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Come Morning, We're Together

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Taeyong patiently waits for the two customers to finally go so he can pick up their plates and wash them. He stands idly behind the counter where his employer, an old woman, counts bills with a murmur before recording their earnings for the day on a small notebook. 

Thumb hooked into his stained apron, plain and an annoying yellow, he glances at the clock perched atop the refrigerator on his left. There’s half an hour left before he has to go home and one look outside tells him that it’s about to rain soon. He doesn’t have an umbrella, and he doubts that ahjumma would lend hers after he accidentally lost the previous one. Not like he cares about being soaked. 

When the customers finish the last bottle of soju and leaves the restaurant, Taeyong quickly goes to their table to pile their plates on a tray and bring them to the sink in the kitchen. He moves on autopilot as he’s been doing this for the past year, not needing to look where the dishwashing liquid is as his hands shoot out where he knows the necessities are. He does his job diligently - it’s only either dishwashing, helping ahjumma prepare more marinated crabs or deliver orders to the neighboring villages of Guryongpo-ri. It pays well even though it’s not a big restaurant. Maybe it’s because there’s only two of them helping out and the salary has nowhere else to go. Ahjumma is also a generous lady.

He’s lucky she hired him even though he had no proper working experience. Coming from a considerably wealthy family, he’d been sheltered and had no idea how it is like in the world past mansions and tall gates. Looking for a job was a struggle and when he was about to lose his mind, ahjumma invited him inside her restaurant and gave him a job. She said she badly needed a helping hand. Her restaurant just opened that time, only two months old, and there’s already a bunch of seafood restaurants in Guryongpo-eup. The old lady had him, and Minjun, the other helper, think of ways that could make them stand out and gain more customers. It turned out that they didn’t have to do much, because Taeyong’s face, although impassive most times, attracted their regulars.

The workload isn’t heavy even during the Winter season when locals and tourists crave for Snow Crab and other local delicacies. Taeyong is content with what he’s doing. There will come a time that he’s going to want to find better opportunities but until then, he’ll be with ahjumma. Without her, he’d probably think of something utterly ridiculous. 

“Taeyong, go home now. It’s about to rain.” She reclines in her seat to peek at him. “Are you done there?”

“Yes, but it’s not 9 yet.”

“I know, I know. But there’s no customer anymore and I doubt that someone’s going to step in at the last minute. Curse this storm,” she huffs as she leaves her seat to go to the kitchen, taking out a Tupperware of crabs swimming in an abundance of soy sauce and spices. Behind her, Taeyong removes the pink gloves and hangs them to dry. “My husband and I will close up, so you don’t have to stay back.”

He remains on his spot and watches her search around for something. “Are you sure?”

“I am! Shoo, before I change my mind.” Ahjumma finally sees what she’s looking for, a small green paper bag that she pulled out from a drawer and puts the Tupperware in it, then hands it to Taeyong who takes it without a word. “Payday tomorrow, so don’t be absent. And I’ll fire you if you don’t eat that. You should eat a lot, you child–”

“I’m 25.” He says with a sigh. She always treats him like a helpless child but everybody knows he’s more independent than anyone. 

Ahjumma shakes her head dismissively, gesturing for him to take his apron off, which he does. “What was I saying? Ah, you should eat a lot so you’ll be even more attractive and find yourself a mate! Aigoo, I don’t know what’s happening to people nowadays. Being alone isn’t good!”

At the mention of the word mate, Taeyong’s brows furrow. The word brings him memories that he doesn’t want to think of, fights he doesn’t want to feel guilty for, and losses he surely doesn’t want to regret. He doesn’t regret what he did before arriving in this town. His life was convenient with all the resources ready within reach, endless opportunities and luxury, but he wasn’t happy. He wasn’t happy that he couldn’t decide for himself, that his parents had to intervene and took it upon themselves to set him up with someone they wanted for him. Mating isn’t a business but they saw it like one, they saw him like one. He’s not a romantic person but even then, he wants a partner that he truly cares for, not because his parents dictated him to.

Moreover, he’s still young. There’s so much time to wait for destiny to play its game before settling down. 

But he can’t deny that it gets lonely at times, when he’s under the covers and staring blankly at the ceiling, realizing he really has no one else aside from ahjumma.  



It’s already drizzling when he walks out of the restaurant. Taeyong pulls the hood of his jacket over his head and jogs over to the nearest store to buy some cigarettes. It’s bad for his health but he gives no damn about inhaling the cancer stick - it helps him de-stress. As long as it does the job he expects then things are fine. 

He’s got a lit stick pinched between his lips, taking a long, satisfying drag as he rounds a corner when he hears a muffled sob come from the dark alleyway a few feet ahead. Guryongpo-ri is not a peaceful village. It witnesses crimes like the neighboring ri, ranging from wrestling gossip mongers to petty theft to the extreme ones. Taeyong blows the smoke out of the corner of his mouth and walks with careful steps until he’s close enough to see what’s going on in the alley. 

As expected, like the other crimes, it’s a scene of two male Alphas cornering an Omega - a male Omega. Such instances are nothing new - Alphas love displaying their power and dominance over the weaker members of society. This happens so often that no one really bats an eye anymore, that people learned to blame the victim for not taking care of themselves instead of educating the disgusting power trippers. 

There are times that Taeyong loathes being born an Alpha, but he knows it’s a privilege he has to check. He only has to complain about their tarnished reputation, but the Betas and Omegas have more to suffer from which are more valid than any other problem an Alpha could possibly have. 

“What else can we do when you’re offering yourself up like this?” The first Alpha says with a depraved grin as he towers over the Omega curled up in fear on the ground against the cold, wet wall. 

The other Alpha sniggers. “Don’t be scared. Isn’t that why you’re alone outside at this time of the night? Looking for an Alpha to spread your legs to?”

The Omega whimpers louder, shaking from both cold and trepidation. “No… Please leave me alone, I just wanna go home…”

“Go home,” the first Alpha parrots mockingly before taking a closer step. “You heard that? He wants to go home! Then what is this?” He forcefully plucks a backpack from the Omega and dumps all of its content on the ground, laughing. “You look like you don’t have anywhere to go, you pretty thing.”

Taeyong’s fist clenches around the strap of the paper bag at how revolting the other Alpha sounds. He remains where he is, hidden in the shadows, waiting for when to interfere. The Omega might know how to defend himself, and Taeyong would hate to unintentionally insult him by playing hero. 

“Hey, look at me.”

He takes another drag of the cancer stick, lets it fill his lungs and color them black before letting go, dark eyes never leaving the Omega’s face. 

The same Alpha tilts the Omega’s face up with a foot, smirking. “You’re so pretty. Come on, stop playing hard to get. Your purpose is to please us, so get on with it and don’t waste our time. The faster we finish, the earlier you can go.”

The sound of a zipper being pulled down is deafening through the night, and when the Omega only cowers, hugging himself as protection, Taeyong finally makes his presence known as he presses the cigarette against the concrete wall - it dies with a hiss before falling to the ground where it gets squashed by Taeyong’s shoe. 

“He said no, didn’t he?”

The two other Alphas whip around to look at him in shock. “Who the fuck are you?” One of them boldly asks, the one whose zipper is already halfway down. 

Taeyong pockets his empty hand and leans against the wall. “Leave him alone.” He hopes simply telling them to fuck off easily works, but these guys are Alphas, aggressive and prideful. If only staring them down would work immediately, because Taeyong hates getting into fights. 

“But we’re about to have a good time, you see. Tch. Man, just join us if you want. This one’s really adorable and looks like he’s gonna moan as pretty as he looks.” The man laughs as he nudges the Omega’s leg with a foot. “You interested in getting another dick?”

Low laughter emits from Taeyong’s mouth - it sounds more like a rumble of warning. “Well aren’t you two the poster kids of today’s disgusting Alphas. Care to get behind bars?”

Annoyance radiates off of the other. “If you can’t stomach it, then fuck off. What happens here is none of your business.” He turns around and is about to push his pants down when he gets roughly shoved to the wall, the side of his face rubbing painfully against the surface. It’s going to leave an ugly bruise. 

Oh, but it’s my goddamn business, you see.” Taeyong glares at the other man who stands his ground, ready to pounce on him. He grips the man in his hold at the back of the neck, pulls him back just slightly to shove him once again to the wall, busting the bastard’s lip. “When someone tells you no, you leave them alone. Is it that hard or your brain failed you so bad it fell on your balls, hm? You think with your fucking dick?” 

The other guy takes a few steps back with a scowl. “What the fuck. Do you know this whore?”

Taeyong graces him a blank look before looking at the Omega fearfully watching them. The drizzling gets stronger and Taeyong’s hair is already sticking to his forehead. “And when I say yes? I was just about to pick him up, actually. We’re friends.”

“L-let go…” 

Taeyong turns his attention back to the bleeding Alpha and snarls. “If I see your face again, I will break it.” He lets go and watches them scram, but not without threatening to get back at him. When even their shadows are swallowed by the evening, Taeyong steps in front of the Omega. “You, get up and go home. Start bringing pepper spray with you. Anything you can use for self-defense when those dogs approach.” He says, voice devoid of life, before starting to walk away. 

“W-wait!”

Taeyong stops but doesn’t look. “What.”

The Omega stands up on shaky legs, clutching his empty backpack. “I… I don’t know where to go. I’m not from here.”

“Figured as much,” the Alpha comments before pointing to where he came from. “There’s a motel half a kilometer away. I’d suggest you start moving if you don’t wanna get cornered again.”

“I don’t know anyone…” 

Taeyong looks at him with a slight frown. Is this guy okay? Did he hit his head? “Of course, you don’t know anyone.”

The other only shakes like a leaf, eyes blinking rapidly as the rain hits his face. Taeyong stares at him for a moment, the gears in his head made to run backwards by a ridiculous idea that’s quickly growing even more ridiculous yet reasonable by the second. “Then come with me.” He picks up the Omega’s stuff and shoves everything in the backpack before dragging him by the wrist.

“W-where are we going?!”

“You’re reckless enough to loiter in an unfamiliar place as an Omega. It won’t hurt you to go home with a stranger, will it? Unless you want to put yourself as a bait for the second time tonight. Don’t worry,” Taeyong tries to offer a bit of comfort with what his apathetic face could. “I don’t bite.”

The Omega doesn’t say anything and lets him lead the way through the rain. Taeyong kind of wants to reprimand him for being so damn trusting - this level of trust could kill him, quite literally. What is it about him that made this boy (or man, he doesn’t know how old the Omega is) follow without a hint of resistance, though? Frankly speaking, his poker face is scarier than anything. 

Rain patters continuously against the pavement and its smell somehow makes Taeyong feel nostalgic. Suddenly, a realization occurs to him and he abruptly stops, causing the Omega to collide against him - their bodies hitting each other and for a second, Taeyong catches a whiff of the other’s scent. 

Tangerine. 

He releases the other’s wrist before tugging his jacket off, leaving the undershirt and handing the piece of fabric to the boy who gapes owlishly at him, asking what it is for. 

“You’re soaked,” Taeyong sighs when the boy doesn’t move and drapes the jacket around his shoulder, surprising the Omega. “What, never been taken care of?”

The Omega bashfully looks away as he clutches the jacket closer. It’s already wet, but the Alpha’s heat remains on it. Taeyong pulls the hood over to cover the Omega’s head, takes his backpack and leads the rest of the way home without holding the boy’s wrist again. 



Taeyong’s apartment isn’t huge - it’s located above a bakery. Ahjumma recommended it to him ‘cause it’s cheap and near his workplace. 

He switches the lights on and puts his shoes on a small rack next to the door. Another pair of shoes soon joins his as the Omega timidly steps in, scanning the small yet cozy space. There isn’t much to see inside, just a worn sofa that is mostly likely second-hand, a soft maroon rug that covers the floor, an old television and a low table in the middle. The kitchen space is at the very corner of the house where only a few necessary utensils are, two mugs and two pairs of spoon and fork. The cautious Omega spots a few plates in the sink. 

“Are you just going to stand there all night?” Taeyong takes out the Tupperware of marinated crab and leaves it on the low table.

“Are you sure I can stay?”

“Do you want me to kick you out after dragging you here?” Taeyong doesn’t mince his words as he crosses the tiny living room and closes the door, handing a clean towel he picked up from the couch. “Be glad I didn’t leave you alone. Consider yourself lucky.”

The Omega puts his backpack on the floor and hands Taeyong his jacket before starting to dry his hair with the towel. “I won’t be here tomorrow when you wake up, I promise.” He gulps, still a little shaken from the attack. “I’ll go to that motel…”

“Whatever,” Taeyong’s about to head to his room when he hears a rumble, stopping just in front of the door to glance at the Omega. “Eat the food on the table. If you want rice, there’s some leftover.”

“I’m fine!” The Omega attempts to ignore his hunger. “I don’t wanna impose…”

They stare at each other in silence that stretches for a minute until the nameless boy looks away, and Taeyong makes a detour to grab a clean bowl, fill it with rice and sticks a spoon to it before putting it next to the marinated crab. “That’s a no I won’t listen to. The bathroom is on your left if you wanna take a shower. I’m not coming out anymore so don’t worry about me taking a peek or whatever. I’m not the type to.” Taeyong disappears shortly inside his room to fetch his extra mattress, a blanket and a pillow which he dumps on the couch for the boy to use. “Turn the lights off when you sleep. You might be scared of the dark but I care about my bills. Don’t make a mess, alright?”

When the door closes on his face, the Omega finally sits down and takes everything that happened. First, he was kicked out by his ex-boyfriend. Second, he was almost violated by those disgusting Alphas. And lastly...he ends up in the house of a total stranger that is obviously an Alpha as well judging by the oozing dominance that leaves no room for defiance, and the distinct way he carries himself without care. 

He allows himself to shed some tears as he feels the exhaustion and heartbreak seep into his bones and forces himself to go take a shower. When he peels his wet shirt off, he catches the cool and minty fresh scent of Peppermint that mixes with faint Tangerine.

 

 

 

Taeyong stands in the middle of his room, still in his wet clothes and blows his hair out of his face as he glares at the door. Outside, just a few feet away from him is an unmated Omega that is undeniably ethereal. He isn’t a fan of citrus but the sweet, tangy scent emitting from the boy is so alluring, that he almost throws all rationality out the window and gives in to the temptation of burying his face in the crook of the boy’s neck. Taeyong shakes his head to dispel those thoughts before they take over and hastily steps out of his clothes. He’d like a hot shower but after the Omega uses his bathroom, it’s probably going to smell so much of him and then Taeyong’s going to be intoxicated. He doesn’t want to imagine what might happen next.

“Jesus. Might as well just sleep it off.”



The alarm blares at 8am, rudely waking Taeyong from a deep slumber. Groggily, he sits up and stretches with a loud yawn as the routine of his work plays in a blur at the back of his mind. Somehow, he’s a little too tired although he’s been doing the same things for a year. Shouldn't he be used to it? Taeyong is rubbing the sleepiness out of his eyes when a delicious smell permeates the air. It’s certainly eggs and bacon. 

He understands the presence of eggs because half of his little fridge is just eggs, but where did the bacon come from?

Wait.

He scrambles up and wrenches the door open, all ready to tackle down the burglar that even had the gall to cook his food, only to see the boy he brought home putting some sunny side up eggs on a plate. 

“Hi, good morning!”

Taeyong’s mind is still addled with sleep and he only finds his words nearly a minute later. “I thought you wouldn’t be here when I wake up?”

“Oh, thaaaat. I thought you’d sleep in because it’s a Saturday and there’s no work? I was planning to go after cooking…” The boy’s face falls as he carefully puts the plate on the low table. “I’m sorry I cooked your eggs. That’s very presumptuous of me.”

Taeyong closes his eyes for a while to pull himself together before walking over to turn off the stove. Tangerine hits his nose right away, and he has to huff to hopefully lessen it. He’s not used to smelling really nice scents. “Where did you get the bacon?”

“Oh, I used my money to buy some from the meat shop on the next street…?”

“What’s your name?”

The Omega’s eyes widen, mouth opening and closing as though he’s too shocked about being asked for his name. “My name’s Jaehyun…”

“Cool. At least I know who to thank for a nice meal.”

This is absurd. He’s not kidding – he may still be a little out of it but he knows crazy when he faces it. Nevertheless, Taeyong sits on the floor by the low table and wordlessly invites Jaehyun who sits across him, still holding the spatula. Taeyong thinks it’s hilarious, but he can’t bring himself to laugh.

“What’s your name?” Jaehyun, the pretty Omega that smells like Tangerine (Taeyong smacks himself across the face mentally – this is what happens when his alarm rings in the middle of a dream he usually forgets), looks at him with childlike innocence paired with a cute smile that makes his dimples pop off.

He gets a little distracted. What the hell is happening to me?

Taeyong picks up an egg with his bare hand and shoves it in his mouth uncharacteristically messily, and chews with a blank face as he makes Jaehyun awkwardly wait for his name. “Why do you wanna know? You should eat.”

“Because I want to know the name of the nice person that helped me.” Jaehyun nods and scoops up an egg with the spatula. Ah, so that’s what it is for. 

Do adorable boys hate using spoons? Taeyong isn’t updated with the trend anymore. 

He picks up a nicely fried bacon and takes a bite. "It's good."

"What is?" Jaehyun has yolk smeared on the corner of his mouth. Taeyong wonders if he's doing it on purpose or he's simply too oblivious for his own good – the Alpha supposes that's the case. 

"The bacon," Taeyong eats two more thin strips and licks the grease off his fingers. "It's Taeyong." 

Jaehyun smiles softly and puts an egg on Taeyong's plate. "Thank you for helping me last night, Taeyong. I really appreciate it." 

"Don't mind it." 

There's still an hour left before ahjumma requires his presence at work. Usually, Taeyong would lounge until the shower calls for him but today is different ㅡ he's woken up with a nice breakfast by a boy he barely knows. It's a welcomed change, a voice whispers in the background. It doesn't feel so lonely. 

"I have work."

Jaehyun finishes the last of his share of eggs, head tilted a bit in confusion. "But it's a Saturday…"

"Restaurants don't close on weekends."

"Oh. What kind of work do you do?"

"Is this an interview? Shouldn't I be the one to ask about you? You could be pretending for all I care." Taeyong bluntly asks. He can't help the way he speaks. He's completely aware that he sounds borderline nonchalant and rude at times but it’s not his intention to be. That's just the way he is. But when he sees the crestfallen look on Jaehyun's face, regret sprouts in his chest. 

Jaehyun quickly masks his expression with shyness, scratching his cheek. "Sorry. I am just really curious."

Taeyong watches him for a while, even when the boy begins to squirm under his intense gaze. Omegas are so easily affected by the unadulterated attention of an Alpha. Briefly, he mentally questions if Jaehyun acts this way with all the other Alphas he's encountered. Taeyong bites back a scoff. "I just remembered I need to go early." He gets up and gathers their plates, putting them in the sink. "Did you like the marinated crab?"

"Hm? Yeah! It's my favorite!" 

"That's good," the Alpha fetches a new towel in his room and disappears in the bathroom to take a shower. Rain dried on his skin and it irritates him quite a bit. True to his assumption, the scent of Tangerine still lingers inside even after hours. Taeyong has no choice but to inhale it ㅡ It's light and calming as though replacing the nicotine in his lungs. 

Jaehyun is rummaging through his bag when Taeyong comes out of the shower with only a towel wrapped around his waist, passing by without a glance on his way to lock himself in his room. The Omega quickly looks away although his face is already red, and is glad that the Alpha didn’t notice. He's a little weak in the knees when his mind traitorously supplies him with unspeakable images of Taeyong ㅡ not gonna lie, the man is so attractive and strangely sexy with the way he's inscrutable and distant even with an unmated Omega near him. Jaehyun is undeniably amazed. He knows Alphas pounce on every opportunity, fueled by instincts, but Taeyong is different. He has complete control over his mind and body. 

So, what would make him crumble? 

"I should go now…" Taeyong slips his phone in the back pocket of his jeans and lingers at the doorway. "It's stupid of me to leave a stranger at home unsupervised, but when I think about it, there is nothing valuable enough for you to take, really. So if you still feel the itch to steal, not that I'm accusing you of being a thief, then help yourself. I doubt you could make good money out of my shitty ass tv."

And then he's gone like the wind, leaving Jaehyun staring at the door with an unexplainable feeling. 



It's a slow day today at the restaurant, but Taeyong makes three deliveries and then he's sitting outside by the entrance, making Kimchi with Minjun. 

"Hey, how much did ahjumma pay you?"

It's an odd question, but Taeyong answers nonetheless. "The same as what you got." 

"That's a lie. She favors you, you know. If she doesn't give you a lot of things to do, it means she thinks you're shit at it. You practically do everything." Minjun shrugs nonchalantly, not a hint of distaste on the statement. 

Taeyong shoots the other a sidelong glance before focusing on his task. "And what is it to you?" 

Minjun blinks a few times as he pauses from coating each cabbage leaf with red. "Nothing, actually. I guess I just need to confirm whether she indeed has favoritism. But it's cool, really! I know you need the money."

Somehow, that doesn't hit him right. It must have shown on his face because the Beta quickly gives an explanation. 

"You were a rich kid, right? All rich kids are spoiled rotten. It must be hard to suddenly hit rock bottom. Did they really cut off your credit cards?" The guy really doesn't have a brain to mouth filter and it irks Taeyong to no end that he might just slap the seasoned cabbage against Minjun's mouth to shut him up. 

God made too much effort on Taeyong's face and forgot to sprinkle him some patience. 

"I don't remember telling you all that."

"Yeah, 'cause I overheard you and ahjumma talking when you poured your heart out on her." 

Taeyong picks up the basin and he may or may not have purposely stepped on Minjun's foot on his way back inside the restaurant. 

So what if ahjumma favors him? Maybe Minjun should try being more useful. 

He gives the Kimchi to ahjumma and removes his gloves. "I would like to have some crab packed for dinner." Taeyong tells her, which gives her a startle ㅡ he never requested for a take-away before. 

"You liked it, didn't you?" She points a finger at him good naturedly. "I knew it."

"I'll pay." Taeyong is already taking out his wallet when the lady hits his arm, giving him the shock of his life. Not once did anyone ever lay a hand on him ㅡ not even his parents when he turned down the engagement with the daughter of a business partner. 

"You! Keep your money. I don't want it. I always give you my food for free because I want you to save all the money you earned, and then you're going to give it back to me?" 

"...Ahjumma, you'll go bankrupt if you keep doing that."

"Shut it! How would I go bankrupt? You're the only one I feed for free." 

Maybe Minjun is actually right about him being a favorite. 



The reason he asked her for Ganjang-Gejang is not because he likes it. He's a regular employee in a seafood restaurant but that dish hardly makes it to the top of his list. There's a weird texture to the raw meat that is not doing it for him. 

Come the end of his shift, Taeyong bids her goodbye and makes his way back home in that same speed like he has somewhere important to go. Rain is missing tonight but the cold still bites through his clothes. 

Taeyong is halfway up the stairs when he remembers Jaehyun is not there anymore. Thoughts of him plagued Taeyong the whole day that he forgot how the Omega promised to be out of his sight. It's so unlike him to be curious about a person, but there's something about him that keeps Taeyong mildly interested. 

His scent is so prominent and strong to the point that when Taeyong smelled his hand, Tangerine stuck to his nose like glue and almost knocked him off. He didn't notice it much when he saved Jaehyun from that alley, probably because he was too focused on saving him, but when he finally registered it, it didn't leave him anymore. 

Isn't their scent supposed to be relatively weaker? Unless they're experiencing their heat or they're pregnant. 

Taeyong stops at the front door with his heart wildly hammering in his chest. His nervousness flashes in his eyes for a second. The lights are off so Jaehyun must be gone. If he's still there, the Alpha wouldn't know what to do. What does an unmated Alpha do with an unmated, pregnant Omega anyway? 

He slips the key in and turns the knob. The door unlocks, and Taeyong steps in with his gaze down low as though avoiding to see something or someone. Slowly, his hand touches the switch and when he presses it, he's already deaf from how loud his heart beats. 

Jaehyun is asleep on the couch, head pillowed by his hands. He looks so angelic with his long eyelashes fanning over his cheek, pink lips parted slightly. 

The Alpha is rooted from his spot. How come he's still here? Didn't he say he'd go? Why would he stay? Doesn't he have an Alpha to go home to? Taeyong all but glares at the last thought. 

He hesitantly approaches Jaehyun and kneels down so that they're leveled. Taeyong grits his teeth as that sweet, tangy scent hits him. It's so hard to control his instincts now that he knows. Does Jaehyun even know? Is he aware? If he's not, then he's stupid. But if he is, and he's willingly staying with an Alpha that is not the father of his pup (or pups, Jesus, how many are in his belly?), he's daring enough to warrant an ovation and a badge of Worst Omega in the World. 

Taeyong's very much preoccupied with so many whys and hows that he fails to notice the Omega stirring awake. 

"Taeyong?" Jaehyun sits up and glances at the clock before smiling at him, and it's such an entrancing smile that Taeyong thinks fuck it, so what if it's dangerous to house an unmated, pregnant Omega? He clearly doesn't need that useless, irresponsible Alpha that got him pregnant. 

Taeyong's dark eyes dart over to Jaehyun's bright ones and feels himself get sucked in.

"Welcome home."

 

 

Taeyong’s schedule starts to include Jaehyun.

He doesn’t know why the Omega didn’t leave but he’s not demanding an answer. If Jaehyun feels safe in his house, he shouldn’t force him to go. He’d witnessed first-hand how harmful it is for Omegas without an Alpha next to them to be outside, especially at night. So, for the meantime, while Jaehyun has no concrete plans for himself and his pup, the Alpha will let them be.

At the subject of his pregnancy, Jaehyun seems like he has no plans to talk about it. Taeyong doesn’t even know where he really came from, why he came to Guryongpo-ri alone not knowing anybody that he could ask for help. It could be a reason too personal and painful to share, and as someone who perfectly knows his boundaries, Taeyong will respect the Omega’s unspoken decision.

Ahjumma notices the change in her favorite employee’s behavior recently. For the past week, she’s seen a very rare occurrence – Taeyong appears to be livelier. His face isn’t so stoic and his voice isn’t so bland. He even begins greeting customers if he’s stationed behind the register when ahjumma has to do something. Minjun shares the same observations, but since the old lady has already taken notice, he doesn’t bother pointing it out.

There’s an urge to ask him, but ahjumma supposes that if Taeyong isn’t telling anybody, then it’s a topic that she doesn’t need to partake in. Taeyong is a nice person, she knows that very well. He used to come to her for advices when he was new in Guryongpo-ri. Ahjumma knew he was different, although quiet and detached, because Alphas are inherently prideful and full of themselves thinking they have everything under control, but he wasn’t afraid to show weakness and relied on her until he could stand on his own. It’s not happening now, he often tells her not to worry too much, to quit feeding him for free (which she doesn’t follow!).

But she can’t help it.

Ahjumma peeks from the kitchen just as he hands a customer their change with a tiny smile.

Whatever this is that’s making Taeyong look like this, alive, she hopes it’s permanent.

 

 

Jaehyun is always left alone when Taeyong has to go to work. The only things he does to entertain himself is cook their meals (breakfast and sometimes dinner, because he really doesn’t want to eat marinated crab everynight – the taste starts to get boring after eating it four consecutive times), watch a drama on the small tv and clean. The apartment space isn’t much so he only spends half an hour sweeping and dusting before he’s back to lazily lounging on the rug.

At night, when Taeyong comes home, he makes it his job to ask about the Alpha’s work. Taeyong isn’t much of a talker and prefers to only say the nitty gritty, but Jaehyun manages to pull more out of him with the right questions. Taeyong doesn’t look annoyed, Jaehyun hopes it’s not because the latter’s good at masking his emotions, because he really enjoys talking to Taeyong after a long day of having nothing fun to do.

A thought always nags at the back of his mind though, and Jaehyun mentally debates with himself if he needs to be honest to Taeyong. He’s not sure if the other man already knows, but Jaehyun is afraid – he needs a good home for his pup. What happened a week ago scared the hell out of him that he’s gone paranoid whenever he thinks of going out even if he only wants to buy something from the bakery downstairs. He likes bread and he knows his pup craves it, but Jaehyun is scared. What if he gets attacked again? Those Alphas said they’d get back at Taeyong and they might know where he lives and are just waiting for the perfect time to continue what they wanted to do.

He could ask Taeyong to get him food he actually wants to eat, but isn’t it already too much? The Alpha let him stay for free without asking. It doesn’t sit well in Jaehyun to make him do things that are not his responsibility. Jaehyun isn’t his responsibility but Taeyong is so, so nice and caring, still. If only all Alphas were like him, if only that good for nothing man were like Taeyong, then maybe Jaehyun didn’t have to shamelessly mooch like this.

That man never asked about his day, never took care of him when he was sick, and is just generally unkind that Jaehyun feels like the biggest fool for ever being attracted. Alphas are so effortlessly charming, and he’s nothing but an easily tempted Omega. Jaehyun doesn’t hate being an Omega, certainly not now that he’s carrying his little one.

His little one is still probably a bean. Jaehyun isn’t showing yet and that’s probably why Taeyong isn’t saying anything. Does he know or not? It doesn’t matter. When Jaehyun’s belly bulges and he can’t hide it anymore, he’ll pack up and go. Taeyong may be nice but surely, he wouldn’t be able to stomach being with an unmated, pregnant Omega like him, right? Omegas who get pregnant out of wedlock, or at least don’t have a mate are looked down on. Curse them and whoever treats them well, and he doesn’t want to drag Taeyong down with him.

Jaehyun feels guilty for indirectly lying. He tells himself that this is not just for him. This is for his baby. He is independent and can land a job to feed himself without fearing being discriminated or assaulted, but that was when there wasn’t a bean in his belly, yet.

He swears he will leave when he starts showing, though. Even if it’s scary outside. By then he will find a good place to rent. Taeyong can give him some recommendation.

 

 

It’s two weeks later since Jaehyun appeared when Taeyong gets fed up of worrying. They’re in the living room watching a late-night drama that Jaehyun likes when he tells the Omega an idea that’s been nagging at him for days.

“Why don’t you apply for a job?”

Jaehyun shoves a potato chip in his mouth and noisily munches. Taeyong has been buying random snacks for the Omega – not too salty and not very often, because he said junk foods are unhealthy but it’s okay to indulge sometimes. “A job?” He asks, eyes sliding from the tv towards Taeyong. Discomfort and distress begin to fill the room. “Should I?

He should. Taeyong is probably getting sick of him being useless. Jaehyun should at least give a little share in paying the bills.

Taeyong doesn’t look back at Jaehyun but feels the stare on his side profile, senses the waves of anxiety coming off him. “I think you should. When I go to work, I worry about you. You’re here all alone and if something bad happens to you, I wouldn’t know right away. I come off rude to my neighbors and they don’t like me very much so if somebody trespasses, they won’t feel the need to look for me and tell me or report it. I don’t think they know you’re here, too.”

“…You want me to get a job so you don’t have to worry about something other than your house? Ah, it’s a burden, right?”

The Alpha faces him, expression unreadable. “Do I have to spell it out for you? I worry about your safety. I want you to apply for a job at the restaurant where I work, so I can keep an eye on you. Pretty sure you remember those Alphas’ threat. The work won’t be too hard. I’ll tell my employer to give you a light job.”

“Why are you so worried about me?” Jaehyun mumbles, looking down on the floor. “I am an Omega but I can take care of myself, you know. I can… I can hit them with your frying pan. I can throw a punch or two, or a kick to their balls. I am not very weak…”

That’s true. He’s not weak. He can still body slam those bastards if the push comes to shove, but that could be harmful to his pup.

Taeyong clicks his tongue and turns off the tv. It’s past 11. “I’m not saying you are weak. I just don’t trust the people around here.” And you’re carrying another life. “You will go with me to work tomorrow. Ahjumma is nice and she will like you. Don’t you think it’s also good to have your own money? You can buy whatever you want.”

Is that really the reason why Taeyong is worried about him? Jaehyun looks away when his heart starts drumming. “Um, okay. I guess that’s cool.”

“That is cool. Go to sleep, Jaehyun. It’s not healthy to stay up late.” You need to be healthy for your pup.

Taeyong gets up and steps inside his room, taking one last look at Jaehyun and his oddly red ears before closing the door. He hopes the Omega didn’t take his idea the wrong way.

After all, it’s only natural to be concerned for another person’s well-being, right? Especially when they’re vulnerable. Yes, that’s why. That’s the only reason why Taeyong wants to see Jaehyun all the time and not because he also misses the boy when he’s at work.

 

 

Jaehyun is over the moon when the old lady, Taeyong’s boss, accepts him right away. He just introduced himself and let Taeyong take over with explaining and voila, he’s got an actual job. Like what the Alpha said, she’s a wonderful woman. She invites him to join her for lunch, talking about Guryongpo-ri and asking how he and Taeyong met. Jaehyun has no choice but to be honest with her, telling her how Taeyong found him that night and let him stay in his place.

When he’s done retelling that story, ahjumma pins him a look that Jaehyun cannot explain. She’s quiet for a moment, finishing her green onion kimchi before looking at him again. “I wish you stay for a long time, Jaehyun.”

He blinks in confusion. “Eh?”

“It gets lonely here in Guryongpo-ri, you know. There aren’t a lot of children and everybody is just getting old as time flies, doing the same old thing. I like Taeyong a lot, he’s like the son I never had so I worry about him. If you stay, I don’t need to think all the time whether he’s happy or not.”

“What does it have to do with me, ahjumma?” Jaehyun lifts his spoon and places some crab meat on his rice.

“Just listen to me, okay? Think of it as a way for you to thank me for hiring you.”

Jaehyun nods although he fails to understand what she means by that. Does she mean that he makes Taeyong happy? How?

The Omega looks at Taeyong and watches him work the register, and gets caught staring by the Alpha himself. Jaehyun quickly looks away, shoving a spoonful of rice in his mouth. His cheeks are so hot.

Ahjumma shakes her head fondly at the oblivious fools.

 

 

Things are going fine at first. Jaehyun is a quick learner and after two days, he doesn’t need ahjumma or Taeyong to supervise him. He just needs to be a cashier anyway. It’s one less task on Taeyong’s shoulder. It gets a little boring to just sit there and take orders, and Jaehyun tries to take up another task like picking up the used plates but Taeyong says it’s heavy. Jaehyun frowns at him but the Alpha ignores it. Isn’t he babying Jaehyun too much? Not that it’s a bad thing because Jaehyun likes being taken care of, but really, are there really no other things he can do?

Aside from bearing with his other co-worker’s unnerving stares when he thinks Jaehyun isn’t looking, or even when Jaehyun catches him in the act, that is. Minjun is a Beta so he’s not that dangerous, but the judgmental looks he gives Jaehyun’s way makes him extremely uncomfortable. He has no idea why Minjun is doing that but Jaehyun doesn’t want to tell Taeyong, or ahjumma. It’d be petty of him. He just needs to suck it up and mind is own business.

Omegas are supposed to be patient anyway. So patient that they are expected to take the mistreatment without complaining. If they complain, it’s arrogance. If they keep their mouths shut which is what the society expects from them, it’s called being a pushover.

But Jaehyun wouldn’t be here in the first place if he was a typical Omega.

“Is there a problem?” He asks Minjun when the Beta walks past him to get what ahjumma’s looking for. “You’ve been giving me weird looks since I came here…and you’ve been making me uncomfortable for five days.” Jaehyun isn’t counting, alright. He’s just painfully aware of how long he’s been squirming in his seat being punished for something he’s unaware of.

Minjun stops walking and retreats, halting right in front of Jaehyun. He glares at the Omega and asks a question that makes Jaehyun’s heart drop.

“Who knocked you up?”

Jaehyun stiffens, his previous bravery fading away.

“It’s not Taeyong, is it?” Minjun smirks and braces himself against the counter with both hands as he leans in. “He isn’t, right? You’re already pregnant when he found you. Did you run away from your Alpha, or is it that he got sick of you and threw you away? Things like that aren’t unheard of, so you don’t have to be shy about it. Does Taeyong know?” The Beta is ruthless in insulting Jaehyun. “It’s either you’re a skilled liar that you easily deceived him or…you must be very good in bed that he doesn’t mind recycling?

Tears prickle his eyes but he holds it in. Jaehyun doesn’t want to cry anymore. The last of his tears were shed that night and someone like Minjun won’t succeed in mocking him.

Before Jaehyun does something he might regret, Taeyong comes in carrying a helmet – he just returned from another delivery. “Hey, the last caller wants to order another set. Here’s the money.” He puts the bills on the counter and finally takes notice of the tension, smelling anger from Jaehyun. “What’s going on?” Taeyong’s eyes stay at Jaehyun for a short while before darting towards Minjun. “Aren’t you two going to use your tongues?”

Minjun’s smirk widens as he pats Taeyong’s shoulder. “You’re such a good person, Taeyong. Always there for the needy.” He leaves after that vague remark.

“Are you okay?” Taeyong asks Jaehyun, whose slight shaking does not escape him. He reaches out to hold his hand but Jaehyun pulls away and busies himself with counting money. His bangs fall over his eyes to conceal his hurt.

“I’m fine, go take the order. I’ll write it on the ledger.”

Taeyong’s eyes harden. Jaehyun doesn’t trust him, does he? What kind of Alpha is he if he cannot make an Omega lean on him?

He swallows the annoyance and bitterness sizzling up his throat, storms out with the order and gets on the motorcycle, speeding away.

The smell of Peppermint lingers under his nose but it’s too sharp, too cold, that it doesn’t calm Jaehyun. Rather, it cloaks him with guilt. Are people talking behind Taeyong’s back and making up things about him because of Jaehyun? Do they think he’s an idiot for being with Jaehyun? Their neighbors have seen him already and they most likely know that he’s carrying, right? It radiates off of him. Only Taeyong appears to be clueless about it. Is Jaehyun sullying his image? They don’t like him to begin with and he’s giving them more reasons to be spiteful.

Jaehyun takes a deep breath and sighs. He’s made up his mind.

He can’t do this to Taeyong anymore.

 

 

Tension follows them on the way home after work. Taeyong walks alongside Jaehyun with hands in his pockets, eyes not straying from the road. Jaehyun’s nervousness mixes in the air, agitating him. Taeyong doesn’t look bothered with it but the way he’s not giving him attention, so different from the previous days since he arrived, tells Jaehyun that the Alpha isn’t totally nonchalant about it, too.

Even as they arrive at their humble abode, Taeyong still doesn’t talk to him. Maybe it’s for the best, Jaehyun muses. At least it won’t hurt a lot when he leaves because Taeyong already doesn’t care about him.

“Taeyong, I’m going to leave tomorrow.”

His shoulders tense up. Taeyong’s hand is wrapped around the knob of his bedroom door. He was going to get a change of clothes before freshening up so he could head to the grocery and buy some fruits. Pregnant people need to eat a lot of fruits to be healthy.

When Taeyong doesn’t face him, Jaehyun takes it as a cue to continue. “I’ve been staying here long enough and I know you don’t like the fact that a stranger is living with you. Uh, when I get my pay from ahjumma, I’ll give you a part of it to start paying you back, everything that you spent on me, like the snacks and juice cartons and the time you bought a lot of bread because I accidentally whined about it.” Jaehyun fidgets, not knowing what to do to lighten up the atmosphere. Isn’t Taeyong supposed to be relieved?

Why does he look angry?

Oh god, Jaehyun’s inner voice cries. Is Taeyong finally going to blow up on him, blame him for being a weak Omega and curse him so heartlessly that he–

Taeyong walks up to him and holds his hand, softly.

What?

“Don’t listen to the things Minjun said,” he says, eyes boring into Jaehyun’s soul. “I cornered him before we left the restaurant.”

…Taeyong finally knows that Jaehyun is pregnant, huh? That he got knocked up and will die alone because nobody wants a dirty Omega like him.

“Tomorrow, we will see a doctor. The pup should receive medical attention. You seem healthy to me, but the pup… You’re not hurt anywhere, are you? Do you feel pain in your belly?” Taeyong’s brows crease. “We should’ve done this sooner. I’m sorry, I should’ve taken you to the doctor right away.”

Jaehyun is dumbstruck. “What?”

“What do you mean ‘what’?”

“You… I am pregnant, Taeyong. I lied to you! I made you think I’m not pregnant. The neighbors know and have been saying things about us, mostly you for being with me! They know you’re not my Alpha–” Jaehyun winces when Taeyong glares at him. “And they hate you even more now! You didn’t really know, did you? Oh, god.” Jaehyun sniffles and buries his face in his hands, willing himself not to cry. “Stop being so nice to me, please. I don’t deserve it…”

“I know.”

Jaehyun’s heart constricts. “I’m sorry for deceiving you…”

“I know you are pregnant. I’ve known from the start, when I came back and saw that you didn’t leave. Your scent gave it away.” Taeyong takes Jaehyun’s hands and softly bumps their heads so that Jaehyun would look at him, before putting distance between them. He’s heating up just by being this close to the Omega. “And it’s fine. I’m not mad. You didn’t lie to me – you just didn’t say anything, but the pup did.” He pulls Jaehyun in for a hug, arms wrapped around the other’s trembling figure. “I don’t give a shit about other people, so don’t mind them. Don’t be scared too, Jaehyun. I’m not like the others.”

When Taeyong’s head rests on top of his, Jaehyun cries.

He really isn’t like anybody else, is he? He’s so lovely, so sweet, and it pains Jaehyun. Because this is temporary and Taeyong will never be his, and he’s so damn jealous of the person that will receive the same attention from the Alpha – maybe even more, because Taeyong is going to love them. Taeyong only pities Jaehyun.

This is enough, Jaehyun supposes. He’s damaged good.

And he won’t stay permanently, anyway. Taeyong may tell him this is okay, but Jaehyun still has shame left in him and hurting Taeyong by simply being here is the last thing he wishes to do.

So he’ll stay for a while and talk to Taeyong again about leaving when he’s saved enough.

 

 

“Are you ready?”

They are at the clinic located in Samjeong-ri¸ two kilometers from Guryongpo-ri. Making an appointment didn’t cross Taeyong’s mind so they had to wait for an hour before Jaehyun is set for an ultrasound.

Jaehyun shifts on the plush bench and squeezes Taeyong’s hand. His palms are sweating but Taeyong isn’t disgusted.  “I’m a little scared. It’s my first time.”

“I’ll be here.”

“You don’t have to be in there, it’s embarrassing.”

“I don’t care. I want to see the pup.”

“Mr. Jeong?” The doctor’s assistant calls his name and Jaehyun anxiously follows her to the check-up room with Taeyong in tow.

The female doctor greets them warmly before asking Jaehyun to lie down the bed. He rolls up his shirt high enough to expose his still flat belly, and watches as the doctor applies some kind of gel on it.

“You’re nervous. Don’t be; this won’t hurt.”

“The pup won’t get hurt?” Jaehyun bites his lip and looks at Taeyong who quickly holds his hand again.

“They won’t. Just stay still and look at this monitor, okay? I’ll point out where your baby is.” The doctor begins pressing the transducer on his stomach, moving it around slowly. “So this thing produces sound waves, and the echoes it receives help us see your baby. Where’s the bean, hm?” She moves it around again until a pretty smile breaks out on her face. “You see this small blob? That’s your baby.”

Jaehyun squints and looks at where she’s pointing, breath hitching when he sees it. “T-that’s my baby?”

“Yes. Tiny, right? Right now, it’s just an inch long and weighs about 9.45 grams. A third of it is the head. See that bigger part?”

His heart races full throttle. Jaehyun stares at the blob, unblinking, not wanting to miss the image of his baby even for a second. “It’s so tiny. It’s so small… Taeyong, it’s so tiny! Like an almond!” He tugs excitedly on the Alpha’s hand, grinning. “Can you believe we were once that small too? Oh god, it’s in my belly!”

He starts crying and laughing at the same time. Jaehyun is just so happy, so elated, so in love with his pup.

Taeyong catches the tears rolling down the side of his face with a thumb and pats his shoulder. “When are we going to know if it’s a boy or a girl?”

“Not for a while. You’ll have to be 18-21 weeks far along for us to know its sex.” The doctor hands him the sonogram and Jaehyun sits up, staring at it so intently. She proceeds on asking some questions about symptoms. Taeyong takes the time to pay up at the front desk.

“You’re very lucky, you know that?”

Jaehyun looks up at the doctor with a sniffle. “Hm?”

“Your Alpha is so attentive. His face doesn’t give anything away – but if you take a better look, you can see how worried and excited he is. He made sure to hold your hand throughout the ultrasound so you wouldn’t be scared. With an Alpha like that, you don’t need to worry about taking care of yourself and your pup.” The doctor smiles at him and when Jaehyun opens his mouth to tell her she’s got it all wrong, that they are nothing to each other, Taeyong returns to help him off the bed, thanking the doctor and bidding their goodbye.

 

 

They drop by a pharmacy for Jaehyun’s medicines, and then at the grocery to get more of what he needs – milk, vegetables and fruits, and other food that he’s sure he doesn’t really need to eat but Taeyong scoffs at him when he voices it out, before dropping said stuff in the cart.

Jaehyun acquiesces.

It doesn’t stop there, though. He guesses that Taeyong has a lot of money saved up because they head to a small thrift store next to get Jaehyun a few pairs of loose and stretchable clothes that he’d wear once his tummy gets bigger. He gives up begging Taeyong not to spend more on him on the third oversized shirt and pants. If the Alpha insists on spoiling him and he can’t do anything about it, he might as well choose the cute clothes – aka those with cartoon prints on the front and are pastel in color.

When they get home, Jaehyun is bawling his eyes out once again while looking at the first picture of his baby. He can’t stop saying how cute and small it is, and how scary it is now that knows what his pup looks like in his belly. Jaehyun blows his nose on the towel Taeyong gives him before he continues weeping embarrassingly.

“I don’t even know why I’m crying so much. I’m not sad, Taeyong. Why am I crying? Look at my pup, look.” He pulls Taeyong close until their arms are touching. “The doctor said that’s the head. How is that a head? My baby is just a lonely almond in my stomach, so tiny but it’s making me eat a lot, Taeyong. I’m sorry you had to buy a lot of stuff for me. I want to eat less but my pup is greedy.”

“I don’t mind,” Taeyong looks at him and wipes his tears with the back of his hand. “It’s the hormones.”

“The what?”

“The hormones. It’s making you emotional.” The Alpha glances down on Jaehyun’s stomach. “You should tell me if you feel anything weird.”

“I don’t feel weird,” Jaehyun shakes his head and puts the sonogram back to the white envelope. “I’m also not picky with food. In fact, I eat everything. You noticed it, right? But bread is really good. I think it’s the pup’s favorite. I also don’t hate any particular scent…”

Taeyong raises a brow at him. “What about me?”

“Eh?”

“What about my scent? Do you like it or not?”

It takes Jaehyun too long to answer that Taeyong begins to pull away, getting the wrong impression. The Omega stops him by gripping the front of his shirt. “I like Peppermint.”

Somehow, Taeyong is startled by that, added by the sudden stutter of his heart. “Really? Ah, that’s good. I would have to crash somewhere else if you hated my scent.”

“I like it,” Jaehyun’s lips purses as he lets go of Taeyong’s shirt. “I really do.”

Silence befalls them and the awkwardness is so palpable that Taeyong looks anywhere but Jaehyun, bracing himself with both hands as he reclines. “We should start thinking of names. Make a list for boy names and then girl names.”

“Isn’t that too early?”

“Nothing is too early,” Taeyong gets up to retrieve a notebook and a pen from his room. “Only think of good names if you don’t want to embarrass your child. I know some parents who had so much fun naming their kids weird shit. The kids get bullied in school.”

Jaehyun scoots closer and peeks at what Taeyong is writing. “I won’t be that kind of parent.”

“Mm,” Taeyong hands Jaehyun the notebook and pen, urging him to write down what names he likes. “You’ll be a good one.”

 

 

Jaehyun basks in the extra attention Taeyong starts giving him ever since the confirmation of his pregnancy. Even if he can do it by himself, Taeyong forbids him from doing too much work. He’s now forbidden from carrying heavy stuff, and during dinner, Taeyong peels fruits for him and even feeds him! The Omega calls him out for being over-the-top, but Taeyong only gives him a blank look before pushing an apple between his lips.

It’s not that Jaehyun hates it. He loves it, and that’s the problem. Because he will get used to the Alpha taking care of him and when his pup grows, it will start feeling Taeyong’s presence and might even crave it. Jaehyun worries for when that time comes because his instincts won’t let him fight the urges. It’s only natural for an Omega to crave an Alpha’s touch since it’s calming and assures the pup that its carrier isn’t being neglected. If Jaehyun gets sad, the baby will feel it and then his emotions will be so much worse, so overwhelming to the point of losing control.

Jaehyun decides it shouldn’t come to that. He’ll make sure that when he gets clingy and dependent, Taeyong won’t be around to spoil them and fool them into thinking that he’s a permanent presence in their lives.

Oh, how Jaehyun wishes that this won’t come to an end.

 

 

Their neighbors do not stop talking, especially when they witness Taeyong’s attentive actions towards Jaehyun. He always has a hand on the small of Jaehyun’s back when they walk to and from work. When Jaehyun talks, Taeyong leans close to hear him better. Jaehyun doesn’t hide his laughter anymore when Taeyong attempts to crack a joke – which is lame most of the time but Jaehyun is a goner. Everything the Alpha does is attractive and brilliant to him that if Taeyong dares roll on the ground on the way to work in an attempt to make him laugh, Jaehyun would give him a ten-minute applause.

Ahjumma is pleased at the turn of events. She often finds the two men spending lunch together with Taeyong refilling Jaehyun’s bowl with rice, cracking open crabs and giving him all the meat. Jaehyun only needs to move his hand a little to the side to get his glass of water but Taeyong still does it for him. The old lady feels her heart burst in joy when she doesn’t find the usual stoic expression on Taeyong’s face. Instead, it’s replaced with fondness. Although subtle, she sees it. It’s there.

 

 

 Without noticing, Jaehyun has been in Guryongpo-ri for five months. His belly is bloated now that he’s around his 7th month. It’s becoming harder to move around and he gets tired easily. He has also stopped working at the restaurant.  The Omega tried to reason that he was just manning the register anyway but ahjumma and Taeyong partnered up to tell him no. Jaehyun attempted to pout his way back to work but Taeyong audaciously covered his mouth with a hand to flatten his duck lips and he had no other choice but to relent and take a greedy whiff of that Peppermint scent.

He starts sleeping in Taeyong’s room on his 4th month while the Alpha stays in the living room. On the first night, they get in a little argument about sleeping arrangements but of course, Taeyong wins by telling him how it would make the pup feel a lot better and Jaehyun had to prioritize his baby over worrying about taking advantage of an Alpha’s generosity.

What happened to leaving when you get too dependent, huh? Jaehyun berates himself as he snuggles under Taeyong’s sheets. You can’t even take a single step forward without him scrambling to get to you in a second. How are you even going to walk away from here without him fretting so much? He was cold and detached, but now, you move like one. Wherever you go, he’s there. Whatever you do, he’s there. Acting like a father to your baby, acting like a mate to you.

“He will be relieved when it’s over,” Jaehyun whispers into the dead of night, chest heavy with sadness. He hopes Taeyong is sleeping deeply. “Don’t need to think he’s doing this because he likes it, Jaehyun. Don’t be delusional.” His hand rubs over his belly. “I’m sorry, Areum. We can’t stay with him. He’s not your dad.”

As if hearing him, the baby girl in his belly kicks hard, causing Jaehyun to hold back a wince. “Baby, why did you do that?  I was just being honest. I can’t… I can’t keep asking him to sit close to us when we watch dramas because his presence makes us feel good. Baby, please listen to me and don’t give me a hard time, okay?”

His pup seems to listen and stops moving around. Jaehyun falls asleep with a heavy heart.

 

 

“So you’re really keeping him around?” Minjun asks him while Taeyong puts the deliveries in the box container of the motorcycle. “He’s not your responsibility."

Taeyong’s nose flares in silent fury. He locks the box and straddles the motorcycle before wearing the helmet. “I am keeping him around – and stop making it sound like he’s some item easily disposed.” He tests the gas and looks at the Beta with a steely gaze. “What is it to you? Don’t think I’m being lenient. I’m really this close to tearing you apart.”

“Hey, chill. I’m just really confused. If you’re planning to stay with him, why don’t you mark your territory?”

“What the fuck are you talking about?”

Minjun rolls his eyes and shrugs. “Did you not see how some of the male customers gave him the look? You know what I’m talking about. I’m not even gay and I get attracted to his goddamn Tangerine scent – of all things. I hate that fruit, you know? Listen,” he takes a look around and whispers, “No one gives a shit if an Omega is pregnant – as long as they’re unmated, no one’s stopping a depraved animal.”

Taeyong knows that much – that if you do not have a partner and you’re emitting such an alluring fragrance, it’s an invitation. He’s aware of that. That’s how he met Jaehyun, through those scums that didn’t have an ounce of respect in their body. “We are not mates.”

“And so? Do something about it. I may not be a fan of your set-up but I don’t wish you guys ill.”

 

 

His solution comes in the form of…scenting.

Taeyong has no idea how to go about it, how to convince Jaehyun without freaking him out. Sure, the Omega welcomes all of his efforts in taking care of him but…scenting? It’s the only way to get rid of the perverts but it’s also territorial and possessive.

Jaehyun is not his. He’s not oblivious to the other’s plans on moving out. They’re going to leave him once Jaehyun is capable of providing for his pup on his own.

As much as he wants Jaehyun to be his (fuck, this is it, right? He’s finally come to terms with his feelings?), it’s up to the Omega whether he wants him to be a part of their family of two.

Taeyong muffles a groan against his pillow. This is the first time he’s not a hundred percent confident, that uncertainty looms over him like a cloud of storm.

 

 

 God probably hears his son’s dilemma and decides to end it when Taeyong overhears Jaehyun talk to Areum (Taeyong was the one who thought about that name when they finally learned it’s a girl, and he’s so, so proud, feeling like she’s his when he hears her name from Jaehyun’s mouth) in the living room, just when Taeyong comes out of the bathroom.

“Why are you so sad? Are you sad again? Or is it just me? Baby, I told you. We can’t ask him to hug me just because I want it, okay? You’re so stubborn. I’m not even a stubborn man. Where did you inherit that from? Is it from your good for nothing papa?”

Jealousy surges in the Alpha’s blood in a snap. Taeyong walks over to the couch and plops down next to Jaehyun.

“Come here.”

Jaehyun flinches in surprise, hand on his chest. “What?”

Taeyong has his arms open, waiting for Jaehyun to…hug him?

“Come here or I will make you.”

The Omega’s brain malfunctions, paralyzing him. Nothing about him works perfectly fine, especially the traitorous beating in his chest.

Upon seeing the way Jaehyun shuts down, Taeyong pulls him in gently and wraps his arms around Jaehyun. He shifts them until Jaehyun sitting between his legs, back pressed against his chest. “Stay still.”

He ignores how Jaehyun trembles in his hold as he caresses the latter’s bump. While the Omega’s in a clear state of blissful reverie, Taeyong buries his face in the crook of Jaehyun’s neck, nuzzling his scent gland.

They stay like that for what seems like forever – Jaehyun in a warm embrace and Taeyong scenting him. Areum seems to like it because she suddenly kicks, and Jaehyun gasps in surprise.

“Does she like it?” Taeyong hides his smile on Jaehyun’s skin while caressing where the baby kicked Jaehyun. “Do you like it?”

“Hm…” Jaehyun cannot trust himself to speak. He might say something he’d regret and the moment is too precious, it’d be a shame to ruin it. “She’s happy.”

“Is that so?” Taeyong pulls his face away from Jaehyun’s neck just as Areum gives another kick right where his hand rests. He watches as she continues to do it a few more times, uncaring of how it must hurt his father. It’s fascinating to see life move inside a person’s body.

Jaehyun absorbs everything – Areum moving happily, Taeyong nuzzling his neck, Taeyong embracing him, Taeyong watching his pup. He feels too much at once – elation, joy, sadness – because their reality is coming so soon. Two months left and he will not have this ever again. He’s going to miss it so badly.

“What’s wrong?” Taeyong asks when a tear trickles down Jaehyun’s face. “Are you hurt?”

“I am.”

“Where? Tell me so I can help you.”

“No, you can’t.”

“Jaehyun…?”

Jaehyun sniffles and tugs Taeyong’s arms around him. “It’s nothing. Areum kicked way too hard.”

“But you’re okay, right?” Taeyong’s hands resume their loving caresses on his stomach, and nuzzles Jaehyun’s neck again. He emits an abundance of pheromones to calm Jaehyun, who soon relaxes in his hold. “Tell her not to hurt you too much.”

I should tell you not to hurt me too much, but it’s my fault I’ve fallen for an Alpha who isn’t mine.

 

 

And because he’s selfish, and a raging masochist, Jaehyun lets Taeyong hold him for another night, and another, and another, until he loses count, until they find themselves sharing the bed with Taeyong spooning him, hugging him and his pup.

Because he’s selfish, he lets Taeyong nuzzle his neck, indulges whatever it is that the Alpha wants.

Because he’s selfish, he dreams everynight about having a family of three.

 

 

Jaehyun waddles like a penguin to the restaurant one day because he’s bored out of his wits at home. He suffers a bout of anger from Taeyong who reprimands him for walking alone but thankfully, ahjumma has that power to convince him that nothing wrong will happen and that he doesn’t need to kill himself with worry all the time.

He just sits at a table by the pillar, satisfied with eating the bread he bought from the bakery when Minjun comes over to give him a bowl of mushroom soup.

Ahjumma made that and asked me to tell you to finish it all.” The Beta is about to go when a very familiar scent hits his nose. He looks around, trying to find its owner but when he steps closer to Jaehyun, the scent only becomes sharper.

His eyes widen.

Jaehyun smells like Peppermint.

“Holy smokes,” he exclaims and takes a seat across the Omega. “He did that?”

“Who did what?” Jaehyun picks up the spoon and takes a sip, pouting when a droplet falls on his stomach. It’s difficult to avoid making a mess because his belly blocks the table. “You’re weird.”

Minjun covers his mouth in stunned disbelief and amusement, staring at Jaehyun for a little longer before walking away, murmuring something about bold Alphas.

So this is why nobody’s sitting at the tables near Jaehyun. They can all smell the Peppermint. And everybody in Guryongpo-ri knows about the intimidating Alpha working in this restaurant, has at least heard about his legendary influence on the influx of new customers.

Does Jaehyun know?

Jaehyun soon finds out about it when a suspicious-looking man makes way to his direction carrying his order. The man has a perverted glint in his eyes, and the Omega’s only waiting to throw the bowl at his face when the pervert stops just two feet away, eyes widening in alarm.

“I apologize. Please don’t tell him. I…I didn’t know.”

Jaehyun blinks. “Huh?”

“I didn’t know… Before, I was sure you were free. But I see that is not the case anymore. You smell just like him. I apologize, I won’t bother you anymore.” The man makes a beeline back to the counter, asking for his food to be packed instead.

“Smell like who?” Jaehyun frowns and pulls the collar of his shirt up to his nose.

Peppermint overtakes Tangerine.

His pulse quickens as he blushes furiously. Taeyong has been scenting him all this time? But why…?

 

 

 Taeyong takes his jacket from Jaehyun and hangs it over the couch’s armrest. “Are you sleepy?”

“Not yet,” Jaehyun says distractedly, mind still trying to come up with a reason why the Alpha covered him with his scent.

“Great. Wanna go to the rooftop?” Taeyong asks him as he grabs a can of beer from the fridge as well as a cigarette stick from the cupboard. “I’ll carry you if you don’t wanna climb up.” He smiles, harmlessly teasing.

Jaehyun sticks out a tongue at him in retaliation before they go.

It’s chilly so Jaehyun brings Taeyong’s jacket with him and drapes it around his shoulders. The evening sky is sprinkled with so many stars. They’re like white dust over a black, marble top.

They sit down on the cloth Taeyong spreads.

It’s a rather silent night, save by the occasional gust of wind and the distant music from the noraebang two blocks away. 

The Alpha lights his cigarette and takes a long drag, keeping it in for a moment before the smoke billows in front of him. He doesn’t really smoke around Jaehyun, only doing it now ‘cause the wind is going to blow the smell away. Jaehyun openly stares at Taeyong’s side profile, his gaze tracing over the slope of his nose and the bow of his lips, continuing their way along the length of his arms and his bent knees.

“Where are you from?”

Jaehyun’s head snaps up at Taeyong’s question. The Alpha’s voice has gone particularly deeper. “Pardon?”

“I want to know where you’re from.” Taeyong keeps his eyes forward, nursing himself with the cigarette and beer.

It’s been nearly half a year since they met. Jaehyun only realizes it now, how long they’re been living under the same roof, how long ago since he first promised he’d go.

“Seaside. Pohang.”

Taeyong flicks the ash of his cig and takes a swig of the beer. “So you’re a local?”

“Yeah. What about you?”

It’s funny how they’re just doing this when Taeyong should’ve questioned him from the get-go. But even if he did ask back then, Jaehyun wouldn’t tell. They trust each other now to know more, don’t they?

Seoul.” Taeyong looks at him. “I came here a year and a half ago, approximately.”

“Do you not like being in Seoul? I haven’t been to Seoul all my life. I heard its really beautiful.”

“It is, but it’s not the best. It’s also not where you’d find happiness and success just because it’s the capital. Sometimes, it’s better to live somewhere less noisy, less chaotic. When I got disowned, I googled the perfect places to start a new life. It brought me here in Pohang.”

Jaehyun’s eyes are comically wide when Taeyong looks at him. “Disowned?”

“My family came from a line of Aristocrats. There’s so much old money – I was practically swimming in it the moment I was born. Growing up, everything was handed to me. Great school, friends that only hung out with you because you’re also rich. I could have anything I wanted, and things I didn’t want.”

The Omega listens earnestly. Here’s Taeyong, exposing his history. It feels too personal but because Jaehyun is selfish, he drinks it all in.

“It sucks to think this way because a lot of unprivileged people would want to live that life and here I am, running away from it. I should be thankful, Jaehyun. But I threw it away without thinking twice because they wanted to tie me down to a life they planned for me.”

“You mean…?”

“I was going to be in a fixed marriage.”

Jaehyun gulps and forces himself not to smell devastated.

“And then?”

Taeyong leaves the cig to die near his foot before drinking again. “Well, I didn’t want to be in a fixed marriage. I don’t want to marry someone I don’t love.” He laughs softly, contradicting the tough look on his face. “Sounds lame, doesn’t it? But I hated it. I truly hated it. There was no way out but to run away, so I did. Took enough cash with me. They didn’t try to find me, just straight up cancelled all my cards. It’s as good as being disowned.”

“But it’s fine. I found ahjumma and she gave me a job. She was the one who found me the apartment. Things are looking good for me, as far as I’m concerned.” Taeyong finally looks at Jaehyun, sighing. “I couldn’t be happier.”

If Jaehyun didn’t know better, he’d think it was directed to him. But he’s a smart Omega, unlike the others, and he knows better.

“So that’s how I came here. Not much of a story. You wanna tell me yours?”

The Omega purses his lips and rests against the wall, one hand limp over his belly.

He’s terrified of what Taeyong would think once he’s done talking about himself, but he owes the Alpha who saved his life. Taeyong deserves to know who he really is.

Jaehyun gazes up the sky with misty eyes. “Unlike you, I’m an orphan so I’m not rich. Never been rich. When I came of age, I left the shelter to earn money. I did a lot of odd jobs, but my most recent is being a fisherman.” He looks at Taeyong to see what he thinks about it. The Alpha is unreadable. “Do I look like a fisherman to you?”

Taeyong pokes the pocket of his cheek with a slick tongue, smirking. “Well, you just need a fishing pole, a bucket for your catch and you’re the epitome of it. Except that this is the first time I’m seeing a pregnant fisherman.”

“There’s always a first time for everything.” The sky steals Jaehyun’s attention again, knowing that the sight of the smirking Alpha is detrimental to the Omega’s health. “That’s how I met my ex-boyfriend, Areum’s father.”

For some reason, he inhales a whiff of something he cannot name. It’s strong and gives him a headache. What the hell is boiling within Taeyong?

“He was the owner of a liquor store. We met through the birthday party of a common friend and got acquainted. He started visiting a lot and soon started pursuing me.”

“I didn’t ask you to talk about him.”

“But he’s a huge part of my life, the reason I have Areum.” Jaehyun swallows an invisible lump. If he’s going to make Taeyong hate him, then he might as well go all out. “Things happened too fast. I was blinded by my attraction and I gave him my all. Only to discover I was a homewrecker.”

That scent starts to become unbearable so Jaehyun brings the jacket’s sleeve on his face, inhaling Peppermint. He won’t hold back from being shameless. “His girlfriend saw us and they fought. In the end, he kicked me out of the apartment he rented to hide us. I don’t know if he knew I was carrying. Doesn’t matter, I’m not planning to let him know about Areum. With what I had from fishing and delivering my catch to the wet market, I rode a bus and let it take me anywhere.”

Jaehyun smiles. “That’s the same day you found me.”

Taeyong finishes his beer and crushes the can in his grip, tossing it in a bin carelessly. “I’m glad I found you, Jaehyun. I’m really glad I found you.” He scoots close and pulls Jaehyun to sit between his legs before hugging him from behind. Then his face finds it way on the Omega’s neck to inhale Tangerine and replace it with Peppermint. “I’m glad you stayed.”

Why isn’t Taeyong mad? He’s supposed to be disgusted, right?

The Omega holds his hands, locking their fingers as he allows himself to cry inside for the future loss of a love he sincerely wants to keep.

 

 

 The next day, Jaehyun promptly wakes up at 7. His body clock is already a pain in the butt and Areum sometimes makes it harder for him to get a good night’s sleep.

When he makes a move to sit up, an arm keeps him down and the familiar heat presses closer behind him. Jaehyun tries to turn his head, only for Taeyong to raise his, greeting him with a sleepy ‘morning’.

“You kept huffing all night,” Taeyong says as he untangles himself from Jaehyun who already misses being hugged. He doesn’t say it. “Is it the baby?”

“Mhm,” Jaehyun juts out his lower lip as he glances down on his tummy. “She probably already wants to get out of me.”

Taeyong frowns and places both of his hands on the bump, feeling for a small movement, unaware of the Omega’s breath hitching. “Areum, stay put for a little more. Do you think you’re gonna give your dad an easier time when you come out? Hell no.” His eyes stay on Jaehyun’s tummy for a while, thoughts far away, before hopping off the bed. “I asked ahjumma for an off. Let’s go to the department store today.”

“Why?”

“You’ll see.” Taeyong smiles and steals Jaehyun’s breath away.

 

 

The department store isn’t packed unlike those back in the capital. Taeyong can’t remember the last time he went to one, much less go to its baby section. Jaehyun figures out what they’re there for the second he catches a glimpse of a pink baby walker displayed by the glass window.

“Taeyong,” the Alpha’s name comes out as a whine as Jaehyun tugs on his arm. “We’re really doing this again?”

“What do you mean ‘again’? This is the first time we’re buying Areum’s stuff. We should’ve done this long ago.” Taeyong automatically walks off to the pile of clothes in lieu of listening to the Omega’s cute whines about how he’s being spoiled rotten. He picks up a pair of tiny pajamas, showing it to Jaehyun. “What do you think?”

Jaehyun squints at him and snatches the pajamas to inspect it closely, fingers rubbing the fabric. “It’s nice ‘cause it’s soft, and the color…. It’s lilac. Would Areum like lilac?”

“I don’t know,” Taeyong takes the pajamas again and drapes it over Jaehyun’s bump. There’s a hint of amusement on his face. “If she moves, she likes it.”

As if on cue, Areum the little acrobat nudges against Jaehyun’s tummy, causing the adults to look at each other in shock before laughing. “She listens to you well, I see.” Jaehyun sighs as he picks up the pajamas and hangs it on his forearm. “Please don’t get her a lot, Taeyong.”

“I don’t hear you.” the Alpha teasingly sing-songs while choosing more pajamas from the pile. A clerk approaches to offer her help and Taeyong briefly explains needing cute clothes for a baby girl.

“I see you like the lilac one. It would be great to have a variety so you can play dress up with your daughter.”

Jaehyun opens his mouth to say Taeyong isn’t the parent, but the Alpha is already nodding as he considers her suggestion.

“Alright, uh, we’ll probably get one more pair and then five sets of shirt and shorts.”

“Five sets!” Jaehyun exclaims in disbelief, and the clerk looks between them with a smile. “What are you thinking?”

Taeyong looks over his shoulder and deadpans, “I’m thinking a different outfit for each day of the week. For Saturday and Sunday, let’s get her a onesie.”

Jaehyun wants to faint.

But he doesn’t since he isn’t given a time to before the clerk leads them to a rack of animal onesies. Jaehyun scans the clothes with an adorable pout, his soft hair falling over his eyes. “If I try to convince you that Areum doesn’t need this, will you listen to me?”

“Of course,”

Jaehyun looks up at him.

“Not,” Taeyong scoffs and pulls out a bunny onesie, flicking the bunny ears attached to the hoodie. “This is cute, Jaehyun. A rabbit and a cat onesie, how about that?” Without hearing out the pregnant male’s response which is just a futile protest anyway, Taeyong takes both onesies and puts them in their basket. “They got fluffy tails to complete the look.”

“Oh, lord…”

How is Taeyong even more enthusiastic about this than the parent himself? Why is he so persistent in hurting Jaehyun so good?

But first, why does Jaehyun keep letting him?

He only knows the answer for the third question. Jaehyun looks at Taeyong with heart eyes as the latter walks over to where the socks and shoes are. His eyes then glaze over at the sight of those tiny things, imagining himself play with Areum’s small feet and blowing raspberries on them as she giggles to no end.

The picture of Taeyong picking up those shoes and looking at them so closely, brows furrowing as he listens to the clerk’s rambling hammers the last nail on the coffin, which is Jaehyun’s hopeless love. Crying to the Lord in the middle of a department store and asking him why he’s punishing Jaehyun like this probably isn’t a good idea.

“What do you think?”

Jaehyun blinks out of his trance. “Eh?”

“These shoes, are they pretty? They got little red bows on top and it somehow reminds me of Snow White.” Taeyong beckons him close and wraps an arm around his waist as he hands the shoes to Jaehyun who immediately nuzzles his cheek on the little items. It’s so endearing, Jaehyun is so soft and crazy for his baby. “If you don’t like it, you can put it on your belly and balance it. See if Areum kicks it off.”

“You’re so annoying, Taeyong.”

“I am. Teasing you is my job.”

“That’s probably why you have a lot of money.”

“You know it.”

 

 

As they start walking to the counter to pay, Jaehyun spots a light blue headband. It looks soft to the touch, perfect for the baby’s sensitive head. “Taeyong?”

“Yeah?” The Alpha follows Jaehyun’s line of sight. “You wanna get that?”

“…Can we?” Jaehyun’s hands clasp together, looking up at Taeyong with big, shiny eyes and pink cheeks.  And are his lips trembling?

Taeyong’s gaze lingers at those lips for longer than necessary before nodding, placing his hand on the small of Jaehyun’s back as the Omega waddles over to the hair accessories.

As the pregnant male coos at the headbands, Taeyong stands a fair distance behind him, just observing and dreading the day Jaehyun decides he doesn’t really need Taeyong around.

If he could just tamper on their fate, he would.

 

 

“Do your legs hurt?”

Jaehyun shakes his head. “I’m more concerned about you because you’ve been carrying those bags. I can carry one.”

It’s Taeyong’s turn to shake his head. They were dropped off by the taxi at the end of the street since the rest of the road is too narrow for it to drive and stop right at Taeyong’s place. “I know, but I don’t really want to let you. I can carry everything, see?”

“I see it and you’re so arrogant.”

“If that’s what you think.”

Jaehyun rolls his eyes and stops walking. Taeyong halts next to him.

“What’s wrong?”

“Who’s that?”

“Who?” Taeyong looks at where Jaehyun’s pointing before stiffening at the sight of a person he least expects to see.

 

 

The Alpha asks Jaehyun to stay in the bedroom, who surprisingly listens without a question.

“What are you doing here?”

Yujin looks around the apartment with barely hidden contempt. She doesn’t sit down, only standing a foot from the door, clutching a designer handbag. Her outfit, especially the expensive coat hanging around her shoulders must have commenced a new gossip among the neighborhood. “You know everything is possible with a price.”

Taeyong scoffs and puts his phone and wallet on top of the fridge. “You have no business here.”

“Yes, I do.” Her expression morphs into slight desperation. "Please go home. They’ll forgive you if you show them that you’re sorry.”

“I am not sorry, Yujin. And I don’t care if they forget me, if they erase me from the family register. Did they ever try to find me, huh? Why do I have to be the one to reach out?”

“Because you’re the one who left! Stop being a rebel, Taeyong. We’re not getting any younger, and that’s why they wanted us to get married. Do you really wanna waste away like this?”

Jaehyun, who has his ears pressed against the door to eavesdrop, gasps softly.

This woman...is the one he was supposed to marry.

Taeyong curses under his breath, fists clenching. “Shut up. I’m doing just fine without all of you.”

“They just want the best for us.”

“I don’t want their idea of best.”

The woman’s face falls back into disdain as she eyes the bedroom door. “And that is your idea of best?”

The Omega has no idea what they are talking about, but his heart surges up his throat and he finds it hard to breathe. Taeyong probably senses him. He’s not sure about the woman, but she’s the least of his concern.

At the obvious, undesirable implication, Taeyong bristles. “Han Yujin–”

She looks back at him. “When I heard that you rejected the engagement, I wasn’t offended. I thought you just weren’t ready and that you were just immature, so I didn’t even get mad even when you ran away. We were expecting you to get yourself together. But I see that you’re still gravely disappointing.”

“I don’t want to marry you.” He says with finality. “I really don’t want to marry you.”

Yujin plasters a sarcastic smile on her pretty face. “Who would you rather marry then? That thing?"

Jaehyun’s legs wobble under his weight and he forces himself to sit on the bed, fearing that he’d fall and hurt Areum. He’s still not a hundred percent certain, but they must be talking about him.

“HAN YUJIN!” Taeyong’s patience is quickly running dry. He keeps his balled hands on his sides even as they tremble and itch to hurt her.

She has the audacity to giggle. “What? You’ve stooped so low, Taeyong. You threw me away, an heiress, for what?” A slim finger rubs below her nose as she softly huffs. “I don’t see a bond mark.”

“Please get out.”

“It’s not too late. Please think about it.” Yujin finally moves from her spot to approach the Alpha. The strong scent of wrath coming from him does not deter her.  “Don’t you miss it? The luxury, how easy everything is? You don’t really have to struggle like this. They’ll understand if you explain about…about the Omega. Tell them it was an accident, or you were blackmailed. They could pull some strings. They’ll compensate the boy.”

Taeyong takes a deep breath. Distress fills his lungs. “If you don’t get out of my sight right now, you’ll regret it. And then I’ll pull all the strings I can to shut you up.”

Yujin’s mouth shuts into a firm line, and then she turns on her heel to leave. “Well, no one can tell me I didn’t try. The offer still stands, though.” She turns the knob and looks at him. “Come back and he won’t get hungry for the rest of their lives.”

The door slams loudly. Ironically, he realizes how silent it is inside, and Taeyong is compelled to check on Jaehyun but he fears what he’s going to see, fears the questions the boy would ask him, fears the go on, you can leave, we will survive without you, we don’t need you, I don’t need you.

He doesn’t know what to do, because he doesn’t know where he stands in Jaehyun’s life.

Anxiety continues to swirl in the air but for the first time since he met the Omega, Taeyong ignores him.

 

 

 

From thereon, things change. They are awkward and there’s slight tension when they interact. Both have no plans on talking about what happened. Jaehyun keeps to himself when there’s nothing necessary to say, and Taeyong only talks to him to ask if he needs anything.

Ahjumma is back to worrying when Taeyong reverts to the person he was when they met. The Alpha is aloof and easily irritated be it due to difficult diners or Minjun’s existence. She asks him once and is given the cold shoulder. Taeyong never once treated her that way before, but she doesn’t feel an ounce of disrespect. She knew instantly it has something to do with Jaehyun when she handed him the packed Ganjang-Gejang for the Omega and Taeyong tenses up.

It’s their issue so she stays out of it, but she sincerely hopes they resolve it. She’s really come to love them both as a package.

 

 

The change that made their fallout so painfully obvious is when Taeyong stops sleeping with Jaehyun. It just happens without warning. Jaehyun becomes even more disheartened on the first night that the Alpha’s hands aren’t on his belly to caress it. Areum is getting more and more stubborn as well so he’s left to cry alone until he falls asleep.

A week later, he notices how Taeyong has been leaving for work earlier and coming home later than usual. They don’t even see each other properly unless Jaehyun wakes before the sun is high up and they eat breakfast together in complete silence, which doesn’t last long because Taeyong always rushes to leave.

It’s as good as an end, Jaehyun tells himself one day as Taeyong mumbles a see you later. He almost finds it funny, because he doesn’t really see Taeyong when he returns from wherever he’s been.

Has he changed his mind and accepted that woman’s offer? Is he seeing her and planning about his return to Seoul? Probably. That could be the only reason he couldn’t last long around Jaehyun. If only the Alpha just sucked it up and told him to leave, because Jaehyun would. If it would make Taeyong happy. If it would lessen his burden.

But Jaehyun realizes he’s just like the other Omegas, hanging on to an Alpha that shows them little care and is already dreaming of a future with them.

He’s just like the others, selfish and pathetic and easily fooled.

Moving on, Jaehyun also wishes for Taeyong to make up his mind because he’s sending awfully confusing mixed signals by being closed off and somehow still fulfilling a duty that isn’t his at the same time.

Even though he appears to be avoiding Jaehyun, he indirectly takes care of him by leaving sticky notes on the fridge door with different reminders:

  • There’s banana. Eat one every meal.
  • I saved the hot water for you. Shower warmly.
  • Do NOT try to cut the apple in half with your bare hands – it’s not ideal.
  • Wear socks. Even though it’s not raining, it gets cold.
  • Drink some milk.
  • Turn off the tv if you’re not watching. Sleep in the afternoon.
  • There’s a reason why we have a daily supply of bread. It is meant to be eaten.

And when Jaehyun reads each of them, plucking them off the fridge, he can’t help but feel bad for himself. It must be the work of his hormones, making him overly sensitive and emotional, but a part of it is because even though Taeyong hates being with him, he still pities the Omega. At least, his love for Areum (does he love Jaehyun’s pup or that’s merely sympathy extending far and wide?) doesn’t fray.

 

 

It’s past midnight, but Jaehyun is wide awake. Like usual, sleep won’t easily let him have some peace. He has so many thoughts. He has so many worries. There isn’t much time left before he gives birth and he hasn’t found a new place. How is he going to do it? It’s not like he could go out to search by himself – his belly is getting heavier and a short walk tires him. No one is selling newspapers nearby; he could’ve checked the classified ads.

“What kind of village is this,” Jaehyun mutters under his breath as he fluffs a pillow before resting his legs on it. They are a little swollen. “There are depraved Alphas and an antagonistic Beta – but they are everywhere, there are gossip mongers, and there’s no newspaper. The only good thing about Guryongpo-ri are ahjumma and Taeyong.”

He’s startled by the slamming of the front door. Jaehyun sits up with a hand supporting his belly and gets off the bed, wearing his slippers. They’re not as close as before but he’s a little worried – Taeyong never displaces his anger, even when that woman came unannounced.

Jaehyun exits the bedroom and is hit with the smell of alcohol. Taeyong sways on his way to the fridge, wrenching it open and groaning when he doesn’t find what he’s looking for.

“Where’s the beer?”

“You…you haven’t bought it in a while.” Jaehyun takes two steps forward and flinches when the Alpha swears. “You’re already drunk, why do you still want to drink?”

He receives an unfocused glare.

“You didn’t drink it, did you?” Taeyong rubs a hand down his face and leans against the fridge. “Alcohol is bad for the baby.”

“As if you care…”

Jaehyun only realizes that he said it out loud when the Alpha scoffs and straightens up, taking slow strides towards him. Unconsciously, Jaehyun’s arms cradle his bump protectively. “Taeyong, go take a shower and sleep…”

“As if care? What did you think I’ve been doing since you barged into my life, huh, Jeong Jaehyun?”

“…”

“I’ve been taking care of you and your pup even when you thought I didn’t know she was there. I took you home and let you stay even after you promised you’d go. Did I complain? Why are you making it sound like I never gave a damn?” Taeyong trips over his own foot and braces himself with hands planted on the wall, caging Jaehyun in between his arms. “You think I don’t care? I always make an effort to write those goddamn notes for you, and you think I don’t care.”

Jaehyun starts shaking in fear. Taeyong is so drunk and he’s afraid that the Alpha might hurt them. “Taeyong, please…”

You’re the one that doesn’t care about me!” The Alpha slams a hand on the surface next to Jaehyun’s hand, causing the latter to quiver harder and start crying. “Do you care about me, Jaehyun? I don’t think you do, because if you do, you wouldn’t make me feel like this!”

What he means is that he’s so stupidly in love with Jaehyun but Jaehyun doesn’t seem to notice it, doesn’t seem to reciprocate it. If Jaehyun felt the same way, he wouldn’t suffer from the mental gymnastics his thoughts do in trying to come up with justifications whether the Omega feels the same way or not.

But he’s drunk and he’s inarticulate and he’s never been in love before, so his vagueness makes Jaehyun think wrongly. It makes Jaehyun think that what he means is the latter’s being so selfish and so shameless to keep taking advantage of his generosity and his kindness. That’s what the Omega understands from his drunken stupor.

At that moment, Jaehyun’s heart stops beating. He’s just got the long overdue reality check he needed.

Taeyong just didn’t want to offend him, but he’s been wanting to get rid of Jaehyun. Taeyong, lovely Taeyong, the only Alpha that didn’t mistreat him because of his status, charming Taeyong that stole Jaehyun’s heart just admitted he was being nice because Jaehyun is too thick-skinned and lacks common sense.

He is so intoxicated that he just falls pathetically on the floor when Jaehyun pushes him away, deaf to the soft sobs. He’s too intoxicated that he just sits there, head against the armrest of the couch when Jaehyun packs up some of the stuff that are easy to shove in his backpack. He’s too intoxicated that he falls asleep even when Jaehyun walks out of his house, and out of his life.

 

 

“Fuck,” Taeyong lets out a litany of expletives as his alarm rings like a siren. His head feels like it’s being jackhammered.

What the fuck happened?

Ah, right. He drunk so much last night to drown his heart problems and forget them, but the trick that the alcohol does not say is that it only erases shit from your memory temporarily but those same shit surge back into you tenfold.

He cranes his stiff neck and winces from the blooming pain, spending ten minutes to just sit and clear the sleep out of his head before forcing himself to get up and drink a glass of water. When he’s already halfway finished, he looks at the fridge door and wonders what to write next.

“What the fuck should I say for today, huh?” Taeyong puts the glass in the sink and snorts, grabbing a handful of hair. “Please fall in love with me already because I don’t know how else to tell you I’m crazy in love with you? Sounds good, but impractical."

The Alpha cups a hand over his mouth to sniff his breath and groans. “God, that’s inhumane.”

He takes out his phone and checks the time. Normally, Jaehyun would already be awake frying eggs but it seems like he’s sleeping in. It’s fine, Taeyong supposes. Don’t pregnant people sleep a lot?

Taeyong fries two eggs, sunny side up and shoves them in in two go’s before quietly slipping inside the bedroom to get a fresh pair of clothes. He’s half expecting Jaehyun to already be wiggling out of the bed, all cute and swollen and fluffy and everything that hurts Taeyong’s heart but then he’s not there, the bedroom is empty and Taeyong blinks idiotically as though waiting if his brain is just tripping.

But it’s not and the Omega really isn’t there. It spurs Taeyong into a frantic state, opening drawers to confirm something.

Some of his stuff are still there but majority of Areum’s are gone. His backpack is gone.

“What the fuck happened last night?” Taeyong stands in the middle of the room and tries to replay whatever that his stupid brain retains. He remembers drinking and getting kicked out of the bar owner because he made a scene, what it was about, he chooses not to recall. There’s the walk home, and he was looking for a beer, and then… and then…

“Jesus,” he turns around, clutching his head before punching the wall in self-hatred.

Jaehyun misunderstood him, didn’t he? God, Taeyong wants to throw himself in a creek and swim with the trash because there’s hardly any difference. He’s a complete garbage.

This is not how he’s planning to convince Jaehyun to stay in his life. He literally shooed him away! Oh Lord, Taeyong wants to mourn the death of his last remaining brain cell.

He quickly pulls himself together and scrambles to grab his jacket before running out of the house.

The first place he goes to is the restaurant. It’s not open yet so he bangs his fists on the coiling door. “Ahjumma! Ahjumma! Open this, ahjumma!

Taeyong steps away when the coiling door rolls up and hits the ceiling with a deafening slam.

“What the hell are you being so loud for? And is that alcohol I smell from you, you mongrel?”

“Jaehyun, ahjumma. Is Jaehyun here? Is he here?” Taeyong tries to walk past her but she blocks his way. “Come on, ahjumma. I need to talk to him.”

“Can you please calm down first? What are you saying? Why would Jaehyun be here?” She squints and shoots him lasers of death. “What did you do, huh? Did you fight? Did he run away?”

The Alpha plops down the pavement with a groan. “I didn’t mean to say those things, ahjumma. But I fucked up, regardless. I was drunk and I didn’t realize he upped and left! Where would he go? Ahjumma, he’s pregnant for fuck’s sake!”

She slaps the back of his head. “Stop cursing, will you? He can’t be out of Guryongpo-ri. He’s pregnant and he won’t risk it.” The old lady sighs and sits down next to him, arms propped on her knees. “Whatever you said to him must have hurt him so bad. Even if it’s not too deep – he’s pregnant and his hormones get the best of him. Taeyong,” her voice softens as she holds his hands. “I’ve seen you in your worst and I know you’re a good person. Please take care of that boy because he makes you happy. I see it, I saw it when nobody could. You love him, don’t you?”

Taeyong lets out a breath he didn’t know he was holding and nods. “I love him.”

“Then fix your problem. Go look for him and make sure he doesn’t leave your side. You need each other.”

But where would Jaehyun even go?

Taeyong wallows in misery for a moment before it occurs to him, and then he’s up and running to get the love of his life.

 

 

 

Minjun looks unimpressed when he opens the door. “Let me guess. This is the last house you came to disturb.”

“He’s there, isn’t he?” Taeyong pants heavily and gestures for the Beta to step aside. “How does he even know where you live?”

“Oh, we’re frenemies now.”

“Freneㅡwhat?”

The Beta’s eyes roll so hard that Taeyong thinks they'll get stuck in the back of his head. “Not totally friends, not totally enemies. Half and half. I apologized for how I treated him and agreed to be civil because he’s okay but he still annoys me with all the penguin waddling he does.”

“Okay,” Taeyong merely says before shoving Minjun aside. “Jaehyun?!”

“Hey! Just because you’re the hot stuff doesn’t mean you can walk all over us!”

“Jaehyun, please can we talk?”

Taeyong glares at Minjun before knocking on the door of which he assumes to be the bedroom. “Jaehyun? Are you there? Please… I’m sorry. Let’s talk, okay? Please come out and talk to me?”

“That’s my room, why would you think he’d be there?”

“Where the fuck else would he be, Minjun? Your place is a goddamn box.”

“As if yours is any better. I fucking hate Alphas.” Minjun bypasses him and raps the door. “Get your shit together and talk like freaking adults! And stop hiding in my room – you’re gonna cover it with your annoying Tangerine scent!”

The door swings open and Jaehyun looks at Minjun through his red and watery eyes. “Lemongrass is the worst.”

“You ungrateful little sh–”

Taeyong steps in between them and holds Jaehyun’s hand, who thankfully doesn’t retract it, but he notes the flinch the Omega did when he moves closer. “Jaehyun, please come home? Let’s talk there?”

The Omega looks down and sniffles. “You’re gonna tell me mean things.”

“No, Jaehyun. I won’t. Just please…come home with me. We really, really need to settle some things.”

A soft whimper escapes the fragile Omega and Taeyong mentally stabs himself in the gut.

“You want to go back?” Taeyong tips the boy’s face and feels the urge to kiss his swollen eyes. He must have cried all night. “I’ll buy you your favorite bread…”

“Do you think I’m shallow?”

“No, but I think you’re hungry because this useless piece of shit here probably didn’t feed you,” Taeyong ignores the seething Beta behind him. “Let’s go home, Jaehyun…”

Home, he said. A home is where you find happiness, right?

Jaehyun stares into Taeyong’s eyes and whimpers yet again. He’s so, so whipped for this man that isn’t even his. He really thought he was determined to put a conclusion to his foolishness, but of course, he can’t call it foolishness without living up to it ‘til the end.

Why does he keep falling for the people that won’t keep him forever?

 

 

“Aw, ouch–be gentle, will you?”

“I am gentle…”

“No, you’re–fuck that one stings,” Taeyong complains while Jaehyun dabs the cut on his lip with a wet cloth. “I think you’re doing it on purpose.”

Jaehyun’s brows crease as he puts the cloth down. “I wasn’t the one who tripped on air. I am not the air. Stop blaming me…” He sniffles for the nth time that morning. “I’m not even supposed to be here.”

Taeyong runs a hand through his hair and takes a deep breath. It’s now or never. “Jaehyun, about last night. I’m sorry. Whatever you thought I meant, it’s not true.”

“I don’t know, Taeyong. Me leaving will eventually happen anyway. I don’t… I don’t want to make you do things for us just because you’re too nice to tell us to go.”

“I just said that’s not what I meant to say. Will you please listen to me first?”

“…”

The Alpha’s heart ricochets like a dribbling ball within its confinement. So, before his brain dissuades him and he chickens out, he says it. “I love you.”

“Yeah, I knew you were just–” Jaehyun’s head snaps up and he stares at Taeyong like he’s grown two more heads. “What?”

“I love you. I’m in love with you.”

“I heard you! But don’t joke like that!” Jaehyun scoots away from him until he’s sitting on the pillows and his side is against the headboard. How could Taeyong be this cruel?

Taeyong shakes his head and takes Jaehyun’s hand. “I’m not kidding. Jaehyun, I love you. I don’t know when, or how, but I am in love with you. Everything I did for you and Areum, I did them because I genuinely cared for you. When I realized you’re pregnant – which was literally the next day after I found you, I felt compelled to do everything in my power to give you anything you need. I admit that at first, it was the Alpha in me talking but eventually, when the thought of you deciding that Guryongpo-ri is not where you’d find happiness plagued me every second, I was devastated. I knew I wanted you to stay.”

He takes Jaehyun’s other hand and kisses them. “Jaehyun, please don’t leave me.”

Seconds pass by with Jaehyun merely staring at him as if he’s insane before he gets a slap on the head – if he was any other Alpha, this wouldn’t go well. But he’s not like the rest, that’s why Jaehyun fell for him.

“Are you for real? Why didn’t you tell me sooner? I could’ve stopped beating myself over it! I could’ve told you earlier that I love you too! Why did you have to make me think you didn’t care beyond that and hurt me?! I even thought that you listened to that woman and was just trying to find the perfect time to tell me you were going back to Seoul! You were also avoiding me!”

At this point, Jaehyun’s eyes are a pair of waterfalls as he wails loud enough to wake the whole neighborhood.

“Avoiding you? When did I do that?”

“You kept leaving early and returning late! You didn’t want to see me! Am I so ugly that you’d rather stay outside than come home?!”

“Jaehyun, no.” Taeyong sighs and wipes the other’s tears away. “I’m sorry. I wasn’t avoiding you.”

“Then why?”

“I… I picked up another job at this commercial building. I help clean some offices and run errands for extra cash. You’re gonna give birth soon and we need all the money for Areum’s diapers and formula and vitamins and check-ups. She needs a lot. I only have enough to pay for when you give birth. I’m sorry I made you think I didn’t want to be with you.” Taeyong is the one who moves closer to hug Jaehyun, kissing the top of his head. “How could you think that you’re ugly? Have you seen yourself? You’re so beautiful, Jaehyun. You have the cutest cheeks that remind me of peaches. Your eyes, lips, everything about you makes me want you. You have no idea how many times I had to stop myself from touching more than I’m allowed to. Is it bad that I’m glad it didn’t work out with your ex? Because I really can’t imagine my life without you now."

Jaehyun hiccups a few times before burying his face on Taeyong’s shoulder. “I love you. I love you a lot. Thank you for accepting me and Areum. Oh, god. You have no idea how happy I am – someone wants me and my pup!”

“Of course, I accept you and Areum, Jaehyun. But do you accept me? Will you let me be her papa?”

The Omega nods eagerly and blows his nose on Taeyong’s jacket. Again, if it was any other Alpha, he’d be dead by now – but Taeyong is his Alpha, and Taeyong loves him. “She likes you already, I can tell. And if it’s not you she comes to know when she grows up, she’s going to be heartbroken.”

“Alright. Thank you.”

“Mm...”

Jaehyun dives right back in Taeyong’s arms. He can’t believe it! If this is a dream, he hopes he sleeps for a while until he’s satisfied. He’s overjoyed. Such luck he has!

“Please shower, though. I miss your scent because you stopped sleeping with me. And this is not the scent I want to smell.”

“Brat.” Taeyong cups his face and quickly pecks on Jaehyun’s lips.

Jaehyun sighs blissfully. “But you love me…”

“I do.” Taeyong showers more kisses all over his face, especially on those pretty pink lips. “I love you.”

 

 

Areum arrives a week earlier than her due date but she’s fine – she and Jaehyun are fine. She’s round and heavy, and when she’s finally in the Omega’s arms, wrapped snug in a baby blue cloth, she’s the most perfect baby Taeyong has ever seen.

The two of them are so perfect, and Taeyong won’t exchange them for the world.

They come back home when the doctor says it’s okay to, and Taeyong settles the payment. Even though his pocket aches, it’s all worth it. He knows that, because he has the best thing one could ever ask for in their life – a family.

Things don’t get easier just because Jaehyun isn’t pregnant anymore. Areum cries at ungodly hours and Jaehyun has to stay up until she’s calmed down, only to get woken up again by her cries two hours later. A two-hour sleep is luxury.

Taeyong volunteers when Jaehyun is close to crying himself, sacrificing what already little sleep he gets in between his jobs. It’s okay, he can take power naps when there’s no delivery and ahjumma doesn’t need him to make Kimchi.

He’s not lying when he said having a baby is expensive, so he finally allows Jaehyun to go back to work provided that he doesn’t neglect Areum. When the Omega is back to manning the register, with Areum in the sling, either sleeping or crying or staring at Jaehyun, everyone coos at her cuteness. Suddenly, like magic snapped, everyone in the neighborhood forgets about how Jaehyun was pregnant without a mate as they are now head over heels for the little angel.

Whenever a newcomer asks about Areum’s other father, Jaehyun doesn’t hesitate telling them Taeyong’s name. No one bats an eye, because they can see how Taeyong fills the position perfectly and they all agree, ahjumma agrees, that there are no better parents for Areum than Jaehyun and Taeyong.

 

 

He’s tired from work and taking care of Areum all day, but Jaehyun doesn’t want to sleep yet. He forces himself to stay awake so he can watch Taeyong carry their daughter, lightly tapping her side and humming a song to her while she sleeps.

“My sweet little princess sleeps so well. Would you like to be a little nicer and let your papas sleep well too? Even just once?” Taeyong whispers to her before nosing on her cheek. “You don’t want to? Ah, that’s fine. You’re the prettiest baby in the world, how could we be upset with you?”

“You’re a good dad, Taeyong.” Jaehyun blurts out fondly. His heart overflowers with affection and adoration for his little family. “There’s no one else who’s going to love her better than you.”

The Alpha hides his smile by kissing Areum’s head. “She deserves the best.”

“I wonder what she’ll present as when she comes of age,” Jaehyun lets out a happy sigh as he slides further under the sheets. “I don’t want her to be bullied…”

“It doesn’t matter what she’ll be, Jaehyun. She’s perfect; everyone will adore her.” Taeyong finally sits on the bed when his arms start to numb from carrying her. “And let’s not worry about the future, yet. Kids are little monsters, you know. They’re gonna wear you out. She’s going to give us more headaches – a ton worse than her midnight cries.” He doesn’t hold back a grin anymore when the baby stirs and scrunches her pinkish nose. “But even so, we’ll love her imperfections.”

Jaehyun gets choked up and buries his face on the Alpha’s hip.

This, this moment – is what’s best for Taeyong. Nothing else.

 

 

One year later.

“Are you sure everything is in the bag? If there’s anything missing, you are well aware I can’t just make you bring it or go there, right?” Ahjumma fusses as she bounces the one-year old girl in her arms. “How long will Areum be here?”

“Jaehyun said his heats usually last three to five days. So, I made sure to pack all that Areum might need in five days. I’m sorry, ahjumma.” Taeyong looks at her and his daughter apologetically. “The house is small and I can’t bear letting her hear–”

Ahjumma flails, almost hitting him on the face. “Oh shoo! Shoo! You don’t need to tell me that, you fool. Go back to your boyfriend and take care of him. A neglected Omega is not an adorable Omega. You do your best, okay?”

Taeyong huffs in disbelief and storms out of the restaurant after kissing Areum goodbye. He can’t believe it – did ahjumma really cheer for him to…to….

As if it’s their first time! He and Jaehyun have been intimate countless times, so excited and thirsty for each other to the point that Taeyong went to work late at least twice because he just couldn’t extricate himself from Jaehyun and his teasing touches.

What more now that the other’s actually having his heat? Taeyong gulps and fans himself. He’s going to have quite a lot of fun even if it’s hella exhausting.

He has just stepped inside when he’s hit with the most alluring scent – Jaehyun’s desire must have amplified when the Alpha was out. It’s only normal since Omegas get extra needy when their Alpha is not within reach.

It smells so good, Jaehyun smells so good and his scent seeps into Taeyong to curl around every part of him, spurring his own urges. He double checks the lock on the front door before going in the bedroom, and gets his breath knocked out of his lungs at the sight of his boyfriend completely naked, ass up in the air and slick coating the inside of his thighs.

“Taeyong…” Jaehyun whines into the pillow, drooling as his hand lazily pumps his length. “Taeyong, it hurts… Please come here…”

Taeyong’s hands bawl up into tight fists as he crosses the small space from the door to the bed. When his weight dips into the mattress, Jaehyun lets out a wanton moan before wiggling his butt, practically offering himself to the Alpha without an ounce of shame.

“You couldn’t wait for me to come back and undress you?” Taeyong says, voice deep and strained as he resists the blinding urge to just take his cock out and plunge right into that awaiting hole. He kneels right behind Jaehyun and pulls his shirt over his head before dropping it and letting the broadness of his body cover the Omega’s shaking form. “Let me guess, you tried to finger yourself as well, didn’t you?”

Without hearing out Jaehyun, he sucks on two of his fingers and swiftly inserts them inside the latter, moaning at how they slip so smoothly inside. He belatedly realizes he really didn’t have to spit on them because Jaehyun is so wet, he’s leaking copiously as though all Taeyong needs to do is shove him down and fuck him into oblivion.

He badly wants to do that, don’t make the mistake of thinking otherwise. But this is the first time that Jaehyun is in heat since they met, and Taeyong wants to savor it, carve it into his mind and body that it’s going to be what he’ll remember until the next heat.

His fingers twist around teasingly to massage Jaehyun’s soft walls, pressing and prodding and pushing so deep ‘til Taeyong finds the bundle of nerves and relentlessly rubs it, sending Jaehyun into a moaning and drooling mess.

“Alpha, please…” Jaehyun’s ass pushes back against Taeyong’s fingers, wordlessly begging him to move those fingers in and out. Quivering hands grip the sheets tight as Jaehyun braces himself up, turning his head to look at Taeyong – he hopes that he looks debauched enough to convince his boyfriend to stop teasing him. “Fuck me now, please? Give me your cock?” He licks his lips and eyes the tent on Taeyong’s pants. “That looks painful…”

“It is, baby,” Taeyong says through gritted teeth before starting to finger Jaehyun – slowly at first, and then it gradually fastens, alternating between splaying his fingers and straight up assaulting the needy Omega’s prostate.

“Mm fuck, fuck,” Jaehyun has always been vocal when it comes to sex. Usually, Taeyong would cover his mouth with a hand or Jaehyun would bite down his bunched shirt because they worry about their neighbors eavesdropping. But right now, as Taeyong grips his shoulder to make him stay still as he slips another finger, all rationality leaves him. “That’s so good, Taeyong. H-harder.”

A low growl comes from Taeyong as he gives in to Jaehyun’s demands. If his lover wants it fast, he’ll give it. If he wants it rough, he’ll give it. There is no way he’d say no.

Taeyong continues to scissor the other’s ass until Jaehyun reaches behind to put a hand on his stomach, his touch searing just above the waistband of his pants.

“N-no more of that, please,” Jaehyun’s eyes are glazed over as their equally hungry gazes meet. “I want something big…” He pulls Taeyong’s fingers out of him and gives the Alpha one hell of a kiss that leaves both of them lightheaded, tongues lapping and teeth nibbling on lips, with Jaehyun’s nipples being tweaked and pinched. “Want your cock so bad…”

The Alpha swears under his breath as Jaehyun faces him, lowers his head down to his crotch and mouths on his bulge. Jaehyun tries to bite him over the fabric and when he hisses out another curse, the Omega audaciously giggles.

“Jaehyun, if you keep teasing me, I won’t give you what you want.” Taeyong combs through the other’s hair and grips a handful, earning himself a high-pitched whine. “Better put that mouth to good use if you want it so bad.”

He’s a good Omega, alright. Jaehyun aims to please his boyfriend all the time, every second of the day. It hurts not to have a cock filling him but it hurts him more not to have his lips wrapped around Taeyong. So he listens right away and pulls Taeyong’s zipper down with his teeth, their eyes meeting for a second before Jaehyun tugs all of those offensive fabrics off him.

And then the next thing Taeyong knows, he’s being swallowed eagerly into that hot, talented mouth. He keeps his eyes on Jaehyun, not wanting to miss out on such a sexually picturesque scene.

God,” he’s not religious, but he catches himself muttering that name a few times as Jaehyun bobs his head in a steady pace, lips and tongue massaging the impressive length. Taeyong’s stomach flexes when Jaehyun does that thing with his tongue – swirling it around the bulbous tip, lapping at the underside and dipping into the slit until Taeyong cries out his name, then back down to the base to suck on it while his hand pumps the shaft, and even occasionally teabags him.

His head is filled with nothing but a cloud of lust. Taeyong holds Jaehyun’s head in place and shallowly thrusts, testing whether the Omega would let him push a little deeper.

As though understanding what he wants to do with just a look, Jaehyun clutches on Taeyong’s thighs and digs his nails as an invitation.

Wreck me, ruin me, use me, Alpha.

Taeyong doesn’t need to be told twice. He gives a sharp thrust, hitting the back of Jaehyun’s throat off the bat and continues to do so when he sees the lack of reflex. He goes at it for a while, just relishing the pleasure Jaehyun is giving him. The Omega’s scent becomes stronger, almost tangible, and only when Jaehyun swallows around him again does he slow down and stop.

“You’re gonna fucking kill me,” Taeyong’s pupils dilate at the sight of spit hanging between his tip and Jaehyun’s lower lip. “Lie down, baby. Let me make you feel good now, alright?”

If he wasn’t so turned on right now, he’d be amused at how desperate Jaehyun is.

He nudges the other’s legs open and positions himself in between. Taeyong grips Jaehyun’s waist and drags him close until their cocks brush, pulling out moans from them.

“Baby,” Taeyong leans down to nuzzle Jaehyun’s neck, nosing and kissing right on his scent gland. It smells stronger here as well as on his wrists. Leaving a trail of pecks and licks, his mouth burns Jaehyun’s already heated skin.

Their hips move in sync, humping, and the last thread of Jaehyun’s patience finally snaps when the tip of Taeyong’s cock catches on the crack of his ass, dangerously close to where he wants it most.

“Please, please, Alpha, please… Put it in now, please? I’m going…I need you, want you so fucking bad…”

Taeyong smirks and looks at how ruined Jaehyun already is, whispering filth in his ears before leaning back to spread the Omega’s ass cheeks, exposing the fluttering pink. His own cock twitches once before he presses it against Jaehyun’s hole, casting the latter a glance and then pushing in.

Even though he planned to be gentle, it’s of no use. The copious amount of slick made it so easy to slide in until he’s balls deep into his boyfriend. Jaehyun moans deliriously, already canting his hips to make Taeyong move because he needs it, wants it, is dying for it.

Jaehyun’s back arches off the bed as Taeyong finally fucks him properly, earnestly, animalistically. He feels high on ecstasy as he lies there, open and wanting and begging to be fucked harder (because it’s not enough, it will never be enough) like Taeyong hasn’t already been doing just that.

It’s filthy, the way Taeyong’s hips hammer into him unrelentless, thick cock sliding in and out, in and out, pounding with a force that has Jaehyun gasping for air, for more of that ecstasy. Taeyong holds him down with a bruising grip as he continuously snaps into the Omega with a punishing pace.

“You’re so fucking hot,” Taeyong manages to say in between pants and grunts. Beneath him, Jaehyun thrashes and writhes while crying out nonsense – he’s out of it, not really registering the flurry of words coming out of his mouth as the only thing that makes him aware of his surrounding is the electrifying pleasure surging through his body, intravenous and addicting.

“Ah, ah, ah…” Jaehyun chants, but more like croaks out at every punch of Taeyong’s hips against the back of his thighs. His legs are wrapped tight around the Alpha’s waist to keep him close, buried deep, and he wants to hug him too but Taeyong’s got his wrists pinned down so Jaehyun is left with nothing else to do but to moan lewdly, saying anything that comes to mind. “Fuck me, fuck me, please…”

“I’m already fucking you,” Taeyong drapes himself over Jaehyun, almost bending him in half and laps up the sweat pooling on his collarbone. “Already fucking you so good. Don’t you feel good, baby?”

“Yes, yes…” Jaehyun lets out a sob as Taeyong stops thrusting and merely humps as he moves his hips in circles. Jaehyun’s cock continues to leak between their bodies, begging for attention. “Please, Alpha, I’m so close…”

“Are you?” Taeyong glances down Jaehyun’s cock and wets his lips with a slick tongue. He’s throbbing where he’s deliciously snugged inside the Omega and feels the telltale sensation of a mind-numbing orgasm.

Tears fog Jaehyun’s vision. Everything is so, so good that he can’t help but cry. His emotions are always off the roof when he’s in heat, and now that he’s experiencing a first with Taeyong who genuinely cares for him and loves him and their daughter, Jaehyun’s heart is a broken dam of affection.

“Come in me,” he breathes out, heart pounding wildly. “Come inside me, alright?”

His throat closes up, heart racing a hundred miles. Does Jaehyun mean what Taeyong thinks he means…?

Jaehyun whimpers as he pushes back, urging Taeyong to fuck him again. “Let’s have more pups…”

None of them remembers their next words, if they ever said anything, because Taeyong delivers a series of brutal thrusts causing the bed to squeak beneath their weights and vigorous lovemaking. He frees one of Jaehyun’s wrists to stroke his cock, drinking in the breathtaking sight of his lover before the Alpha slots his face on the juncture between Jaehyun’s neck and shoulder, and bites down, just as the Omega reaches the peak of bliss.

It hurts. Jaehyun whimpers, raking blunt nails down the length of Taeyong’s arm while he endures the searing pain brought by bonding. It doesn’t last long, fading quick with the help of Taeyong’s soothing licks over the mark, clearing it of blood.

And then Jaehyun feels the hot essence of his Alpha filling him up to the brim, followed by the growing knot locking it all inside so that not even a drop would trickle out of Jaehyun.

It expands until it’s borderline painful, with Taeyong whispering a half-hearted apology. “It’ll go away soon,” he says, kissing Jaehyun’s scent gland on his wrist. “Just making sure you get all the pups you want.”

Jaehyun chuckles through exhaustion. He doesn’t care how long Taeyong stays inside of him because he’s insatiable when he’s in heat, and he will end up asking for more rounds anyway. For the meantime, he cups the spot where the bond mark is, tracing it with a finger. It stings, but Jaehyun loves it.

“I should’ve asked you first,” Taeyong nervously noses on Jaehyun’s cheek. “You might…you might not–”

“Stop thinking,” Jaehyun tells him softly. “I want to be with you forever.” He sighs and cups his mate’s face so they stare at each other. “I want to be with you in the evening, and when morning comes. We’re together, Taeyong. You, me, Areum.”

The Omega kisses him slow and deep, pouring out all the love stored for Taeyong and Taeyong only. They part with a smile and Jaehyun laces their hands before bringing them to his chest.

“We’ll be together, always.”