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Jaebum was reclining on the couch, watching TV, when he smelled it.

“What is that?” he said. He sniffed the air.

“What?” asked Jinyoung, who was sitting on the opposite end of the couch with his nose in a book.

“That,” said Jaebum. It was a sweet, sort of a… earthy kind of scent, he decided. Like a growing thing. Citrus, or. He didn’t know. Some kind of fruit. “Did you buy air freshener?”

“No,” said Jinyoung, looking vaguely offended, as if Jaebum really thought they needed it. “I don’t smell anything.”

“Maybe a window’s open somewhere,” Jaebum said. He went to check, but they were all closed, blinds drawn.

He tongued his teeth. This was going to bother him. It was already bothering him. Itching at him, like a snippet of an earworm he could never place, balanced precariously on the tip of his tongue. Oddly familiar, or at least it smelled like he should know it, but he couldn’t figure out what it was.

He went to the kitchen to make sure they hadn’t left any food out. Maybe a manager-hyung had brought back some overripe peaches—it had that sugary, succulent kind of aroma. But there was nothing. Just the dirty dishes from that morning, stacked up in the sink.

Jinyoung was watching him skeptically over his book when he came back. “Find anything?”

Jaebum made a noncommittal noise and slumped back onto the couch, determined to ignore it. And it worked, for a little while; he managed to doze off, even if the weight of it had settled inescapably in his nose. But then Jinyoung got up to get ready for bed, and the smell magnified tenfold, slamming into him like a lead pipe.

Jaebum was awake in an instant. On his feet, suddenly, nostrils flared.

His eyes snapped to Jinyoung.

Jinyoung had stopped in his tracks and was looking at him, brows scrunched up in concern. He blinked. “What?”

“I,” said Jaebum. “I think—”

He took a step closer.

“Turn around,” he said.

“Why?”

“Just—turn around.”

Jinyoung looked at him like he’d gone crazy, but did it anyway. And there it was. A wet patch on the back of Jinyoung’s sweatpants, and a matching stain on the couch where he’d been sitting.

Jaebum swallowed. He started breathing through his mouth.

“Jinyoungie,” he said. “You’re wet.”

“I’m what?” said Jinyoung, peering over his shoulder. Eyes narrowed.

“It’s you,” said Jaebum. “The smell, it’s you.”

Jinyoung noticed the dark spot on the couch. He put it together. His hands flew to the seat of his pants.

“Oh,” he said, realization dawning. He turned back around to stare at Jaebum, embarrassment flushing his face. His ears were bright red.

“I’ll call Manager-hyung,” Jaebum said. “Just—stay there.”

He left for the underground parking lot quickly, grabbing his phone and his pills on the way. His fingers slipped as he fumbled open the bottle, popped one while he dialed. Then he took another. Just in case.

Jinyoung was sitting on a towel when he got back, manager in tow. His hair was wet. He’d showered. The smell wasn’t as overwhelming now, but their manager was still looking strained and uncomfortable. Jaebum didn’t blame him; even for a beta, the scent could be overpowering. And anyway, it wasn’t just that.

It wasn’t odd, to present so late, but that wasn’t the problem. There was a reason why most companies didn’t want to risk debuting true omegas. Beta idols made bank off of that innocent, submissive image, but the real thing—what some alpha sasaengs had done, or tried to do—what some managers had done—

It just wasn’t ideal.

Actual omega celebrities were scarce, for that reason. Jaebum couldn’t remember the last time an idol had publicly admitted to being an unbonded omega. They usually waited to come out until after they’d been Paired for a while, when they had more legal rights and protections, in case something went wrong. If it got out that JYP allowed an alpha and an omega to debut together, to live together, unbonded, there'd be a scandal.

If they could just keep Jinyoung’s beta image intact, nobody would be able to tell. Plenty of omegas passed as betas every day; they’d just have to be careful about it.

“You need a prescription,” said their manager. He raked a hand through his hair.

Jinyoung nodded silently, stiff and blank-faced.

Jaebum could tell he was afraid. His living family were all betas; he wouldn’t have thought he’d be any different. He would’ve thought he was safe, like Jaebum. It was something like, what, ten alphas to every omega, five betas to every alpha, and male omegas were even rarer: only one in five? They couldn't even breed.

Some radical groups called it unnatural. Sometimes there were protests. Jaebum didn’t really pay attention, though. Maybe he’d start having to.

“We have to tell JYP PD-nim,” said Jaebum, after a difficult pause.

Their schedules would have to be pushed back. It was close to the Season, which meant a lot of beta groups were doing comebacks and promotions, so maybe they’d be able to swing the sudden hiatus as a rut break. Everyone knew Jaebum was an alpha—they wouldn’t think twice if he said he needed time.

Jinyoung’s voice was impressively level. He sounded even calmer than he looked. “What if he makes us disband?”

“Let’s just take one thing at a time,” their manager said. He turned to Jaebum. “You’re on inhibitors, right?”

“Yes,” said Jaebum.

“Okay. Good. Then just—look after him.”

“I will,” he said.

But after their manager left, Jinyoung went soundlessly to his room, not even looking at him, and Jaebum didn’t see him again for the rest of the night.

 


 

The suppressants didn’t do much at first. Just masked Jinyoung, like they were supposed to, and regulated the onset of his new hormones. But then he started slowing down.

He was sluggish in dance practices, off-beat, messing up on the choreography. He smiled less, talked less. Jaebum, used to the bubbly, mischievously energetic side of Jinyoung, found it off-putting. They hadn’t performed since Jinyoung presented, but Jaebum was starting to worry whether or not he would be able to keep up when they did.

Fans were perceptive; they’d be able to tell something was wrong. Jinyoung was a good actor, but even he couldn't fight both chemical and physical exhaustion all the time. Jaebum was beginning to understand why a lot of omegas chose not to take suppressants, if it made them like this.

Whatever this was. Jaebum had thought Jinyoung would be better than that, somehow.

It wasn’t fair. Jaebum had worked his ass off to get this far, and Jinyoung was putting both of their careers in jeopardy, being the way he was. JYP had made it clear: one mistake, and it would be all over. Not just for him. The both of them. Done.

He chewed on the inside of his cheek.

It was unfair to think like that, and he knew it. It wasn’t Jinyoung’s fault, and it was cruel of Jaebum to even entertain the thought. Jinyoung didn’t deserve it. He’d worked just as hard; he didn’t choose his biology. Jaebum was just—on edge, for some reason.

He passed Jinyoung a water bottle and sat on the arm of the practice room couch. Jinyoung took it without thanking him.

“You’ve worked hard,” he said. It was supposed to be a peace offering, but Jinyoung didn’t acknowledge it. He took a drink instead and wiped the sweat from his forehead.

Jaebum frowned and narrowed his eyes, but decided not to push. They were both tired. It wouldn’t end well.

Jihoo drifted over, separating himself from the pack of dancers milling by the mirror, and struck up a casual, easy conversation. He was the kind of guy who didn't take things too seriously, and Jaebum was grateful for the change in atmosphere. It was exhausting trying to gauge Jinyoung’s moods all the time. With another alpha, he knew where he stood.

But then, inevitably, with the Season so close, the topic veered. It was nothing Jaebum hadn't heard before, nothing he hadn't said himself, when he’d been younger, but this time—he didn’t know why. It infuriated him. Maybe it was the way Jinyoung’s polite smile melted into a carefully blank look, the way his eyes dropped coolly to his lap.

Jihoo hadn’t even greeted Jinyoung, he realized. It was like he wasn’t even there.

“Some of them are so desperate for a knot they’ll jump you in the middle of the street,” Jihoo was saying. “I mean, you know how it is. You’ve got fans, too, it’s gotta be insane. But you can’t help but feel a little sorry for them, right?” He shrugged, as if he was certain Jaebum would agree with him. “Not like I’d say no to helping out, though, if they’re hot.”

The aggressive rush of protective feeling caught Jaebum completely off-guard. He was turning on Jihoo before he could stop himself.

“Yah,” he said sharply. “Don’t talk that way.”

Jihoo blinked at him. Then he frowned, clearly pissed. “What did you just say to me?”

But Jaebum couldn’t tell him. He’d just told an alpha—his hyung—to shut up about an omega he didn’t even know was there. Jinyoung was shooting him a warning glance, flinty-eyed and tight-lipped. His hand found Jaebum’s knee and squeezed it, hard.

Jihoo’s teeth flashed. “I asked you a question.”

Jaebum forced himself to calm down. He wasn’t going to start a fight like this.

“Nothing,” he said. Corrected himself, slipping into formal language: “I’m sorry, hyung. Forget I said anything.”

After Jihoo had left, Jinyoung turned on him and hissed, “What are you doing?

Jaebum didn't answer, because he didn't know. He felt keyed up, wound tight. Suddenly, Jinyoung’s face irritated him in a way he couldn’t explain: he knocked his hand away and stood up, needing to be anywhere else.

“I’m going upstairs,” he said, and spent the rest of the day in a tiny practice room, banging out aborted melodies on the piano.

 


 

The performance was a group stage—something supportive for their 2PM sunbaes, low-stress, just to ease them back into it. Jinyoung danced well, better than he had in a long time. His voice was clear and on-pitch. He was smiling again.

But after the performance, Jaebum found him backstage, out of the way, leaning heavily against a wall. He looked wan and dazed, like he’d hit his head; the line of his shoulders drooped forward, fatigued.

Jaebum approached him warily. “Jinyoung? What’s wrong?”

When Jinyoung didn’t answer him right away, Jaebum stepped forward and caught him by the biceps.

“Yah, Park Jinyoung,” he said. “Look at me.”

Jinyoung did. His expression was defiant, but his eyes were unfocused, black and liquid, and Jaebum knew it, he fucking knew it.

“You idiot,” he hissed. Jinyoung flinched. “Why?

“You know why,” Jinyoung snapped. He was trying to be assertive, but it was coming out thin and light, more like an apology: he couldn’t even meet Jaebum’s eyes. Something mean and primitive inside Jaebum hummed in approval.

“No, I don’t,” he said. He wanted Jinyoung to admit it. “Tell me.”

Jinyoung drew his bottom lip behind his front teeth.

“I’ve been so tired,” he forced out. “All the time.” He was radiating frustration. “I couldn’t keep up with you. We're supposed to be partners, not—disappointments.”

There it was. Jaebum’s temper flared. He had to fight the urge to grab Jinyoung by the nape of his neck and shake him. Not everything had to be a competition.

“And you think this is better?” He lowered his voice. “It’s dangerous. Someone could smell you.”

Jinyoung’s throat worked for a moment. He was still averting his eyes. “I'm wearing Null.”

Jaebum did shake him, then. “You've been sweating.”

Beta scent wasn’t always reliable, not with an omega’s sweat glands. It wore off. And there was never any guarantee every alpha in the area had taken inhibitors, even if they said they did. Suppressants were the only safe way to pass. Jinyoung knew that. He knew better.

“Don't,” Jinyoung said, suddenly exhausted. He put a hand on Jaebum’s shoulder, as if to push him away, but then his expression changed: curious, at first. Then it glazed over.

Jinyoung’s legs buckled underneath him. Jaebum darted forward and caught him, propped him up.

“Stupid,” Jaebum said. “You—stupid.”

Jinyoung grimaced and turned his face into Jaebum’s neck. Breathed in shakily.

“I hate this,” he said. There was a bitter, tired bite to the words. He curled a hand against Jaebum’s nape and trembled against him. In anger or frustration, Jaebum couldn't tell. 

Maybe it was the adrenaline, but he wished, briefly, that he wasn't the hyung, just so he could give in—act rashly, irresponsibly, like a bratty child. He probably still could, and get away with it, too. But there was a part of him, the part that was still keeping Jinyoung upright, that refused.

It was a dangerous way to think, either way. His inhibitors had to be wearing off. “We need to get you back to the dorm.”

Jinyoung didn’t respond. Jaebum gave him another little shake. When he spoke, his voice had gone all muggy.

“Hyung,” he murmured. “You smell good.”

Jaebum’s blood ran impossibly hot. “Jinyoung,” he warned.

Jinyoung’s breath turned ragged against his throat. There was a brief, wet sensation at Jaebum’s pulse point, a quick taste—Jinyoung’s tongue. Jaebum jolted and pushed him away.

“What are you doing?” he hissed.

Jinyoung didn’t answer him. He was looking at Jaebum’s neck, still.

“Go—go put on more Null,” Jaebum said, tightly. When Jinyoung didn’t move, he barked, “Quickly!”

Jinyoung blinked up at him, slow and dark-eyed. There was a sudden, lucid edge to his gaze that made Jaebum feel distinctly uncomfortable, like he was being eaten up from the inside out, or flayed down to his most basic parts. Then it was gone, and Jinyoung was turning away, stumbling toward the omega bathrooms.

Jaebum ran a shaky hand through his fringe and took in a few lungfuls of clean air. His heart was racing. It was just chemicals, he told himself. They didn’t mean anything.

 


 

That was yesterday. Since then, Jinyoung hadn't left his room.

In the morning, Jaebum had made to go to Jinyoung’s room to wake him up, but a manager-noona had caught his wrist and shaken her head. Jinyoung wasn’t feeling well and needed to rest, she’d said, and Jaebum hadn’t argued with her. He knew why. The scent was still there, faint, hidden, but contained—it wasn’t anything Jaebum could help with, anyway, so he’d left without complaint.

But when he walked in from practice at the end of the day, it had gotten so much worse.

It took Jaebum a minute to realize what it was. For a second, he thought maybe Jinyoung had actually decided to try baking something, the odor was so strong, but the kitchen was empty and dark, and so was the rest of the dorm. When it registered what he was actually smelling, Jaebum almost turned around and went right back outside.

It angered him, inexplicably. The recklessness. The only reason this was happening at all was because Jinyoung had skipped his pill. This whole arrangement was predicated on the both of them taking their medication. They’d promised.

Jaebum sat in the common room and stared down the hall, jaw tight.

Jinyoung’s door was still firmly closed.

He couldn’t stand it. He got up again, paced, and then sat back down, tensed up like piano wire. He didn’t realize he was straining to hear something until a car honked outside, and he startled like he’d been shot. But there was nothing else. Under the white noise of muted Seoul traffic, the dorm was dead silent. Jinyoung wasn’t making a sound.

He went to the door and stood in front of it.

Then he realized what he was doing and tore himself away, skin crawling. It didn't matter if his body wanted to be near that smell, to go root out its source: his objective mind knew he shouldn't. He’d handled this kind of thing before, when he'd had his first rut. He could do it again.

It was just—a little harder to ignore with an omega so close, stinking up the place.

He sat on the couch again and stared hard at Jinyoung’s usual spot. The splotch was no longer visible, having been thoroughly scrubbed out, but Jaebum could still remember it. The sight, weirdly obscene. The smell.

Sweat prickled under his arms, the back of his neck, between his legs.

One closed door between them, an inch of wood, suddenly felt as thick and impenetrable as the stone walls of Namhansanseong. Any other night, Jinyoung would be out here, reading a novel or watching some pointless drama, carefully cataloguing and dissecting. Not holed up in his room, ignoring Jaebum.

He should go for a walk, take his mind off things, get some fresh air. Eat something. There was a convenience store nearby. He could bring back something heinously spicy, set all of his senses on fire, or stuff his nostrils with toilet paper. It’d be more pleasant than—this.

Jaebum stared at the floor. He needed a distraction. He turned on the TV.

About ten minutes into the evening news, there was a sound. Low. Desperate.

Jaebum turned off the TV.

Before he knew what he was doing, his feet had carried him back to Jinyoung’s door, and he was laying a clammy palm against the wood, leaning in close. “Jinyoung-ah," he said, gruffly. “Are you okay in there?”

There was a long, frustrating stretch of silence. Jaebum’s fingers curled against the wood. He was about to tear himself away for a second time when Jinyoung replied. The sound barely came through the door. It sounded almost like he’d lost his voice.

“Go away.”

Jaebum frowned and set his jaw. He tried again. “Have you eaten?”

Nothing.

“You need to stay hydrated,” Jaebum pressed. He tried not to sound as annoyed as he felt, or as on edge. “I’ll get you some water.”

But even after he’d said it, he didn’t move. He rocked back on his heels for a moment. Eventually, he forced himself to take a step back, and then another, until he’d returned to the common room, and the smell had lessened a little. He went to the kitchen and took a water bottle out from the fridge. It was exhilaratingly cold. He put it against his own forehead and forcibly regulated his breathing; the condensation slipped down the bridge of his nose, cool against his skin. He walked back to the door.

“I have water,” he said. “Jinyoung.”

Nothing.

“Open the door,” he said.

There was another long pause. He banged on the frame with his fist. “Yah! Did you hear me?”

“It’s open.”

Jaebum blinked. He stared down at the knob.

Did Jinyoung know what—did he assume—and all this time, and Jaebum could have just gone in?

Stupid. He steeled himself and pushed the door open.

He wasn’t ready. The smell shattered over him, nauseatingly rich. It was—unbelievable. He was dizzyingly hard before he even knew what he was seeing, but when he did, it felt like he’d been punched in the gut.

Jinyoung was sprawled on his bed, legs spread, one knee hiked up. His cock lay thick and heavy against his belly. He was covered in streaks of come, both wet and dry; his eyes were glassy, raw-looking, his dark hair plastered to his forehead. The sheets underneath him were soaked through with slick.

He hadn’t even gotten out of his sleep shirt all the way. It was rucked up under his armpits, bunched beneath his chin, spattered and damp.

Jaebum’s breath rattled in his chest. Jinyoung must have been like this for hours. And—with Jaebum right there. Just a room away.

God. He wanted to burn it on his retinas.

Jinyoung was panting shallowly, like a cornered rabbit. He was keeping his arms at his sides, limp, open-palmed. His right hand looked shiny and wet. He’d been fingering himself, Jaebum realized, with a sick little thrill. Probably—right before Jaebum came in. He imagined Jinyoung struggling to reach, shoving his fingers into himself as far as they’d go, and inhaled sharply.

“Jinyoungie,” he breathed. He stepped forward.

He should have taken his inhibitors before coming in here. He should have taken them the second he'd come back to the dorm. Why hadn't he? Fuck. Jinyoung smelled so fucking good.

“Jaebum-hyung,” Jinyoung said, open and jarringly vulnerable.

Jaebum put the water bottle down on the bedside table, next to Jinyoung’s copy of Tender is the Night. The blinds were drawn, flat white slats that hid Jinyoung from the rest of the world. It was a dim room even during the day, lit poorly by Jinyoung’s cheap table lamp, but now it was dark and humid and suffocating. Jaebum felt like an intruder. He was stepping over an intensely private boundary he couldn’t come back from. He’d never see Park Jinyoung the same way again, but he couldn’t make himself turn around and leave, either; Jinyoung was a magnet, pulling him in. Keeping him anchored.

“Do you,” he said, hands clenching at his sides. He fought to think. He came in here for a reason. “Do you need anything else?”

Jinyoung seemed to struggle with the answer, jaw working. Up close, Jaebum could see that he was shivering: fine tremors ran up from his wrists, down his thighs, the come-glossed muscles of his stomach. Underneath the sea of pheromones, Jaebum could smell the heat-sweetened tang of fever sweat. Jinyoung was burning up, cooking from the inside.

“Yes,” whispered Jinyoung, finally.

“What?”

Jinyoung looked at him, dull-eyed and fatigued. He said, “Stay here. Stay with me.”

“I—” Jaebum held his breath between words. The idea excited him. He shouldn’t. “No. You need to. To rest.”

Jinyoung’s head lolled against the sheets. He’d lapsed back into satoori, Jaebum realized. Too affected to bother with his usual dialect. “Rest,” he said, and laughed once.

“Didn’t you—didn’t you get,” Jaebum started. “Heat aids?”

Jinyoung nodded, eyes closed.

“Where are they?”

“Under the bed,” he said.

Jaebum knelt immediately. He found the box, pulled it out, opened it with fumbling, unsure fingers. Inside was a silicone toy, its base flared into an artificial knot. It looked untouched, still in its discreet wrapping.

“Jinyoung-ah, you’re supposed to use this,” Jaebum said. He stood, toy in hand. “It’s supposed to help.”

“It’s not real,” said Jinyoung.

“It’ll help,” repeated Jaebum. He wasn’t sure he believed it. He didn’t know. He was swaying toward Jinyoung, leaning over him, pulled helplessly into his orbit.

“Then help me,” Jinyoung said. He looked so tired. “Help me use it.”

Jaebum sunk to his knees on the bed before him. This close, Jinyoung's scent was so full and thick it clogged his throat; he could almost taste it on his tongue. He pressed his cheek against Jinyoung’s bent knee. Fuck, fuck, fuck. He was gripping Jinyoung’s other thigh, holding him open. It was such a rush, being between his legs, having him prone like this, all to himself.

Jinyoung was giving him his complete trust, the free, open surrender of his body, and Jaebum felt completely drunk on it. His head was swimming.

“Hyung,” said Jinyoung. The heat was coming off of him in waves. “I said. Fuck me with it.”

Jaebum groaned. He nosed along Jinyoung’s thigh, inhaling the thick, cloying scent of him. He couldn't get enough of it. He shouldn’t have come inside this room. Should never have let himself get within ten feet of Jinyoung’s door. He felt like a fraying length of rope, stretched too tight, and someone was taking a knife to him, hacking away at his self-restraint. Blood thudded beneath his palms, in his ears.

“Jinyoung,” he murmured, lips dragging against Jinyoung’s sweat-sticky skin. “I can’t.”

“You can,” said Jinyoung. He was lifting his hips, trying to get Jaebum’s mouth closer to where he wanted it. “It’s just a toy. I can’t—I can’t do it by myself.”

Jaebum swallowed. “Our contract,” he said, trying to remember, even as he listed forward: three years, that was the rule. And between group members—JYP would kill them. He’d kill them, and then he’d kick them out. It wasn't worth it.

This was already bad enough. Going off suppressants, going into a heat.

Because of him, Jaebum realized, with a dull, hot throb. Because an alpha was so close, and Jinyoung needed a knot, and he was the one, he was the reason why—if he hadn’t been around, if they didn’t live together, Jinyoung wouldn’t be like this.

This whole thing had been a mistake. He'd called Jinyoung stupid, but really, it was him. He was such a fucking idiot.

“Tell me to leave,” Jaebum gritted out. “And I’ll go. I promise. Just tell me.”

“No,” Jinyoung said.

“Jinyoung-ah,” Jaebum said. He licked his lips, caught his tongue on Jinyoung’s skin. He tasted so good. As good as he smelled. “Please.

Jinyoung reached down, sunk his sticky fingers into Jaebum’s hair, even though they shook slightly with the effort. “You wouldn’t—get inside me. You'd just be helping.”

How could he sound so reasonable, so soothing, when there was so much on the line? With his voice all torn up like that—when he could barely move, barely get the words out.

Jaebum’s hands flexed. Trembled. The feeling of Jinyoung’s nails scraping against his scalp sent sweet little shocks right to his dick, straining at the front of his shorts. He was dripping, too, dampening the cotton, blindingly hard. His body was responding so violently to Jinyoung that it was pushing every coherent thought out of his head, dumbing him down, like a dog.

He hadn’t known it could be like this. People always said it was intense, warned not to underestimate it. You saw it on dramas all the time: alphas not being able to control themselves, so swept up in a hurricane of lust that they turned into single-minded beasts. But Jaebum had always thought that was hyperbole. He knew now: it wasn’t. It would scare him if he could think long enough to care.

Jinyoung was asking too much. Jaebum could barely control his temper; he didn’t know if he could control this too, when it really mattered.

He squeezed his eyes shut.

He should say no.

“Fine,” he said.

“Thank you,” breathed Jinyoung. “Thank you, thank you.”

He spread his legs even wider. Inviting him in. Jaebum gazed hungrily at his flushed cock, the swollen head, the soft pink weight of his balls. He wanted to bow his head and kiss them, nip at the fragile skin, nose down, taste the shiny slick. Get his tongue inside him, lick at him until he came from just that, messy and helplessly wet against Jaebum’s mouth.

As if he’d read his mind, Jinyoung reached down to pull a cheek aside, to let Jaebum watch his hole flutter and clench on nothing.

“God,” Jaebum croaked. “Jinyoungie.”

“Come on,” Jinyoung said, his voice cut thin. It sounded more like a challenge than a plea. Desperate, commanding. “Do it.”

“Okay,” said Jaebum. “Okay.”

He felt lightheaded, the toy heavy and fake and wrong in his hand. But Jinyoung had asked, so Jaebum touched his skin, held him open. He’d never done this before, but that didn’t seem to matter: Jinyoung took it so easily, lifting his hips to ease the slide. There wasn’t much resistance. His wet fingers, Jaebum remembered dimly, just minutes before, wet with slick, curled inside. Getting himself ready for a knot.

Not Jaebum’s knot, though. The thought raged through him, set his teeth on edge. He watched the toy disappear into Jinyoung and gently caressed the place where his rim was stretched around it. Jinyoung turned his head and whined. Jaebum ached to be in its place.

He couldn’t help himself. “Pretend it's me, Jinyoungie,” he said. “Pretend it's my cock. Can you do that?”

Jinyoung shuddered all over.

“Hyung,” he whispered, hoarse. He tried to fuck back against it, muscles cording with exertion.

“That’s it,” said Jaebum. His mouth had gone cotton-dry. His whole body was humming, strung tight. He shoved his other hand down his shorts and fisted his cock, stroking himself in short, tight pulls. Trying to push into Jinyoung at the same pace, shallowly. He needed to take the edge off, right now: this was too much. He had to be responsible.

Hyung,” Jinyoung groaned again, frustrated.

Jaebum didn’t know what to do. He knew what he wanted, but he couldn’t—fuck, fuck. He let go of his cock and grabbed Jinyoung’s sticky hand, guided it to the front of his shorts, below the waistband. He couldn’t jerk off and help Jinyoung at the same time. He needed Jinyoung to touch him too.

“See,” he said, thrusting against Jinyoung’s palm, encouraging him to tug at his dick, leaking over his curled fingers. “See what you’re doing to me.”

Jinyoung stared up at him. His hand squeezed weakly, slipping. The angle was all wrong.

“I know,” said Jinyoung. He let go of Jaebum and looked at him, eyes clouded over, mouth pink and open, said, “It’s not enough. I need—something real,” and before he knew what he was doing, Jaebum was pulling the toy out of Jinyoung, and throwing it to the floor, and sliding two fingers in instead, nice and easy, right down to the third knuckle.

Jinyoung bucked off the bed and whimpered. A gush of slick dribbled out of him, sluicing over Jaebum’s knuckles.

“Oh, fuck,” Jaebum said. It utterly winded him, seeing it. “Jinyoungie. You’re so wet.”

He slid his other hand up Jinyoung’s thigh, across his sharp hip. His fingers ran low, through damp wiry curls, tugged on them. Jinyoung twitched beneath him; his cock dripped onto his taut stomach, pulsed against the edge of Jaebum’s palm. “Please,” he said, and Jaebum wrapped his fingers around him, stroked him rough and steady, matching the pace of his other hand.

Jinyoung was trembling, fisting the sheets. He hooked a leg over Jaebum’s hip, pulling him in.

“I need more,” he said. “Jaebum-hyung. I need you.”

“Don’t do this,” Jaebum said, but he was fighting a losing battle. Logic had already bled away, instinct taking its place. The temptation was too strong. Right now, he would do anything for Jinyoung. Anything.

“Make it stop,” Jinyoung whispered. He reached, tugged on Jaebum’s dick with his slicked-up hand, urgent. “Please.”

It was too easy, to line himself up, nudge the head of his cock against Jinyoung’s hole, push in on one relentless, indulgent slide—one final line crossed, permanently.

“Fuck,” he grunted. Jinyoung squeezed down on him with a broken, stuttered sigh. He was so feverishly hot inside, it was like sinking into a furnace. This was so much better. So much better than before. The pleasure of it rolled through Jaebum in little shockwaves, coiled up deep in his gut. He snapped his hips forward, unthinkingly, and Jinyoung jerked against him.

“Oh,” he gasped out. Another hot rush of slick coated Jaebum’s cock, dribbled down the insides of Jinyoung’s thighs. “Yes, please, like that, just like that—Jaebum—”

“I’m here,” said Jaebum. He put his face to Jinyoung’s shoulder, the fabric bunched up there. Even after he’d taken the toy, big and blunt, Jinyoung was still so tight inside. “I’m right here.”

He nosed down, kissed across his chest, suckled on a nipple; relished, greedily, the way Jinyoung’s voice cracked on a moan, how his body arched up against him. The come on his stomach smeared messily onto Jaebum’s shirt as he bore Jinyoung down, drove into him hard, shoving him up on the bed with each punishing thrust. Jinyoung writhed on his cock, shaking like a leaf. He locked his ankles at the small of Jaebum’s back and grabbed mindlessly at him, fistfuls of his shirt, his hair, blissed out of his skull, whimpering along to the filthy, wet slaps of Jaebum pistoning into him, the pinched creaks of the mattress. He was biting at his bottom lip, swollen raw-red; he scraped his nails down Jaebum’s chest, across his shoulders. They’d leave marks.

Jinyoung could put grooves in him all he wanted, and Jaebum would take it all, as long as he didn't have to stop. There was no room to think. Jinyoung became Jaebum’s whole world; he didn't care about anything else.

“Yes,” stuttered Jinyoung. He kept pushing up to meet Jaebum on every brutal plunge, delirious, like the only thing he ever wanted for the rest of his life was for Jaebum to keep fucking him. “Y-yes, yes, hyung, yes—”

The headboard rattled. He needed to be closer. Go further. Jaebum shoved himself to the hilt, pushed his knot against Jinyoung’s rim, half-engorged. There was a little give. Just enough. Jinyoung was vibrating underneath him, digging his nails into Jaebum’s ribs, staring unseeingly up at the ceiling. Jaebum pushed harder, unrelenting.

Slowly, his knot slipped the rest of the way inside.

Jinyoung went taut, his whole body locking up. He scrabbled at Jaebum with a rough cry and came, spurting thickly between them. Jaebum drew out and fucked back in again, crashed into him, stayed there. He wanted to feel it all. How Jinyoung shuddered continually underneath his weight, overstimulated and incoherent, convulsing around Jaebum’s dick in tiny spasms. His head had flopped back, veins standing out. He was totally gone. Something bestial welled up in Jaebum’s chest; he tugged aside the collar of Jinyoung’s shirt, baring his shoulder, and bit him.

Jinyoung made a beautifully animal sound, something between a howl and a sob, clutching at Jaebum from the inside. Jaebum sucked at the mark he'd made, raising the skin into a welt. Blood gathered underneath, beaded up and out, and he licked over it, tasting the hurt, soothing it.

He reared back onto his knees, pulled Jinyoung up with him. Limp, like a rag doll. “Come on,” he murmured, kissing up Jinyoung’s neck, the hinge of his jaw. Jinyoung’s eyes flickered, exhausted. But he went, compelled to respond, sinking against Jaebum with an uneven sigh. He was coming back to himself, slowly, ready to chase another orgasm.

Jaebum grabbed his thigh, urging him up. Jinyoung’s arms looped across his shoulders. He bounced on Jaebum’s lap, pulled on his hair, eyes squeezed shut, crinkling gorgeously. His rim kept catching on the swell of Jaebum’s knot, over and over. He was doing it on purpose, Jaebum realized. Riding his knot, tugging at it.

He looked up at Jinyoung, near-reverential; Jinyoung gazed back down at him with the kind of expression that made Jaebum feel small and weak. A gentle hand cupped his face, a thumb against his jaw.

“Jaebum-hyung,” he said, his voice barely anything, scraped raw. Sweat dripped down his neck, shone between his collarbones. He was so fucking gorgeous, it killed Jaebum to look at him. “Kiss me.”

Jaebum surged forward. Jinyoung’s stubble scraped his chin, harsh against his lips, but he was beyond caring, beyond thought. Jinyoung moaned into him, open-mouthed against his tongue, and clamped down hard on Jaebum’s cock, one more time—curled forward with a rasp of a sob, came again, pulsing weakly, messily, onto their thighs.

It was almost too much. Jaebum clutched at his waist, pulled him down. Jinyoung pushed their foreheads together. Kept swiveling his hips, rocking on Jaebum’s dick in tight little circles. The feeling was incredible. He wanted Jinyoung so badly, so much. Just touching wasn’t enough. Being inside him wasn’t enough.

“You feel so good,” he said, lost in it. He was so close. “So good. Jinyoungie. Want to fuck you forever.”

Jinyoung turned his cheek against the bridge of Jaebum’s nose and smiled like he’d won something. “Greedy,” he said, soft and achingly fond. Jaebum fucked up into him, hard, and Jinyoung hitched out a quiet moan.

“That's right.” Jaebum gripped him, bit at his jaw. “I'll take it all. Every part of you is mine.”

Jinyoung threw his head back and chuckled hoarsely. Jaebum kissed his bared throat, scraped his teeth across it, desperate to come. He was riding the edge, insides writhing, nearly there. Then Jinyoung leaned in, cradled his face—whispered against his mouth in low, erratic breaths.

“You're mine too, Jaebum-hyung,” he said. “Mine to fuck. Whenever I want.”

That was it. Jaebum came hard, bowing up, pulse hammering in his throat, his head, his cock.

Ah,” mewled Jinyoung, as Jaebum's knot thickened and swelled inside him, stretching him further, locking them together. Jinyoung’s thighs trembled against Jaebum’s sides as he took it, as Jaebum held him in place and groaned, pulsing deep, pumping him full of come. Jinyoung’s eyes were fogged up with a dazed kind of pleasure—the smug, feline satisfaction of getting exactly what he’d wanted.

Jaebum couldn’t hold them up any longer. He lowered Jinyoung back down onto the filthy sheets, onto his side, and hitched his leg up on his hip. Their faces were so close. Sharing sticky-hot breath, sweet little near-kisses. Tied together.

For a moment, they just panted against each other’s mouths. Lucidity returned in slow, lapping waves. Jinyoung’s eyes had drifted closed. He looked so beautiful like that, peaceful and sloppy, taking in even lungfuls of air. Jaebum smoothed Jinyoung’s hair away from his forehead, and Jinyoung just sighed and rocked him deeper, molding them together, pliant and touch-drunk in Jaebum’s arms.

“You can’t take this back,” he said. Just so Jinyoung understood. Just in case he thought—Jaebum didn’t know. He didn’t know what he was saying. He touched the ugly, bruising mark he’d left with his teeth. He didn’t want Jinyoung to have to hide it.

Jinyoung cracked open dark, lidded eyes to stare right at him. “Neither can you,” he murmured. His hand was right above Jaebum’s still-racing heart, warm and sure.

The doubt must have shown on his face, because Jinyoung caressed his cheeks, kissed his mouth.

“Stop,” Jinyoung said. “Stop thinking. Don’t look like that. It’s okay.”

“No, it’s not okay,” said Jaebum. He bit down on a curl of anger, directed it inward. He’d messed up. This was his fault, he’d broken the rules—he was supposed to look after Jinyoung, not lose control and fuck him senseless. “I shouldn't have. If people find out.”

“But you did, and they won’t,” said Jinyoung. So calm, so certain. “Unless you tell them.”

Aish,” he hissed. He closed his eyes, and when he opened them, Jinyoung pressed forward to kiss him again: long, luxurious kisses, and he lost himself in them for a while, until he came again, squeezed gradually, rhythmically, into another cresting orgasm.

“Jinyoung-ah,” he groaned, as Jinyoung lazily carded his fingers through his sweaty hair, traced the edges of his pierced ears. “You’re bad for me.”

Jinyoung’s eyes curved as he smiled, impish. “You’re welcome.”

When Jaebum’s knot finally went down, a half an hour later, he pulled out of Jinyoung and reached down to feel his come leak out, dribbling down Jinyoung’s sticky inner thighs. Jinyoung had fallen half-asleep, completely drained, but he grunted at the sensation, and didn’t fight it when Jaebum traced his swollen hole with the pad of his thumb, smearing the come back inside.

Feeling bold, Jaebum reached back up and pressed his wet fingers to Jinyoung’s mouth. Jinyoung moved back, brows scrunching together; his eyes flickered open on a frown, as if to ask what Jaebum thought he was doing. But then he saw, and his lashes lowered, accepting: he dropped his mouth open to let Jaebum skim across his bottom lip, and then inside, to rub curiously against his tongue. He caught Jaebum’s fingers gently between his teeth and licked at them, catlike.

Jaebum’s dick twitched. “Fuck, Jinyoungie,” he said.

“That’s the idea,” murmured Jinyoung.

But they were both too spent to try going again, so Jaebum just stared at Jinyoung: dozing, half-naked, his neck and chest and hips dappled purple-pink. Jinyoung smelled like him now, all over. His scent, his sweat, his come.

He couldn’t stay that way. Nobody else could see this.

He skated a hand across Jinyoung’s bare hip, checked the clock on the bedside table. It was nearing midnight. The haze of lust was just a background hum, now, and he was beginning to feel like he’d just run a marathon. His muscles ached. The bed underneath them was soaked.

“Come to my room,” he said. “The sheets are clean.”

Jinyoung’s eyes fluttered. “I can’t move.”

“I’ll help you. Come on.”

Jinyoung could barely walk. Jaebum half-carried him there partway, but when Jinyoung mumbled something about the mess between his legs, they took a detour to the bathroom. Jaebum held him up in the shower and tried not to gnash his teeth as the evidence of what he’d done was washed down the drain.

Jinyoung leaned against him as the warm water ran down their bodies, knowing. He let Jaebum kiss him instead, let him trace his bruise-mottled skin with damp, gentle fingertips, and that almost made up for it.

“I could tell you were there, you know.” Jinyoung’s voice was low under the spray of water, confessional. “I heard you come home. I could smell you, standing outside my door. It was so hard to stay quiet, but I knew you’d leave me alone if you thought I was doing okay.”

He traced a line down Jaebum’s sternum. “But I didn’t want you to leave me alone.”

Jaebum caught his wrist. “You made that noise on purpose.”

Jinyoung nodded.

“You knew what would happen.”

Jinyoung met his gaze. “Yes,” he said. “Well, I hoped. Are you mad?”

The ridge of Jinyoung’s wrist felt suddenly fragile in his grip. He wasn’t surprised. Jinyoung was manipulative, or he could be, when pushed. The audacity of it weighed heavy at the base of his skull, a faint pressure. He should be angry.

But—it wasn’t bothering him the way it should. And it should, it should bother him.

He didn’t know why he ever thought it wouldn’t end up this way. More than anything, it felt like an inevitability. Jinyoung had put his trust in him, only him, and Jaebum hadn't betrayed it. He'd taken care of him. Wasn’t that how it was supposed to work?

“I should be,” he said.

Jinyoung gave him a small, self-deprecating smile. “Maybe you’ll change your mind.”

It was a little too late for that, Jaebum thought, and they both knew it.

He got Jinyoung into one of his sweatshirts, one that would cover him up well, and a pair of loose shorts. Jinyoung curled up on Jaebum’s bed and was out like a light in a second, damp hair spread out like black feathers on his pillow.

Jaebum stood over him. He didn’t know how to feel. In the morning, Jinyoung would go through all of this again, and Jaebum would have to not think about it, somehow. He didn’t know how he was going to make it through the day without thinking about fucking him raw.

He wasn’t going to worry about it tonight, he decided. It’d just keep him up. He went back to Jinyoung’s room, tore the sheets off of his bed, and wadded them into the laundry basket. He’d have to buy Jinyoung one of those rubber mats for next time, to keep the sheets from staining too badly. And maybe an air freshener, after all. He cracked the window a bit to air out the room. It reeked of sex, of alpha and omega, of them.

He wanted so badly to curl up with Jinyoung, hold him in his arms, knowing he had him. If he could, he’d fall asleep with his cock buried inside him, as close and intimate as he could get. But the managers were coming in the morning, early, and he couldn’t risk them seeing. He knew himself. Once he settled, he’d stay.

So he bedded down on the couch instead. It felt wrong. But just a door away, Jinyoung was sleeping in Jaebum’s bed, and that, at least, felt right.