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An Alpha's Garden

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Wiping sweat from his forehead, Jungkook groans when floral sweetness hits his nose. Shit. All the deodorant and cologne he smears on before practice can never mask his scent for long. Diminishers do enough of the job, but he forgot to stock up, so now he's temporarily reverting back to his middle-school days of lousy antiperspirants. Great.

Along with reeking of flowers, his pits are dripping from practice. It's nasty. His team captain's a sadist who made them run lap after lap for the final half, so now his thighs are protesting every step. 

He picks up the pace anyways, darting along the cement path through the park. He wants to get home as soon as possible. A shower isn't on his mind (even though it should be); all he sees is his computer, open and waiting. It smacks him with a tightness in his stomach that he can't really process, and when he makes it to the large gate at the other side of the park, he tastes dandelion. He's learned to hate it; it's one of his anxiety flowers. 

'Does anyone else smell… flowers?'

He grimaces at the memory, picturing how Geonwu had curiously asked the team as they'd walked from the field. It was only twenty minutes ago, so it's not hard to remember how Geonwu had peered around, confused as he'd breathed in the concentrated aroma.

Jungkook had recoiled in panic. He'd already been anxious to get home, noticing his scent spilling from his pores, and Geonwu's comment had made it worse. His sudden bout of stress had, ironically, amplified the already-present dandelion smell.

Hoseok had shrugged. 'I think it's just those sunflowers by the fence.' 

'Do sunflowers really smell like that?'

'Think so.'

'Kook!' Eunwoo had yelled out, noticing how Jungkook was retreating away from the other alphas instead of following with them. It'd just about given Jungkook a heart attack. 'Aren't you coming?'   

The guys were trudging towards the locker rooms, soon to shower, but Jungkook knew he couldn't be in a confined space like that when he was sweating so much. A shower would wash away the last of his protection. 'Nah, I gotta get home. See ya later.' He couldn't have gotten out of there any quicker, cursing himself for thinking deodorant was enough. 

Today had been a close call. 

He’s almost to his house. His bag bounces on his shoulder as he crosses the street, narrowly arriving to the other side before the signal can finish counting down. There's a woman walking in his direction, and he wouldn't pay her any mind, except she gawks at him. Sure, he's gross and his hair's greasy, but that's not what's making her mouth twist up. Jungkook can pinpoint the exact moment when she realizes where the saccharine fragrance is coming from. He's bulky, built just like the proper alpha should be, and he knows she won't just assume he's some pleasantly smelling omega. She knows his rank. She disapproves.

"Pulpha," he hears her mutter as they pass each other, and the initial shock at hearing that word quickly sharpens to anger. He wants to snarl, to bear his fangs and challenge her, defeat her, but he reigns himself in, grinding his teeth. That slur is a punch in the gut. Pulpha. Pussy-alpha. One that's weak, omega-like. Wasted potential. That's what makes the word so cruel — it's an alpha that could have been something so great if they hadn't been such a fuck up.  

"Fuck off," he finally spews, the anger pulsating. He swivels around to confront her, feet bracing for attack, and meets the empty sidewalk. She's gone. He has no one to aim his agitation towards, so it fizzles out in the toxic way, the way when he shoves it down and doesn’t acknowledge it until it morphs into something parasitic. 

He turns and continues walking, this time, a little hastier. 

He needs to buy blockers. That's obvious. And if they weren't so unnecessarily expensive, he'd be popping a pill in his mouth right now. Instead, he's been forced to suffer.

Most omegas would adore having his scent. That’s the cruel part. They would show it off, gloat to their friends. He's seen their perfumes, winced as they'd sprayed on scent enhancers that smelled exactly like him. They'd give anything to have a natural scent as appetizing as Jungkook's.  

But why him? He's not an omega. Doesn't want this. He's squashed with it. Constantly on guard because of it. Constantly covering it up with cheap, over-the-counter diminisher sprays that give him rashes and clammy skin. He suffers through it because he has to. He knows what happens if he doesn't, if they found out. He's seen the wreckage.

An alpha that smells like an omega.

Disgraceful.

Dishonorable. 

Disgusting. 

He finally arrives home, entering inside and heading to his bedroom. He slams the door, blocking himself from the rest of the house before his mom can give him one of her empty frowns. Or, on a good day, one of those blank gazes from the kitchen, the ones he sees when she disappears out the back door and doesn't return for days. He never knows which one it will be.

He flings his bag beside his bed, ignoring how damp his pants are and how his shirt clings to his chest like a leech. He sniffs, and his lungs suck in the pleasant aroma of the flowering season. He can conceal the scent from his body, but he’s never managed to tamper the pungency in his room. He doesn't care enough to. It’s partially why his mom doesn’t like to come in. 

Snatching his laptop from his desk, he logs in, and the page he was on hours ago, before school, greets him with a glare. His fingers make light taps against the keyboard, clicks vibrating in his ears, but he hasn’t actually pressed any keys yet. 

Please choose an alpha, beta, or omega Companion. *Note: cost will remain the same regardless.

[] alpha

[] beta

[] omega

This isn’t the first time he’s stared at these words. He can’t believe he’s actually doing this. Is he stupid? Lonely? Desperate? 

Yeah, all those things. Mostly lonely. Really fucking lonely. He's surrounded by alphas who don't want to hear if he's upset. Surrounded by the persona he has to keep on, always. Mom doesn't want to hear about it, dad's not around to hear about it, friends would scorn him for it.

It's like he's trapped underground, chained to the floor, and no one wants him to ever find a way out. Maybe he's not supposed to.

The screen dims, demanding attention, and he shakes the mouse to brighten it again. He's been impassively scanning the page for too long. If he's actually going to do this, he needs to make a choice. Alpha, beta, or omega? The answer's obvious: beta. A fellow alpha would mock him. Even if not, he'd never feel comfortable. He'd compare himself and see how pitifully he does. 

An omega doesn’t work either. They’d see this strong, perfect alpha and be disappointed if Jungkook showed anything different.

He needs someone he can talk to, be honest with. A beta. They're in between. They'd be the most impartial. That's what he needs. Someone who won't call him "pulpha" if he tells them how he feels. How he actually feels.

Because if he wanted to be shamed, he'd stop concealing his scent. Reveal it to the whole school. Then he'd be gifted with all the black eyes he could ever want.

And, of course, that doesn't mean a beta won't make fun of him, but it's a safer choice. 

Groaning, he peers at the words through the cracks of his fingers. He’s selecting a Companion. One that’ll hear all his woes and issues in life and pretend to care. One that’ll hold him if he wants and rub his back and tell him that everything’s okay while they take his money. It’s a mutual thing. Mutual benefit.

God, he can’t believe he’s doing this. Wasting his hard-earned money. Hours slumming in a fast food shithole for this? He can’t even remember how he stumbled upon this website, but here he is. 

His hand smacks down on the touchpad, and he winces when he accidentally clicks omega instead of beta. Idiot. A new screen pops up. He needs to go back. There's a back arrow, one that his mouse hovers over. He made a mistake, hurry up and fix it. 

But he can't get his mouse to click. He knows that if he does, if he allows himself to go back, he'll lose his will entirely; he'll relinquish the remnants of the courage he has and exit out of the website entirely. He doesn't have enough gusto to redo it after he's one step closer.  

So he moves on and pretends like he hasn’t just set himself up for failure. A few more clicks, few more cringes and questions of ‘what am I doing?’ before the order is done. 

He stares gloomily at the website's cheerful colors.

Order Complete! You will be with omega Companion Jimin. He looks forward to meeting you!  [access more information about your Companion and building location here]

Thank you for choosing Companion Com.! We are dedicated to providing a... [click to read more]

Check out our FaQ for additional information. 

Slamming his laptop shut and rubbing the bags under his eyes, he ignores that he’s done something incredibly weak. The type his dad would’ve hated. The type that his friends would never let go, that would make them fall over cackling. Or ostracize him from the team. Maybe both. Probably both.

Jeon Jungkook, the popular kid who’s so fucking lonely.

He stares out the window, drops dripping down the foggy glass. The rain's picking up. He lets his back hit the mattress, hating that he's still sticky with sweat but not moving to do anything about it. Instead, he hugs his pillow and admits what he already knows: 

He's a fool who's tripping up himself before anyone else can. He's doing their job for them. 

But he's also so used to falling that one more hit isn't going to knock him out.

 


 

“My client’s late,’' Jimin huffs, shoving his head into Jin’s shoulder. He'd been waiting patiently at the door, ready for his client to walk in, but that was until twenty minutes sluggishly passed without sign of him. He's since moved to the check-in counter to complain to the only omega there reluctantly willing to listen. "Do something about it."

"What am I supposed to do?" Jin grunts when Jimin starts poking at his side. "And stop with your tiny fingers! They're abnormally spiky for being so little."

He swats Jimin away, but the comment sets a crackle of energy through the orange-haired boy, and his attack advances, rocketing his "abnormally spiky" fingers into his friend's side until the omega starts giggling. 

"Stop attacking me!" he wheezes, escaping the pokes by shielding his torso. "I swear, if you wanna be a bad little wolf, I'll leash you up and tie you to a freakin' tree."

Jimin clutches his chest, gasping in mock horror. "You wouldn't!"

"Oh, but I wood." Jin winks, and Jimin groans, completely withdrawing his ambush. 

"That was horrible and you know it." 

"I saw nothing wrong with it. You really gotta branch out your sense of humor."

Jimin shakes his head disappointedly, and Jin smirks like he has reason to be proud of himself. "Okay, but seriously," Jimin starts again, eyes back on the door that isn't opening. "Where is my client? Have you gotten any emails?"

"Not yet." Jin picks up his strawberry teapot, the one that he insists gives the liquid more flavor, and pours some earl grey tea into one of his little china cups. He knows not to offer any to Jimin because he hates the stuff. 

“Hah, I’ve never gotten stood-up by a client,” someone jeers, and Jimin whips his head to where Namjoon’s walking from down the hall. Taehyung follows behind, his head ducked-down, squirming his shoulders as they step into the main room. “Taetae would never. Right, baby?”

“Y-yeah,” Taehyung murmurs, barely even acknowledging Jin and Jimin. He’s too drawn on Namjoon's mouth.

Taehyung is Namjoon's regular client. Namjoon has grown to pestering the kid with all sorts of pet names and playful gestures. He totally believes it's just friendly banter, but with how Taehyung's become more flustered with every new one, everyone (except for Namjoon of course) has realized the boy has a thing for him.

Poor guy, Jimin thinks as Tae clumsily pays for his session and walks towards the front doors. Cocky Namjoon — with all his bragging about his intelligence being the key factor to having the highest number of clients — doesn’t realize that his regular has the biggest crush Jimin’s ever seen. 

“See you later, cutie! Hope you do well in your interview!” The kid nods fervently, like his head’s a whirring helicopter preparing for flight, and then he’s tripping out the front doors. Namjoon laughs, pushing up his glasses. “Isn’t he adorable?”

“Mostly.”

“Sure,” Jin sighs, tapping on his computer screen. He's given up on scolding Namjoon for leading the kid on because they're all aware he doesn't realize he's doing it. “Jimin, your client’s already thirty minutes late.”

"Don't you think I know that?"

"Yikes," Namjoon hisses. “Am I gonna have to beat someone up for my precious Jimin-ah?” He walks over to them, ruffling up the omega's hair and ignoring how Jimin kicks his leg for doing so.

"Stoppp, I have a client. I have to look presentable for him."

"Where is he then?" he cackles. The omega scowls as Namjoon checks himself out, signing his name with a loopy scrawl of the stylus. It's early, but he's already finished with his clients for the day. Lucky wolf. "Tell your little ghost I said hi. Maybe even give him my card. That'll make him appear." Namjoon punctuates his sentence with a goodbye peck on Jimin's forehead, and the omega yanks his head away, hoping that some bad karma has been building up for his friend. 

"Bye!" Namjoon yells, leaving for the front, and the two omegas less enthusiastically echo it back.

The door closes for the second time in two minutes, and Jimin peeks at the clock. Fifteen minutes left. “Did he at least already pay with credit card? We don’t offer refunds, right?" He's a little short on cash at the moment, so forgive him for being desperate. "My brother stole fifty bucks from my dresser for comic books, and I still owe booty-hole Joonie for paying for dinner. ”

"I'm gonna tell him you called him that," Jin teases. 

Jimin flicks him off. "Okay, booty-hole Joonie hyung."

“That's better." Jin lifts up his cup, taking a quick sip of his tea before placing it back down. Jimin traces the rising steam as Jin asks, "How's Jihyun doing by the way?" 

Jimin purses his lips, grumbling, "Unimportant" as he crosses his arms. He loves his younger brother, but he also can't wait for when he hightails out of the house to college. "Thieves don't deserve to be discussed with their real names. He's Dipshit in my book."

"Gotta love sibling friendships."

"Shut it," he sticks out his tongue, "and answer my question."

"I know you like to conveniently forget, but I'm still your boss."

"Alright, please shut it, Jin hyung boss-man," he giggles. "Better?"

The omega grins, and Jimin is hit with a whiff of his clover scent. The guy's got a kink for his dongsaeng addressing him properly. "Perfect." He scratches his chin and then makes a face. "And we don't offer refunds, but you're sadly out of luck."

"Crap." Jimin's mirth plummets. Stupid clients. He swings his arms with restless energy, nuzzling into Jin's hand when he starts mussing Jimin's hair. It's this peachy color — draws everyone in like moths to an orange flame. And by this point, his hair's already a mess. Might as well give in to a nice petting.

“Says he was gonna pay in cash at the front. I’ll cancel it. Want me to email Junha and tell her she can book extra time?”

Jimin exhales, rubbing his temples and cursing clients for being so unpredictable. He's twenty and still doesn't know what he wants to pursue, and with his luck, he'll end up working odd jobs until he dies. Jin pays well, and it's convenient having his best friend as a boss, but Jimin doesn't have Companion pegged as his final legacy in life.

He’s in the middle of uttering a weary “sure” when the front door opens. Jimin twists to greet whoever's at the entrance, clasping his hands behind him to look polite. And then he promptly forgets how to appear polite when his brain and eyes finally connect what they're seeing.

Good fuck, who is this?

If this is his client, (and please don't be if the earth has any sympathy), then he knows the kid’s eighteen from the form he filled out. But the black tattoos creeping up his arm combined with the dark look shading his face remind Jimin of someone much older, much scarier. He looms at the entrance, muscular arms highlighted by the glitter of the sky behind, and his ears are pierced to hell. Looped earrings, dangling earrings, studs. It seems the guy’s only requirement is that they’re black or silver and crowding up his ears.

“Welcome,” he hears Jin puff out, and at least he knows that Jin’s just as flustered as he is.

"Hey." The alpha — this has to be an alpha — glowers like he's about to eat them. His hair sways as he steps inside, all smooth and clean and cut just below his ears. Jimin, for the dumbest moment of his life, pictures himself tying it up into little pigtails, sticking pink bows into it and messing with the curls. Gosh, that'd be cute. 

But it's like the alpha catches his train of thought. He approaches the desk, crowding the space with his large frame, and Jimin's lungs constrict. This guy could snap him in half. Dangerous. His omega shivers, begs him to cower in submission. It recognizes the powerful alpha, pleads Jimin to abide by him, and this internal battle is pissing him off. He's having to struggle to inhibit his wolf's instincts.

“Hey. I’m here for, I think the name’s Jimin or something?” He sighs like he'd rather be anywhere else in Busan. He oozes the image of the jocks Jimin dealt with in high school, the ones who'd shit talk omegas yet have them clinging to their arms at any given point. Blatant disrespect. It makes Jimin sneer, utterly disgusted, and he smacks a hand over his mouth to compose himself. The alpha must catch on because he focuses on Jimin again. He easily overshadows him, tilts his head down like he would for a kid, and Jimin's never felt so small in his life.

He gulps and inhales a big whiff of the guy’s cologne. Nothing else. No scent, and that makes something inside him supremely distressed. The thick, manufactured alpha smell clogs up the air, and it's not right. Jimin's wolf whines that it wants the guy's real scent. Where is it? Where? 

That's the final straw. His wolf is pleading for the scent of a random alpha, one that huffs like he's better than Jimin on all accounts. And he's having this alpha as his client?

“Yup, that’d be Jimin right there,” Jin informs when Jimin’s lips cement themselves together in the same way that his feet have done to the floor. Jin points to the side, and Jimin wants to scream bloody murder at his friend (and boss). He doesn’t care if this is a client or the fucking president of South Korea, his friend ratted him out to a brute of an alpha. 

“Oh.” There’s no inflection in his voice; it's one monotone line. “So you’ll be my Companion.”

Jimin can’t really tell if the black-haired man is particularly impressed by this fact. His face is dead. Bored and dead like he can’t wait to get out of here. He shuffles to his other foot, and even that moment is insipid, like he has all the time in the world to shift his weight and lazily cross his big arms over his chest. He frowns, lips turning down as his pupils dig into Jimin’s safety bubble, and dammit, Jimin’s never needed a safety bubble before. 

Wait — The guy’s waiting for a response. “Yeah, that’s me.” Jimin waves his hand, flinching when the guy — Jungkook, he remembers from the digital form — raises an eyebrow. Unimpressed. Completely unimpressed.

“You guys only have seven minutes left. I suggest rescheduling ‘cause it’s a little too late right now.” Jimin almost melts with relief. Into a puddle. On the ground. Savior Jin, saving grace wonderful man perfect human best person in the entire world — “Maybe this Saturday?”

“Sounds fine.” The alpha doesn’t offer any explanation as to why he’s thirty minutes late, and that irks Jimin to no end.

Puffing up his chest and slightly standing on his tiptoes (just a little), Jimin agrees, “Yes, today’s not gonna work.” 

“Mm,” Jungkook grunts, arm raising to brush stray locks of black hair from his forehead. “Alright then.” He pays the money for the wasted session and ditches, not bothering to say anything more than he has to. The building is unusually quiet.  

When the guy’s long down the street, way out of earshot, Jimin finally bursts: “What the hell was that? No — no way, no fucking way am I letting that heathen cuddle with me.” He shakily runs his hand through his hair, puffs of air expelling from his chest. Shit, shit, shit! Why can’t he get good clients like Jeni does? Why in the living hell does he have to get the brooding giants with people issues?

“He might not ask to be cuddled,” Jin says, already having gotten a hold of himself. He frowns almost disapprovingly at where Jimin’s bouncing with restless energy. “I’d actually be really surprised if a guy like that did, but y’never know.”

“But he could. He could want to talk or he — he, he could, I dunno, murder me. He could ask me for a hug and then squeeze me to death. Did you see those muscles? He probably cracks wolves in half with them.”

“Hey, calm down now. Seriously.” Jimin stiffens at the humorlessness of his voice. Jin's upset with him? “We don’t judge here. He might be softer than he looks. Guys like that can be real sweethearts.”

“I think you're severely mistaken.”

The door opens, and Jimin promptly shuts up. They can't have clients hearing the employees trashing other clients. However, when a blond omega comes in clicking her heels, Jimin loosens. Jeni's here for her shift. 

“What’s up, bitches?” 

"The level of professionalism in here — "

"I'm going to be — "

" — dies more and more every day."

“ — murdered this Saturday.”

"What? Why?" Her ponytail swings as she rushes over to Jimin (ignoring Jin, much to his displeasure) and places the back of her hand on Jimin's forehead to check his temperature. She's reacting like an overprotective mom, but Jimin is thankful she cares. 

Jin waves a hand, rolling his eyes. “Oh, ignore that melodramatic shit. He’s nervous about a client that looks like some sort of twisted wet-dream serial killer.” 

“Exactly!" Jimin squeaks. "He’s a serial killer! You admit it.”

“Did you not hear the other thing I said?”

“If you’re so worried about him — ” Jeni interrupts, walking over to sign herself in with the computer and fiddling for her phone, “ — pass him off to someone else.” She types on the touchscreen, and the two boys silently wait for her to continue. She's younger than both of them, but she's also got more of their respect. “Get Nam hyung to do it. He likes murderer-looking guys with hot faces.” 

“There we go." Jin pours Jeni some tea because she's one of the few of their friends who likes it. "Problem solved.”

Jeni smiles proudly at coming up with a solution, stirring the liquid with a tiny spoon, and Jin is glad to have Jimin not screaming at them. Perfect solution.

But something is not sitting right with Jimin, something that’s entirely morbid interest (combined with the fact that he's broke). It must stem from never having had a client with a body like that request cherry-faced, orange-haired, cutie Jimin. Normally, those guys see Namjoon's photo on their website and jump in heart and soul. 

Jimin is stupidly, dumbly, idiotically intrigued. 

“Nope, I’m taking him,” he firmly announces, smacking his hand onto the counter and watching the other two jolt. 

He laughs when Jeni and Jin spew out their tea.

 


 

Jungkook's back presses firmer against the side of some brick building, uncomfortable as sewage wafts up into his nose and grit digs into his butt. He's in a hooded alleyway, one he’d randomly walked down when he’d swayed and realized he was about to crash. 

He bites his fingernails, ripping them until they’re bloody and tingly. It's a habit he can't seem to break: nibbling on them when he's distraught or anxious until he inevitably tears too much. He grimaces when his flower scent exudes from his little wounds, smelling roses for the first time in a while. They're his heartbroken flower, the ones he associates with thorny memories and red wounds. Even now, when doused in diminisher, he can't escape his scent. But he knew that already.

He wants to cry, wants to stomp his foot and demand comfort. Or maybe not demand, just whine. Wants to whine to someone sweet and have them touch his hair and tell him how pretty he is, and fuck, he's never gonna get that. He shouldn't even want that. Omegas expect that from alphas, not the other way around, and he knows that.

His Companion — Jimin — hadn’t wanted anything to do with him. Jungkook’s not stupid. He could see the surprise-turned-panic-turned-hatred. It stings, and Jungkook had barely gotten out of there without his lips wobbling and his eyes shimmering. He’d known that if he’d spoken any more, his voice would have cracked and his form would’ve shriveled up like a grape in the sun. 

He gulps, hiding his face with his hands from the whirs of cars rushing from the end of the alley and the chatter of people walking with their friends. His hands can’t protect him from the isolation in his body.

His knees curl up to his chest, wrapping arms around himself and lowering his head until he smells the clean fabric of his ripped jeans. Anything but the roses. They slip into his lungs; they're stupid, bulky flowers, and they follow his lowest moments. He shoves his nose harder against his knees, biting down and tasting the rough denim.

Even his paid Companion didn’t want him. Paid. Jungkook’s such a nuisance that money can’t buy him out of his loneliness. He didn't want him, that was plain and simple, so fucking crystal clear. And Jungkook's first response had been to guard himself, shove up every wall until he was cramped with it, doing whatever it took to get away from the omega's disapproving eyes. Shielding himself had only made that omega's distaste sink deeper, slinking back and away from the alpha. Jungkook had screwed himself. 

He clutches his legs tighter. When he shuts his eyes, the omega's scowl is all he can see, and roses are all he can smell. 

He’s really, really trying not to cry.

 

Chapter Text

When Jungkook sees Jimin again, he doesn’t approach. He doesn’t even show the omega he’s there. 

Jimin is outside a flower shop, head swaying as he listens to music through his white earbuds. He holds a plastic watering can, one that is green as the stems of the flowers. Jungkook pretends as if he can faintly hear the omega humming, as if the breeze is so strong that it carries the song. But he can't. He can only see how Jimin's lips part as he sings, how he licks them when they get too dry before starting again. There's none of that dislike when the omega is with the flowers, away from Jungkook. 

Jimin ambles to the peonies, and Jungkook wishes he were brave enough to step across the street, help Jimin sweep up the fallen dirt and twist the sign hanging on the door from "closed" to "open". Because of school, he has never arrived late enough to see customers actually inside. He's always too early.

He shuffles in the shadow of an awning, ignoring the passersby who question why this delinquent kid with ripped jeans is motionless on the sidewalk. Staring at things he can't have.

Jungkook got the email, the: I’m sorry it didn’t work out last time, but this Saturday for sure! :) And he wonders how much Jimin had hated typing it. Jungkook doesn't even know if he will return; he doesn't know if he's strong enough to get himself to. It'd been strenuous enough to convince himself to arrive the first time. And then it had ended... poorly.

So he doesn’t step closer, doesn’t stop to say hi. He's been seeing the omega for months now, passing the shop with little glances towards the pretty worker, but he'd never thought he'd actually meet the guy — and by such twisted chance at that. He'd never thought he'd hear that voice in front of him. He sure didn't think it'd be packed with so much aversion.

He's fantasized about finally getting the courage to walk across the street, strike up conversation, but his feet never take him farther than where he is now. There is an invisible line, one he's never crossed in all his morning walks to school. Trucks and cars momentarily block his vision, but once each of them pass, he's back to seeing Jimin's happy radiance and cowering under the glow.

He shouldn't be here.

He turns right. There is a path he can take that takes longer: around the buildings and near the bus station. He'll have to sprint to school every morning if he travels that way. He'll be late. Yet he disappears behind a shop anyways, in the opposite direction, picking up his pace and checking his phone. He is going to be at least twenty minutes behind the first bell, so he texts Eunwoo a warning before darting down an alleyway.

It's better like this, he tells himself as he starts running.

Wouldn't want the pretty omega to spot the alpha sadly watching from the other side. 

 


 

Jungkook sits beside the team captain, Geonwu, watching the boys sprint across the field. Geonwu has got Beomguk instructing the guys as they dribble and pass the soccer ball while he surveys who is fit for the team.

Jungkook's bored. Tryouts are tedious things, and he has had to deal with two this season because three of their key players decided to drop off the face of the earth. It's panic time to find new team members; otherwise Jungkook's going to suffer on the field without a replacement. But it sucks because Geonwu always drags him along, makes him put in his opinion, but then doesn't listen to it.

"Take a five minute break!" Beom instructs, and the tired guys slink to the edge of the field for their water bottles. Jungkook is itching to be out there himself, hates just watching, but he's stuck here for another thirty minutes. "Okay," Beom pants as he jogs over to them, "one more, then these guys'll be done. I'm thinking Jiwon — " he points at a boy off to the side with dyed purple hair, " — is a definite. That guy runs like his life hangs in the balance. I love it." Beom grins widely, but Jungkook's spirit drops. He already knows where this is going.

"Nope, he was out the second I saw that hair." Geonwu doesn't input more, instead checks his phone like he couldn't be bothered to explain something so obvious. Jungkook lounges back, arms behind his head. He winces when Beom steps a little too close to his bag.

There are blockers inside it, ones that will eliminate his flower scent for eight-hour periods, and Jungkook can't have any of the guys finding them. Blockers are already seen as having something to hide, and being scentless is sketchy as hell, so he's ready to douse himself in cologne and false-scents for as long as he needs. He's already been doing that, but these hella-expensive pills that he finally saved enough to buy are definitely going to make everything easier. He'll be set for two months.

"What? What's that got to do with anything?" Beom steps away from the bag, and Jungkook's apprehension fades. 

"Oh come on," Geonwu sneers. "A guy who looks like that is practically an omega. Coach may pretend the team's all open, but he won't have omegas or omega-looking alphas joining. We're here to win, not host a pity party. Why don't you know that by now?"

"You can't be serious. You're joking." Beom jerks back, appalled, and he spins to where Jiwon is across the field, patting his sweat with a towel. The alpha has really exerted himself, and he's not going to gain anything from it. By this point, all the omegas know joining the team is useless, and most omega-appearing alphas as well as betas don't even bother. Jiwon must have thought his skill would overshadow his hair.

"Do I look like the joking type?"

Beom swivels back, brows knitted like he's waiting for the break, the cracked smiles and exclamations that this really is just all a gag. "You're gonna let a great guy like that just slip away?"

Jungkook doesn't even try to argue, but Beom's a newer addition, joined last year and still doesn't get how things work. Coach is Geonwu's dad. The kid runs the team when his old man is out, and currently, he's in the hospital for a knee surgery. That means Geonwu's word is law.

"Dude, lay off. Go fuck that alpha if you're gonna be protective over him." The captain curls his lip. "Or better yet, let him fuck you."

Beom sputters, turning crimson from anger and embarrassment. He twists to Jungkook as if to say back me up, but the alpha seals his own lips shut. Profanities would rain from them, but he's used to biting his cheek and bearing through it. Shut up, Beom, if you know what's good for you.

"That's ridiculous," Beom spits out, back to facing Geonwu when he realizes Jungkook isn't going to help him. "We've gotta be losing tons of great guys 'cause of that! You're a fucking idi..." Beom freezes when he realizes what he's saying, who he's saying it to. Geonwu snarls. The alpha stands up, towering over the other even though they're almost the same height, and his teeth gleam like they're ready to rip out his throat. Jungkook pushes back in his seat, smelling the anger polluting their side of the field. Even the other guys have caught on and stand warily near the chain fence.

"What was that? What were you fuckin' going to say, huh? Fuckin' say it to my face." Geonwu's charcoal scent floods into Jungkook's nose, so threatening that the alpha quivers. "What? Not gonna, pulpha?"

Beom's bitter pinewood scent thickens, but he's not recognized as a head alpha, and it doesn't hit as strongly. Nevertheless, he holds his ground and clenches his fists, a vein popping on his forehead. "Yeah, you want the truth? You're an idiotic asshole. Knew you weren't fit for captain but nepotism could make a pig fly, eh? And you — " he shoves a finger into Jungkook's face, " — you just go along with it like some weak-minded crony. Grow a fucking backbone."

"That's it," the team captain growls, and Jungkook feigns disinterest even as the comment sears into him. He plants his feet to the grass, knowing what's about to come.

Quirking a brow to disguise his fear, he looks away when Geonwu throws the first punch.    

 


 

Jungkook

hoseok?

you there?

Hoseok

yeah

what's up

Jungkook

do you think i need to be a little tougher?

like, is that an obvious problem with me?

Hoseok

no

it's never been a problem i've noticed

why are you asking tho?

did some jackass say something?

Jungkook

so you don't think i need more of a backbone or smthn?

Hoseok

well, with how you attack the ball on the field, i'd say you have just the right amount

it's almost scary sometimes

still, what happened?

Jungkook

there's something that makes me nervous

more nervous than i'd like to admit

but i wanna do it

i'm strong enough to do it

i should do it right?

Hoseok

can you please just explain the context behind all of this?

Jungkook

no

just answer this:

do you think i should do something even if it scares me?

cause i'm not a pulpha

i can stand for myself

Hoseok

never call yourself that

that's a stupid insult, i don't understand why people use it

but yeah, as long as it's not something dangerous or bad for you, i'd say you should do it

it's good to try new shit, live a little

Jungkook

thanks

i think i've made up my mind

i'm gonna go to it

Hoseok

no problem

but i'm seriously needing some context on what the hell you're talking about

go to where?

jungkook?

i can see you're reading this

fucker

 


 

Jimin hastily swallows the blocker pill as he darts into the building, shoving the bottle into his bag with the lid halfway screwed on. It's Saturday afternoon. He's been dreading this. His client — Jungkook — is already reclining in the turquoise chairs in the main room. He sends Jimin an unimpressed glare, making the omega shiver. He can't believe the alpha actually arrived first this time. And early too. 

“Jungkook-ssi,” he greets as he approaches. Smoky cologne smothers Jungkook, and Jimin wrinkles his nose when he smells it. He forces a smile to cover up his distaste, knowing he’s never been this tense with a client, but his legs are lead, and his throat is choked with grit, and woah, the alpha's nose is pierced. A stud shines on the side of it, and how did Jimin not notice it before? He's having a hard time tearing his focus away, but the thing keeps shimmering. “Follow me.”

He hopes he sounds stress-free as he starts to walk, passing Jin who gives him a subtle thumbs up. Jimin channels the voice he uses with all his other clients, prepared to add more pep to it. He'll fake it 'till he makes it, fake it for the next forty-five minutes and drain himself in the process. And with Jungkook following obediently, maybe they'll get this over with without anyone losing their sanity. Wait, obediently? No, that doesn’t describe it. More like he silently trails, always three steps behind, never close enough but never far. It makes the hair on the back of Jimin's neck raise, a shudder darting down his back.

He's being stalked like prey.

He sneaks a failed-to-be-discreet glance back and spots Jungkook’s hands casually hidden in his pockets, arms bulging. He's bored, eyes hooded. The guy catches Jimin's evident distress, and the omega's spine solidifies like a block of ice when the alpha huffs under his breath. Jimin jerks his head back in front of him, cursing himself as they reach his door.

How's he supposed to get through this?

They enter the room. He watches from the side as Jungkook peers around it. Jimin is observing for any signs of life in him, but there's only a slight pause at the hanging paintings, even slighter at the bed. Otherwise, he doesn’t linger too long and doesn't touch anything. He travels like an outcast wolf wandering in a territory he knows isn't his.

The alpha is blatantly on edge, the type of man to desert at the first sign of conflict, and Jimin doesn't know how he's supposed to ease that. It's his job to be a glint of tranquility in his client's lives, but this could be past his ability. 

He gulps wetly and hopes Jungkook isn't listening too carefully to hear it. 

The space is Jimin’s own design, and the drawings are a friend's. It’s a little personal touch to a somewhat-bland area. The room's as delicate as Jimin could make it. The walls are a dull shade of pink, painted by Jimin himself. The bed's loaded with soft pillows, long and short, heart-shaped and regular. They sometimes spill over, overflowing and dropping to the sleek carpet underneath, and he's embarrassed as the alpha studies them. He doesn't linger long, but he considers those pillows. Jimin doesn't know what he's thinking, and that makes his wolf thrum with anxiety.  

It's a calm space, a safe space for Jimin. He doesn't want the alpha to mock that. 

To the left of the bed is a white couch, quite barren of anything. Jimin wanted different spaces in the room, some filled with fluffy pillows and other with bland furniture. Two grand windows spill light into the room, and cream-colored curtains sway from the breeze. He’s even brought some of the marigolds from the shop he works at, his side job. He makes sure to give them all the love he can, placing them in the sunniest part of the room and giving them compliments whenever he can (even flowers deserve a little spoken praise), but they're sometimes neglected here. Still, their vibrant colors bring a happiness that never fails to lift his mood.  

He concentrates on their beauty as he moves to sit down in one of the chairs, tapping the one across from him and locking the panicked air inside his body. Marigolds and sunshine, happy things. "You can go ahead and sit down," he respectfully informs, uncomfortable as he shatters the silence. There's a tension constraining the room, like they're both above the surface and unwilling to dip under. Jimin doesn't know when or if it'll break.

Jungkook comes towards him, his sneakers not even making a creak as he lowers onto the seat. He's built well, engulfing the chair, yet he'd stepped so gracefully. It makes Jimin pause before he remembers what he's supposed to say. 

“So, I need to inform you of all the boundaries. It’s on the website, but I’m obligated to tell you here as well.” He clasps his hands together. It's a spiel he has to go through with everyone, so much that he's memorized it, and he speeds through. Basic things about no sex in this room and a reminder that Jimin still has an obligation to go to the police if Jungkook says anything threatening about himself or another person. "I'm not a therapist," he reminds, remembering a specific incident where a woman had told him of an abusive girlfriend. She'd begged him not to say anything, but he couldn't listen to that request in good conscience.

"I understand," Jungkook affirms. He's been nodding his head along, like a pupil trying to absorb anything and everything. It's... off-putting. Or, not necessarily off-putting, but different. The sharp lines of Jungkook's face disappear, molding into something understanding. Open.

Different.  

“Good. That’s the main thing. Some people think that this comfort service is something it is not. We provide a Companion to people. I’m fine with talking, sitting near each other, petting — ” he grimaces at the next words, “ — sitting on each other’s laps, and cuddling. None of that can go in a sexual direction while we’re here. If I'm uncomfortable or if you're uncomfortable, we tell each other.”

“Okay.”

“Alright.” He grins, glad to have finished with no problems. He lets his true smile gleam for the first time since he's met Jungkook, and he can already feel the rosy tingle of heat on his face. It’s almost sad how the teen shuffles in shock at this, like he didn’t think Jimin could ever approach him with such warmth.

There’s something off about this Jungkook here. The man in the front distressed his omega, made him unhappy, but in here, he's not threatened. If anything, his omega is content near the younger.

“We have thirty-seven minutes to do whatever you want. We can talk, some people like to draw with me here, some people even like to read with someone else or do work. If we become closer — ” Jimin knows they won’t, “ — then we can meet up at other places. Nicer ones like parks or restaurants where the setting is a little more natural. It all depends.”

“Can we talk?” Jungkook asks suddenly, evading Jimin's gaze.

“Of course.” He tilts his head. The alpha's words were mumbled like his tongue was unsure how to form them. Did Jimin hear him incorrectly? He'd been ready to chew Jimin's head off in the lobby... “What would you like to talk about?” He keeps his question persuading, gentle as a hug from a close friend. It’s like with his flowers; he’s coaxing Jungkook to bloom and sprout a little taller. He imagines Jungkook's tanned face as a flower, surrounded by large, floppy petals, bright against his black hair. What species of flower would he be? 

"I…" Jungkook breathes out quietly, and Jimin flings away the weird image floating in his head, "I don't know…" His head lowers, only slightly, and his voice dips down to something small before trailing away completely.

"Ah, well don't feel pressured." He pulls his legs up onto the chair, criss-crossing them and settling his hands on his thighs. Jungkook's gaze follows the movement, resting on Jimin's knees before jolting them back up when the omega starts speaking again. "You're eighteen, right? Still in high school?"

"Yeah. Last few months of senior year."

"How's that going? Are you enjoying yourself? You getting some good ol' senioritis?" Jimin laughs, hoping to freshen the mood. 

But Jungkook seems to crumple with the questions, his mouth sucking his lower lip in to gnaw at it. "It's fine." He tugs at his sleeves before rolling one side up in uncharacteristic nervousness. He peeks up at Jimin, must see how the omega is noticing a hint of a faded tattoo on his arm, and he pulls the fabric back down awkwardly.

"Are you thinking about going to college?" Jimin's tone has softened. It's this weight. Something in the room tells him to be gentle, though he's not sure of what it is.

"Yeah."

"Where do you want to go?"

"I don't know yet." Jimin nods his head in understanding, but this seems to make Jungkook upset. "But I'm gonna figure it out. It's in my plans." Like a snap, Jungkook is icy again. The odd inflection is gone, replaced with the man outside, the man Jimin first met, the man that Jimin loathes because he's so disrespectful.

Jimin's amusement dies, and his tender voice switches to normal volume. “Cool. ”

“Tell me about you.” It’s a demand, total and complete demand, like all the conceited alphas Jimin encounters on a daily basis, and the omega growls. Fucking alphas with superiority complexes. The sizzle of hate surprises him, shoving himself into his chair and cursing internally as he wills it down. He coughs to hide it further before it manifests, before the alpha can recognize it as a threat, but Jungkook's already aware. He splutters, “C-can you, uh, please tell me about you? I don’t… I don’t want to talk about me.”

“What do you want to know?” Jimin shoots out, panicked. He growled at a client. Fuck. You idiot. Jin would be screaming; he'd been scrambling around and thunking his head against the walls. Jimin's so distressed at his lack of professionalism that he doesn't initially realize how fidgety the alpha is.

“I, well, what do you like doing in your free t-time?” the alpha stutters, and... what? Jimin doesn't understand anything. First he's glaring, then he's silent, now he's stuttering like he's scared of an omega's growl? This alpha has been a cocky ass, yet now he's picking at his torn jeans and patiently waiting for Jimin to respond like a puppy begging for snuggles after it's been scolded. How does Jimin approach this? He's dealt with shy clients, loud clients, crass and gentle, yet this alpha is snatching every part, molding it together, and presenting the mess to a increasingly baffled Jimin. 

He can't even say it's ridiculous because Jungkook is shrinking into himself like he's hurt that the omega still hasn't responded. No, oh no, poor baby —

"I work at a flower shop on weekdays. I like gardening, and it's good for my stress. And I like the smell of all the flowers." Jungkook perks up with something Jimin can't interpret. It's a little happy, mostly cautious, and a ton of... excitement? The sight's so pretty that Jimin has to take a moment to clear his throat and compose himself. "My friend owns the place, so I've been working there for a little while. Pays good money, he's looking for more employees..." Jimin doesn't know why he's implying that he's offering Jungkook to join. He's used to mentioning it to his friends, so it slipped out, but he crosses his fingers that Jungkook doesn't take him up on it. 

And when the alpha doesn't, he can't tell if it's disappointment that twists in him.  

"Why don't you have a... scent?" Jungkook whispers suddenly, sniffing the air as if to confirm his suspicions, and Jimin's chest clenches as a nervous, prickling sensation trickles down his arms. "It's just manufactured, just marigolds and, and wisteria and snapdragons and..." he halts as he sees Jimin peering at him curiously. The alpha shrivels, noticing the interest and attention and apparently not enjoying it. He fiddles with his thumbs, and Jimin notices how the ends are rose red.

"How are you able to pick out those scents so easily? Wow." Jimin brightens, unable to stop his awe. "That's really cool. That's exactly it."

"But, but why?" the alpha questions, shifting his shoulders like they're too bulky for his body. "Why would you put on a fake scent...? Why block it?" His fidgeting worsens, like he really wants to gnaw on the already short nails, and Jimin wishes he could put his own hands over the alpha's to stop him, to help him. 

Instead, he keeps his fingers on his lap and says, "Personal reasons. I'd rather not dive into it." The alpha frowns at this, unhappy with the reply, but Jimin's not going to admit the truth.

His scent is a disappointment.

Buying perfumes started when he got into this business. Jin has politely but honestly told him, when Jimin had come distraught about his latest client canceling, that it was probably because his scent wasn't particularly appetizing. 'It's not bad or anything!' His friend had panicked when Jimin had started sniffling. 'It's just a little unusual — Oh no! No, not unusual, don't know why I said unusual,' the other omega had tried to amend when Jimin had started blinking profusely to will back his tears. 'In fact, I love it! It's great! So great.'

That experience made Jimin sadly accept that having a job that required being close to others, where he cuddled and petted people, meant that he had to put in extra effort. That's just how it goes. 

"But your scent... it's, it's not you..." Jungkook whispers, body facing away like he doesn't actually want Jimin to address the comment, and the omega lets it go. Jimin sniffs the air, trying to pinpoint Jungkook's through the cologne. His omega mewls when it doesn't locate one. Nothing's there.

"Where's yours?" he asks the alpha as Jungkook fiddles with his thumbs. "I can't really smell it." He shuts up when the alpha's lips go taut. Jungkook's jaw locks, chest so tight that he doesn't seem to be breathing, and Jimin doesn't know what's happening.

"That's none of your business," Jungkook spits, and he's not a timid teenager anymore. There's red in his irises, a dominating alpha roaring behind them, a shadow of hatred sinking until he doesn't look human anymore. 

Jimin wants to snarl at this teen who thinks he has the right to treat Jimin like this. But his omega's torn. It doesn't want to question the domineering alpha, but it also recognizes the disrespect of a younger wolf challenging it. 

He harshly pinches the side of his leg and concentrates on that pain. It's enough to will down his turmoil. 

Whatever. Jimin has his reasons for concealing his scent, and Jungkook can have his own. He doesn't give a damn, and he's ready to tell Jin to remove this client from his list. Namjoon or Wheein can take him. That wouldn't be too much of a problem.

"I'm sorry," Jimin hears, and he balks at the idea that the alpha is so easily apologizing. 

"What?" he questions, needing to confirm that his mind isn't on some sort of haze that's warping the guy's words. All he gets in return is an even more timid "sorry", and this time, he nods in confirmation that he's heard it. "Thank you, um, thanks for apologizing."

The alpha briskly nods, and it's almost cute how his cheeks jiggle from the movement. 

They move on to a better topic, and the rigid atmosphere lessens. On Jungkook's request, Jimin starts talking about himself. The younger inputs sometimes but mostly watches Jimin as he describes things he enjoys, things he dislikes, things on top of things about Jimin and Jimin and Jimin. He knows Jungkook must be bored of it, yet the younger encourages him to say more, almost gets excited to hear about Jimin's average life. 

The guarded alpha drizzles away with every story Jimin tells, almost a giddy little sparkle in his face, soaking up everything and then some more. And the omega is puzzled again.

Puzzled because through that arrogant exterior, through the cold alpha of the lobby, he discerns a man he could grow to like.

 


 

Their second session, two weeks later, goes more smoothly than the first. It's not perfect, still awkward with little bursts of a cocky Jungkook, but it's different from their first. Jimin watches Jungkook’s haughty attitude slip away, as if Jimin’s little room is enough to strip him bare, leave him vulnerable. Jimin’s had clients like this before, ones that truly freed themselves once stepping into the room, but it’s never been so visible and so immediate.

Something thick crowds in his chest when he observes the alpha, and it's only until they're done with their third session that he knows what it is. 

It's when Jungkook walks out of the room. Jimin is searching for his phone, which he put somewhere obscure because he's an idiot, and Jungkook ambles towards the room exit. He tells Jimin he's going to pay at the desk, and the door creaks open. That's when Jimin finally finds the device. He snatches it up, looking to where the alpha is meeting the temperate air of the hallway. 

The Jungkook who gives him tiny smiles is gone, the stoic alpha viewing him one last time before he turns down the hall, and Jimin gawks from beside the bed. A creak, a step, and his alpha... vanished.

It's worry, he realizes that afternoon. That's what's been clunking inside Jimin's chest. He worries for the alpha, worries for how he constrains himself, hides so much. Jungkook is lying to someone about who he really is. Jimin can't tell if it's him or the outside world who's getting the falsehoods, but he can guess.

Inside the room and Jungkook is brimming with timid questions of 'what's your favorite flower?'  and excited smiles communicating, 'Oh! I like that thing you like also!'  But outside, in the cruelty of the Busan streets, he's exactly the harsh alpha that their society loves to put on a pedestal.

Jimin is getting quite used to not understanding the alpha that is Jeon Jungkook, but he can try. And when he sees that man handing cash to Jin, unaware that Jimin is studying him from the end of the hall, Jimin sees the indifference of a teen he would hate. 

But when Jimin starts treading towards the desk, when Jungkook notices him approaching, Jimin could swear that apathetic mask fractures. Just for a moment of shy, tender delight.  

So sure, he'll complain to Jin about the alpha, but he ignores when Jin offers to switch Jungkook with another Companion. He plays it off as really needing the money, and technically he's not lying.  

He also disregards the happy little yip his omega emits in those moments, the ones where Jungkook becomes human. 

 


 

"What if I told you I've been doing something stupid?" Jungkook asks as Yoongi walks with him down the hallway. They have a five minute transition to their next classes, and Yoongi always likes to tag along if he spots Jungkook passing. Being Hoseok's boyfriend, they've become acquainted in a weird little stage of about-to-be-friends-but-not-just-yet. 

"How stupid is stupid?"

"Like," Jungkook pauses, picturing that giddy, little smile Jimin gets when he's talking about the flower shop. 'And I keep the dahlias where the sun shines the brightest, they love the warm soil, y'know, picky things, but I also love being warm too, so really, I understand...'

"Kook?" Yoongi says, waving a hand in front of the alpha's face until the dreamy glaze fades away. 

Jungkook shakes his head. "I'm sorry, what was I saying?" They turn the hall, passing by a teacher that has hated Jungkook since Sophomore year. The feeling is mutual. He makes sure to lower his head, speeding past as he tries to remember what they'd just been talking about. "Oh, yeah. The 'stupid' thing. Like," he attempts to think of a way to phrase it, "I'm wasting my money on this, and I'm probably annoying the other person involved."

"Then why are you doing it?"

'And now, Jungkook-ssi, y'gotta listen to this! I told him, 'You gotta repaint the walls! Flowers and yellow paint just go together!' and I swear he looked at me like I was losing my mind...'

"Because in some weird way, it makes me really happy. And sometimes, I feel like it makes the other person happy too."

They reach the divide, the place where Yoongi will have to head off, but the omega stops in the hall, planting his feet and forcing Jungkook to do the same. 

"If that stupidly happy look in your eye says anything, I'd say keep doing it. As long as you aren't annoying the poor person to death." Yoongi taps a finger on his mouth like he's contemplating just how annoying Jungkook can be. He's always been so playful with Jungkook, and the alpha won't admit it, but he really appreciates it. Yoongi is one of his few omega friends. "You're not being too annoying, right?"

"Right," Jungkook echoes.

"Good," his hyung responds. "Then keep doing it." He doesn't ask for context, doesn't pester, simply swivels around and darts off into the crowd of active bodies. Jungkook hurries along as well, barely managing to enter his class before the bell chimes. His teacher closes the door directly after he stumbles in, and he gives Jungkook a disappointed huff that vibrates in the alpha's ears as he reaches his desk. 

Just a few more months of this; he can make it to graduation. He twirls his pencil, staring out the only window in class that isn't covered by blinds. The weather is benevolent outside, clouds rolling over the greys of the city, and he wanders to places other than the stresses of his day-to-day life. 

'Y'know, I can talk about other things than flowers if you want, I understand if my obsession gets too much, you won't be the first to tell me to stop...'

And Jungkook dopily smiles as the memory splashes into his mind, solidifying until it's like he's back in that sunlit room. He'll be returning in a week. 

'No, please, um, please continue, it... hearing how you love them, your flowers, it makes me... it makes me really happy...'

 


 

Their fourth session is over a month from when they first met each other. 

Jungkook watches Jimin run in late. He must have sprinted; his orange hair shimmers from sweat and salty drops slink down his neck as he pants out, "Sorry I'm late!" He tells it more to Jin who's behind the desk at the moment, instead of Jungkook, but there's something about seeing the enchanting omega glance over at him that fills him up with light. Gorgeous, glittering light, and he wants to catch that feeling like fireflies and entrap it beside his heart. He can imagine himself spilling in gold, his skin shining from the brilliance inside him, and that bizarre idea makes him snort lowly. 

Jimin must hear it, jerking to the alpha in quiet surprise, and Jungkook halts all thought. He's quick to cover up his weakness, relaxing his face into boredom until it's the perfect mimic of Geonwu or Yeu. Jimin frowns, one that makes Jungkook wither every time he sees it, but it's quickly overtaken by the omega's mouth explaining to Jin, "I'm cat-sitting right now, and I almost forgot to feed the booger. Won't happen again." 

Oh, god. Jungkook squirms in the hard chairs they leave out for customers. Face blank. Face blank. He's not a fucking two-year-old and hearing "booger" from a grown man's azalea-pink lips does not make him want to chuckle. Jimin definitely doesn't like him, but that doesn't stop Jungkook from being enraptured by the omega and all of his little sayings. He's had the ultimate pleasure of listening to Jimin curse, 'Fucking floppy pickle' or 'She's been such a damn peen, Jin!' and he has no fucking clue of the context for either, just knows that he loves coming in early to hear whatever Jimin's swearing to the manager. 

"Jungkook, let's go," Jimin tells him nicely, and Jungkook realizes Jimin's finally looking over at him. That firefly-twinkle floods his system again, and he's gifted with the thrashing heart of a twelve-year-old acknowledged by his first crush. The forced-to-be-pleasant town dampers it a little, but he'll accept the slivers he can get.

"Yeah," he breathes out, and he wonders how he managed to keep that word level with how pathetically his heart is trembling. He centers on a drop of sweat careening down the omega's skin, and Jungkook almost huffs when Jimin hastily wipes it away. 

By now, Jungkook knows where to walk. They go together, making quick time before they're in the room. Jimin's room. The one he wishes he could be in more and curl up with the omega and pluck the marigolds he keeps near the windows and place them in his hair and goodness, he's off on a tangent. They'd match — Jimin's locks and the petals, and even though Jungkook hates the stink of those flowers, he can't tear his joy away from the fact that now when he looks at them, he sees Jimin. He sees the omega at the flower shop, watering them with his olive-green can, so untroubled before he'd met Jungkook. Jungkook wants Jimin to look at him with that peace, the same he grants to his flowers. 

That's what keeps him hoping. That's what makes him return. Because maybe if he tries, Jimin will reveal that caring side to Jungkook that he so desperately wishes for. Maybe. 

Jungkook sits down in His chair. It's only their fourth session, but he's realized that there's a chair he gravitates towards. His is closest to the bed while Jimin's is closest to the window. Jungkook won't admit that he's regularly on the edge of the seat. Even when his chest faces Jimin, his feet point towards the side, towards the door. Jungkook can tell Jimin politely pretends not to notice. They both know how Jungkook likes to grip the underside of the wood, ready to bolt out at the first sign of danger. He's not normally like that, but there's something about the vulnerability of this room that keeps him literally on the edge of his seat.

There Jimin is, alight like an orange candle, while Jungkook is hidden in the darker areas, escape in the back of every thought. Halfway through, and he'll start to relax like puddy, once they get into the familiarity of things, but the initial fifteen minutes is always a barrier Jungkook must force himself to cross.

“What do you want to do today?” Jimin asks, bubbly smile to mask his unease. Jungkook is leaning back, the way he's perfected to pretend that he's chill. He's unaware of how uninterested it makes him seem. 

“I...” Since their first session, it's been on his mind. It. And the thought of it makes his mood sour. He plunges to sadness because even when he's in Jimin's bright room, staring at his delicate features, he's reminded why he came here. And he's reminded that it's a futile wish. 

Jimin doesn't like him, or at least he doesn't trust him, yet Jungkook wants it: light pats and gentle cuddles, hands through his hair and sweet reassurances. He hasn't mentioned it, doesn't dare, doesn't even know how. Jimin would never want an alpha to ask for that, but it's his job... he, he mentioned it. He mentioned he does that with clients, but Jungkook doesn't know if the same applies to him.

His tongue pokes out to wet his lower lip, and his eyes dart to the couch. He's fast enough that Jimin doesn't catch what he's looking towards, but the omega does give him a peculiar tilt of the head, unable to understand what Jungkook so pitifully wants. 

“I actually brought some snacks for today if you want some,” Jimin comments when he realizes Jungkook is in no way going to continue his train of thought. He stands up, walking near Jungkook for where his bag is slumped against the bed post. He shuffles through.

“Yeah, that sounds fine," he agrees, his wolf yipping in delight that Jimin's offering him snacks. That must be a good sign. "Not right now, though.” No, not now. He has to think. How does he ask? He doesn't even know how...

Earth, musky earth, rich earth, velvety earth —

It's a punch in his lungs, gasping for oxygen. He shudders full bodily, back shoved into the chair to brace himself.

Fresh soil and nights in the forest and sunny, garden days and — His wolf cries, frantically attempting to locate where it's coming from, yanking his head up and zeroing in on Jimin as the omega walks past again, unaware of the alpha's astonishment.

The omega. The omega. His scent, the omega's scent, it's Jimin who's stealing any sadness Jungkook's ever felt and replaces it with lovely earth and new growth and life and comfort and —

His breath hitches when he realizes how Jimin's alarmed, returned to his chair and frozen in it as he stares at Jungkook, a granola bar clutched in his hand. The alpha had been swarming in his thoughts, lost in the whirlwind of a gorgeous scent. Jungkook's gaping; he has to stop. He has to stop; he's scaring Jimin. Their eyes are connected, not daring to move as they survey each other. Jimin must not realize that his scent blocker's not working. He must have forgotten to take it, he did run in late. 

God, Jungkook's never smelled anything like this before. He doesn't know how he's supposed to stay collected when he wants to wriggle like a tiny pup and wag his tail for little pets. His wolf wants to show, wants Jungkook to morph, and Jungkook can't have that, no, no, he can't.

Jimin's scent is so thick, so present, that Jungkook detects the mood change immediately. The omega's nervous, been nervous, and that earthy soil is dampening into rugged, polluted dirt. Shit. It's the quietest this room has ever been, and Jungkook stupidly wants to be on that couch again.  

Jimin sees it, follows where Jungkook's gaze lingers, and they both look to the couch in one of the tensest moments of Jungkook's life. 

“Do you want to sit... on the couch?” Jimin croaks out, like he thinks the alpha will deny, and Jungkook can't nod his head fast enough. Anxieties paralyze him, but the omega's beautiful scent sets him free.  

He shakily stumbles to the white couch, unsure how his legs manage to rise. Jungkook's too overwhelmed in such a small space with the omega and without having smelled this scent for long. His wolf doesn't know what it should be doing. That, paired with the nervousness he always has in this room, and he's a walking disaster of an alpha. 

He crashes down as far away from Jimin as he can, hearing the couch creak under him and wincing at the sound. He's breathing in heavily... too heavily, partially from the scent and partially because his wolf's chanting mate, that's your mate, that's him, go, go, go.

No, stop, he commands, ducking his head down. He pretends like he's scratching his nose when he's secretly trying to cover how deeply he's breathing in, how intoxicating it is.

Jimin gets up from his own chair, moving and sitting down at the other end of the couch. “So I was — ”

"Iwannasitonyourlapplease," he mumbles out, his muscles spazzing and then tensing after he realizes he's voiced it.

He's said it. He's finally said it, and he's bracing himself for the painful rejection that's about to come. 

“Ah, what?” Jimin grins, expression saying, 'Open up! I’m here for you.' Or, at least that’s what Jungkook is hoping he’s communicating. It doesn't calm him.

“You can say no,” he tells the omega. He refuses to pressure the other. Jimin has to agree because he wants to, not because Jungkook is his client. But how does he ask? How can he get himself to do it again?

“Yeah?” Jungkook sniffs the air and is distraught when he smells that Jimin's becoming more nervous. “What is it?”

“You can say no,” he repeats, adamant that Jimin understands he can get out of it. He scratches the back of his head. You're paying for this, he chants in his head. You're allowed to ask. And more sadly: And Jimin's allowed to say no. “Can I...” Heat scorches his poor cheeks, and he squirms on his side of the couch. His hand rushes to his hair, twirling it around in a pathetic act of comforting himself, and he hates that he gets like this around Jimin. Anyone else, and he can pulverize these visible worries down until they're trapped in his saddest thoughts, but Jimin has a way of unknowingly preventing that. “Uh, well. No.” Stupid, so stupid. He can't ask for things like this. Even here, he shouldn't. Why did he think being in this room changed anything?

He sticks a finger near his lips and starts biting on the nail. It's a terrible sting because he's already bitten them so short.   

“Hey, hey, no. It’s okay,” Jimin assures, putting a hand on Jungkook knee. Jungkook jolts, the suddenness of it spooking him, and Jimin pulls it away. “Just tell me. This is a safe space. You don't have to be worried, little alp...” Jimin gulps down the end of that sentence, and Jungkook is astounded. 

Little alpha. 

Why does that make him feel so safe, like someone cares, like someone finally sees him?

“Heh,” he expels shakily, his fingers reddening at the tip from where he's nibbling. Jimin's scent is wrapping him up and making him dazed. Little alpha, oh, he's Jimin's little alpha! “Can I, um, well, like, sit on your lap? Maybe? You mentioned you do that but it’s okay if you don’t wanna with me I’d be uh okay with that um and I don’t really know why I’m asking at all I’d probably crush you you know what never mind I’m okay?” Jungkook shrinks further into his own skin, utterly mortified, butt on the edge of the couch because he’s preparing to sprint out the door. Why does he say such laughable things? Why does he let himself get like this in front of Jimin? No omega wants a brawny alpha climbing on their lap like some grown-up dog that doesn't realize it's too big.

And Jimin's not saying anything. 

"I'm sorry," he whimpers, asking himself if it's too cowardly to tuck his head inside his baggy shirt. "You don't have to, I'm sorry for asking, I'm really sorry." He can't acknowledge Jimin, can't apologize fast enough. He knew he was being stupid, yet he did it anyways. 

“Sure,” the omega agrees, and Jungkook can't process it, much less the way Jimin's scent doesn't smell particularly stressed. "Yeah, that'd be fine."

Really? No, this isn't happening, can't be.

He gives himself a peek, just a quick jerk of the head to assess if the omega is joking with him, but Jimin's face holds no laughter. 

He's serious. He's really serious and that means Jungkook is going to climb on his lap and cuddle in his arms and soak in his scent and it's almost too much to compute. 

“Ah, oh-okay.”

Jimin spreads out his legs wide, making room for where the alpha is going to be. Oh god, how is this actually happening? Jimin's legs are so little, but his thighs are so thick, and will Jungkook really fit? “Are you sure you don’t want me to sit in yours?” Jimin asks as Jungkook stands on legs that aren't prepared in the slightest. 

His temperature hurtles down twenty degrees, stiff as he looks down at the omega. Yeah, yeah this seems about right. The omega doesn't actually want Jungkook in his lap, he was just pacifying him. He doesn't, doesn't want that. Why would he?

“Oh, yeah, you — you can if you want. Sure.” He hopes his bangs hide the disappointment, hopes the emotion isn't too shiny, too apparent. He just wants to be close to Jimin. Does it really matter if it's Jimin sitting in his lap? Come on. He can be the strong alpha; he's been it for years. He can, and he is. It's close enough to what he wanted, close enough, so he shouldn't be so disheartened. 

"No, no wait." Jimin pats his lap as Jungkook tries to sit back down. Jungkook peeks back, seeing how the omega is fidgeting on the cushions like he's a little frazzled. "I'm not saying you can't, not at all. I'm just... just used to client's wanting me to be in their laps is all. I wanted to make sure you weren't too shy — or, not, not shy per se but just didn't want to ask... Oh, I don't know what I'm saying, I'm just saying it's okay... uh, okay if you want to be in mine." He tilts up, and his eyes fix on Jungkook's. "I'm saying it's okay."

These are the moments where Jungkook knows he's dreaming and is just waiting for the scream of his alarm to shock him awake.

Jimin is... okay with it. His scent doesn't betray anything else than a nervous resilience. He could be lying, he could, but there's nothing in those open set of eyes that says any differently. 

He inches over, taking a long amount of time to walk to extremely short distance. He stands in front of Jimin's sitting body, a little lost at what to do. Does he... does he just do it? Does he give a warning? Would that be weird? Is this okay? His shadows leers over Jimin, and Jungkook almost thinks he sees the omega gulp.

“Can you, uh." He cringes at what he's about to request, but he babbles out without a way to impede himself. "Can you please be delicate with me?" he asks and hates how he trembles.

Jimin's mouth forms the shape of a small "O", surprise flitting over, before he assures, “Of course." He's in some sort of awe, and it makes the alpha squirm. “Of course I will.”

And Jungkook believes him. 

He clumsily crashes down, nose bumping into Jimin’s and hearing Jimin hiss when it does. His hands grab onto Jimin’s shoulders, steadying himself with a grip that’s too rough, might bruise, and shit, it's obvious he's never done this before, obvious that alphas aren't supposed to sit on top of omegas. He's straddling Jimin, thighs both on the outside of Jimin's legs and shrouding the little omega. Jungkook's so fucking jittery, like he's just drunk a mountain of energy drinks and can't still himself, and Jimin has to feel the anxiety rolling off him in waves.

But the omega's there, there, there. He's in his nose, in his lungs — comforting earth and soil soft as silk, and Jungkook inhales like he'll never get the chance to breathe again. His alpha drives him forward, into Jimin's shoulder, pressing their warm chests together, and he almost doesn't hear the surprised yelp from Jimin.

He does though, and he panics, hating that he's frightened the omega with his vigor. He yanks away, now noticing how Jimin's arms weren't around him, weren't holding him, still lay helpless by his sides, and Jungkook knows he went too far, too close.

Dumb alpha, dumb.

He can't even get his brain to connect to his mouth and stutter out an apology. He's useless, and fuck, he's gonna cry, needs to leave, should've bolted for the door. 

Seizing up, he mumbles out a tumble of nonsense, utterly disappointed with himself. But Jimin's arms are wrapping around him, are yanking him back down against his chest, are letting him tuck his head in the juncture between Jimin's neck and shoulder. Jungkook must be so heavy, but Jimin's only pulling him closer.

He's confused, so, so confused as Jimin's hands rub up and down his back, as Jimin lets Jungkook melt in his arms, as warmth and sweet security envelop him. He raggedly breathes onto Jimin's skin, clutching the omega for dear life. There's the constant trail of Jimin's fingers, up and down, up and down, this motion that never ends, never halts. It's consistent and serene, and Jungkook's finally realizing that Jimin's been whispering, "Relax, little alpha, relax" this whole time. 

He's gonna, he's gonna whine. He's... so, so happy, he's sparkling, oh god, he's Jimin's, he's curled in Jimin's tiny chest, he's protected in his lap! Jimin's so, so pretty; he's so pretty and sweet and loving when he doesn't have to be, and why is he being so nice to someone like Jungkook? 

How did he manage to deserve this?

The alpha softens, letting this warm buzz engulf his ears. He focuses on the patterns Jimin draws on his back, on how his twitching legs have sunk pliantly into the couch, on how Jimin's delicate whispers create a cocoon of fluff around his heart.

He hasn't cuddled someone since... well, he can't remember. He really can't. The omega guys he fucked were quick things with little emotion attached. His friends set them up, and Jungkook had allowed himself to be dragged along, enjoyed it while it happened, and felt empty after it was over. What they wanted wasn't what he did, but he couldn't tell them that. Instead, he let that desire, that ache for comfort fester until he could grab his chest and feel physical pain from it.

His wolf wasn't meant to be alone. None of theirs are.

And Jimin... Jimin's stuffing that ache with gentle hands and kind whispers, and fuck, oh Jungkook's crying. Crying and hoping, hoping, hoping his stupid, wet tears don't trickle onto the omega's smooth skin. He can't really stop it though, they pool past and stubbornly blur his vision. He can only grasp on and hide whatever mewls threaten to spill. 

Because snuggled into Jimin's chest, he's small and giddy and safe. So safe. It's — gosh, it's unknown to him. He can let the omega's lovely scent drift him away; he can free himself from it all. He can soften into something pretty and sweet, something he's... never been allowed to associate with himself. And yeah, he might be unsure and clunky and awkward doing it, but in this room, he can.

For this moment, he doesn't have to be that cruel alpha.

~

Something's pattering in Jimin's ribs, and he hopes to god that the alpha can't feel it. He's in his arms, in his arms. This big, docile baby is covering his chest like the warmest blanket, clinging on to his shoulders. His black hair tickles Jimin's nose, makes him want to sneeze, but he'll fight that reaction back every step of the way. He doesn't want to spook the younger, doesn't want this buttery mush on top of him to squirm away. 

He now understands why his clients like to let their legs numb under Jimin's weight. This — with this pretty alpha nestled into his neck and his chest warming Jimin's own — makes him need to protect the younger. Under these piercings is a fuzzy baby chick with tiny little wings and a voice that quivers when he's nervous. His chest rises and falls in a steady lull, like he's only safe when cloaked in the omega's arms.  

“Would you like me to pet your hair?” Jimin whispers. His real question is, 'Can I pretty please pet your hair?' but he doesn't want to appear desperate. Instead, he grins and contains the pearliest squeal when the boy murmurs a shy “yeah". 

Hands finally meeting that pretty hair. He combs through it, watching his fingers disappear into the black and reappear as the strands gently fall away. He hasn’t had his natural color in three years now, so he’s almost forgotten what it feels like to touch smooth, healthy hair that bounces under his touch. He never pets people; he always has it done to him instead, so he's forgotten the beauty, the tranquility of the motion, of knowing he's calming the alpha.

“Does this feel okay?” Jungkook lets out a quiet groan as an answer, muffles it, tenses after, but Jimin takes it as a compliment. The boy mutters something throaty and shy. “Do you wanna talk about anything?” Jimin tenderly asks, and Jungkook takes a long while to respond. 

When he does, it's a puff of hot air against Jimin's neck, murmuring, “Just this please, I’m sorry.”

“No, no, please don’t be sorry.” His other hand keeps tracing shapes on the alpha's back. A triangle, a square, a circle, a diamond. The heavy weight shifts on his lap, a hushed yawn tumbling from Jungkook's lips, and Jimin wouldn’t really mind if this large teddy bear curled up and took a nap on him. 

“'m still sorry though, Jwiminie-ssi,” the boy mumbles, quietly enough that Jimin has to strain to understand it. And when he does, when the name processes, he swears he's shining, so high in the clouds.  

The younger is probably not even aware that he said it. Jimin feels how his breaths are heavy, ready to sleep. “Don’t worry about it, Koo,” Jimin whispers, and he thinks the boy’s too gone to really hear it. He’s somewhere deep and far away, and every brush of Jimin’s hands on his back allows the alpha to slump heavier against him. 

"Is nice, smells nice..." the alpha mumbles. "Really nice..." and with that slur and drop of his head, Jimin knows he's finally drifted to sleep. 

Jimin hums happily. His omega is beaming, holding their alpha tight. His perfume must be nice to Jungkook. That pleases him. He'll wear this scent more if it means Jungkook asking to be in his arms, deeply respiring into his skin. 

He's delighted.

Until he realizes. 

Oh god, oh god. He forgot to take a blocker pill.

He knows he forgot, let it slip his mind. Imbecile! He'd been so exhausted from running, forgot to pop one in. And oh shit, how could this be happening? On the day Jungkook cuddles up to him?

The younger must be smelling dirt. Pure dirt. Bland and dry and gritty dirt that clogs up the lungs of the people who get too close. Jimin cringes, needs to lean over, just a little bit, just enough to take a quick pill from his bag, swallow it down and protect himself from the rejection. Jungkook must be so disgusted. Dammit.

He leans over, just a little closer and he can reach the zipper, but the alpha's arms tighten on him, refusing to budge. Jimin had almost forgotten how strong the younger is. He swears he hears the alpha grumbling petulantly in his sleep. 

Jimin's waiting for him to push him away. It'll happen. The alpha must be delirious, it's not a good smell he's inhaling. He's going to wake up, curl up his lip, spit on the floor because Jimin's scent is too dusty for an omega. An omega with a scent of dirt. What a fucking waste.

He winces when the alpha presses closer into him, as if sensing the omega's distress and subconsciously nestling closer to abate it.

He's waiting for it. Jungkook... Jungkook has to have smelled it. Has to. Jimin can't believe this. Stupid. He's so stupid.

He waits, and he stresses himself to hell and back, but nothing comes. The alpha's eyes are closed, and they stay peacefully like that. He doesn't stir, caught in his dreams, covering the omega's front in a pleasant slumber.

Jimin doesn't know how much times elapses before he stops waiting for the younger to pull away in disappointment. Jungkook never does, only holds on firmer, like even in his sleep he's scared of Jimin leaving.  

And there's a point, a little later, when Jungkook is faintly snoring, lips dozily parted open, and Jimin finds the alpha's cologne has curiously faded away.

Replaced with the most homely aroma of flowers. 

 

Chapter Text

It's not something he lets out on the way home. It doesn't escape on the bus ride back. It doesn't even poke out when he has stepped inside his house.

No, it's at four in the morning, when Jungkook's sleep is restless, when he awakens with a brain full of a certain omega's gentle hugs and mouth-watering scent. 

He squeals.

He fucking squeals, and he kicks his legs into the mattress, reaching blindly for more pillows because his exhilaration is through the roof and he needs to crush something in his arms. He shoves his head into the fabric to block his noises because he's not in the mood for his mom to scream at him or his neighbors to call 911, but that doesn't stop the joy. He smiles until his cheeks strain from the pressure and his face overheats from the blood hammering through it. He giggles until there are yellow spots flickering behind his eyelids because his wheezing has become erratic. 

And when he's done squealing, he stiffly pushes the pillows away. He tugs the covers over him. His moment of vulnerability is over.

But inside — where he's taken back to hours before, where he's cuddled by someone so pretty — he's still squealing. 

 


 

The cuddles continue. Every session. Jimin learns to be the first to suggest it. Jungkook is always too nervous to.

Jimin can't say he doesn't like it when the alpha gives him the look — the small, questioning one that admits he is too shy to ask but wants to. The one where Jimin knows to open his arms wide and wait for a wriggly bundle to quietly fill them. 

And when Jungkook protests one day when Jimin remembers to take his scent-blocker pill, when he grumbles that Jimin doesn't smell right, the omega believes this alpha's nose must be broken. 

Still, he stops taking them, only for his sessions with Jungkook and only because the alpha snuggles him closer when he doesn't.

 


 

Tap, tap, tap, tap.

Antsy. Jungkook is antsy.

He'd been standing for ten minutes, originally. He'd rested against the wall in faux nonchalance, studying the front door, before he'd cracked. Started pacing. Realized pacing was resulting in a heightened heartbeat. Realized a heightened heartbeat was making his nervousness worse. Then thunked down on the floor.

He sits on his doormat now, legs crossed. Tapping his fingers. Worrying at his chapped lips and staring at the chipped wood of the door. The rough, synthetic fibers of the welcome mat dig into his sensitive skin, and friction heats up his ass as he shuffles again and again. Can't see to adjust to a position that works.

It’ll turn; the knob will turn any moment. He can feel it. In 3, 2, 1... 1... Okay — not yet. But soon. 

Why is it only Jimin who reduces him to this? 

His mom is off somewhere. She never likes saying exactly where, but the bitter smell of her breath when she returns is telling enough. That's why Jimin, for the first time, can come to Jungkook's place. First time in a while that they've had a session, and god, Jungkook is struggling like a poodle climbing up a tree with skis tied to its paws.

Apparently, Jungkook can't process the difference between bad ideas and good ones around Jimin. He solely sticks to the stupid. Every. Damn. Time.

His problem began last session. He'd walked in early, heard Jimin chatting with Jin, and eavesdropped as always. 

'Horror movies suck, hyung. I am not going to see it with you and Nam hyung.'

'I'll buy you a whole bag of M&M's. Come on, please — '

'You can't persuade me with cheap shit. I'm at least worth chocolates from Jeoswa's.'

'Hell no! 20,000 won for a bar is ridiculous. M&M's are in budget. Please, Jiminie, wonderful best friend? Dollar-store chocolate and a smidge of fear? The perfect combination, I'd say.'

Cue doe-eyed, hot-mess Jungkook waltzing up to the desk: 'What's this about a horror movie?'

Proceed to Jin chuckling, telling Jungkook all about Jimin's issues with horror, about his adorable, squeaky screams: 'He shrieks like the opera. Every time. Gets all cuddly and cute.' 

'I do not. Stop making me look bad.'

And Jungkook, being the never-ending blubbering idiot of course, had leisurely rested an arm next to Jimin’s on the counter and proudly professed that he loved horror movies. Then, once his mouth had started bumbling along like a car gearing up for collision, he'd suggested that Jimin and he should watch one some time.

Yeah.

He’d recklessly wanted to appear macho. Cuddle sessions be damned. He'd thought he'd escape unscathed, that Jimin would deny the offer. Jungkook would get his perfect moment to present as tough without actually having to act on it.

In other words, he’d been damn tired of showing Jimin his gentle side. He’s an alpha. A buff alpha who can totally handle horror movies. 

And yeah, he’s also a fucking dummy, because he hates horror so badly that he could cry. Correction: has cried. Always cries. Creepy crawlies and murderers and jump scares and blood and ugh no. How someone could enjoy being so terrified that they forget how to respire is beyond Jungkook’s comprehension. It’s the worst feeling in the world.

Yet, Jin had quirked a brow, smirking at Jimin who had shivered like even the mere idea was panicking him. 'Do it, Jimin-ah. This’ll be so funny.' Then he’d turned to Jungkook while mock-whispering, 'I hope his voice doesn't break any glass in the house. I'll pay for the costs.' He'd winked. 

And Jimin had protested every step of the way, but his boss was too allured by the idea. In the end, Jin convinced Jimin to do a session at Jungkook's house where they could watch a horror movie together and where Jungkook could report back to him on if the windows shattered. He'd given Jungkook a smirk, and Jungkook knows what he'd been thinking: Jimin's totally gonna embarrass himself in front of a tough alpha like that.

Hah. Fuck.

Recalling the events that had transpired renews his annoyance at himself, but he's stuck in this demise. So he’s now squeezing his Kiiroitori plushie (which he uncreatively calls Chickie) to tamper his anxiety. It's the only one he has, one he bought on a lonely night he doesn't want to talk about. The yellow bird had utterly made him swoon, and to this day, he mildly regrets buying something so silly.

Nevertheless, he nibbles on the fabric as he moves from sitting to lying down on the floor. He wants to cuddle up with it 'cause he's a little anxious, and he’s very prepared to fling it out of sight the second Jimin knocks on the door. But for now, he munches on the stuffed toy's lemon-yellow head and curls on the bumpy mat, wriggling his legs to dispel some of the energy in them. His spit soaks in the plushie as he gnaws, and it’s gross, but it also smells like laundry detergent, and he finds himself falling into the cleanliness.

He imagines it's Jimin in his arms, the omega's smaller body spooning with his. He smells tilled soil, laced with freshly cut grass. He strangles Chickie in his arms, wanting so desperately for his daydreams to materialize. 

Glancing at the clock, he definitely has time for a quick nap. Not even that, just a blink. His welcome mat — if he ignores the discomfort hard enough — could feel somewhat bearable, and Chickie is all squishy in his arms.

He deserves some rest. He's exhausted. He spent all of last night and this morning cleaning up his room, eliminating as much of his dominating flower scent as possible. He's never tried to clean a room with such painstaking attentiveness, and it's actually pretty satisfying to see the previously messy space look brand new.

They'll be watching the movie in there. Jungkook doesn't want his mom coming home and seeing Jimin watching on the tv in their living room. He'd rather not have Jimin associate with her or deal with some snarky comment he didn't ask for. His room will be a better place. Though his hands are partially numb from one of the cleaners he used, it's worth it. 

Jimin is worth it.  

Back to the nap — it'll be short. That's all he needs for his hard work. Short and quick, a blink... Blink, then he'll open again, and wait standing up... Yeah... he'll stand up after this blink. 

His eyelids droop shut, and his body sinks like a hefty panda has rested on top of him.  

He’s tired… a little tired...

 


 

The few taps on Jungkook’s door haven’t worked, and Jimin is getting impatient. Even the texts he’s sent haven’t gotten any response. 

Did Jungkook stand him up or something? In his own home? For an appointment he’s paying for? Probably not. Sighing, Jimin tries the door knob. Not expecting anything, the turn of the knob and creak of the door is a pleasant surprise, though the resulting quietude of the house isn't welcoming.

Okay.

Will Jungkook be mad if he comes in unannounced? He’s probably in the shower or something, even though Jimin can’t hear rushing water. He pushes the door further, seeing the first hint of Jungkook’s home. The walls are white, bland, and there’s a large couch in his vision. He glances down and...

The alpha is… oh god, god, god.

The alpha is curled up. Sleeping. On the floor. In large ball with his knees to his chest, lying on his side. His face has slackened, and his curly hair has drifted over his long eyelashes. His shirt has ridden up, muscular torso filling up Jimin’s vision, but he can’t even drool over it because above it, against the alpha’s chest, is a Kiiroitori plushie. It’s crushed in Jungkook’s thick arms, muscles squeezing the bird tightly to him like he's worried the pudgy toy will fly away.

If this isn’t the most precious thing in Jimin's entire existence.

The alpha grumbles in his sleep, as if he can sense the omega even in his dreams, sulky mewls drifting from him, and Jimin does not know how he manages to not drop to his knees and squish and pinch and coo at the baby’s cheeks. He can’t — his heart wasn’t expecting this, his heart was in no way prepared for this attack. Resistance is futile. Against the baby's puffy cheeks, he never stood a chance. 

“Kookie? Koo? You awake?” he murmurs, wanting so badly to twirl his finger in those black locks. He restrains himself, and god, it takes everything out of him. Physically drained at not allowing himself to brush over that pretty hair. 

“Jwiminie?” Kookie sleepily calls, not fully awake, and Jimin could collapse.

"C-cute," he gasps and hopes that Kookie didn't hear it. He delicately taps the alpha’s forehead, and those beautiful brown irises languidly open, innocence of a waking boy glinting in them. “Wha…” He centers on Jimin, pupils shrinking, the confused twist of his face gradually dropping away into something more conscious.

“Wha, Jimi — what?” The gentle twinkle in his pupils hardens, body stiffened on the floor, and Jimin bumps his ass into the door when Jungkook jolts up. The alpha scrambles. “What, wait, wait — ” Jungkook looks like he's swelling with mortification as he guiltily glances at the plushie he carries. “No, ah!” He screeches at it as if the bird had anything to do with it. He flings it, hurls it so hard that something crashes, and Jimin would giggle if the alpha wasn't shivering like he's seconds from dissolving into a puddle of despair.   

“That — that wasn’t mine, how long have you been here?” Jungkook stands on his feet, body wobbling because he stood too quickly, and he swats away the helpful hand Jimin offers.

“I, just for like two minutes. Not... long.”

“Can’t you knock? ” He knows the alpha means it to be menacing, but damn if that wasn’t the cutest squeak he’s heard all day. 

“I can, but you — " He brings up his phone. "I’ve texted you like five times, and you didn’t answer. I didn’t know you were...” He tilts his head in the direction of the spot Jungkook had been in.

Jungkook is flushed all the way to his neck, rocking his form from one foot to the other, completely indecisive on which one he wants his weight to go. “Yeah, please, uh, please knock… next time. Yeah.”  

“Will do.” Jimin vaguely gestures towards the left of the room, hoping to turn the direction of the topic into something that doesn't make Jungkook yelp like he's going through a second puberty. “We’re still watching a horror movie today, right?”

Jungkook clutching his plushie for dear life — he won't allow that picture to ever leave his mind. Ever.

“Right.”

Great. Jimin deflates, the adorableness of the situation dissolving away. He hates these things, can’t believe he allowed Jin to bully him into this. He is allowed to refuse appointments with clients, and a horror movie would have definitely been a no-go, except Jin has a bad case of teasing-asshole, and Jimin is too prideful. He’ll fight back his fear if it kills him 'cause he has a sneaking suspicion that Jungkook will tattle on him otherwise. He'll be ashamed if he has to curl into Jungkook's body to hide himself from the screen.

Well… Jimin spies over Jungkook’s clothed chest with an appreciative huff. Maybe that wouldn’t be too bad. 

“This way,” Jungkook grunts, and the adorable, awkward alpha is gone. Jimin sulks at that. "We'll watch in my room," he notifies, and Jimin follows along down the hall. Is this what his clients first feel like? Traveling down an unknown hallway to a stranger's room?

The only difference is: he trusts Jungkook. Doesn't know when that happened, but he does. The prospect of watching a terrifying movie worries him, but the alpha's presence reassures him. 

They reach his bedroom. The room is clean. Impeccably clean, Jimin notes. He steps in, noticing it's a small space, with a bed pushed near a cracked-open window and showing the cars driving by outside. The sheets are crisp and new, folded neatly, and the carpet has to have been vacuumed to hell. It's spotless, and the time Jungkook must have taken to arrange it like this is honestly touching. 

It smells like cleaner, Febreze, soap, and altogether very chemical. That's his first impression, but he doesn't mind it too much. 

Okay, maybe he minds a little.

"Gosh, I love these chocolates," he tells Jungkook, walking over to the bedside table to where there is a dish of wrapped candy. He's unwilling to ask Jungkook if he can have one, but that doesn't mean he's not spying them in want. 

"I know," the alpha offhandedly mumbles, climbing onto his bed as if he's never done it before and then opening his computer with the same fumbling arms. "They're for you."

When Jimin blinks at the alpha in surprise, Jungkook types in the movie title on Netflix like he's too absorbed in the letters to look over. Jimin would have believed in his insouciance if it weren't for the alpha's cheeks sporting a pinky luster. 

Cute.

"How'd you know I like them from Jeoswa's chocolate shop?"

The younger purses his lips, not daring to look at the older. "Heard you saying something to Jin."

Jimin unwraps one, popping it in his mouth and moaning. It really is that good. (Plus, he might be exaggerating it slightly because seeing Jungkook squirming at the noise is endearing.) "And how'd you know raspberry is my favorite filling?"

Jungkook perks up, an excited little smile on his face. "Really? It is?"

"Yup." He climbs on the bed beside Jungkook, and he holds back a laugh when he sees how the younger is mentally congratulating himself for guessing correctly. 

"You can have as many as you want..." Jungkook mumbles shyly. "You said these movies make you scared, and I wanted... wanted to help that..."

"Thanks," he tells the younger, appreciating the gesture. He smiles at Jungkook's kindness. "That's really sweet of you."

Jungkook finds the movie Jin had told them to watch, and gosh, Jimin is really doing this. Hates horror and here he is sitting beside the massive form of an alpha who loves them. To make matters worse, when Jimin sees the cover picture of the movie, he knows all hope is lost. Farewell, dearest satisfying slumber, for nightmares are on their way. 

The movie begins, alpha and omega sitting on the bed, and it's when the second scene starts that Jimin notices the way Jungkook is glancing at the space between them. They're both propped against pillows, the computer on the mattress in between them, and it's a decent amount of emptiness from Jimin to Jungkook.

Does that mean Jungkook wants to get closer or father?

Well, Jimin is sure ready to snuggle up because who is he kidding? He's already unnerved, and the music has not even dived into minor keys. He scooches over, pressing his shoulder into the other’s, and sighs at the contact. He appreciates knowing Jungkook likes these things because he’ll soon need a protective alpha, preferably the cuddly one he experiences in their sessions.

Everything has been normal for a few minutes too many, and Jimin trusts absolutely nothing. They're five scenes in when hints of something demonic appears on the screen, and here it goes... He subconsciously curls closer to the strong body beside him, needing to conquer that remaining space, but halts when he connects that there is... none of it left.

Hmm. He’d been right beside, but there had still been a sliver of distance. Now there's none. He twists his neck away from the screen, peeking at Jungkook, but the alpha is rigid and staring straight forward. Jimin averts his focus back to the movie. 

He groans when the protagonist walks outside into the woods and curses lowly. No! Idiots! Back inside, back inside! He internally screams at the characters, but predictably, the actors don’t listen to a commentator's agitated ranting. Music shifts. The hair on the back of his neck rises, and he prepares for the worst. 

The music is becoming even more stressful with each passing minute, hitting every nerve in him, enough that Jimin is bracing, oh he’s bracing for a jump scare. He wraps one arm around Jungkook’s own, puzzled as it feels like something is... vibrating? Why —

The thought evaporates as a flash of a demon-monster thingy darts behind the building, and Jimin hears a muted inhale not from the movie and not from himself. A scared inhale, and the release of that air doesn’t come.

He doesn't have time to think about it before he yells, “Shit! Fucking no!” Jimin shrieks as a creature breaks through the mirror, the character screaming along with him. He buries his nails into Jungkook’s arms. "Stop! Just turn around! Move! Leave the house, you idiots! Abandon the kids and move!"

The scene ends too rapidly, the character believing it was a trick of the light, but Jimin knows it’s the beginning of the end. He glances up at Jungkook to check for reassurance, but he’s baffled when he catches sight of the boy’s grisly white face. His chest is rising too much, and his fingers restlessly tap against the bed. 

Jimin doesn’t know what to say. Is he supposed to say something? He returns his focus to the screen. Everyone gets nervous, but Jungkook was the one who said he loves this genre. He must be gradually getting into it. This could be his process, and Jimin won't disturb that. 

But Jungkook doesn't get into it. At all. As the horror unfolds, Jungkook shrinks. He's... Oh, gosh, he's trembling. That's what had been vibrating — Jungkook. The poor alpha is nibbling at his lower lip, eyes watery like he's about to cry.

“Are you scared?” Jimin asks him tentatively, rubbing the back of Jungkook's arm. This can't be normal; the younger can't be enjoying this. Why won't he say something?

“N-oh,” Jungkook mumbles, biting his lip and digging into the reddening flesh. “Fine.” The alpha’s knees pull up and into himself. “I'm f-fine.”

"We can watch something else?"

Jungkook shakes his head.

"We can..." Jimin searches for something to say because Jungkook won't, and he's obviously not enjoying himself. “We... Ah, I can, um, I can narrate what's going on? You don’t have to look.”

A monster flickers onto a woman's static tv, hidden in the shadows of the living room. 

"Please," the younger chokes out. It's like the pillows suck up Jungkook, the alpha slumping, shutting his eyes immediately. “What’s, what's happening now?"

Jimin rips his gaze from the alpha to actually look back at the screen. 

"I think a monster is about to — Oh, yep. A knife flew from the cabinet. It's sticking in her throat." The character's mouth foams, emitting gurgling noises as she sinks to the kitchen floor, and Jimin flinches in disgust. But she hasn't completely died yet. "Ah, I think the monster's gonna shift into a human form. Probably gonna go for the beta aunt. Beta's always die first in horrors, y'know," he jokes. "Great, ew. He's morphing all ugly. Ugly motherfricker."

Jungkook presses his lips together like he’s about to barf, face tightening. He whimpers when Jimin mentions that yes, indeed the monster did attack and is now devouring the beta. Jungkook's thighs squeeze together, shaking from the pressure of it, and his back dips further into the bed.

"R-really? Is, it's eat, eating her?"

"Yeah..."

That's when the alpha face pinches like an old man's, eyes still squeezed closed like he's about to start bawling.

This... this isn't working. It's not hard to figure out Jimin needs a new tactic.

So he starts bullshitting. He just... makes up crap. Or avoids mentioning the gruesome parts. Anything to keep the younger calm. 

"W-what's happen-nen-ing now?" the alpha sniffles, his body twitching on the bed. Jungkook's become progressively more upset with all of the creepy sounds. 

Jimin has been waiting for the fall of woman who's probably going to die. He'd forgotten to keep Jungkook up to date. 

"Ah." A monster tears from a lady's head. "Just an alpha woman screaming 'cause she's scared." Somehow she's still crying though there's no way she could have survived that enough to continue wailing. Jimin blames it on lack of proper editing.

The camera briefly cuts to another character hiding and crying under the kitchen table a few feet away.

"R-Really? That's a-all?" Jungkook's hand tightens when a squelching sound echoes as the lady's body crashing to the floor. The creature who killed her stays on the screen, taking on the form of an enormous wolf.

"Yup. And now she has a finger over her mouth to the audience. The monster can't see her. She's definitely safe."

"Oh, oh, okay, g-good. What about now? Is Yonghee, he's okay too, right? He's safe with his wife?"

The wolf-monster looms ominously as the focal point on screen. The wife is long dead, and the husband that's cowering under the table cloth is about to die.

"Yeah, Yonghee and she escaped down the street. We probably won't see more of them."

"Can I open my eyes yet — "

"Uh no!" He scrambles, gripping Jungkook's arm. "Not, not yet. I'll tell you when you can."

"Is the, uh, monster s-still on screen?"

The screen flickers to the protagonists before returning to the creatures. A horde of others now surround the biggest, and they are the ugliest Jimin's seen. He has to take a moment to gag. "Yup, there's only the one."

Even this makes Jungkook’s breath quicken, and Jimin begs that the alpha doesn’t decide to actually check what's going on. A scream rips from a monster's throat, an alpha stabbing it, and Jungkook snivels in distress. Jimin wishes he could smell his scent. He'd know better what the younger is feeling and how to help it.

“Do you, uh, want your plushie?" His hand sneaks behind the younger's back, rubbing it. "Koo?” he asks when the alpha continues to tremble instead of respond.

“Nnn.”

“What was that?”

“No,” he whimpers. "I d-don't."

“Would you want my hand? To squeeze?” He's already putting his over Jungkookie's, waiting for the alpha to take the offer. Please take the offer. 

"P, please, please please."

Kookie blindly grabs Jimin's, his fingers trembling as he clasps them together. Jimin clutches those large hands, wondering how something so simple and domestic could feel so perfect. It's not the right time to be thinking about that though because another character screams, and Jungkook stiffens like the deceased.

Jimin pulls the alpha towards him, huddling together in their shared warmth. "Kookie, please don't open up your eyes yet, okay?" he whispers. 

"Y-yes."

It's then when Jimin connects that he has... has forgotten most of his own fear? Or not forgotten, but pushed it far enough to the side that it hasn't overtaken him. That doesn't happen. This never happens with him. But he's been so preoccupied with calming the alpha and...

...and this sweet baby comes first. 

There's this underlying smell, something sweet in the room that has been soothing him. It had taken a long while for Jimin to understand he wasn't going crazy, but yes, there is something lovely under the odor of cleaning chemicals and fresh sheets. He's not entirely sure what it is.

When a short break to a pleasant scene comes, a light on the other side of a horrifying tunnel, Jimin tells the alpha that it's safe to open his eyes. Kookie starts with a squint, one opening before the other, and then he tilts his chin down to Jimin. His hand doesn't retract, and Jimin doesn't move his away, instead continuing to rub his long fingers and brush over the younger's knuckles.

"Thank you," the alpha mouths, not having enough strength to actually pronounce it, and his little lips capture all of Jimin's attention.

"Always," Jimin replies noiselessly, mouthing it too, and he doesn't know why he didn't say "welcome" or "no problem" instead.

Little omega protecting his big alpha. He'd do it again.

 


 

When the horror is finally over, Jungkookie's large body has somehow gotten to lying on top of Jimin's, with Jimin lying down, their legs entwined as they rest together on the bed. The shaking has decreased. The alpha is nibbling at his fingernails, Jimin brushing through his long hair, and Kookie's head gets closer with every stroke. It's a way to calm them both because towards the climactic part at the end, even Jimin had squeezed his eyes tight and curled into a quivering Jungkook. They'd been two trembling big babies cuddling up, holding each other while trying not to cry.

Horrors are the worst.

Jungkook's eyes lazily meet Jimin's, and the omega can see the shimmer of unshed tears in them. He uses his fingers to brush them away, happy when Kookie smiles.

"'m okay now," he tells Jimin. "Not gonna cry anymore."

"I know," Jimin whispers, and Jungkook's chin rests near Jimin's collar bones with a sigh. They haven't said much since the end of the movie, content with simply curling up in that way that's becoming natural for them. Sometimes when Jimin's with another client, he misses that heat against his chest, misses the way a particular clumsy alpha likes to slump onto him without a moment's notice.  

There's a soft smacking sound as Kookie nibbles on his nails.  

"Koo — erm, Jungkook." He's still unsure if Jungkook's okay with the nickname, but with how he presses closer into Jimin's body, Jimin would like to believe he likes it. "Why are you biting off your poor nails?"

Jungkook stills, the tip of his finger still stuck in his pink lips, and he twists his head so that it's hidden from Jimin. "It's a bad habit," he admits, dragging his hand away shamefully and awkwardly placing it beside Jimin's arm. 

"Do you want to keep doing it?" Jimin's finger lightly traces along a tattoo of a lion on Jungkook's arms, unhappy when Jungkook tenses.

"No... Not really." He quirks an eyebrow at Jimin, unsure of where this is going to go.

"Hold my hands." He moves his hands until they're on his chest, showing Jungkook them. He doesn't particularly like his fingers; his friends like to tease him that they're very small, but if this adorable one is going to gnaw his fingers away, Jimin can at least do something to delay it. "Whenever you're with me and feel like biting them, just take my hands in yours."

"But..." Jungkook pouts until he realizes he's doing it, and Jimin frowns when the boy steels his face so that Jimin can't tell what he's thinking. "But they have spit on them." 

"I pupsat for like three years as a teen. I've dealt with tons of bodily fluids way worse than spit." He presents his palms to Jungkook, facing upwards. "You don't have to, but if you want to try and break the habit..."

"They're gross," the alpha grumbles. "Super gross." Jimin doesn't make a comment, simply continues to hold out his hands in offering. "Gross," the younger repeats, but he hastily and quietly sets his own in Jimin's. The tips are wet, saliva smearing on Jimin's skin, but he doesn't care. The alpha's fingers twitch as Jimin holds them, and he can't help but want to squirm at how cute the younger is.

"See? No biggie."

The alpha blinks at him. He shifts on top of Jimin, attempting to be as delicate as he can, but he's a big boy, and Jimin's loses his oxygen for a second.

"Do you have any bad habits?" the alpha asks, watching Jimin adjust to his weight. 

"Let's see, um..." Jimin winces. "I sometimes pick at bug bites or my scabs too much. Like, to the point where there are some brown dots on my arms and legs from where they've scarred. It was worse when I was younger, and I don't really do it much anymore, but sometimes, yeah, okay, never mind that was kinda gross, ignore that." Jimin cringes at himself, but Jungkook's hands clench tighter. 

"I did the same when I was in elementary. My dad would force me to keep putting band-aids on them so that I couldn't reach them. That's why I don't have any scars."

"Really?"

"Yeah." Jungkook smiles. "Sometimes, you just need a little help from someone else to break the habit." He pauses, observes Jimin. "When you're, when you're around me or something, you can, y'know, you can hold my hands too if you feel like you wanna pick at them. We can hold each other accountable if you'd like..."

"I'd like that," Jimin agrees, and he lifts up his head from the bed pillow, using his elbows to prop himself up. It's Jungkook who lurches forward, pressing their foreheads together.

"Jungkook?" he asks, noticing how beautiful the alpha's eyes are even when they're caught in dim lighting.

"Yeah?"

Jimin giggles. "Let's please never watch another horror movie again."

 


 

Hoseok pushes on Jungkook's shoulder without warning, cackling as Jungkook flinches. 

“What’s up, asshole,” Hoseok greets, Jihyun darting to them and Yeu following behind. They've become a herd of four. Jihyun is clutching his uniform in his hands, complaining something under his breath about being too tired for practice. 

“Not much, shitface,” Jungkook replies. The four head towards the field, pushing through the side doors of the school and exiting. The final bell has already rung, and everyone’s leaving for the day.

They pass Yoongi waiting on the curb for a friend's car to pick him up, and Hoseok winks at him.

“Jungkook!” he hears Yoongi call out, smirking at Hoseok. “You better get him off his ass and running laps! Big game’s coming up."

“I know,” Jungkook yells back, ignoring the frown from Hoseok. 

“Yoongi’s too invested; he’s got me practicing kicking goals at home.”

“Good.”

“No,” Hoseok gripes. “Not good ‘cause he won’t let me cuddle or kiss him or anything else until I score at least five. And he practically sleeps in front of the goal to make it more difficult for me 'cause he knows I don't wanna hit his wittle face! And then when I do score enough, it starts all over again.”

Jungkook laughs, and Jihyun teases, “Wuss.”

“Wuss for likin’ my boyfriend?” Hoseok exclaims.

“Nah, wuss for not scoring five goals like it’s nothing. I’d be scoring left and right and wouldn’t have to complain about not gettin’ cuddles and kisses. Poor you.” Jihyun rolls his eyes. They walk into the locker room, and Yeu throws off his shirt to change.

"Great, does someone have deodorant? I'm gonna smell like ass."

Jungkook strays behind, pulling off his own top and sifting through his bag. 

He doesn't have to worry about his smell.

Jihyun takes his tennis shoes from his locker. Jungkook huffs to himself. He should be glad, ecstatic. 

He's safe from the others. Because of the blockers.

Hoseok tosses Yeu some deodorant and cackles when Yeu fails to catch it. "Thank god you're not goalie."

"Shut the fuck up."

But why should he have to take them at all?

"Jeon, get your head out of the clouds."

Jungkook realizes he has been blankly staring at a wall.

"Fuck off," he answers to the voice, unsure of who exactly said it.

"I gotta say," Hoseok interjects, "this room used to smell a lot nicer. Wonder what happened."

Hoseok perhaps looks in Jungkook's direction, but Jungkook doesn't acknowledge it. 

"Jung, what are you on about?"

"Do you have to call us all by our surnames, Lee?" 

The door bangs open, four more of their teammates laughing as they come in, and Jungkook bites the inside of his cheek, trying to stifle that lingering feeling that creeps up in the most random and unwanted of times: never being alpha enough.

 


 

Their next session is at the building. Jungkook slinks in with a glower on his face. He knows where to go, but Jin juts his thumb in the direction of the room anyways and gives him a friendly, "Hey, Kook-ah." 

Jungkook keeps that glower on until he’s in the safety of Jimin’s room, relaxing until it becomes only a displeased frown. He hates how he allows himself to get like this, where he’s soft enough to need someone a little stronger to hold him together.

He whines when he sees Jimin in his chair, casually flipping pages in a book. The omega glances up, having wanted to finish his last chapter as the alpha had knocked on the door and entered, but now he sees the distress caking on Jungkook’s face. 

He immediately opens his arms, knowing what the alpha needs, and Kookie rushes over and collapses into him, saying something mumbled into his shirt. 

“Koo, I can’t tell what you’re saying.” Jimin rubs his back as the muscular alpha gets comfortable on his lap, a situation that Jimin’s become quite used to — and fond of. It’s a familiar weight, a welcome weight, and Jimin craves it at random points of the day, missing it as he talks with other clients, when he’s alone at home, when he's wanting someone to hold.  

“Hate my s...” the alpha mutters, the sound captured in Jimin’s shirt.

Jimin hugs him a little tighter. “Will you repeat that a little louder?" he asks. "Just a little.”

“My sce... 's bad, bad.”

“What's bad? Jungkook? Please? A little louder for me?” He waits, but the younger doesn't budge. He pats the alpha's arm, hoping to better get his attention. “Kookoo, what's wrong?”

The alpha grumbles, entwining Jimin’s fingers with his own, probably to stop himself from biting his nails. He peeks at Jimin, brave for a second, before dropping his head back against Jimin's shoulders. He refuses to look at Jimin as he whimpers out, “Hate my scent." It's as if a baby penguin has taken over his voice, so little and bashful, but it's finally enough for Jimin to understand. 

“Your scent? What’s your scent? I’m sure it’s fine.”

Jungkook pitifully groans, huddled on Jimin’s chest. Jimin can’t see his face, and he wishes he could pull up the alpha’s head and reassure this pretty boy. 

“No, ‘s not. ‘s not an alpha’s scent.”

“What do you mean? There’s no such thing as an ‘alpha’ or ‘omega’ scent.”

“Yes, there is, ” Jungkook pushes, getting louder, and he sounds exasperated. Tired of everyone's shit. “You can lie, but we all know. Omega’s scents are soft and lovely.” Jimin briefly thinks he hears a "like yours," but he can’t be sure because Jungkook’s already barreling on: “My scents not suppos’ to be lovely.”

“Well then what’s yours?” Jimin prods. “I’m sure it is lovely, and I’m sure that's an amazing thing.”

Jungkook buries closer, and Jimin doesn’t know if he’ll actually get a response. The alpha doesn’t say a word, and without Jimin prompting him, he might stay quiet for the rest of the session.

“I got you something,” Jimin tells him when the silence gets to be too much. He wasn't even sure if he was going to bring his gift out, but he really wants to see a happy Kookie. 

“What’s it?” the alpha asks. His head pops up, eyes glittering in interest, and Jimin, in another world, would kiss this big baby boy’s forehead and eliminate all his worry. 

“It’s in my bag. You’ll have to get off my lap for a second.”

The alpha frowns at that but gradually clambers off, standing stiffly to the side as Jimin goes for his stuff. Jimin’s actually not sure how this will all go. Jungkook… Jungkook might not like this. Or, well, Jungkook might pretend not to like it. Jimin can only pull it out and hope for the best.

He takes out the pink rabbit plushie, standing up, and Kookie blinks at it like a tiny owl.

“It’s… uh, well it’s mine. His name’s Cooky. I thought maybe you’d… like to hold him during our sessions… or outside our sessions… if you want...” He awkwardly stares at the alpha’s tall form, Jungkook’s face not changing. 

“Does it...” Kookie ducks his head. “Does it, um, does it smell like,” Jungkook shakes his head, and Jimin knits his brows.

“Does it what?” he asks as gently as he can. He takes the pink rabbit in his arms, moving back to the chair to sit down and gesturing back to his lap for Jungkook to re-sit. 

The boy does sit again, though he takes a considerable amount of time before doing so, enough time that Jimin starts squirming in his seat and regretting bringing it in the first place. He knows Jungkook’s a sweet alpha who likes to cuddle a Kiiroitori plushie, but he also knows Jungkook doesn't necessarily like to admit that. Jimin's not sure how this will go.

“Kookie, what were you wanting to say?” He takes out a hairbrush and begins brushing through the alpha’s locks, the alpha preening under it. He loves it when Jimin plays with his hair; he'll get all smiley and dazed, and Jimin always giggles at how poorly Jungkook tries to remain subtle about it. Jimin keeps it on the table beside him for specifically this. For Jungkook. His other clients would want to use it on him, and while Jimin enjoys the feeling, it’s more relaxing to comfort Jungkook in this way. 

Jimin has… well, he’s started realizing that giving can be more fun than getting. He likes doing things for Jungkook; he likes simply watching Jungkook calm down because of him. 

“Does it smell like you? ” the boy whispers, and Jimin swallows as a strike of love gurgles in him. The brush momentarily stills in Kookie's hair because Jimin's having to take a moment to recover.

The alpha… the alpha wants to know if it smells like him?

“I mean, I cuddle with it a lot, or um, sometimes so... yeah.”

“Oh-kay.”

“Is that a problem?”

“No!” the alpha spouts, panicked. “No, I wanna. Um. Can I hold it, uh, hold Cooky?”

Jimin’s belatedly realizing that ‘Kookie’ and ‘Cooky’ are way too similar names, and considering he’d gotten the plushie a month after meeting Jungkook, he’s very aware his subconscious was trying to screw with him. 

“Here.”

Kookie takes the bunny, glancing at Jimin before sniffing it. He’s so quick about it that Jimin realizes Kookie's trying to pretend he isn’t, and that makes that mushy-gushy throb pound in his chest again. 

“Cooky’s soft,” Jungkook murmurs, cradling it to his chest like it's glass. He's being loving with it, and Jimin's brought to the thought of the Kiiroitori plushie, all squished in the arms of a gentle giant.

“Yeah.” Jimin pets the alpha’s black hair, brush placed back on the side table. “He is.”

Jungkook remains quiet for a while, and Jimin is content to rubbing him, soothing him as the minutes pass. Jungkook has increasingly paid for longer visits, and Jimin secretly relishes in getting an hour and a half with the alpha instead of their initial forty-five.

“Flowers,” the alpha murmurs suddenly, shocking Jimin with the noise. He hadn't thought the alpha was going to talk anymore. Jimin can hear the sleepiness in his voice. They normally end with Jungkook falling asleep and Jimin extending their time without extra cost. Jungkook rests like he’s been awake for ages, like he only gets peace in this room. Like everyone has forced him sturdy, but when he’s with Jimin, he’s allowed to unwind delicately.

“Flowers?” Jimin asks, unsure of what Jungkook is referring to.

“My scent.” The alpha slumps like those two words were the last two things holding him up. Jimin can hear a light breathing from him, knowing he’s finally succumbed to sleep.

Flowers? Jimin has admittedly never met an alpha with a 'flower' scent. He’s never even met an omega with that kind of scent. Does Jungkook mean a specific flower? Because plenty of omegas have specific ones like roses or lilies or peonies. Never just... 'flower'.

Jimin sniffs the air, but there’s no trace of it. Jimin wishes he could smell it. If it is a nice type of flower, like snapdragons or frangipani, he imagines losing himself in it. He imagines snapdragons covering the room, blooming on the curtains, snuck in the sheets, blossoming along the floor. He sees fresh stalks growing tall, proud and strong against unfriendly winds, against overcast days. He sees this vision and he smiles to himself because some things are so loopy that they're magical. 

Kookie wriggles, strangely so much lighter on his lap, and Jimin, now out of his reverie, glances down in confusion.

Wolf.

It doesn't strike him as abnormal until his brain smacks itself and jarringly rattles in his skull. 

Oh shit! — A wolf — a, um, black wolf is nestled in Jimin’s lap, lazily snoozing without a care in the world. The bright pink rabbit plushie rests against its thick fur, something so delicate and small surrounded by something so strong and massive. The wolf's wet nose nuzzles into Jimin’s arm, resting its large head onto Jimin with a sleepy sigh. The animal is big, so much bigger than Jimin’s little human form, and he's overflowing on Jimin's thighs, back paws sticking off the side. 

He has to take a flustered moment to process this. Okay, more like several increasingly flustered moments, minutes slinking by in a delirious haze.

Jungkook shifted.

Into his wolf form.

On Jimin's lap.

Holy fuck.

This doesn’t just happen out of the blue. Wolf forms — they're... they're vulnerable forms, cherished forms, saved for times with mates and close family members. For when they're at their safest, most comfortable, most trusting. Where their wolf is without their most guarded barriers.

Instinct.

Strangers are never privy to them. Hell, ever since Jimin passed his preteen years, he's only morphed a handful of times.

And yet the big wolf sneezes in his lap, a kitten sneeze, unaware of Jimin's panic. He’s huge, yet he curls up like he’s trying to be as little as a lap dog. He’s radiating heat, warming up Jimin's thighs like an oven, his fur thick and sleek in Jimin’s hands, but Jimin has already yanked his arms far away.

The wolf emits a puny whine at the loss of Jimin's pets, but the alpha is lost in its dreams, and it stays asleep. 

Mouth agape, tongue dry, hands above the animal but not touching: he doesn’t know what he should do. Kookie is sleeping; there’s no way he intentionally shifted. It means his wolf… his wolf trusts the omega. Jungkook’s alpha trusts Jimin to keep him safe. Even when so exposed.

This isn't... this isn't something he can take lightly, and shit, what is he supposed to do? He's never been in this position. His omega is squealing in delight. Shift, shift, shift, go with your alpha, it begs him. Go now.

But he can’t. He cannot. No. That'd be so fucking unprofessional. And they only have, what, thirty minutes left? He has to keep Kookie safe. If he shifts into his wolf form, he’ll lose the concept of human time. He has to protect the alpha. The wolf is his, his mate, his to hold and protect —

No. He shakes his head. They’re not mates. Why is — ? Why is his omega so drawn, so protective? His omega chants mine, but Kookie isn’t his. Is not.

Shut up, omega, he hisses internally, and his omega growls. I will not.

When the wolf whimpers something sad in his sleep, dreaming something that’s got his back paws kicking and his front ones clawing at Jimin’s pants, Jimin can’t hold himself back for the ever-loving life of him. He’s too weak, and Kookie is tugging at his heart too much, but that's honestly to be expected at this point. 

He wraps his arms around Jungkook, picking the heavy wolf up and off the chair with a strained wheeze, and sets him down on the floor, the bunny falling to the ground along with him. He’s too rushed to think about placing Jungkook on the comfy bed, needs to shift and shift now. His alpha whines on the floor, missing the warmth of Jimin’s lap, and Jimin cannot have his baby be distressed. Cannot have his baby be alone.

He has one last human thought to question what the hell he thinks he's doing before he morphs, groaning at the shift, pop, squeak of his bones. Forgetting what it's like to be human. 

The omega blinks open his eyes to a new world, searching, searching, searching —

Alpha.

The mewls draw it closer. It approaches the sleeping one, nuzzling its nose into the alpha’s black fur. It licks the other's ears, soothing the larger and releasing sedative pheromones to quell the alpha's troubled mind. The pitiful whimpers subside as the omega continues, and pride for calming its alpha warms in the omega's belly. A sense of serenity dances in the room.

The omega curls into the bigger’s comfy side, fitting perfectly, its orange fur nicely contrasting with the alpha's black color. If the omega had its human thoughts, their mesh of fur would have reminded him of a jack-o-lantern glowing in the dark.

The omega keeps awake, observing this strange territory. It can recognize that this is its space, but it does not understand how it got here. It thinks this area is safe enough to stay for now, and with the alpha sleeping, the omega won’t move them for travel. 

It will protect the alpha here. 

When it confirms that it smells, sees, and hears nothing threatening, it allows itself to relax, to snuggle closer into the sleeping alpha's bulky body. It is prepared to do whatever it takes to defend its mate, so it never fully drifts to sleep, keeping its ears perked and alert.

This is, unfortunately, where Jin finds them an hour later, unknowingly stepping into a wolf's guarded territory...