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you were the life i needed all along

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There’s a strange wolf on the edge of his territory. 


It’s been skirting the marked boundaries for two days now and Yunho probably would not have even noticed the foreign presence if he didn’t know the forest so well. There’s no scent, no marker left behind on the trees and the mud, as if the wolf has doused itself in some kind of scent dampener. Yunho hasn’t come across any that works so well. It doesn’t make a noise, so nimble on its feet that Yunho can’t even really tell where it is. 


But two days ago he’d watched the little warblers nesting on the birch trees rise up in a cacophony of noises, singing shrilly as if to scare away a predator, finally resorting to abandoning their nests and flying away. The careful pacing, the almost non-existent tracks Yunho’d found right outside his cottage, and the eerie feeling of being watched makes his hackles rise, his alpha broiling under the surface of his skin. 


Yunho’s sure the strange wolf knows that it’s been discovered but it doesn’t attack or reveal itself. It seems like it’s waiting, waiting for Yunho to make the first move. Yunho tries to pretend like he has no clue; he’s lived alone for so long, he has no wish to start a territory skirmish with some lone wolf. 


So he tries to ignore it, tends to his garden leisurely, collects the abandoned bird nests and tries to feed the little hatchlings as much as possible, as if he doesn’t feel the tension in the air, doesn’t see the way all the small animals migrate more towards his cottage to seek refuge, as if they’re scared. He isn’t sure what the wolf wants; if it was to steal Yunho’s territory, it should have done so by now. Wolves aren’t really known for sinister tactics, territory fights are fast and violent and over in less than a day or a little more if the wolves are well-matched. He thinks maybe he’s misunderstood, maybe the wolf isn’t a shifter like him after all and is just a lone animal but there’s something about the calculated way the wolf hides, something that no animal would know to do. Something far more terrifying about the way this wolf lurks, as if it considers Yunho its prey. 


Maybe it’s all the years he’s lived undisturbed, all the time he’s had to forget, but he almost feels like he doesn’t remember how to fight, doesn’t want to fight. A scathing, familiar voice in his head whispers that he doesn’t remember how to be an alpha. He lets the voice go unheard and comes to a decision, perhaps, the most foolish one he’s ever made and that’s saying something, Yunho thinks grudgingly. But he doesn’t really have anything to lose. So, he changes tactics and tries to appeal to the wolf, coax it to come out and confront him. 


He leaves his territory, venturing deeper into the dense forest to hunt, and comes back with a few more rabbits than usual slung over his shoulder. Nothing seems to have been disturbed, his cottage lying snug and untouched. But when Yunho walks up to his door, he can smell the faintest trace of honeysuckle lingering on the ground, almost washed away by the strong perfume of the lavender bushes in his garden. Yunho stands there for a moment, knowing for certain now that this is a lone wolf in its shifted form, trying to memorise the scent. He wonders how a wolf could smell so sweet yet so threatening. Before he enters his home, he leaves a part of his kill outside, a little further away from his home. 


The next morning, it’s still there, untouched but the scent of honeysuckle is even stronger, seeping into the ground and something in Yunho blooms. 


Now that the wolf has started leaving its scent hesitantly, it feels like Yunho’s drowning in it. He’s not sure why it affects him so much but it’s like he can smell the wolf everywhere, the small cedars surrounding his house, the tall grass and especially on his door as if the wolf is rubbing itself against it. Yunho leaves game for the wolf every time he hunts for the next few weeks, small rabbits and weasels even though the wolf never touches them. Then, on one occasion, he brings down a large, vicious boar. The boar leaves infuriating injuries on him, deep scratches across his flank that bleed profusely and Yunho spends the day nursing himself and sleeping away the pain, letting his skin knit back into place. When night falls, Yunho ventures out to feed the chirping hatchlings and almost vibrates with excitement when he sees that half of the boar has been torn away, carefully, as if the wolf had tried not to spill too much blood or waste too much meat. He lets his own scent swell a little, trying to convey his happiness and he hopes the wolf sees it as a placating gesture.


The next few days, he prepares for a trip to the village, deeming it safe enough even with the wolf around. He collects and harvests the medicinal plants he’s grown and fills up little tinctures with them, preparing the glass bottles carefully and labelling them. He doesn’t leave his cottage for a while, only venturing outside to check on the hatchlings, watching as they begin to feather and slowly attempt to leave the nests one by one. He wonders if the wolf outside notices, wonders where the wolf has taken refuge, if it’s feeding himself, how it’s faring against the larger predators that sometimes wander outside Yunho’s territory. Spring in the forest is warm and abundant so Yunho doesn’t worry about whether the wolf has found shelter and warmth, but he thinks of how resolute, how experienced the wolf must be to be able to survive so long in its animal form, to blend so well into the forest. 


In the early hours of the morning, he makes his way to the stream that runs a few metres from his house to collect water to bathe, prepares a sack and fills it with supplies and the tinctures, pulling on a vest and trousers and tying up his hair into a loose ponytail. He can already hear Seonghwa harping at him about the length of his hair and knows he will most probably be forced to cut off most of it today. Thinking of Seonghwa reminds him of the svelte furs lying around in his house that will probably have more use if he were to give them away. He picks a few up and bundles them up in his sack, checking to see if the fireplace has died down and everything is calm. When he goes up to his door, it stops short, like there’s something blocking it from outside. He hears a small, indignant yip and starts when the door gives way suddenly. There’s a frantic rustling and Yunho swings the door open immediately just to catch sight of black and white fur before it disappears into the treeline.


He drops his sack on his doorstep and dashes outside, eyes flitting around to try and see the wolf again. The image of pitch-black fur and a white underbelly sears into his mind. But the forest is calm as if the wolf had simply vanished, leaving behind a barely comprehensible trail that seems to lead nowhere. The wolf was large, definitely larger than wild wolves, but not as large as an alpha. Yunho stops short before his head smacks into the trunk of a tree. The wolf might not be an alpha at all, might perhaps be a lone omega or beta seeking refuge, trying to find a new pack. The realisation uproots a strange urge in him, an urge to make sure the wolf remains safe. He runs back into his house and brings out the leftovers of his meals and leaves it outside. His doorstep is drenched with the smell of sweet flowers and Yunho tries not to smile too wide at the thought of the wolf sleeping right outside his door for days. 


The forest is shimmering with dew, the shrill singing of birds following Yunho’s every step. The last dregs of winter have finally melted away and the trees blossom, vibrant green and pinks and reds swaying in the wind. The path leading towards the village is covered with sleek, slippery mud and Yunho curses his fraying shoes every time he trips and almost drops the sack. 


The stone walls surrounding the village are covered with moss and left unguarded, as per usual. Yunho can’t blame them, the village is small, close-knit, the kind of place where nothing ever happens. It had suited Yunho perfectly when he’d come across it, searching aimlessly for a new home. As he walks, he gets a few strange glances, children stopping their play to stare at him curiously until their parents chastise them and pull them away. Yunho tries not to let it bother him. He’s a stranger here, a lone alpha from a foreign kingdom. Most of the people here avoid him as much as possible. He knows he makes it worse by living in the forests all alone like some kind of feral animal. 


He hefts the sack over his shoulder and walks with purpose until he reaches the square. It’s busy today and Yunho freezes at the sheer number of people walking around. There seems to be some kind of travelling market passing by, stalls set up everywhere and two wolves shifting and play fighting in performed choreography while a crowd cheers on. The scents are overwhelming and Yunho breathes shallowly and makes his way briskly towards the edge of the square, where the crowd thins out and the cottages are smaller. There’s one in particular, right at the corner, a little thatch-roofed house with dark windows that seems inconspicuous, nothing out of the ordinary if not for the green vines winding up over the walls, that seem to grow every time he visits. And the assortment of cats lounging on the doorstep, mewling indignantly at Yunho like he’s disturbing their peace. He walks up to the little door and knocks loudly, the little cats vanishing in a fit. 


“I swear to the Goddess, I will murder- Oh, Yunho! Oh, I completely forgot you were supposed to visit today.” 


Hongjoong opens the door wide, grinning at Yunho in a strangely unhinged way and Yunho tries not to stare at the way Hongjoong’s claws slip out, piercing the side of the door just a little where he holds it open. 




“Yunho! Come in, Hongjoong let him in, don’t be rude, sweetheart,” comes a faint voice from inside the house and Hongjoong’s smile twitches. Then he exhales, resigned and steps in so Yunho can pass. Before he can enter the house though, Hongjoong wraps a hand around his shoulder and forces Yunho to hold his intense gaze. 


“For your sake and mine, do not touch him, at all. My heat is very close and my wolf is ready to tear into something. Don’t let it be your sweet face I scar, Yunho, I’m far too fond of it,” he says breezily and then waddles into the house. Yunho contemplates just leaving the sack at the door and making a run for it but Hongjoong turns around and gestures at him to catch up. Yunho sighs and closes the door behind him. 


The house is dimly lit and smells so strongly of mint and another strange, thick, pungent scent, Yunho’s eyes water. Hongjoong leads him to the little kitchen where Seonghwa’s bent over a pot, furiously whisking something that seems to be the source of the pungent scent. He looks up and smiles wide at Yunho, mysterious smears all over his face. 


“We completely forgot you’d be visiting Yunho, so sorry about that! But you’re just in time, you wouldn’t happen to have brought yarrow root with you, would you?” He asks, looking at Yunho inquisitively. 


Yunho sets down the sack and starts removing the little bottles carefully, Hongjoong sniffing at them in curiosity. He picks them up to place them on the kitchen counter where there are many other little bottles of unknown concoctions and bits and pieces of plants and bones. Seonghwa claps his hands, muttering an ah! and grabs a bottle from Hongjoong’s hands, upending it into the strange concoction he’s almost elbow-deep in, nodding at Yunho in thanks. Hongjoong turns towards Seonghwa and sniffs disdainfully. 


“Hwa that smells vile , when is it going to be done?” He sounds whiny and indignant and his minty scent swells. Seonghwa turns around briefly to give him an apologetic look and lets out his own scent a little more in order to appease the disgruntled omega, the air beginning to smell heavily of mint and lemon. 


“Just a minute more, sweetheart, I need to get this done by today otherwise they’re going to disturb us during your heat and I don’t really want to be responsible for someone getting mauled by you. And mine will come soon after, and I refuse to do any work then,” he murmurs distractedly. “Sorry about the smell, Yunho, it’s just a healing salve. Sit!” 


Yunho sits down on one of the wobbly chairs in the kitchen and Hongjoong sags on another in front of him. Hongjoong stares at him with narrowed eyes. 


“Your hair’s gotten long again. Can I cut it? You look wild, Yunho, the elders aren’t going to let you come into the village anymore,” Hongjoong chastises. 


Yunho sighs and tugs at his hair. Seonghwa glances at them from the corner of his eye and it’s enough for Yunho to feel the disapproval he holds. He sighs again in acquiescence and Hongjoong whoops, pulling out scissors from nowhere at all and walking around behind Yunho. 


Hongjoong wraps a cloth around his shoulders and gets to work, untying Yunho’s unruly hair with small grumbles. As much as he likes to pretend otherwise, it feels oddly good to have his hair touched like this and his stomach swoops at the dawning realisation that he’s pathetically touch-starved. For a brief moment, he feels a swell of affection for Hongjoong and Seonghwa for taking care of him, buying supplies from him and fretting over him whenever he comes here. Hongjoong yanks at his hair with a small chuckle and a murmured “sappy alpha” and Yunho blushes. He forgets to keep a handle on his scent sometimes, there isn’t really a need when no one’s around. 


“Have you been well? Did you see the fair outside? It’s all in preparation for the festival in a few weeks. It’s quite exciting, we’re such a small village, no one thinks to stop by.”


Yunho nods at Seonghwa even though he can’t see and Hongjoong whacks at his shoulder for moving. “I’ve been well, I’ve actually been nursing abandoned hatchlings for the past few weeks. Yes, I passed by it, it was- quite a lot.”


He isn’t sure why he doesn’t tell them about the wolf but something makes his throat close up when he thinks to bring it up. Some kind of instinct telling him to keep this to himself. He jumps a little when Seonghwa guffaws, lost in thought. 


“Hatchlings? That’s adorable! You should have brought some over. Though the cats might not like that.” Seonghwa leans back from the pot and swipes his forearm against his temple, leaving for a moment and coming back with clean hands. He settles down next to them and hums in approval at whatever Hongjoong’s doing to his hair. 


“You look well, healthy. The last time you came here, you were- gaunt. Too thin. We were a little worried,” Seonghwa says softly. And Yunho knows, had sensed that they were, had appreciated all the extra food and spices they’d given him. But winter has always been hard on him, the energy to hunt or even just leave his bedspread seems to freeze in the cold. Now that the weather’s warmer and the sun’s out more, he finds it easier to leave his house, finds that the fog in his head has cleared. 


“I’m hunting more, the other day I brought down a boar! It was difficult, had to take a whole day off to heal,” he says, excitedly. Hongjoong makes a small, eager noise behind him. 


“A boar? Maybe I should live with you Yunho if you’re hunting things like boars. I’d be so well-fed, I haven’t eaten boar in years.” Seonghwa makes a deep, growling noise and stares indignantly at Hongjoong who laughs, a little tinkle in his voice like he knows exactly what he’s doing. “Don’t worry my love, no one could provide for me better than you. Though you’ve never hunted a boar for me.” 


Seonghwa pouts, scratching at the table absently. “I could take down a boar for you if you wanted me to,” he says petulantly. 


Hongjoong hums with mirth, combs through Yunho’s considerably shorter hair with his fingers and sets the scissors down. “There you go! Here, take a look at it.” He shoves a small pocket mirror into Yunho’s face and skips over to sit on Seonghwa’s lap, pulling at the other’s cheeks teasingly. Yunho turns the mirror this way and that, looking at the way his hair is cropped short now, somehow a little longer at the top. He doesn’t know what Hongjoong did but he looks, well, handsome. It’s like looking at a painting of himself when he had just come of age; when his hair used to be cut by scissors made of pure gold and far more frequently. It seems like it was a lifetime ago, not just six long years. 


“I-I like it. A lot, thank you,” his voice is rough but Hongjoong just waves him off. Seonghwa smiles wide at the two of them and then jumps. 


“Ah, yes, Yunho, your payment. Can I ask you for another favour? Could you hand over the salve to the Head Elder, you know his place right? I would go but ah, well, Hongjoong doesn’t like it when I leave him alone for too long when he’s like this.” Seonghwa rummages around some cupboards and comes back with a bag of coins which he shoves into Yunho’s hands. It’s heavier than usual and Yunho looks at Seonghwa imploringly. 


“Oh, don’t look at me like that, being a physician for this godforsaken village doesn’t pay half as bad as you’d think, especially with heat season coming up. Take it, Yunho, I want you to.” Seonghwa holds up a massive jar filled with the pungent-smelling salve and stares at Yunho beseechingly. Yunho takes the jar and the bag of money gingerly, trying not to breathe too deep and starts packing them into his sack when he remembers-


“Oh, here. I had a lot of furs lying around, if you would like them? I know it’s not winter but the nights are still cold.” Hongjoong gasps and rubs his palm across one of the furs, marvelling at the softness. He grabs all of them in his arms, the furs enveloping him till only his legs are visible and runs out of the kitchen, yelling out a short goodbye to Yunho. 


“You couldn’t have brought them at a better time, he loves waddling himself up in thick furs when he’s in heat, he’s going to be so happy.” Seonghwa shakes his head, a fond smile on his face, and gives Yunho a short hug. Hongjoong seems to have forgotten about the threat he gave Yunho earlier, judging by the loud purring they can hear from the bedroom.  


“Don’t wait so long to visit next time, you can drop by even when you aren’t bringing us medicinal supplies you know? We’d love to have you over for a day or more, you know that.” 


Yunho does. He just doesn’t like coming to them empty-handed, doesn’t know how else he can be of value. Seonghwa must sense that Yunho’s not entirely convinced but he just smiles at him, placing his hand on his neck for a brief moment in an effort to scent him. Yunho feels a content rumble pass through his chest; he’s always loved being scented by packmates and for a brief moment, it’s like Yeosang’s standing where Seonghwa is, beaming at Yunho and ruffling his hair. Seonghwa chuckles and the image dissolves. He isn’t sure whether to return the gesture because Seonghwa might not consider him pack at all, is probably just being kind. So he just nods, a little awkwardly and walks to the door. 


“Goodbye Yunho, don’t be a stranger!” Seonghwa’s voice calls out as Yunho shuts the door behind him. 


Yunho drops the jar off at the elder’s house, ignoring the disdainful look the older wolf gives him and makes his way towards the markets to pick up new clothes and supplies. The elders don’t like him and he knows that, they’re traditional and think it’s wrong for a pure-blooded alpha like Yunho to live so far away from the village, to not have a pack or a mate. The fact that Yunho refuses to talk about his past or his former pack makes things even worse. Technically, he’s not even formally a part of this village, he lives beyond the territory and only visits occasionally. That’s perhaps the only reason none of them has banned him from here yet, he only counts as a passing traveller, in their eyes. It’s better that way, safer for him and for the people of the village.


He manoeuvres through the crowds and haggles with the merchants at their flimsy stalls, buying a new shirt and trousers and a pair of robust shoes with the money Seonghwa gave him. There’s still so much left after, Yunho indulges himself with a few sweet cakes from the baker’s, he’s always loved the ones filled with cream and custard. The baker, a friendly omega named Mingi, slips in a few cookies with his parcel as well and when Yunho gives him a look Mingi laughs and just says “I made too many so they’re completely free of charge. Visit more often Yunho, you’re the only one who ever buys my custard cakes!” with a small pout. 


When he starts making his way back, the sun is low in the sky and the crowd has dwindled, people heading home to sleep the afternoon away. The forest is darker and sleepy, Yunho’s favourite part of the day. It’s like everything is lazy, even the animals hanging from the branches and resting. He can’t wait to do the same, go home and nap till the moon comes out. 


But as he nears his territory, a strange smell permeates the air. Sweetness tinged with something foul, something that smells like blood, makes Yunho gag. His heart falters when he realises what it is and he runs, racing between the trees until he reaches the clearing right outside his house and hears muted, barely-there whimpers. 


He can’t locate the source, and he looks around frantically, scanning the trees, the large bushes until his eyes settle on his door and on the curled up ball of fur right outside it. He jogs up to his house but stops when the wolf whips around to fix Yunho with an intense, threatening stare, low growl piercing the air. 


Now that he’s closer Yunho’s certain the wolf is a male omega but there are no pack claims in his scent. Yunho breaks away from the omega’s fierce eyes and scans his body for blood, gasping when he sees the horrid wounds on his flank. It’s as if the wolf has been mauled by something, the skin torn up and bleeding so quickly and so profusely, Yunho knows the wolf will die soon if he doesn’t help him. He raises both arms in the air and tries approaching slowly but the wolf seems to panic, scrambling backwards and whimpering loudly. The wounds seep out more blood and Yunho watches them, heart racing. 


“Hey, look, it’s okay, I promise. I need to help you or you’re going to die. I won’t hurt you.” The wolf stares at him in disbelief for a moment, feet still scrambling on the wood. Then he seems to sag, a long drawn out whine escaping him and he gives Yunho a pleading look before his eyes close and his breathing slows. 


Yunho jolts and picks up the limp body, carrying him inside and laying him on the floor. For a second he doesn’t know what to do and just watches the wolf stain his floor with blood, his sweet scent dampening so much, Yunho can barely smell him anymore. 


“No, no, no , not on my fucking watch,” Yunho mutters and gets to work. 


He presses cloth and gauze to the wound, trying to staunch the bleeding, and forces a healing tonic down the wolf’s throat. There’s a specific strain of wolfsbane in it that furthers healing and he hopes to the Goddess the wolf reacts to it well. When there doesn't seem to be any adverse effect, Yunho cleans out the wounds carefully, pausing every now and then when the wolf whimpers, still unconscious. The bleeding has stopped but the wounds don’t seem to be closing yet and Yunho feeds the wolf more of the tonic, transferring him to the bedspread. 


He waits for hours, until the sky outside melts into darkness, and exhales heavily in relief when he visibly sees the skin knit itself back into place, painfully slow. The wolf hasn’t woken up yet and Yunho doesn’t expect him to do so for a while. But his breathing is calmer and his scent stronger. Yunho cleans up all the bloodied cloth and scrubs vigorously at the floor until the stains disappear. There isn’t much water left so he picks up two buckets and leaves the house, knowing the wolf will be fine, and makes his way to the stream to fill up more water. 


His sight is a little blurred and his body feels fatigued, as if it expelled all the energy he has in the worry and panic he felt. Hefting the two buckets of water seems to take more effort than usual and when Yunho walks back home, concentrating on not dropping the water he almost doesn’t notice the figure sitting up in his bed. 


“Oh, fuck!” He jerks, water spilling just a little until he remembers to set down the buckets. The man on the bed just stares at him, eyes blinking slowly. His hair is thick and curly, a few locks a vibrant white right at the front. Yunho can’t look away from his eyes, can’t stop staring at how wide they are, how intently they stare back at him. Yunho’s cheeks colour when he realises the man is completely bare and he moves quickly to bring a clean robe, almost tripping over the buckets. 


He hands it to the man who tilts his head at him and when Yunho clears his throat, the man hums and takes the robe gingerly, wrapping it around himself with difficulty, the cloth far too big for his small frame. He looks back at Yunho with a strange twinkle in his eyes. 


“Um, are you feeling better? It looks like the wounds have closed up. You lost a lot of blood though.” 


The man doesn’t reply. Yunho feels like squirming a little under the unnerving stare fixed on him. 


“I-I can cook some broth for you? That would help you bring your strength up. I’m Yunho, by the way, I’ve seen you around my house but we’ve never-” his voice trails off awkwardly and he studiously avoids looking at the man, busying himself with lighting up the fireplace and finding a large pot to cook the broth in. 


He’s looking for leftover bones and meat when he hears the softest, tinkling laugh and whips around to see the man smiling at him, lopsided. His face is lit up, eyes bright and an endearing dimple carved into his cheek. Sweet honeysuckle fills the room in waves and Yunho feels a little breathless. 


“Do you make it a habit to cook and care for strange wolves who scout your territory for weeks, Yunho?” 


“Uh. Well, not really. You-you’re the first one to ever, well, come here.”


The man hums, sitting back on his hands and considering Yunho. 


“So you’re either the most stupid alpha I’ve ever met or just genuinely trusting of people. Which is also naive and foolish.” He cocks an eyebrow and tilts his head back and Yunho should probably feel insulted but he’s too busy staring at the man’s bare neck. He swallows and tears his eyes away. 


“I couldn’t leave you to die. If that makes me stupid, so be it.” 


“Why? If I was in your place, I would have. You do not know me, what if I have bad intentions?” 


Yunho pauses and considers the other man, holding his eyes with intent. “I think I’ll take my chances.” 


The man snorts and looks away, fiddling with the edges of the robe. Yunho begins preparing the broth, the only sounds the soft bubbling of water and the crackle of the fire. Yunho hears rustling and turns around to see the man attempting to get up and struggling. 


“Wait, you aren’t strong enough-”


The man stands up on wobbly feet and then promptly crumples to the ground with a grunt, muttering a petulant ouch. He looks so small sitting on the ground with a pout on his face, covered up to his ears by the oversized robe. Yunho sighs and moves forward to help him but the man flinches violently and Yunho freezes. 


“I don’t need your help. I can’t stay, I need to go,” the man murmurs and tries getting up again, groaning in pain. His face is scrunched up and Yunho watches silently as the man holds onto his side, trying to lift himself with only one hand. Yunho tries not to laugh at the man’s exasperated scowl. 


“Judging by how you’ve been loitering around my territory for the past few weeks, I’m not sure where you’re going to go,” Yunho says with a smirk and the man glares at him. The effect is somewhat dampened by how sulky the expression is, how endearing. “Stay. Please. Eat something and feel free to rest here for the night. You can leave in the morning.”


Yunho scoops out cooked broth in a bowl and places it in front of the other, settling down on the ground in front of him and digging into his own bowl with relish. He’s aware of the man watching him but he ignores it, eating contently and waiting. Finally, the man picks up the bowl slowly and brings it to his lips and Yunho smiles. 


They eat in silence, and when they’re done, Yunho pulls out a few furs and lays them on the ground, a little distance away from his bed, shucking his clothes off and blowing the fire out before settling down for the night. The man doesn’t stop staring at him, still sitting slumped on the ground even when the fire goes out and the house gets dark. Yunho lays on his side, back to the man, and tries to still his frantic heart. He hears rustling again and listens to the man drag himself to the bedspread and lie down with a thump and a sigh.


Yunho realises with a start that his whole house smells like them , honeysuckle mingling with his own earthy scent. He hates that he likes it so much. It’s probably just the lack of another presence in this house. 


“You-you hunted a boar for me.” The man’s voice is muted but Yunho still jumps a little at the sudden sound. 


“I did. I wasn’t sure if you were eating well-”


“Why? Was it just some, some alpha thing?”


Yunho hums. “I’m not sure. I think I was just worried about you.” 


“You’re very strange, Yunho. And very foolish.”


“Yes, I’m aware. Can I-can I ask for your name?” 


There’s silence and Yunho thinks the man isn’t going to answer him at all when he speaks again. “San. My name is Choi San. Thank you for taking care of me, alpha.” 


Yunho senses it when San falls asleep, breathing evening out into little tufts of air. Yunho doesn’t sleep for a while. 


When he wakes up, the sun is glaring into his face, eyes squinting at the onslaught of light. He sits up groggily and immediately notices the lack of a certain scent in the air. His bedspread is empty and neatly piled up. He stares at it for a moment and sighs, falling back down onto the furs and closing his eyes. He can’t really remember what he’s supposed to do, what he used to do every morning. What does he even do the whole day? 


He lays there for what feels like hours before the rumbling of his stomach urges him to eat some food. He gets up leisurely and heats up the leftover broth, sitting on the bedspread and eating. They still smell like San. He doesn’t know when San left but it must not have been much earlier considering how thick his scent still sits on the bed. When he’s done eating, he curls up on the bedspread, lifting the sheets to his nose and falls asleep again. 


He mopes around for days, fully aware of how pathetic he’s behaving. He goes back to tending to his garden, ventures out into the forest to forage and hunt and runs around like a pup in his shifted form, trying to revel in the hot weather and the cool evenings. But he can’t help but get distracted every time he sees a flash of dark fur, finds himself hunting large animals and almost leaving them outside before he remembers there’s no one to share the kill with. 


A part of him hopes San is still around, maybe still wandering around his territory but there’s no trace of San’s sweet scent, no strangeness in the forest or its animals and he knows San is gone for good. Yunho tries to convince himself that he’s only reacting like this because he hasn’t had company for so many years, hasn’t met an omega in a long time. A treacherous part of him reminds him that he meets Hongjoong, Seonghwa and Mingi regularly and has never reacted so profoundly to their scent before. An even more infuriating part of him whispers about San being special, potentially being his ma-


He squashes that thought with fervour. 


His dreams leave him aching for someone to hold on to. Sometimes he dreams of running around with a wolf with suspiciously familiar black fur and a white underbelly, dreams of a lopsided smile and an overwhelmingly sweet scent pressed into his skin, hands roaming over his shoulders and chest, brushing over the brand on his bicep. And sometimes he dreams of the place he used to call home; tall spires and empty hallways, Yeosang’s fair hair and bubbling laughter, racing each other as pups and being reprimanded by their father.


 Some days he wakes up gasping for breath, dreaming of memories he had tried to forget, of blood on his hands, the stinging of whips, the mocking crown on his stepmother’s head and worst of all, Yeosang’s face red with tears. He buries himself in his sheets when he has these dreams but San’s scent has long since faded and only the phantom feeling remains. 


A week or more passes, Yunho isn’t very sure, but he decides that he desperately needs company. He’s already dressed and halfway to the village before he realises he didn’t bring anything with him. It’s too late to go back now and Yunho just continues onwards, hoping Hongjoong and Seonghwa won’t mind too much. As he walks into the village, he starts getting cold feet, afraid that they might not be able to keep him company, that they have their own lives to bother about. 


He’s lost in thought when he bumps into someone who lets out a short oof! and then a bright “Yunho!” 


He looks up to see Mingi’s wide, beaming face, smile disappearing into his eyes. He’s holding a basket that smells absolutely divine. 


“I can’t believe you’re here, Hongjoong was almost about to go and get you himself,” Mingi says cheerily. Yunho frowns. 


“Why? Did something happen, is everyone okay?” 


“Yes, of course, something amazing has happened. Seonghwa is with child!” Mingi chirps, “We’re celebrating at Jongho’s, I’m bringing a basket of sweet pastries and breads, I know Seonghwa doesn’t have a sweet tooth but Hongjoong gets very anxious and craves sweet things so, here!” Mingi lifts the basket up. Yunho’s stomach fills with warmth. He knows Hongjoong and Seonghwa have been trying for years now to no avail. Suddenly, he can’t wait to see them. 


“Come, join us, they really want you there!” 


He follows Mingi to the tavern Jongho runs, chattering about Mingi’s bakery, about how Yunho has been. Mingi must sense that something’s off about Yunho because his scent wraps itself around Yunho like a blanket, the homely feeling of hearth comforting him. When they reach the tavern, the cacophony of happy voices and overjoyed scents lilts towards them and Yunho can’t stop himself from grinning so wide it hurts. 


“Yunho, thank god you’re here! Can you believe it, did you hear? We’re going to have a child!” Hongjoong jumps up and down, flinging his arms around Yunho’s neck, voice bright with joy. Seonghwa stands behind him with a fond smile and mouths a soft thank you for coming


“Seonghwa’s heat always comes only a few days after mine and when it didn’t come for a whole week, we just knew. And then the midwife confirmed it! Honestly, we thought it would be me considering I was the one in heat but apparently Seonghwa’s the more fertile one out of the two of us-”


Anyways , Yunho, I’m so glad you’re here, I really wanted to share this moment with all my friends, my pack,” Seonghwa says, giving Yunho a warm hug and Yunho tries to hide his burning face in Seonghwa’s shoulder, the way his eyes begin to prick with tears. Pack.  When Seonghwa lets go, Yunho allows Mingi to wrap himself around him, not sure if he can look up without crying. 


“Sweet alpha, of course, you’re pack. We’ve known you for so many years now, you always will be,” Seonghwa says fondly and murmurs of assent fill the room. 


“Here, I think you need this.” Jongho appears before him and shoves a large mug of alcohol under Yunho’s nose, smiling wide. Yunho looks up at him gratefully and drinks eagerly when Hongjoong yells out a garbled toast, hanging onto Seonghwa’s shoulders and pressing reverent kisses to his cheeks. 


The tavern is mostly empty, Jongho had put up a closed sign outside, except for a few patrons with rooms upstairs who watch their antics with glee, coming up to congratulate Seonghwa. They drink and rejoice well into the night, playing games and wrestling like young pups. Yunho hasn’t felt happier in a long long while. He just wishes he could stop thinking of how San would fit in with them, how San would laugh at Jongho’s jokes, drape himself over Yunho in the same way Hongjoong does to Seonghwa. He tries to remind himself that he doesn’t even know San. 


Very soon, they tire and begin heading home and Yunho realises how late it is, wonders if it’s a good idea to walk through the forest at this hour. Hongjoong adamantly refuses to let Yunho go home and Jongho simply offers him a room at the tavern. 


“Most of them are booked, but the small guest room is still empty, you can most definitely stay the night,” he shrugs, handing Yunho the key and some spare sheets. Yunho tries to argue, promising to pay Jongho the next time he returns but Jongho dismisses him, bodily pushing him up the stairs with a “Just go to sleep, Yunho, you look like you’re going to fall. It’s the first door on the left.”


And Yunho does feel a little like he’s going to crumple, he feels so tired. But he also feels like he’s floating, his blood zinging with alcohol and happiness. He clambers up the stairs and makes his way to the room on unsteady feet. There’s a strange scent in the air, faint, not unwelcome, but something very familiar that he can’t place right now. He walks in blindly and falls onto the bed, facedown, already succumbing to the clutches of sleep. 


He falls asleep cocooned by the scent, a sweet perfume that smells almost like honeysuckle. 





He wakes with an awful headache. The bustling sounds of the tavern rise up from downstairs, filling the room with a constant, muted chatter. It must almost be evening, he slept for so long. The sweet scent from the night before has gone and Yunho thinks it hadn’t been there at all, face burning at the thought that he’s literally dreaming up San’s phantom scent everywhere. 


He gets up with a groan and dresses slowly, making his way down the stairs with difficulty, every step piercing into his skull. 


The tavern is busy, people mingling around, sprawled across the wooden tables, the smell of alcohol and greasy food heavy in the air. 


“Yunho, you’re finally up! The sun has almost set, my friend.”


Jongho’s voice echoes across the room and Yunho finds him sitting on a table, Mingi’s head on his shoulder, a massive mug of foul-smelling liquid clutched in his hand. Yunho walks over to them and flops onto the chair opposite. This close, he can see strange marks all over Mingi’s neck, the way Jongho has a hand clasped on Mingi’s thigh. He feels his cheeks flush when he realises that their scents are so mixed together, they’re indiscernible. 


“I see Mingi stayed the night as well,” he says teasingly and Mingi rolls his eyes, pushing his face into Jongho’s neck, while the alpha laughs, patting Mingi’s thigh. 


“Mingi’s been staying the night for more than a month now. You really do need to come here more often.” Yunho’s stomach churns a little with guilt. Though it might just be the alcohol. 


Jongho snorts and takes a sip of the strange liquid. “I’m just joking, come as often as you like. We always look forward to it. Did you sleep well?” 


Yunho nods slowly. “Why is the place so crowded?” 


Jongho hums, playing with Mingi’s hair absently. “Haven’t you heard? The Lunar Festival is being held tomorrow, Yunho, the elders decided we should host it. Wolves from the whole province have started coming in, setting up tents all around. It’s a terrible idea, we’re much too small a village, but it’s good for business I guess,” he gripes, fingers drumming restlessly on the table. Mingi pushes a plate of bread and some kind of gravy towards Yunho with a short, “Eat something, you must be hungry.”


Yunho blinks, digging into the food distractedly. He had forgotten about the festival, had forgotten there was going to be a full moon so soon. He hasn’t taken part in it for years, preferring to spend the full moon in the quiet of the forest. He probably can’t avoid it now, considering it’ll be happening right here. He thinks of the last festival he had celebrated, all those years ago, eating sweet rice pudding with his friends, teasing Yeosang about the beta he’d set a lantern afloat with, and running around the castle grounds like a little pup, the moonlight settling like home and warmth within him. Then he remembers what happened just a few days after and the pain in his head spikes viciously, skin buzzing with discomfort. 


He stares at the mug in Jongho’s hand, slightly blurry in his vision. 


“Oh, you should drink some of this too,” Jongho says, noticing Yunho’s gaze, “One of Seonghwa’s many remedies for morning fog after a night of drinking. Though, it’s not really morning anymore, heh. Tastes like absolute shit, but works incredibly well. Here.” Jongho hands it to him and Yunho wraps his hands around the mug slowly, trying not to gag at the bitter scent. He takes a tentative sip and almost retches, coughing furiously. Mingi shrieks with laughter and Jongho urges him to take another sip with an infuriating smirk on his face. So, he holds his nose and gulps it down in one go, shuddering. He scrunches his eyes shut, trying to stomach the liquid. When he opens them again, his gaze settles on the table directly behind Jongho and Mingi, on very familiar eyes squinting at him in a barely concealed, amused smile. 


He gasps audibly and stares at San like he’s looking a ghost. He can’t smell him, he must be covering his scent again, somehow. Maybe the honeysuckle he could smell last night had truly been San. But what is he doing here? San holds Yunho’s gaze with ease, still smiling. He’s wearing a clean white shirt and a bulky vest pulled tight around his waist. His hair is less unruly than last time, but it’s still curly, flopping into his eyes. 


“Yunho? Oh no, we broke him, Jongho.” Yunho breaks eye contact with San and looks back at his friends, a little dazed. 


“Oh, what? No, no, I’m fine. I just- do you know the man sitting on the table right behind you? Don’t look so quickly!” He whispers and then regrets it when both of them turn around noisily to stare at San, who raises an eyebrow at them. 


“Ah, yes, my mysterious patron. He came in two nights ago, didn’t give me a name. Not really sure what he’s doing here, he’s definitely not part of any village in the province, he has no pack scent. He disappears during the day and just comes back here to sleep. This is the first time I’ve actually seen him here for more than a second,” Jongho muses. “Why?” 


“N-no reason.” 


Mingi squints at him, mouth opening to say something when a booming voice interrupts them, blaring across the room. 


“Aren’t you lonely sitting all by yourself, little one?” 


There’s a large alpha leaning over San, palm pressed to the table, smelling heavily of sweat and alcohol. He can’t see San from here, the alpha blocking him from sight but he tenses, a growl taking shape in the back of his throat. 


The alpha sniffs at the air obnoxiously, still leaning over the table. “Can’t smell you, but you look like a sweet omega, look at that face. Now, why would an omega like you want to hide your scent?” 


San doesn’t say a word. Jongho sighs heavily and mutters, “How many times do I have to throw out drunk, self-important alphas on their ass?” Before Jongho can make a move though, the alpha growls loudly, so loud that even Mingi whimpers in fright. 


“Answer me when I’m talking to you, little bitch !” Yunho watches as the alpha raises his hand, and he springs up, Jongho yelling in outrage, already moving. But everything happens too fast. Before they can even reach San’s table, the alpha’s face down, arm wrenched behind his back, screaming in pain as San holds a blade to his throat. San’s face is calm, not a hair out of place. Yunho watches in shock as he bends the alpha’s arm even more until it’s twisted at an unnatural angle and the alpha’s howling. 


“Maybe you’ll think twice before attempting to lay your hands on someone again, hm?” San says in an icy tone and Yunho whole body shivers at the hint of violence lying underneath. Jongho walks up to them and stares at San with uncertainty. 


“Sir, I’m very sorry about this, I’ll throw him out. He’ll be banned from ever coming back,” Jongho reassures. San looks at Jongho blankly, palm still pressing the blade into the side of the alpha’s neck. Then he sighs and lets the alpha go, shoving him towards Jongho, hiding the blade within the folds of his sleeves. The alpha holds his arm gingerly, fat tears streaming down his face. Jongho just gives him a disgusted look and drags him outside. 


Yunho jogs up to San but hangs back a little, unsure if the omega wants him to come any closer. San looks unperturbed as if nothing had even happened but Yunho notices the way his jaw is clenched tight, the slightly unfocused look in his eyes. He looks up at Yunho and throws him a small smile. 


“I’m sure you’re surprised to see me on two legs and actually dressed for once.”


“Are you okay?”


 San looks at him and smirks. “I know you’ve gotten used to it, but I promise you I can take care of myself, alpha,” he says in a teasing tone. Yunho tries not to blush too visibly.


“No, I know- clearly. I never doubted that you couldn’t. I watched you fend for yourself for weeks, San, you’re far more capable than me or anyone else.” 


San doesn’t say anything, but there’s a strange sheen to his eyes, like he’s scrutinising Yunho thoroughly. Yunho feels lost, his alpha pleading with him to go up to San and wrap him up in his arms. Some darker, feral part of him wants to go outside and sink his claws into the drunk alpha who had dared to approach San, to approach his omega- 


He swallows down the thought vehemently, disgusted with himself for even thinking like that. 


“You smell anxious. Restless. Why?” San’s voice is soft and his eyes are devoid of any emotion. It makes him look all the more dangerous and instead of cowing under his gaze, Yunho feels his blood thrum. 


“I care about you- about what happens to you. I know it’s strange but I-I find myself drawn to you. I want to know about you, to know you .” 


He regrets it the second he sees San’s eyes shutter. He’s always had a weak hold over his emotions, speaking his mind during inopportune times. He must make San so uncomfortable with his forthrightness. Before he can stutter out an apology though, San’s face transforms. 


Suddenly, he’s smirking, eyes hooded. He crosses the small distance between them and places his palm on Yunho’s chest, staring into his eyes coyly. He’s so close Yunho can see the faint splatter of freckles across his nose, the small scar on his chin. 


“Then take me upstairs, alpha. I want you to show me how much you care.” 


Yunho’s face burns and he splutters. “Wait, what? That’s not what-”


But San’s already dragging him by the hand, past a startled looking Mingi who stares after them in concern, and up the stairs, to an empty room that smells heavily of San. He shoves Yunho onto the unmade bed and disappears into the adjoined bathroom. Yunho sits on the edge of the bed precariously, listening to the sounds of water running. He understands what San’s doing the moment a wave of his pheromones flood the room, the scent blockers on his skin washed off. San walks back into the room languidly, dabbing a cloth on the sides of his neck. He catches Yunho’s eyes and smirks. 


“Sorry, I prefer to keep my scent covered up. But you like my scent don’t you? You’re not very good at controlling your own, I can smell your desire so clearly,” San says, and Yunho can’t look him in the eyes anymore, cheeks flaming. 


“I-I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make you-oof!” Yunho stops short, choking on his words when San throws the towel away and falls to his knees, shuffling over till he’s between Yunho’s legs. He’s so close to Yunho’s crotch, breath coming out in tufts, hands massaging at Yunho’s thighs. But there’s something wrong, something off about the way San’s pheromones taste so uncharacteristically submissive. 


San looks up at him with wide eyes that look distressingly empty when he pleads, in a small voice, “Let me taste your cock, alpha, I’ll be so good, I promise. ” 


Yunho’s frozen for a moment, just watching as San pushes his face into his crotch when he realises exactly what’s wrong. There’s not an ounce of desire in San’s scent. San reaches out with a hand to rub at Yunho’s pants but Yunho catches his wrist and pushes him away gently, standing up, knees a little shaky. San sits on his knees, tilting his head at Yunho with a confused expression. He looks like the perfect omega, obedient and submissive and Yunho’s skin crawls. 


“I don’t want you to do this. You don’t want to do this.”


San huffs. “What are you talking about, of course, I do. I just want to please you, alpha. Is this not what you want? What you asked for?” 


He reaches forward again, palms settling on Yunho’s hips but Yunho doesn’t let him come forward, slinks his hands under San’s arms and pulls him up until he’s standing and glaring at Yunho with a familiar, enraged expression. 


“No, this isn’t what I meant, San. I-yes, I desire you, how can I not? But I feel so much more than that. You just- you make me feel whole. In a way I haven’t been for a very long time. You cannot deny that there’s something-”


Suddenly, there’s a cold, steel blade cutting into the skin of his throat and his words die out. San looks at him with eyes full of fire, scent so intimidating, Yunho’s wolf cowers.


“You’re pathetic. ” Yunho flinches at the intensity of San’s snarl. The omega’s tense, body taut like he’s about to spring.


“H-how are you this foolish? I am not who you think I am. I am not the kind of omega that is sought after, definitely not as a-a mate. I cannot give you what you want.” San’s heaving, teeth bared. He presses the blade more firmly into Yunho’s neck, and Yunho can smell the slight taste of blood in the air. 


“I don’t want anything from you. I can walk out of here and never see you again, if that’s what you want. I’ll take anything you give me.” 


San scoffs in disbelief, staring at Yunho incredulously. “ Who says I’m going to let you walk out of here?” And then Yunho’s fear dies out. San looks feral, unhinged but his eyes are distressed, glazed over with tears and there’s a hint of desperation in his scent. 


“If you wanted to hurt me, you’ve had plenty of chances to do so already. You aren’t going to hurt me. Because you feel the same way, don’t you? I- My wolf recognises you as my fated . I know yours does too or you would have torn my throat out by now.” 


There’s a lump in his throat that grows the longer San stares at him in silence. When San doesn’t say a word, Yunho feels like he’s about to choke, maybe he had been wrong-


Then San curses, puts the blade away and closes the distance between them and places a hot palm on his cheek, pulling him in for a searing kiss. He murmurs something into the kiss, a frustrated little you’re infuriating, but Yunho doesn’t pay much attention to it, lost in the sensation of San’s soft mouth on his, the warm thrum under his skin. He jolts when he feels San’s tongue lick into his mouth, trying to pull away with an uncertain, “Wait, are you sure-”


San growls and winds his arms around Yunho’s neck, pulling him back down to nip at his bottom lip gently. 


“Shut up and kiss me. I just- I need you.”


So Yunho does, pulls at San’s lips with his teeth, lets San lap into his mouth greedily, open-mouthed and filthy, keening when Yunho sucks on his tongue. He presses his palms into San’s abdomen, smoothing them over his hips and back, unable to stop touching, marvelling at how small San’s waist is, how nicely it fits in Yunho’s hands. San doesn’t seem to mind, arching his back and pressing closer to his front, until his crotch is aligned with Yunho’s thigh. 


Yunho thinks maybe he should pull away, before it gets too much but then San rolls his hips into Yunho’s thigh, making small, high-pitched noises and licking into Yunho’s mouth feverishly like he can’t get enough and Yunho’s skin burns. He jostles San, pressing his thigh between his legs and right against his crotch, lifting him up just a little so San sags against him, toes barely touching the ground. 


San moans and clings to Yunho desperately, still rolling his hips against him, pressing his face into Yunho’s neck and licking at the skin there. 


“Fuck, you’re- you’re not that passive then, are you?” San tilts his head back and looks at Yunho with a wry smile, mouth a little wet around the corners and cheeks red. He looks so beautiful, Yunho doesn’t know what to say. San presses a timid kiss to Yunho’s jaw and looks at him with wide eyes. This time they’re blazing, no longer empty, glazed over with heat and desire. 


“Yunho, touch me.” 


He hefts San up with ease, ignoring the little squeal the omega lets out, and carries him over to the bed, pressing him down into the mattress gently. He pulls away to take off his shirt and when he looks back, San’s throwing away his vest and shirt, wriggling out of his pants until he’s bare and lying back with his legs spread. He looks so unashamed of his nudity, already snaking a hand down to play with his cock, looking at Yunho with impatience. Yunho doesn’t waste a moment, climbing onto the bed and running his hands over San’s skin, revelling in the way San arches and hums, in awe that San’s letting Yunho see him like this, all needy and splayed out.


San’s cock is hard and leaking, and when Yunho wraps a palm around it, San hisses in pleasure, pushing his hips up. Yunho pumps his hand, thumbing at the leaking head, playing with San’s cock until the omega’s moaning so loud Yunho’s sure half the floor can hear it. He doesn’t like that thought very much, doesn’t want anyone else to witness San like this. 


He leans up to slot his mouth against San, swallowing down his noises, free hand coming up to brush against San’s nipples. San arches so violently, he bites into Yunho’s lip until it hurts. San pulls away and there’s a tinge of blood on his lips. He looks straight into Yunho’s eyes when he licks it off, and Yunho’s cock strains so hard in his pants, he’s almost afraid they’ll tear. 


“Goddess, I’m- Yunho I’m so wet, please touch me,” San breathes out so softly, almost like he’s ashamed. Yunho doesn’t question it, just reaches a hand down below, brushing against San’s balls, and sliding his fingers through the wetness gathered at San’s entrance. He’s absolutely soaking and he smells divine, Yunho can’t quite hold back a groan at the thought of San being so aroused, all because of him. 


Yunho keeps moving his hand against San’s cock, using his other to circle his fingers around San’s hole, dipping one in just to hear San whine and roll his hips. He draws it out a little, hand pulling painfully slow at San’s cock, two fingers stroking slowly at his inner walls. San groans and whines, cursing at Yunho and grinding his body down so filthily, Yunho barely tamps down the urge to just pick San up and push his cock into him. 


When San looks close to tears, angry muttering fading out into small, barely-there pleas, Yunho plunges two more fingers into him, his entrance opening up with ease and fucks them into him steadily, speeding up his hand on San’s reddened cock. San writhes, hips tilting this way and that but Yunho leans over him, pressing his body weight into him until San can barely move, just sobs into Yunho’s neck, pulling him down for messy, open-mouthed kisses. 


Yunho can smell when San’s close, and he fucks him harder, four fingers curling up to make San shriek. San shoves his head into the crook of Yunho’s neck and mutters gibberish and garbled versions of Yunho’s name until finally, his body tenses and he arches, mouth open in a silent scream, drooling onto Yunho’s skin, coming all over his hand. 


Yunho doesn’t take his hands away, pumping San’s cock until he’s squealing with oversensitivity, keeping his fingers inside him. San pants heavily and writhes, pushing at Yunho’s hand until he takes them away. Yunho’s palm is covered with San’s come and he doesn’t hesitate to lick up the mess, ignoring the gasp San lets out at the sight. 


“You taste so good, fuck, knew you would.” He presses a gentle kiss to San’s cheeks, then presses a long, firm one on his lips, the omega still breathing heavily, body lax. When he tries to pull away to get them a washcloth, San holds him tight with his arms clasped around Yunho’s neck, looking at Yunho beseechingly. 


“You didn’t come,” he says, as if shocked. He slides a hand down into Yunho’s pants and wraps his palm around his cock. Yunho moans and his hips jerk a little at the feeling of San’s warm hand. 


“Let me make you come, alpha, please,” San murmurs and pushes Yunho’s pants down until they’re gathered at his thighs, small palm sliding up and down Yunho’s cock with ease. Yunho doesn’t protest, already so close he’s leaking all over San’s abdomen. San pumps his hand fast and rough, at odds with the way he presses sweet kisses to Yunho’s lips. He makes a small noise of delight when Yunho’s knot begins to form, pressing down on it and caressing it with his fingers until Yunho’s groaning in pleasure, holding onto San’s hips so tight, he’s sure it’ll leave a bruise. 


“Fuck, I’m close, San, I-”


“Come on me, please, want you to come all over me,” San says, digging his thumb under the head of Yunho’s cock and Yunho succumbs, marking San’s stomach and chest with his come. When his breathing evens again, there’s an apology on the tip of his tongue but he pauses when he opens his eyes and looks at how San’s scooping it all up and licking at it in the same way Yunho did. San catches Yunho watching and blushes, cheeks turning so red and scent subduing with embarrassment. Yunho says nothing, not wanting to embarrass the omega further and just presses a short kiss to San’s forehead before getting off the bed to pull his pants up and get a washcloth. 


When he comes back, San’s sitting up, fidgeting with the sheets and refusing to look at Yunho. He lets Yunho wipe the mess off him, not saying a word. His scent is so sour, Yunho’s stomach sinks. 


“San, if-if you regret-”


“No! I mean, I don’t regret it, at all, I promise. I just-I feel a little-” He trails off and looks at Yunho with a strange expression, bottom lip pushed out in a pout. Yunho climbs onto the bed, pulls the covers over them and turns towards San with his arms wide open. 


“Would you like to sleep for a while? It’s still early in the evening, I know, but I think you- I just want to hold you for a little while.” 


San doesn’t move for a brief moment, and Yunho thinks he’s going to get punched but then San shifts slowly, letting Yunho pull him down until his head is resting on Yunho’s chest and he’s cocooned in his arms. San lifts a finger up to trace the brand on Yunho’s bicep, caressing the raised skin and saying nothing at all. He’s so small in his arms, fits so perfectly and Yunho can already smell the change in his scent, the way his body relaxes. Before he knows it, Yunho drifts off to sleep with his face buried in San’s hair. 



He wakes to a distressingly familiar feeling. San’s gone, his scent stale in the air, his clothes and all his things gone as well. As if he was never there at all. This time around, Yunho puts his clothes back on and leaves the room without wasting any time, can’t bear to smell the scent of honeysuckle any longer. 


It must be late at night but the tavern isn’t empty, a few stragglers still making merriment on the tables. He finds Jongho wiping down the bar and he looks up to give him a sly grin which fades when he notices Yunho’s forlorn expression. 


“Mingi told me that- what happened?” 


Yunho sighs, suddenly unbearably tired. 


“I met him before, that man. We um, I thought there was something there. I- I’m not sure why I expected more,” is all he can manage to say. Jongho hums in sympathy and comes around the bar to give Yunho a short hug. 


“He checked out, said he wasn’t coming back. I didn’t want to ask any questions but maybe I should have,” Jongho mutters with vitriol, a frown on his face. 


Yunho shakes his head vehemently. “No, no, thank you. He-I don’t know why he was here, really.”


“I was wondering the same. He has the muscles of a soldier and the skills of a mercenary. He took down an alpha double his size. I, well, he’s a little bit dangerous Yunho. Actually, a lot dangerous. Do you even know his name?”


Jongho sounds concerned and sceptical. He doesn’t know how to tell him that San held a knife to his throat and Yunho still slept with him, still wanted to hold him close. 


“Yes, I do, I think, and I know he’s dangerous, I don’t know much about him at all. Jongho, I don’t know what to do, I- I still feel so much for him, my wolf wants him so much. I’ve never felt like this before.” 


Jongho squeezes Yunho’s palm and looks at him with wide eyes. 


“I felt like that with Mingi. I know how you feel Yunho, it’s what we all feel when we find our fated one. But unfortunately, it doesn’t always mean happiness. If it’s meant to be, he’ll come back to you, I’m sure of it. But just- be careful. You still don’t know what he’s here for.” 


Yunho spends another night at the tavern, his wolf restless and pining. Jongho urges him to stay for the festival. 


“Spend the festival with us, Yunho, come on. I think you need a little comfort right now,” Jongho says, looking at Yunho knowingly. “Seonghwa will throw a fit if you aren’t there anyway.” 


He barely gets any sleep and the moment the sun rises, he washes up and heads outside, Mingi and Jongho waving at him with a little, “See you later!”


 The sky is clear and bright and the silver shape of the bulbous moon is so visible even in the glaring light of the sun. Yunho had been distracted for the past few days but now, his wolf thrums with a different kind of restlessness, a familiar one that makes him come alive every full moon. Despite the pit in his stomach, despite everything, he’s looking forward to tonight, to purging everything and just losing himself for a little while. 


The festival is already in full swing, colourful markets set up, people walking around holding vibrant, painted fans and toys, bags of sticky sweets in their hands. He walks around a little aimlessly, daunted by the crowds, the loud racket of noises, and finds himself peering into every face he passes, looking for a familiar head of black and white hair, every flash of silver making him flinch. 


“Yunho, here! Yunho!”


He whirls around to find Hongjoong and Seonghwa waving at him enthusiastically, standing next to a stall selling intricately painted jewellery. Their scents are familiar and safe and Yunho bounds towards them in relief. Seonghwa’s holding onto a small, beautiful blue bracelet with doves painted on each bead, haggling with the vendor heatedly. 


Hongjoong grabs onto Yunho’s arm when he comes close and raises his eyebrows at him. 


“So,” he starts, eyebrows waggling. “I heard you had a very interesting encounter with a mysterious gentleman yesterday.” 


Yunho snorts. “Does everyone know already?”


“Of course, we’re a small village, there’s not much to entertain us. And none of us has ever seen you express interest in anyone, ever, so we’re all excited.”


Yunho doesn’t know what to say. Sometimes he wishes he could tell his friends about his past, make them understand why he lives the way he does, why he keeps his distance from everyone. He doesn’t understand how Seonghwa and Hongjoong still accept him, still call him pack, despite all the secrets he keeps from them. 


Hongjoong must notice the distressed expression on Yunho’s face and he softens, threading his fingers through Yunho’s and squeezing. 


“Hey, you don’t have to tell us anything, you know? We’re not blaming you for being a private person, or forcing you to do anything. You’re an amazing friend to all of us, infinitely kind and a good person Yunho. We don’t need anything more from you. I just hope, one day, you’re comfortable enough to consider us in the same way as well.”


Yunho’s throat burns with guilt. If only Hongjoong knew. “I- thank you, I didn’t, I’m not a good person at all, I’m sorry for everything-”


Hongjoong tuts and brings Yunho down for a tight hug, shushing him when he tries to speak. 


“What did I miss?” Seonghwa peers at them curiously, holding a bag of jewellery, a small smile on his face. Hongjoong lets him go and rolls his eyes when he spots the bag in Seonghwa’s hand. Seonghwa pouts. 


“Don’t look at me like that, I had to buy them! Can you imagine how adorable our baby will look with those bracelets? Think of the baby, Hongjoong,” he pleads, eyes wide and teasing. Hongjoong scoffs and shares an exasperatedly fond look with Yunho. 


“Hwa, you’re barely even showing yet.”


Seonghwa huffs and begins walking off, Hongjoong following after him with a laugh, pulling Yunho along. 


He spends the day with them, buying absurd trinkets from strange vendors, eating fried meat and rice pudding, listening to Hongjoong and Seonghwa’s squabbling with fondness. Jongho and Mingi join them when it’s evening, and Yunho almost feels complete again. His wolf still pines for San, and if he wasn’t sure that San was his fated before, he is now. The pull of the moon makes his wolf yearn even more, and the thought of spending the night without his fated omega makes him feel empty inside. 


The presence of his pack makes things a little better. The sun begins to set and everything seems to come alive. Travelling troupes put up performances, swallowing fire, leaping and bounding in the air, dancers dressed in traditional robes twirling around, slashing blades in the air in a ceremonial dance. People are already setting off lanterns and Yunho watches the sea of white and gold lilt through the air, vanishing off into the darkening night. The moon hangs heavy and bright. 


They’re waiting in line in front of a stall that’s selling spiced chicken, Mingi insisting that they must eat this, “it’s divine. ” It reminds him of Yeosang, dragging Yunho to the castle’s kitchen, pleading with the cooks to give them just a little bit of chicken, blaming Yunho when the servants catch them sneaking around. He realises there’s a scent in the air that reminds him of Yeosang’s, sweet honey that had always been the scent of home, of family. It must be coming from the stalls selling honeycomb and biscuits. He makes a note to pass by one of them and pick up some. 


They’re digging into the chicken with relish, Yunho laughing at how Mingi keeps stealing bites from Hongjoong, the other omega squawking in annoyance, when someone bumps into him hard and the food falls from his hand. He sighs and kneels down to clean it up and pauses when the scent of honey burns through him, so strong it’s like Yeosang is standing right in front of him.




Yunho jerks his head up to see someone standing in front of him, weighed down in robes that cover their face. He knows exactly who it is though, he would recognise that scent, that voice anywhere. The figure pushes the hood of the robe back and Yeosang stares at him, tears streaming down his face. The sight is so horribly familiar, Yunho’s chest caves in. 


“It is you, I-I’ve been looking for you,” Yeosang murmurs, voice hoarse. Yunho doesn’t move, stays still on the ground. He can feel the confusion emitting from his friends, hear Hongjoong’s questioning voice. He feels frozen. 


Yeosang chokes on a sob, a hand reaching out, suspended in the air as if he’s unsure he can touch Yunho.


 “It’s me, Yunho, it’s me , Yeosang.” 


Yeosang sounds devastated, scent so distressed, Yunho’s moving before he even realises it, so attuned to comforting his brother, making sure nothing happens to him. He rushes at Yeosang, gathering him in his arms and squeezing so hard. Yeosang feels solid, feels real. Yeosang laughs, holding onto Yunho just as hard. 


“I missed you so much, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry Yunho, please forgive me, I wanted to come earlier and find you but I couldn’t and I’m so sorry.


Yunho shushes him and holds him impossibly closer. 


“Listen to me, you never did anything wrong. It was my fault, Yeosang, and I wish I could change how things happened.”


Yeosang wrestles out of Yunho’s grasp and looks at him desperately. His hands are shaking so violently where they rest of the sides of Yunho’s face.


“No, no, Yunho, there’s something I must tell you, which is why I should have come earlier-”


“Uh, I’m very sorry to interrupt but you’re gathering a little bit of an audience.”


Hongjoong’s voice cuts through the air and Yunho realises people have stopped to stare at them curiously. He looks at the expensive material of Yeosang’s robes, the jewels in his ears, then notices the man standing behind Yeosang with a damn sword attached to his belt and curses. He turns towards his friends, face falling when he sees the concerned expressions on their faces. 


“I’m sorry, this is, this is my brother, Yeosang. I need to speak with him, I don’t know where-”


“Our house is right around the corner, come,” Seonghwa says, gesturing at them to follow. 



Seonghwa ushers them inside his house, leading them to the tables to sit and then begins to leave, waving his hands frantically at the others, forcing them out as well. Yunho puts a palm on Seonghwa’s shoulder to stop him. 


“Wait, you- I’d like you all to stay. It’s about time I was truthful.” 


Seonghwa raises an eyebrow, uneasy. “Are you sure? You don’t have to.” 


Yunho just nods and sits down next to Yeosang. The man Yeosang brought with him stands at his side, unflinching. When he catches Yunho staring at him, he gives him a cheeky wink and suddenly Yunho remembers exactly who this is, memories of Yeosang blushing while talking to a knight, the image of them lighting a lantern together, the boy Yeosang used to talk about with a silly smile on his face. Wooyoung tips an imaginary hat at Yunho and he realises that Yeosang’s scent is heavy on him, mingled together like they’ve already put a claim on each other. His heart feels heavy at the thought that he missed his brother’s mating ceremony.  


“Alright, Yunho, what’s wrong?” They’re all seated, staring expectantly at him. Yunho sighs, shares a glance with Yeosang and takes a deep breath. 


“I haven’t been very honest. I did have a pack before I came here. A pack and a home. I was-am from the kingdom in the west, and I was heir to the throne.” Someone gasps loudly but Yunho keeps his eyes on the table. 


“I was exiled because I killed my stepbrother. I was lucky to only be exiled, to be frank.”


Suddenly, there’s a surge of voices. 


“Wait, what-”


“You’re telling me you’re a prince?


“Why did you kill-”


“A prince??


Yeosang hits the table until the voices die down. He looks at Yunho, eyes hard. 


“It wasn’t Yunho’s fault. He was only protecting me.” 


Mingi stands up, hands raised. “Wait, wait, just- explain everything.


“I found Joon, my step brother trying to- attacking Yeosang. I heard Yeosang screaming, I could smell blood and I just- I lost it, I lashed out at Joon, and I didn’t realise- I didn’t know what had happened until he was already bleeding out on the floor. I didn’t mean to but I-I killed him. 


The servants found us like that and I think- I think maybe they thought I did it for no reason at all. Our stepmother has always- always disliked me, I was still the heir despite the fact that her son was older. But my father favoured me, groomed me to take the throne. I know she wanted me hung for the crime but my father convinced her to simply strip me of my title and send me into exile. I never had a chance to explain what had really happened, to apologise or even to say goodbye to Yeosang.”


There’s silence for a moment and Yunho waits in trepidation, heart in his throat. He’s ready for them to be disgusted with him, to be afraid of him, of what he’s done-


“Well, sounds like the bastard deserved it,” Hongjoong says tonelessly, eyebrows raised. Yunho looks at him in surprise and he chuckles. “What? Did you think I would condemn you for it? I would have done the same in your place.”


“B-but I shouldn’t have killed him, I had no right-”


“Maybe so but you did and you did it to protect me, Yunho. If you hadn’t intervened, I-I would be mated to him and he would be King by now. Whatever happened, I’m glad you did it,” Yeosang reassures Yunho, grabbing onto his hand. Yunho feels weightless, chest light like he’s floating. 


“I just- I’ve always been horrified that I don’t really regret it. And I-I’d do it again, if someone I loved was hurt, I would do anything,” he whispers it like he’s afraid of speaking, voicing out what has been plaguing his mind for years, throat raw. Yeosang makes a cut off noise in the back of his throat and he can smell the sadness coming off him in waves. 


“Yunho, there’s something else and if I had known sooner, I would have come. But I didn’t know, she covers up her tracks so well. I had to plan for so long and Wooyoung and I searched for you everywhere until finally, we found you,” Yeosang rushes out in one breath.


“She-she still wants you dead and will do anything to make it happen. She paid off and sent assassins after you Yunho, you must leave this place, go far away because I’m afraid, if we found you, they can too.”


And oh


Suddenly, Yunho feels lightheaded, a strange buzzing under his skin. He has the odd urge to break out into hysterical laughter. 


“Oh, that-that makes a lot of sense.”


He’s aware of the confused look Yeosang gives him, the curse Jongho utters when he realises, staring at Yunho in horror. 


“Yunho, it was him, fuck-”


Yunho barely hears it, or the questions everyone asks. Oddly, he feels calm, mind clear for the first time in weeks. He stands up with a jolt and Yeosang yelps in surprise. 




“I have to go,” he mutters, looking around at everyone, at the shocked expressions on their faces. Yeosang stands up as well, reaching out for Yunho. 


“Yunho, wait, what do you mean?” Yunho gives Yeosang a short hug, taking in his brother’s scent in gulps, letting it ease out his limbs. 


“I have to do something, Yeosang, just wait here, you’ll be safe. I’ll be fine, I promise, I- there’s something I need to do.” 


He hurries out of the house, ignoring the surprised yelling behind him and runs. 


He’s not entirely sure where he’s going, where he’s going to find San but something, perhaps the call of the moon, guides him towards home, towards the forest and the open glades his house sits snug in. 


The forest is flooded with the light of the moon, the very ground under his feet seems to be alive, thrumming with each step he takes. He has the startling realisation that he can smell San so strongly, his scent guiding Yunho towards him and when he reaches his house, San’s standing there, right outside the door like he’d been waiting for Yunho. 


He’s wearing only a loose dress shirt and pants, and his gaze burns into Yunho. 


“Your brother’s here. I saw him roaming around this morning.” There’s no emotion in his voice but Yunho can smell the way his scent dips, hesitant. He says nothing. 


San smiles then, a curled, coy smile that Yunho now knows to be a ruse, a mask San wears with ease. 


“I’m guessing you know, now?” Yunho nods in response and San snorts. 


“Yet, you still seek me out. You truly are a gem, Yunho, I expected so much more from the crown prince.” He begins moving, taking slow measured steps, circling around Yunho like he’s circling prey. 


“I was told you were a murderer, making advances on your own brother and killing your stepbrother when he tried to help. I was told that you’re remorseless, with no love for anything, not even your family.” 


Yunho swallows. The words don’t surprise him, he had assumed his stepmother had tarnished his image, spread horror stories about him so that everyone would forget him, forget that he was anything more than a killer. It still makes his chest throb with pain.


San watches him carefully like he’s assessing his reaction. He has a strange look on his face, something that looks an awful lot like frustration. He comes to a stop right in front of Yunho, standing just a hair’s breadth away from him. He’s shaking just the tiniest bit. 


“But when I found you, I found an alpha who took care of everyone around him, who was reckless and foolish and kind to an odd stranger. I found an alpha who lived a peaceful life, who was trusted by his pack so fervidly, who- who made me feel like I’d come home.” 


San’s voice breaks around a sob and he wipes furiously at his face like he’s shocked to feel tears. 


“I have never- I never grew up with a home. The only home I had was one shared with others like me, low-lives, rejects, the wolves no one wants. I can’t fucking stand you because you-you make me feel like I could have more than that!” 


San’s face glistens under the moonlight, the freckles across his nose, speckled on the side of his neck, lighting up. Yunho wants to spend forever mapping them. 


San laughs morbidly and thumps his head against Yunho’s chest, tiny sobs still wracking through his body. 


“Fuck, I-I’ve never felt so weak around anyone before. I don’t even have my blades on me right now, that’s how vulnerable I am. I don’t know what- I don’t know what to do! I don’t know how to do this, Yunho, you make me feel like you’re taking me apart, like you’re ruining me.”


Yunho pulls him in, lets him flop against his chest and stifle his sobs, allows himself to circle his arms around San’s waist and feel whole; at least for the time being. 


“I don’t like that I really crave feeling like this. Only when I’m with you,” San whispers into Yunho’s chest. 


“Feeling like what?”


Needy. I was taught- I’ve never felt like that with anyone before.”


Yunho pulls away a little so he can look at San in the eyes. 


“I’m never going to hurt you, San. I promise you, on my life.”


San gives him a sad smile and he sounds so unbearably heartbroken when he says “I know, Yunho.”  


Yunho holds him gently and tries not to think about the world outside. Tries not to think about how this is probably unrealistic, San is a contract assassin who hasn’t finished his job, there will be others who come looking for him, others sent to eliminate Yunho. But San snuffles into Yunho’s shirt and rubs his nose against him endearingly and Yunho lets himself hope. 


San murmurs something under his breath, distracting him from his thoughts. 




San lifts his head up and pulls at Yunho’s sleeve. 


“The brand on your arm. Did she put that there?” 


Yunho’s confused for a moment before he remembers the ugly raised skin on his bicep, pulling up his sleeve to show San, nodding. 


“She made soldiers hold me down and branded me with the mark of a servant, a slave. She said she wanted to see me suffer, to be as low as possible. That’s why I came here, so far away from my kingdom so I was not caught by someone and sold as a slave. I was very lucky.” 


San hums and turns around in Yunho’s arms, pulling down the collar of his shirt until Yunho can see the horrid brand mirrored on the back of his neck. 


“I was given one too. I should have known all the bullshit they told us about you was wrong. I wonder what other lies we’ve been fed. I was nothing more than a tool, a weapon anyways.” 


Yunho thumbs at the mark and thinks of how he wants to give San everything, offer him the world he never had. 


“San, I, there will be more who come after me, she isn’t going to be satisfied until I’m dead. And I’m worried about you, what will happen to you? ” San just gives him a small smile and presses a sweet, barely-there kiss to his lips. 


“I’ll figure it out. And if someone else finds you like I did, I’ll protect you, you’re mine, ” he mutters fiercely and then blushes when he realises what he’d said. “I-I mean, I’m sorry, that’s not-”


“It’s okay. I think I’ve been yours since the day you found me. I don’t mind, I want to be yours, San, always.” 


San’s eyes pierce into him, glinting under the moonlight. Yunho’s body feels molten, like it’s burning up from the inside, his wolf aching to come out, tear out of his skin. San doesn’t look unaffected either, teeth just a little bit longer, a little sharper, peeking out as he gapes at Yunho, heat in his gaze. 


San starts moving, slow and careful, walking backwards till there’s some distance between. There’s something in his eyes, something teasing and playful and Yunho can’t quite hold back a snarl, the air between them heavy with anticipation. San stops suddenly and starts undressing, yanking his clothes off unceremoniously until he stands stark naked, skin glowing. He tilts his head at Yunho and smiles.


“Will you chase me, alpha? Make me yours, too? Or do I have to find someone else to do it?” 


Yunho’s shifting before San even finishes speaking, skin tearing out of his clothes and bones clacking as his body thrums with anger, growling deep in his chest at the challenge in San’s voice, the thought of anyone else seeing San like this, anyone else making a claim. San throws back his head and laughs, already turning around and running, so fast and nimble on his feet, it takes Yunho a moment to begin the chase. 


San shifts mid-run and picks up speed, dashing between the trees, leaping onto boulders and into crevices he knows Yunho’s larger form can’t fit in. Yunho’s paws thud across the ground, body a little stiff. He hasn’t had reason to run this fast, to chase anyone in a long time. But his wolf revels in the sensation, eyes focused on San’s small form, panting at the taste of San’s scent in the air, the fresh smell of the forest. 


Eventually, he catches up, or maybe San tires and slows down, but he’s nipping at San’s tail, close enough to smell the fear, the excitement in the omega’s scent. San trips over something, just for a split second but it’s enough for Yunho to lunge with a roar, dig his teeth into San’s fur and hold the omega still under him until San cowers and submits, turning over with his belly on display. 


San shifts back and Yunho follows, until he’s pressing San’s shaking body into the ground. San wraps his arms around Yunho and brings him down for a rough kiss, already rutting against the alpha, panting heavily into the kiss, pushing his tongue in and whining when Yunho bites at it. He smells intoxicating and Yunho can’t stop licking and biting at his skin, leaning down to tug at his nipples, playing with them till they’re red and San’s so wet, he’s dripping. 


Suddenly, San pushes him away and turns around, getting up on his knees and presenting, pushing back against Yunho’s cock with an impatient sound. 


“Alpha, please , like this, fuck me like this.” 


He sounds wrecked, voice so hoarse, Yunho stomach dips in arousal. He wonders if it’s just the full moon that’s making them so feral , the way Yunho wants to fuck into San so hard he cries, till his belly’s swollen with Yunho’s come. He doesn’t waste a moment to think about it, just as frantic as San, plunging a few fingers into him and pumping them hard, till San’s pushing his face into the ground, keening. 


“So beautiful like this, only for me. My omega.” 


San groans and nods fervently, fucking back against Yunho’s fingers, small high-pitched pleas falling from his lips, begging Yunho to fuck me already.


Yunho slips out his fingers and lines himself up, sliding in easily, moaning in tandem with San at the tight sensation, how filthy wet San is around him. When he bottoms out, he doesn’t give San a moment’s reprieve, hips pulling back to thrust in hard, smacking against San’s ass, holding the omega down by one hand, the other gripping his hip tight. 


San sobs out broken moans, garbled words, face pressed into the ground, unable to meet Yunho’s thrusts with the way he’s immobilised, can only take it as the alpha fucks into him so hard he feels delirious. Suddenly San clenches around him violently, body writhing as he comes, reaching back with his hands to grab at Yunho’s arms, claws slipping out and biting into Yunho’s skin. 


Yunho still fucks into him, liking the way the omega clenches frantically around him, overstimulated, whining in protest but still pushing his hips back. He pulls out for a moment and flips San over, fucking into him like this as the omega clings to him, body still writhing, pressing shaky kisses onto Yunho’s face and neck, murmuring sweet words, urging the alpha to come. 


Yunho tenses when he’s close, preparing to pull out but San locks him in with his legs, furiously shaking his head at the alpha. 


“N-no, come in me, alpha, please, want you to fill me up.” 


Yunho looks at the tear marks on San’s cheeks, the feverish tint to his face and lets himself knot the omega, settling in so easily and coming in pulses, moaning into San’s mouth as the omega pets at his hair, smooths his palms down Yunho’s back. 


They stay like that till Yunho’s knot goes down, kissing lazily, San playing with Yunho’s hair and laughing when he tugs it this way and that. When Yunho pulls out, San groans in complaint, pulling at Yunho, pouting at him. 


“Can’t you stay inside? I don’t like to feel it leaking out.” Yunho wonders how San can say things like that with a straight face and then blush violently at other times. He smooths San’s hair back and pecks his forehead. 


“No, pup, it’s getting late. We should wash up and go home. I’ll fill you up later, I promise,” he assures San, lifting him up in his arms and following the sounds of running water, to a small stream nearby. San sighs, sleepy and pliant and lets Yunho manhandle him. 


When they reach the stream, San seems to come alive, wriggling out of Yunho’s arms, lips curling up into a sweet smile. Yunho leans down to check if the water is too cold but then he hears a loud splash and looks up to see San jumping around in the water. He looks delighted, unbothered by the cold, splashing around loudly. 


“Yunho, we can just bathe like this, come! It’s so nice in the water.” San beckons him over and Yunho looks sceptically at the way the water laps at San’s waist, dark and cold. San just yells at him to come again and Yunho sighs, wading up to where San is, hissing at how cold the water is. He hears San chuckle. 


“Are you cold? Here, big bad alpha, I’ll warm you up.” Suddenly, he has an armful of San, who rubs at Yunho’s body, hands slathering all over, a mischievous smile on his face. He lets San do it, relaxing a little at the feeling of warm hands on his skin. Then San’s hands slither down until he has a palm around Yunho’s cock and Yunho jerks in surprise. 


“San! Not here, it’s so damn cold.” 


San looks at him innocently, pouting just a little. “Yunho please, want to make you feel good.”


“Aren’t you tired?”


“No, of course not.” San shuffles closer and presses himself to Yunho’s front. His skin is almost burning hot and Yunho finds himself arching to meet it. “Maybe you didn’t satisfy me well enough,” he says with a cheeky grin and Yunho growls viciously, taking the bait. 


He grabs San’s chin and presses their mouths together, groaning into the kiss when San resumes sliding his palm up and down Yunho’s cock. Yunho reaches around to grab at the plush flesh of San’s ass, squeezing just a little to feel the way San shivers, rhythm faltering on Yunho’s cock. 


He lets his fingers rest at San’s entrance, and slides one in when San pushes back against his hand with a soft “ please. ” San starts mouthing at Yunho’s chest, arching his back a little so can lave his tongue around Yunho’s nipple, leaving little bites on the sensitive brown skin that make Yunho moan in surprise. He fucks in a few more fingers with no warning, in revenge, San shrieking at the sudden intrusion but grinding his ass back even harder. 


“Yunho, please, fuck me.


Yunho fucks into him a little more, ignoring the impatient whines San lets out. He pulls out his fingers and grabs at San’s ass harshly, guiding him up so his legs are wrapped around Yunho’s waist, arms clinging onto his shoulders. San gasps and stares at Yunho incredulously, cock pressing into his stomach. 


“Fuck, this is- goddess Yunho, fuck me like this, please, hold me!” 


The water laps around them restlessly and Yunho almost can’t feel the cold anymore, burying himself in San’s warm skin. He guides his cock to San’s entrance, groaning when it sinks in, mind whiting out at the tightness, the warmth around his cock. He feels a little insatiable as well, just as aroused and sensitive as he had been just a little while ago. San whimpers, panting into Yunho’s mouth, still trying to kiss him, filthy and drooly. Yunho doesn’t move for a moment, just revelling in the feeling of San around him, but San gets impatient, grinding so small and slow on Yunho’s cock, unable to move much in the position they’re in. He keens in frustration and bites at Yunho’s shoulder vindictively. 


“Shh, stop biting me like a little pup. Are you comfortable?”


San groans and bites him again, growling under his breath. It’s a little concerning how endearing Yunho finds it. 


“Yes, now fuck me, what are you- ah!” 


Yunho thrusts up sharply, fucking up into San with steady, hard rolls of his hips. This time, there’s no rush, and he likes the slow, languid way San meets his thrusts, the way he grinds his hips down, skin molten, voice high-pitched and hoarse in turns. San noses at the side of his face, pouting, face so red, pressing his mouth to Yunho’s desperately, a litany of whines escaping him. 


He comes between them just like that, rubbing his cock against the hard planes of Yunho’s stomach and yelling out in surprise, quaking in Yunho’s arms. Yunho comes soon after, pulling out before his knot forms, and spurting in pulses between them, burying his head into San’s shoulder. 


He sets San down carefully, arms shaking from exertion. San doesn’t seem to be much better, clinging to Yunho’s shoulders, unable to stand on his own as his legs quiver and tremble. They look at each other and burst out into laughter, San nipping at Yunho’s clavicle in admonishment. 


“You promised you’d knot me again. And now I’m even dirtier,” San complains, ducking down under the water to wet his face and hair. When he surges up, Yunho can’t look away from the way the water glistens on his skin, the bulging of his biceps when he smooths his hair back. He leans down to peck San on the lips, and then gently bite at the skin on his neck. 


“Not in the water, pup, we could have fallen. And I quite like how you smell right now. As if I’ve put a claim on you.” 


San stares at him with his mouth agape. Then he blushes furiously and shoves at Yunho’s shoulder until Yunho chuckles and acquiesces, helping San wash off all the mess as best as they can without some kind of soap, both of them shivering violently when they get out of the water. 


They shift and run around aimlessly, energised under the light of the moon, chasing each other with glee and attempting to hunt small rabbits, Yunho marvelling at how skilled San is, how agile and nimble. 


They take their game to the house, shifting back and pulling on clothes, and start a small fire out on the grass, cooking the rabbits over it and eating their fill until their bellies are full and warm. 


Yunho spends each second deliriously wondering when San is going to leave him. 


His throat clenches when San takes hold of his hand, bringing his knuckles up to his mouth and pressing small kisses to them. When San straddles him and rides him just like that, whining when Yunho growls out a low needy little omega into his skin, gasping with Yunho’s fingers in his mouth, ass clenching around his knot. 


His heart thuds when they head home, bundling up under furs, staring at the way San yawns and curls up into a ball, pulling at Yunho’s arm and holding it to his chest. He wonders if San can feel the fluttering of his heart like this, pressed against his back. He tries to stay awake, so as not to miss anything, because he doesn’t know when San will leave, but sleep claws its way into him and his eyes grow heavy until the last thing he sees is San turning over and snuffling against Yunho’s neck. 


He wakes up slowly, sunlight warming up his skin. His eyes drift open and he realises that his arms are empty, no warm body lying next to him anymore. He squeezes his eyes shut and begs for sleep to take him again when he hears a loud clanging. 


He sits up and sees San bustling around, dropping utensils and cursing under his breath, something that smells overwhelmingly sweet bubbling in a pot. It sputters dangerously and San rushes to lower the fire, frantically stirring the thick, goopy contents. Suddenly he straightens and whips around to look at Yunho, shrieking when he sees Yunho staring back at him curiously. 


“Oh! G-good morning, goddess, I’m sorry for waking you, I was trying to make something but I’m- I’ve never really cooked something in a kitchen and I don’t know what everything is for.” He scoops up the goopy liquid and ladles into a bowl, presenting it to Yunho with a hopeful expression. “But here! I think I managed to make porridge, see?” 


Yunho looks at the way the porridge drips down the side of the bowl a little and back at San’s eager face and he smiles the widest he ever has, something warm settling deep in his chest.