head left, down a long, twisty corridor until they reach a steel door with a small three engraved on it. jinsoul turns to give jimin a reassuring smile before pushing the door open and walking inside. jimin follows hurriedly after her, closing the door behind him at her request.
then he turns around, and his eyebrows shoot up as far as they can go up his forehead.
there is a massive cylindrical chamber smack dab in the middle of ambiance room three, entirely made of glass. there are several robotic arms hanging from its ceiling, the heads varying from wicked-looking metal claws to what looked like airbrush guns. there was a computer placed directly in front of it, and three of the four walls of the room were lined up with big stainless steel wardrobes and shelves full of strange medical-looking equipment and jars filled with colored liquids, among other objects that jimin wasn’t able to identify that made the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end. the only exception was the wall on the left, which had a reclining chair like the ones used by old earth dentists in one corner and a blue curtain on the other.
there are two other nurses in the room: one of them is standing by the reclining chair, hair up and face half-hidden by a surgical mask, holding a tiny bottle filled with a green-ish liquid in one hand and a… quite big syringe in the other. the other one is standing by the computer desk, seemingly awaiting instructions.
jimin gulps. he hopes that syringe doesn’t go anywhere near him.
“alright, so, jimin,” jinsoul says, sitting down in front of the computer. “we’re gonna do your photosuit first, so I’m going to need you to strip and then step into the chamber. you can take your clothes off behind the blue curtain over by the corner right on your left if you’d like. we’ll begin when you’re ready.”
jimin thinks he mutters an “okay”, but he’s so overcome with nerves he’s unable to get his vocal chords working properly. he makes his way over to the corner and once he’s behind the safety of the blue curtain, he takes a few deep breaths and tells himself over and over, as he takes off his clothes and leaves them neatly folded on top of a conveniently placed stool there, that these group of highly trained professionals will absolutely not let him die.
he does have to walk towards the chamber butt ass naked, but after weeks of communal showers, there’s not a drop of shame left in jimin’s body.
“stand right in the middle, with your arms and feet spread apart - yes, exactly like that,” jinsoul instructs, speaking into a mic placed on the computer desk so that jimin can hear her from inside the chamber. “we will begin now. it’s very important that your eyes remain closed once the process begins. do not open your eyes until I tell you to. if you understand, give me a sign.”
jimin shoots her a thumbs up.
“it may get a little loud inside the chamber as the photosuit gets painted on your body,” she continues. “if for any reason you want to take a break, raise one finger. if you want to stop altogether, raise two fingers. if you understand, give me a sign.”
a peace sign this time.
jinsoul rubs her hands together. “alright, let’s begin. close your eyes for me, please.”
when doctor kim had told jimin he would be wearing a photosuit, jimin had thought he meant an actual suit, or maybe something more like a space suit or something like that. but a photosuit, despite its name, wasn’t an actual suit nor it looked like one. it was a type of advanced alien technology in the form of little plaques coming together to form a substance similar to body paint that would then get sprayed on the subject’s body for maximum effect.
there were many kinds of photosuits, all of them with different functions. jimin would be wearing two different kinds: the first layer will allow him to breathe in a carbon dioxide-filled atmosphere by converting it oxygen, which will then go directly through his skin and into his bloodstream, and the second one will keep his body temperature steady and him from freezing to death.
the process begins with a loud whirring noise. doctor kim explained the entire process to him, so that even if he couldn’t see what was going on exactly he could at least know what was coming and be prepared for it: first, the lights of the chamber’s scanners would flash red as it takes jimin’s measurements, like his height and his body mass. then, jinsoul would give the order from her computer for the first row of airbrushers to come out and spray the first layer on him. then, once the airbrushes were done and the first layer was dry, the second row would proceed with spraying the second layer on him. rinse and repeat.
it wouldn’t hurt at all, doctor kim promised. if anything, it would maybe feel a bit uncomfortable from the plaques adhering to his skin, and jimin is honestly glad he actually told him the truth instead of sugar coating it just for jimin’s sake: he barely felt anything at all, and the whole thing was over sooner than he expected.
“you may open your eyes now, jimin.”
jimin blinks his eyes open, squinting against the ceiling lights after having them closed for so long, and stretches out his stiff limbs.
jimin catches sight of himself and gasps.
every single inch of his skin has been covered by the photosuit’s plaques, making it look like he has honest to God scales, pretty, black and gold scales. he twists his neck to see his back, and runs his hands up and down his body, quite enjoying the feel of the photosuit.
doctor kim also informed him that the photosuit only works when it’s exposed to the harmful elements its supposed to protect the person who wears it from, so it was okay if he was still able to breathe normally after the process was complete, it didn’t mean that the suit didn’t work whatsoever.
“jimin, can you hear me?”
“you may come out of the chamber now, and I will accompany you to test room six.”
jimin steps out of the chamber with wobbly legs, trying his very best not to think about how he’s essentially naked, just covered in a tight photosuit that leaves nothing to the imagination.
but before they leave the room, the nurse that he had seen with the giant syringe and the small bottle when jimin first came in approaches him.
“take this before you enter the water,” they say, depositing a small green pill in the palm of his hand. “it will give you temporary gills, so that you can breathe underwater.”
jimin blinks. he stares at the pill like he has never seen one before. “temporary gills?”
“yes. ideally, you would get surgery for it, but there wasn’t enough time, so. this will have to do.”
jimin thanks them, and closes his hand around the pill.
“and it’s - it’s safe right? it’s not going to suddenly flake out on me and cause my immediate death?”
the corner of the nurse’s mouth twitches. “well, it’s never happened before, but you know what they say. there’s a first time for everything.”
jimin’s face must have been a real poem, because the nurse laughs. “kidding, I’m just kidding. it’s one-hundred precent safe, I promise.”
“stop terrorizing him, yerim,” jinsoul grumbles, although there’s no real heat behind her voice. “jimin, let’s go. doctor kim is waiting.”
the last thing jimin sees before leaving the room is the nurse’s smile, full of jagged teeth. he can’t help but think that jeongguk’s is prettier.
at first glance, the test room looks like it’s nothing special.
it looks like an interrogation room of sorts, except the entire room is plunged into darkness. the only source of light comes from the various computer monitors placed on the tables facing the right wall and the big, transparent glass screen situated right in front of it.
“ah, jinsoul, jimin, just in time,” doctor kim says, swiveling around on his desk chair to face them. he’s smiling, so things must have gone well on their end as well. “oh, wow, jimin. you look lovely. black suits you.”
jimin is pretty sure doctor kim doesn’t mean it like that, but the compliment goes straight to jimin’s dumb gay brain regardless. he preens a little. “thanks.”
“we’ve successfully managed to reproduce the living conditions azlua has down to a T,” doctor kim says, barely contained glee leaking from his voice as he turns to face his computer screen again. “according to my calculations, we should be getting a healthy batch of eggs this time around.”
jimin’s eyes widen. “you think so?”
taehyung’s excitement is palpable. he looks like he’s seconds away from bouncing on his chair. “ yes. I really think this time may be the one. all we need now is for you and jeongguk to work your magic so we can know for sure.”
“where are they?” jimin asks, pointedly ignoring the implications of doctor kim’s words. he’s been doing an excellent job of not thinking about how they’re about to have sex in front of him and jinsoul so far. “weren’t they supposed to be here with you?”
like they were just waiting for him to ask, jimin hears a splash coming from behind the glass screen, and looks up just in time to see jeongguk jumping out of the water, shooting finger guns at them as they spin through the air, and falling back into the water like it’s nothing.
jimin gapes. he’s pretty sure he can hear jeongguk cackling from there.
“I brought them in to make sure we got everything right when it came to temperature and percentage of carbon dioxide in the air,” doctor kim says. “and they’ve been swimming in there ever since. I think they missed it.”
jimin looks up again, but jeongguk is no longer visible on the surface. jinsoul gently points at one of the monitors, where jeongguk can be seen waving at the camera, underwater. jimin understands how they feel: the first few nights in the facility were hell for him because of how much he missed his own bed and his family. he can’t even begin to imagine how it must be for jeongguk, not only being away from their family and friends but also their home planet, having to adapt to an unfamiliar planet where they don’t know anyone.
jimin stares at the little green pill in his hand, and says, “I’m going in.”
doctor kim nods. “there is a door to your right that leads to a pressurizing cabin. when you enter it, you have to remain there for about fifteen minutes before you can fully go inside. after the pressurizing process is complete, don’t forget to take the gill pill before you head inside, okay?”
on normal circumstances jimin wouldn’t have hesitated to laugh at the mention of gill pill , but he’s so tense the words barely register in his brain. he nods, then says, “yeah, okay” because it’s kind of difficult to see much of anything with the lack of light in the room. he was kind of convinced he would just have to fumble around aimlessly until he found the door, but before he even had the chance to, jinsoul got up from her chair and helped him get there.
she says, “have fun” and jimin doesn’t need to be able to see her to know that she’s smirking right now.
jimin smirks right back at her. “oh, you bet I will.”
he’s fidgety the entire time he’s standing inside the cabin, jumping from one foot to the other as it beeps and whirrs, and he’s swallowing down the pill the exact second the siren cuts off and doctor kim’s voice informs him through the speakers that he’s ready.
“uh, doctor kim?” jimin asks, when a few minutes have passed and nothing has happened. he keeps touching his neck, feeling for the… gills, but, so far, nothing. “is the pill meant to do absolutely nothing at all?”
doctor kim’s laughter comes in bouts of intermittent static through the speakers. “well - yes. the gills will only appear when you’re inside the water, and from then on you will have around five hours until they start to fade away.”
jimin bites down so hard on his tongue to keep himself from commenting that he and jeongguk have gone for far longer than that he nearly draws blood.
jeongguk is waiting for him on the shore, when he finally makes it inside. they’re lying on the ground, resting their weight on their crossed arms with their upper half on the almost black sand that makes up the ground jimin is tentatively standing on and their lower half submerged in the water.
jimin takes a step forward, then another. the ground is soft beneath his feet; it feels like walking on an old earth beach, just. colder. admittedly, the water doesn’t look very inviting - it looks muddy, a mixture of independence and pingeon blue, yet jeongguk looks like there’s no other place they would rather be. they wave jimin over, a playful smile on their face.
“come on, old man!”
jimin flips them off lovingly, and starts running. jeongguk meets him halfway, after they’ve dragged themselves out the water and gotten their legs back; it’s fascinating, watching the silvery-white scales of its long, beautiful tail recede until they’re mere patches on their skin, giving way to their equally as beautiful, long legs.
jeongguk wastes no time into hauling jimin up by the hips, so they can kiss him. their lips meet with a sense of urgency, catching and giving like it’s the very last chance they’re going to get to be with each other like this. jimin wraps his arms around jeongguk’s neck, moaning right into their mouth when jeongguk rubs their piercings on the of his mouth, greatly enjoying the way they clank against his teeth.
jimin’s hands find jeongguk’s bun, and he fiddles with it until jeongguk’s hair is flowing freely down their back, which makes jeongguk smile into the kiss. they’re well aware of just how much it gets jimin going when they leave their hair down.
“gods, I wish I could mark you up,” jeongguk murmurs, nosing at jimin’s neck as he holds him close to their chest. “want to let everyone know that you’re mine. ”
jimin shivers. he usually would be completely on board with that idea, but,
“baby, you know I love you but please, for the love of all that is holy, keep your teeth away from this photosuit.”
jeongguk pouts. “but I love biting you. I love the way you taste. humans usually taste awful, like, rotten fish, but you’re - ugh, so good - ”
jeongguk licks at their teeth, like they’re savoring the taste of jimin’s flesh in their mouth. jimin can’t tell if they’re serious about their intent of biting him (he already knows they’re one hundred percent serious about how much they love the taste of his flesh) or if they’re just doing it to rile jimin up, but, in any case:
“yes, well, you know what I love? breathing and living and being alive - “
jeongguk sniggers, says “I know, I know, djarshka , I was just joking”, to which jimin responds by punching them on the shoulder which, admittedly, hurts jimin a lot more than it hurts them.
“you’re an idiot. I want a new partner.”
jeongguk’s eyes darken. “yeah? you really think someone else will be able to fuck you like I can?”
jimin runs his hands down of what he can reach of jeongguk’s shoulders and back, traces one of the slits in jeongguk’s back with the tip of his finger, gently rubbing at it and dipping his finger inside, slowly coaxing the tip of one of jeongguk’s tentacles to come out.
“well,” jimin murmurs against jeongguk’s slack mouth, eyes squeezed shut in pleasure as jimin the tip of the tentacle wraps itself around his finger, as jimin pulls it out. “I have to admit I’m growing quite... bored of waiting for you to, oh, I don’t know, actually do something - “
jeongguk’s tentacles are nothing short of a work; they have the same crystal-grey color of their scales but they shine like they’re filled with glitter, flaring around them as jeongguk narrows their eyes at him. the tentacle that jimin wrapped around his fingers slides down his hand to wrap around his wrist, three more shoot out to grab a hold of his other wrist and his ankles, their hold tight and secure as jeongguk holds him up in the air.
jimin pulls at the restraining hold jeongguk’s tentacles have on him, but they won’t budge. he’s completely at jeongguk’s mercy now, and he loves it.
“are you sure you wanna play this game, darling?” jeongguk says, spreading his legs a little further apart. “remember, you don’t necessarily have to come during these sessions.”
“hng,” jimin groans. he’s so hard he’s almost dizzy with it. “touch me, please, I’ll - I’ll behave - ”
jeongguk snorts. “mhm, sure, I believe you.”
“jeongguk - ”
jimin cries out when he feels a tentacle rubbing at his hole, spreading the sweet substance oozing from its tip all over jimin’s asscrack, making sure his entrance is well coated before tentatively pushing in. jimin’s head falls back, mouth hanging open in pleasure as jeongguk starts to fuck him with the tip of their tentacle, pushing further and further in until it’s so deep jimin’s stomach is bulging with it.
“shit, you feel so good, minnie,” jeongguk groans. they have a hand between their legs, working at both their dicks slowly, teasing. they want to savor the edge. it’s only gonna make it that much better when they’re finally buried in jimin to the hilt. “I’m all deep inside, baby, can you feel me?”
“yes,” jimin sobs, gritting his teeth at the onslaught of pain-pleasure he feels every time the little suckers on the underside of jeongguk’s tentacles roughly catch on his prostate. “yes, yes, yes, feels so good -”
two more tentacles slither up his body. one presses down meanly on the bulge the tentacle inside of him makes every time it fucks into him, the other sprays more of that sticky substance around jimin’s hole before shoving its way in, not wasting any time in matching up to the brutal pace its brother has established.
jimin can’t - he can’t even speak, he’s so overwhelmed the only thing he can do is lie there and take it. he’s not even sure when he started crying, but there for sure are hot tears rolling down his cheeks and into his hair as jeongguk pounds into him relentlessly.
it’s then that comes to the realization that he’s gonna - that if jeongguk keeps it up he’s gonna -
“I’m gonna come,” jimin whimpers, arching his back with a pointed high-pitched moan when one of the tentacles hits his spot just right. “ah - ah shit, jeongguk, hold on - h-hold on or I’m going to - “
jeongguk smirks. uh oh.
“but jiminie,” they say, as the tentacle that was pressing down on the bulge in his stomach slides down his body, leaving a trail of that sickly sweet substance that smells like cinnamon and that has jimin’s head going all hazy. a natural aphrodisiac, jeongguk had explained. “I can’t stop. I gotta make sure you’re stretched out properly. I don’t wanna hurt you when I make you take me, all of me, tonight.”
jeongguk uses the very tip of that same tentacle to stroke jimin’s aching cock for a few seconds, and it’s a barely-there touch but jimin swears he can come like that, he just need a little more -
“and besides,” jeongguk says, a mean twist to their smile as they ignores the way jimin cries harder when the tentacle moves away to travel lower, just a little lower, down his body until it reaches jimin’s already stretched out hole. jimin’s eyes widen.
the two tentacles inside him pull back, so that one hovering over his hole can slide in, so that all three of them can slide home in one strong thrust.
“you can always come again, right?”
it’s too much. the way jeongguk is so deep in him, hitting all the right spots, fucking him hard and fast and making his stomach bulge obscenely, the mean lilt to their voice, how they’re treating jimin like he’s a mere plaything, nothing more than a warm body for them to - to fuck and breed -
“can’t wait - can’t wait to be inside you,“ jeongguk groans. they’re not touching themselves anymore, but their hands twitch by their sides like they want to. “can’t wait to fuck you full of my eggs, so full you can’t even walk afterwards - “
jimin thinks he screams jeongguk’s name, when he comes. he thinks that he hears jeongguk murmuring, “that’s it jiminie, come for me, let go for me, good boy, so good for me”, but he’s not all that sure, because his orgasm hits him with such strength it leaves his ears ringing. it’s like it started from the very tips of his fingers and travelled slowly through his body only to converge in a delicious explosion of heat at the pit of his stomach. he comes so hard he gets come on his chin.
and this is only the starter. jeongguk still has to deliver the main course.
“good?” jeongguk asks. they’re panting like they’re the one that just got fucked, grunting when the three tentacles they had in jimin’s ass slip free. jimin tries to laugh but it comes out more like the sound a dying rat would make.
“god, I don’t know,” jimin croaks, his voice shot to hell, as he wipes at his tear-streaked cheeks. “ask me again when my soul has returned to my body.”
jeongguk laughs, but jimin can tell they’re pleased. jeongguk loves to hear that they’ve done well, thrives on praise, especially when it comes from jimin or it’s related to a task that has to do with jimin.
“well, it better hurry up,” jeongguk says, tightening the grips their tentacles have on him. “because I’m still not done with you.”
they turn around and start marching towards the water like that, with jimin held high in the air by their tentacles. jimin’s spent dick twitches, making a valiant effort at getting hard again at such blatant display of strength.
jeongguk eases him into the water slowly, then lets him go as their tail forms so that he doesn’t accidentally drop him. if jimin was a little less fucked out at the moment, he probably would have worried about the photosuit malfunctioning all of a sudden, killing him instantly, but thankfully nothing happens, other than a sharp pain in his neck, right underneath his jaw, when the gills make their stellar appearance.
“holy shit,” jimin says. he can breathe , he can speak underwater. “this is so cool. ”
jeongguk swims a lazy circle around him, their hair floating around them like a halo. jimin swims over to them, wrapping his arms around their neck and kissing them deeply. this time, jeongguk shoves their tongue halfway down jimin’s throat, fucks jimin’s mouth with it roughly as a tentacle wraps itself around jimin’s midsection, with two more creeping up his legs.
“you have no idea,” jeongguk whispers against his mouth. “just how much I’ve been craving this. it’s been… a while since the last time.”
“it really has, hasn’t it?” jimin coos. “poor baby, you just wanna unload in a nice, tight, warm body, hm?”
“gods, yeah,” jeongguk moans. they flip jimin around, moving him he’s on a horizontal position with his legs spread as wide as they’ll go. “I missed having your ass like this, minie. missed breeding you.”
“do it, then,” jimin says, feeling like he will lose his mind if jeongguk doesn’t fuck him now. “come on, honey, take my ass. it’s all yours.”
jeongguk curses, loudly, and brings jimin closer towards their dicks with their tentacles. jimin moans unabashedly at the first brush of his puffy hole against the tip of jeongguk’s left dick, shamelessly rubbing it up and down jeongguk’s dick, dying to feel it inside, to have it fuck him open.
luckily for him, jeongguk is as desperate as he is, because they don’t bother with any kind of teasing, they just wrap a hand around jimin’s waist to help keep him steady, and slides home in one long, smooth thrust. they moan pretty much simultaneously when jeongguk bottoms out, moves jimin upwards until only the tip remains inside him, and then shoves him back down again, using theirs and their tentacle’s grip on jimin to bounce him on their dick like he’s a ragdoll.
“yes, that’s it, come on,” jimin grits out. his hands fly towards his stomach when jeongguk begins to pick up speed, whimpering every time he feels the noticeable bulge of jeongguk’s dick in his stomach underneath his palms. “harder, give it to me, harder - “
jeongguk hisses something in azluan that may be a curse, jimin is not sure, can’t bring himself to care about it right now. jeongguk fucks into him a couple of times as hard as he can go before he pulls out completely, and when jimin starts to complain that he feels empty, a tentacle slithers its way up jimin’s body and slips into jimin’s mouth to keep him quiet.
“there we go, jimin-ah,” jeongguk croons. “isn’t that a much better use of your pretty little mouth, hm?”
jimin groans, does his very best to nod as he sticks his tongue out, swallows around the tentacle in his mouth as it drips that cinnamon goodness straight down his throat.
“I’m gonna - with two, now, yeah?” jeongguk says, a hand around both their dicks already. “gonna breed now, minie, breed you so good.”
if they hadn’t done it before already, jimin wouldn’t probably be so on board with the idea, thinking there would be no way in hell or heaven both of jeongguk’s dicks could both fit. but oh, they can fit alright. the initial stretch of his rim around both cockheads is almost unbearable, the blurry line between pleasure and pain tipping slightly more towards the pain scale, but that’s exactly why jimin loves it so much. he loves it when it hurts a little bit more than it should, loves the feeling of being so full, so stretched out it feels like he’s truly gonna break.
“jeonggukkie, oh - “ jimin slurs, half delirious with pleasure. “hn - feel so full, ‘s so nice -”
“yeah, baby? feel me all the way into your cute little tummy?”
jimin’s fingers twitch reflexively over the rather prominent bulge in his stomach. “yes.”
jimin is pretty sure he blacks out for a hot second when jeongguk finally bottoms out, when he starts pistoning their hips in time with them shoving jimin down their dick. there’s no finesse to it, no rhythm whatsoever, just jeongguk desperately chasing their release, clenching their teeth and groaning about how good jimin feels, how tight and warm he is inside, how nice he looks all stretched out around both their dicks. how he’s gonna -
“ - come jimin- ah, ‘m, ‘m gonna - come - “
jimin is right there with them, when jeongguk’s left dick gives a hard twitch and starts to come, pumps him so full his stomach distends with it. jeongguk comes a lot, it goes on forever, until jimin feels like he’s gonna burst with it.
jimin floats, complete lax. the tentacle that was previously fucking his mouth all nice and rough slips from his slack mouth, and if it wasn’t for jeongguk’s hold on him, he would have probably just floated back to the surface. his mind is just. blank, every thought overridden by pure, unadulterated pleasure.
jimin - squirms, but jeongguk growls a little, and holds him down. holds him tighter. jimin frowns, his foggy mind struggling to understand just why jeongguk won’t let him move -
and then the first egg comes. and then another one, and another, and another -
jeongguk sighs, relieved, eyes half-rolled into their head in pure bliss as they unload into jimin’s warm, willing body. jimin comes again, and again, this time dry, as the eggs slowly fill him up, his spent body unable to give anything more.
when jeongguk is done they slip out of him carefully and cradle him close to their body, petting his hair and whispering sweet nothings into his ear.
“I’m so proud of you,” jeongguk whispers into his hair. “did so well, took me so well - “
jimin smiles tiredly, and as he looks up into jeongguk’s starry gaze, he thinks that he wouldn’t mind it at all if it didn’t work around this time around, either.
as long as it’s with jeongguk, jimin is willing to try again over a hundred times and more.
when jimin comes to, they're not in the water anymore.
instead, he's lying on his back on a soft plush bed with jeongguk curled around him to the best of their ability given their size, running their hands through jimin's hair as they hum what sounds like an azluan lullaby.
"w - what? - "
jimin starts coughing, unable to form a proper sentence. his throat is so dry it feels like his vocal cords are being rubbed raw with sandpaper every time he swallows. jeongguk's eyes widen when they notice he's awake, a soft "oh", coming from their lips. jimin is dreading the moment jeongguk will stop petting his hair in order to get him some water, and jeongguk must sense it because they just sigh and let one of their tentacles come out from its slit, using it to bring the glass of water on the nightstand next to jimin's bed to him.
jimin tries his best to not look smug as he downs the glass in one go, but given the fond exasperated look jeongguk is giving him, he doesn't think he succeeds.
"how are you feeling?" jeongguk asks, scratching jimin's scalp softly with his nails in the way they know jimin loves and jimin all but melts under his touch. if he had the right vocal cords to do so he would be purring right now.
"like I got steamrolled, but in the best kind of way."
jeongguk's smile is both bashful and downright smug. "you're more than welcome."
"shut up," jimin shoves at them weakly. "what happened with the eggs? are they - did it work?"
jeongguk hums. "you probably don't remember, but when we brought you to the infirmary after you blacked out in the water and stripped you out of the photosuit, doctor kim ran this weird scanner over your stomach to gauge the initial state of the eggs, and he says the results are extremely positive, and that he thinks it's best if the eggs remain inside of your body for now, at least until they get strong enough to be moved to a more appropriate environment where they will be able to develop safely."
jimin rubs at his stomach absent-mindedly. "you think - that if it works, this time, they'll let us go?"
technically, they would have fulfilled what was required of them, so it would make sense if the next step was just getting paid and leaving, but, surely, maybe they will want them to stick around? to see if they can get it to work again?"
jimin looks up at jeongguk. he doesn't want to say goodbye.
"I'm not sure, to be honest," jeongguk says. "a part of me wishes they will, so I can take you out on a proper date, court you like you deserve."
jimin's heart almost sank at jeongguk's initial words, but now it's pounding with a renewed vigor against his ribcage. jeongguk is resolutely not looking at jimin, eyes fixed on the squeaky clean room of the infirmary like it's the most interesting thing they've ever seen.
jimin reaches for their hand, squeezes it gently, encouragingly. "let's do that."
jeongguk blinks. their eyes are so wide they look like they're gonna pop out of their sockets any minute now.
"when we get out of here," jimin says. "let's go on a date."
"really?" jeongguk smiles, big, all their sharp teeth full-on display. "you want to - with me? you would let me court you?"
jimin nods, shy. jeongguk looks positively elated, swooping down to kiss jimin's face, anywhere they can reach: cheeks, nose, forehead, each of his eyelids. his lips.
jimin squirms, giggling as jeongguk's hair tickles him. as he lies there, safe in jeongguk's arms, jimin finds himself thinking that he doesn't really care about what comes next, if they let them go or not, as long as jeongguk is there with him.
jimin truly can't believe how far he's come. when he first walked into the facility, he has half-convinced it was all an elaborate ploy to harvest his organs. and now, not only he has all his organs still in place, but he got himself a date with a lovely crystalline mermaid who jimin hopes will become his boyfriend in the near future.
his mother is going to flip.