The overhead light flickers, darkening the room for a brief moment before everything is illuminated again. The lights are dim; the entire place trashed, the majority of the furniture flipped upside down and torn apart, rotting. The room smells like mold and something that makes his nose uncomfortably twitch—possibly a decaying animal corpse. Newspapers scattered on the floor have gone yellow with age and there is not a single window gracing the walls, the only connection to the outside world being the door he came in through.
It’s perfect. The place is perfect, just to his liking. Filthy, secluded and would make anyone miserable. It’s ugly and rotten, with so much negative energy inside of it that if he were still a human, it would possibly make chills run down his spine and make his toes curl against the inside of his shoes. Now, all he feels is a wave of adrenaline flooding through him; the corners of his lips curling into a smile as he stares at the filthy, blood stained tiles around him. He smells all the deaths that have happened here before, can almost see them play out in front of his eyes, one by one. It’s beautiful.
He turns on his heel, eyes meeting Seokjin’s—someone Jeongguk still, to this day, refers to as his familiar. Even though he’s, frankly, anything but that and hasn’t been for hundreds and hundreds of years. A familiar is a witch’s companion for life, something good and pure. Seokjin hasn’t been the latter for a very long time, yet, for whatever reason, Jeongguk still thinks of him as such. Old habits die hard, and this habit is a few hundred years old.
“Have you brought the daggers?” Jeongguk asks, voice smooth and demanding. Seokjin nods, dark hair falling into his eyes. “Give them to me.”
Seokjin takes the leather bundle out of the pocket of his coat, handing it to him. Jeongguk takes it, unfolding the fabric to reveal a set of his favorite daggers, all four of them sharpened and polished carefully so the black marble handles gleam in the low neon light.
It’s just a few out of his collection, but they’re his favorites. He’d always had a thing for knives and daggers—but since tonight is a special night, he’d picked out his best, sharpest ones and ordered for Seokjin to bring them.
“How many do we have on our list tonight?” Jeongguk asks, running his index finger over one of the blades. It cuts through the soft skin of his fingertip, drawing the slightest bit of blood. He puts it in his mouth and sucks on it, body breaking out into goosebumps at the metallic taste he’d always been so fond of. A little too fond of. He sighs, releasing his finger with a wet sound, then licking over his lips. “How many more of these worthless cunts do I have to slaughter before they learn that if they want my services for their pathetic little lives, they’re going to have to pay for them—one way or another.”
Seokjin’s lips quirk into a smirk, eyes glimmering as he looks back at Jeongguk. He takes out a piece of paper, unfolds it and glances at it, clearing his throat. “Six,” he replies, before shoving it back into his pocket. “Could be done quickly, unless you decide to drag it on until dawn.”
Jeongguk grins, not at all disappointed with the number. “I think I might take my time tonight,” he shrugs, taking one of the daggers out of the bundle. It’s the binding one—the one that will keep his prey in place, if necessary. And more often than not, it is. “It’s been a while since we’ve had fun like this, hasn’t it, hyung?”
“Indeed, it has been,” Seokjin nods, taking his gloves off and tossing them to the side. He wrinkles his nose as they fall onto the floor with a dull thump. “It reeks in here. Even the rats are decomposing in this place. Disgusting.”
“It’s perfect,” says Jeongguk, eyes glittering as he takes a good look around the place one more time. “Imagine being summoned here just so you can get killed like a dog. Pathetic.”
“Shall we start drawing the summoning circle?” Seokjin asks, his expression impassive but his eyes gleaming with something so evil it makes Jeongguk feel all giddy on the inside. Tonight is going to be fun. And Jeongguk loves fun.
“Absolutely.” Jeongguk clicks his tongue, holding his hand out. “Chalk.”
Seokjin places the dark chalk into Jeongguk’s hand and takes back the leather bundle of daggers, pushing it down into the pocket of his coat. Jeongguk crouches down, taking his bottom lip between his teeth as he focuses on drawing the pentagram, brows slightly furrowed in concentration. He twirls the binding knife in his other hand as he continues drawing over the mold on the floor, heart jumping inside of his chest when the pentagram comes to a finish. With each second, the moment of the summoning process comes closer, and the adrenaline in Jeongguk’s veins spreads like wildfire, crawling and settling under every inch of his skin.
Every moment closer to someone’s death makes Jeongguk aroused in ways he’s not even capable of explaining. It just feels good, knowing that he’s the one holding all the power and that someone else is at his mercy, begging. Only, Jeongguk has no mercy. And having no mercy is so much more fun.
“I brought the candles,” he mutters, walking over toward the rotten couch where he had dropped his bag earlier. He takes out five white candles infused with dark magic—courtesy of yours truly—absently smiling at the contrast his magic has as it swirls inside of the candle. He places them on each point of the pentagram, waving his fingers and lighting them up all at once. “Mmm, give me a different knife,” he turns to Seokjin. “This is the binding one.”
Seokjin nods, taking a different dagger out and handing it to him. All that's left to complete the summoning circle is some blood, and realistically Jeongguk could use the binding knife in his hand, but it's magically infused and as immune as Jeongguk is to his own magic. He'd still be bleeding a lot more than he has time for. He takes a regular one from Seokjin’s hand, lips spreading into a crooked smile as he runs the sharp blade over the palm of his hand and then curls his fingers into a fist, squeezing tightly as his blood drips all over the floor.
“Pretty,” he murmurs, watching as the pentagram and the candles stain black.
Seokjin snorts and Jeongguk’s eyes flick toward him, brows tilting in question. “Is it not pretty?”
“Oh, it’s pretty alright,” Seokjin purrs, leaning against the wall and moving his dark bangs away from his face. “It will be prettier once it’s an actual bloodbath in here, though. Few drops of yours are just barely enough for some foreplay.”
Jeongguk tosses his head back and laughs, his voice echoing in the room. “You’re right, as always,” he notes, bringing his palm to his lips, licking over the still bleeding cut. Jeongguk shivers, smiling wickedly as he shoves his other hand into the pocket of his robe, pulling out his gloves. He carefully slides them on, then walks over to the circle, spitting on it.
“Need salt?” Seokjin questions, approaching him.
“No,” Jeongguk shakes his head. “I like it when they try and break the circle.”
“Of course you do,” Seokjin laughs, moving to stand by his side. “Well, then. Shall we?”
Jeongguk considers it; they should start now, because it’s possible they’ll be here all night. Jeongguk likes to have fun, often gets carried away with his victims and likes torturing them a lot more than necessary. It’s fun—it gets his adrenaline going. It makes blood bubble up in his veins and the rush he feels is electrifying, so thrilling Jeongguk could easily get off on it.
“I guess we shall,” he replies, pulse quickening with excitement. He clasps his hands together, huffing. “Well,” he claps his hands, lighting up all the candles sitting at the sharp points of the pentagram. “Name?”
Seokjin looks down at the list of names, cocking his brow as he studies his own handwriting, trying to decide.
“Ladies first, right?” He asks, glancing up at Jeongguk.
“Oh, absolutely,” Jeongguk’s smile is crooked and vicious, fingers twitching with excitement. “We wouldn’t want to be rude.”
“Cha Jisoo,” Seokjin clears his throat. His hand searches for something in his pocket again, then finally—he pulls out a ring. It’s simple, made out of white gold, and Jeongguk eagerly holds his hand out. “This belongs to her.”
“Perfect,” he says, curling his fingers into a fist, tightly holding onto the ring, channeling the energy of its owner. Cha Jisoo’s time is limited, ticking away. “Mmm, a fairy.”
Jeongguk's eyes fall shut, clasping his hands together as he channels his magic. A hot rush floods through him, pooling in his fingertips, and after just a few seconds the room is thick with misleadingly sweet energy and the sound of surprised, high-pitched gasping. He slowly opens his eyes, tongue darting out of his mouth as he crouches down to level his gaze with the shocked, dark-haired fairy before him.
“Well, look who we have here,” he says in a velvety voice, watching as the fairy’s eyes widen, the dim light of her aura blinking weakly in alarm as she realizes she’s been summoned and that she can’t move out of the pentagram. “Jisoo-ssi.” Her eyes widen even more and Jeongguk’s stomach flutters as he lets out an airy chuckle. He carelessly tosses her ring into the pentagram and she quickly glances down as it rolls on the ground then looks back at him, swallowing heavily.
“I—” she begins but Jeongguk glares at her and she immediately goes quiet, breath hitching in her throat.
“You’ll speak when I allow you to speak.” He takes his knife and steps into the summoning circle, grabbing a fistful of her hair, ignoring the painful whine that escapes her. He shoves the knife underneath the soft skin of her throat, slightly cutting through it as he presses further against it. “The more you talk, the quicker I get annoyed and I don’t like getting annoyed, because then you’ll be dead within seconds. And I prefer to take my time. Understood?”
Jeongguk knows she doesn’t, but she still attempts to nod her head, despite Jeongguk still tightly gripping at her hair. He releases it.
“Highly doubt you did. You fairies ain’t worth shit.”
He steps out of the summoning circle, sighing. He looks over at Seokjin, tilting his eyebrows at him before he turns to face the fairy again. “What do you suggest we do with her, huh hyung?”
Jisoo is gripping at the freshly made cut on her neck and Jeongguk rolls his eyes at the sight. He hasn’t even started yet.
“Wait.” Jeongguk wrinkles his nose. “What did I do for her again?”
Seokjin snickers, folding his arms over his chest. “Found her runaway sister. Twice. And she hasn’t paid for it once. I suggest you take all her fairy dust and then choke her to death.”
Jeongguk does love fairy dust. He considers it for a moment, then waves his hand, setting the fairy’s entire foot on fire. She screams in horror, making his cock twitch in his underwear at the sound. She reaches for her foot, frantically trying to use her magic in order to stop the fire—but she can’t. Jeongguk is a warlock; one of the most powerful ones at that, hundreds of years old. His blood runs black and is tainted with dark magic, the ridiculous fairy and her childish fairy dust do nothing but add more fuel to his power. And through the summoning circle, Jeongguk is channeling all of it.
“It was getting too quiet in here,” he explains, ignoring the fairy’s cries and turning to Seokjin again. “She evaded payment twice, you say?”
Seokjin nods, taking a step toward the pentagram, tilting his head to the side. “A shame, really,” he says, not a single ounce of remorse in his voice. “Her family is rich, too.”
Jeongguk cocks an eyebrow. “Rich?” He asks, licking his lips. “Well then.” He crouches again, eyes glittering as he watches the fairy squirm and scream, breaking out in sweat from all the pain she’s enduring. Jeongguk doesn’t allow the fire to spread further up her leg; instead, he waits for the foot to burn out until it’s rotten. “I’ll set her limbs on fire and slit her throat instead. Might as well start tonight off with a bang.”
“Sounds like a plan.”
Jeongguk smiles and waves his hand, terminating the fire. Jisoo breathes heavily, hair stuck to her damp face, pained noises slipping past her lips. The sight looks promising and Jeongguk spins the knife in his hand, slowly approaching her.
“Now, do I want to know why you haven’t paid me even though I was kind enough to find your sister not once, but twice?” Jeongguk asks, stepping inside the pentagram again and grabbing Jisoo by the jaw. Her chest heaves and she looks at him with fearful eyes, though she does try her best to focus.
Something inside of Jeongguk stirs and he presses his lips together, slowly shaking his head. He tightens his grip around her jaw, nails digging into the skin. “I don’t know why you even bother,” he says with a sigh, pressing the blade of his knife right against her jawline. “Glamour or whatever it is that you glowsticks do doesn’t work on me. It’s cute that you’re trying, though.”
He hears Seokjin chuckle behind him, muttering a low “glowsticks”. Jeongguk doesn’t turn to look, but he imagines his familiar is shaking his head.
“Do you know who my father is?” The fairy hisses, properly speaking up for the first time. Jeongguk doesn’t appreciate it; he hasn’t given her permission. He presses his lips together, releasing her jaw and grabbing a fistful of her hair, yanking her head back to make her look up at him. She whines in pain, and Jeongguk only further tightens his fist.
“Do you think I give a fuck, you worthless piece of shit?” He growls, nostrils flaring. “Who is he, huh? Fuck is he gonna do?”
Jeongguk isn’t fazed. Her father could be the Seelie king, he doesn’t care. Possibly, Jeongguk is one of the most powerful creatures dead or alive, and he’s well aware of that. Others should be aware of that too.
“He’s—he’s the head of the Unseelie court, he—”
“Unseelie court.” Jeongguk snorts. “This is borderline offensive. I will summon him and make him watch his daughter burn to death, and then I’ll kill him too. Is that what you want? Hell, I might as well summon your sister, just so he has some company.”
Fear flashes over her features and Jeongguk snickers, biting his lip. This is too easy. Jeongguk would never really do that—though there is not much humanity left in him, a part of him is still human, after all. He doesn’t believe in just ruthlessly killing people who haven’t somehow deserved it. He gets off on it—yes—but Jeongguk thinks that this is the beauty of it. It’s all about asserting power; killing the ones who have somehow tried to cross him, so that everyone in the future knows that Jeongguk is the one to be feared.
“N-No, please,” she stammers, choking on her words. “Please, not my s-sister—”
“God, you’re so boring,” Jeongguk releases his grip, rolling his eyes. He gets up, huffing in frustration.
“I will—I will pay you,” she says, tone pleading. “I will—I’m sorry I didn’t, I—I didn’t know—please. Your demands—they were ridiculous, I couldn’t—”
“My demands are ridiculous to you?” Jeongguk turns on his heel, suddenly seeing red. Impulsively, he flings his knife right into her chest, hitting the spot right above her heart. Jisoo screams, her small hands rushing to take the knife right out but—she can’t. Jeongguk’s keeping it in place, and no matter how much she tries, the knife doesn’t budge. Instead, it keeps inflicting pain on her, making her scream in agony.
Now that’s more like it.
“My demands are ridiculous to her,” he complains to Seokjin as rage stirs inside of his gut. “Can you believe that?”
“You’re really in no position to say such things,” Seokjin tells her, voice flat despite the fairy’s cries. “You’re only making your death more painful than it needs to be. It’s simple; you came in for a favor directly to me. I handle all of his business transactions. I have told you the cost, and you had agreed to it. You’ve evaded payment not once, but twice. I warned you about how cruel Jeongguk is. Now, you’re about to experience it.”
And she does. Just like he promised, one by one, Jeongguk sets fire to her limbs, slumping down into a moldy chair next to the decomposing couch, and watches carefully as her glow entirely fades, consumed by the flames. She dies before he has the chance to come into the pentagram again and slit her throat, but he’s not mad about it. She’s weak, barely able to fight back and for a moment, Jeongguk wishes he did summon her family to watch. His cock is barely hard in his pants, just slightly twitching once her lifeless body falls onto the dirty ground with a loud thud.
“Well,” Jeongguk smiles. “Shall we start with the next one?”
Next up is a wolf, and Jeongguk isn’t too pleased about that. They’re the easiest to kill, too human for their own good. Still, Jeongguk tries not to dwell on it too much; he makes a show out of breaking every single bone in his body before he sets him on fire and watches him burn to death. By the end of it, Jeongguk feels the pleasant rush in his veins; at least the wolf was feistier than the fairy, at least he tried fighting back.
Jeongguk likes calling this a ritual. He and Seokjin do it once a year, gathering up everyone who hasn’t sent payment for Jeongguk’s services—no matter how big or small those might have been—and they all end up the same. They all end up dead.
Before Jeongguk knows it, three more of them are gone within a blink of an eye—and it’s time to cross the last one off their list. Jeongguk hates how quickly time passes, how he can sense the dark outside bleeding into dawn. He’s not tired, just hoping for a bit more fun. Hopefully, the last one makes everything worthwhile.
“Who’s our last one for the night?” Jeongguk asks, kicking his feet up onto the rotten couch.
Seokjin looks at the list. “Park Jimin.”
“And what is he?”
Jeongguk’s eyes gleam, lips curling into a crooked smile as his stomach swirls with adrenaline yet again and he tilts his head back, laughing. “A bloodsucker,” he says, pleased. Perhaps they have saved the best for last. “Haven’t killed one of those in a while. He’s our last one for tonight, correct?”
Seokjin nods, eyes darkening.
“Perfect,” Jeongguk purrs, his tongue darting out to lick across his lower lip. He gets up from the couch, walking over toward the summoning circle. “I’ll take my time with him. Make sure he remembers his death even while he’s rotting in hell.”
“It’s almost dawn,” Seokjin reminds him. “We do have to sleep at some point, you know.”
Jeongguk knows but he doesn’t really care. He’ll have all the time in the world to sleep later, but right now, he focuses on the arousal that stirs inside of his stomach at the thought of summoning a vampire. If Jeongguk is lucky, he’ll get an ancient, wise one, who might even have a couple tricks up his sleeve. Besides, vampires are usually easy on the eyes, and that doesn’t hurt.
Jeongguk might even have a blast jacking off to it in his bed later when he’s replaying it in his head.
He glances over at the ground, his pentagram barely visible with all the blood that’s been shed throughout the night. Jeongguk smiles to himself, pleased despite the rather boring outcome of the night so far. He trusts his intuition; the last one might make all of this worth it.
“We’ll sleep when we’re dead,” Jeongguk jokes, taking his knife and cutting through the already healed wound on his palm, spilling more of his blood onto the burning candles.
Seokjin sighs, rubbing a hand over his face. “So, never?”
Jeongguk looks over his shoulder, grinning back at him. “Exactly.”
He takes his time with the summoning process. This time around, the only item belonging to Park Jimin that Seokjin has managed to get his hands on is a strand of his hair, and Jeongguk’s interest is piqued once he realizes it’s silver. He’s not entirely sure what to expect; but he’s hoping that it’s good.
Jeongguk closes his eyes, carefully holding the piece of hair between his clasped hands, quietly muttering the spell under his breath, channeling his magic. He’s hit with the slightest bit of air that parts the bangs on his forehead, and once he opens his eyes, there’s a figure inside the pentagram, back turned him.
“Park Jimin,” he calls, voice echoing in the room.
The vampire stands up inside of the circle, slowly turning around to meet Jeongguk’s eyes. For a brief moment, Jeongguk is stunned. He’d expected a pretty face, but the vampire that stands in front of him is gorgeous. Cherry lips, high cheekbones, a sharp jaw and most prominent of all—the smoldering, predatory-like eyes. He’s slender, sharp collarbones poking through the loose fabric of his dress shirt which has slipped down one of his shoulders, the black latex pants hugging his legs in all the right places, making Jeongguk slightly salivate.
Jeongguk has seen a fair share of gorgeous creatures in his time, he’s been here for centuries. Maybe Park Jimin isn’t the most beautiful thing he’s ever laid eyes on—but Jeongguk is sure he comes close. Despite that, there’s something about his aura, his demeanor that makes Jeongguk intrigued, which, admittedly, never happens. Jeongguk has no interest in his victims—other than seeing their deaths through.
This, somehow, feels different. Jeongguk’s always been bloodthirsty and right now, it’s like the thirst has intensified. There’s dried blood at the corner of the vampire’s lips, like he’d just finished feeding. Jeongguk is just in time.
Jimin looks down at the pentagram then around the room, taking in the sight. His gaze slides toward Seokjin and then it meets Jeongguk’s and he arches an eyebrow, crossing his arms over his chest.
“Jeon Jeongguk,” he says, voice smooth. He doesn’t sound intimidated and for some reason, Jeongguk is conflicted on whether or not that angers him. After considering it for a few moments, he decides that it doesn’t. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”
Jeongguk snorts. “The only pleasure here will be solely mine,” he says, biting back a smile at the literality of his words. His cock sits hard in his pants, almost throbbing at the sight of Jimin alone. “I see you know who I am.”
Jimin’s eyes flick toward Seokjin and then back at him. “Well, Seokjin-ssi is here. He works for you. Putting two and two together isn’t hard, when you have a brain.”
“Not enough brain to know that when you request my services you have to pay up,” Jeongguk hums, running his finger over the blade of his dagger. He glances up at the vampire whose expression is stone cold still, and he smiles. “Otherwise I make you pay.”
Jimin shifts his weight, arms dropping to his sides. “I see.” He presses his lips together, his eyes not giving anything away. If he’s scared, Jeongguk can’t tell. It makes him feel all giddy on the inside. “Well, maybe we can negotiate something. I have a large stock of demon powder. I heard you warlocks love getting your hands on it.”
Jeongguk scowls, then hurls the knife right at Jimin’s right thigh, watching as the vampire doubles down and hisses in pain. He glares over at Jeongguk, then takes the knife out and Jeongguk stares as blood runs down the black latex, lips curling into a smile.
“Fuck you,” Jimin spits, tightly gripping at the knife in his hand before he throws it right back at Jeongguk, aiming for his throat. Before Jimin even blinks, the knife is obediently sitting in Jeongguk’s hand, and Jeongguk can’t help but let out a low giggle.
“Nice try,” he says, then licks over the blood-slicked blade, tasting Jimin. Maybe he’s showing his love for blood a little too much, but Jeongguk can’t stop himself. There’s always been something about vampire blood he was drawn to—maybe it was the way it made his head spin and get him all high and dazed—but Jimin’s tastes… incredible.
It’s sweet, the hint of metal in it barely detectable and Jeongguk has not physically restrain himself to not lick his knife clean. Maybe after all of this is over, Jeongguk can drain him before they leave.
“You’re one sick fucker, aren’t you?” Jimin asks; the blood has stopped running down his thigh and the cut has healed. Jeongguk takes a different dagger out—his binding one. That should make things more interesting.
Jeongguk cocks an eyebrow. “Excuse me?”
“You just licked my blood off of your blade, willingly,” Jimin says, his face back to looking impassive. He’s absolutely stunning, and Jeongguk doesn’t bother looking away. “That makes you a sick fuck in my book.”
“You need blood in order to maintain your existence, yet I’m the sick one?” Jeongguk laughs. “Interesting theory.”
“I need it to survive,” Jimin explains nonchalantly, his eyes gleaming. “You’re doing it for pleasure. Don’t think I can’t see the way your dick has twitched in your pants. I can hear your blood flow, warlock. And I hear it all going straight to your cock.”
Seokjin laughs and steps up to stand by Jeongguk’s side, gently nudging him with his elbow. “He’s onto you,” he says.
“He really is,” Jeongguk beams. “Luckily for me, he’s not gonna live to tell anyone.”
He hurls his binding knife right at Jimin again, delight sparking up underneath his skin.
“Bastard,” Jimin hisses at him and drops down to his knees as the dagger hits the junction of his upper arm and his shoulder blade, making his body jolt in pain. “You fucking bastard.”
The dagger keeps the vampire spell-bound and paralyzed, and Jeongguk’s lips curl into a wicked smile and he tilts his head back and laughs maniacally, entertained by the sight. Blood runs down Jimin’s exposed collarbone, prettily staining his white dress shirt. Jeongguk loves what he sees; a beautiful vampire who’s about to die by his hand, squirming and twitching while he bleeds out crimson red and makes an even bigger mess inside the summoning circle. Jeongguk loves the slurs and insults thrown his way because by the crack of dawn, this gorgeous vampire is going to be nothing but a beautiful corpse, all thanks to him.
“Bastard,” Jeongguk repeats, licking his lips. “That, I am.”
Jeongguk means it quite literally. Once upon a time, he was a bastard son. Technically, he still is—though his parents have been dead for centuries. A long time ago, the slur would have probably stung; not anymore, though. Jeongguk has been desensitized to it for a long while now, so much so it does nothing but make him want to embrace it. A bastard, yes. That is exactly what he is.
“What do you want?” Jimin grits out through his teeth, holding onto the knife, unable to move it. “I offered to make a deal.”
“A deal had been made a long time ago, Park Jimin, and you didn’t stick to your end of the bargain,” Seokjin huffs from beside him. “And for that, you will be punished. You were warned the first time you came to me—and Jeongguk always holds up his end of the deal.”
“What I want is to make sure you remember me even when you’re rotting in hell,” Jeongguk says simply, shrugging. “I want you to tell Lucifer I sent you down there myself, I want you to know you’re just as worthless as the rest of your species.”
Jimin snorts, breaking out in a sweat as Jeongguk channels more magic into the dagger, watching as the vampire’s body twitches in pain. He’s handling it better than any of his other victims tonight; even his jolts and cries are more graceful than the others’ and he carries himself with a lot more dignity.
For the second time tonight, Jeongguk isn’t entirely sure how he feels about that—all he knows is that it sends rush down his spine.
“I’ll suggest we make a deal one more time,” Jimin says, not giving up. “If you kill me, you’ll have issues much bigger than me not providing you with payment, I promise you that.”
Jeongguk rolls his eyes and makes a face, sighing. “Let me guess. You’re a pure-blood vampire and your daddy dearest is loaded, so all your little blood-sucking covens are going to come after me and try to drain me, blah, blah, blah. Spare me.”
Jimin snorts, licking his lips. “I’m not a pure-blood vampire. I was turned, and my parents have been dead for hundreds of years.” Jeongguk perks up at that. The vampire is ancient, just like he’d hoped he would be. No wonder he tastes so good. They don’t make them like him anymore. “I fly solo. I don’t belong to a coven. If I die, no vampire is going to give a shit.”
Jeongguk’s brow furrows, lips parting. “So then, who is going to give a shit? Since you’re making such bold claims.”
“The ones I do business with,” Jimin says confidently. “Demons.”
Jeongguk’s stomach twinges with hatred, lips twitching downward. There’s not a single thing in this world he hates more. Demons; filthy, soulless creatures. Creatures who’ve made Jeongguk what he is today—a monster. Jeongguk isn’t afraid of them. He’s half a demon himself, his blood runs dark and his tears stain black, his power runs wild and his magic is obscure. Their power is limited, Jeongguk’s is not.
He’s not afraid of demons. If anything, he’s offended that this disgusting bloodsucker would ever assume otherwise. Jeongguk closes his eyes, twisting the knife in the vampire’s shoulder, finally making him scream in pain.
“How dare you assume I’d ever fear such vile, filthy creatures?” Jeongguk spits out as his skin crawls, and he walks over and enters the summoning circle, grabbing a fistful of Jimin’s hair, yanking it to force the vampire to look up at him. His fangs are out, sharp and long, and he hisses up at Jeongguk, squirming in pain. “I’ll break every single bone in your body,” he snarls. “I’ll rip off your limbs one by one and make you eat them.”
“Maybe you should be afraid,” Jimin pants, eyes squeezing shut as Jeongguk shoves the knife further inside of him. “The elder demons don’t take it too kindly when someone deprives them of their food.”
Jeongguk freezes, releasing him. He straightens up, glances over at Seokjin, then back at Jimin. “What did you say?”
Jimin’s lips spread into a smile, sly and wicked. “That’s what I thought,” he murmurs and Jeongguk shoves his knee into the vampire’s side, making him double over in pain.
“What did you say?” He repeats his question, patience wearing thin.
“The elder demons,” Jimin chokes out, his smile barely fading. It makes even more anger rip through Jeongguk. “You get rid of me, you’ll have elder demons knocking on your door by the end of the week.”
Jeongguk swallows heavily, but it’s not out of fear. This time around, Jeongguk is genuinely interested. He looks over at Seokjin whose eyebrows are tilted in surprise, head lolled to the side.
“Do you think he…” Seokjin begins and Jeongguk twists the dagger inside of Jimin, body breaking out into goosebumps as a high-pitched scream leaves his lips. “…knows him?”
Jeongguk considers it. He looks down at the squirming vampire who’s on his knees in front of him, wondering. Is it possible that the one he’s spent hundreds of years searching for has been much closer than he thought, all of this time? Jeongguk refuses to believe it but despite that, something urges him to ask.
“What kind of business does a worthless bloodsucker like you do with the elder demons?”
“Not just elder demons,” Jimin says, wincing. “I work with all kinds of demons; the elder ones are just a perk.”
“Answer his question,” Seokjin steps in, eyes darkening. “What do you have that they need?”
“Souls,” Jimin explains, not a hint of remorse in his tone. “I run a brothel. I traffic humans.”
“That’s illegal,” says Seokjin, carefully eyeing him.
Jeongguk’s stomach twists with nausea and he looks at Jimin with as much disgust as he can muster. Trafficking humans is illegal, and though Jeongguk isn’t big on respecting laws or has a moral high ground, this makes rage boil in his veins.
“Do you really think governor Kim would ever dare set foot in a brothel swarming with demons, especially when an elder demon enters my chambers every other month?” Jimin huffs out a laugh, rolling his eyes. “I have protection. I’m good at what I do. That’s why I offered your warlock friend here a deal. I wouldn’t evade paying a warlock as powerful as him if I knew I had nothing to protect myself once I made him angry.”
Jimin’s looks are deceiving, he’s only gorgeous on the outside. On the inside, Jeongguk knows it’s an entirely different story. It takes a twisted mind to be okay with trafficking humans to demons, and Jeongguk, as cruel as deranged as he is, as tainted his soul is—he could never do such a thing. If he could, he’d protect every single human from filthy demon hands, kill every single demon walking on this planet and then, he’d kill himself.
If he only could.
He releases Jimin, then walks toward Seokjin, grabbing him by the forearm and dragging him toward the corner of the room. He raises his hand, creating a sound barrier between them and Jimin. The vampire can’t move—but he sure as hell can hear— and Jeongguk doesn’t need him eavesdropping on them right now.
“Do you think he might know him?” Jeongguk asks, biting his lip. Seokjin’s features darken as he considers, shrugging.
“He might,” he says. “I just—I find it hard to believe that after you’ve stopped looking, he’d be so close.”
Jeongguk sighs, running his fingers through his dark hair. He looks over his shoulder, focusing on twisting the knife inside of Jimin from across the room. The vampire winces and cries, making the hair on the back of Jeongguk’s neck stand up. That will keep him occupied for a few moments.
“Me too,” says Jeongguk, licking his lips. “He’s not lying, I can tell that much. But maybe he’s trying to coax us; I should probably just rip his organs out and set him on fire. Stop wasting time.”
“But what if he does know him?” Seokjin presses, eyes widening. “What if he can actually be… useful?”
Jeongguk narrows his eyes at him, tilting his head to the side. “What are you suggesting?”
Seokjin bites down on the nail of his thumb, looking at Jimin over Jeongguk’s shoulder, thinking. “I suggest we ask the vampire if he’s familiar with the name.”
“And if he’s not? We kill him?”
“Maybe we don’t have to kill him yet,” says Seokjin, lips curling into a smile. “We have someone who works closely with the elder demons. Instead, we make him work for us.”
Jeongguk taps his index finger against his lips, considering. Something about the idea makes adrenaline pump through his veins, makes his heart beat quicker. Jeongguk had stopped looking for him a long time ago, but he’s never been in contact with anyone who knew anything about elder demons, let alone someone who worked with them so often. Jeongguk is a quick thinker and even faster decision maker—the vampire could be useful to have around. Worst case scenario, years pass without any leads and Jeongguk murders him anyway.
He knocks the barrier down and steps out of it, clearing his throat as he makes his way over toward Jimin. The vampire looks at him with rage and pain in his eyes, and when Jeongguk reaches him he rips the dagger out before kicking over one of the candles to break the summoning circle.
“Get the fuck up.” He grabs Jimin’s blood-stained dress shirt and pulls him up, tugging him toward the couch. He shoves the weakened vampire down and focuses, swirling his finger and watching as a black snake appears out of thin air, curling around Jimin’s wrists, keeping his hands in place. “Don’t even think about trying to run, bloodsucker. I’ll kill you before the thought even forms in your head.”
“Wasn’t planning on it,” Jimin hisses lowly, though there’s barely any real bite to his tone. He’s weak and hurting, and the wound in his shoulder is going to take a long while to heal unless Jeongguk does something about it. He doesn’t plan to.
“The name Kim Taehyung,” Jeongguk says, “does it mean anything to you? Does it ring a bell?”
Jimin looks at him, brows furrowing. Immediately, Jeongguk knows it doesn’t. It shouldn’t—but disappointment still makes its way to Jeongguk’s chest—even though he’s been disappointed time after time in the few hundred years he’d spent looking for Kim Taehyung.
“No,” Jimin says reluctantly, biting his bottom lip between his teeth. “But I could ask around. What is he?”
“An elder demon,” Jeongguk replies, staring at the snake around Jimin’s wrists until it tightens around them even more, making the vampire uncomfortably squirm.
Jimin freezes, looking up at him. “I wouldn’t be poking an elder demon if I were you.”
“Thank god you’re not me, then,” says Jeongguk. “What you’re going to do is ask around and keep an eye out for that specific name. I don’t care how deep you gotta dig and who you have to bother about it—you’re going to do it. And then, after you find someone who might know something, no matter how small, you bring them to me. That’s how you stay alive. Understood?”
Jimin looks at him with dark eyes, chest still slightly heaving with the pain he’s enduring from his barely healing wounds. He has the audacity to consider it and rage flickers inside of Jeongguk, but he quickly breathes in, calming himself. He’s already decided that he won’t be killing this vampire, at least not right now. The sole fact that Jimin traffics humans to demons without a hint of remorse makes him sick to his stomach and despite his beautiful face, Jeongguk wants to do nothing but scar it, make him as ugly on the outside as he is on the inside. But, he doesn’t. There’s a bigger goal to be achieved here, something Jeongguk has been yearning for for hundreds of years and maybe—as disgusting as Jeongguk finds this twisted vampire—his connections to the demon world can be of significant help.
“Okay.” Jimin carefully nods, his gaze piercing and trained on Jeongguk. “I’ll do it.”
“You don’t have a choice,” Jeongguk reminds him, quirking an eyebrow and tightening the snake around him even more, making Jimin’s breath hitch in his throat. “It’s either that, or you’re dead.”
“You’ll kill me anyway, if I don’t prove to be of service to you,” Jimin notes, though his lips curl into a smirk. “But you won’t have to worry about that, warlock. I have connections everywhere. Whoever it is that you’re looking for, I’ll find them.”
Jimin sounds confident and Jeongguk huffs, lips twitching.
“We’ll see about that,” Seokjin says from behind him, making Jimin’s gaze slide away from Jeongguk. “I also suggest you don’t try to set Jeongguk up. It won’t end well for anyone, especially you.”
“I’m trying to stay alive, not play games,” Jimin hisses at him. He looks back at Jeongguk. “Like I said, whoever it is that you are looking for, I will find them.”
“I’ll check in with you every few days. You’ll be summoned just like you were summoned tonight.”
Jimin looks around, nose wrinkling. “Into this dump? Really?”
“No,” says Jeongguk. “You’ll be summoned to my lair. Other than that, you’re free to walk around as you please. However, if I hear you throwing my name around, you’ll be summoned back here and killed like a dog. Do you understand?”
Jimin nods, eyes flicking down to the snake that’s tightened around his wrists. Jeongguk sighs, waving his hand dismissively and watching as the snake drops dead, right into Jimin’s lap.
“I understand,” Jimin confirms, just in case. “If I have something—or someone, how do I reach you to report back to you?”
Jeongguk shakes his head. “You don’t. You keep an eye on every single one of your clues and then, when I summon you, we can discuss how and when you’re going to bring them to me. We do things on my terms. You’re free to go.”
Jimin gets up from his seat, suspiciously eyeing the two of them. He blinks, rubbing at his bruised wrists as if he’s not entirely convinced they’re letting him walk free. Frankly, Jeongguk is just as surprised—that wasn’t the plan for tonight. Still, if there is a single chance of Jeongguk finding Kim Taehyung after all these years, he’s not going to let it slip away.
“Are you… sure that’s how you want to do things?” Jimin asks. “You’re not going to hold me hostage and release me just for when you need me to gather information?”
“Park Jimin, I can summon you back here and find you within seconds, wherever you are, in whatever dimension you set your foot in. And I’m fond of my personal space—I don’t like sharing my lair with anyone else but Seokjin hyung.” He glances over toward his familiar, smiling fondly. “Now. Kim Taehyung. Remember that name. Remember that name and find him for me.”
Finally, Jimin nods, straightening his back. He glances over toward the door—the only exit out of the room—and with a single glance at it, Jeongguk slams it open.
“Go,” he taunts, narrowing his eyes at Jimin. “Before I change my mind.”
“See you in a couple of days then, warlock.”
Within a blink of an eye, Jimin is out the door, newspapers flying around the room as he disappears at the speed of light.
Even though he hasn’t killed him, Jeongguk knows he’s going to be jacking off to the thought of blood running down Jimin’s white dress shirt anyway.
Jeongguk looks out of the window, staring down at the city that stretches itself in deep grays, seemingly dull but so, so deceiving. This city holds all the secrets Jeongguk already knows, though there is one secret he doesn’t—where to find Kim Taehyung. Jeongguk has a lot of unfinished business with a lot of people, but he doesn’t mind taking his time. Throughout the years they all fell into his hands one way or another—well. Everyone but Kim Taehyung.
He tries to not think about Jimin too much, without success. It’s been exactly three days since he’d sent the vampire off to gather information, and he hasn’t bothered summoning him back. A part of him wanted to, for more reasons than just finding out if Jimin’s got a single lead. Even though he hates to admit it, there is something about the way Jimin carries himself that has Jeongguk’s interest piqued, and a face as pretty as his cannot just go unnoticed. Jeongguk isn’t blind. Still, every thought of Jimin is followed by a nasty twinge of his stomach, a knot tightening at the base of it.
“You’ve been staring awfully long,” comes Seokjin’s voice behind him, making Jeongguk jump in surprise. His familiar walks over to him, handing him a cup of tea. “Here. Been thinking about that vampire a little too much, haven’t you?”
“Thanks.” Jeongguk takes the cup between his hands, bringing the scorching hot liquid to his lips. It’s herbal, and Jeongguk hates it. But, it’s good for his organs, keeps them vital and functioning and despite being immortal, Jeongguk still needs to take good care of himself. Dark, tainted magic runs through his blood and a long time ago, it used to be a little too much power for his weak, human body. Now, things are different. But so is Jeongguk. “Yeah. What did you find out?”
Jeongguk hasn't been sitting around doing nothing. He'd ordered Seokjin to follow Jimin; just because he's a prisoner doesn't mean he should be trusted by any means. Jeongguk trusts no one—especially not a human trafficking vampire who deals with creatures such as demons every day.
“Well, it’s all true,” Seokjin says, walking over toward the sofa. He settles down onto it, crossing his legs. He looks out the window too, eyes darkening. “He runs a brothel. Hunts humans in clubs and bars, gets a bunch at the time. Has fun with them first, sells them to demons later. He’s very well known in the underworld. Not a single person on the street hasn’t at least heard of him. He’s been around for a few hundred years.”
Jeongguk cocks an eyebrow. “So, he seduces them, then feeds.”
Seokjin nods. Jeongguk isn’t surprised. If he weren’t immune to vampires, he’d probably fall for Jimin’s sultriness, those smoldering eyes and smooth, low voice. Though, Jeongguk expected that Jimin would probably have people working for him—and he’s only surprised that it’s not the case. Still, his stomach twists with disgust.
“Word on the street is that governor Kim knows, but he’s doing nothing about it even though what Park is doing is beyond fucking illegal,” Seokjin sighs, waving his hand. “Which means that whatever connections he has are really damn good. And I have no doubts it has everything to do with the elder demons.”
“Governor Kim is nothing but an insignificant dog,” Jeongguk mutters, lips twitching with disapproval. Werewolves have always been too easy to kill, too moral and just. Everything Jeongguk is not, or at least hasn’t been in a very long time. “He knows better than to fuck with a deranged vampire who trades with demons.”
Seokjin hums noncommittally. “You have a point. Still, you should consider summoning the bloodsucker soon. I’ve followed him for a bit, and it seemed as if he was asking around, meeting up with fairies and other vampires, running in circles I heard he usually stirs clear from.”
“You didn’t make yourself too obvious, I hope?”
“Not at all.” Seokjin smiles comfortingly. “I’ve been in my regular form. He hasn’t suspected a thing.”
A long time ago, Seokjin only had one form—a crow. Jeongguk’s familiar, his beautiful, pretty crow who’d fetch herbs for him from the other side of the village, a bird who attacked anyone who’d ever try to bully or intimidate him, someone who’d keep its feet placed firmly on Jeongguk’s shoulders as he’d walk through his village. And so he was, until Jeongguk became powerful enough to give him a human form and make him immortal. He then became what he is to this day—his life companion.
“Good,” Jeongguk says, smiling warmly at him. “Thank you, hyung. I was thinking I might summon him tonight. Not that I expect him to have anything, but it’d be good to check him out and see how he operates. If we’re gonna be dealing with him, I might as well gain some… insight.”
Seokjin nods, licking his lips. He keeps staring outside the window as dusk sets on the horizon, sun falling behind the skyscrapers and letting the night slowly take over. Jeongguk drinks his tea, running his fingers through his hair with a sigh. He doesn’t like interacting with strangers unless it’s for business and having to summon Jimin to his lair somehow makes him feel all wrong. He can’t quite put his finger on it, and as much as Jeongguk doesn’t like having outsiders in his lair unless he plans on killing them—he sure as hell isn’t going to seek out Jimin in his brothel. The idea of Jimin knowing where Jeongguk lives doesn’t bother him—besides, Seokjin handles his business transactions directly from home, and Jeongguk lives in what’s possibly one of the most secure places in the whole world. It’s the fact that he’s going to be coming in and out, studying the place, getting a glimpse of Jeongguk.
Vampires are clever and observant and this vampire—although no match for Jeongguk all on his own—is dangerous.
“Are you going to need me for that?” Seokjin asks, glancing up at him.
Jeongguk finishes his tea and leaves the mug on the coffee table in front of Seokjin, shaking his head. “Nah. You can rest. You’ve been out every night for the past few days.”
“It’s okay,” says Seokjin, rising to his feet and dusting off his sweater with a frown. Despite the stern look on his face Jeongguk can see the slight hint of dark circles forming under his eyes, and he knows that his familiar is tired. “If you need me to stay up, I’ll stay up.”
Jeongguk’s features soften and he walks over toward him, placing his hand onto Seokjin’s shoulder. He squeezes it reassuringly, offering a small smile. “I could handle a coven of a thousand vampires all on my own, hyung,” he says softly. “I think I’ll be good handling just this one, too.”
“I know you can.” Seokjin purses his lips. “Just making sure.”
“Come on.” Jeongguk tugs at the fabric of his sweater. “Let me make you some sleeping tea.”
Seokjin whines but allows Jeongguk to drag him downstairs, patiently waiting as Jeongguk fusses around and makes him the herbal tea he knows is going to knock him out for at least the next forty-eight hours. Seokjin needs rest and frankly, he’s of no use of Jeongguk if he’s tired and barely standing on his feet.
“Drink up, it’s strong,” Jeongguk encourages as he passes him the mug, a strong herbal scent filling up his nostrils.
He waits up until Seokjin is finished and then disappears into his nest, leaving Jeongguk all alone in his lair. He glances at his reflection as he passes a mirror wall in the hallway, stopping for a brief moment to take a better look. Jeongguk looks tired too, swallowed by his oversized clothing and looking as bad as he feels. Insomnia has crept up on him again and he should possibly take his own advice and make some sleeping tea for himself, but there are other things he needs to take care of. The low after a night he and Seokjin had just three days ago always hits him hard—and that’s possibly why Seokjin was so hesitant to leave him alone with Jimin in the first place.
It’s not even about whether something is going to happen to him or not, because they both know that could never be the case. But Jeongguk does get drained, he does fall into bed for days at a time, unable to get up not because his power has worn him out, but because the adrenaline sent him so high up, it’s only possible to crash down hard after that.
He walks over toward his closet, slipping his robe and his gloves on, glancing toward the window again only to see that the day has entirely bled into night. The fog has fallen over the city and Jeongguk huffs; it’s the worst time of day. It’s when all the tainted creatures come out, it’s when crimes happen the most. In the mist, where no one can see them. Jeongguk doesn’t bother changing out of his baggy clothes—the robe covers them just fine. He runs his fingers through his hair before he slips his gloves on and makes his way out of the room.
Once he’s in his lair—his actual lair and not his and Seokjin’s living quarters—he feels a rush of dark magic inside of him, making his chest heave as he’s hit with that much energy all at once. He always feels the most powerful in his lair and even now, when he’s drained and down, he feels like he could conquer the whole world. There are exactly a hundred different knives stacked up on the wall beside him, candles lit everywhere, fairy dust glowing in jars which hang from the black ceiling. There are skulls, demon powder, wolf bones and other magical items on the shelves around him, cauldrons and pots filled with vampire blood—for Jeongguk’s personal use only. Books stacked one on top of the other in rows which go as high up as they can until they hit the ceiling, though Jeongguk hasn’t really had much use of them anymore.
He takes the chalk from the table and steps into the middle of the room, sighing as he quickly draws a pentagram, then sets the candles all around it. He grabs one of the knives from his collection, slipping his glove off and cutting through his palm, absent-mindedly watching as black bleeds over the white wax. He shakes his hand, letting the remains drip over the pentagram then brings his palm to his lips, tongue darting out as to lick over the wound. The hair on the back of his neck stands up as he tastes the familiar metallic taste, so wonderful and contaminated with black magic it almost makes him shiver. Briefly, he laughs at the irony of this as he watches his palm heal before his eyes. He’s about to summon a vampire—a literal bloodsucker—yet Jeongguk is just as blood hungry as he is. He remembers Jimin calling him a sick fuck the other day and, well, he wasn’t wrong.
Now that Jeongguk has met Jimin, he can visualize his face and his presence—he doesn’t need anything of his. He can summon him anywhere at any time and really, Jeongguk doesn’t even need to draw the pentagram. Still, old habits die hard and more often than not, he likes doing things by the protocol.
He closes his eyes, hands clasped together as he mutters the spell under his breath and once he feels the temperature drop a couple degrees, he knows it’s time to open his eyes. Jimin stands before him in all of his pale glory, blood dripping down his chin as he looks back at Jeongguk with a hint of an annoyance on his face, arms crossed over his bare chest, his jeans unbuttoned and hanging low on his hips. Jeongguk hates the way his lips part at the sight; Jimin is like a wet dream coming straight from Jeongguk’s fantasies and the only thing staining his perfect skin, is the nasty stab wound from Jeongguk's magic infused dagger.
His silver hair is messy, pupils blown wide and nostrils flaring, fangs out and grazing over his lower lip. Jimin brings his thumb to the side of his jaw, wiping at the blood and then staring down at it sighing before he puts his thumb into his mouth and sucks on it, licking it clean.
“Warlock,” he says flatly, buttoning up his jeans.
Jeongguk forces himself to stop staring. Instead, he waves his hand and a shirt appears in Jimin’s hands, making the vampire quirk an eyebrow at him. “For me?”
“Put that on,” Jeongguk says, walking toward the summoning circle and kicking one of the candles away, allowing Jimin to walk out.
He then turns his back, listening carefully as the vampire slips the t-shirt on, busying himself with placing his knife back on the display. He’s not going to need it.
“What, not gonna tie me up this time around?” Jimin asks, holding his hands out together.
“No,” Jeongguk replies flatly, slumping down into his green velvet sofa. He gestures toward the purple armchair in front of him. “Sit down, bloodsucker.”
“Alright,” Jimin’s tone slips into something cold again, any trace of amusement in it gone. “What do you want? I was kind of busy, if you can’t tell.”
“Yeah, seducing innocent humans and feeding on them?” Jeongguk huffs, crossing his legs. “I can tell. You still got blood on your chin.”
Jimin frowns, wiping at his chin with the back of his hand. He doesn’t look too pleased with Jeongguk’s remark, but his fangs retract regardless, his demeanor relaxing once he settles down into the armchair in front of Jeongguk. There’s no fear in his eyes—not really—and Jeongguk doesn’t like how that makes him feel. Usually, even the creatures he has no reason hurting fear him and Jimin—even though he’s at Jeongguk’s mercy—doesn’t seem too fazed.
The vampire looks around, taking in his surroundings. His sharp eyes dart toward the bucket filled with vampire blood and he arches his eyebrow, making a low chuckle bubble up in Jeongguk’s throat.
“Vampire blood.” Jimin says, expression impassive again. “I’d say I’m surprised, but you are kind of predictable, warlock.”
“Is that so.”
Jimin hums. “For your information, I wasn’t feeding on a human,” he says, nose twitching. “I was feeding on a fairy, trying to get you some information about that elder demon, Kim Taehyung. Well, until you’ve so rudely interrupted me.”
Jimin’s gaze drops down to his lap and Jeongguk follows it, only then realizing that the vampire is still half-hard. When Jimin lifts his head there’s a smirk tugging at the corner of his lips, making Jeongguk’s pulse quicken.
“It’s just a cock, Jeon Jeongguk,” Jimin shrugs, innocently smiling at him. “I’m sure you’ve seen at least one or two in your lifetime. No need to go into cardiac arrest over it.”
Jeongguk snorts, not at all surprised with how shameless Jimin is. He traffics humans without remorse and Jeongguk has met enough people in his lifetime to know exactly what type of person Park Jimin is. An ancient vampire, though still easy to read nonetheless—cares only about himself and what benefits him—and Jeongguk could spot those like him from a lifetime away. It takes one to know one, and Jeongguk knows himself all too well.
“Don’t flatter yourself, bloodsucker,” Jeongguk says, lips curling into a wicked smile. “I get off on just thinking about the way I’m going to cut off your limbs one by own if you prove yourself to be as worthless as I think you are. Your dick means nothing to me. In fact, it can be the first thing to go, especially if it’s going to be a distraction for you.”
Jimin tosses his head back and laughs, bright and airy. “Not a distraction, warlock,” he says, eyes glimmering with something evil. “A weapon. But you don’t need to worry your pretty little head about that. You want information, and I’m here to get it for you.”
Jeongguk gets up, walking over toward the liquor cabinet, feeling Jimin’s eyes on him as his robe swirls behind and brushes against the vampire. He takes out a bottle of whiskey, pouring himself a glass and then glancing over at Jimin, tilting his eyebrows in question.
“I might as well,” Jimin sighs, slumping further into the armchair. “Since you’ve ruined my fun for the night.”
Jeongguk pours them both a drink, quietly handing the heavy crystal glass to Jimin as he walks back to his seat. He doesn’t usually do this—drink with people who are supposed to be working for him—but he plans on getting as much as he can out of Jimin, and one drink isn’t going to hurt.
“Well then,” Jeongguk begins, crossing his legs again and licking his lips. “I heard you have been asking around. What I’m curious about is if you’ve found anything.”
“Frankly, no,” Jimin replies honestly, brows slightly knitting together. “Almost immediately after our first… encounter, I asked my bookkeeper if he knew anyone who goes by that name. Often, he’s the one in charge of who comes in and out and I’m out hunting, so I don’t always get to see. Usually, when an elder demon comes, I make sure that I’m there and ready to offer our finest products.”
Jeongguk winces. Products. Those poor, innocent humans—weak and stupid and helpless, and Jimin—he takes advantage of all of that.
“Go on,” Jeongguk urges, tightening his grip around the glass.
“Well, I figured I should know him, as I make it my mission to be there when someone so powerful comes to the brothels. As you already know, the elder demons are a rare gem; there aren’t too many in this world and they’re all more than valuable. But, after looking through our books, not even my bookkeeper could find anyone by that name. It didn’t even sound familiar.”
Jeongguk isn’t disappointed. He’s searched for Kim Taehyung for hundreds of years, and he’s always come up short. Even if he were to come across someone who knows of him, it would never lead anywhere; it’s like Kim Taehyung has dropped from the face of the earth. Only, Jeongguk knows he’s alive. He feels the elder demon still, feels his energy and the blood that runs through his veins is the one that tainted Jeongguk’s all those years ago.
In some weird, twisted way, it’s like they’re connected—even though Jeongguk doesn’t want them to be. Still, even though he knows the demon is alive, he can’t pinpoint his energy, can’t locate him, can’t find him. Kim Taehyung is possibly one of the few people in the world whose magic is stronger than his, and no matter what Jeongguk does, he can’t go against that.
“Can’t say I’m surprised,” says Jeongguk, taking a sip of his drink.
He doesn’t like the way Jimin looks so relaxed in his lair, picking at the material of his jeans with a disinterested expression. He should at least be a little uncomfortable, but the most Jeongguk gets is vague annoyance at the fact that he hasn’t found anything for him.
“Well, I was,” Jimin says, pursing his lips. “And so, I went out the last couple of nights. Went to some clubs, asked around. One of my contacts lead me to this fairy—Cha Hwan—whose brother is the current head of the Unseelie court. Apparently, they’ve had some dealings with an elder demon by the name of Taehyung a few years ago. I was just about to show Hwan why it is exactly that he should give me all the details about his brother,” Jimin sultrily licks at his bottom lip, then bites down onto it, suggestively looking at Jeongguk. “But then, I was so rudely interrupted by no one other than yourself.”
Cha Hwan, brother of the head of the Unseelie court. Jeongguk narrows his eyes, thinking until it finally clicks. Of course—he’s just killed the daughter of the head of the Unseelie court, and that must be his brother. He can’t help a pleased laugh which forms in the back of his throat; Jeongguk will gladly do the same to her father. Adrenaline riles up in his stomach, eyes widening as his lips spread into a wide grin; this is the first news he’s heard about Kim Taehyung in years.
It’s nothing, just hearsay, but it’s more than Jeongguk had in a very long time. It’s a start, a tiny step in the right direction, but it’s still a step. Jeongguk doesn’t have a problem slaughtering anyone who dares stand in his way of finding Kim Taehyung—if he has to—he’ll burn the whole world to find him. He just needs people who know things.
“What’s the fairy’s name?” Jeongguk asks. “The fairy who’s in charge?”
“Cha Hyungsik,” Jimin says, clasping his hands over his knee. “I have not managed to find out anything else, though. Fairies aren’t stupid, they’re not just going to spill information about someone as important as the head of the Unseelie court. Especially not if that someone is family. And now—you’ve interrupted something that could have been a wild night beneficial to the both of us.”
Jeongguk snorts. “I don’t need anything more than his name, you ridiculous vampire,” he says, voice dripping with mockery. “I’m Jeon Jeongguk.”
Jimin blinks at him, letting out a breath. “Well, then. Good for you, Jeon Jeongguk. But if Hyungsik is the head of the Unseelie court, his glamour is much more tricky and powerful than the ones you see on regular fairies. He won’t be found unless he wants to be, and I for a fact know that you need something of his in order to summon him. And you have nothing.”
Jeongguk feels light, his chest blossoming with warmth as he tilts his head to the side, eyes gleaming as he stares back at Jimin. He’s always known his gut would never fail him and Seokjin’s intuition has never been wrong either—to this day. For the first time in hundreds of years, Jeongguk is pleased he hasn’t killed someone.
“I have you,” he says, pointing his finger toward him. “And you have his brother.”
The smile on Jimin’s face is nothing short of pure evil, eyes glimmering in the dim light of his lair. He’s gorgeous, skin smooth, his gaze dangerous and his fangs displayed as he parts his lips and licks over them.
“I like the way you think, warlock,” he mutters, staring at him with so much force it makes heat coil up in Jimin’s stomach.
Jeongguk bites down on his lower lip, holding his breath as they keep their eyes on each other and Jeongguk isn’t sure who’s at whose mercy here, but he knows he could devour Jimin within seconds, only if he wanted to.
“A human trafficking brothel,” Jeongguk finally says, gulping down the rest of his drink.
“Absolutely,” Jimin says, doing the same.
Jeongguk stares at him, arousal stirring in his stomach, his fatigue suddenly fading.
“You’re a sick, twisted fuck,” he says, no bite to his tone.
Slowly, Jimin gets up from his seat, shuffling closer to Jeongguk. Jeongguk doesn’t even blink, not even when the vampire crouches in front of him, placing his hand on Jeongguk’s knee. He bares his teeth at him, a low hiss coming out of his throat, eyes darkening.
“Takes one to know one, warlock,” Jimin mutters in a low voice, keeping their eyes locked together.
Jeongguk smiles, tightening his grip around the crystal glass, squeezing until he crushes it, watching the crystal dust fall down onto the floor.
“You got that right,” he says, getting up to his feet and knocking Jimin’s hand away from his knee, exiting his lair without a single glance over his shoulder.
“I have so much blood on my hands, I could paint this entire city red.”
“Never said you weren’t dangerous,” Jimin remarks, biting his lower lip. “Just that you don’t scare me, really. Doesn’t mean you can’t kill me, doesn’t mean you won’t—just means I’m not afraid.”
Jeongguk stirs under the covers, slowly opening his eyes and blinking at the complete darkness. He has no idea how much time or how many days have passed by but judging by the condition of the dead flowers on his nightstand, it couldn’t be more than a week. Jeongguk furrows his brows, waiting for his vision to clear.
It takes a while, meaning he’s definitely been out for a few solid days. It’s not the first time this has happened; sometimes, Jeongguk doesn’t leave the bed for literal weeks. When you’re as old as he is, time doesn’t hold as much meaning as it once used to. If anything, it’s not even real. Jeongguk doesn’t divide his days by minutes and hours like he once did. Seconds, minutes, days, weeks, months, years—they’re all stuck together, one fading into another, blending into eternity. It doesn’t matter what day of the week it is, what month, what year. It stopped mattering a long time ago.
For a moment, Jeongguk considers rolling over to the other side and letting his eyes fall shut again. He decides against it, tugging the heavy covers down and blinking up at the ceiling. He waves his hand, turning on the dim lights in his room as he rubs at his eyes, sighing. It takes him a couple of moments to adjust to the light even though it’s dim and he looks down at his clothes, realizing he’s not wearing the same, baggy ones he had been wearing when he first went to bed. Instead, he’s in his silky emerald pajamas. He softly smiles, realizing Seokjin must have taken care of him while he was out, as his familiar usually does.
First thing Jeongguk needs to do is draw a bath for himself. He pads over toward his bathroom, rubbing at his face and grimacing as he runs his fingers through his greasy hair. It’s one of the worst things about episodes like these—feeling filthy. Jeongguk waits for the bath to fill and walks around the bathroom, reluctantly glancing at his reflection every now and again. Once he bathes and gets some food in his system, he’ll look and feel better.
He dumps his essential oils and flower petals into the bath once it fills up nicely—a habit he’s had ever since he was a little boy. His mother used to do it for him until he was old enough to pick his own flowers and extract his own oils, something he still enjoys doing to this day, especially when he’s running short on supplies.
The bath feels nice; his muscles relax in the scorching hot water and he takes a lavender-soaked cloth and places it over his forehead, letting his eyes fall shut. He breathes in the familiar, comforting mixture of his flowers and oils, not bothering to pay attention to how much time passes while he’s in there. It’s only when the water goes lukewarm that he decides it’s time to get out and get dressed, and the growl of his stomach urges him to quickly pat himself dry and put some clothes on.
Once in the kitchen, Jeongguk realizes it must be around midday. His herbal tea is already waiting for him on the counter, Seokjin’s spell still keeping it hot. When his gaze slides past the mug he can’t help the fond smile that tugs at the corners of his lips and he lets out a low chuckle, shaking his head. There’s a dead mouse lying beside it and Jeongguk deems it couldn’t have been dead for more than a day. It was an unbreakable habit of Seokjin’s—bringing him dead mice whenever he changes form; a sign of loyalty that to this day, makes Jeongguk’s heart warm. Deep down inside, Seokjin was still his familiar, his pretty little crow, his protector.
Some things never change, no matter how many centuries pass.
He curls his fingers into a fist, setting the mouse on fire. He watches it burn to ash, feeling the adrenaline spark up underneath his skin. He then sips on his tea and gazes out the window, making a mental note to ask Seokjin exactly how long it’s been since he’s been out when he sees him. By the time he eats, he doesn’t feel mentally drained and his alertness is back up right where it needs to be, making him feel quite like his regular self again. Sometimes it takes him much longer to bounce back and properly function and Jeongguk’s never really quite figured out why. It wasn’t his body that was breaking down; his magic, despite being dark and tainted kept it vital and strong, impossible for almost anyone to come even close to harming it. His mind was a different story, had a life of its own. Often, after what Seokjin would refer to as Jeongguk’s rampage, he’d feel drained and burned out, his mind too heavy and thoughts too deep and dark for him to be able to handle them.
So, he falls into bed and stays there, sometimes for days, other times for weeks. A long time ago, Jeongguk would be out for months, clutching his bed covers, eating only when Seokjin would feed him, crying tears that would stain his face and his sheets black, unable to make himself move. At first, it was hard to accept having a weakness like this. Now, Jeongguk waits for it with open arms, knows he’s going to be taken care of and knows that he’s going to bounce back more powerful, more bloodthirsty.
“You’re home,” Jeongguk says, turning over his shoulder, eyes meeting Seokjin’s.
“And you’re awake,” replies Seokjin, walking into the kitchen and taking the empty mug out of Jeongguk’s hands. “You’ve had your tea.” Jeongguk nods. “Good. How are you feeling?”
“Fine,” Jeongguk shrugs, pushing his hair away from his face. “Feeling like myself again. How long was I out?”
“A week,” Seokjin mutters, focusing on washing Jeongguk’s tea mug and then his plate, voice slightly muffled by the running water. He glances over at him, gaze soft. “Not too long. I changed your clothes every other day. Hope you didn’t feel too filthy when you woke up.”
“Ah, just the regular amount,” Jeongguk says, rubbing the back of his neck as he watches Seokjin clean up behind him. “Thank you, hyung. As always.”
Seokjin shakes his head, rubbing his forearm as he walks past him to push his chair back under the dining table. “It’s been well over four hundred years,” he says, a smile in his voice. “It’s time you’ve stopped thanking me.”
“Never,” says Jeongguk, watching Seokjin walk back to the sink and wash the rest of the dishes. “So, what were you up to while I was gone?”
Seokjin finishes up and dries his hands, then leans his back against the counter, facing Jeongguk. “Governor Kim came by, so I sent him away and told him I’ll come see him instead. He’d heard about the fairy we killed, the Unseelie court head’s daughter. He has no idea it’s our doing—obviously—but he’s asking around.”
Jeongguk laughs, slumping down into a chair and propping his elbow onto the table, resting his chin against his hand. “I was wondering when the dog would start sniffing. What did he ask you, exactly?”
“Nothing in particular, he more so wants to talk to you,” Seokjin replies. “He knows you’ve done work for her in the past and just wants to see if you might know something more. He said he’ll come by next week, but I told him you’ll go see him instead. I don’t want him snooping around here unless we plan on killing him. You should have seen him. Tried being all assertive and shit,” he laughs, shaking his head. “It was kind of ridiculous. Werewolves in power really have no idea just how weak they are.”
Jeongguk waves his hand, shaking his head. “Nah, I kind of like it when the dog barks. It’s interesting to see how he tries asserting his dominance over me when he should be thankful that I haven’t taken him out yet. He’s the governor because I allow it, not because the people have chosen him.”
“Well, he’s all bark and no bite, as per usual. Still, please don’t wait for him to come to you and do go talk to him instead. I feel unsettled when it smells like dog in here.”
Jeongguk nods. “Will do. While I’m at it, I might as well ask him what he thinks about Park Jimin and his little brothel situation. Would love to hear his thoughts on that.” His stomach twists with disgust, lips twitching downward. “Speaking of which, any news from the bloodsucker?”
Seokjin rubs the side of his face, grimacing. “Yeah. He’s—well, I guess he’s been hunting more in the past week than he usually does. Because it’s just been batches of humans after humans. I kind of managed to divert quite a few away from him but it still wasn’t enough, and I couldn’t do much without him realizing I am keeping an eye on him.” Jeongguk’s stomach knots, nausea swirling inside of it. He swallows heavily, gaze sliding away from Seokjin as he presses his lips together. Those poor, fragile creatures, falling into Park Jimin’s hands almost every single day and then worse, falling into demon claws without a single choice. “But he did seem kind of jittery, especially in the last two or three days. Always on edge, snapped at a newly turned vampire outside one of the bars downtown and almost ripped his head off. I think he’s actually waiting for you to summon him, and he’s getting nervous as to why you haven’t done so yet, especially now that it’s been days.”
Jeongguk huffs out a laugh, his stomach still twisting. There is something about picturing Jimin nervous that seems so out of character for the vampire, but Jeongguk isn’t complaining. He’d love to witness that himself one day, though he doesn’t think Jimin would exactly be willing to show him that side of him this soon. Maybe it’s better that way, because the moment Jeongguk smells fear, he’s coming for blood. But he can’t push the thought of Jimin trafficking souls of these poor, innocent humans to vile, disgusting creatures such as demons. No matter how much he tries to not think about it, the uncomfortable feeling always follows after the image of the beautiful vampire flashes before his eyes. It creeps up on him slowly, seeping through his skin as he uncomfortably shifts in his seat. Ultimately, he supposes that someone as gorgeous as Jimin is on the outside, must be nothing but rotten and twisted on the inside. Jimin is just as bad as those demons are. And Jeongguk—well. Jeongguk wishes he was better himself, but as long as his body sustains on black magic, as long as his tears stain black and his blood runs dark, as long as he gets off on inflicting pain on others and watching them die in agony—he isn’t. He’s nowhere near being better than any of them.
He sighs, running a hand through his hair. “Yeah. I’m going to talk to Kim tomorrow, get him off my back. Then I’ll possibly summon Jimin and see what he’s got for me. Last time I saw him he said he’d heard about the head of the Unseelie court—the one whose daughter I murdered—having some dealings with an elder demon by the name of Taehyung a few years back. That sounds pretty recent. Jimin found the head’s brother and I think I’ll request for him to bring the fairy to me. I’ll probably kill him and then use his fairy dust to summon the head of the Unseelie court. Torture him until he gives me every last detail he has on this elder demon.”
“Sounds like a plan,” Seokjin says, folding his arms over his chest. He glances toward the ash on the kitchen counter, lips quirking into a smile. “I see you’ve found my gift.”
“Very thoughtful of you hyung, thank you,” Jeongguk says, standing up to rest his palm against the side of Seokjin’s face, running his thumb over his cheekbone. “It made me very happy.”
Seokjin looks pleased and Jeongguk can’t help but laugh, pulling his hand away from his face. Instead, he taps his shoulder and tilts his eyebrows at his familiar, waiting until Seokjin turns into his regular form—a large, pretty crow. With Seokjin’s feet planted firmly on his shoulder, Jeongguk walks out of the kitchen, trying to bite back a smile as adrenaline riles up within him at the sole thought of all the blood that’s going to be shed in the next few days.
And hopefully, that will bring him at least one step closer to Kim Taehyung.
When Jeongguk slips his cloak on and gets ready to leave his lair two days later, he’s feeling entirely like himself again. He’d instructed Seokjin to still keep an eye on Jimin, who, according to his familiar’s words, is getting more jittery with each day that passes without Jeongguk summoning him.
Jeongguk doesn’t spend too much time wondering why that is. He’s possibly having a hard time snooping around and keeping an eye on his contacts, possibly worried about the fact that Jeongguk might have changed his mind and decided to kill him after all. Thinking about Jimin constantly being on edge and wondering whether Jeongguk’s changed his mind about having mercy on him or not makes his pulse quicken, and Jeongguk would probably leave him squirming for a while longer if he wasn’t getting so eager to spill some fairy blood.
His first priority, however, is governor Kim—and Jeongguk needs to get that dog off his trail. Kim Namjoon is a nosy wolf, and though he would never be a real threat to Jeongguk or anything that he gets up to, Jeongguk still doesn’t want him snooping around and sticking his snout into his business. Besides, Jeongguk may not be Kim Namjoon’s biggest fan, but this city still needs balance. There’s been nothing but anarchy amongst the downworlders for so long and though Kim Namjoon would never be Jeongguk’s first choice for a governor, he’s not opposed to it. He’s harmless, nothing but a lycanthrope, a dog— but he’s sharp and able to keep up, and so Jeongguk allows it. He doesn’t want this filthy city in his own hands, anyway, doesn’t want the burden of being in charge of all magical creatures and preserving the human race while he’s at it, too. Not when his urge to murder is as strong as his urge to breathe.
He closes his eyes and breathes in, and once he opens them again, he’s in front of a black aluminum fence that stretches from the middle of the street right to the corner of it, only partially hiding the white mansion behind it. Jeongguk could have just appeared straight in governor Kim’s office but though he may be deranged, he still has some manners left. So, he raises his hand and buzzes the intercom, waiting. Once he’s let in, Jeongguk takes his time walking up to the house, looking around the front garden and the trees, glancing over at the werewolves who are cutting the grass and trimming the bushes. They’re all shirtless, their bodies ripped and sunkissed, probably from working hard to keep this place looking intact all day. He notices a few fearful glances thrown at his direction but mostly, the wolves keep their heads down and do their job. As they should.
Kim Namjoon is waiting for him on his front porch, dressed in a grey suit, hands shoved deep into the pockets of his slacks. He’s a good-looking man—Jeongguk’s always thought so—but something about him makes Jeongguk wary, untrusting. Not that he trusts anyone but himself and Seokjin, but there’s a certain dose of resentment, possibly due to him being a lycanthrope. Jeongguk’s never really liked wolves.
“Jeon Jeongguk,” Kim Namjoon greets once Jeongguk gets close enough, holding his hand out for Jeongguk to shake. “You’re a hard man to track down.”
Jeongguk pulls the hood of his cloak down, looking up at the governor, then down at his hand.
“You sure you want to shake hands with me, wolf?” he asks, quirking an eyebrow. “Might be a little too much dark magic for you to handle.”
Namjoon huffs. “I think I’ll be just fine,” he says, further extending his hand. Jeongguk takes it, an amused smirk playing at his lips as they stare each other down, slowly shaking their hands. Namjoon’s an alpha, his chest puffed out as he attempts asserting dominance over Jeongguk and Jeongguk, quite frankly, finds it pathetic. But he lets it slide.
“This way.” The governor waves his hand, stepping aside to let Jeongguk into his home.
It’s bright and spacious, and it’s not Jeongguk’s first time in here, either. It smells like dogs and there are plenty of young wolves running around and doing chores, their heads bowed low, chatter quieting down once Jeongguk walks inside.
“That’s a lot of wolves to have around, governor,” Jeongguk remarks as he follows Namjoon out of the foyer and into one of the spacious hallways, walking toward his office. “Ever worried about not having privacy?”
“Wolves aren’t private beings, Jeon Jeongguk,” Namjoon says. “We’re a pack. They help run this place and in return, they learn about politics, about pack dynamics and have a place to sleep and eat. This is how our kind operates, not that you ever took the time to learn anything about that. Which is a shame, really. You’ve been alive for decades.”
“Not interested in dogs,” Jeongguk says cheerfully as they enter Namjoon’s study, and he plops down onto the large mustard yellow armchair that’s placed in front of the massive wooden desk. “My stepfather used to have a dog when I was little.” He looks up at the governor who takes a cigar from the tobacco box that’s sitting on the table, offering one to Jeongguk. Jeongguk waves his hand dismissively. “But it killed one of my lambs, and then it tried to hurt my familiar. A feral beast. Needless to say, I got rid of it.” Jeongguk looks at him suggestively. “Tends to happen to things that stand in my way or try to hurt those close to me.”
Jeongguk hadn’t been capable of murder back then, but he did sell the dog without his stepfather’s knowledge. He hid in the shed for three days, convinced his stepfather was going to punish him. He never did. Instead, he got Jeongguk a new lamb. That was the day Jeongguk swore he’d protect him at all costs—until he couldn’t anymore.
“Noted,” Namjoon says flatly, lighting up his cigar and puffing out a circle of smoke right into Jeongguk’s direction. “So, I’m assuming Seokjin’s gotten back to you. You know why I wanted to talk to you?”
Jeongguk nods. “It’s about a past client of mine, or so I’ve heard.”
“That’s right.” Namjoon turns to look out the window. “Cha Jisoo. Her father is the head of the Unseelie court.”
Jeongguk nods along with a strategically stupid look plastered across his face. He vividly remembers every second he’d spent torturing that fairy before she dropped dead, and there’s not a single twinge of remorse in his body. She got what was coming for her.
“Does that sound familiar?”
“Vaguely.” Jeongguk scrunches his nose. “Names aren’t really my thing. Seokjin hyung does all the bookkeeping. I just do my part.”
“So, I’m assuming you’ve got nothing to do with her death, then?”
Jeongguk looks up at him, eyes viciously gleaming. He licks his lips, shrugging innocently. “She’s dead? Show me the body,” he says, purposely pushing it. Namjoon looks back at him, cigar hanging between his fingers and Jeongguk knows the wolf doesn’t buy a single thing coming from his mouth—but he can’t do jack shit about it—and Jeongguk absolutely loves it. “I could do an autopsy. Tell you exactly how she died, word for word.”
Namjoon sighs, bringing the cigar to his lips. He looks exasperated, his dirty blond hair swept away from his face, but he runs his hand through it anyway.
“There is no body,” the wolf admits. “She’s just been missing for weeks. Which, according to her father, is very unlike her. And he can’t feel her aura anymore. So, it’s safe to assume that she’s… you know. No more.”
“Tragic. And what is it that you need from me?” Jeongguk asks, getting straight to the point. “To tell you who or what might have killed her? Can’t do anything without a body, governor.”
“You are hundreds of years old, Jeon Jeongguk,” says Namjoon, putting out his cigar. “You’ve been alive much longer than I have, and you will continue to live long after I’m gone. I know you remember every face and every name you’ve ever come across. I know you keep tabs on everything both dead and alive. So, you tell me, warlock. What is it that happened to Cha Hyungsik’s daughter? We don’t want a fairy uprising and this fairy is very, very distraught.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about, pup,” Jeongguk looks down at his nails, sighing. Namjoon’s got nothing on him and even if he did—he couldn’t do anything about it. Still, Jeongguk doesn’t want him in his business, and he’s here to make that message loud and clear. “So, I’d be careful with that tone you’re using. Wouldn’t want to make me mad now, would you?”
Namjoon holds his gaze for a while, lips pressed tightly together. Jeongguk can tell he’s trying not to snap and if the dog knows what’s good for him, he won’t. Because if he does, Jeongguk’s going to have to muzzle him and right now that’s really not the priority. He doesn’t have the time nor the will to kill all of these wolves; they’ve done nothing to him, and it would properly mess with the balance of things.
“I am asking you, Jeon,” Namjoon firmly says, licking his lips, “so I know whether or not we’re barking at the wrong tree. And so I know what to say to Hyungsik.”
“Tell him you can’t find his daughter,” Jeongguk says through his teeth, annoyance sparking underneath his skin. “And tell him I’ve got nothing to do with that.”
Jeongguk doubts Hyungsik is going to live long enough for Namjoon to let him know that Jeongguk is a dead end in their little search party. He plans on summoning his brother and then him, questioning him and then ruthlessly getting rid of the evidence. Sure, Jeongguk could just wipe his memory instead—but he’d learned very early on that that’s not something he’s interested in. Jeongguk needs to kill, he craves it.
“I don’t want a fairy uprising,” Namjoon repeats. “Just because you can’t control your… urges. I’ll tell him you had nothing to do with it, but just know—I’m not buying it.”
Jeongguk rolls his eyes and crosses his legs, curls his fist and leans his head against it as he looks back at the wolf. Namjoon doesn’t look nearly as intimidated as he should, but Jeongguk doesn’t necessarily mind it all that much, at least not right at this moment.
“You don’t have to,” says Jeongguk, cocking an eyebrow. “All you need to do is keep your snout out of my business.”
“Fine. Well. That would be all—”
“Not so fast, pup,” Jeongguk raises his finger, interrupting Namjoon. The wolf pauses, eyebrows tilting in question as he reaches to take another cigar from the box. “I’ve come here for a reason, and it has nothing to do with the glowstick you’re so keen on finding.”
He doesn’t miss the way Namjoon’s lips twitch at his second disrespectful use of pup, but the dog knows better than to bark at Jeongguk.
“Go on, then. What is it?”
“Park Jimin. Do you know him?”
Namjoon stills, eyes meeting Jeongguk’s. The crease between his brows deepens, fingers curling around the cigar as he brings it to his lips and lights it up. “Of course I do,” Namjoon says. “The vampire, right?” Jeongguk nods. “Everyone here knows Park Jimin, warlock.”
Apparently, everyone except for Jeongguk.
“Excellent. What about the human trafficking brothel he has?” Jeongguk questions, anger floods his veins, gut twisting with disgust. “The way he traffics human souls to demons? The way he seduces them and gives them off for demons to consume their souls without their consent?”
Not that consent would matter—demons are sweet talkers and humans are fragile and innocent, so easily lured into their traps and Jeongguk just wishes… he wishes he could protect them all. But that’s not possible, and it’s not his job. Besides, the more he deals with demons the more his bitterness consumes him, the more it clouds his judgement, the more it stains his soul or rather—what’s left of it. Jeongguk can deal with a lot of things, but that’s still not something he thinks he can deal with.
Namjoon takes a step back, lip bitten between his teeth as he carefully eyes Jeongguk, and it’s not too hard to tell that the wolf knows something, Jeongguk just isn’t sure what.
“So?” he presses, gaze darkening.
“I know nothing about that,” Namjoon says curtly, turning his back to Jeongguk. “Those are some serious allegations you are throwing around, warlock. Park Jimin is well respected—feared, even—especially among downworlders. Trafficking humans to demons is illegal and punished by the death penalty. Is that really an accusation you want to make?”
“Am I supposed to believe you know nothing about that?” Jeongguk sneers, rolling his eyes. “You’ve said it yourself—apparently everyone knows who Park Jimin is. How is it that he’s so well-known around here, yet you claim to know nothing about this business of his? Give me a break, wolf. I want to know why you’re not doing anything about it.”
Namjoon shifts his weight, blowing cigar smoke into the air between them. Jeongguk watches him intently, head tilted back, hands now clasped firmly in front of him. Namjoon’s expression doesn’t budge, but Jeongguk’s lived on this planet long enough to be certain that the wolf knows a lot more than he’s leading on.
“I can look into it,” Namjoon says reluctantly, turning to fully face him again. “I know nothing about this brothel you’ve mentioned. But if it’s the truth, that’s illegal and punishable by death. What’s a vampire to you, though? Why not just get rid of him yourself, if that’s truly the case? You may have not been in this city for a long while, but everyone still knows you are a notorious killer, Jeon Jeongguk. Not every murder in this city is connected to you, but we all know you abide and live by your own laws, one way or another.”
“I want to see you looking into the brothel thing, and I will keep my eye on you,” Jeongguk says, ignoring the way his stomach stirs with rage. He doesn’t expect Kim Namjoon to be able to deal with the elder demons—hell, Jeongguk doesn’t want to deal with them either—but he wants to see the effort. He doesn’t want Jimin dead, either, unless it’s Jeongguk who kills him himself, but if Namjoon knows more than he’s leading on—and Jeongguk is sure that he does—then he’s a dead man. And he will enjoy nothing more than tearing the wolf’s limbs apart one by one as he screams in agony in front of his own pack. “Am I being clear, governor?”
Rage flashes in Namjoon’s eyes and he looks livid, jaw tightening as he straightens his shoulders. He’s a prideful wolf, they all are. But Jeongguk doesn’t care, and he wants to see this dog put in effort, otherwise Jeongguk will get rid of him himself and handpick a new governor.
“Crystal clear. I’ll let you know if I happen to find anything.”
“Excellent.” Jeongguk rises to his feet, putting the hood of his cloak back over his head. “We’re done here, governor,” he says, lips curling into a curt smile. “Oh, and, before I forget. Don’t bother seeking me or my familiar out again. Don’t come near our tower. When needed, I will come to you. We don’t like our place smelling like dog.”
Before Namjoon has a chance to say a word, Jeongguk is back in his lair, stripping off the hood of his cloak and walking over toward his knife collection.
“It’s been well over a week,” Jimin hisses as him the moment he appears in the summoning circle, his silver hair tied into a small ponytail, bangs slightly falling into his eyes though the sunglasses on top of his head keep the majority of the strands out of his face.
This time around, he’s not half naked; he’s wearing a leather jacket and tight ripped jeans, fingerless leather gloves on his hands and he’s holding a silver knife in one, making Jeongguk’s brows twitch in amusement.
“You fucking psychopath, you think I can keep my contacts leashed for days without knowing when you’re gonna move?” The vampire is angry but Jeongguk’s only focusing on how pretty he looks, even though his eyes are crimson red, contrary to the last time Jeongguk had seen him.
Jimin pauses when Jeongguk’s gaze drops down to the knife in his hand and he sighs, tossing it to the side with a loud cling.
“Didn’t need to do that,” Jeongguk says with a smirk. “Not like you can actually hurt me with it.”
Jimin snorts, crossing his arms over his chest. “Doesn’t matter, I don’t want you to think that I was about to try. Where have you been? Do you know how hard it is to keep a fairy around at all costs without it getting suspicious?”
“Believe it or not, I had better things to do other than deal with you,” Jeongguk says dismissively, tone low and disinterested. It seems to irk Jimin even more, but he doesn’t say anything. “And in case you’ve forgotten, you work for me, not the other way around. So, you will make yourself available for whenever it is convenient for me, and as far as your connections go… well. I don’t like being too disappointed, bloodsucker. Put that charm of yours to good use.”
“Fuck you think I’ve been doing this whole entire week while you have been fucking around?” Jimin grits through his teeth, eyes coloring a deeper shade of crimson. “Been keeping Cha Hwan on a tight leash, and let me tell you, it’s easier said than done. He’s fucking married and has children. Hwan thinks I’m—” Jimin wrinkles his nose, a disgusted look on his face. “That I’m actually interested.”
Jeongguk settles down onto his velvet sofa, draping his cloak over his legs as he crosses them. “You’re hungry, bloodsucker,” he says, narrowing his eyes at him. “Why is that?”
“Haven’t had time to feed,” Jimin responds, his jaw set tight as he glares at Jeongguk. “I was too busy pulling strings and asking around about that elder demon of yours, wondering when the fuck you were going to summon me so I could have at least a moment of peace after we’re done with the goddamn fairies.”
An amused smile tugs at the corners of Jeongguk’s lips and he tilts his head back and chuckles, shaking his head. Adrenaline riles up in his veins, fingers itching to do something, to hurt someone. “Anything more on Kim Taehyung, then?”
Jimin shakes his head no. “The only thing I’ve gotten so far is about his dealings with the head of the Unseelie court a few years back. Other than that, nothing else came up. But, I have been asking around. Not that you would know.”
“God, you’re fucking snappy when you’re hungry,” Jeongguk rises to his feet, walking over toward Jimin. He leans into his space, faces only inches apart. Jimin doesn’t even blink, just lets his chest rapidly rise and fall. He’s thirsty and irked, looking a lot less composed than the previous times Jeongguk had seen him. It’s an interesting contrast, and Jeongguk is very much pleased with it. It’s good to see the vampire squirm for once. “Well. Let’s get this over with, then.”
Jimin pauses, eyes flicking around the lair. “Where’s your partner? Can’t hear his heartbeat or blood flow anywhere here.”
“Hunting, possibly,” Jeongguk shrugs, walking toward the table in the corner, grabbing chalk from the glass jar that’s sitting on it. “So, you’re stuck with just me for the night.”
Jimin shifts his weight, jaw tightening. His expression darkens as he watches Jeongguk draw the summoning circle, the heel of his boot clicking against the floor as he bounces his leg.
“Fucking great,” Jimin mutters, running his hand through his hair. “Why are you drawing that again? Didn’t you summon me in that one already?” He points toward the other end of the lair. “What’s that one for?”
“One for Cha Hwan, the other for Cha Hyungsik,” Jeongguk grins at him, ignoring the sharpness of Jimin’s tone. “Aw, don’t worry, bloodsucker. I’ll let you help me kill the pretty fairy.”
Jimin huffs but doesn’t say anything, and Jeongguk feels him radiating anxiousness as he gets the candles, hears the way the vampire gulps once Jeongguk slits his palm open and lets the blood drip over the candles. There’s a small gasp slipping past Jimin’s lips when Jeongguk licks at his palm and then at the blade, swallowing down drips of his blood, eyes fluttering shut as his skin breaks out into goosebumps.
“You’re insane.” He hears Jimin mumble underneath his breath.
Jeongguk sighs, opening his eyes. “You gonna help me get what I want out of this fairy or not?”
“Do I have a choice?”
Jeongguk grins. “Of course you do. You can just bring me the fairy and bolt, but you don’t want to do that, do you?” he asks, voice sweet and smooth. “You wanna have fun too, bloodsucker. No need to pretend when you’re with me. I don’t judge.”
Jimin cocks an eyebrow, letting out a frustrated laugh. “You don’t judge? Really.”
“Not this particular choice of yours, no,” Jeongguk says, straightening his shoulders. “Don’t feel like talking about your other choices, though. It’s just going to make me mad and then the fairies won’t be the only ones dying tonight.”
“You keep referring to it as a choice,” says Jimin, licking his lips. “Yet you know nothing about it.”
“Do you feel remorse?” Jeongguk questions, tone lowering and bleeding into something more dangerous, more threatening. “When you hand over those poor, innocent humans to those disgusting, soulless beings, do you feel guilty?”
Jimin grits his teeth, jaw tightening as he looks back at him. His eyes burn red and there’s something so enticing about the starving vampire in front of him that makes it very hard for Jeongguk to look away and focus on the task at hand.
“No,” he replies. “I don’t.”
“Then it’s as much of a choice as all the other shit you get up to,” Jeongguk points out, ignoring the way his stomach turns. He holds his hand out. “Better have something that belongs to that fairy you’ve been keeping an eye on.”
“I do,” Jimin replies, shoving a hand into his pocket and then taking out a chain with a crystal attached to it. “It’s topaz, their family symbol.”
Jeongguk takes it and carefully examines it before curling his hand around it. For a brief moment he’d almost gone suspicious, wondering if Jimin is trying to cross him. He doesn’t remember seeing the crystal hanging around Jisoo’s neck, but if he’s being honest he hadn’t paid much attention back then. When he takes the crystal between his hands any doubt that he’s had is gone—the energy is clear enough for Jeongguk to read, to know who it belongs to.
He closes his eyes, lips twitching as he mutters the summoning spell under his breath, ignoring the way his pulse quickens at the sole thought of what’s about to happen. Jeongguk isn’t just excited about killing—though it is something he’s thrilled about the most—but the fact that this time around, Jimin gets to witness this too. He gets to see Jeongguk in all his glory and, well. Jeongguk loves to show off. He loves installing fear in others, showing them that there is a reason why almost every creature on this planet is terrified of him. Park Jimin may not exactly know yet, but he’s about to find out.
Once Jeongguk opens his eyes again, his gaze is met with Cha Hwan’s, and he takes a moment to soak in the sight in front of him. There’s an undeniable resemblance to Jisoo, dark hair, unblemished skin and the same golden glow around them, though he’s much larger in built, much stronger.
“I—” he begins, voice cutting off when he spots Jimin beside Jeongguk. “Jimin?” Hwan questions, eyes widening. “What are—”
“I’m the one who summoned you, light stick,” Jeongguk begins, and he swears he can hear Jimin choke on a chuckle beside him. “Eyes up here.” He snaps his fingers at him. “You’re talking to me.”
Hwan’s gaze slides toward him, eyes narrowing. “Who are you?”
“Jeon Jeongguk,” says Jeongguk, lips curling into a smile.
Hwan’s face falls, mouth opening and closing as his eyes widen in fear.
“I take it you’ve at least heard of me,” he adds.
“I have,” Hwan swallows heavily, gaze sliding toward Jimin. “Jimin? What is this?”
Jeongguk glances toward Jimin who looks around and then says, “a lair. Looks like a warlock’s lair to me.”
Jeongguk has to hold back a snort because Jimin doesn’t look impressed at all and having him on this side this time around—his side, outside the summoning circle—makes adrenaline swirl inside Jeongguk’s veins. He either does these things alone or with Seokjin but although Jimin is standing by his side this time around, all Jeongguk finds this to be is thrilling. It’s new and different and yeah, Jeongguk loves routine but he likes fun way more.
He smells fear on the fairy, sees it in the way his glow dims, despite his expression unwavering. Jeongguk finds it quite pathetic, really. But then again, Jeongguk finds all of his victims pathetic.
“I can see that,” Hwan says slowly and Jeongguk watches the way his Adam’s apple bobs as he heavily swallows. “And why am I here?”
“I said eyes up here,” Jeongguk snaps, jaw tightening. “You’re talking to me.”
Hwan falls silent, but his eyes pliantly land on Jeongguk and it makes him wonder if their whole entire family is a bunch of cowards, considering Jisoo had also been pretty quick to show her fear. Jeongguk doesn’t think he has the patience to take things slow with this one. Besides, his main target is Hwan’s brother, the head of the Unseelie court and the person who might have something on Kim Taehyung.
“You don’t have to listen to him, you know,” Jimin supplies and Jeongguk’s head snaps toward him, eyes narrowing as he grits his teeth. “He’s going to kill you either way.”
Jeongguk blinks at him, instantly relaxing.
“You’ll end up dead as well if you tell him what he can or can’t do,” Jeongguk mutters under his breath and Jimin slightly stills, rolling his eyes at him.
“Jimin, seriously, what is this?” Hwan asks, his voice getting breathier, more desperate. “Is it about something I’ve said? Something I’ve done—about the fact that I’m married? You knew that going in—”
“Oh my god get a grip,” Jimin snaps and Jeongguk looks at his crimson red eyes, the way they’re darkening and the way his jaw is tightening as he speaks, clearly getting more irked each second. Jeongguk lets it unfold; he carefully watches as Jimin approaches the summoning circle and crouches down in front of it, then turns over his shoulder to look at Jeongguk.
Hwan’s eyes widen and Jeongguk cocks his eyebrow. “Can you what?”
“Kill him,” says Jimin, matter-of-factly. “You don’t need this guy anyway, right? You need his brother.”
“Shut the fuck up.” Jimin moves in a blink of an eye, swinging his arm and hitting the fairy straight across the mouth. He splits Hwan’s lip and blood spills down his chin and when Jimin moves slightly to the side, Jeongguk realizes he’s knocked the majority of his teeth out, too. Jimin turns to look at Jeongguk again, ignoring the way the fairy wheezes and pants in pain. “So, can I? He’s been pissing me off for a week straight; such a clingy fuck, too.”
Jeongguk considers it. There’s something hot about the way Jimin’s eyes gleam red, about how hungry and irked he is, about the way he’s just knocked Hwan’s teeth out and split his lip open and doesn’t look even a bit bothered by it.
“Now look at what you’ve done,” Jeongguk clicks his tongue in fake disapproval, though heat stirs in his gut and maybe his skin feels a little hot, too. “He won’t even be able to talk properly.”
“Thank god,” Jimin says, reaching to wipe at the blood on Hwan’s chin, then shoving his fingers into his mouth, eyes rolling to the back of his head as he tastes it. “He talks too much, anyway. You wouldn’t like it.”
Jeongguk nods, slightly impressed. “You pick up on things fast, vampire.”
“Tends to happen when I work for someone,” Jimin says, flashing a grin that doesn’t ease the irritableness and hunger in his eyes. “I’m here to please. Now, can I kill him or not?”
“Nah,” says Jeongguk, watching the grin fade from Jimin’s lips. “This one is useless now that he can’t talk back.” Jeongguk snaps his fingers and there’s a scream followed by a loud crack and then Jimin whips his head into Hwan’s direction, eyes widening. The fairy’s head falls next to his lifeless body with a loud thud, rolling out of the summoning circle and Jeongguk lifts his legs, stopping it with his shoe.
“You really just decapitated him, huh,” Jimin says as he looks up at Jeongguk, eyes a deeper, bloodier shade of red. His smile is crooked and wicked and Jeongguk realizes then—Jimin is enjoying this just as much as Jeongguk is. “Crush it.”
And so Jeongguk does. He pushes his foot into the fairy’s face, breaking the nose and then he’s pushing it even further, with more force, until he goes through the bones, cracking the skull with ease as he channels more of his energy. He looks at Jimin then, kicks the crushed skull toward him and Jimin stops it with his index finger, wrinkling his nose and looking mildly disgusted.
“Damn, that’s ugly.”
“You’re the one who fucked him,” Jeongguk says with a shrug.
“Everyone’s fun to fuck at least once,” Jimin explains, straightening himself.
“That can’t be right,” Jeongguk says, walking toward his body and holding his hand out, extracting the fairy dust from Hwan’s decapitated body.
“Maybe not everyone.” Jimin rolls his eyes, crossing his arms over his chest as he waits for Jeongguk to finish collecting the fairy dust. “But you get the point.”
“I really don’t,” Jeongguk hums. He then finishes up and walks over toward the other summoning circle and turns back to Jimin again. “Ready? This one I’ll have to interrogate for a bit before I kill him.”
“Grab that chair from the corner of the room and bring it here.”
Jeongguk closes his eyes and drops the fairy dust into the circle, feeling black magic and adrenaline run through his veins and once he opens them, there’s a broad, six-foot man standing before him. Pointy ears, charcoal hair and tanned skin, a strong, pretty glow surrounding his entire body. He’s wearing a robe similar to Jeongguk’s and there’s a large family crystal hanging off his neck—topaz. There’s uncanny resemblance to Jisoo and Hwan, and there’s not a single doubt they’re related. They radiate the same energy only Hyungsik is so obviously much older and more powerful than both his brother and his daughter. Jeongguk grins. Fantastic.
“Jeon Jeongguk,” Hyungsik rasps, looking unfazed.
Jeongguk narrows his eyes, feeling a twinge in his stomach. “You know who I am.”
“You’ve done some work for me in the past, including finding one of my daughters,” Hyungsik explains, his eyes stern, not giving anything away. “Before you skipped town, that is. I’ve been around long enough to know who you are. One does not forget a face like yours. Or cruelty, for that matter.”
Jeongguk snorts and watches the way Hyungsik's eyes slide toward Jimin and then down to the corpse on the floor. it only takes a second for him to recognize the body as his brother.
“Kill your brother, yes,” Jeongguk nods sympathetically, intently watching the way rage flashes in Hyungsik’s eyes. “A tragic story, really. Same with your daughter, Jisoo. If only you had taught your children that when asking for someone’s services they’re expected to pay—”
“You fucking piece of shit,” Hyungsik snarls, unsuccessfully attempting to get out of the summoning circle, only to get more pissed off. “You disgusting, demonic, vile, filthy—”
Honestly, Jeongguk wants to stop him at demonic, he really does. But before he can get a word out Jimin is kicking at one of the candles and breaking the circle and then he’s behind Hyungsik, knee shoved into the fairy’s spine and kicking all air out of him, keeping his arms locked behind his back with his hands. Jeongguk feels another dash of wind and then when he turns, Hyungsik is forced into a chair that Jimin’s brought out for him, his eyes wide and voice stuck in his throat.
Jeongguk quirks an eyebrow, slightly amused by Jimin taking the initiative. He doesn’t really mind; it’s not like either him or the fairy could ever really do anything to Jeongguk even if they tried but it still did catch him off guard and though Jeongguk didn’t think he would actually appreciate this considering his usual partner—Seokjin—is a lot more thorough and patient, but somehow, he does.
Perhaps Jeongguk is already a little aroused. Maybe his skin is flushed a pale shade of red and his pants feel tighter with each passing beat, but it’s because Jeongguk is enjoying this and having a ridiculously attractive vampire by his side doing some of his dirty work is just an added bonus.
“That’s the last time you ever get to call me demonic,” Jeongguk mutters and then his knife appears in his hand and he takes a few quick strides toward the fairy and jams it right into his stomach, making him shriek in pain. “Every time you call me that I promise you your death is only going to be slower. Be good and cooperate, and you’ll get to join your brother and your daughter sooner than you think.”
Hyungsik heaves, sweat running down the sides of his face as he squirms in agony, Jimin’s eyes wild as he stares at him and keeps his arms behind his back.
“Let him go,” Jeongguk mutters to Jimin and swirls his finger, making two large black snakes appear on the ground and slither toward Hyungsik, one firmly wrapping around his ankles, the other around his wrists.
Jimin appears beside Jeongguk again, his eyes wild and as he stares at the sight in front of him and that’s when Jeongguk realizes that the fairy is bleeding and that Jimin is struggling to keep it together.
“I knew it was you,” Hyungsik slurs, a bit of blood coming out of his mouth. Jeongguk hears Jimin’s breath hitch in his throat. “I told Kim, I told him it had to be—it had to be you,” he spits, chest heaving again. He coughs up a bit of blood and it dribbles down his chin, but Jimin remains still beside him. “He told me it’s—it’s not you but—but it had to be. Everyone knows you’re a murderer. The whole underworld knows just how fucking sick you are and when you kill me, Kim will know it’s you—”
“You think I care whether or not Kim Namjoon knows if I killed you?” Jeongguk asks, unamused. “Or your brother? Or your daughter? Fuck is he gonna do, Hyungsik-ssi?”
“He’s gonna—he’s gonna—”
“He’s not gonna do jack shit, oh my god,” Jimin groans beside him, rolling his eyes. Jeongguk can tell that he’s struggling by the rasp of his voice, and then decides to say fuck it—he’ll let the vampire feed at some point. “He’s a wolf. Fuck is a thirty-year-old pup gonna do to a god knows how old warlock?”
Hyungsik presses his lips together, grimacing as Jeongguk waves his hand and twists the knife deeper inside of him. This—it’s too easy. It always has been. Jimin draws in a sharp breath beside him but doesn’t say anything else, instead shoves his hands into the back pockets of his possibly too tight jeans.
“Wh-what the fuck do you want?”
“Now we’re talking,” Jeongguk perks up, clapping his hands together. “I’m glad you brought that up. Now, I’m gonna kill you either way so don’t even think about attempting to lie to me. I know you fairies like avoiding the truth and all that shit, but unless you want to take your time joining your family, I suggest you tell me anything I want to know.”
Hyungsik doesn’t say anything, so Jeongguk continues.
“Have you ever worked with elder demons, yes or no?”
Hyungsik blinks at him, brows furrowing. “Why do you care?”
Jeongguk sighs, swirling his finger, twisting the knife deeper.
“Yes!” Hyungsik grits out, eyes squeezing shut. “Years ago. Y-yes.”
“Good,” Jeongguk hums, then realizes that Hyungsik is staring at Jimin any second he can and that it’s harder for the vampire with each moment that passes. And then, he realizes. “Jimin,” he snaps his fingers in front of him, forcing him to look at him. It’s the first time he’s addressed him by his name and Jimin jolts, eyes snapping toward Jeongguk. He swallows heavily.
“Is he using glamour on you?” Jeongguk questions, jaw tightening.
“Yeah,” Jimin breathes, but stays unmoving.
No amount of glamour works on neither Jeongguk nor Seokjin and so sometimes, it’s hard to remember that it works on other creatures. Clearly, Jimin is lucid—possibly due to his age and experience but still—Jeongguk should have known better and blindfolded the goddamn thing in front of them just in case.
“He’s tripping me the fuck out—but only because I’m starving,” Jimin rasps and Jeongguk snaps his fingers and then the fairy is screaming, incoherently yelling and ferally looking around the room, lost, confused.
Jimin immediately snaps out of it, looking relieved but his eyes still remained colored a deep shade of red. The blood still bothers him. “What did you do to him?” he asks.
“Cut off his vision,” Jeongguk explains, looking at the fairy with disgust. “He’s not gonna try anything else, because I will cut off his limbs one by one all while keeping him conscious enough so he can feel it.” He walks over to Hyungsik again, crouching down in front of him. “Now, back to the elder demons. When was the last time you have worked with one?”
“I don’t—I don’t know,” Hyungsik stammers. “I don’t—why do you care, you’re a demon yourself—”
“And there go your fingers first,” Jeongguk growls and Hyungsik’s fingers fall with a soft thud, making him scream in agony, attempting to break free from the snakes. Jeongguk immediately stops the bleeding to make it easier on Jimin because it’s not his intention to torture him— at least not today. “Told you not to fucking call me that. Now, let me repeat the question. When was the last time you have worked with one?”
“Fuh—fuck, I don’t know, okay? A few years ago, m-maybe nine or ten or—”
“Kim Taehyung, does that name mean anything to you, yes or no?”
He notices the way Hyungsik stills—just for a moment—before he continues begging and pleading incoherently, begging for his vision back, crying how his hands hurt, how—
“He asked you yes or fucking no,” Jimin snarls, appearing beside him, hitting him across the face. “Answer him.”
Hyungsik spits out blood, chest heaving as he struggles not to choke on it but this time—Jimin is gentler than he was with Hwan.
“Y-Yeah,” Hyungsik swallows, chokes, repeats. “A few years back. He’s—he’s an elder demon, isn’t he? Tall, red hair, pretty claws, soft eyes. Looks almost nothing like a demon, right?”
Jeongguk’s breath catches in his throat. Looks nothing like a demon. That’s the one, alright. His stomach twists at the description, and it’s like suddenly, Jeongguk can vividly remember it after he was unable to for so long. Taehyung’s big, soft brown eyes that held all the secrets to the universe back then, Taehyung’s red hair, soft and unlike Jeongguk had ever seen before, his smooth voice and reassuring words and just—Jeongguk thinks he’s going to be sick. He’s not had anyone describe Taehyung to him in hundreds of years, back when he still had something to go off of.
“That’s the one,” Jeongguk says, breathy. He catches Jimin staring at him, but he quickly collects himself. “White horns.”
“When was the last time you saw him?”
“Decade or so ago,” Hyungsik pants, struggling to get the words out. “He’d needed a massive supply of fairy dust and fairy bones. We had to dig out quite a few of our own, but he’d promised us protection in return. We’d not had any uprisings and had peace with the governor, which he or one of his subordinates have provided for us. After I’d given him what he’d needed, he disappeared and I have never seen or heard from him again, but he’d kept his promise.”
Jeongguk doesn’t doubt he did—not for a second. What catches Jeongguk’s attention is the governor; Namjoon hasn’t been a governor for more than a few years, so it had to have been the last one. Meaning, Taehyung either knows him directly and if he doesn’t—his subordinates do.
“Name of the last governor. Right now.”
“Miso, Im Miso,” says Jimin. “She’s used to be the head of one of the largest covens in town.”
Jeongguk’s pretty sure he’s heard of her before. “Is she alive, still?”
Jimin turns to him, nodding. “She is. I happen to know her, actually.”
“Of course you do.”
“But from what I’ve heard, she skipped town a while ago. After they’ve voted her out and put Kim Namjoon in charge instead. But—I can look for her. Ask around. Find something, maybe.”
Jeongguk nods. He turns to Hyungsik, realizing there’s probably not much more that the fairy can tell him. He walks over toward him, grabs a fistful of his hair and tugs his head back, making him yelp in pain. “Is there anything else you know about Kim Taehyung, anything at all, yes or no?”
“N-No,” the fairy breathes, struggling. “I don’t, I swear, just, Jeon Jeongguk, please—”
“Be fucking quiet,” Jeongguk shoves his knee into Hyungsik’s stomach, pushing it further in and making him scream. He then circles around him, hand still gripping at his hair. He lowers himself so his nose is almost pressed to the fairy’s neck and looks at Jimin, tilting his eyebrows.
“Shall we have a bit of fun, huh blood sucker?”
Jimin glances over at him and bares his teeth, fangs gleaming even in the dimness of the lair as if he’s picked up on exactly what it is that Jeongguk is thinking. The fairy jolts in fear and Jeongguk tugs down on his hair harder, eyes trained on Jimin.
“You said I ruined your fun last time,” Jeongguk says, licking his lips. He yanks Hyungsik’s head to the side, exposing his neck. “And I didn’t let you kill our friend Hwan, either. Go on then, bloodsucker. Feed on him. Drain him for all he’s got. He’s of no use to me anymore.”
Jimin’s pupils are blown wide as he stares at the pulsing artery on the fairy’s neck and Jeongguk tightens his grip, making Hyungsik aggressively squirm. Jeongguk pays attention to the way Jimin circles around them, eyes gleaming with something so dark and predatory that for a brief moment—Jeongguk feels bad that Seokjin isn’t here to witness it, too.
“Come on now, Jimin,” Jeongguk purrs, feeling his cock harden in his pants as Jimin slightly hunches down, like he’s ready to attack. Jeongguk is going to enjoy this. “Rip his throat open. Show me what you’ve got. I know you’re thirsty. I know you’re fucking starving.”
And so—Jimin does. Within a blink of an eye he’s right there, teeth bared and ready to sink right into the flesh, mouth salivating as his red eyes linger on Jeongguk, as if they’re asking for approval. Jeongguk nods, breath hitching in his throat, his pants feeling incredibly tight and restraining on his cock. Jimin aggressively sinks his teeth in and sucks, lapping at the blood as it drips down the fairy’s neck and he’s screaming and crying and shaking, trying to get out of both Jeongguk and Jimin’s grip, making things only more painful for himself.
“You’re not gonna share?” Jeongguk asks and Jimin suddenly stops, eyes wide as he looks at him, fairy blood dripping down his chin. Jeongguk nods his head toward the other side of Hyungsik’s neck, suggestively raising his eyebrows.
“Sick fuck,” Jimin mutters but Jeongguk sees his lips curling into a smile and he leans over to the other side, sinks his teeth into the fairy’s neck, slitting the skin open. The blood drips down to Hyungsik’s shoulder, staining his clothes, making Jeongguk’s mouth water. He quickly shifts, circling the fairy so he could stand by Jimin’s side and then his mouth is latching onto the other side of his throat, tasting the metallic fairy blood, though there’s always that familiar undertone there, like mint and something else, something earthy. Jeongguk laps at the wound Jimin’s made for him, feeling so dizzy for a brief moment as the high hits him that he has to grab Jimin to keep his balance but he doesn’t stop; his eyes roll to the back of his head and fall shut as he continues drinking, his cock rock hard in his pants as he listens to Jimin moan and the fairy’s screams die down as the both of them simultaneously drain him and then Jeongguk forces himself to pull back, stumbles a couple steps backward, vision blurring.
His body buzzes with adrenaline, with something intoxicating that makes Jeongguk feel light and happy, and god—he’s not drunk from a fairy this old in a long time. It takes a moment for his head to clear but he’s still pleasantly high, but the downside had always been that the magic inside of him eats the blood up a little too fast, sobers him up much quicker than he’d like.
When Jimin pulls back Hyungsik is dead, his throat ripped, tipping over and falling from his chair, body lifeless and white, not an ounce of blood left in it. When Jeongguk looks at the vampire his eyes are a regular shade of dark brown again, softer but still gleaming, and he has it more together than Jeongguk does. They look at each other for a while, both their chests heaving and once they’ve calmed down, Jimin walks over toward him, head tilted to the side as he stares into his eyes.
“You make murder very appetizing,” Jimin says, blood dripping down his chin as he smiles up at him and the smile is—demonic. “And I’ve been very, very hungry.”
“You’re good at it,” says Jeongguk, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. He’s high on fairy blood, chest still heaving and body hot from the intensity of it. Now, Jimin has possibly seen him truly for what he is.
“So are you,” Jimin responds, licking over his sharp, red-stained fangs. “And I was right about you, warlock. You’re just as thirsty for blood as I am, yet you have no reason to be. You are fucking sick and twisted.”
Jeongguk grins at him, his gaze darkening. “I’d be careful with my words if I were you, Park Jimin,” he says as he circles around the fairy’s corpse, abruptly stopping once he reaches Jimin. He leans into his space, voice a low mutter. “There’s nothing I like more than vampire blood.”
He’s sobering up—slowly but surely and what Jeongguk needs to do right now is possibly—to lie down.
“So I’ve noticed,” Jimin replies, and Jeongguk hears him following behind. He pauses once he reaches the stairs that lead up to his living quarters, turning to look over his shoulder. “There are plenty of buckets filled with vampire blood in your lair.”
“You’re free to go, Jimin,” says Jeongguk, cocking an eyebrow. “Perish.”
“No,” the vampire says and Jeongguk fully turns to him, eyebrows knitting together.
When Jeongguk meets his eyes they’re dark and smoldering, just like they were the first time Jeongguk had met him. There’s an odd softness to him, even with blood dripping down his chin, even though his teeth are still stained red. Jeongguk can’t quite put his finger on it, but he has always been weak for vampires. They’re flawless and strong, easy on the eyes and they taste like a dream. Jeongguk remembers the way Jimin’s blood tastes still—the sweet, intoxicating taste that just leaves you wanting more.
“What do you want?” Jeongguk asks, crossing his arms over his chest.
“My clothes are ruined because of you,” Jimin states, glancing down at his jeans and his no longer white shirt. His leather jacket is still folded over Jeongguk’s couch in the lair, intact. “Made me all sloppy and shit. I usually eat a lot cleaner than that, you know.”
“Not my problem, bloodsucker,” Jeongguk says, walking up the stairs. He hears Jimin following behind, and though he knows he should be on high alert, he’s too high on fairy blood to really do anything about it. “Deal with it yourself.”
Jeongguk drags himself up the stairs and navigates through the hallways with Jimin following behind and if Seokjin were at home, he probably wouldn’t be too pleased. But he isn’t and Jeongguk is a little lightheaded, even though the dark magic inside of his veins is eating the fairy blood alive and he’ll be sober in less than ten minutes.
“Is this your bedroom?” Jimin asks, following Jeongguk inside. His eyes widen as he takes the room in.
“Yeah,” Jeongguk says, frowning. “Why?”
“It’s surprisingly… normal.”
Jeongguk snorts. His room is huge, possibly the size of someone’s regular apartment. There’s a massive bed against the wall to his left, huge windows overlooking the city, sofas and armchairs and bookshelves, a massive chandelier and two doors—one leading to the bathroom, the other to the closet.
“What do you mean?”
“Just…” Jimin gestures vaguely, reaching to wipe at his chin, smearing blood all over it. Jeongguk’s cock twitches. It’s just… hot. He can’t help it. “Not sure. I expected something more like your lair. Warlock-like and ancient and shit.”
Jeongguk laughs, turning to Jimin. His head already feels clearer, and his patience is wearing thin. “Now that you’ve had the grand tour, what is it that you want, vampire?” he asks, voice flat. “My high is wearing off and I’m kind of not in the mood.”
“A change of clothes, for starters,” Jimin says, biting his lip. “Unless all you own is that ridiculous cloak of yours. In that case, I’m good.”
Jeongguk looks down at his blood-stained cloak, grimacing. He shrugs it off, revealing his regular, clean clothes underneath.
“Oh,” Jimin gasps, lips curling into a smirk. His eyes glitter as they run up and down Jeongguk’s body and it takes Jeongguk a second to realize that the vampire actually—likes what he sees. “You’re… ripped, warlock. Didn’t expect that.”
“And what did you expect?” Jeongguk asks, huffing. He glares at Jimin as he walks past him on his way to the bathroom, shoving his cloak into the laundry basket by the door.
“For you to be scrawny, actually,” says Jimin, tapping his fingers against his chin while he thinks. “That cloak eats you alive, you know.”
“Well, now that we’ve established that’s not the case, the closet is over there,” he points toward the other door, then runs his hand through his hair. “Take whatever you want and get lost. Anything else?”
Jimin laughs, his predatory gaze not leaving Jeongguk. “I wanna wash up,” he says flatly. “Gotta use the bathroom, too.”
“Fine,” Jeongguk says through his teeth, jaw tightening. “Just hurry the fuck up.”
When the bathroom door closes behind Jimin, Jeongguk flops down onto the bed, covering his face with his hands. He never allows anyone but Seokjin to come up here, yet Jimin being here doesn’t exactly bother him—more so, he’s bothered by the fact that he doesn’t mind it. Tonight had gone well—better than Jeongguk had expected—and if Jimin wants to clean up and take some of his clothes, then so be it. He never thought the vampire would prove himself to be useful so fast into this search, but Jeongguk would be lying if he said that killing alongside someone who’s not Seokjin makes him… intrigued. In a good way. It’s new and different, and maybe he’d go as far as to call it exciting. Possibly, if Jeongguk were to forget everything he knows about Park Jimin and his business, he’d even feel good about this.
And as the image of Jimin sinking his fangs into Hyungsik’s throat and tearing it apart infiltrates his brain, Jeongguk feels slightly aroused, yet again. It’s not something he can help; Jimin is gorgeous in ways that leave Jeongguk breathless and maybe it’s also because he’s always had a thing for vampires but… Jimin surpasses even the typical vampire beauty Jeongguk is so fond of. And there’s definitely something about him, something Jeongguk can’t quite put his finger on but also, doesn’t feel the rush to. He has nothing but time, quite literally. And this should feel off. Jimin being here, in his room—his bathroom— washing up and scrubbing himself off of the blood that Jeongguk is responsible for should feel all sorts of wrong, but it doesn’t. Yeah, Jeongguk doesn’t know him and yeah, Jeongguk despises the things Jimin does outside of this. He hates them so much he could get up and knock his bathroom door down, kill the vampire without a single twinge of guilt. He could. But he doesn’t, and he won’t.
Jimin is his ticket to finding Kim Taehyung, Jeongguk is sure of it now. Hyungsik hasn’t exactly been a dead end and he’s still someone who has had dealings with the elder demon in the past. Jeongguk knows Jimin is going to continue looking and hell, he’s probably even going to find Miso, and Jeongguk’s going to give him all the time that he needs.
The bathroom door swings open and Jimin comes out in nothing but Jeongguk’s towel slung around his waist, making Jeongguk sit up and narrow his eyes at him.
“That’s my towel,” he says, quirking an eyebrow.
“Is that so,” says Jimin, pushing his wet hair out of his face. “Considering it was in your bathroom, hanging off the towel rack, I never would have guessed.”
Jeongguk snorts, shaking his head. He doesn’t say anything else, rather watches Jimin as he slowly walks toward his closet, drops of water sliding down his back. There are no imperfections on his skin other than the nasty wound at the junction of his upper arm and his shoulder blade, the one caused by one of Jeongguk’s magically infused daggers. It seems like it might have started healing, but it still looks quite bad, though Jimin doesn’t seem to be paying much attention to it. He disappears into Jeongguk’s closet, walking like he owns the place. Jeongguk should be irked, especially now that his high has worn off but he’s just… not, despite really wanting to be.
Jimin reappears after a couple of minutes and Jeongguk struggles to not let his jaw drop. He’s wearing one of his oversized shirts, black sweatpants and his silver hair is tied back into a ponytail on top of his head, though his bangs still fall into his eyes. Somehow, despite Jeongguk’s clothes being a little too big on him, the vampire still manages to look good, like he’s purposely picked out something that is a size or two too big.
“Take a picture warlock, it’ll last longer,” says Jimin, arms crossing over his chest.
Jeongguk tries to remember the last time he’d let someone other than Seokjin wear his clothes, but he comes up short. It’s not like Jeongguk finds it intimate, just finds it a little too close for comfort yet still, even now, doesn’t mind.
“I was actually looking at that nasty wound of yours,” Jeongguk says, licking his lips. “Does it hurt?”
He already knows it does.
“You stabbed me with a knife infused with black magic,” Jimin snorts, hand instinctively reaching to ghost over it. “Of course it hurts. Did you see my eyes when you first summoned me?”
Jeongguk nods, vividly remembering the crimson red. They’re dark now, stern and gleaming, just like they were the first time he’d met Jimin. “Yeah.”
“I get hungry twice as fast now,” Jimin shrugs. “It’ll stay that way until it heals. That’s why I’ve been so snappy, if you will. I gotta feed a couple times a day and I gotta do shit for you and the demons too, so, you know. The schedule’s been a bit tight.”
“You brought this on yourself,” Jeongguk reminds him, lips quirking into a smile. “If you had paid me on time, you wouldn’t have to balance everything.” Jeongguk’s eyes then darken, teeth sinking into his lower lip. “If you weren’t working for filth such as demons, you wouldn’t have to worry about any of that.”
“I’m not worried.” Jimin glares at him, his expression impassive. “You asked if it hurts. I told you.”
They look at each other for a while, and Jeongguk realizes he can’t exactly read him. He wishes he knew what the vampire was thinking but Jimin’s face is expressionless, arms folded over his chest and he’s not moving. For a second, Jeongguk thinks he looks like a statue, a work of art. He’s beautiful, there’s no doubt about that, and Jeongguk wonders how many more times today that thought is going to flash through his head.
“Come here,” Jeongguk sighs, eyes trained on Jimin. A faint crease sets between the vampire’s brows and he slightly winces. Jeongguk has to bite back a smile. “It’s okay,” he assures, though something tells him Jimin’s not wincing because he’s afraid of him. He wants to be pissed off by that because Jimin should be terrified, but Jeongguk has other things on his mind right now. “Come here and take that shirt off.”
Jimin presses his lips together but tugs his—Jeongguk’s—shirt over his head nonetheless and the next thing Jeongguk knows Jimin’s in front of him, slightly leaning into his space. The wound looks even worse up close; the cut is deep, flesh burnt and infected, skin around it bruised a deep purple. It’s been well over a week, possibly even two—time doesn’t mean much to Jeongguk anyway—but it’s definitely not healing fast enough and with the amount of dark magic infused into his daggers Jeongguk doubts it would ever really heal. Not on its own, at least.
Jeongguk takes a deep breath. He doesn’t usually do this; he only ever heals Seokjin when necessary and even that’s very rare, considering his familiar’s life is bound to Jeongguk’s and he on his own is too powerful to get hurt. Jimin looks down at him, unmoving and Jeongguk can’t even hear him breathe. It’s the first time Jimin’s gotten close enough for Jeongguk to properly smell him and despite taking a shower just now he still smells a bit like blood, though there’s something sweet underneath that too, something that makes Jeongguk’s mouth water.
“This is going to hurt,” Jeongguk says simply, running his fingers over the wound.
Jimin winces, sucking in a sharp breath as Jeongguk’s fingertips press into the infected flesh. To his surprise, Jimin doesn’t squirm much despite Jeongguk not being gentle at all. The only indicator that he’s in pain are the low hisses that slip past his lips but other than that, the vampire stays put. Jeongguk adds pressure and then there’s smoke coming out that has Jimin’s breath hitching in his throat, but the cut is healing, despite the smell of burnt flesh filling up the room. It takes a few more moments for the skin to entirely close up underneath Jeongguk’s fingers and for the bruising to fade so Jeongguk presses harder, speeding up the process.
“All done,” he says, then pokes at the skin with his middle and forefinger, looking up at Jimin who’s staring down at him, eyes dark, an edge to his gaze. “Feel anything?”
“No,” the vampire says, licking his lips. “It’s all good.”
“Perfect,” Jeongguk hums, dropping his hand as he leans back to rest his weight on the heels of his palms. It’s then that he realizes that Jimin is standing in between his legs and the realization almost makes him choke on his own spit.
The vampire puts Jeongguk’s shirt back on and runs his hands down the sides, smoothing over the wrinkles.
“You’re not nearly as terrifying as you think you are, you know,” the vampire states, making Jeongguk’s eyebrow quirk in surprise.
Jimin shrugs, then takes a couple steps back. Jeongguk crosses his legs, letting out a breath of relief.
“You just healed me.”
“And I won’t have a problem stabbing you again,” says Jeongguk, narrowing his eyes at him. “I don’t think you know exactly who you’re dealing with.”
Jimin tilts his head back and laughs, eyes glittering once they meet Jeongguk’s. “I think I do.”
“I have so much blood on my hands, I could paint this entire city red.”
“Never said you weren’t dangerous,” Jimin remarks, biting his lower lip. “Just that you don’t scare me, really. Doesn’t mean you can’t kill me, doesn’t mean you won’t—just means I’m not afraid.”
“Interesting.” Jeongguk doesn’t know what else to say. Annoyance twists deep in his gut, but he doesn’t say anything. Jeongguk is conflicted; he isn’t sure if he finds Jimin’s statement infuriating or comforting, but it shouldn’t even matter.
Jeongguk shouldn’t be a sucker for a pretty face and he shouldn’t be a sucker for vampires who taste as sweet as Jimin does, but he is. So, he presses his lips together and decides to remain quiet, allows for the vampire’s words to linger in the air between them. Jeongguk doesn’t plan on killing Jimin, that much has been clear ever since that night he’d decided to spare him. But his feelings toward him are very conflicting; Jeongguk likes the way Jimin kills, how ruthless and efficient he is, likes the way he handles himself and how prideful he seems to be. But Jeongguk’s stomach still fills with nausea every time he remembers what it is that Jimin actually does and knowing that Jimin doesn’t have an ounce of remorse doesn’t make him feel any better. Worst of it all, Jeongguk feels like despite that, he is no better than Jimin. He’d spilled so much magical blood in the past four centuries he’s been alive, but he hasn’t harmed a single human, hasn’t touched a hair on anyone’s head. Maybe he shouldn’t be putting humans on a pedestal, but Jeongguk can’t help himself.
They are weak and fragile, naïve and corrupted and if anyone needs protection—it’s them. Most of all, they need it from Jimin.
And that’s when it dawns on him; maybe Kim Taehyung shouldn’t be the only goal here, shouldn’t be the only reason to keep Jimin around. Maybe the closer Jeongguk keeps him, the lesser the chances are for Jimin to do demon work, to hunt down humans and traffic them. Maybe Jeongguk can do something about it and god damn it—he will.
“You don’t sound too pleased with that statement,” Jimin notices, quirking his lip.
“I’m not,” Jeongguk admits with a shrug, shifting his weight and propping his elbow onto his thigh, chin in hand. “But it doesn’t matter. I’ll make it clear right now, vampire, I’m not going to kill you unless you try to cross me.
“I thought it was established that I won’t.” Jimin says, folding his arms over his chest again. “I’m not stupid, Jeon Jeongguk. I know what you’re capable of. Some of it I’ve felt, some of it I’ve seen, some of it I’ve heard. You’ve helped me drain a fairy when your body doesn’t even need blood to survive; you do it because it gets you off. Don’t think I’m not aware of who I’m dealing with. Even if I weren’t aware by now, I think tonight’s been pretty self-explanatory.”
The corners of Jeongguk’s lips curl into a smile, bottom lip worried between his teeth.
“Don’t forget there’s nothing I like more than vampire blood,” he says, smile wicked. He perks up at the way the crease between Jimin’s brows deepens. “But as long as you don’t try anything funny or throw my name around in the underworld, I won’t touch you. I promise.”
Jimin looks at him as if he’s trying to determine whether or not he can trust him but after a few beats of silence pass, the vampire’s expression flattens, and he relaxes.
“How old are you?” he asks, catching Jeongguk off guard. “I mean, how old were you, when you stopped aging?”
“Oh. Um, twenty-five,” Jeongguk says, pressing his lips together. He doesn't remember the last time someone asked him that.
Jeongguk hasn’t noticed a single change in his body, a single wrinkle or crease on his skin ever since the day he’d turned twenty-five, just like he was promised. Interestingly enough, he’s never really felt much older than that despite being alive for over four hundred years. Maybe his reflection in the mirror plays tricks on his mind, making him feel a lot younger than he is. But Jeongguk has stopped thinking about time and what it means a long time ago. When you have all the time in the world—you tend to not worry about it. It loses meaning. Jeongguk doesn’t even care what year it is.
“Oh, I was turned at twenty-seven,” Jimin grins, fangs flashing. “That makes me your hyung.”
Jeongguk chokes on a snort, shaking his head. “I don’t motherfucking think so, bloodsucker.” His eyes meet Jimin’s and the vampire looks amused, eyes sparkling as he smiles back at him. Jeongguk feels light and content, the irritableness underneath his skin fading. “So, don’t count on it.”
“Shame,” says Jimin, though he doesn’t sound too upset. “Don’t you want to know how old I am?”
“Not particularly,” Jeongguk says. A lie. He knows Jimin is at least a couple hundred years old, considering that he’d mentioned his parents being dead for a long while now the first time he’d seen him. Besides, based on the way he tastes alone, Jeongguk thinks he’s probably around two hundred years old, though he can’t be too sure. Vampire blood is telling but also tricky, and the taste of Jimin is fading from his memory, so Jeongguk can’t be entirely certain. Some taste better than others. Though, the sweeter they taste—usually—the older they are. “Couple hundred, at least.”
“Try doubling that,” Jimin says and Jeongguk tilts his eyebrows, mouth parting in surprise. There’s a strange pull at his gut, that odd feeling of surprise Jeongguk rarely gets nowadays. “Four hundred and something. Fuck it, I stopped counting.”
Jimin had been born around the same time as Jeongguk and realizing that makes him feel… strange. Not good, not bad, just—strange. It takes him a second to process that, because it’s been a long while since he’d last met someone around his age, aside from Seokjin. There’s a fairy here and there but they are rare; they usually get themselves killed one way or another and the same goes for vampires. The only beings powerful enough to stay alive for more than a couple hundred years without getting themselves murdered are possibly warlocks and elder demons, maybe even sirens too, but Jeongguk’s never really cared much about them. They had no real effect on him, he knew that much, though he’d never really had the opportunity to cross paths with one. Vampires, fairies, banshees and all the other seemingly immortal creatures fuck themselves over one way or another, considering they’re always at war.
So, it’s safe to say it comes as a surprise to Jeongguk that the vampire is this ancient, though somehow, it makes sense, considering what it is exactly that Jimin does to get by. Jeongguk had been ready to kill Jimin and yet—here he is. Alive and out of harm’s way.
“Impressive,” Jeongguk remarks, and he means it.
“I’ve known about you for quite some time,” Jimin continues. “Not necessarily your name at first, but I’ve been aware of your existence. You haven’t been in this city for a while, have you?”
“Not for quite some time. I only came back around two or three decades ago.”
“That got anything to do with Kim Taehyung?” Jimin cocks an eyebrow.
“No,” Jeongguk replies, stomach tying into a knot. “And you’re really in no position to be interrogating me.”
Next thing Jeongguk knows the vampire is back in his space, leaning in dangerously close, making his heart travel up to his throat, pulse quickening. He swallows heavily, jolting in surprise. Jimin leans in closer and Jeongguk blinks up at him, slightly bewildered by the proximity. It takes him only a second to compose himself but it’s too late, Jimin’s heard his heartbeat and now he’s snickering—right to his face—and Jeongguk seriously reconsiders just murdering him on the spot.
“Fuck do you think you’re doing?” he hisses, hand reaching to grab Jimin by the neck. The vampire lets him, a low giggle slipping past his lips. “I’ll fucking kill you.”
“You said you’ll kill me only if I try to cross you,” Jimin says, voice a little breathy as Jeongguk squeezes at his throat. “Which is not what I’m doing. So, I think I’m safe.”
Jeongguk realizes his own breathing is now heavy, unsure if it’s because of the proximity or the way Jimin’s just appeared in his space out of nowhere but he doesn’t remove his hand, rather keeps it there, squeezing tight.
“Then what the fuck are you doing?”
Then, Jimin moves. Jeongguk blinks and the vampire’s fingers are on his chin, thumb wiping at the corner of his lips. Jimin then presses and harshly drags his index finger over Jeongguk’s lower lip, eyes darkening when Jeongguk lets out a barely audible gasp, grip tightening around Jimin’s neck. It’s then that Jeongguk realizes he’s wiping away the blood and when Jimin pulls his hand back and Jeongguk sees red on his fingertips, he knows that he’s right.
“Helping,” Jimin shrugs and looks down at his fingers and then just—shoves them into his mouth. He then takes them out and drags his tongue along both of them, licking them clean. The sight is sinful and Jeongguk’s grip around Jimin’s throat loosens, jaw falling slack as he looks at him. “Mostly myself. That dried blood on your chin is very distracting. You’re lucky that this is how I chose to get rid of it.”
“You’re fucking pushing it,” Jeongguk grits through his teeth, tone low and threatening but he knows his pulse is giving him away, and he hates it. Hates that Jimin is able to hear it, hates vampires with their ridiculously heightened senses which only get better with age.
“I know,” Jimin says, fangs grazing over his lower lip. Jeongguk drops his hand and Jimin is on the other side of the room the next moment, eyes glittering as he looks back at him. “Just testing the waters, warlock. But don’t worry, I know what the limits are. Question is, do you?”
Jeongguk narrows his eyes at him, anger coiling inside of his stomach because his stupid heart won’t simmer and Jimin can hear it. “I know them damn well. Don’t come into my space without my permission again, understood? I won’t kill you, but there are sure as fuck plenty of other things I could do to you which I promise you are going to make you wish you were dead.”
At that, Jimin just tosses his head back and laughs—bright and airy and entirely unbothered. He shakes his head, looking back at Jeongguk like he’s not buying a single word he says.
“Noted,” Jimin hums, pushing his bangs out of his eyes. “Well, it’s been fun, Jeon Jeongguk, but I don’t plan on overstaying my welcome.”
“There was never any welcome,” Jeongguk grumbles, staring intently at Jimin as the vampire moves again, disappearing into the bathroom and coming out moments later, his bloody clothes in his hands. “You invited yourself up.”
“Alright, let’s go with that,” Jimin says cheerfully and Jeongguk further furrows his brows because—that’s exactly what happened. “I’ll get off your dick now, Jeon. But I do expect you to summon me again soon. Tonight’s been fun and I’ll keep being on the lookout for Miso. Don’t take ages like you did this time, I get jittery when I have to wait too long.”
Before Jeongguk can open his mouth to speak Jimin is gone and his bedroom door is hitting against the wall with the force of his swing, leaving Jeongguk to wonder what the fuck it is that just happened. It’s unlike Jeongguk to freeze and if anyone had ever gotten into his space like this—without a warning—they’d be flying across the room and into the wall, with Jeongguk’s daggers stabbed through their limbs to keep them there. Not Jimin; Jeongguk had just frozen in place and maybe—though he’d never admit it—even liked it.
Or maybe the fairy blood hasn’t entirely faded from his system, which is ultimately the explanation he settles for, not wanting to spend too much time thinking about it.
Jeongguk has dealt with a lot of things in his time—yet somehow he feels like he hasn't ever dealt with anything like Park Jimin.
comments and kudos are highly appreciated
“Why you think you have to hide from me,” Jimin drawls, making Jeongguk’s skin crawl. He then lowers his voice, breath feeling scorching in Jeongguk’s ear. “Jeon Jeongguk.”
this isn't edited so sorry for any mistakes that might be lying around! enjoy 🤍
It tastes like metal with just barely a hint of something sweet and it makes his head spin as he tightens his grip around the forearm of whatever the person’s name is and sucks harder, until his mouth is filled with so much blood it’s hard for him to breathe. Jeongguk feels it spilling from the corners of his mouth, running down his chin and dripping down his robe but he’s greedy, vision blurred from how good it feels on his tongue and as it slides down his throat and man —he loves vampire blood.
Sure, he could have just used some of his supplies, but the act of feeding itself is way more appealing than just drinking straight out of the bucket. Having a vampire willingly surrender and allow him to drink as much as he wants, from wherever he wants only adds to his high and right now, Jeongguk is very, very high.
He pulls back with a sigh, chest heaving as he uses his hands to firmly grip at the vampire’s shoulders to keep balance. He licks his lips, tasting more of the blood that has spilled from the corners and his entire skin breaks out into goosebumps because the flavor is so strong, so wonderful. It’s a young vampire, Jeongguk can tell that much. Can’t be more than sixty or seventy years old and it’s easy to tell just from the taste. Still so metallic, barely sweet at all—just thick with a hint of bitterness to it too, so similar to human’s. Doesn’t matter, though. Jeongguk appreciates it all the same.
“Show’s over, Jeongguk-ah.” Seokjin’s voice pulls him back into reality and he shifts in the vampire’s lap, blinking rapidly, attempting to clear his vision. It takes a while and then he’s distracted by the soft noise the vampire underneath him makes, clearly still just as affected as Jeongguk is.
There’s a reason vampire blood is his favorite—it takes longest to clear out from his system; it’s tainted enough to survive in his body long enough for Jeongguk to feel light for a little while, to not have a care in the world, to find everything easy and bearable.
“Let the vampire go, Jeongguk-ah,” Seokjin says, settling down onto the velvet couch in the lair, intently watching as Jeongguk clumsily shifts in the vampire’s lap. His limbs feel heavy, but he manages to get off the vampire’s lap and then stumble toward the couch, shaking his head in an attempt to sober up quicker. It’s not going to take too long for the blood to evaporate from his system but navigating right now is a difficult task. He waves his hand at the vampire whose neck has already healed in a weak attempt to let him know he should get lost, but the vampire doesn’t seem to be taking the hint.
“Leave,” he rasps at the guy, slumping down onto the couch next to Seokjin. He wipes his mouth with the back of his hand then sighs, letting his head fall back against the backrest and his eyes fall shut. “Now.”
“Wait, Jeongguk? Jeon Jeongguk?” The vampire’s eyes widen right as Jeongguk opens his eyes again, vision still fuzzy around the edges. Clearly, he’s much quicker to recover than Jeongguk is. “The—the warlock?”
“The one and only, clearly,” says Jeongguk, letting his eyes flutter shut again.
“Aren’t you going to wipe his memory first?” Seokjin questions and Jeongguk cracks one eye open and grunts in response, then lets out a low whine.
“I’m too lazy to,” Jeongguk sighs. “You do it.”
Jeongguk hears the rustle of Seokjin’s footsteps followed by a whimpered noise, almost as if the vampire is struggling or trying to run, his small, panicked no’s filling out the lair but he doesn’t care enough to open his eyes and see what’s going on. Seokjin can handle it on all his own and he sure does, rather quickly. The vampire’s voice dies down fast and then there’s a moment of silence followed by Seokjin’s low, “all done.”
Slowly, Jeongguk opens his eyes and his vision is entirely clear this time, though his head still feels light.
“He gone?” Seokjin nods. “Good.”
“Don’t tell me you’re running low on blood,” his familiar says, settling down next to him again. “I’m pretty sure I’ve drained enough vampires to last you at least a month in supplies. You couldn’t possibly have drunk all of it already.”
“Mmm, no, I haven’t even touched the stash,” Jeongguk murmurs, head lolling to the side as he looks at Seokjin through his lashes. “I just—just needed the real thing. Feels better when you drink from someone and not something. Missed the feeling, is all.”
“It still is the real thing, just not fresh. Where’d you pick up the poor bastard?” Seokjin asks, clasping his hands in his lap. “He’s young too, I would say.”
“Yeah, could taste how young he is,” says Jeongguk, slightly wrinkling his nose. “Sixty or seventy at best. Picked him up at a bar, then brought him back here. Said he’s never had anyone but another vampire drink from him, so I offered to change that.”
“Did you fuck him?”
Jeongguk furrows his brows, lips pressing into a tight line. “No,” he replies. “Fuck do you take me for? I don’t fuck food.”
“Food,” Seokjin snorts, shaking his head. “Pretty sure I’ve caught you fucking food more times than I can count.”
Jeongguk grins, defensively throwing his hands up in the air. “Alright, you caught me,” he says sheepishly. “Not this one, though.”
“Does that have to do anything with a certain vampire who now works for you?” Seokjin quirks an eyebrow, a sly smile tugging at the corners of his lips. “Don’t think I’ve not noticed the way you shivered the first time you stabbed him and then licked the blade clean after it.”
Jeongguk stays silent for a while, brain still too slow to properly function. Maybe Jeongguk wants to drink from Jimin and possibly, he could force him into it—but that’s not the point. If the vampire’s not willing, then neither is Jeongguk; though he would be lying if he said he didn’t miss the way Jimin’s blood tasted on his tongue.
“Considering I plan on keeping him alive, you know I’m not going to drink from him unless he lets me,” Jeongguk explains. “He sure is tasty as fuck, though.”
“Not exactly what I was getting at, Jeongguk-ah,” Seokjin flashes him a knowing grin and Jeongguk groans, rolling his eyes at him. “You’ve always had a little thing for vampires and this one is exceptionally ancient and good looking.”
“Yeah, no. Don’t get ahead of yourself, hyung,” Jeongguk says flatly, his stomach oddly fluttering at that. “He’s a useful informant, as it turns out. Nothing more. He’s a human trafficker, if you haven’t forgotten. Works with, for demons. He is no better than them. Keep that in mind.”
Seokjin shifts next to him, kicking his legs up on the armrest. He leans his back against Jeongguk’s side, resting his head on Jeongguk’s shoulder.
“I’m keeping that in mind, but are you?” Jeongguk knits his brows together, but Seokjin continues. “His scent lingered in your room for a couple days last week. You never let anyone up there but me.”
Jeongguk bites on his lower lip, unsure of what to say. He’s too high to think of some good, rational excuse as to why he’d allowed Jimin up long enough for Seokjin to be able to sniff him out so he just—says the first thing that comes to mind.
“He followed me up,” he says weakly. “Needed to rinse the blood off himself or whatever and I was high as shit on fairy blood, so I let him. Why are you asking me this now? You’ve had the whole week to do it.”
Seokjin hums noncommittally and shrugs, leaning further into Jeongguk’s side. Jeongguk wraps an arm around him and runs his fingers through his familiar’s hair, appreciating that his high is still hitting him just enough to not allow him to overthink this.
“Because I saw him earlier today, actually,” Seokjin says and Jeongguk clears his throat, fingers still absent-mindedly carding through the strands. “I was tailing the dog, the usual. Jimin met up with our governor.”
Jeongguk furrows his brows, slightly shifting to straighten himself up. “With Kim Namjoon, huh? The pup probably decided to pay him a visit after I told him about the brothel thing.”
“I don’t… really think so,” says Seokjin and Jeongguk blinks down at him, the crease set between his brows deepening. “They actually looked quite friendly.”
Jeongguk’s mind swims. “A vampire and a dog. Friendly.”
Seokjin turns to look up at him, nodding his head. “Yeah, I was a little surprised too. So, whatever their meeting was about, I can assure you it wasn’t about the brothel situation.”
Something unpleasant curls inside of Jeongguk’s stomach, and he doesn’t like it. He doesn’t like it one bit—but he’s going to have to take it out with the governor.
“You couldn’t listen in on the conversation?” he asks.
“Can’t exactly get into a restaurant in my crow form,” Seokjin clicks his tongue. “Which meant I had to walk in looking like this. And when I look like this, I can’t exactly eavesdrop.”
“Did you manage to greet them, by any chance?”
“I did,” Seokjin nods. “More so Namjoon, then I was going to head out after I ate and Jimin followed me outside, asking how long you plan on waiting before summoning him this time around.”
Jeongguk stills. He’d been meaning to, but… he’s just not good with time. He has plenty, and he’s in no rush. Yet Jimin seems to be, and Jeongguk wonders why that is. Maybe because despite his immortality, he’s still a lot more mortal, a lot easier to target than Jeongguk will ever be.
“What did you tell him?”
“That you’ll do it when you feel like it and that he should be more worried about gathering information, rather than when you’re going to be tracking him down,” Seokjin replies. “He didn’t exactly seem jittery this time around, more so just annoyed, I’d say.”
“Okay, well, I’ll deal with him soon. I’ve just been… busy,” he finally says.
“Busy feeding on a bunch of different vampires every other night,” Seokjin says and then he’s getting off the couch, rubbing the side of his face while looking down at Jeongguk. “I’ve known you for over four hundred years, Jeongguk-ah. Whatever it is that you’re trying to block out, at least do try to face it instead. Is it the fact that Jimin might actually dig deep enough and get to Kim Taehyung and you haven’t thought about what happens next?”
Jeongguk is definitely not sober enough for this conversation, despite his brain slowly returning back to its normal speed. Jeongguk had spent hundreds of years thinking about what he would do to Kim Taehyung, what he’d say to him if he ever saw him. But he had failed so many, so many times that even now, with Jimin digging and maybe finding bits and pieces here and there, it doesn’t really mean much. Jeongguk doesn’t think he’ll ever really get to Kim Taehyung, but it won’t stop him from trying.
And Jeongguk isn’t trying to block out anything, he’s just having a bit of fun. Seokjin should know that.
“It’s not that,” Jeongguk assures him. “Not that at all. I’m just having some fun. Passing time until I feel like taking clients again.”
Seokjin looks at him, exasperatedly tilting his eyebrows. “Okay, then. Deal with Park Jimin, and I’ll continue following the dog and checking what he’s up to. Also, I made you tea and it’s in the kitchen. Figured you wouldn’t appreciate drinking it while you’re still drunk or high or whatever it is that vampire blood does to you, so I didn’t bring it downstairs.”
Jeongguk grins, humming in appreciation. “Will do. And thanks for the tea, hyung. I’ll make sure to drink it later.”
When Seokjin leaves the lair Jeongguk entirely sprawls himself across the couch, staring up at the ceiling. His high is going to entirely wear off any moment now and his mind is slowly beginning to race and all Jeongguk can think about is why the hell Namjoon and Jimin are eating together and on top of it all, why is it that they look friendly. Maybe the whole thing wouldn’t be bothering him as much if Seokjin hadn’t said they looked close, which is not the impression Jeongguk got when he’d mentioned Jimin to Namjoon last time he paid him a visit. Sure, Namjoon knows who Jimin is and apparently so does everyone except for Jeongguk, but something about this meeting feels off deep inside Jeongguk’s gut and he can’t pinpoint exactly why, but he knows he trusts himself.
But whatever it is, it’ll have to wait.
Jeongguk purses his lips once he realizes the buzz of vampire blood in his system has entirely faded and that he’s just fine, good as new. And he doesn’t want to start overthinking things, but he is—because he’s always done that. He’s ranged from overthinking to not thinking at all and just indulging in his urges but right now, Jeongguk has time to think and so he does.
He’s been on a binge; picks up a vampire in a nightclub or a bar, drinks from them, wipes their memory, repeats. Jeongguk doesn’t want to admit that has anything to do with Jimin because he’s Jimin, but rather because he’s a four hundred something year old vampire and Jeongguk knows damn well that the older they are, the better they taste.
And Jimin—he’s around Jeongguk’s age. Meaning, he was born in the Joseon era and god, it’s been so long ago but Jeongguk still, to this day, vividly remembers his childhood. He remembers the meadows and hills of his village, remembers the river, his stepfather’s house and the barn where he had kept his lamb, the well where he’d go to practice magic and Jeongguk misses those days so, so badly. When he was a carefree kid who liked picking flowers and extracting oils, who helped heal the village children’s cuts and bruises and just—Jeongguk wonders if Jimin was doing the same. Not the magic part, but just… if he’d been a normal, sweet kid, like Jeongguk once was.
Jeongguk wonders what else it is, other than the obvious vampirism, that made him the way that he is or if he had simply been that way his whole life. Jeongguk finds himself hoping it’s not the latter.
He’s certain his curiosity is just related to the fact that it’s been so long since he’d met someone that’s been alive—or in Jimin’s case, dead—for as long as he is and so yeah, Jeongguk wants to know more, just for the sake of it. And Jimin being useful and easy on the eyes just makes it an added bonus.
Jeongguk lies sprawled across the couch for a few more minutes, just blinking up at the ceiling before he draws in a deep breath and straightens himself up, running his hand through his hair. Briefly, he debates summoning Jimin right then and there, but he ultimately decides against it; he has to drink his tea, get some food in his system and most importantly—sleep. Jimin can wait.
He drags himself upstairs to the kitchen where he finds Seokjin sitting behind the dining table and reading and he gently squeezes his shoulder as he walks past him to get to the refrigerator.
“Sober yet?” Seokjin asks, briefly lifting his gaze to look at him. Jeongguk takes the leftovers he’d made from the refrigerator, plate heating up in his hand as he approaches the table.
“Yeah,” he says, grabbing Seokjin’s chopsticks and digging in. “I am.”
“Good,” Seokjin says, closing the book and leaning back in his chair, intently staring at him. “I don’t mind your binges; I just mind when you start getting sloppy.”
Heat floods Jeongguk’s cheeks and his lips twitch, but he still nods in agreement. “Yeah, I have been a little sloppy,” he admits, voice a low mutter. “I’m done for now, I think. I just got a little carried away, you know how it is.”
Seokjin blinks. “I do,” he agrees. “I also know that tends to happen when you’ve got something on your mind. Something you’d rather not deal with.”
Jeongguk puts the chopsticks down, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, huffing as he realizes there’s more dried blood coming off. “It’s not like that, hyung. I just got carried away.”
Seokjin doesn’t look like he believes him and Jeongguk’s stomach twists in annoyance and he sighs, shaking his head.
“If you say so,” his familiar says after a beat of silence, opening his book again and dropping his gaze down to it, looking entirely disinterested in continuing this conversation.
“I do,” Jeongguk mumbles and then continues eating, the knot in his stomach only tightening as Seokjin’s words echo in his head.
“Took you long enough, don’t you think?” Jimin asks then looks around, his expression shifting from irritated to confused. “Where are we?”
Jeongguk clasps his hands together and lets his eyes flutter shut, breathing in as he feels the breeze hit against his skin. They’re outside, on top of the hill that’s overlooking the city and Jeongguk doesn’t know why exactly he chose this spot, but it’s nice to be out of the tower for a bit.
“Out,” Jeongguk simply says, shrugging. He opens his eyes and takes a good look at Jimin; the vampire’s eyes are dark unlike the last time he’d summoned him, meaning that this time around, he’s well fed. Jimin’s silver hair shines softly in the muted sunlight that peeks through the clouds and he looks even paler in the daylight, skin smoother and translucent. Jeongguk studies the gentle slope of his nose, the sharpness of his eyes and the cherry tint to his lips and yeah—Jeongguk has never seen a more beautiful vampire.
“I can see that,” replies Jimin, huffing as he settles down onto the ground next to Jeongguk, keeping a slight distance. “You ever take that robe off?”
Jeongguk looks down at his robe, a smile tugging at the corners of his lips. “Not when I go out, no.”
Jeongguk shrugs. “I usually tend to get my hands dirty,” he grins. “I don’t like my actual clothes smelling like murder.”
Jimin hums noncommittally, leaning back to rest his weight on the heels of his palms. Jeongguk looks up at the sky, squinting as the sun comes up behind the clouds and the rays hit his skin, barely feeling warm at all. This fall is going to be colder than usual, Jeongguk can already tell.
“Interesting. But noted,” says Jimin. “So, what took you so long this time? And how come I’m not inside of a pentagram?”
“So many questions,” Jeongguk huffs, glancing toward him. “I don’t need a pentagram to summon you, vampire. All I need is something that belongs to you the first time, but after the initial summoning I can do it whenever, wherever.”
“Then why do you draw the pentagram?”
Jeongguk flashes him a grin. “For the theatrics,” he explains. “I like the ritual. I respect the ritual.”
Jimin nods then cocks his head to the side, tilting his eyebrows.
“What?” Jeongguk asks.
“You took weeks to summon me. Again.”
“I’ve been busy, vampire,” Jeongguk taps his index finger against his temple. “You’re not my priority, get that through your head. But, you’re here now. Tell me what you got.”
Jimin slightly shifts beside him, letting out a low noise of disapproval, but he doesn’t say anything back. Jeongguk tries his best to not stare at him even though it’s difficult, but he focuses on the city that’s laid out in front of them and evenly breathes in the polluted air around them.
“Not much, actually,” Jimin says reluctantly and Jeongguk hums in response, gut only slightly sinking with his answer. “I’ve been on the lookout, spoke to quite a lot of people. I’ve pulled some strings, talked to some of the members of the coven but they’re all pure bloods so it’s been a little difficult to get much out. I know she’s skipped town and that she went south, but I haven’t been able to find out whether it’s south as in down south or to like, Philippines or Indonesia. I’m working on it, though. I even met up with the governor to see what he knows.”
Oh. Jeongguk furrows his brows. He hadn’t exactly considered that was the reason but now that Jimin mentions it, it makes sense. Still, Seokjin said they were friendly and despite Jeongguk himself meeting up with the governor fairly frequently, he’d say they’re anything but.
“Yeah, Seokjin hyung said he ran into you two,” Jeongguk says firmly, briefly glancing over at him. “Didn’t know you were close to the governor.”
Jimin is quiet for a few moments and Jeongguk looks back up at the sky, then lowers himself until he’s lying on the ground with his hands behind his head. He feels the vampire’s gaze on him but for whatever reason, Jeongguk doesn’t feel like looking back at him. He’s too pretty in the daylight, and Jeongguk doesn’t want to stare.
“I’m not,” Jimin says slowly but there’s a shift in his tone, almost as if he’s being careful. “I’ve only known him a couple of years since he became the governor.”
“Does he know the kind of shit you get up to?” Jeongguk asks, tilting his eyebrows. “The trafficking? Selling souls to demons?”
Jimin stills and Jeongguk tilts his head to look at him, finding that Jimin is staring down at him over his shoulder, unmoving from his sitting position. “It’s none of your business,” he finally says.
“And maybe so,” Jeongguk agrees. “But you do know that what you’re doing is punishable by death. Real death.”
“And yet I’m still here,” Jimin says, an edge to his voice. “Not even you have killed me, yet you had all the reasons to.”
Jeongguk shifts, sitting up so his gaze levels with the vampire’s. “You’re overly confident for someone who’s at my mercy.”
“You said you wouldn’t kill me unless I try to cross you. And from what I know, you’re a man of your word. And I haven’t crossed you, so I’m pretty sure I’m safe.”
“Yet you’re awfully close with the governor,” Jeongguk licks his lips, unsure of what it is exactly that’s gotten into him, but he has a bad feeling about the nature of their relationship. If Kim Namjoon doesn’t want to intervene in Jimin’s business that’s fair enough—but Jeongguk doesn’t want the governor supporting it, either. Because then, Jeongguk would have to kill him, would have to go through a few uprisings and probably spill more magical blood than he should, and then possibly even deal with Jimin’s brothel himself. And Jeongguk does not want to deal with the elder demons himself. He wants the brothel gone, but he wants the responsibility of that to fall onto whoever else is stupid enough to deal with that. “What if I told you I didn’t like it?”
“I’d tell you that you have no choice but to like it,” Jimin says through his teeth, jaw tightening. “Because he’s a useful contact to have for that little quest of yours that you’ve sent me on. He may not know Kim Taehyung, but he knows almost every single downworlder there is, and he can help track them down. Same way he’s going to help me find Im Miso. And him and I are not close. We’re civil. Big difference, warlock, someone as old as you should know it by now.”
Jeongguk snorts, rolling his eyes. “Oh, I know the difference. And I also know better than to trust anyone but Seokjin hyung when it comes to… anything, really.”
Jimin exasperatedly sighs and rubs a hand over his face, shaking his head. Jeongguk’s mind works a million miles an hour; he needs to get to the bottom of Jimin’s relationship with Namjoon, see what it is that’s connecting them. Because if there’s something there and the governor won’t do jack shit about the vampire’s brothel, then Jeongguk is going to have to orchestrate things very differently.
“What’s the deal with him and you anyway?” Jimin asks, tilting his eyebrows. “Is he like… your partner? What even is he? I can’t get a proper read on him. It’s clear he does magic and that like us, he’s immortal, but—”
“My life partner, yes. He’s my familiar.”
Jimin narrows his eyes at him, confusion flashing over his features. “Your familiar?”
“That’s right,” Jeongguk nods. “He’s a hybrid.”
“But he does magic,” Jimin repeats, looking even more puzzled.
“Because his life is bound to mine,” Jeongguk says, lips curling into a soft smile. “Just like me, he can’t die. Unless someone kills me first, he’s practically indestructible. He’s more prone to injury, but he cannot die. My blood runs through his veins, and so he can do some magic. Not to an extent I can, but he’s more than capable of getting things done.”
“That’s—I’ve never heard of anything like that before,” says Jimin, cocking his head to the side.
“Because you’ve never met anyone like me, vampire,” Jeongguk says, flashing him a wicked grin. “I’m different than any other warlocks you may know.”
“Oh, you’re different alright,” says Jimin with a sigh, then turns his head to stare down at the city in front of them. “Who the fuck refers to a hybrid they bound their life to as a familiar? That term is so old and besides, it only belongs to—”
“Witches,” Jeongguk interrupts, shrugging. “I’m well aware. That’s exactly what he is. My familiar.”
Jimin’s head snaps into his direction again, eyes locking together. The silver strands into his hair fall into his narrowed eyes as the breeze hits again, making Jeongguk slightly shiver. He and Jimin stare at each other for what feels too long for comfort, and Jeongguk does his best to keep his heart as steady as he can. Despite having over four hundred years to perfect that, it proves itself a lot harder around Jimin and Jeongguk hates it; the image of Jimin ripping Hyungsik’s throat out, his crimson red eyes that gleamed so predatory-like as he fed on the fairy, the way he’d knocked Hwan’s teeth out—Jeongguk hates all of it. Hates how it makes his cock twitch and heat pool at the base of his stomach so he just breathes out and forces himself to appear as indifferent as he can.
“But you’re part d—”
“Careful,” Jeongguk grits out, glaring at the vampire who doesn’t look taken aback but the sudden sharpness of Jeongguk’s tone, rather stays unmoving, brows still pinched together. There’s no fear in his eyes; there never is, and Jeongguk hates it. “I know exactly what I am.”
“Does that mean you used to be a witch once, then?” Jimin asks. “That would make absolutely no sense, though, I’ve never—”
“You have too many questions for someone who’s got little to no answers for me,” says Jeongguk lying back down onto the grass, staring up at the sky. “If you’ve got nothing, you can go. I’ll summon you in a few weeks. Maybe then you’ll be of more use.”
When Jeongguk slides his gaze toward Jimin the vampire is on his feet, towering over him. His head is tilted to the side and he’s blocking the sun which Jeongguk only half appreciates and so he tilts his eyebrows in question, letting out an exasperated sigh. “What now?” he asks.
“I go to Enneagon every Friday night,” Jimin says, licking his lips. He lowers himself into a crouch and Jeongguk almost jerks back in surprise. “I usually go there to feed. There are registered human donors, private booths and it’s more of a bar, than anything. The music is good too, I suppose, but despite it being loud near the performance stage, the booths are secluded enough so that people don’t have to yell over the music to hear each other.”
Jeongguk purses his lips, confused. “Why are you telling me this?”
“Kim Namjoon comes to the bar every Friday too,” Jimin shrugs. “You can come see for yourself just how friendly he and I are. But other than that, you could just come, I don’t know. Get out of that tower of yours.”
Jeongguk blinks then straightens himself up, tilts his head back and laughs. It’s mocking and ugly and he can see the way Jimin clenches his jaw muscles in annoyance, but he doesn’t care.
“You’re fucking crazier than I thought if you think I’m going to be showing my face where filth like you gathers on Friday nights to suck the soul out of those poor, naïve humans,” Jeongguk snorts, now rising to his feet and watching as Jimin straightens his back, allowing Jeongguk to tower over him instead. “If you think I’m going to sit there and watch that, then you’ve got another thing coming. If you’re inviting me to a slaughter fest, where I’m going to kill everyone who steps foot in that place, then hey—I might even show up.”
“They’re registered donors,” Jimin hisses, chest puffing underneath his leather jacket as he snaps at him. “I don’t feed on non-consenting humans. The bar is legal. Look it up.”
“But you non-consensually traffic their souls,” Jeongguk points out, making Jimin’s jaw clench tighter. “You don’t have a leg to stand on.”
“It’s funny how you have such a moral high ground as if you’re not one of the most notorious killers there are,” Jimin snorts, a smirk tugging at the corner of his lips. “Judging me for shit I do to get by, yet you do the exact same shit and you don’t even need it to survive.” Jimin turns to walk away, then throws him a look over his shoulder. “Like I said, I’m there every Friday. Do what you will with that information.”
Jeongguk reaches out, hand wrapping around Jimin’s forearm just as the vampire is about to disappear into thin air, nails digging into the leather of his jacket. Jimin looks down at the hand that’s wrapped around his forearm then back up at Jeongguk, quirking an eyebrow as he presses his lips together.
“Humans,” Jeongguk begins, an unexpected rasp to his voice. “I’d never lay a single finger on a human being. Keep that in mind.”
He then releases him and Jimin takes a step back, his eyes darkening.
“Well, that makes one of us, then.”
Before Jeongguk can open his mouth to say anything, Jimin is speeding down the hill and disappearing into the forest, leaving nothing but a cloud of dust behind him.
Jeongguk blinks at the empty field and down at the trees then turns back to face the city, taking a deep breath and letting his eyes fall shut. He should be riled up and angry by Jimin’s outburst but in the aftermath, there’s only a knot that rises up to his throat and makes it hard for him to swallow. Jimin is right, Jeongguk knows that. He’s deranged and blood driven but he isn’t stupid— he knows how big of a hypocrite he is, but he doesn’t give a fuck.
He never asked to be this way. He never wanted to be this way. Jeongguk never wanted to be a downworlder, and so he doesn’t empathize or relate to a single one. He wanted to be six feet underground a long time ago, never wanted to get off on blood and murder and other’s sufferings, but Jeongguk has no soul and he feels no remorse and no regret. Not for downworlders.
And so, if that means having double standards—being a hypocrite, then so be it. He doesn’t care; deep down in his core, he’s something way worse than all of those things combined. He’s a demon.
Friday night finds Jeongguk feeling restless in a way that makes him want to get up and do something. It’s been a few weeks since he’d last seen Jimin and Jeongguk isn’t the one to keep track of what day of the week it is, but he somehow finds himself knowing when it’s Friday for the third week in a row. He lets out something between a sigh and a groan, staring up at his ceiling in the dark room.
He’s all alone, Seokjin having gone to collect payments from Jeongguk’s previous clients and meet up with some new ones requiring his services. Frankly, Jeongguk’s got enough fortune to last him many lifetimes, but he’s always been greedy for more. And besides, it’s not about the money or the goods, it’s about the status.
And if there’s something Jeongguk has, it’s exactly that.
With another groan, Jeongguk swings his legs over the edge of the bed and sits up, gritting his teeth in annoyance. He hasn’t stopped thinking about Jimin and their last encounter, how the vampire’s façade wouldn’t crack and how he looked more than just a little displeased with Jeongguk. That didn’t bother him as much as Jimin saying well that makes one of us, when Jeongguk had said he’d never lay a finger on a single human being. He hasn’t stopped thinking about it since—and Jeongguk felt like he had to do something about it.
He knows Jimin can’t feed on downworlders forever and needs human blood to actually maintain his strength, but despite vampires not being high on the list of creatures Jeongguk can’t stomach, there’s still a heaviness that floods through him when he thinks of the means vampires use in order to get humans to let them feed, let alone the number of new vampires who just carelessly suck them dry and leave them there to rot. And of course, he’s aware of the government allowing humans to go through a whole application and vetting process so they can become registered donors and allow vampires to feed on them in safe environments, but it doesn’t make Jeongguk hate it any less. He can’t fight that feeling of dread when he sees a human within a downworlder’s proximity, because he knows nothing good ever comes out of that.
Jeongguk gets up and walks over toward his closet, muttering a curse under his breath. He already knows where this is going—and it’s going straight to Enneagon where Jeongguk knows he’s going to be in less than thirty minutes from now.
He doesn’t want to show his face though, and so he won’t. Jeongguk already has his mind made up; he’s gonna take a different form, he’s just going to go see what’s happening, and with the face he’s going to take, Jimin won’t be coming anywhere near him. And if Kim Namjoon is there, all the better. Jeongguk will peacefully get to observe without having to worry about either of them acting out of character. He’ll get to see them for what they really are, when they think he’s not looking.
It’s been ages since Jeongguk last went out; he doesn’t do it unless he plans on actually bringing a vampire back home or hunting someone down and even then, he usually doesn’t bother, rather lets Seokjin find a fitting place for him to perform his rituals and relies on summoning creatures. It’s different now, because Jeongguk isn’t going to a coven-owned bar to pick up a vampire, he isn’t going to kill anyone, unless necessary. It feels strange, knowing that he’ll just go to observe—wrong, even—but Jeongguk is just going because Kim Namjoon will be there too, and he wants to see the way he and Jimin act around each other with his own two eyes. That’s all there is to it, nothing more.
He finds himself instinctively reaching for one of his cloaks which hang off the racks, only realizing that’s not what he’s going for once he starts slipping it on. Instead, he shrugs it off and walks over toward the floor-to-ceiling shelves, pursing his lips as he realizes how monochrome all of his clothes are. He throws on a turtleneck and then reaches for one of the leather corsets he hasn’t worn in god knows how long but knows still fit him well all the same. Jeongguk changes out of his pajamas and puts on some jeans, glancing at the mirror and looking at how ridiculously put-together he appears to be. It’s been ages since he’d looked like this and though his face will soon not be his face anymore, Jeongguk takes a moment to appreciate this. He looks good. He’s always known that—but after a while, things like his own physical appearance stop mattering. Jeongguk has been looking at himself in the mirror for over four hundred years, nothing he sees in it anymore can surprise him, but he can appreciate this moment for what it is.
Jeongguk gazes back at his reflection and then takes a deep breath, blinks, and in the next moment, the person staring back at him is no longer his own reflection. It’s an entirely improvised face and he looks nothing like himself; hair blonde and cheeks hollow, jawline sharper and his forehead wider. Jeongguk smirks, shaking his head at how unlike himself—ugly, almost—he looks, but that’s exactly what he was going for. His skin is entirely clear of demon marks, not that Jimin or Namjoon have ever gotten to see them as they’re always hidden underneath the thick fabric of his robes, but he clears his skin off of them, just in case.
He closes his eyes, feeling the rush of magic flood through him and once he opens them again, he’s standing across the street from Enneagon, watching as a few downworlders line up in front of the entrance. He eyes the red neon sign and despite how cheap it looks, Jeongguk knows that inside, it’s probably a whole different story. A few demons enter the premise and Jeongguk’s stomach turns, blood boiling with rage for a brief moment before he breathes in and composes himself. There are probably going to be a few trying to approach and sweet-talk him into feeding on his soul and Jeongguk is going to have to keep it together and not snap their necks in half just for daring to come anywhere near him. In the eyes of everyone in that bar, he’s going to be nothing but a mere human. Jeongguk wishes he could be that in his own eyes, too.
After crossing the street he walks straight toward the entrance, jaw tightening as he passes a group of incubi who happen to be leaving. Jeongguk manages to keep a straight face and look ahead as he enters, not bothered by the way all four of the incubi turn to look after him.
Jeongguk’s theory about the inside looking a lot less cheap than the outside proves itself to be correct; when he enters the air shifts and he’s hit with a strong sense of magical energy, and the first thing he does is allow his body to absorb it, standing still for a few moments before he starts moving. The music isn’t too loud, which is the first and possibly the only thing Jeongguk appreciates. The lights are dim, mostly neon red, and despite the place being huge, it’s still quite packed. The entirety of the interior is mahogany; the floors, the bar, the tables, even the stage at the far back that’s covered with heavy velvet curtains.
It’s a lot of downworlder energy to be around all at once and Jeongguk hasn’t been around this much power in a very long time, mostly because he had no desire to be. It’s interesting how his magic immediately clings onto the auras—especially demon auras—and slowly starts draining their power, making a rush of adrenaline flood over him. Jeongguk doesn’t like it; he hates how good it feels to fuel his power with demon energy, he hates how it makes them more aware of him, how it gets him on their radar despite them not even realizing what exactly it is that’s happening.
Jeongguk scans the place quickly and makes his way over to the bar, ordering whatever thing he sees first on the menu, then settles onto one of the stools. He takes a good look at the place once the fairy bartender with an unusually pointy ears hands him his drink, noticing a row of fairly secluded booths a little to his right, one of them occupied by a group of vampires, one of which is feeding on a human. Jeongguk swallows, eyes darting back and forth between the tables, looking for either Jimin or Namjoon.
It takes a few moments for Jeongguk to notice him but once he does, he can’t look away. He catches the glimpse of silver hair first and then his eyes slide down to his delicate features, pale skin illuminated by the neon red and his lips pressed to a human girl’s pulse point on her wrist, his eyes shut and hands clutching at her arm as she tilts her head back and heavily breathes out. Jeongguk watches the two of them, mesmerized. He doesn’t even blink, just watches as Jimin lazily feeds on the girl, fingers loosening around her wrist while his tongue laps over the wound. Jeongguk knows she’s enjoying it, knows that venom in Jimin’s fangs soothes the pain immediately but a part of him still hates it, maybe even more so because she likes it.
He swallows down the urge to walk over there and yank the human away from him; Jimin needs to feed and Jeongguk knows that, so whatever way he’s feeling about humans getting taken advantage of, he forces himself to remember that that’s not the case, at least not in here. Jimin isn’t being aggressive and the girl is willingly there, so Jeongguk sips on his drink and looks away, grimacing as his eyes settle on the demons and banshees mingling not too far away from him. He notices one of the demons—another incubus, Jeongguk is pretty sure—glancing over at his direction more than a few times and as he does so, the more Jeongguk is aware of the fact that the demon is hungry.
It doesn’t bother him and he’s immune to the temptation, but it does make him want to walk over there and rip the demon’s throat out. He doesn’t, because he’s supposed to be playing the role of a human and so he allows his eyes to dart away from the creature and wander around the room. There’s nothing interesting happening; there are a few vampires feeding here and there, some he even recognizes as his own personal blood bags, but other than that, Jeongguk finds the place to be quite uneventful. He’s not sure what he’d expected to begin with and he’s about to down his drink and ask for another one when he catches a glimpse of someone seemingly human approach Jimin and the vampire drops the girls hand back into her lap while the stranger leans in and whispers something into Jimin’s ear, making him narrow his eyes at him.
Jeongguk closes his eyes and focuses his energy toward the guy that’s leaning into Jimin’s space, trying to pick up on his aura. His mouth pops open as he smells the familiar scent of lavender, feels that light, elevated energy that’s not strong enough to be anything other than human, but it’s still magical. Jeongguk stares, mouth hanging open still as he realizes—it’s a witch. A witch that doesn’t look like he’s there to let Jimin feed and doesn’t look threatened by the vampire in the slightest. Jimin tilts his head to the side, gesturing to his right and the witch looks over in that direction, following Jimin’s gaze and Jeongguk does the same. Next thing he knows, Kim Namjoon is stepping into the booth, curling his arm around the witch’s waist and then the witch is tipping his head back and resting it on Namjoon’s shoulder, allowing the werewolf to kiss the side of his face. Jeongguk watches with his brows furrowed, eyes sliding toward Jimin who isn’t so much looking at Namjoon as he is at the witch, his gaze fond and lips curled into an endeared smile.
His lips are cherry red and Jeongguk catches himself absentmindedly licking his own, then sinking his teeth into his lower lip. He can’t make out what they’re saying but they all look like they know each other well, though Jeongguk wouldn’t really say Jimin and Namjoon look too friendly. If anything, it’s the witch that has Jeongguk’s interest piqued and all of Jimin’s attention and something uncomfortable curls at the base of Jeongguk’s gut, though he can’t exactly place what.
“Here all by yourself?” Jeongguk feels a smooth voice in his ear and then his body is instinctively jerking back, nose scrunching with disgust. It’s the incubus he’d noticed not so subtly staring at him, dark hair falling into his eyes as he leans into Jeongguk’s space. “That’s a first.”
“A first what?” Jeongguk barks back, moving his barstool away from the demon. His magic riles up in his veins and he breathes out, swallowing down the urge to blow his cover. The hair on the back of his neck stands up, skin breaking out into goosebumps and the urge to gag is right there, sitting on the back of his tongue.
“Don’t be afraid, human,” the demon coos, placing his glass onto the countertop of the bar. Jeongguk wants to snort; the incubus is clearly too stupid to at least question the energy he feels near Jeongguk, entirely buying the whole human act. Jeongguk doesn’t even know why he’s surprised anymore—everyone always does.
“Not afraid,” says Jeongguk, lifting his glass up and tapping his index finger against it, signaling the fairy to get him a refill. “Just don’t want you anywhere near me.”
Jeongguk sees the incubus pursing his lips as he takes his new drink, crossing his legs and looking over toward where Jimin was sitting. He finds the booth empty and his eyebrows knit in confusion as he looks around the bar in hopes of spotting Jimin, Namjoon, or the witch. He sees the human girl Jimin’s been feeding from, wrist not looking too bruised underneath the neon lights which somehow makes Jeongguk’s chest almost fill with something like fondness.
“Why not?” the incubus insists and Jeongguk huffs in annoyance, turning to him.
He’d be attractive if it weren’t for the obvious fact that he’s a demon; the ugly, black, tattoo-like marks on his skin, small horns poking out the top of his head which indicate his lower status and his eyes which are the color of petroleum and make Jeongguk want to vomit in disgust.
“Because, I’m busy.”
“With what?” the incubus asks. “You’re all alone at a bar. Looking to let a vampire to feed on you? I could give you a way better time than a bloodsucker ever would.”
Jeongguk side-eyes him, unamused. “Do I look like I want to get my dick wet?”
The incubus shifts, lips curling into a smile. He takes a sip of his drink then, eyes glimmering in the neon lights and he looks at Jeongguk like he’d love nothing more than to eat him alive.
“Maybe,” the incubus says, forked tongue darting out to lick his lips. “What’s your name, huh? I know for a fact I’ve never seen you before. I’d remember a face like yours.”
Jeongguk snorts, pressing the rim of the glass to his lips, taking a sip. The sweet-talking would so easily work if Jeongguk was really human, and he knows for a fact that the incubus isn’t trying it with any registered donors because he’d probably get in a lot of trouble with the owner, and then inherently—the government.
“Does it matter?” Jeongguk drawls, putting his glass down and then resting his back and elbows against the counter, looking straight ahead of himself. He tries to focus on looking for Jimin or Namjoon, even the witch—but he’s in no luck. They seem to have disappeared or rather just left, and Jeongguk inwardly curses at himself; he had hoped that he’d get to observe for at least a little bit longer, and he’d be lying if he said there’s not a twinge in his stomach at the realization that Jimin might already be gone.
“So, you are looking for a vampire to feed on you. S’not gonna happen here, you know. They do things by the protocol and everything. But, I could take you to a place where—”
“He’s not interested, Kunwoo. Learn how to read the energy and get lost.”
Jeongguk’s eyes widen as he looks behind the incubus—Kunwoo—and finds Jimin standing there, his eyes glued to the demon, jaw set tight as the demon turns to look back at him. Jeongguk watches them stare at each other for a couple of seconds, seemingly forgetting about him. Jeongguk’s heart manages to skip a beat before he simmers it down, not wanting to give Jimin the satisfaction of knowing he—or whoever it is that he’s pretending to be—is in any way affected because he’s here.
“Park,” says Kunwoo with a low sigh, and Jeongguk shifts in his seat and buries his face into his drink, keeping his cool. “Good to see you.”
“Wish I could say the same,” says Jimin, tone low and velvety, making warmth spread underneath Jeongguk’s skin. “Leave the human alone, Kunwoo. He doesn’t want to talk to you.”
Jeongguk puts his drink down again and takes a good look at Jimin for the first time; his silver hair is pushed back, lips still crimson red from the blood he’s had not too long ago and he’s wearing a leather jacket with a white t-shirt underneath, his dark jeans ripped and tight and showing so much skin Jeongguk almost wants to reach out and touch.
“He’s not registered, Park,” says Kunwoo, impatiently clicking his tongue. “Can’t feed from him. He’s off limits.”
“Well aware,” Jimin replies, lips curling into a smile. It’s fake, if Jeongguk’s ever seen one. “I just wanted to talk, so you might as well move.”
Kunwoo doesn’t and it makes Jeongguk grow more irritated, and he struggles to keep himself from crushing the glass between his fingers and drag the demon out on that stage at the back of the bar and kill him in front of everyone. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why Jimin is here, though, and Jeongguk allows himself to think about the possibility of letting Jimin seduce him and then kill him on the spot the moment the vampire tries to lure him into his brothel. Hell, Jeongguk could even kill every single creature there and set those humans free—only if it wouldn’t anger the elder demons.
“I’m hungry, Park,” says the incubus and Jeongguk snorts, making both of them turn to look over at him.
“The governor is here,” Jeongguk says with a shrug, downing the rest of his drink. Not like Kim Namjoon could ever do anything for him that Jeongguk wouldn’t be able to do for himself, but the demon doesn’t need to know that. “Wouldn’t want to break the law, now, would you?”
“The governor left,” says Kunwoo, flashing him a wicked smile which makes Jeongguk want to knock his teeth out and has anger sparking up underneath his skin. “So, no need to worry about him.”
Then Jimin’s hand is on the demon’s shoulder, fingers gripping so tightly it seems to catch Kunwoo off guard. “I said move, incubus.”
Kunwoo’s already dark eyes turn even darker and he grits his teeth, glaring at Jimin whose expression remains the same, unfazed and unbothered. The demon jerks his shoulder but Jimin’s grip only tightens, eyes briefly flicking toward Jeongguk before he looks at Kunwoo again.
“You’re being embarrassing in front of the human, Park,” Kunwoo hisses and Jimin snorts, a cocky smirk tugging at the corners of his lips. “This won’t end well for you.”
“Take it up with your elders,” says Jimin and Kunwoo instantly pales, making a giggle bubble up at the base of Jeongguk’s throat which, much to his dismay, he makes himself swallow down. The whole sight is ridiculous, really, and he would’ve gotten up to do something a thousand times by now if he wasn’t trying so hard to play into his role of a semi-clueless human. “Or I can have Hoseok put a permanent ban on you so you can no longer step foot inside the brothel. Your call.”
Hoseok. Jeongguk tries hard to keep his reactions to a minimum, but makes sure to remember that name.
Kunwoo looks taken aback, his forked tongue darting out of his mouth to lick across his lips and he and Jimin stare each other down before the incubus sighs in exasperation, looking back at Jeongguk.
“You sure you don’t want to come with me, human? Spending time with an incubus is a lot more pleasurable than a vampire’s bite.”
“Positive,” Jeongguk hums, looking away from the both of them.
The demon then walks away and Jimin shifts closer to him, ordering a drink before he props his elbows against the bar and looks at him, cocking an eyebrow as he studies his face.
Jeongguk feels chills run down his spine and so he straightens up, tilting his own eyebrows right back at him.
“So, a human, huh?” Jimin asks, accepting a drink from the fairy bartender.
“Correct,” Jeongguk replies.
Something flashes in Jimin’s eyes as he shifts and takes a sip of his drink, but is gone too fast for Jeongguk to catch. The vampire smirks and lets out a snort, looking even cockier than Jeongguk is used to him looking. He knows exactly what Jimin wants, what he’s doing.
“Alright then, let’s go with that,” Jimin mutters, making Jeongguk narrow his eyes at him. The vampire holds his hand out for a handshake, waiting for Jeongguk to take it. “Park Jimin. And you are?”
“Not interested in getting bitten by a vampire,” says Jeongguk, letting out a low laugh as he takes Jimin’s hand and loosely shakes it, purposely being disrespectful. He shouldn’t be having fun, should rather be at the sidelines and letting Jimin do his thing but Jeongguk knows he’s trying to lure him in and take him back to the brothel; only he won’t be in luck tonight, and something about that gives Jeongguk and incredible sense of power, more so than he usually feels.
“Wasn’t offering,” says Jimin, smile not faltering. He studies Jeongguk’s face more intensely, looking more so amused than anything else. “I like my boys tall, dark and handsome. You, sadly, fit only one third of the criteria, blondie.”
Jeongguk bites his lip, surprised at the way something stirs inside of him—something like arousal and maybe, just maybe a bit of adrenaline. He doesn’t want to take it as such, but it sounds like a challenge and no, Jeongguk definitely does not want to be bitten, but he wants to let Jimin use all of his charms on him. Besides, nobody knows it’s him, so Jeongguk can allow himself to just… let loose for a moment or two.
“Shame,” he says playfully, watching as Jimin’s eyebrows tilt in surprise, eyes glittering as he looks back at him.
“Oh, so you’ve changed your mind?” Jimin asks, reaching for an empty barstool and bringing it closer to Jeongguk, then settling down onto it so they’re almost at the same eye-level. “You want to be bitten after all?”
Jeongguk laughs and shakes his head, running his hand through his hair. It’s stiffer than his real hair and feels somewhat odd between his fingers, but it somehow helps him feel more in character, knowing that it’s not exactly him the vampire thinks he’s talking to.
“I’m good,” Jeongguk replies, eyes still trained on Jimin. “Not your type, remember?”
Jimin crosses his legs and clasps his hands over his bare knee, cocking an eyebrow as his eyes darken. He looks at Jeongguk like he’s his prey, like he’s going to eat him alive and destroy him. It makes his heart jump inside of his chest and heat pool inside of his stomach, and god—he’s always been so weak for the smoldering look vampires have but with Jimin, it’s like every single vampire-like feature he has is intensified to the point where it makes Jeongguk’s breath hitch in his throat.
“I’m sure you could make yourself my type if you really wanted to,” Jimin hums, shrugging innocently. “You’ve got one third of my type down to the tee. I’m sure you could get the two thirds as well, if you really wanted to.”
“Is that your way of telling me to fix my face?” Jeongguk asks, grinning back at him.
“Absolutely,” Jimin replies, then leans into Jeongguk’s space, making heat curl in his gut. “No need for that just yet, though. Let’s see how far I can push you first.”
Jeongguk opens his mouth to say something back as confusion grows inside of him but in that very moment the air between them shifts and the temperature inside the bar significantly rises and there’s suddenly smoke coming from the floor as well as the ceiling. The velvet curtains which have been closed over the stage the entire time open, revealing a gigantic martini glass filled up with water and bubbles, and one of the prettiest fairies Jeongguk has ever seen twirling right inside of it.
The neon lights shift into a pale blue and the fairy looks like she’s bathing in moonlight and her sparkly dress glitters so prettily as she moves to the beat of the music that’s significantly louder now, and Jeongguk can’t look away. Her aura is so clean and pure and Jeongguk is so used to dealing with fairies of the Unseelie court who are tainted by dark magic that it must have been decades since he’d last seen a proper, clean fairy. Only, he doesn’t know what a fairy like that is doing in a place like this.
“Like what you see?” Jimin’s voice is right in Jeongguk’s ear and he can feel his breath tickle his skin, making Jeongguk freeze and tingles run down his spine, clawing at the low of his back. “Have you never seen a fairy before, human?”
Jeongguk swallows, slightly turning his head so Jimin’s lips brush against his cheek and it feels electrifying and has Jeongguk’s skin breaking out into goosebumps. His stomach swoops as the vampire doesn’t seem to want to move away and his heart is pounding in his ears and Jeongguk has to consciously remind himself that it’s fine— Jimin doesn’t know it’s him. Jimin has no fucking idea.
“I’ve seen one,” he croaks, mouth feeling uncomfortably dry. “Just wondering what a Seelie fairy is doing in a dump like this.”
Jimin chuckles and Jeongguk feels him inching closer to him, his front almost pressed to Jeongguk’s back, legs bumping against Jeongguk’s as he moves to rest them against Jeongguk’s stool rather than his own. “Just because it’s a Seelie fairy, doesn’t mean it has to be pure.”
“You feed on humans here. Doesn’t have to be pure for it to go against their whole philosophy and morals,” Jeongguk points out, trying his best to not shiver as he’s hit with a wave of Jimin’s hot breath.
“Maybe so,” Jimin agrees after a few moments, “but it doesn’t mean one can’t go against those. Don’t mistake kindness for weakness, human, I deemed you smarter than that.”
Something riles up inside of Jeongguk and he turns on his stool, now fully facing Jimin whose eyes are gleaming the same way they had that night he and Jimin killed Hwan and Hyungsik together. It’s dangerous and predatory and makes Jeongguk want to grab him by the neck and keep him bound while he squirms, trying to get out.
“Tell me about that brothel you’ve mentioned to that incubus earlier,” Jeongguk demands, not bothering to raise his voice and speak over the music. “What’s that all about, hm? Want to take me there?”
Jimin blinks at him for a brief moment then tilts his head back and laughs all light and airy, his giggles swallowed down by the smooth bass of the beat that the fairy is still presumably dancing to.
“Oh, honey,” Jimin coos, running his tongue over his teeth and shaking his head. “I’m sure you already know all about that.”
Now Jeongguk is the one leaning into his space and maybe it’s a stupid idea considering a human would probably never be that bold to do so with an unknown vampire, but in the heat of the moment, he doesn’t even care.
“Why don’t you tell me?” Jeongguk asks, tilting his head to the side, suggestively exposing his neck. It’s not so much to give Jimin access as it is to make him squirm, and for a moment—it seems to work. He watches the vampire’s Adam’s apple bob as he heavily swallows with his eyes fixated on Jeongguk, and it almost makes him laugh how quick Jimin is to straighten his back. It only lasts a second before Jimin is leaning in, a low hiss forming at the back of his throat.
“Don’t like repeating myself,” he mutters, hand curling at the nape of Jeongguk’s neck. “Think you’ve heard me the first time. I know you already know all about the business I run.”
Jeongguk snorts, ignoring the way he feels his entire body flush at Jimin’s touch.
“Can hardly call it a business,” he replies. “I’d still like to know.”
Jimin clicks his tongue in annoyance and the next thing Jeongguk knows he’s off the stool with his back pressed against the bar and Jimin standing right in front of him. Jeongguk grips at his waist and despite his shortness of breath, he doesn’t allow for heat to flood his cheeks. It makes the vampire chuckle and then he leans in, placing his hands on Jeongguk’s shoulders.
“Wanna know what I’d like to know?”
Jeongguk parts his lips when Jimin runs his fingers down the leather of his corset, then settles his palms on Jeongguk’s hips. Jeongguk almost feels the heat radiating through the leather even though it’s impossible—Jimin is a vampire. The series of chills that run down Jeongguk’s spine scare him to death and he has to remind himself that—it’s fine. Jimin doesn’t know it’s him. There’s no way for him to. Jeongguk’s heart may be in his throat and this might be all sorts of fucked up but it’s okay— because Jimin doesn’t know.
“What?” Jeongguk breathes out, feeling hot, too hot all over.
He holds his breath as Jimin’s lips press to his ear again and his grip on the vampire’s waist tightens, his jaw clenching. “Why you think you have to hide from me,” Jimin drawls, making Jeongguk’s skin crawl. He then lowers his voice, breath feeling scorching in Jeongguk’s ear. “Jeon Jeongguk.”
That does it; Jeongguk’s blood freezes in his veins and it’s like wind’s been knocked out of his lungs and his eyes widen when they meet Jimin’s, watching the way the vampire’s lips spread into a sly smile.
It can’t be. It can’t be. No one has ever been able to see through his glamour before, nobody has ever been able to break through the illusion and Jeongguk doesn’t know which feeling seeps through his skin first; the hot shame or the arousal, or just sheer shock and surprise but—with the way Jimin is looking at him, how dark and smoldering his eyes are and the way he doesn’t move out of Jeongguk’s grip, it’s clear that he knows. Jeongguk doesn’t know how, but he knows.
“I’d recognize that heartbeat of yours anywhere, warlock,” Jimin murmurs, leaning back into his space, pressing their bodies together. Jeongguk’s gut sinks. There’s his answer. “I’d recognize that sickening way your blood flows through your veins, I’d sniff you out even if there were a billion other people in the room with us. I know the way every muscle in your body sounds, the way it clenches; I’ve memorized it and I’ll keep memorizing it for a long, long time. So, let me see that pretty face of yours, Jeon Jeongguk. No need to wear that mask when you’re with me. I see you.”
The words go straight to Jeongguk’s groin and his cock twitches in his pants, and the moment Jimin brings their bodies closer together, Jeongguk’s glamour breaks. His chest heaves as he stares back at the vampire and he feels the long, dark locks of his hair brush over his cheekbones in a familiar manner, and he wonders if anyone else in the bar has noticed the sudden shift in energy. He doubts it; everyone is seemingly drunk or mesmerized by whatever is happening on the stage, or are too indulged with feeding on humans to pay any attention.
“How’d you—” Jeongguk swallows, then breathes out. “How’d—”
“I’d know anywhere, anytime,” Jimin says, smoothing his hands over the leather of Jeongguk’s corset. “I don’t have to read your energy or look at your face, Jeon Jeongguk, to be able to recognize you with a single heartbeat of yours.”
Jeongguk’s mind runs a thousand miles an hour and it’s wrong, so wrong to even entertain the thought of—of being this close to Jimin with air between them this dense, but Jeongguk can’t help it. He’s flooded with arousal and his cock is half-hard in his pants and there’s something about the way Jimin says these things that makes him all riled up and want to melt all at the same time and it’s so, so wrong on so many levels, yet—
“Do it, Jeongguk.”
Jeongguk blinks, heart hammering against his ribcage. His nails dig into Jimin’s hips, making a small gasp slip past the vampire’s lips.
Jimin rolls his eyes and places his hands on the sides of Jeongguk’s neck, thumbs brushing alongside his jawline.
“Come on,” he whispers, inching closer.
“Come on what?”
Jeongguk can hear his own heartbeat ringing in his ears, his blood pressure rising as Jimin comes so impossibly close and so he quickly shifts, slamming Jimin against the bar instead, his leg pushing between the vampire’s thighs. “Come on what?” he girts out, breathless.
Jimin lets out a soft sound, something between a moan and a chuckle, and it makes any amount of self-control left in Jeongguk’s body disappear, his urges entirely taking over.
Jeongguk leans in, so closely that their lips are brushing together and then his tongue darts out to lick across Jimin’s lips, so painfully slow it makes Jimin whimper underneath him. Jeongguk tastes the residue of the human girl’s blood on them and then he takes Jimin’s bottom lip between his teeth, harshly sucking on it before Jimin finally gives in and moans.
“Kiss me like you fucking mean it, warlock.”
And so Jeongguk does.