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Found Family

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Friday, July 18th

 

“Here you go.” Jeongguk said as he returned the credit card to his last customer of the night. Well, early morning. The clock on the wall read 3:45 am. He received a rough grunt in response. “Oh, well. Have a great day I guess,” he thought, tired to his bones. The day was Friday and also his last day working at the gas station. He was no longer suffering from financial issues due to recent promotion as a junior manager at Serendipity. He had worked in the café since the end of his freshman year in Seoul National University and now he was almost at the end of his junior year. Due to the rather unexpected but welcomed promotion, he no longer needed to work shitty night shifts at the gas station. His roommates, Yugyeom and Moonbin, too had their jobs which would cover the expenses for their rent and utilities and his covering the electricity bill, kitchen expenses and everything in between.

 

 

 

Speaking of his roommates/best friends, they had left the extra shifts they did at their jobs and odd jobs they had to do on the weekends when their kitchen was basically empty at the end of the month. That was something they all had to do to make ends meet but now it was starting to be okay. Yes, it’s still a bit unstable financially but with Jeongguk’s promotion and increased salary, they’ll be just fine.

 

 

 

He clocked out of this job for the last time (after a year of working at the gas station) at 4:00 am in the morning and he never felt so liberated. He will finally be getting all the sleepless nights he missed working here and dealing with rude, drunk and at times, downright creepy people. He remembered the times he had to hide his fear behind his charming smile. He was a bunny hybrid, you see. He had it all from the bunny ears on the top of his head and his cottontail snug on his behind. He was a prey amidst the predators but nonetheless the South Korean society has come a long way since before the war when hybrids, vampires, werefolks and other magical creatures were treated like animals and the dirt on the humans’ feet. 

 

 

 

After the war, many laws and regulations were implemented, protecting the magical creatures and giving them equal rights as the humans. They were finally treated like they deserved their existence, as fucked up as that may sound. There were, of course, many bigoted humans who believed in human supremacy and magical creatures who believe that human shouldn’t exist. 

 

 

Jeongguk shook his head, driving away those thoughts. He shouldn’t be thinking these things, not at least at 4:15 am in the morning. He seriously needs to sleep. He crossed the road to his apartment building on the other end. He hopped in on the elevator to go to his apartment that he shared with his two besties on the 7th floor. He fumbled on the pockets of his jeans as he fished out his keys. He entered the apartment quietly, not wanting to disturb his slumbering roommates. He took off his sneakers on the entrance and quietly tiptoed out of the living room to his best friends shared bedroom.

 

 

 

He creaked open the door and peered at his friends fast asleep, cocooned in their blankets. A smile spread on his lips looking at the sight before him. Yugyeom’s mouth was slightly open as he mumbled softly and he could barely see Moonbin as he had his blanket wrapped till the top of his head, his Persian Cat ears peeking out. Jeongguk smiled. Aigoo, they are too cute. With a last glance at his sleeping friends, he slipped out of the room and made his way to his bedroom.

 

 

 

After getting out of his work clothes and taking a warm shower (they can now afford the warm water so bye, cold showers), he slipped into his warm and awaiting bed, tucking himself in his blanket. Sleep was heavy on his eyelids. Aigoo, he could sleep forever now as there were no more night shifts. With a last glance at his alarm on his bedside table. It read 4:35 am. He would get a good seven hours of sleep until his first shift as a junior manager at Serendipity at 12:20 pm. A sleepy smile creeped on his face as fell into a dreamless sleep.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Well, we can’t go.” a voice huffed. Moonbin, he identified. Why were they yelling so early in the morning? It was, however, not ‘early morning’ as Jeongguk implied. It was ten past eleven in the morning but don’t tell him that. At least not until he sees the time himself.

 

 

“Why not?” a second voice retorted. It belonged to Yugyeom. What was all this commotion about?

 

 

Jeongguk sat up and made his way out of his bedroom towards the small living room they had. He saw his best friends sitting on their couch and arguing about something. There was also something in Yugyeom’s hand that vaguely looked like an invitation card. 

 

 

“For obvious reasons, duh,” the Persian Cat hybrid said, rolling his eyes.

 

 

Yugyeom made a frustrated noise at the back of his throat. “I don’t really get what you mean by ‘reasons’?”

 

 

“What’s going on here?” Jeongguk asked, looking at his friends. 

 

 

“Yugy is being stupid again, that’s what happening,” Moonbin muttered, pointing at the wolf hybrid in front of him.

 

 

“Yah!” Yugyeom scolded. “Be respectful to your elders, brat.” Moonbin poked his tongue out in response.

 

 

Jeongguk shook his head, smiling at their antics. “Well, is anyone going to enlighten me to what is actually happening here?”

 

 

Yugyeom’s ear perked up. “Come sit here, hyung. I’ll tell you everything,” he said, making grabby hands towards Jeongguk.

 

 

He promptly sat down. “Now that I’ve sat down, can you tell me now?” he said, looking pointedly at his two dongsaengs.

 

 

“Well, you see..” Yugyeom said, trailing off. “Nayeon gave me her invitation to the ball. Her girlfriend is currently sick so they can’t make it to the ball on Sunday.”

 

 

“What ball?” Jeongguk said, tilting his head to the side.

 

 

“The Kim Coven Annual Ball.” Moonbin interrupted.

 

 

Jeongguk looked at his fellow hybrids in confusion. “Is that something special?”

 

 

“Oh, hyung.” Realisation dawned on Yugyeom’s and Moonbin’s faces. “I forgot you don’t know about that.”

 

 

“Am I supposed to know about it?” Jeongguk said, looking awkwardly at his friends.

 

 

“It’s fine, hyung. You weren’t here in Seoul during the last ball.” Moonbin smiled. “The Kim Coven hosts this ball every five years.”

 

 

“Oh.” he murmured. “Are they, like, someone important?”

 

 

“They kind of are?” Yugyeom said. “I hope you have heard about Kim Seokjin?”

 

 

“Of course, I have.” Jeongguk scoffed. “Who hasn’t heard of The Kim Seokjin?” Kim Seokjin was the person who had stopped the war from escalating further than it had. Everyone knows of his powerful and charming aura; he was very much loved by the people in the country, humans and magical creatures alike.

 

 

“Well, the ball is hosted by him and his five mates in their nest.” Yugyeom said, dreamily. It was his dream to attend the Annual Ball.

 

 

“And this ball is important because..?” Jeongguk questioned, trailing off.

 

 

“It is very important!” Moonbin exclaimed. “This ball celebrates and welcomes the new fledglings and pups into the covens and packs.”

 

 

“Okay..” he replied, confused. “How does that concern us though? Last time I checked, we are not part of any covens or packs.”

 

 

“But couples and friends who consider each other pack are also welcome in the celebration,” Yugyeom corrected, looking pointedly at Moonbin who rolled his eyes at the elder. Moonbin was not going to ruin this for him. “Hence, Nayeon gave us her invitation.”

 

 

“Hypothetically speaking, if we go to the ball, what the hell are we going to wear?” Moonbin questioned, looking at the wolf hybrid.

 

 

“Exactly.” Jeongguk spoke. “Doesn’t these fancy balls have, like, formal attire or something?”

 

 

“Well, we did not open the invitation yet.” Bin confessed. “We were kinda waiting for you to be awake and then got into an argument.” he continued, nervously scratching the back of his neck.

 

 

“What are we waiting for then? Let’s open it.” Jeongguk replied, taking the card from Yugyeom.

 

 

The envelope itself looked more expensive than anything they owned. It was black and red in colour, with an intricate flower pattern on the edges of the envelope. The seal was blood red in colour with ‘KC’ on it, standing for ‘Kim Coven.’ He popped the seal open, taking out a wine-coloured paper. It read–

 

 

Im Na-yeon, you are invited to the Annual Kim Coven Ball. The ball is on Sunday, July 20th, starting at 7 p.m., sharp, in our coven nest, at the Old Forest. The address is given below.

 

The attire is formal, preferably, black-tie. The colour code is black, red, white and golden. The ball is a masquerade ball, please be sure to bring your masks along with you.

 

You are most welcome to bring a plus one with you. We will be awaiting for your arrival.

 

The Kims.

 

 

“We have to go!” Yugyeom exclaimed excitedly. 

 

 

“Gyeomie, we can’t go.” Jeongguk sighed. He didn’t want to put an end to his friend’s excitement but they needed to be reasonable about this.

 

 

“Why not?” Yugyeom pouted.

 

 

“Hyung, this ball is definitely not for people like us. This is for established covens, packs and couples.” Moonbin said. “And what will we wear? The invitation said the ball’s black tie and none of us own any tuxedos.”

 

 

Yugyeom whined nonetheless. “Hyunngg..” he pouted, looking at Jeongguk.

 

 

Jeongguk, however, could feel his resolve breaking at the sight of his oldest dongsaeng. Yugyeom, especially in situations like this, pulled out his shiny and cute puppy eyes. “Gyeomie.. pup, you know we can’t.”

 

 

“But hyung.. please..”

 

 

Jeongguk softly petted Yugyeom’s hair and felt the wolf hybrid instantly lean on him. Not wanting to miss out on the impromptu cuddle, Moonbin moved behind Yugyeom back, hugging him.

 

 

“You know we can’t afford this, pup.” Jeongguk said, continuing his ministrations. “Not so soon, at least.”

 

 

“What if I get us outfits which are really cheap but presentable?” Yugyeom said, looking up at his hyung. “Can we go then?”

 

 

Jeongguk and Moonbin looked at each other. They knew they couldn’t say ‘no’ to Yugyeom. They both surpassed a smile.

 

 

“I don’t see why not.”