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While Your Lips Are Still Red

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Artwork for the fic by me

But also this, this and this one right here by these extremely talented people

And this AMAZING edit made by @kooksoshook!

 

 

 

It’s a sickle moon tonight.

The stars dance around her, tentative worshippers praying to a temperamental goddess.

Jimin presses a worried hand to his stomach. He hasn’t had a heat in over three years, but he feels the agonising twinge in the base of his belly sometimes. The full moon never fails to have an effect and it’s in a fortnight, the same time his heat cycle should normally kick in.

It’s cold and the surrounding woods are devoid of all sounds save for the crunch of his soaked boots over packed snow. The silence is agonising, dreadful at its core for how unnatural it is.

There should be crickets, owls, the distant howl of a northern wind. But there is nothing. Everything is crisp and glittering to the touch. Pristine as the first snow that fell on the earth in a simpler time, when only gods and goddesses roamed and the first wolf was but a notion in Aylindr’s mind.

Speaking of the principle goddess –

Jimin mutters out a quick prayer for success that he’ll find the larger sprigs of wolfsbane he’s seeking.

The pack relies on monthly ingestion of what has always been considered poison to wolves. The omegas more regularly than the alphas due to the tendency of the Jeon clan to steal away those of their ranking more. They stole mostly omegas from every other pack too.

It was the idea of a long dead Head Alpha who had contended all his life with the Jeon clan, an ever-growing movement of wolves who worshipped new, bloodthirsty gods that demanded sacrifice and cannibalism.

Jimin’s pack was one of the few that used this controversial method to make their meat less inviting to the cannibals. It doesn’t stop them, usually. The Park clan can never ingest enough without being sick themselves. All it does is make their meat taste unappetising and rarely kills the wolf who consumes it. Over the years, that’s been a given.

But to this day, at every sickle moon, several pack members go hunting for wolfsbane. It’s always better to eat it before the full moon. The wolfsbane has one positive effect in that it suppresses rut and heat cycles entirely.

A twig snaps and Jimin whirls.

“Found any yet?”

He sinks in relief when he sees it’s only Alpha Yeji. She looks cold, her nose pink and her dark eyes washed out by the silver moonlight. He shakes his head wordlessly, reluctant to lift his lips away from the fur of his cape.

Jimin has a wonderful cape.

It was a courting gift from Alpha Yeji herself, though he had denied her as he had denied several other alphas that offered up gifts in the process of courting.

It was not unusual. Most alphas had several omegas they made gifts for to keep their options open. But rejecting Yeji had hurt a little more. She had woven the cape herself, her intent serious.

It’s a mesmeric red velvet trimmed with the grey fur of a Jeon clan wolf she murdered and skinned after a long night of battle two years ago. Jimin never learned which wolf, but the fur is soft and silky and hasn’t lost its original quality even after all this time. The wolf it belonged to must have been young.

He wore it around all the time when she first gave it to him, despite the looks he used to get. It’s considered bad manners to flaunt an alpha’s gift after rejecting them.

But Yeji’s never seemed to mind. Besides, she’s mated now, to a beautiful young girl named Sana who by far, was one of the most courted omegas in the pack. The elders’ disapproval of Jimin lessened after that.

Jimin’s just happy he can continue wearing the cloak without regret. Little Red they call him fondly, his childish antics endearing to all but the very few grouchiest wolves in the pack. He’s one of the youngsters in the clan, and he never wants to grow up – or at least that’s his usual complaint to his mother when she asks him about any new alphas he’s considering.

He feels far too grown up now though, out in the cold forest hunting for the only diminutive weapon that his pack has against the cannibals.

“Yeji, I – “ he turns to see she’s gone.

There isn’t a single other figure to see through the trees for miles. They stand like tall, dark sentries, with their spindly branches laden with snow and their trunks covered in the glitter of frost.

His pack no longer forms the smaller shadows between them. Jimin could hear them before, their distant calls to one another.

Now, it’s silent. He can’t remember when he last saw Yeji either. Time runs differently in this stretch of the woods.

The air fogs up as he exhales heavily. Fear prickles at his spine, and he focuses on clutching his basket close. He’s only found two or three sprigs of wolfsbane amongst the heavy snowfall. It should be enough. Now he just has to get on the path and go back –

The path.

Jimin’s gasp of horror echoes in the stifling silence.

He’s ankle-deep in snow, a white waste as far as he can see, with no familiar mud-trekked path to cut through like a dodged serpent. He starts to panic now. Face scrunching up, a quiet sob escapes his lips as he digs his heels into the snow and treks around, hunting for the path with determination that’s quickly running out.

Always away with the faeries, Jimin-ah. Pay attention to the world around you. It’s a dangerous one.

His mother’s words return to him unbidden and he sobs into his mittens to think of her face when she’s told he hasn’t returned with the others. She won’t survive his disappearance.

Out here in the forest, he can’t do much about anything. He consumed wolfsbane before setting out and now he won’t be able to transform into a wolf either, not until the poison is out of his system.

Jimin focuses on not crying as he tries to spy out familiar trees. Suddenly, his heartbeat is too loud, the crunch of the snow vulgar.

He gets the feeling he’s being watched.

Turning, he stops – walking, breathing, moving – just to listen and watch.

The forest behind is as empty as the scene ahead. Jimin sets one foot forward carefully, ears pricked. He can still feel eyes on him but there’s no other indication anyone is nearby.

Up above, the sickle moon dips behind a cloud.

It happens in a flash.

Jimin takes another step forward and a heavy weight hurls into his back. There’s no time to scream as he’s flung into the snow face-first. By the time he claws his way back to his feet, grabbing at his basket, there are more paws, growls, panting –

More eyes.

He’s surrounded by six giant wolves.

Wolf forms don’t hold much in terms of expression but he can tell they’re grinning at him. Their lips are pulled back from their teeth in identical snarls, and there’s a staccato series of howls from the smallest of them. A celebration of victory.

“Get back,” Jimin warns, hand reaching into the basket and grabbing the wolfsbane. It’s the silliest thing he’s ever done. He can feel it as he waves the little sprigs in their faces.

The wolves howl again and this time, he knows they’re laughing. He wants to burst into tears.

Jimin’s natural scent is joyful, like sweet spun sugar, jasmine petals and the smoothest vanilla. Over time, it’s soured from regular digestion of wolfsbane, and with the added spike of fear, it’s more bitter.

He sees one of the beasts approach and then recoil as it takes a sniff at him. A low, angry rumble goes through the group.

He resorts to begging. Jimin knows when all hope is almost lost.

“P-please let me go – I belong to the Park clan – th-they’ll be looking for me – “

One of the wolves, a beast with sandy fur makes an exaggerated act of looking over its shoulder and then back at him with a mocking whine and a cock of his head. Are they looking for you? Really?

Jimin sobs a little as the howls of amusement intensify, rubbing his nose to hide the fact that tears are about to cascade down his face.

They take him before he even has the chance to scream one last time for his pack. One of them snaps at his ankles, until he’s backed into the largest of the group, a wolf with grey-black fur and red eyes. Jimin climbs onto its back and his basket is knocked from his hands, left to drown in the snow.

He knows what will happen now.

Two of the wolves are betas, one is an omega and three are alphas.

He’s either being taken by force to join a pack with lesser omega –

 

- or this is the only other pack in the surrounding lands that takes wolves against their will.

Jimin can’t decide which is worse between being mated by force or eaten alive.

He clutches the sprigs of wolfsbane he still hasn’t let go of and wonders if they’ll kill him added to the ones already in his system.

As the moon’s pale light dapples across the backs of the running wolves and the wind sets up a feral howl, Jimin fidgets and brings the small ugly plant to his lips. The sandy-coloured wolf sees him instantly. It snarls, and the entire pack comes to a skidding stop.

Jimin loses his courage and freezes, hand halfway to his mouth. The sandy wolf approaches, its growl low and steady, as if daring him to swallow the wolfsbane. Once it’s close enough, it bites at Jimin’s hand and makes him drop the plant.

The pack set off again and Jimin is almost thrown off a few times as the terrain becomes rocky.

The eastern side of the forest is left far behind as the snow-capped mountains rise over a gigantic lake. This is not the Park clan’s territory. They are far out of its borders and heading into unclaimed lands where rogue wolves run wild and life is harsh and difficult in the winter months.

With a group like this, the wolves carrying Jimin have nothing to fear. As he drifts in and out of consciousness, he thinks he’s never seen beasts so large, not even amongst the largest alphas of his own and other packs.

Deep down, he knows what gives them their size. But he doesn’t want to accept it yet. He wants to remain in denial about who they are.

The cold snaps at his fingers, licking at his eyelids and frosting his lashes until finally, Jimin sinks his face into his captor’s fur and lets sleep overcome him.

 

༻─────⋅☽༓☾⋅─────༺

 

 

When Jimin wakes, there is a cacophony of noise all around and it’s almost daybreak.

The group is moving at a slower pace now, crossing a bridge across the northern end of the lake, heading straight for an island with an abandoned castle built at its centre. It’s one of the last remaining symbols of a long-dead civilisation of humans, centuries before wolves took back the land.

Jimin’s heard many a story of the White Fort as it’s come to be called for the vivid shade of its stonework.

His mother used to lull him to sleep with stories about the princes and princesses, kings and queens that had once lived within its towers and courtyards. Jimin was so enamoured that his biggest dream as a child had been to become human and have a crown on his head and a castle at his disposal.

As he grew older, the pack elders had meted out punishment for such blasphemous utterances, but Jimin had held onto the dream because it was his own little escape and not because it was impossible.

And yet here he is, before the White Fort, the latest claimed trophy of the Jeon clan, with fear in his belly.

His mother has only spoken of it with verdant foliage and flowers growing from its walls during summer.

But even through his fear and exhaustion, Jimin lifts his head to appreciate the blueish-white foliage of nature retaking its place within the castle’s borders. Rosebay willowherb, ivy, dandelion, buddleia and bramble. They hung off the walls in thick swaths, disguising the entirety of the east side of the largest tower from view.

And then Jimin hears the howls and laughter and chatter of a pack’s home ground.

In imitation of the humans of old, every clan has its own flag, and there is one that remains the most recognisable.

Three red claw marks on a black background.

Jimin is cold to the bone and no amount of huddling into the wolf’s fur or his own cape, helps. He is dumped with unnecessary force before the lifted portcullis after the group crosses the drawbridge. They turn back into their original forms one after the other, none too fussed about getting clothes to hide their nakedness. It doesn’t bother them.

The sandy creature has become a lean, tall young alpha with skin the colour of honey and dark eyes that have the same flecks of hazel as his wolf. Jimin can tell he’s young, probably no more than his own age. He snatches Jimin up by the hood and starts dragging him across the floor.

“Wait – “ Jimin slaps at his wrists, and forces himself to get onto his feet.

The alpha gives a snide chuckle and Jimin gets a hit of cinnamon and pinewood, underlaid with a musk that usually marks the beginning of a rut. He’s not hit it yet, but he’s close, and Jimin flinches suddenly, aware of his own vulnerability.

The alpha senses his trepidation and lightly brushes his own neck in answer.

Jimin’s eyes travel towards the mating mark there, and then thinks that’s never stopped some of your kind.

But the fact that the other has bothered to set his mind at ease even if in such a small way, lessens the dead weight in his gut. He can’t help wondering how the alpha got mated so young. He’s handsome – painfully so – but still.

Alphas usually enjoyed spending some time chasing around all the omegas available before settling on one.

The noise of the castle is akin to a pack waking up and going about their daily business. He hears pups screaming and laughing somewhere on the higher levels, and his eyes turn up in wonder.

With all the nightmarish stories of the Jeon clan, it’s easy to forget they’re just like any other pack, with pups and bonded family structures. In Jimin’s mind, they’ve always been cave-dwellers with bloodstains on their mouths and feral eyes even in human form.

The stone walls and floors of the castle seem homely despite the snow gathering on the balconies and parapets. Tapestries hang from the ceilings, woven by skilled fingers and there are several flags of the Jeon clan here and there. This is a rooted homestead.

The others of the group have vanished, and only the sandy wolf is left, still pulling Jimin along like he’s an unruly pup on a leash.

“Sleep,” the alpha grunts, flinging him into a makeshift pen in one of the smaller courtyards, alongside a few chickens and a pig. “You’ll need it.”

Jimin struggles to keep his tone civil as he huddles his knees up to his chest. “What’s your name?”

“Don’t think you need to know,” the alpha scoffs.

“Mine’s Jimin,” he offers, all wide eyes and furrowed brow.

The other hesitates for a moment, before glancing around as if he might be scolded for speaking to Jimin too long. “Taehyung.”

Jimin is about to ask how old he is, but Taehyung turns and walks off before he can.

 

༻─────⋅☽༓☾⋅─────༺

 

Jimin has nightmares in broad daylight.

The pen is not covered by a roof and is open to the elements. His cloak is doing its best to shield him and after some encouragement, he manages to get one of the chickens to huddle in his lap for warmth but it’s still no use.

His mind teeters between wide awake and fitful sleep, and the blackest of shadows lick at the edges of his dreams like growing flames.

Like the flames that killed his father.

Jimin was only three when his father passed. All he remembered of him was a gruff voice, a broad chest and a hug so warm, he could still feel its heat if he concentrated. His father smelt of cedarwood even in his dreams.

On a pack hunt, he had been taken by the Jeon clan, with no warning.

After three months of Jimin’s mother believing he was dead, he returned, clearly worn out and desperate for the comfort and safety of his family.

Instead, Head Alpha Jang had ordered him to be restrained and interrogated. Jang was of the belief Jimin’s father had survived solely by selling the secrets of their pack and territories to the Jeon clan.

At first, everyone believed him.

But a month of torture passed and Jimin’s father had no answer to give, save for one.

He had saved the life of the younger son of the Jeon clan leader and had been given permission to leave as gratitude. He would not speak much of his captivity. When asked, his eyes became haunted and his face lost all colour under the muffling of his beard.

Jimin will never forget the way his mother described him.

It was as if the best parts of him had been eaten alive by the worst. He was dead on the inside save for the flicker of a smile he could muster whenever you came to visit him in his tent.

Jimin remembers visiting him in those last days, remembers crying as he asked if the chains hurt.

They never hurt too much, pup. They hurt just enough, and you see, that’s what makes the difference.

Jimin didn’t understand then and he struggles to understand now what his father might have meant.

On the night of his last visit, as he lay curled up beside his mother in her tent, there were screams heard across the clearing. Smoke billowed in the air from the prisoner’s tent near the very edge of the camp and it was so quickly shrouded in furious flames, no one could get inside to save him.

Jimin’s father died screaming as the chains melted his skin.

His mother had always been certain Head Alpha Jang had had something to do with it. He had been the first to tell her that her alpha was probably dead after being lost so long. He had been the one to suggest a renewed courtship with himself after Jimin’s father was dead.

When wolves lost their mates, the pain was dreadful, but it soothed. With time, it washed away, as most things do in life. Renewed courtships were not uncommon, but they did not have the lifelong bond of a mating mark and both parties accepted that.

Head Alpha Jang had courted Jimin’s mother ceaselessly and she had held out. She had always claimed she wanted to raise her son to maturity until she considered other options.

Now Jimin is nineteen and his mother is alone in the pack, with no other family, and friends that will only coax her towards Alpha Jang for the sake of “security”.

Jimin wakes up a few hours later, crying and shivering and covered in mud and snow.

The chicken in his lap stares at him, bemused, but without any comfort to offer.

 

༻─────⋅☽༓☾⋅─────༺

 

 

“Wakey-wakey, rise and shine puppy!”

A cackle jolts Jimin from his slumber like a whip across the face. He lets out a shuddering sound and scrabbles back. The chicken in his lap is gone.

Taehyung is peering over the pen, hazel eyes wide and glinting. “Fat,” he says.

“Rude,” Jimin frowns, clutching his cloak around himself. His pack ate well this summer, but that’s still no reason for personal comments.

“Fat enough to eat!” Taehyung hollers, and throws back his head with a howling laugh. It appears his definition of 'fat' involves anything with enough muscle on the bone to devour.

He's joined by the chortle of another alpha who appears behind him. He’s got a heart-shaped smile and the same wicked glint in his eyes.

Or maybe Jimin’s imagining that. Maybe they all look normal to each other and purely evil to him. He can’t think straight. He’s sitting in mud and pig shit and he’s freezing.

“Won’t be fat much longer if I don’t eat,” he retorts, determined not to show weakness.

“Ooh, he bites,” the other alpha whistles, words steeped in mockery. “And we thought the Park clan were just a bunch of overfed pansies.”

“Yes, well – “ Jimin is prepared to make some further smartass comment when the pig headbutts him and he falls sideways onto the dirty ground.

The other two are beside themselves with laughter. An omega turns the corner and comes rushing towards the courtyard, clapping to shoo them along. He’s clearly older, and by the looks of it, wiser. That does nothing to make Jimin feel better.

With him, he’s got a younger omega, a female of about average height with dark hair braided off her face. She’s got fine features, as if each was pencilled in with utmost care, and she eyes Jimin a little distastefully.

His face turns red as he tries to salvage what dignity he has and tries to at least sit straight.

“Come on. Bathtime,” she says, snapping her fingers as the male omega bickers with the alphas.

Once he has them leave, he turns and reaches over the pen to force Jimin up by the collar. “Come on, Little Red, up.”

Jimin does as he’s told and then blanches in horror. “You were part of the hunting group! You heard my pack call me! You were stalking me!”

He’s given a very sly smile. It curls at the base of his spine and clenches tight. “We were stalking and waiting to see which of you would cross into our territory, yes. We only take trespassers. Eunha, take him to the second floor. The bathtub’s drawn. I’ll be up in a moment.”

“Are you going to eat me after I’m clean?” Jimin asks Eunha as she pulls him through narrow corridors lit by torch brackets.

Several pack members pass by, and almost every alpha leans in to sniff at him. In his own pack, it’s bad manners to do such a thing without permission and he resists the urge to swat at a few that get too close.

“We’re not eating you yet,” Eunha replies with a straight face, though the corner of her mouth quirks with amusement. “It’s only the new moon. You still have a fortnight to go.”

As Jimin’s face falls, she pushes him through a door that opens onto a small, cosy room with crawling ivy blanketing the walls and a small bathtub at its centre.

“Don’t worry, Little Red. You’ll be treated like a king until it’s time to be a sumptuous dish. And look!” She twirls, the beads on her skirt moving with her in a mesmeric turn of colour and pattern. “You have your own castle too!”

Jimin bites his lips and holds back tears.

I can’t die like this. I won’t. They’ll fatten me up for their own pleasure. He fears he won’t be let into the Great Beyond if he loses his dignity this way. He needs to get into a good afterlife, come what may in his earthly one.

Without thinking twice, Jimin runs for the window.

Eunha lets out a shout and races after him. Her hands catch at his cape before he can loosen the ties at his neck. As he tries, she has her arms around his waist even as he screams for her to let go.

Suicide is forbidden in the faith of Aylindr, but it’s still better than dying in the name of a false god and ending up as churned meat in the intestines of a dozen wolves.

“Namjoon! Help me!” Eunha’s screaming frantically.

And then there’s another pair of stronger hands dragging Jimin down. It’s the omega from earlier. He roars at Jimin to be quiet as the wolf starts to scream and cry and beg them to let him die.

“Quiet! Or I’ll beat you till you are!” Namjoon warns.

Jimin sucks in a hiccupping sob and nods to show he understands.

They strip him and fling the red cape aside. Eunha seems ready to put it off as a lost cause and get rid of it, but at Jimin’s soft, “Please, no!” she takes pity and sighs, saying she’ll try to have it cleaned.

He wonders why she’s being so nice, and then remembers that this must be the part where he’s treated as kindly as possible in the next fortnight.

Namjoon guides him into the bath – Jimin’s legs don’t seem to be working – and he sets about adding more hot water to it. It merges perfectly with the lukewarm liquid and Jimin huddles up. For a moment, with his burst of adrenaline, he’d forgotten the cold but now he remembers and sinks into the water thankfully.

“Your scent is sour,” Namjoon notes. “Wolfsbane ingestion or fear?”

“Both,” Jimin responds, as he watches him prepare a washcloth and soap and a pitcher.

“What do you usually smell like?”

“My mother says vanilla, but my friends say they smell jasmine. I don’t really know. I haven’t smelt like myself in a while.”

“It’s a shame what they make you do with the wolfsbane.” Namjoon sets about scrubbing Jimin down. He works gently, cleaning around the back of his neck and ears, but rough enough to scrub away the dirt congealed there.

“It’s a shame what we’re forced to do just to survive and not be eaten by other wolves,” Jimin mutters.

Namjoon chuckles. “We only eat a wolf once a month, and that too, a trespasser. Any others we catch trespassing are made to swear an oath to the new gods or be returned to their packs after a hefty ransom.”

“Your new gods are frightening. The Lady of Light won’t be too pleased when you meet her in the afterlife.”

Namjoon doesn’t miss a beat in his scrubbing, though Jimin expected a zealous retort.

Instead, the older omega formulates his answer carefully before giving it. As if he’s used to converting people.

That’s also frightening to Jimin.

“Our new gods – Ayrath being the principle – is the Lord of Darkness. And yours is the Lady of Light. Ours aren’t new, they were just abandoned. Now we bring them back into the fold and they reward us. The size of our pups grows with each new birth, our lands spread, our hunts are bountiful.”

“But you eat wolves.” Jimin can’t even put into words how sick that is. It’s all in the tone of his voice and the revulsion pulling at his face as he tries not to shrink away from Namjoon’s gentle touch.

The omega grimaces a little. “Alright, I will admit it. I don’t like it either. But sometimes you have to do things you don’t like, for the greater good. And our faith tells us that to eat a wolf and make use of its body and strength by instilling it in a dozen others, is the greatest honour. The wolf won’t rot in the ground, he’ll feed many of his brothers and sisters and live on in them. You will live on in us.”

Jimin blinks, trying to swallow down the bile in his throat. “I don’t consider a single one of you my brothers or my sisters. I hope you all rot. I hope you’re all sick when you take even a bite of me. I hope – “

“Yes, yes, hope. It’s a funny thing,” Namjoon interrupts, and the statement is so oddly cryptic, Jimin falls silent to think about it.

It’s always been his worst feature. He forgets about his original argument if the other person says something curious. He’ll stop to think about it and keep thinking until he’s worked out an answer. Jimin doesn’t win many verbal fights.

Namjoon takes advantage of the silence and cleans him off quicker. Once he’s done, he guides Jimin out and wraps him in new furs. It’s as Jimin huddles into them that he notes they smell of something potent.

Rosewood, musk and…petrichor.

It’s the most enchanting scent he’s ever inhaled, and he feels dizzy for a moment.

“Those are our Head Alpha’s,” Namjoon notes, smirking at Jimin’s reaction. “You’ll be wearing things scented by him for the duration of the fortnight.”

“Why?”

“To dissuade other alphas from attempting to court or mate with you. If either of those things happen, sacrificing would be impossible. You’d be one of us.” Jimin promptly throws the furs off. Namjoon sighs and puts them back on. “Behave. Even if an alpha decides he wants to court you, he would have to challenge the Head Alpha for his position first. No one will want to take the risk.”

“Then why must I wear his furs?” Jimin scowls, hating how instantly enamoured he was by the scent of whichever awful entity was the leader of this barbaric pack. “If no one will touch me, then surely – “

“Because it is tradition.” Namjoon’s voice is gentle enough but there is an implication he won’t entertain too many questions. He has other things to do.

Jimin gets the message and allows himself to be led out.

A few pups are crowding the door when Namjoon emerges, and Jimin’s smaller frame is hidden from their view. They eagerly shove the older omega aside and try to take a peek at Jimin with wide eyes, their lips circled into little ‘o’s.

“What…?” Jimin laughs awkwardly, though his eyes crinkle and he reaches out to pat a few heads. He adores pups and has always been the resident babysitter in his pack (though the thought of having any makes him sick with anxiety).

“They’re amazed every time a new sacrifice comes in,” Namjoon explains, and the warmth in Jimin’s heart shrinks a little.

He has to remind himself they’re only young, that they don’t know how wrong all of this is.

But his smile falters anyway and Namjoon notices.

The pups are eager to hand over their little gifts. A few have made wreaths of winter flowers and an arguments breaks out over which ones Jimin gets to wear on his head.

“Hey, look, no fighting,” Jimin says with mock sternness. He crouches, and then indicates for the older pup to lay it on his head, and then the second and third, until he’s submerged in a literal tower of petals. “See?” he straightens up with a smile. “I can wear all of them, I have a very steady neck.”

“Bracelet,” a female pup squeals, one finger in the corner of her mouth as she offers her little beaded creation without looking him in the eye. She takes a peek when he slips it on his wrist however and turns bright red with satisfaction. “Pretty,” she giggles, and runs off first.

“Did she mean me or the bracelet?” Jimin snorts, and Namjoon wags his eyebrows and shrugs.

The pups are insistent all their gifts have to be given and by the time Jimin is free to go after the other omega, he’s got beads around his ankles, neck and wrists and feels like a walking jewellery stand.

“Am I going back to the pen?” Jimin asks, hesitant to know the answer. He thinks he is.

Namjoon doesn’t reply. He takes Jimin up a few winding staircases until they reach a dishevelled archway strung with tiny crystals.

“Why do you no longer use tents?” Jimin tries another question.

This one gets an answer. “Because we have a castle.”

Inside, there are several sleeping pallets laid out side by side, about six in total. Most look well-worn in, save for one in the back on which the furs are rolled up.

“That’ll be yours,” Namjoon says, guiding him towards it.

Two pallets down, the furs uncoil and a head of messy hair sticks up like a broken raven’s wing. An omega with the scent of an alpha clinging to him.

In amongst his natural rose petal aroma is the touch of cinnamon Jimin finds familiar. On the male’s neck, there is a mating mark. He looks ill, but as if he’s recovering and no longer in the throes of bad health.

“Is this the sacrifice?” he asks, voice hoarse.

Namjoon nods as he unrolls the furs on Jimin’s pallet and makes it more comfortable.

“At least he's healthy,” the other mutters.

“Your mate said the same thing,” Jimin huffs. “In less nice terms.”

The omega gives a weak chuckle and Namjoon can’t hide his smile either.

“Here. Wear these. And remember, keep the furs on.” He hands him a set of neat white trousers and a white top that has billowing sleeves and peonies sewn into the neck and cuffs. “Someone will be around to take you down to dinner. Until then, don’t disturb Seokjin and try to get some rest.”

He leaves, and the dance of the crystal strands echo through the quiet room.

Jimin changes into the clothes, and eyes Seokjin’s sleeping form one last time. Then, he heads for the window, using a stone bench to climb up and peer out. Too small to fit himself through. But it’s one of the few windows with glass.

In wonder, he runs his fingers over the painted pane, touching the outlines of the figures.

It’s a man astride a horse, offering a lady a flower. In the background, a dragon is etched into the skies. Whether it represents a threat or familiarity, Jimin can’t tell by the serene look on the faces of the man and woman.

He peers through the glass and down onto the northern end of the White Fort’s walls.

As far as he can see, there is a frozen lake, and then field upon field of snow and a huge swath of forest. This is not a part of the land he’s ever seen. It must be the legendary territory of the Jeon clan – they’ve always snatched the best chunks.

As Jimin hears a wolf howl in the distance, he wonders how long or short a fortnight can feel like.

 

༻─────⋅☽༓☾⋅─────༺

 

 

A beta comes to get him for lunch. He’s about the same height as Jimin, pale as the freshest snow and his eyes are soaked with curiosity as he takes in the sacrifice.

“Fat,” he says.

Jimin breathes in deep. “Nice to meet you. I’m Jimin.

“I know. Taehyung told me,” the beta responds.

Jimin waits for him to give his name, but he only grunts “Dinner” and beckons. Seokjin is still curled up and asleep on the pallet and the beta doesn’t move to rouse him. Jimin figures someone will bring his food up to him.

Mealtimes are had in the Oak Hall, and it’s chaos the moment Jimin walks inside.

There are six separate hearths in the gargantuan room, and each has a cook tending to it, conjuring up enough food to feed a pack that seems too large even for this castle.

Jimin notices faces he once saw with other clans. They must have been absorbed into this one, just as Namjoon had said.

He notices strange reactions from wolves all around as he passes by. It’s almost reverent when they stand and shrink away, but immediately get bolder when they turn to see him.

His companion notices Jimin’s confusion. “They can smell him on you.”

Jimin realises he means the Head Alpha. That would explain the sudden getting to their feet with soft whines in the back of their throats before they see Jimin and relax.

The curiosity remains however, hungry eyes following him all the way to the largest hearth.

He’s accustomed to the greedy stares of alphas, but this is different. This feels like every wolf, no matter the ranking, is ravenous when they see him, and most definitely not in the good way.

However, his nostrils fill with the aroma of chili peppers, cloves, cumin, coriander and dill and he forgets his unease.

There’s a rabbit stewing in the pot in the great hearth and a small boar roasting alongside. Jimin’s stomach grumbles as he can’t remember when he’d last eaten.

Taehyung’s alpha friend is seated at the pot, stirring the stew with a soft wrinkle of his nose. He keeps sniffing, until he turns around and sees Jimin.

“I thought I smelt him, but then I smelt you. What’s wrong with your scent?” he says.

“Wolfsbane,” Jimin says, too distracted by the cooking.

“I don’t know why anyone would do that to themselves.”

“At least the scent will right itself by the full moon,” the beta remarks. “The meat will be sweet.”

“I’m standing right here,” Jimin retorts. “I get it. You’re going to eat me. You don’t have to be so callous about it.”

The beta looks almost sheepish. “Sorry, I forget it’s not such a great honour for worshippers of Aylindr.”

“Don’t apologise, Yoongi. It’s not our fault they don’t worship the right gods.” The alpha gives Jimin a quick glance up and down as if there’s a bad smell under his nose.

Considering Jimin’s sour scent, there quite literally is.

They continue conversing and a shout from someone else in the direction of the alpha reveals his name to be Hoseok.

Jimin doesn’t speak much once he has a bowl of rabbit stew in his hands. Hoseok is a wonderful cook.

It amazes him that alphas take part in the cooking here. In his own pack, they’re usually seen lounging around until they come barging in for the biggest portion. He scarfs down the food in a matter of minutes and then holds out the bowl to Hoseok.

“What?” the other says.

“Can I have more please?”

Yoongi glances up, snorts, and gestures around the hall. “Look how many of us there are. If we all asked for seconds, do you think there’d be enough food to go around?”

“Sorry.” Jimin retracts his arms slowly. “I didn’t mean it. Sorry.” Frankly, he hadn’t thought of how it might be rude to demand seconds in a clan this large.

Hoseok snatches the bowl off him and ladles the last portion of the soup into it. “Go on.”

Jimin can’t help smiling even though he knows it’s wrong to get friendly with any of these wolves. He’s just meat to them, to be consumed at a grand feast. But it’s a kind gesture from Hoseok, and he can’t help feeling warm all the way back up to the room he’s been given.

A brief pause at one of the parapets, leads Jimin towards wondering if he could quite possibly jump off this lower wall and onto the thick blanket of snow outside.

He wonders how long he can run before the alarm is raised and wolves come tearing after him.

It’s the prospect of a broken leg that puts him off.

When he gets back to his room, it’s submerged in darkness save for a single candle next to Seokjin’s pallet.

Taehyung is crouched next to him, feeding him by hand. His voice is low and tender, and from time to time, he brushes his hand down the side of Seokjin’s face, asking him how he feels. Their scents are overpowering, mingled together in content.

Jimin remains rooted in the doorway, not daring to interrupt the intimate moment. There is unmatched sweetness in Seokjin’s eyes as he gazes at his alpha, and Taehyung’s fingers are petal-soft with their touch on his skin. They whisper things to each other Jimin can’t make out, as if they were born soulmates, their bond far deeper than just alpha and omega.

The spell breaks when he fidgets and the crystal curtain rustles.

Taehyung turns, and the smile on his face fades. It’s replaced by another smirk, just like the one he’d had when he saw Jimin in the pen. “Hey pup,” he grins.

Seokjin slaps his arm. “Stop that. Don’t be mean.”

Taehyung makes a cooing, placatory sound and promises not to. But there is still mischief in his eyes as he watches Jimin move towards his pallet.

“Jimin, is it alright if Taehyung sleeps in this room with me tonight?” Seokjin asks.

Jimin’s eyes widen. A blush spreads across his face, red-hot. “I – I – um – “

“I think this one’s unmated and a virgin,” Taehyung grins. “Don’t worry, Little Red. We won’t be making babies. You’ll overhear nothing.” Another smack from Seokjin and he whines like a chastised pup.

“I don’t mind,” Jimin mutters quickly, just before he gets on the pallet and douses his head under the Head Alpha’s furs. He doesn’t even want to move, not a single toss or turn through the night, he’s so humiliated.

No other omegas join them in the room when night falls.

True to his word, Taehyung remains, and Jimin hears him whispering to Seokjin who whispers back occasionally. Then, the sound of soft kissing, a quieter whine and a deep rumble, as the furs cover them and they curl up together.

It leaves Jimin feeling empty and rather cold, despite the warmth of his furs.

As if something is missing and he can’t pinpoint what. He’s never been to fond of the thought of having an alpha. The ones he’s met have always been demanding and overly possessive, needing their omega’s full attention and devotion.

Jimin’s always needed his own time and space to devote to things only he’s interested in. Like books salvaged from the ancient ruins of human libraries and the myths of old he’s determined to uncover (he’s certain there are still dragons left in the world, and he wants to be the first wolf to ride one).

But hearing Seokjin’s soft whine as Taehyung envelopes him in the warmth of his body creates an ache in Jimin’s body. The omega’s scent is warm and sweet, as he’s comforted and protected to the very depths of his soul.

Jimin can’t help but wonder how bad it would be to feel that way.

He doesn’t let himself linger on the thought for long.

It’s far scarier imagining an alpha he doesn’t want mating him. It’s enough to put him off.

And besides, he’s going to be eaten in two weeks.

What does it matter?

 

༻─────⋅☽༓☾⋅─────༺

 

 

An hour or so before dawn, Jimin is roused from a deep, dreamless sleep by the rattling of the drawbridge. Beside him, Taehyung and Seokjin don’t stir.

He gets out of his bed, keeping the Head Alpha’s furs tight around him as he tiptoes out of the room and towards a larger window on the narrow landing outside.

Getting up on a ledge, he tries to make out the sight below. Someone is being let in.

He wonders if it’s another hunt in the night, dragging home a second sacrifice. No one’s mentioned more than one being needed, but maybe they want appetisers.

Jimin heaves, feeling the rabbit stew from the night before rise up his gullet. He swallows it back down and somehow that is much worse.

“There you are!” Namjoon appears on the stairs below. He’s waving for Jimin to come down. “Head Alpha wants to see you.”

“Me? Why? Now?” Jimin is flustered as if he’s in trouble, as if he’s forgotten this isn’t his pack and seeing the Head Alpha doesn’t mean he’s about to be pressured to mate and play a bigger role in the future of the clan.

Arguably, this might be worse.

Namjoon checks him over, makes a disapproving sound and then drags him by the hand.

Jimin has no further time to catch his breath and batter him with questions. They run bare foot across snow-drenched open courtyards hung with icicles, and over bridges with frozen canals underneath. Jimin hasn’t seen this part of the White Fort and he forgets his fear to be in awe of the beauty whirling past him.

High above, through weatherworn, caved in ceilings, the night sky stretches, hundreds of stars winking down at him as if they have a joke they’re all in on.

Jimin knows the joke is on him.

Namjoon hurries him through a bead-curtained doorway and inside, Eunha and Yoongi are sitting side by side, weaving a blanket. Hoseok is curled up on Yoongi’s left, snoring quietly. The picture is innately domestic until Namjoon hisses, “He’s here! We need to make the sacrifice presentable or he won’t approve and call for another hunt!”

As one, Yoongi and Eunha fling off the blanket and sit Jimin down.

“Why do I need to – ow!” Jimin winces as Eunha runs a wooden comb through his hair and chides him to stay still. “I’m not being sent off to be mated to him! What’s all the fuss for?”

“You are the sacrifice!” she says, “you need to look like one.”

“Did everyone forget to remind Taehyung of that when he chucked me in the pig pen?”

“Yes, well, Taehyung is a wild card,” Yoongi snorts, clasping a turquoise blue necklace around Jimin’s neck.

Jimin recalls the way Taehyung was cuddling Seokjin last night and he quietens, the feeling of emptiness returning.

They work with quick hands and quicker words. Jimin can hardly catch the mutterings exchanged. Jewellery flies back and forth, as do pots of rouge and powder he’s never seen before.

Eunha smooths something that shimmers and is the colour of purest amber across his eyelids and Yoongi carefully dabs rouge made from the amaranth plant on his lips. It’s a deep red with purple undertones and offsets the amber exquisitely.

They both look at each other with a grin, pleased.

Namjoon ushers Jimin over and helps him don a pair of apple-green cambric trousers and a top to match that is loose at the waist and sleeves.  

“I look frumpy,” Jimin complains, eyeing himself in the mirror. Immediately, he asks himself why on earth is that even a problem right now?

“No you don’t, you look lovely,” Namjoon hums distractedly, giving a satisfied nod when he sees Jimin’s ears are pierced. He pulls a pair of beaded earrings that dangle down, one with a crow’s feather hanging from it. Sliding them in, he steps back, nods again and claps his hands. “You’re ready. Come.”

“Good luck!” Eunha beams, and Jimin can’t believe the cheek of her.

No matter how he tries to put themselves in their heads, it’s extremely difficult to reconcile with the idea of an honourable sacrifice when he’s the dish on the menu.

Namjoon leads him towards the tower of the White Fort, the one drowning in icy blue foliage. There is an oak tree spread across its base, roots breaking in through the doors and walls at the bottom that allow the cold to invade. In summer, this must be a heavenly place, at one with nature.

As it is, Jimin now misses the comfort of his dowdy, warm tent at home.

Up the stairs they go, avoiding the reach of branches and dangling icicles, until finally, Namjoon stops him at the securest door Jimin’s seen in the entire castle so far.

When he knocks, there is a heavy jangle of chains and someone drags back a heavier bolt. The grating sound vibrates through Jimin and he starts to feel dizzy. He thinks it’ll dissipate, but it doesn’t.

The door swings open and a tall man emerges, bearded and rough. Jimin can’t make out his features very well. His vision wavers -

No…he can see the red marks on his face…is that blood? Warpaint? He’s got black furs slung around his shoulders and tattoos up and down his arms and a voice that’s deeper than the earth itself. Namjoon addresses him as ‘Alpha Hyuk-Jin’ and Jimin mumbles something under his breath as he teeters.

“He doesn’t look like much,” the alpha grunts, his voice sounding as if from a thousand miles away.

“Bring him in,” another voice calls from inside the room. It’s clearer, not so dark in tone.

Jimin tries to tell Namjoon he doesn’t feel good. He reaches out for him and Namjoon takes his hand to lead him inside. Hyuk-Jin is staring suspiciously, and is about to say something, but Jimin is already inside the room.

The walls spins, the hearth along with them. The cold sweat on his forehead turns warm as flames dance in his eyes. He can hear his father screaming somewhere in the distance.

Voices closer by are saying his name. But he can’t heed them. He has to save him

Jimin mutters “Father,” before he sinks to the ground and everything goes black.

 

༻─────⋅☽༓☾⋅─────༺

 

“Weak.”

“They ingest wolfsbane. It’s a prolonged effect of that perhaps.”

“And he didn’t transform when you found him?”

“No. Alpha Hyuk Jin was surprised to see him too. He’s weakened since we caught him in the forest. Maybe it’s the change in climate.”

“Leave him here. Send for a healer in another hour if he hasn’t awoken.”

Jimin hears snippets of the conversation, as if he’s dipping his head above and below water.

He can’t move. There is no energy in his limbs. He can feel the sweat cooling on his forehead and the rest of his body. He’s never felt worse in his life. Even the slightest movement brings the urge to vomit.

He’s surrounded by the overpowering scent of wet earth and rosewood, and it’s both a curse and a blessing. Jimin wants to breathe it in, to absorb the comfort it’s given him in the sleep he had before he was awoken, but it’s no longer having the same effect.

It’s making him feel worse.

Through a crack in his eyelids, he can make out a dull glimpse of light. He figures out it’s a window, with no glass to protect the room from the elements. But it doesn’t matter. He’s lying on something comfortable and he drowning in furs and blankets, so many that surely, it can’t be helping his temperature.

Jimin attempts to move, but the pelt on his body is too weighty.

Someone else moves from the other side of the room. Heavy footsteps approach, and then the scent of rosewood strengthens.

“They said you were plump and fat. You’re nothing but a scrawny little mouthful.”

Jimin feels a growl deep in his chest. At least, he thinks he growls. All that comes out is a squeak.

A useless hand flaps up from the pillow, accusatory and angry, as he tries to tell off the stranger for calling him fat. His mind can’t put two and two together with the scent and where he was told he was being taken.

He can’t remember anything save for how awful he feels.

A calloused palm touches his cheek and Jimin mewls, leaning into the skin-on-skin contact. It moves to his forehead, and he sees a bracelet of wolf teeth hanging from a scarred wrist.

The hand draws away much too quickly and then he hears a door open and close.

Jimin sinks back into an empty, dark sea of feverishness, calling for his mother.

Once or twice, he asks for the hand to come back.

 

༻─────⋅☽༓☾⋅─────༺

 

 

The gentle fingers of a healer are tending to him when he’s roused again.

It’s a female, a beta with feline eyes and a mane of thick hair that peaks off a high forehead. She’s pretty, and Jimin mumbles as much. Somehow, she hears him and the cold beauty of her face breaks into laughter.

“Your fever isn’t too bad, I see,” she hums, laying a new damp cloth over his forehead.

The pelt is gone, as are the furs. All that’s left is –

“My cape,” Jimin croaks happily, voice weak as he tries to lift his head.

The healer shushes him and forces him to lie back again. “Yes, it’s all clean now. They said you were loath to part with it. Was it a gift from your intended?”

“M-my intended?”

“Well, you don’t have a mating mark, but this is clearly an extravagant courting gift. It must have been an alpha who liked you very much.”

Jimin feels sadness permeate through him as he gives into the healer’s ministration and closes his eyes. “She did. But I wasn’t ready. It’s alright though. She’s found a far better omega than me.”

“Now, I’m sure that’s not true.” But it’s more of an empty consolation, rather than heartfelt.

Just like every other wolf in this castle, the healer must think of his status as being infinitely more elevated by grace of turning into a sacrifice.

The door opens and the healer bows her head. Jimin is hit with a fresh wave of rosewood and abruptly deepens his breathing, making a pretence of deep sleep.

He’s starting to remember where he is and why and he doesn’t want to face it.

“Seulgi.” The acknowledgment is curt and quiet.

“He’s doing well, but I think his temperature might return, alpha,” Seulgi tells him.

“Namjoon said it was wolfsbane – “

“I…don’t think so. I think this is the start of a heat cycle.”

There is a bemused silence. Jimin almost opens his eyes to counteract her, because surely -

“Wolfsbane quells heats and ruts.”

“I realise that…” Seulgi clears her throat as if she’s nervous to pose her next statement. She must have gotten an expectant look because she then continues. “It may have been triggered.”

“By what?”

“His wolf’s self-defence mechanism. Perhaps an awareness of being sacrificed led to a final resort and it worked past the wolfsbane. After all, if he was mated – “

“He won’t be.” The words are sharp. “He will be sacrificed.” There is another pause and then a deep inhale. Jimin feels like he’s raw meat ready to be cut open on a platter. “His scent is still pungently sour with wolfsbane.”

“If it’s the start of the heat cycle, it won’t be for long. Shall I have someone prepare him to be taken to the encampment beyond the southern walls?”

“No. The journey itself would stir temptation. More alphas in this damned clan than omegas.” There is a certain grumpiness in the voice that irks Jimin’s nerves. As if this is something he wanted and he’s somehow to blame for being an inconvenient nuisance.

The Head Alpha sounds both young and immature.

“We’ll keep him here,” he says eventually.

“But alpha, what about you?”

“Plenty more rooms in the castle. I’ll find one.” The sound of a knife sharpening interrupts the crackle of the hearth. “You can leave, Seulgi. I’ll send someone down if you’re needed again.”

“Yes alpha. I’ll have herbal ointments sent up soon. I-I’m sure he knows what to do with them even if he hasn’t had a heat in a while.”

Her hand rests gently on Jimin’s head before she leaves in a whirl of skirts and beads and hair. With her, she takes her bewitching scent of orange blossoms and Jimin’s left to drown in the stench of rosewood and petrichor.

Stench. He’s starting to think of it as such because of the discomfort it’s causing. When he first felt it diffuse through his lungs, Jimin couldn’t think of a better smell. Now, he feels like his body is spiralling on a wild axis the more he absorbs it into his lungs.

Slumber comes back to take him, and he calls out for his mother once before he passes out in the embrace of his cape.

 

༻─────⋅☽༓☾⋅─────༺

 

 

He wakes up to Seulgi’s soft voice again, coaxing him to eat. Jimin’s too weak to even lift his head, but she manages to make him have a few mouthfuls along with a cup of white willow bark tree.

Outside, he hears the caw of a raven as it flutters past the window. Howls. Cackles. Shrieking. The noise of a pack at play in the late afternoon.

Jimin cries softly for a long while as the beta healer loses the heart to leave him on his own. She strokes his damp hair as he cries and begs her to find his mother and bring her to him. She shushes him and squeezes his shoulder each time a sob wracks his flushed, sweating body.

He can barely see through his eyes anymore, his vision constantly blurred with tears.

The ache in his head reaches a pounding level of disorientation and then Jimin is out again.

 

༻─────⋅☽༓☾⋅─────༺

 

 

It’s night when he stirs.

He can tell without opening his eyes because the crickets are singing just outside the open window. It could be any night. Jimin might have spent days falling in and out of awareness on this pallet. He might have lived out his two weeks already.

I might be put to death tomorrow.

Jimin presses his fist to his mouth to keep from screaming.

He finds he has enough strength to lift his upper body from the pallet, and uses every last drop of willpower he has to heave himself up. Then, he wipes the sweat from his eyes and looks around.

It’s a large, spacious room and the pallet is unlike any he was expecting. It’s laid out on atop of a structure made of oak wood. Jimin looks up in wonder, at the four poster canopy and the tapestry laid out to cover the top of it. It’s a bed, just like he used to read about in his books.

And judging by its size, this probably belonged to the most important human in the castle back then.

Jimin’s eyes lower and land on the only other being in the room.

It’s an alpha, sleeping against the wall next to the hearth. He’s got black fur draped around his shoulders, just like Hyukjin, and the same bloodied marks on his cheekbones. There’s a mole under his bottom lip and just below, an inverted triangle made up of three painted dots. His eyes are rimmed with kohl and there are locks coming loose from the messy bun of hair at the back of his head.

Jimin knows who he’s looking at.

The fever still clings to him because he forgets rationality. In his mind, all he can think of is how the Head Alpha can be challenged. He forgets he is not an alpha, and that no pack would ever submit to a Head Omega. Even the title sounds outlandish.

But Jimin is desperate and feverish and that combination has made better wolves do worse.

He rises off the pallet with barely a sound, nimble feet inching across the floor. Tucked away in the inglenooks of the hearth are two sharp iron pokers. One well-placed aim and he can pierce it through one of his eyes.

Jimin manages to pull one away from the brick wall without toppling the other and that instils courage in him he doesn’t know he has. The alpha’s scent is calm, no hint of unrest. He’s deep asleep. Before his scent can irritate Jimin further, he steps nearer and lifts up the poker.

“By the power of Aylindr and all her dominions, I challenge you – “ he stops his whispered declaration, realising he doesn’t know his name. With a weak roll of his eyes, Jimin finishes off with a “ – Head Alpha of the Jeon clan. Whatever your name is – “

“Jungkook.”

Jimin glances down and sees he’s wide awake.

He knows he should have flung the poker away. In retrospect, he should have tossed it, and sank into a bow of submission.

But Jimin’s never been known to do the clever thing, the right thing.

Straight to stupidity.

He lets out a snarl and jabs down.

Jungkook is on his feet in a whiplash movement.

Jimin is still blinking at the stone ground where he once was, when a strong hand wrestles the poker from his grip and throws him against the nearest wall. The zing of a knife being drawn follows and it’s pressed up under Jimin’s jaw, poised over a fluttering artery.

“And it doesn’t work if you use your gods. Not for this clan,” Jungkook hisses.

This close, it feels like Jimin’s drowning in a wet, freshly dug grave. That’s what Jungkook smells like. The petrichor of a grave without a corpse and a heavenly rosewood that has no match, not in Jimin’s short lifespan.

The black of his eyes has swirls of vicious red, and his bottom lip is fuller than the upper which is a thin line stretched back over his white teeth like the draw of a bowstring. He’s got a scar on his cheekbone and his eyebrow is pierced, the kohl around his eyes smudged. He looks ready to murder Jimin there and then, never mind waiting for the sacrifice in a fortnight.

He really is quite –

“Beautiful.” Jimin gives him a silly smile and promptly passes out.

 

༻─────⋅☽༓☾⋅─────༺

 

 

Jimin’s been free of the torture of heats for a few years and now, he’s forgotten the worst parts.

It takes him by surprise.

He’s can’t remember the last time he felt so helpless. The furs are ruined by a combination of slick, sweat and drool. It’s a hideous cornucopia of fever, illness and arousal so strong, it’s agonising.

Of his pack, Jimin’s been the only one to ever ingest wolfsbane for more than the simple reason of warding off the Jeon clan. Ever since he first had a handful of heats after reaching maturity, they’d terrified him.

Jimin had never enjoyed the thought of being so mired in a singular desire, that if the chance arose, he might take up anyone on the offer of easing his discomfort.

And after months of being suppressed by wolfsbane, this heat seems to be worse just to spite him for holding it off.

At one point, Seulgi opens the door to find him wandering around, talking to himself, eyes unseeing, hands clawing at the walls.

He’s managed to almost transform, the heat’s effect causing the wolfsbane in his system to flush out faster. But he’s only ever grown claws thus far, the dark of his eyes turning a honey gold as his gums ache and hold back fangs.

Seulgi doesn’t spend longer than she needs to in there. Even for a beta, the temptation posed by an omega’s heat is frighteningly consuming. She can barely keep her own steadiness of nerve at one whiff of him, and after the second day, she comes in with the lower half of her face swaddled with a bandana of wool.

Jimin is on all fours in front of the hearth, three fingers stuffed deep in himself and when she enters with fresh water and tea, he doesn’t even acknowledge her.

“Not long now, I promise,” is the only thing she says before she practically runs from the room and locks the door behind her.

The door is a blessing.

Jimin’s been at the open window more than a few times in an attempt to cool down and there’s started to be a small gaggle of alphas who wander around the base of the tower often.

They can smell him, and a few are more than a little interested in snatching up any unmated omega, sacrifice or not.

Head Alpha or not.

Jimin hears the shuffling at his door sometimes, in the dead of night when he feels like he’s the only one awake screaming into his pillow. His cock is numb from how many times he’s tugged himself off, and he doesn’t feel a thing anymore when his small fingers work his way into his hole. His addled brain tells him his fingers don’t have an alpha’s girth, an alpha’s knot, and he agrees.

The sniffing at his door is invitation itself. Even the claws that grate across wood as whichever new alpha scoping on the other side gets more frustrated.

They’re usually dragged away by someone bigger. In his delirium, Jimin recognises Hyukjin’s voice, and the way he throws around the grown alphas like pups.

The Head Alpha won’t come back.

Jimin wonders if he’s angry at him. It was only a poker.

The room is losing his scent and Jimin is desperate for more. It’s better than nothing. He misses the rosewood and petrichor, and now, all his furs, his clothes, the walls, they smell of Jimin’s own scent. Vanilla, sweet-spun sugar and jasmine. He doesn’t want it. He wants the muskier scent of an alpha, the one he’s been wrapped up in for days, without a single touch from the wolf himself.

In wilder moments, Jimin screams curses at him.

He’s positive that wearing the Head Alpha’s furs have triggered the heat. Even through the wolfsbane, somehow, they managed to bring down his defences and now he’s vulnerable amongst a pack of cannibals.

He curses them all through the open window, calling down the wrath of his goddess upon their heads.

And then when Seulgi brings dinner, he cries and sobs and begs her forgiveness.

She pities him, he can tell.

“Not long now, I promise,” is all she says nowadays.

And she’s not wrong. The worst of it is over by the time the third days wears out. Jimin’s fingertips are prune-like with the amount of slick they’ve drowned in just from fucking himself on them every ten minutes.

He’s finally free to lie back on the pallet and stare emptily into the tattered tapestry without feeling like he’ll die if he doesn’t touch himself.

On the night of the third day, he comes back.

Jimin is floating shallowly on a sea of numbness when the door bolts slide and the great slab of wood groans. It crashes shut, and his eyes snap open.

The room is dark. And cold, no doubt, but his body heat is so high, he can’t feel a thing.

Outside, a bird flies across the moon. She looks fuller tonight. The first week is almost done.

He will die in another ten days.

Jimin can’t die. He still has so much left to do. He has to see his mother. He has to apologise for losing the forest path and leaving her without protection in that pack. He has to make sure Head Alpha Jang hasn’t forced her to become his. Jimin’s let her down in so many ways, he can’t even begin to list them in his head without losing his sanity.

Desperation kicks in and an innate focus on one thing only – to stay alive.

Jimin can hear him wandering around the room, no doubt assuming the omega is fast asleep. He lets the alpha continue to believe such, and maintains his deep breathing.

Rosewood wraps him in its embrace and Jimin has to struggle not to whine with need. His ruined furs are pulled off him slowly and replaced by newer ones. The quick, fast zip of a tinderbox echoes and then flames crackle in the hearth, leaping upwards. A cup of water is poured and left next to the pallet.

And then a long stretch. A bone cracks, followed by a sultry groan and a quiet exhale.

Jimin opens one eye and sees Jungkook’s broad silhouette barring the lower half of the window. He’s gazing out, perfectly motionless, his hair no longer in a bun but cascading down past his shoulders.

Without the furs, he’s not as large, but he’s no less terrifying.

Jimin thinks how stupid he was to think a simple jab of the poker would have done it.

He sits up, quiet as a shadow, trying not to make a sudden movement.

It works for the most part. At least until he steps on the stone ground and the pallet creaks when he lifts up his weight.

Jungkook turns sharply. Their eyes meet and the alpha’s widen. He shakes his head, pointing a finger in Jimin’s direction as if he’s an unruly pup. “No. Down,” he says firmly.

Jimin flinches with a scowl. “Don’t talk to me like I’m a pup – “

“You need rest – “ Jungkook moves to approach but then steps back as a fresh wave of Jimin’s scent hits him full on. He is visibly struggling with himself, the red in his eyes brighter as his jaw clenches and his nostrils flare.

He’s looking anywhere but directly at Jimin as the omega stands up (albeit on shaky legs).

With a sullen curse, Jungkook walks around the bottom of the bed and straight for the door.

“I thought you were the Head Alpha,” Jimin blurts out, and feels a curl of satisfaction when he sees him stop.

“And what about it?” Jungkook breaths in deep and lets the word out in a tangled exhale.

He doesn’t sound so good. And that makes Jimin feel vindictively gleeful. He’s been suffering alone for three days straight, it feels terribly good to see someone else face a fraction of that.

“Aren’t Head Alphas supposed to be the strongest, the boldest? The ones who take what they want?” Jimin can feel the fresh gush of slick even as he says these things.

It’s not even Jungkook. It’s the thought of being grabbed and fucked so hard that he forgets every word he’s ever been taught save for the alpha’s name. It’s the heat, he reminds himself, heat and survival. Nothing more. You still hate the intensity of rosewood.

“You need a healer,” Jungkook sneers, and the scathing tone of his voice strikes Jimin as hard as a cold dagger to the ribs.

But he keeps his cool and retorts, “You want me. I can tell.”

The alpha’s hand is on the door. He could just open it and leave. He could. Except Jimin recognises the reflexive tremor in the jaw. There are plenty of young alphas in his own pack who can’t help but argue and quarrel and fight, their pride being too fragile to resist.

He knows Jungkook will turn back –

He doesn’t.

Without even looking at Jimin, he yanks open the door and walks out.

Jimin sinks onto the floor and bursts into tears. He doesn’t know why exactly.

Whether it’s the rejection or the fact that he’s just failed his first real attempt at trying to save his own life.

 

༻─────⋅☽༓☾⋅─────༺

 

 

The fourth morning dawns and now Jimin vividly remembers that it’s been five whole days since his capture. Five out of ten. Five more to go.

He doesn’t have long.

What he’s about to do, may Aylindr forgive him for it, but Jimin’s out of options.

He’s about to commit the antithesis of what he believes sex should be about. Jimin has had his selfish moments before – crying as a child when he couldn’t get seconds, stealing the bigger oranges for himself – but this takes the cake.

All his attempts at empathy and trying to see this from the Jeon clan’s point of view, fade.

He doesn’t care what will happen to the Head Alpha if he’s tricked into sleeping with an omega intended for sacrifice. He doesn’t care what happens to Jungkook if Jimin manages to escape after and go running back to his own pack. He just wants to see his mother again, wants to be amongst his own, no matter how much he loathes his own pack leader.

With five days left to live, a wolf sheds all his inhibitions and becomes strong.

If strength means deception, well –

There is a trickster god in the pantheon. Jimin will send up an offering to him the next time he has the chance to.

He prepares the very next morning when Seulgi enters with breakfast.

Jimin feels strong, the worst of the heat over, but he fakes how ill he actually is and barely opens an eyelid when she asks him how he’s feeling.

She can’t differentiate between the temperature of his cycle or the fever and that works in his favour. All she knows is that he’s not responsive and can’t even lift his head to drink some water.

Jimin lets it dribble down his chin when she guides him up. After a pause of perturbation, she goes outside and he hears her mutter something to Alpha Hyukjin who accompanies her on her visits.

He grunts in assent and then his heavy boots march off.

When he returns, Namjoon and Jungkook are close behind.

“What’s wrong with him now?” the Head Alpha sounds irritated.

“I’m not sure. He seemed to be getting better. But he’s worsened.”

“The wolfsbane scent is gone. He should be better – “ Namjoon’s concerned voice is cut off by a sudden creak of the pallet as extra weight is put on it.

Jimin feels a sudden rough jolt, and then a hand patting his cheek none too gently. “You’re pretending, aren’t you? Wake up. Get up! You were fine last night!” There are utterances of shock from the beta and omega as the alpha takes out his frustration on Jimin.

Jimin doesn’t move a muscle, not even when Jungkook’s hand brushes his chest and he feels his nipples stiffen. There’s fresh wetness between his legs and he’s heating up just at his touch. He knows Jungkook can feel it, because there’s an angry growl and he lifts himself off just as abruptly.

“When he decides to open his eyes, put him in chains,” the alpha snarls, and Jimin gets the sense he’s watching him like a hawk for even the slightest reaction.

He gives none. He’s proud of how well he’s playing dead.

It isn’t the last of his games. Jimin’s determined he will win this bet and cheat Death.

 

༻─────⋅☽༓☾⋅─────༺

 

The fourth night falls and Jimin focuses as hard as he can to attempt transformation. All he manages are claws, protruding canines and golden eyes, but it’s enough. He howls in pain, and the sound is enough to make Hyukjin bang on the door.

“What is it? What do you want?” he barks.

Jimin continues to howl as if his insides are being seared with hot iron pokers. He’s hoping against hope Hyukjin doesn’t call Seulgi. If she comes, she’ll attempt to diagnose his illness and fail. And there’s only so many times the pack’s best healer can do anything for him.

Rather than find a witch or a warlock in this weather, Jungkook might think it best he be put down and left out in the cold to die.

They won’t want to keep a weak, ill omega, especially not one that’s ingested wolfsbane so long.

When he hears footsteps outside the door, Jimin runs for the window and leaps onto the sill. He’s perched on the edge, hands clutching the outermost walls as he stares down at the distance to fall. His breath catches in his lungs. With a glance over his shoulder, he whimpers as his body seizes up, reacting to the imminent threat of agony and death.

The door flies open and without looking, Jimin knows who it is.

He closes his eyes and whispers a soft prayer to the goddess in thanks.

He puts up a pretence of delirious babbling, struggling against the strong arm that binds around his waist, but Jimin knows he doesn’t stand a chance. He’s counting on it.

Hyukjin is still in the doorway, though he steps back a few paces as the scent inside the room reaches him.

By the time Jungkook’s got Jimin secured against this shoulder, the older alpha has shut the door and his footsteps are already hurrying away as if he’s searching for fresher air to breathe.

“You’re more trouble than you’re worth!” Jungkook chides, but the way he drops Jimin onto the pallet is comparatively gentle to his tone.

Jimin doesn’t let him pull away this time. His small hands fist into the front of Jungkook’s woollen shirt, bunching up the gold embroidered there. He’s never seen him in anything but black, he realises that now. Black and red. The colours of his clan. Probably the colour of his eyes and fur too when he transforms.

“Stay,” Jimin whispers, and he hangs his entire weight off of Jungkook’s shirt until the alpha loses his balance and has to sink down.

But Jungkook does his best to maintain distance.

His hands clench on the furs either side of Jimin’s head, veins bulging, and though his eyes are gleaming with tints of red, his mouth is closed. With a decisive tug on the omega’s wrists, he pulls his grip loose. The moment he lets them go, Jimin leaps on him.

With both arms and legs, he clings to Jungkook, refusing to let go. A soft whimper escapes Jimin’s lips as he buries his face in Jungkook’s neck, nuzzling at his scent gland and feeling the rosewood pull apart his senses one by one.

“I thought I hated the scent of you – but it’s the most attractive scent I’ve ever experienced,” he mumbles into his skin.

“Stop – “ Jungkook hisses, but he’s not pulling hard enough to get Jimin off. Instead, the grasp of his warm hands is slipping around the curve of Jimin’s hips and gripping him with bruising strength.

Jimin responds with a lick of his gland, scraping it between the enamel of his teeth. His canines are back in, the claws retracted, and he’s soft and pliant in Jungkook’s arms, inches away from humping his frame as if he’s still in the throes of heat.

He might not be that far gone anymore, but his body is still aching with a primal urge to fuck and itch the scratch inside him that’s been bothering for days.

He grasps Jungkook’s face between his hands, pupils blown as he nuzzles at the strong line of his nose. “No one has to know,” he breathes desperately. “You can do what you want to me right here and leave. No one will ever know.”

It’s all senseless talk, but he doesn’t have to use logic here. Jungkook’s overcome by the scent sloughing off him in waves, and Jimin can tell. He’s struggling to think straight. His fingers alternate between dipping into the curves of Jimin’s flesh and loosening their grip.

As Jimin grinds forward – he doesn’t know if he’s doing well, he’s never done this before – he almost lets out a raucous moan at the feel of him.

Jungkook is hard, knotted muscle under his touch, a prime specimen of alpha wolf. It makes sense why no one would think to challenge him easily amongst the pack.

You don’t even know him.

It’s a sobering thought but Jimin shakes it out. He looks into Jungkook’s eyes and remembers his mother and his friends, and everyone he has yet to go back to.

“You like my scent too, don’t you?” he whispers, voice soft as he brushes his lips over the scar on his cheekbone. “It rarely happens like this. I’ve never liked an alpha’s scent so much without even meeting him or being courted. I-I want you to have me – “

He tests the waters and loosens his hold, hands slipping off Jungkook’s shoulders as one foot reaches down to find the pallet. His gamble works. The alpha grabs him tightly for a moment, refusing to let go.

Jimin doesn’t know the first thing about seduction, but he’s relying on every sign his body’s giving out.

And with every indication that it’s working, he gets a little bolder.

He lets Jungkook put him back down on the pallet. The alpha’s eyes don’t leave him, his head cocking slowly to watch every movement Jimin makes. It’s like he’s scoping out prey in the woods. Jimin likes the thrill it sends up his spine, the thought of being this dark, gloomy stranger’s prey.

Jungkook doesn’t look like he smiles much. There isn’t a single crease around his mouth.

Jimin pulls away his trousers, ignoring how wet they are around the crotch area. If he focuses on how his body’s losing control around the other, he won’t be able to focus on making sure Jungkook walks the path of no return.

The shirt follows suit, and Jimin lets his head fall back a moment as he squeezes his thighs together and his swollen hole gains some form of friction. A whine follows soon after, body squirming on the furs. Through half-lidded eyes, he whispers, “You don’t have to go all the way…promise…c-can just be your fingers…I just…need…a-alpha please – “

Now he’s not sure how much of it he’s faking and how much of it is real.

Jimin reaches out to brush his hand against Jungkook’s. It’s scarred on the back. The line joins a multitude of scars over his wrist and down across his arm. A ring made of wood is circled around his smallest finger, carved with runes. Jimin wonders if it’s a courting gift. He wonders how many omegas have tried their luck with the leader of the pack.

And which lucky omega Jungkook might have started to accept.

You’re going to crush their hopes and dreams, he thinks, his good conscience trying to make him see sense.

His survival instinct reminds him that Jungkook doesn’t seem the type of alpha to linger on the border of betrayal if he has a potential mate he intends to make his own.

He rules the respect of his pack, not their fear. Jimin can still remember the whines and huffs as they rose deferentially at the slightest trace of Jungkook’s scent. This isn’t an alpha who rules with fear. He would never betray an intended.

Which means he doesn’t have an intended at all.

Jungkook’s hand snaps up to clamp under Jimin’s jaw. His eyes widen, lips pulling back from his teeth and he looks ready to snarl some rebuke in the omega’s face. Jimin’s heart sinks, his eyes already prepared to tear up at the rejection.

But when he exhales, his pheromones creep across the air with him, attempting to calm and soothe. And Jungkook’s pupils dilate as he seems to forget what he was about to say. His hold is still firm on Jimin’s face, but it’s no longer as threatening.

Jimin whimpers, letting a few tears of relief fall loose. A hand brushes down between the plump of his thighs and reaches below his erect cock – it’s barely been slack longer than a couple of hours since his heat started – to circle his puckered ring with a fingertip.

Jungkook watches as if in a trance. Jimin moans a little, chin jutting forwards into his rough palm. He pulls wet fingers from between his legs and smooths his own slick over Jungkook’s inner wrist, eyes shimmering gold. Jimin’s omega is already down, whining in submission as it recognises the alpha he’s been craving throughout the worst of his heat.

It’s too frightening a thought to think of the word ‘soulmates’ to explain why his body is so naturally inclined towards Jungkook.

So, Jimin focuses on the mole under his bottom lip and lets his tongue flick out over his own in anticipation of pressing his mouth against it.

He hears the soft rumble in Jungkook’s chest, and the way his lashes lower. He’s letting down his guard. Jimin seizes the advantage and spreads his legs wider open as he lies back on the furs.

Allowing Jungkook to get a full view of him sprawled out, Jimin rolls over until he’s on his stomach and lifts up his ass to present himself.

Deep down, the fear is starting to coil. He has to dig his fingers into the furs to keep them from shaking and giving away how scared he truly is.

It’s his first time.

He doesn’t think Jungkook can tell from the way his hands feel against his skin. Warm, calloused and firm. He’s not gentle. He won’t be gentle. Jimin already knows it. But he’s opened the floodgates and if this is how he gets to live, he doesn’t care.

He’ll take whatever this cannibal has to give him.

Jimin doesn’t look back when Jungkook runs his palms along his ass cheeks. He’s so scared, he thinks he might cry. It’s thanks to the wolfsbane they think hasn’t properly left his system that the scent of his fear can be mistaken for the poison. Jungkook might have stopped otherwise and that would have ruined Jimin’s plan.

Instead, his alpha sends out pheromones, as he might do to his mate to comfort them. They’re laced with arousal and Jimin is torn between relaxing and tensing further when he feels Jungkook’s breath against his fluttering hole.

He hears him make a deep sound of hunger seconds before the first lick. Jimin’s eyes fly wide open and he buries his mouth in the furs to keep from moaning too loud. He’s never been touched there by anyone else, never mind licked, and it’s sending him haywire.

“You’re sensitive,” Jungkook finally speaks and it’s the most visceral experience to hear his voice hoarsened by lust.

“I-it’s ‘cause of my heat,” Jimin mumbles, and then he squeals as Jungkook’s rough, hot tongue spreads over his cunt again.

He’s done this before. Jimin doesn’t know how he’d know that, but he does. Jungkook’s tongue is wicked, knowing exactly where to press, where to tickle, how hard to stroke. And then it’s inside. Jimin cries out when he feels the intrusion into his swollen, tight hole, legs going weak at the way Jungkook drags it over his pulsating walls.

He doesn’t want it to stop. Doesn’t want anyone to hear him moaning and remember their Head Alpha hasn’t returned from the tower. He doesn’t want it to stop, not just because he wants to live, but also because he now wants to be fucked by this alpha until his knees buckle.

For some reason, this is the one Jimin’s omega has decided it’s set on, a believer in nightmarish gods and a cannibal to boot.

It does nothing to make his wolf recoil and he’s already kicking his feet against the pallet with intense whimpers muffled by his fist. His cock is hanging heavy and oozing pre-cum as Jungkook buries his face between his cheeks and sucks the slick from him as if he were drinking at a fountain. The sounds are filthy and Jimin’s legs spread wider as he lowers.

He feels the beginnings of claws run over his thighs and buttocks, and knows Jungkook is allowing them out, just enough to give him pleasure. Oh, he’s definitely done this before. He knows how hard to trace against his skin, and it’s just enough to leave red marks but not to draw blood.

“Alpha, I’m – “ Jimin isn’t sure what he wants to say, but his fingers reach back to bury in the soft tangle of Jungkook’s wild mane of hair.

He’s answered with a growl that reverberates through his ass, his cock and the core of his stomach. Jungkook’s lips close around his rim and the suction makes Jimin’s walls convulse violently until he’s afraid he might come there and then.

But just in time, Jungkook pulls out with a hefty groan, leaving one last lingering lick over Jimin’s puffy rim. The omega looks back and sees Jungkook peeling his shirt off over his head to reveal a body as muscled and hard as Jimin pictured. The lower half of his face is covered in slick, and the red in his eyes glows like embers against coal.

When he removes his trousers, Jimin almost squeaks and looks away.

He doesn’t want to see the size. He might lose his courage. But when Jungkook moves to get on the pallet and kneel, the heat of his chest radiating against Jimin’s back, he can feel his cock brush against his crack. He’s going to be big.

And he’s already hard.

Jimin doesn’t know whether to feel terrified or flattered. He almost blurts out that he’s a virgin but he knows it will only ruin things. So, he distracts himself by turning his head to kiss Jungkook’s hand where it’s braced on the pallet. Jimin presses his lips to the scars on his wrist, the bracelet of fangs, and as far up his tattooed forearm as he can reach.

He can’t make out what the inked patterns are. They must have some religious significance for a Head Alpha to be covered from his arms to his chest, neck and back.

Jimin wonders what Jungkook’s gods think of him at this very moment.

He stops when Jungkook’s teeth graze the back of his neck, followed by the softer nuzzle of his lips. Jimin sighs softly, whispering “alpha” in utter submission as his knees set wider apart and he tries to relax his body.

He can’t help realising that Jungkook still isn’t talking much.

Maybe he fucks the way he talks. Rough and quick.

Wrong.

The head of his cock pushes into Jimin slow. They inhale together, Jimin a little squeaky as he struggles to keep his breathing steady. Jungkook’s not big, he’s huge.

Jimin’s hand rattles against the pallet, a nervous tremor, until Jungkook’s presses down on it to hold him still. He’s still biting softly at the nape of Jimin’s neck as he invades his body, every throbbing inch nestled inside Jimin’s slick walls. It’s going to grow a knot eventually and Jimin is already fighting with himself just to let it in.

Jimin whimpers when Jungkook’s weight sinks down on him, the firmness of his chest fitting against his back. He’s got his eyes closed, trying to keep himself relaxed for Jungkook’s cock to keep pushing in, but he’s still too tight. He’s going slow enough, but any minute now, Jimin expects him to ask -

Are you a virgin?

The wolfsbane was hiding a lot. His fear, his virginity, his emotions. Not a single one of the pack would have picked up on anything just by his scent.

Jimin accidentally squirms back and Jungkook slides in deeper, right against a spot that makes the smaller jerk and cry out under him. He’s panting now, one hand gripped around Jungkook’s firm wrist for leverage, fingers slipping under the fangs on the bracelet.

“A-alpha – “ he sobs out again, and this time, Jungkook answers with an inquiring sound, his mouth pressed to Jimin’s ear. The omega mumbles out an, “I-I don’t know – “ and feels Jungkook’s lips curve into a smile against his skin.

Jimin doesn’t know what’s so amusing. Especially not when Jungkook bottoms out and he has to push against the end of the pallet to keep his body from flying forwards and forcing the other to pull out.

He’s never been this full and maybe it’s a normal reaction to a first time experience. Jungkook’s hand leaves its bracing position and slips under Jimin’s jaw, anchoring his head back against his own shoulder. Soft, kissing noises echo in Jimin’s ear as he leaves a passionate trail down the side of his neck and then ends up right over his scenting gland.

Jimin starts to shake as Jungkook nuzzles it, rubbing his face against it and scenting him thoroughly. Pleasure courses through him as the effect of being scented causes relaxation in his entire body.

By the time Jungkook starts to move, Jimin’s no longer clawing at his skin in pain. He starts slow, perhaps sensing that Jimin hasn’t done this in a while (if not that he’s a virgin). He’s so firm and so deep, Jimin can barely keep from letting out every curse he’s ever learned. But he stops himself. It wouldn’t be good manners.

Jungkook’s still the Head Alpha, even if he is balls deep in Jimin’s ass.

Jimin reaches down on instinct to touch his own cock, but Jungkook’s hand swats him off with a growled, “No.”

Thick arms slide under Jimin’s, binding around his chest, as Jungkook anchors himself properly. His lips are pressed to the end of Jimin’s jaw, and the omega is utterly pinned under him as his hips snap faster, harder, the lewd slap of pelvis and ass resounding through the quiet room.

Jimin is sweating as if he’s in heat again, a rosy-red flush climbing up his neck and towards his face. He turns his head to the right, nuzzling at Jungkook’s cheek, forcing himself not to think about the short bursts of pain as the friction of the massive intrusion cuts through the pleasure.

Eventually, it’s all ecstasy, the harder Jungkook’s cock pumps into him. Jimin’s body would have flown off the pallet had Jungkook not kept him caught in his hold. His growls echo in his ear and they’re deep and lusty. Jimin feels them vibrate through to his belly where a coil of heat is starting to unfurl.

He recognises the beginnings of an orgasm. But it’s more intense than any orgasm he’s managed to achieve on his own..

He hears someone keen and start moaning in a way that sounds almost lost. Then, he realises it’s him.

Jungkook’s strong thighs have him pinned either side of his hips, his pelvis cushioned against the curve of Jimin’s ass each time he fucks deeper still. Jimin doesn’t know if he’s imagining his cock getting bigger but his body loves it.

He can feel Jungkook tensing against him, and goes almost delirious at the thought of having a knot inside him now. The fear is gone. All he feels is the delicious thrill of being stuffed, bred, until Jungkook’s cum is dribbling white down the backs of his thighs, a form of possession.

He starts to strain, to work his hips against the alpha, and the message is received.

Jungkook grinds his hips, forcing Jimin’s walls to stretch, getting creative with the way he is obliterating every ounce of resistance in his body. Then, he starts pulling almost all the way out and fucking back in at an angle that makes Jimin shriek. He lowers his head to bite into Jungkook’s arm and stifle the next scream as he loses the energy he had and lets Jungkook have him whichever way he wants.

He could never have pictured it to feel so amazing, to be so utterly useless, futile, and have to lie there and take it like a good little breeding hole.

In that moment, Jimin thinks he would do anything for the alpha.

He’s crying out “Oh – please – please – “ without an inkling of what he wants or doesn’t want.

Jungkook sounds like he’s losing his mind. His thrusts are sloppier, less controlled, face pressed into Jimin’s hair as his hand slams against the pallet in frustration. He’s struggling to keep moving quick and hard the way he wants as Jimin’s body resists, already being pushed to its limit.

This first time is draining Jimin, and his heat is mostly over so that factor won’t help.

Jimin comes first, crying into the furs, getting them in his mouth as his cock spurts weakly over his abdomen. It’s been abused so many times in the last few days, he’s surprised it still has anything left to give.

Jungkook throws back his head and snarls, as Jimin gets even tighter around him.

He fists the back of Jimin’s soft hair and yanks his head back, forcing him to kneel. The other arm stays around him as Jungkook fucks upwards, hard and fast, splitting Jimin open. Jimin’s head lolls back onto his shoulder, his eyes rolled into the back of his skull as drool drips down his chin.

He’s uttering nonsensical babble as his hands flail, reaching back to catch at something. He finds Jungkook’s hips, the skin there as scarred as the rest of him, and his nails drag over them. It’s only when he hears the alpha’s hiss of pain, that he realises his claws are out and one of the shallower scars is bleeding.

“ ‘M sorry – “ Jimin manages to gasp, but there isn’t much time to say more.

Jungkook rams his cock deep, and Jimin trembles from head to toe when the sensitivity almost makes him lose control of his bladder.

A sharp scream fills the room as Jungkook follows with an equally strong thrust and then sets up a hammering pace. He’s using Jimin for his own pleasure now, and it’s feral, the way he holds him.

As if he’s just something to hump against during a rut. Jimin sort of likes it, though he would never be able to put it into words. He likes how Jungkook manhandles him, makes him feel like a useless hole for his cock, as if that’s all he’s worth.

He hiccups, body limp against Jungkook as a hand falls down to brush over his stomach. If he presses, he can feel the faint outline of Jungkook’s cock forcing its way into him.

“A-alpha – you’re so – d-deep – “ Jimin gurgles, eyes welling up from the overstimulation of being relentlessly fucked even after he almost passed out with his last orgasm.

Jungkook’s hand joins his over his stomach, and Jimin starts to lose what remaining sense he has. His knot is swelling, and the bulge against Jimin’s stomach grows with every thrust. Each time Jungkook pauses to lock their hips together and rotate, Jimin can see his cock moving inside him and if nothing else so far has, this might send him insane.

He’s never pictured it to be like this, so vulgar and obscene. Even in his worst nightmares, he pictured some form of basic mating. But Jimin’s never anticipated pleasure like this, the sheer headiness of seeing an alpha mark up the insides of his body as if it isn’t his own.

He forgets why he’s doing this. It feels too good to remember.

He wants his mind to trickle out of his ears and through his eyes and leave him so he can be nothing but a vessel of pleasure.

Jungkook’s knot catches against his rim and Jimin scratches across his arm, whimpering as the pain of the initial penetration returns.

He’s falling limp again, breathless and letting out a short moan every now and then as he’s rocked with the force of the alpha’s cock fucking him open. Jimin reaches back and grabs at the side of Jungkook’s head, feels his fingers slip and dip into his mouth. Jungkook’s tongue runs over them, hot and wet, and then Jimin bares his neck –

He doesn’t know why. Maybe he wants to be scented again. Or just kissed there. But it’s as Jungkook’s climax rolls through him, and his knot is swelling larger still.

Maybe that’s why it happens.

A logical reason.

Jungkook’s breath is hot and harsh against the side of Jimin’s neck, as his cock fits inside the omega as deep as it will go. His seed goes deeper still. Jimin clutches at his stomach with an overwhelmed cry as it triggers another orgasm from his own uselessly twitching cock. His belly starts to swell under his touch as Jungkook’s orgasm seems to have no end.

And then Jungkook’s teeth sink into Jimin’s neck.

Jimin lets out a torn scream of pain, but doesn’t realise instantly what’s happened. His hand flies across his mouth to stem further screams as his skin is pierced by vicious canines and his eyes screw shut from the sheer agony that races through him.

He doesn’t know where to focus. The knot pushing against his rim or the blood bursting into Jungkook’s mouth from the bite. His pheromones are all over the place, body suffering near convulsions as his climax takes its time with him.

It’s supposed to feel blissful when a mating mark is given.

And it does, once Jimin works past the shock. It’s euphoric actually. But there’s an underlying sense of something gone terribly wrong. Jungkook is licking at it, and his breathing is ragged, growl after growl sounding from deep within his chest as his knot locks into Jimin.

Jimin goes slack in his arms, holding onto his bicep desperately, hoping he won’t let him go. Suddenly, the thought of being let go is terrifying. He can’t bear the thought of Jungkook pulling out and leaving.

They sink onto the pallet, the alpha still buried inside him, and Jimin’s back is against his chest. He reaches back, fingers quivering as he tries to touch Jungkook’s cheek. Tries to ask what the hell just happened –

Not that he minds. But –

Jungkook suddenly twitches and seems to return to his right mind.

Jimin can see his expression change out of the corner of his eye, with his head only half turned back to look at him. Jungkook touches his own lips, pulling them away stained with blood. And then he leans back to stare at the mark on Jimin’s neck as if he can’t remember making it.

Neither of them speak.

Jimin feels the fear crawl back in, like a cold, slimy thing huddling back into its cave.

He doesn’t know what’s happened and by the looks of it, neither does Jungkook. But despite the mating mark now emblazoned on his neck, it’s making him feel unwanted and unprotected.

It’s an ugly feeling, but he suppresses it. Jimin’s had wolfsbane every month for three years. He’s put up with worse. He can do this.

And yet nothing prepares him for when the knot goes down and Jungkook pulls out. Jimin curls up instantly as the warmth of the alpha’s body leaves him stranded. It feels wrong to ask for him to come back. They don’t even know each other.

Even with a mating mark on his neck, it’s not created a level of deeper understanding.

There’s only so much their natural biology can do to bind them together.

“That – that – wasn’t supposed to – I don’t know what – sorry – “ Jungkook pulls on his clothes like a thief, and not like he’s the Head Alpha of the largest clan this side of the Emerald Sea.

He looks young and confused, as if a chunk of his memory is gone and he can’t even remember being inside Jimin.

This isn’t what it’s supposed to look like. He’s not in his rut, why doesn’t he seem to remember?

Jimin wants to ask him that, but nothing comes out of his mouth except a tired, broken whimper. He reaches out a small hand from the furs he’s cushioned by, but Jungkook doesn’t notice. He’s distracted, and his scent is laced with worry.

Not even when Jimin’s body releases calming pheromones does it work. Jungkook is supposed to come nearer, but he doesn’t.

It makes sense. Only he’s marked Jimin, only Jimin will feel the full bonded effect. Jimin hasn’t marked him back. For all intents and purposes, Jungkook is still unbound and he won’t be feeling the innate ache to be with his mate when he’s distressed like this.

Instead, he’s fully free to slip on his boots and exit the room like a shadow.

Here one moment, gone the next.

Tomorrow, the pack will smell Jimin all over him and that might be brushed aside as them having been in the same room.

But once they smell Jimin, see the mark –

There’s no telling what might happen to Jungkook of the Jeon clan tomorrow.

Jimin doesn’t want to think about it.

He wants the emptiness to stop spreading, but it won’t.

Jimin cries himself to sleep that night, like all the past nights he’s spent in this room.

Amidst nightmares and jagged dreams, he no longer calls for his mother.

He calls for Jungkook and receives no answer.

 

༻─────⋅☽༓☾⋅─────༺

 

OH BOY is there going to be trouble for Jungkook now – he’s only gone and mated the sacrifice without any warning o.o (in this verse, alphas don’t just lose their heads because an omega fresh out of heat is inviting them – this definitely has more to do with the brief mention of ‘soulmates’) Writing strangers having sex is harder than I thought though cause there’s next to nothing to build the physical relationship on -

The next instalment or instalment(s) will be coming very fast as I’m already speeding through it! I just thought it better to break it down like this as there is quite a lot happening in the next part! I enjoyed writing this way more than I anticipated, there was something so comforting about it, idk how to explain. Please let me know whether you enjoyed reading it!

 

Oh and also my carrd which I don’t flaunt enough u.u

http://vmintie.carrd.co/