nova⁷ ✍️ ✍️

nova⁷ ✍️ ✍️



#taekook a/b/o au; For as long as Jeongguk can remember, he's had to use suppressants to hide his Omegan traits and scent from the general public. What is he meant to do when he accidentally forgets to take his meds and is thrown into a false heat by his rival's scent?

♧ as requested: a lovely a/b/o au~ ♣︎ I've never actually done an Omega!Koo au before so I decided -- why not try one? There will be some hefty topics, but not too much that will be uncomfortable for most readers. I still ask that reader discretion be advised

♤ dunno what to name this: help me decide!

♠︎ tags >> • rivals to friends to lovers • alpha/beta/omega dynamics • toxic masculinity • mentions of self-harm (unintentional / caused by medication) • disagreements but they're still kind of civil? kinda...? • possible smut (you decide!)

♠︎ tags | continued >> • undermining society • sexist (subgender) remarks • force of dominance (alpha-based discrimination) • anxiety attacks • mating cycles/rituals (heats & ruts) • angst, fluff (possible smut) • mentions of mpreg (no mpreg for any characters)

It's hot. Correction: it's fucking scorching. Jeongguk rolls over in bed with a groan, ripping his blanket off his body. Sweat sticks to his skin and he whines unintentionally at the gross consistency on his skin. "Hyung..." He groans, his throat dry and lips chapped.

"Namjoon hyung!" He tries again -- louder this time when no reply comes. The sound of shuffling coming from the living room has him huffing, reaching a hand up to slick his messy bangs away from his face.

He stares at the ceiling for a moment, squinting in offense at the fan that refuses to move. "Jeongguk-ah?" The bedroom door slowly creeps open and a light flashes blindingly in his face, making Jeongguk growl and cover his eyes with his hand.

"Did we lose power?" The younger male forces himself into a sitting position, feet crossed under his legs. Namjoon quickly redirects the flashlight away from him and down towards the ground, illuminating the room with reflective yellow light. "Yeah; the storm cut it out."

"Great," Jeongguk sniffs, his nose already stuffing up from the dust in the air. He eyes his air purifier with a pout, his eyes heavy-lidded with exhaustion. "What time is it?" "A little after four in the morning," the older male informs him sitting down on the edge of the bed.

"Ughhh," Jeongguk groans loudly, falling back on the bed with annoyance brimming under his skin. "It's too early." "You have that corporate meeting this morning at nine, right?" "Unfortunately," the younger huffs, closing his eyes, feeling the burn behind his eyelids.

Time hasn't really been on his side recently. What with juggling his fashion label, interviews, trading corporations and stocks, Jeongguk hasn't really been getting the rest his body desperately needs. Just tonight, he's only gotten about three hours of sleep.

"Why don't you try to get some more rest before it's time for you to head out?" Namjoon suggests, looking him over cautiously. "I won't be able to sleep in this heat even if I tried," Jeongguk shakes his head with a sigh, sitting up again. "Are utilities working?"

"No, but we have some bottled water and warm cider if you need something to drink," the older offers, twisting the flashlight around in his hands absentmindedly. "I'll get some water," Jeongguk smiles in gratitude, appreciating his roommate more than the male knows.

Namjoon nods in confirmation with his own kind smile before heading out of the room, promising Jeongguk his drink momentarily. Watching him go, the Omega lets his eyes adjust to the darkness for a few moments before running a hand through his greasy hair.

Even though he bathed the night before, his sweat has caused for his body to feel sticky and gross, making him scrunch his nose in distaste at his own scent and the hand he pulls from his hair.

Huffing, Jeongguk pulls himself up and off the bed, stumbling as his hip nicks the end of his nightstand, the darkness still pretty hard to maneuver around in. He hisses at the bruise that will no doubt form, rubbing at the sore spot with a grimace.

Shuffling towards his wardrobe, he feels around for his phone, finding the device face down on the finished wood surface. He upturns the screen and squints at the brightness as it flashes on, quickly putting in his password. A moment later, the room illuminates with light.

The flashlight on his phone is much brighter than his roommate's, making the whole room light up with milky white light. He blinks furiously to get used to the sudden change in brightness, vision blurring at the words and letters on his screen.

He reaches for his glasses and puts them on one-handed, lifting his head to look around the room silently. Even the little bonsai Namjoon gifted him for his birthday looks droopy and sad in the early morning heat. And he's pretty sure he watered it yesterday, the poor thing.

"Summer is horrible," Jeongguk says out loud, only half-expecting Namjoon's sudden appearance in the doorway as if on cue. "It's not that bad," the older male response, handing over two lukewarm water bottles. "Summer is beach season." "Seoul doesn't have beaches." "True..."

"I feel rancid," he grumbles, unscrewing a bottle and guzzling half the liquid in a few gulps. "Do you know when the power will come back?" "Not sure," Namjoon pulls out his own phone from in his boxer's pocket, probably having retrieved it from the kitchen. "Let me look."

Jeongguk tries not to let himself stare at the elder's chest as he flexes unintentionally, his lack of a shirt really doing nothing for Jeongguk's past fancy in the male. His roommate is hot, okay? It's not his fault the guy likes to walk around in nothing but boxers.

When Jeongguk was a young, broke college student, Kim Namjoon came into his life like a pillar of light. He offered a room in his spacious apartment and even helped tutor him during his exams. Despite being graduates and in their mid-twenties, they still reside together.

No matter how successful Jeongguk may be. It would feel weird not to live with the guy after Jeongguk's been with him for so long. Not to mention he's one of the very few people that know his true subgender. He trusts Namjoon. To Jeongguk, the older male is family.

Ever since he presented at the odd age of nineteen, Jeongguk has been forced by his parents and society to dress, act, and appear the very opposite of his true nature. Omegas. In today's society, they are considered the bottom of the food chain.

In an Alpha-Beta world, Omegas are the breeders -- the caretakers. Most Omegas aren't allowed higher education, nor are they allowed to roam freely without proper security around them. Entitled fuck-heads and their arrogant demeanors.

Most older Alphas think they rule this world and have control of all the people below them in rank. Even so, there have been orchestrated marches and protests for Omega rights for years. The younger generation definitely seems to be more open and understanding.

Despite his true nature, Jeongguk has never felt particularly intune with his Omegan instincts. Acting as an Alpha for twenty-six years came pretty easily. The tattoos on his arms, the toned abdomen, the highest position in one of Seoul's main fashion companies...

He never would have been able to do any of those things if people knew what he truly is. Omegas are truly frowned upon in higher society. He never would have went to college if it had not been for his parents and their internal influences.

Drowsiness pulls at his limbs as Jeongguk sets his phone down, moving to instead open the drawer on his dresser and pull out a pair of loose gym shorts and a tank. "Is there anything else I can get you?" Namjoon asks, hovering by his bedroom door, frowning.

"Hyung, I appreciate it, but I'll be okay," the younger reassures him, shuffling around in the drawer to find his small keychain flashlight. He wants to save his phone battery as much as possible. The elder hesitates, his Alpha instincts probably warring with him.

"'Gguk, I know you don't really want to hear this right now," he starts, making Jeongguk look at him with a raised brow. "But your scent..." "What about it?" He grows suddenly alert, self-conscious about his scent. After years of hiding, you can imagine his defensiveness.

"Nothing bad," Namjoon says quickly, sensing Jeongguk's unease. "It's just.. I don't know. You smell unwell." "It's the heat," the younger waves off, turning away from his roommate to click on the flashlight after putting in the batteries. "I'm fine."

"I wouldn't be so sure..." Namjoon snaps his mouth shut at the look Jeongguk sends him. "Right. Sorry, I'm just overthinking it." After a quiet reassurance that he'll be in his room, the older male sees himself out leaving Jeongguk to stare down at his hands with a clenched jaw.

The thing is, Namjoon isn't the only one who has mentioned his scent recently. His mother even noticed the off-putting headiness in his scent a few weeks ago during dinner. Something pungent and unsettling. He remembers her distinctively comparing it to sour apples.

Shaking off the negative thoughts, Jeongguk moves to his desk on the opposite side of his room, opening up his laptop. Luckily, he bought a top-grade computer when his budget allowed for it, the battery power on the device pretty decent.

While he lets it load, he strips his nighttime shorts and T-shirt, settling for the clothes he picked out a few minutes ago. He opts for going commando in the dead of the night, knowing the summer's heat will only grow with the rising sun in a few hours.

Jeongguk settles for revising his presentation for the meeting coming up in about four hours, adding any additional stock changes or details he might have missed. Today's corporate meeting is with the six top brands currently flaming in popularity all over the country.

That means he'll be sitting with quite a few of his rivals and competitors in-arms during the conference. No doubt they'll be talking about the Fall Collections this meeting too. He can't stray behind. Out of all company executives attending the meeting, he's the youngest.

There will definitely be some discrimination against him and controversy over his ideas due to his age and inexperience. He won't let them walk all over him. Finishing up the final touches on the presentation, he sends the final project over to his secretary, exhaling loudly.

A few minutes after sending the attachment, his phone lights up with a new notification. He picks up his phone and snorts at the starky message he gets in response, rolling his eyes at his secretary's attitude.

With a quiet chuckle to himself, Jeongguk indulges in the conversation for a few minutes before putting his phone down again, focusing his attention on his computer screen.

He knows that Jimin is probably just worried for his health, but he can't help but laugh at the way the older male treats him despite Jeongguk being his boss. He too is someone Jeongguk would consider his family, if not a close friend.

Going through the large amount of emails he never got to yesterday, he takes it upon himself to respond to partner companies and stores that offer brand spacing for his company's products. Fashion is a very competitive industry. Above all, he wants exposure.

A modeling agency in one of the emails catches his attention and he grabs his notepad to write down their information, intending to call them later while in the office. Yawning, he stretches his arms over his head after about two hours of work, checking the time.

Jeongguk's laptop flashes back at him about seventy-five percent battery. He puts the device to sleep and closes the screen, running a hand through his hair. Early morning light has started filtering through his curtains about an hour ago and now the sun is starting to rise.

Getting up, he pads into the hallway, hesitating by Namjoon's bedroom door. With a couple of soft knocks, he wait, exhaling quietly. The door opens a moment later and he perks up, met with his roommate's half-dressed figure.

The older male tightens his tie as they make eye contact, grimacing at him. "You didn't get any rest, did you?" Jeongguk shakes his head, tonguing the inside of his left cheek. "Couldn't sleep. Do you have any dry shampoo? I'd really like a shower but..."

"Oh, yeah, sure thing," Namjoon waves him towards the bathroom, stepping into the enclosed space ahead of him. He rustles around in the cabinet, coming out with two different bottles of dry shampoo. "I've got a powder and a spray," he passes them over. "Use whichever you like."

Jeongguk takes them gratefully, "Thanks, hyung." "Anytime." Waving away the older male, he peels off his shirt and sets the bottles down on the vanity. Running his fingers through his greasy hair, he scrunches his nose, grabbing for the spray bottle.

Turns out the spray is actually not a spray at all. Instead, it's a thick lotion, which works since Jeongguk's hair needs to stay moisturized anyway. He pumps a few globs into his hand before reaching up to massage the stuff into his hair. At least it doesn't smell bad.

After thoroughly applying the dry shampoo, he places the bottles back down under the vanity, shaking out his locks. Looking at himself in the mirror, he can see that he desperately needs sleep -- the purple and blue bruises under his eyes looking pretty bad.

Grabbing his cleanser, he quickly washes his face and rubs some lotion into his skin, preparing to apply some cosmetics to get rid of his blemishes and horrible eyebags. He applies some foundation, toner, and highlight, keeping the make-up light.

He adds some light eyeshadow on his upper eyelid and a thin layer of eyeliner under his eyes. When he's finished, he passes a comb through his hair, using water to rinse out some of the excessive bits of the dry shampoo.

Looking at himself in the mirror, he nods in approval, his complexion no longer looking like someone on the edge of collapsing. Padding out of the bathroom, he makes his way into his ensuite closet, sifting through his assortment of clothes.

Most days, he wears a blouse and some tight slacks since they're comfortable to wear around the office. Today, however, with a corporate meeting in an hour and a half, he settles for a black suit, pulling a white button-down off a hanger to put under the blazer.

Dressing himself, he folds his lapel and the cups of his sleeves on his blazer, flattening down the fabric in practiced ease. Taking a look in the floor-length mirror hanging on his closet door, he can definitely see the characteristics of a well-off Chief Executive.

"Alpha, who?" Jeongguk mutters to himself while looking at his reflection, biting down on his bottom lip. "I don't need to be an Alpha to run a company," he turns away from the mirror, sliding on his house slippers with a clenched jaw.

Just then, his phone ringtone starts to blare, calling his attention towards his wardrobe. Grabbing for it, he takes one look at the caller ID and answers it. "Yeah?" /"Good morning to you too."/ Rolling his eyes, he moves towards the living room, intent on leaving early.

"What's up, Jimin hyung?" /"Just making sure my boss gets up on time today."/ "I'm always on time," Jeongguk retorts without an heat, bending down by the front door to grab for his dress shoes. /"Debatable. Did you get any rest?"/ "Of course not."

He ties the laces, balancing his phone between his ear and shoulder. "If I wasn't scorching to death all morning, maybe I would have." /"You haven't gotten power back yet?"/ "Unlike you, I don't like in Gangnam-do -- or Incheon. So... no. Not yet." /"Devastating."/

Ignoring his secretary's sarcastic remarks, he stands up, retrieving his wallet and keys off the accent table by the door. "I'm heading out, hyung!" He calls to his roommate somewhere within the apartment. Namjoon shoots back his well wishes before Jeongguk leaves.

/"I still can't believe you live with your hyung. Aren't you like, rich or something?"/ "You say that and yet you thirst over him like a female in heat," Jeongguk deadpans, earning an affronted and offended gasp from the other line.

He makes his way down into the lobby, taking the newly renovated elevator. Giving a semi-formal bow to the receptionist at the front, he leaves the building, ignoring the stares and gawks he gets from some passerby in the commons area.

Being the CEO of a big-brand company can be tiring. /"I do not-- *thirst* after him!!"/ Jimin finally replies after a series of stuttered curses and babbling. /"I call this slander!"/ "As certified best friend a wingman, I have the rights," the younger snorts, smug.

/"Revoking the best friend card."/ Jeongguk laughs as he ducks into his sleek black car, closing the door behind him. He clicks his key into the engine and starts the vehicle, humming quietly as the motor revs. "I have to drive now, Jimin hyung. I'll see you at the office."

/"Yeah, whatever, brat,"/ the older male on the other line grumbles. He doesn't even wait before hanging up, leaving Jeongguk to shake his head down at his phone, a small smile on his lips. Typical Park Jimin.

Connecting his phone to his car, he puts on his playlist before backing out of the parking lot. The drive has him in a good mood, if still not a bit drowsy from his restless night. His playlist, full of pop and indie hits from Western radio stations blast through his speakers.

One of his favorite songs starts to play and he indulges in rolling down the windows in the car and singing along freely to the lyrics. Even though this escapade leaves him with messy hair and windburnt cheeks, he finds the silly act freeing.

By the time he arrives at the company building, he's grinning like a fool and his tiredness is no longer weighing down on his limbs. Jeongguk feels a little more awake and aware, ready to start the day with a little bit of chaos and tiny bit of mischief.

Pulling up to the front of the building, he spots Jimin and the valet waiting patiently at the front. Both of them move to greet him when he slows to a stop and gets out of the car, nodding his head to the valet concierge in greeting. "Mr. Jeon," the concierge bows low.

"Thank you for your hard work, Han," Jeongguk compliments, urging him to straighten. The valet offers him a profession smile, stepping around the executive to wait patiently by the driver's door. Smiling at him, Jeongguk steps away from the car, moving towards his secretary.

"What's on the schedule today?" He says once he's in earshot, all business. Now that he's on company grounds, professionalism is a must. "After the corporate meeting, you have a lunch with the chairman," Jimin starts, his black blouse shimmering in the sunlight while they walk.

"There are some documents you need to go through, as well. They're already sorted on your desk. The Lee and Seong Distributing Company is also here to see you about the department exposure you requested in high-end stores." "And the press?"

"Already called for after the meeting. They're expecting an official statement on the upcoming Fall Collection." "Good," Jeongguk strides into the building with an air of authority around him, earning bows and respect wherever he looks. "Cancel the lunch with the chairman."

"Jeongguk-ssi..." Jimin hesitates, his brows furrowing. "This would be the fifth one in a row." "He should know by now that I want nothing to do with him," the younger male says lowly, his voice laced with venom. "He can fuck off for all I care."

"He's your biggest sponsor," his secretary argues gently, wincing at the glare Jeongguk sends his way. "I have enough influence in the industry right now. I don't need his help," he clenches his jaw and looks away from Jimin. "Maybe he should worry more about being a father."

"Everyone has their faults, Jeongguk-ssi," Jimin insists in a hissed whisper, keeping his voice down for the younger's sake. "You can't wrong him for being human." "No human would beat his son or wife for years just because of what his son turned out to be," Jeongguk growls.

"But--" "Jimin," Jeongguk glares at the older male, his nostrils flaring as they step inside the elevator. "Enough. Please." His secretary closes his mouth and purses his lips, not speaking on the matter an longer.

Jeongguk knows he means well but he can never imagine getting along with that scumbag, even if he tried his hardest. Taking some deep breaths, he cools down from the white-hot anger that burned through his body just a few moments ago. In doing so, he checks on his condition.

That's when he notices it. Flushed cheeks. Heightened senses. Something about his body feels off, but he can't seem to place it. He feels hyperaware of everything, his senses on high alert and his skin sensitive. Even the suit he's wearing feels too rough against his skin.

Once the doors close, he reaches up with one hand and undos two buttons on his undershirt, loosening his clothes. Jimin watches him for a moment but says nothing, still looking tense about how their conversation ended. Inhaling slowly, Jeongguk bites his bottom lip.

"Jimin-ssi," he starts, watching as the secretary punches their floor number into the operating system. "I'm sorry... that was harsh." "It's fine, Jeongguk-ssi," the beta waves off, clutching his tablet to his chest. "I was out of line."

Sighing, the younger male runs a hand through his windswept hair, trying to word his thoughts. "Family and your pack are your ideals and I get that, I respect that," Jeongguk starts, wanting his secretary to understand. "But I've never felt welcome in my family."

"I still don't understand it though," Jimin huffs, watching the reflection of himself in the polished metal. "How can a father be so distasteful towards his son? Shouldn't he be proud that you're in charge of your own company? That you're successful?"

Jeongguk opens and closes his mouth a few times, cursing himself internally. There are only a few people he trusts enough to know his true subgender. Even though he trusts Jimin like his own pack mate or family member, he hasn't told him the truth yet.

"It's complicated," he settles on, taking a step to the side when the elevator dings, indicating someone requesting a ride. "My father doesn't see it that way." Or any way, for that matter. The doors open a moment later and in comes two people Jeongguk has been dreading to see.

"Jeongguk-ssi," the first newcomer exclaims softly, surprise evident in his voice. "We weren't expecting to see you until the meeting." His husked baritone is soft and elegant, the boxy smile on his lips reminding Jeongguk of years of mischief and rivalry.

"A surprise indeed," Jeongguk raises his chin, straightening his posture. "How have you been, Kim-ssi?" A bead of sweat drips from his brow and trails his skin down to his chin, his clothing feeling tight despite being well-fitted. When did it get so hot in here?

"I've been well," Kim Taehyung replies smoothly, his bubbly and outgoing personality making Jeongguk internally bristle. "Thank you for asking." Attending a college well-versed in the arts and design, Jeongguk wasn't surprised to meet social butterfly Kim Taehyung.

Ever since they met that first time in Jeongguk's Freshman year, in his Gender Performance class, he knew the Alpha would be trouble. Kim Taehyung got along with everyone, his outgoing persona and eccentric ways always had people tripping over their feet to please him.

In turn, the trendsetter became a people pleaser. Jeongguk has nothing against him, in all honesty. He simply has a little bit of a competitive attitude and always wants to challenge those around him.

In a way, Jeonnguk's the kind of person to pick fights that don't need to be picked. Not intentionally, no. He's just someone who likes to offer a challenge to an opponent when given the opportunity. Some would even say he's made a lot of enemies because of his competitiveness.

Jeongguk offers the older male a small smile, his tongue feeling heavy in his mouth. Taking a deep breath, he almost chokes on the scent that reaches his nose, making him turn away and exhale shakily through parted lips.

Being in this industry means he's working with Alphas often. Hell, he's grown up alongside most of them and have taken classes with them. He's never been effected by anyone's scent before. So why now? Jeongguk wracks his brain for a reason, trying to breathe in short pants.

The less he smells, the better. Alpha musk fills the elevator, but the scent is soothing, enticing even. Clean linen mixed with sandalwood, lavender and sage. He glances towards the two Alphas that have joined them, both of them whispering quietly together.

He doesn't know which one is letting off the scent -- and he definitely doesn't know why it's effecting him now. He's been in closed tight spaces with both of them before but has never had any reaction to their scents. Now that he thinks about it he's never scented them, at all.

So, what makes this time different? The elevator dings loudly, making Jeongguk jolt suddenly in his spot. Jimin sends him a look with furrowed brows, concern written on his face. Shaking his head at his secretary, Jeongguk motions towards the doors, the Alphas leaving first.

Once they're out in the corridor, Jimin reaches forward and grabs his arm, stopping the CEO in his tracks. "Jeongguk-ssi, a word?" "Hm?" He almost stumbles when Jimin pulls him away towards the lounge a few doors down the hall.

When they step inside, a few employees look up with wide eyes at the sight of them, probably gossiping during work hours. Jimin shoos them away and orders Jeongguk to sit, moving towards the coffee machine on the counter next to the fridge. "Did you need something?"

"Jeongguk-ah," Jimin drops honorific when they're alone. He quickly bustles around to get some coffee brewing, bringing a glass of cold water to the table and sliding it towards the younger. "Are you okay?" "What?" Jeongguk accepts the water, down it in a few gulps.

The cold liquid burns going down, making him wince and smack his lips together. "In the elevator," his secretary sits down across from him, very serious. "You were panting. Your face looks flushed and I don't know if you even noticed it but you whined."

"I... whined?" Horror slowly decorates Jeongguk's expression at this new information. Jimin nods slowly, lips thin. "I don't think Kim Taehyung-ssi or Kim Seokjin-ssi heard it. But you did. So I can't help but ask, Jeongguk-ah... are you going into rut?" Rut. Fuck, right.

He thinks Jeongguk is an Alpha. That's the least of his worries right now. "No, no, I'm not going into rut," he reassures quickly, clearing his throat. Jeongguk feels his ears flush at the question, licking his lips. "I'm just feeling a little bit feverish today, is all."

"But that doesn't explain your change in scent..." Jeongguk freezes at those words, his eyes snapping to Jimin's troubled expression. His scent? "Jimin-ssi," he says slowly, making his secretary look at him. "You're a Beta... you can smell me?"

The elder swallows, nodding his head. "Usually, I can pick up dull scents from people. It's not anything strong, like Alphas or Omegas can smell, but it's something. Yours is usually extremely dull, I have a hard time sniffing you out. But today.." He trails off pursing his lips.

Jeongguk nods to urge him to continue, feeling something akin to panic settle heavily in his gut. "I don't know, I can scent you. Like, it's strong. I can't normally pick up strong scents unless someone is in heat or rut, because then they're releasing pheromones."

There's no way. In heat? He hasn't had a heat once since he's presented. His suppressants are to thank for that. Wait. Suppressants. Jeongguk quickly reflects on the events that happened this morning, starting from the moment he woke up to now.

His blood runs cold when he realizes that: fuck, he never took his suppressants this morning. The heat from the blackout messed up his morning schedule and it didn't even cross his mind. That explains the abnormal sensations he must be feeling and experiencing.

Heightened senses, heavy limbs, feverish skin... perhaps he's going through withdrawals. The thought makes him wince. It is fact that he has been taking the same medication for almost eight years now. His body has no doubt become used to it, relying on the suppressants.

But would withdrawals affect his scent? It's possible. Reaching up to run a hand through his hair, Jeongguk sighs. "I'm sure I'm fine. I do need to make a phone call, though, after the meeting. How long do we have until it starts?" "About twenty minutes."

"We should get ready to start," Jeongguk pushes his chair back and stands, unexpected the sudden bout of dizziness that distorts his vision temporarily. Not wanting to worry his secretary, he turns his head away and blinks furiously, trying to rid the spots in his vision.

Luckily, that's not something that happens rarely. When he's often looking at a screen for too long or gets up too quickly, this same dizziness comes over him. So it's not out of the ordinary. Jimin's phone starts to ring after a few moments and Jeongguk waves him away.

Sending him an apologetic look, the older male bows his head in thanks to the CEO. "I'll meet you in the conference hall!" He says before quickly dashing out of the lounge, his phone held up to his ear. Jeongguk watches him go sympathetically wondering if everything is alright.

Once alone, Jeongguk tries to reign in his composure, feeling his heart palpatate irregularly in response to his imbalanced hormones. He closes his eyes and inhales deeply, trying to relax his body and mind. Everything is going to be fine. He's never slipped up before.

Just as he starts counting backwards from ten, clean linen and sandalwood fills his sense and he snaps his eyes open, panic welling in his chest. "Oh!" Taehyung flashes his usual boxy smile, once again looking surprised. "We keep running into each other, it seems."

Jeongguk finds he's holding his breath, the Alpha's scent overpowering. He shakily exhales, feeling abnormal heat flush over his whole body, goosebumps rising on his arms. "Kim-ssi," he tries through gritted teeth, clearing his throat when his voice wavers. "Hello again."

"Hiding?" The Alpha asks kindly, giving an airy chuckle when Jeongguk simply replies with a tight smile and a small incline of his head. "It's really starting to get busy out there," he waves towards the hallway. "It's nice to find a quiet place." "Right..." Jeongguk swallows.

Taehyung bustles past him with a hum, pouring himself some coffee from the brew Jimin made a little while ago. "Are you nervous?" "Nervous?" He parrots back in confusion, feeling himself flush at the way his mind blanks. Damnit.

Laughing softly, Taehyung opens the fridge, in search of some cream. "For your presentation? Seasonal Collections are always nervewracking." "I, uhmm, not really?" Jeongguk shifts on his feet, trying to subtly breathe through his mouth to keep Taehyung's scent out of his nose.

It's not working at all. "You don't think so?" Taehyung looks at him curiously before pouring much too much creamer into his coffee. It's more cream than coffee, at this point. "I always find Seasonal Collections hard to come by." "Why's that?" He's genuinely curious.

Taehyung shrugs, using a stir-stick to gently stir his coffee blend. "Coming up with new ideas that are original and unique isn't exactly my specialty. I'm more of the eccentric type: coming up with themes and splashes of color. I never know the standards for fashion."

"But," Jeongguk looks at him like he's grown three heads. "You're a trendsetter. One of the biggest fashion companies in South Korea..." "Is it so hard to believe?" The Alpha sits down in the seat Jimin previously occupied, offering Jeongguk to sit. Yes, actually. It is.

Jeongguk eyes the seat offered to him, not knowing if it would be a good idea to sit down in close proximity to the other male. Being in a closed space like this already has his body feeling overheated, sweat trickling from his temples and pooling on his lower back.

Taehyung takes a sip of his coffee, observing the younger male closely. The intense gaze on him has Jeongguk swallowing thickly, his ears heating up. He probably looks a mess. "I'm what you would consider an old soul," the Alpha admits, putting his mug down on the table.

"I have a very sophisticated fashion sense. Loose blouses, baggy slacks. Button downs and trousers," Taehyung motions towards the outfit he's currently wearing. Tan blazer and jacket, loosely fitted without buttons or appeal.

The lapels fan out by his collarbones, accentuating the white shirt he wears underneath. Like all the outfits Taehyung wears, this one suits him and heightens his features, making him look strikingly handsome. "I wear these kinds of things on a daily basis," he chuckles.

"They suit you," Jeongguk says before his mind can filter his words. "You might have a very sophisticated sense for your own fashion sense, but every outfit you always pick with care." The younger looks down at his hands, splaying his palms with a frown.

"My company is more for modern fashion. Crops tops, cargo pants, high-waisted jeans and trousers... you have a lot more of an appeal with your ideas and concepts." Taehyung watches him for a moment, lips pursed like he might counter his claim. Instead he frowns, brows furrowing.

"Are you alright?" "Huh?" Jeongguk looks up when Taehyung stands, taking a step towards him. In reflex, he takes one step back. "What? No, I'm fine." "You don't look too good, Jeongguk-ssi," the Alpha disagrees, his dark eyes reflecting concern.

"I've been feeling a little feverish since this morning so things are a little overwhelming," Jeongguk waves off, taking another step back when that scent wafts towards him, his breath stuttering. "Overwhelming?" Taehyung narrows his eyes. "Like what?"

Swallowing, Jeongguk shrugs. "Uhmm, your scent, for one." "My scent?" The older male looks stunned. "You've never shown any reaction to my scent before." "Should I have?" Now Jeongguk is the one who's confused. "I have difficulty reigning in my pheromones," Taehyung explains.

"I'm almost always exuding some, even when I try not to. It's something I've struggled with since birth." He takes another step forward. "Most Alphas and Omegas have a hard time being around me. But you never seemed to have any issues. Why now?" "Because I'm sick?"

"You don't smell sickly, Jeongguk-ssi," Taehyung shakes his head, cornering him by the door to the lounge. "Then what do I smell like to you?" He grits his teeth, feeling something painful coil in his abdomen. Taehyung watches him like a predator watching its prey.

When he leans forward, Jeongguk closes his eyes tight, holding his breath. He feels lips on his ear when Taehyung whispers his next words, sending chills cascading down his spine. "You smell like an Omega in heat."

He chokes back the whine that wants to surface, feeling his eyes sting. Suddenly, Taehyung's scent is not as overwhelming and he can breathe, the Alpha taking a few steps back. When he opens his eyes, he sees the older male back by the table again, looking affronted.

Jeongguk's knees buckle and he slides down to the floor, panting as a wave of heat piles in his body and stabs painfully at his abdomen. He whimpers, burying his head against his knees. "Hey, woah," Taehyung crouches down next to him, panic now evident in his scent. "No joke?"

"I-- I don't know!" Jeongguk chokes out, tears welling in his eyes and, and- He feels horrible. Humiliated. Of all the people to find out about his secret, it just had to he one of the people he works with. Or against, more like. "It hurts," he whispers, his abdomen spasming.

"Why did you come to work today if you were in pre-heat?" Taehyung rushes out, the sound of rustling making Jeongguk tense. "Fuck, how could I not tell you are an Omega until now?" "I take suppressants," Jeongguk shakes his head, uncontrollable tears falling against his slacks.

"Suppressants," the Alpha says coldly, something warm draping over Jeongguk's shoulders. "For how long?" Sandalwood, sage, and clean linen surround him and Jeongguk instinctively reached up and pulls the suit jacket closer to his nose, a cold sweat breaking out all over.

"Years," the younger lifts his head, tear-stained cheeks reflecting in the light of the room as he looks at Taehyung. "Since I presented." "Oh my god, Jeongguk-ssi," the Alpha looks at him in horror. "Those could fuck up your biology! Is this your first heat?"

He nods to confirm, earning a slew of curses falling from Taehyung's mouth in response. "We have to get you out of here," Taehyung moves to help lift him by his shoulder, wrapping Jeongguk's right arm over his own shoulder. "But the meeting--" "Fuck the meeting," he growls.

Shrinking away from the sound of the angered male, Jeongguk whines. Immediately, he feels embarrassed, not having any control over his body or his vocalizations at the moment. Taehyung apologizes, his jaw clenched. "I'm going to release my pheromones intentionally," he warns.

"Why?" Jeongguk manages, feeling a rolling pain start up in his abdomen, his knees almost buckling from the force of the spasms as he gasps. "To hide your scent and to get us through the halls faster," the Alpha explains, his nostrils flaring. "No offense but you reak."

"How are you not effected?" Jeongguk asks, his voice small. "Don't Alphas get bothered or-- or aroused by Omegas in heat?" Taehyung looks at him, his gaze softening. "The last thing I want to do right now is have sex with you, Jeongguk-ssi. You're obviously in a lot of pain."

"Where would we go?" The Alpha doesn't hesitate. "I can take you home, if you'd like." For some reason, Jeongguk doesn't like that idea. He shakes his head. "I live in downtown Seoul... it's too far of a drive." Taehyung pauses, biting his bottom lip.

"My apartment isn't far from here. But if there is somewhere else you'd be more comfortable, then we can go wherever you'd like." Jeongguk feels himself blush as he nods. "Yours?" He doesn't know a thing about Kim Taehyung but he doesn't really want to be seen by anyone else.

"Are you sure?" "Please," the younger swallows, biting down a whimper when another wave of pain presses down hard on his abdomen. "Anywhere but here." Here where other people could find out. "Alright," Taehyung nods, understanding. "Bear with me for a little while."

The Alpha's scent suddenly becomes overpoweringly strong, drawing an unwanted whine to Jeongguk's throat. Taehyung soothes him for a moment before opening the door to the lounge, making people whip their heads towards them in panic and confusion.

Narrowing his eyes, the older male makes himself look threatening, ushering Jeongguk into the hall. As much as Jeongguk just wants to curl into himself and hide, he keeps in step with Taehyung, not making eye contact with anyone as they pass. "Jeongguk-ssi?"

Taehyung tenses at the call of the CEO's name but Jeongguk pauses in his steps, coaxing the Alpha to stop as well. They turn to see Jimin walking towards them with concern written all over his face. He holds his blouse sleeve up to his nose, Taehyung's scent strong for him too.

"Is everything okay?" He asks, eyeing the Alpha and his boss cautiously. "Jeongguk-ssi isn't feeling well," Taehyung replies smoothly, his side pressed firmly against Jeongguk's to help steady him. "I'm afraid he won't be able to attend the conference."

"Shall I call for the car? I can drive you home," Jimin turns to Jeongguk at the newfound information, his eyes shining with sympathy. "No, that's alright," the Omega grits out when his abdomen decides to spasm at that moment. "Taehyung-ssi will walk me out."

His secretary hesitates, looking Taehyung up and down in scrutiny. Something unreadable passes through Jimin's eyes before he nods, lips in a thin line. "I'll take over the presentation. Feel better, Jeongguk-ah," he turns to Taehyung. "You have some explaining to do."

"I do not," the Alpha replies coolly. "We'll talk about this later." With that, Taehyung turns with Jeongguk by his side, continuing down the hall without turning back. Confused, Jeongguk looks at the Alpha, brows furrowed. "What was that about?" "Pack things," he dismisses.

"Pack...?" Something clicks in his brain as Taehyung presses the down button on the elevator shaft. "You're pack mates?!" "You didn't know?" The Alpha looks at him in turn, surprise also evident in his gaze. "We've been pack mates since college." "Huh," he mumbles, frowning.

No, he didn't know that. Taehyung huffs, shaking his head. "Jiminie can be extremely stubborn when he wants to be. Don't take it to heart." "I'm not, I'm just surprised. I don't think I've ever sensed your scents mingling." "Suppressants do that."

Jeongguk looks up at him in confusion at the harshness in his tone. "Do what?" "Mess up your senses. Sense of smell, taste, hearing. It's the reason why my scent affected you so strongly today. Because you didn't take them... right?" Taehyung narrows his eyes at him. "Right."

The elevator dings when it finally reaches their floor, the doors opening to -- thankfully -- an empty compartment. Once inside, Taehyung jams the ground level button hard, letting Jeongguk lean against the wall for support for a few moments. "I forgot to take them."

"You shouldn't take them at all," the Alpha fumes, leaning against the wall across from him, his arms crossed over his chest. He looks pissed. Jeongguk shakes his head, reaching up to fiddle with the elder's jacket that is still draped over his shoulders. "I have to."

"You don't have to do shit," Taehyung growls, his gaze darkening. "Those damned pills or syringes - however the hell you take them - fuck up your body. They ruin you from the inside out. Infertility, respiratory problems, iron deficiency-" he cuts himself off, biting his tongue.

"I can't believe you've been taking them since you presented." "I presented late," Jeongguk doesn't look at him, feeling effectively scolded. "Where most people present at sixteen, I was nineteen when my genomes and hormones matured." "That still doesn't make it right."

Anger brews in Jeongguk's system and he glares at the older male, his jaw ticking. "Who are you to decide what is and isn't right for me?" Taehyung returns his heated stare with disdain, licking his lips. "You're killing yourself, Jeongguk-ssi."

"I never would have made it this far if people knew what I really am," the younger snaps, feeling defensive. "My father would have never allowed me to go to college," he bares his teeth. "You don't know what I've been through." "No, I don't," Taehyung agrees, looking away.

"But I know what it's like to lose someone who has suppressed their true nature to the point where they ended up stopping their own heart." Jeongguk freezes up at those words, his eyes widening at the realization of what Taehyung is insinuating.

He opens and closes his mouth a few times, not sure what to say. After a few moments, he looks down, his anger vanishing as fast as it had come. "I'm sorry," he apologizes, biting down on his bottom lip. "That must have been hard on you."

"It was a long time ago," Taehyung dismisses, sighing. His eyes flicker up to the lighting above the door, noticing that they are almost on the ground floor. He approaches Jeongguk, holding out a hand for him. "Truce for now?" The younger nods, taking his hand. "Truce."

Taehyung pulls him close, letting him lean on the Alpha's shoulder for support. He's honestly grateful for the grounding weight against his side, his knees feeling like they'll buckle any minute. The doors open right when the Alpha wraps an arm over his shoulders.

The people in the lobby move out of their way as they walk, heading for the door. When the get right in front of the large glass windows, Jeongguk gasps, stopping dead in his tracks. Taehyung looks down at him, confused. "What's wrong?" "Taehyung-ssi... The press."

His blood runs cold at the sight of hundreds of reporters and journalists waiting outside, either fixing their cameras or getting microphones set up. They're going to see him. They're going to know everything. Panic starts to build up in his chest and he whimpers, eyes wide.

"Hey," Taehyung moves to stand in front of him, placing his hands on the Omega's shoulders with an intense gaze. "It's going to be okay." "They'll-- They'll see me, they'll know everything," his voice trembles. Memories of hatred directed towards him flash behind his eyes.

"They won't know shit," Taehyung says fiercely, searching his eyes, keeping his gaze away from the windows. Without waiting for an answer, the Alpha looks up, making eye contact with the receptionist. "Call for the valet. I need my car brought to the front. Immediately."

The receptionist is immediately reaching for a walkie sitting on her desk, speaking quickly into the speaker. Jeongguk tries to keep his eyes off the windows but they somehow end up there anyway, his breath getting stuck in his chest at the sight. "Hey," Taehyung calls.

Jeongguk feels fingers on his chin and he looks at the Alpha against his will, the male's eyes boring into his own. "Eyes on me, Jeongguk-ssi." "Easier said than done," he replies dryly and without humor. "It's times like these I wished we had an alternate exit out."

"You should definitely think about renovating," Taehyung smiles, teasing him. "I'll think about it," Jeongguk indulges him, taking a deep breath. A few minutes pass and before they know it, the concierge is walking into the building, his cheeks red and hair messy.

"Mr. Kim, your car is waiting for you," he informs them, looking between the CEO and his guest subtly. Taehyung narrows his eyes at the male's gaze, clearing his throat. "Thank you. You are dismissed." The valet does a full ninety-degree bow before hurrying off, flustered.

Nostrils flaring, Taehyung turns to Jeongguk, offering him a tight smile. "Ready?" "No." "Yeah, I thought so," the Alpha laughs softly, the sound relaxing the younger a little bit. He hooks an arm around Jeongguk's waist, surprising him with the hand placement.

But before he can ask why the sudden change, they're pushing the doors open and suddenly being surrounded by camera flashes. Bodyguards step forward to greet them urging them towards the car waiting. Jeongguk instinctively tries to curl away from the people around him, shaking.

"Keep your chin up," is Taehyung's quiet advice right by his ear, his lips touching the crown. Jeongguk shudders at the feeling. Still, he listens, keeping his head up and his eyes forward, refusing to listen to or look at any of the reporters as they call his name.

One overly rambunctious reporter slips past the security, stepping directly in front of Jeongguk with a microphone in his face. He flinches back, almost getting knocked in the jaw by her hand. He steps into Taehyung's space, back flush against the Alpha's chest.

A loud and intimidating growl rumbles in Taehyung's throat as he glares at the journalist, narrowing his eyes. Surprise and fear flicker through her eyes for a moment and she takes a step back, looking at the male in front of her cautiously. Other press around them back off.

"Move," Taehyung growls, staring her down. The woman squeaks, pushing back into the crowd after the male's obvious display of dominance. After the display, the reporters and journalists hover back a little further from them, keeping an appropriate distance.

Jeongguk gets led to a sleek black Hyundai Sedan waiting for them in front of the walkway. A few security detail assist him to the car, Taehyung staying back for a few moments to speak firmly into one of the guards ears.

Just when he's about to step into the car, the guard closest to him leans in close, taking a brave inhale right by his neckline. Jeongguk jolts away from him, baring his teeth in as threatening a way as he can. The male simply watches him with dull interest, his eyes dark.

Disgusted, the CEO growls, reaching out in one swift movement to push the male away, stepping into the car and slamming the door only a second later. At the moment, his fear at being found out is overwhelmed by the want to dig his teeth into something. His gums are aching.

Taehyung is immediately alert when he steps into the driver's seat, picking up on his scent. "What's wrong?" He asks, closing the door and reaching over Jeongguk's seat to pull his seat belt on. "Nothing, just pissed," he lies, running his tongue over his teeth.

The Alpha hums, unconvinced. Still, he doesn't comment. Instead, he changes gears and starts their -- hopefully short -- drive away from the company building. "How are you feeling?" "Hot," Jeongguk grunts, reaching up to pull at his shirt neckline.

"Any pain?" "Unfortunately," the younger male rests his head against the back of his seat, closing his eyes for a little while. Taehyung's scent engulfs him, the clean leather of the car getting drowned out by sandalwood, sage, and clean linen with undertones of lavender.

"Can you explain it to me?" Taehyung asks kindly, trying to coax Jeongguk into opening up. "What it feels like and wear it hurts?" "My stomach," he starts, resting a hand over his abdomen. "It's like spasming-- contracting. The pain is bad... like stabbing sensations."

He then moves his hands down to his thighs, eyes still closed. "My thighs are sore too. Like I've just finished a really extensive workout. My gums are also throbbing. I have like -- this urge to dig my teeth into something." Taehyung says nothing for a few moments, quiet.

When Jeongguk opens his eyes to look at him, he sees the way the Alpha has a clenched jaw, sweat trickling down from his fringe. "Taehyung-ssi?" "Sorry," the older male glances at him before looking back at the road quickly.

"I'm just--" he stutters over his words, licking his lips. "You smell like sin. It's kind of hard to concentrate." Jeongguk feels himself flush all the way down his body, something within him sparking at the knowledge that his scent has an effect on the male. "Oh."

"Don't be embarrassed," Taehyung gives a wolfish grin, all teeth. "It's normal. Omegas release pheromones to attract a mate. I'm honestly wondering if this is a real heat, though." "What do you mean?" Jeongguk looks at him, horrified. "This might be a false heat?"

The Alpha nods his head slowly, keeping all his attention on the road as he speaks, no doubt trying to reign in his control. Jeongguk only hopes he's a good distraction. "When met with a scent that is a well-match for a mate, some Omegas can fall into phantom heats."

Jeongguk covers his face with his hands, groaning quietly. Of course there would be a reaction like that. His body is basically calling to Taehyung, using his scent as a grounding agent for a mate. How humiliating. "I'm sorry about this," he mumbles, lowering his hands.

The Alpha shakes his head, his lips pursed. "Don't apologize. I'm actually glad this happened with me and not some other more entitled asshole." Jeongguk can definitely agree with that. Unlike that guard from the crowd, Taehyung is much more respectful.

Just the thought of that fucker has Jeongguk's blood boiling. "I want him fired," he growls, saying the words out loud. Taehyung looks at him curiously. "Who might that be?" "The asshole who took a whiff of my scent before I got into the car," he balls his fists on his thighs.

The Alpha's jaw ticks at this new information, his eyes darkening. "Oh? You should have called me over. I would have put him in his place." "He's definitely out once I get my hands on his information file," Jeongguk dismisses his concern, tonguing the inside of his cheek.

A sudden spasm has Jeongguk gasping, his body jolting at the pain and heat that roll through his torso. He grits his teeth, feeling something akin to arousal settle in his lower abdomen. Without meaning to he lets out a quiet whine, Taehyung's responding rumble making him blush.

"I hate this," he complains, clamping his thighs closed when he feels his groin grow tight in his slacks. "Is it always like this?" "It differs from person to person," Taehyung grits out, sounding like he's straining. His hold on the steering wheel is tight.

"Being that you've used suppressants for years without letting your body naturally adjust to biological changes probably explains why it's hitting you all at once." "Is that so...?" "My hyung says a heat is usually worse than phantom heats," he includes unhelpfully.

"That's reassuring," Jeongguk deadpans, not liking the sound of that at all. "Luckily, I won't have to worry about that when this is all said and done." Taehyung looks over at him at the implication. "You're seriously not going to keep taking those damned suppressants are you?"

"I don't have much of a choice," Jeongguk shrugs, stifling an embarrassing sound when another wave rolls through him. When he speaks next, his voice is shaky. "My company is on the line. I can't just-- change everything because of a slip-up."

"You're unbelievable," Taehyung scoffs, sounding perturbed. "You'd rather risk your health over a company that could probably run itself. Unbelievable." Jeongguk feels the sting deep in his chest and he turns his head to look out the window, not replying.

He feels himself grow hazy, his throat dry and his tongue heavy. Jeongguk squirms in his seat, everything feeling overly sensitive. He just wants to take his clothes off or something. Out of nowhere, Taehyung lets out a throaty growl, making the Omega jolt in his spot.

"Stop squirming," he shoots him a glare. "You're making it worse." "Sorry," Jeongguk apologizes, shrinking. "I'm uncomfortable." "I know. But just bear with it a little longer, we're almost there." He takes the older male's word for it, crossing his arms over his chest.

After a few minutes he speaks up, voice quiet and vulnerable. "I don't know what I'm supposed to do." Taehyung looks over at him, "About what?" Jeongguk fiddles with his fingers, biting down hard on his bottom lip. "About anything. What else could I do to protect myself?"

"Well," Taehyung hums, taking the question to heart. "For one, you could stop taking suppressants. Health check-ups would be good to make sure they didn't cause any damage internally." "But my scent," Jeongguk balls his hands into fists. "Everyone will know."

"Scent blockers are a thing, you know," the Alpha tells him gently. "They're not exactly comfortable, but they'll help to hide your scent. Your instincts are another beast you'll have to learn to tame." Jeongguk licks over the skin of his lip where it's chapped and bleeding.

"I wouldn't know how to do that," he admits, feeling small. "I'd probably end up relapsing." Taehyung looks like he wants to say something but instead he simply hums in acknowledgement, understanding. "My hyung is an Omega. I can ask him for some tips, if you'd like."

"I... I'd like that," Jeongguk blushes, nodding. Just then, a particularly harsh pain stabs into his abdomen and he gasps on a whimper, reaching up to grip the seatbelt tightly. Taehyung looks at him worriedly, his brows pulling together. "You okay?"

"How much longer?" Jeongguk finds himself gritting out around a growl. "Two minutes." "I need--" he whines, embarrassed. "It hurts." "What do you need?" Taehyung urges. "I'll help you best I can." "It's not something you can help with." "Try me."

The Omega looks to where Taehyung grips around the steering wheel, the veins in his hands visible under his skin. He swallows, wanting to reach out and touch. Taehyung notices him looking and moves his right hand off the wheel, offering it to him.

"I can't," Jeongguk shakes his head, pointedly looking away. "I don't want to hurt you." Or do something he won't be able to control. Or possibly regret. "You won't hurt me, Jeongguk-ssi," the elder huffs, putting his hand back on the wheel. "We'll discuss boundaries inside."

That's when Jeongguk looks ahead and realizes they're approaching a large gated community for apartment complexes. As they approach the gates, the camera by the front flags Taehyung's license plate and the large metal doors are slowly swinging open.

Circling around the large pond in front with a very flashy fountain in the center, Taehyung takes them to the very center of the complex. Jeongguk observes the buildings with interest, liking the architecture and ambiance. "This is a nice place," he comments, quiet.

"It better be," the Alpha grumbles, pulling into one of the larger buildings by the commons. "Cost me a fortune for my flat." Jeongguk fumbles with his seatbelt as Taehyung uses a button overhead to open up a solo garage, pulling into the spacious area.

Once the car engine is off and they're parked, Taehyung and Jeongguk both exit the car, the elder coming around to offer the Omega support if he needs it. "I have the bottom floor," Taehyung informs him, reaching over by the door to close the garage. "The upper floor is vacant."

"This is more like a house than an apartment," Jeongguk comments, following closely behind Taehyung as he unlocks the door into his flat, punching in a series of numbers into his alarm system as it beeps. "I think the technical term for it is a 'condo'," he agrees.

Once inside, Taehyung turns to him, gently taking off his own suit jacket before reaching for the buttons on Jeongguk's blazer. He blushes as he's undressed, stuttering. "I can do that myself," he huffs, bratty. "I know," the Alpha makes eye contact with him, gaze intense.

Folding the two jackets over his arm, Taehyung motions for Jeongguk to follow. Loosening his shirt from his slacks, feeling like he can breathe just a little better, he goes with the elder around the condo, listening in quietly to the tour.

Once finished, Taehyung directs him to the restroom. "Go freshen up," he starts unbuttoning his own shirt with his free hand, offering Jeongguk a stiff smile. "I'll get some stuff you might need to settle into the heat." "How long do you think it should last?" "The heat?"

He nods in confirmation. Taehyung hums thoughtfully. "With it being a phantom heat, it should only last maybe a day. Two at most." Jeongguk purses his lips, understanding what the male is insinuating. "Do I have to stay here while it runs it's course?" "Do you want to?"

That is a question he hasn't allowed himself to mull over. Instead of immediately shutting the option down, Jeongguk replies. "I'll think about it." Taehyung offers him a small smile before ushering him towards the bathroom.

"Go, get clean. I'll leave you some clothes just inside the door, so keep it unlocked. You can use my bath robe, if you'd like. It's clean." "Thank you for this," Jeongguk says with genuine gratitude. "I thought this would be a horrible experience but you've made me feel safe."

The Alpha freezes, looking at him with wide eyes. "I make you feel safe...?" He looks flustered, reaching up to rub at the back of his neck, cheeks red. "It's, ah. It's nothing. I wanted to help." Jeongguk stifles a giggle at the male's bashful demeanor, smiling.

"We'll, I'll, uhmm, leave you to it," he waves his hand one last time towards the restroom door before striding away. Jeongguk can't help but grin like an idiot when he sees how red Taehyung's ears are. Stepping into the bathroom, he drops the facade he's been holding.

Leaning his back against the closed door, he closes his eyes, trying to take deep breaths through the pain and arousal that course through his body. If an Omega's heat is going to be like this every time, he would rather die.

The pain in his stomach reminds him of a woman's menstrual cycle. Is this what they feel every month? What Omegas have to endure every three months themselves? It's horrible. An involuntary whimper has him pursing his lips together, feeling tears well under his eyelids. Fuck.

Fumbling with the buttons on his shirt, he peels the white linen off his skin, sweat dripping down his chest and lower back. He unbuckles his belt and quickly undoes the buttons and zipper to his slacks, kicking them off once they're loose enough.

He lets the whine he's been holding come out, the sound quiet in retrospect but loud against the tiled walls. Jeongguk bites his bottom lip, embarrassed about the obvious bulge in his underwear. He refuses to look in the mirror, not wanting to see himself so disheveled.

What's even more humiliating is the wetness he can feel between his asscheeks. It's not gushing or excessive, but it's there and it's not a feeling he ever wanted to experience. Hooking his fingers in the waistband of his briefs, he pulls them down and off, scrunching his nose.

Turning on the water in the shower, he settles for a cold shower, hoping the cool water will help to soothe the heat resting on and under his skin. He washes up fairly quickly, rubbing some cacao butter shampoo into his hair and lathing his body with Taehyung's sandalwood soap.

When he surfaces from the cold spray, he's much more aware, his body and mind settling after the heatwave from earlier. The pain in his lower abdomen has subsided for now, leaving him with a bearable dull ache.

He finds a fluffy towel under the vanity, drying off his body and running the fabric through his messy hair. He eyes the robe on the back of the door, tempted to use the soft cotton. Taehyung did offer for him to use it if he so wished.

Biting down on his bottom lip -- which has been bitten raw and is now sore from abuse -- Jeongguk pads up to the robe. He experimentally reaches out and runs the pads of his fingers over the fabric, reveling in its softness.

Feeling shy, he pulls the robe off the hook it hangs on, replacing the now-empty spot with his wet towel. He feels how the soft material brushes against his chest and thighs as he pulls it up to his nose, inhaling shamelessly. Taehyung had mentioned the robe being unused.

Still, the Alpha's scent is very much embedded into the wholly fabric from many uses prior. Jeongguk finds himself nuzzling his nose softly into the robe, taking in the lingering scent that resides there.

Without even knowing what he's doing, he starts scenting the robe, running his cheeks, nose, and lips over the soft cotton. Once satisfied and feeling just a little light-headed (floaty), he reaches his arms through the sleeves, enveloping his body in the comfortable linens.

He ties the ribbon securely around his waist, making sure all his extremities are covered and he's nice and warm. One of the benefits of his cold shower is that it has rid him of his arousal, his body feeling much more in control and less heated.

Taking a look at the clothes Taehyung provided -- folded neatly on the edge of the vanity, his soiled clothes nowhere to be found -- Jeongguk hums. He first picks up some fleece-lined sweats, smiling at the cotton and velvet textures. Their softness are very... Taehyung-like.

The shirt he's been provided makes Jeongguk blush hot-red, clutching the satin in his hands with horror. It's the very shirt Taehyung wore under his suit today -- the white v-neck. The blouse is exuding so much of the Alpha's scent, it's almost dizzying.

"Taehyung-ssi," he scolds out loud to himself, knowing the elder can't hear him. "I can't wear this." But as he says it, he finds himself lifting the shirt up to his nose, taking in the Alpha's scent. His scent is fucking dangerous. Like an addiction.

It makes Jeongguk hot all over. With flustered movements, he carefully folds the clothes once more, clutching them close to his chest. Taking a deep breath, he reaches for the door, slowly opening up the bathroom door and exiting the tiled space.

He finds both the kitchen and living room vacant, cautiously following Taehyung's scent into the guest bedroom. The Alpha looks up at his approach, offering him a large boxy smile from where he stands next to the bed. His arms are full of an assortment of soft blankets.

He sets the blankets down the bed, placing his hands on his hips after observing his work. "I've prepared you some things you might find comforting," Taehyung explains, motioning towards the mound of blankets, pillows, and clothes on the bed.

"Feel free to do with it as you please." Although confused at the numerous amounts of fabric the older male has provided for him, Jeongguk nods in thanks. He looks down at the clothes in his arms, pursing his lips. "I don't think I can wear these."

Taehyung looks at him with a crestfallen expression, something unreadable in his eyes. Jeongguk almost thinks he sees some disappointment there too. "I'm sorry," the Alpha takes a few strides towards him, collecting the clothes Jeongguk hands him. "My scent too strong for you?"

"It's not that," Jeongguk tries to reassure him, licking his lips. "It just feels... intimate? To wear clothes that smell so strongly of you." "Ah!" Taehyung buries his head into the sweats and shirt for a moment before looking back up at him.

"Of course! I should have been more considerate. I'm so sorry, Jeongguk-ssi." "No, no, it's okay," the Omega waves his hands back in forth, not liking the upset in Taehyung's eyes. "You were just trying to help. I appreciate the sentiment, really."

"This is the first time I've hosted someone for a heat or rut," Taehyung admits, frowning down at the clothes in his hands. "I'm not really sure where the boundaries start or end. So please, tell me if I'm being too much." Jeongguk is taken aback by this information.

"This is your first time?" The Omega gapes at him. "But you're so well-prepared! I would have never expected this being your first time hosting for someone else." "Really?" Taehyung looks bashful again, nervous. "This is a lot more nerve-wracking than you'd think."

"I'm not exactly an expert at hosting for a rut or heat either," Jeongguk offers him a small smile. "But you seem to be doing great by my standards." "You must have pretty low standards then," Taehyung replies, making Jeongguk frown at the self-deprecating comment.

"Taehyung-ssi," he makes the older male look at him properly, holding eye contact. "I mean it. You're doing amazing. I appreciate everything you've done for me up to this point. Thank you." The Alpha seems to be holding his breath, his exhale coming out shaky and strained.

"Yeah... no, you're welcome. I'll-- I'll do my best." Jeongguk smiles, giving him a genuine toothy smile, hoping to ease his nerves. It seems to work, the other male returning his own boxy smile with softening eyes. Taehyung fiddles with the clothes in his hands, hesitant.

"I'm going to leave these here for you," he starts, placing them down on the dresser. "I have to work on some emails and contracts. I'll be in the next room over, if you need me." Jeongguk nods in thanks, smiling. "Thank you. Good luck with your work."

Taehyung shoots him two thumbs up, leaving the room in a rush. The Omega watches him go with amusement. Turning back to the bed full to the brim with different fabrics and linens, he huffs.

Padding towards the mattress, he grabs the stack of blankets and puts them on the dresser. He does the same with the hoodies, soft shirts, and other clothes folded neatly in small stacks, frowning at the amount. Why did Taehyung provide him with so much? It doesn't make sense.

Grabbing his phone off the bed, he plops down on the end of the mattress, opening up some of the messages left by his roommate and secretary. The messages from a certain Park Jimin have him blushing and staring at his phone horrified. He immediately starts typing out a response.

Leaving his response on a bland note, he moves to his more rational hyung, smiling at the Alpha's concern as he opens their messages.

His heart warms at Namjoon's concern, knowing the older male will always be there for him, no matter where he might be. Jeongguk reminisces their past for a few moments, remembering all the times the elder has come running to his aid. It makes him smile fondly.

He quickly types out a response to the older male, being sure to mention something that has been at the back of his mind for a little while now. At the elder's response, something clicks in his brain.

A nest. Comfort. Safety. Blankets. Safe place. Jeongguk bends his head back to look at the stacks of blankets and pillows he's placed on the dresser. As he looks at them now, a sudden itch surfaces under his skin and he narrows his eyes. He wants to move them.

Looking back down at his screen, he pushes away the itch for a little while, sticking his tongue out. Namjoon's responses have really helped him to understand some things about his situation, even if it's the bare minimum. At his roommate's final response, he curses out loud.

"I swear, all my hyungs ever think about is sex," he grumbles, throwing his phone down on the comforter. He crosses his arms over his chest for a few minutes, pouting. When Jeongguk next looks up, he immediately zones in on the blankets, that itch persisting.

Feeling a little floaty and light-headed, he gets up from the bed and approaches the discarded piles. Once he reaches the blankets, he runs his fingers over the layers of soft fabrics, mesmerized. Pulling the first layer off the top, he inspects the blue and red woven blanket.

The blanket is thin but soft to the touch, the pattern criss-crossed and threaded together into tiny diamonds and shapes. The next blanket is a forest green. It's not exactly soft, more silky and cool than anything. Then he comes across the roughness of the off-white quilt.

This one is heavy in weight but rough in fabric. He actually finds it comforting, since he grew up with blankets exactly like this one as a child. The last blanket appears to be homemade. It's a soft baby blue yarn, crocheted expertly to fullness.

Jeongguk holds this one up to his face, rubbing the soft fabric over his cheeks and inhaling the scent found there. An unfamiliar feeling adds pressure in his throat and he reaches up in alarm when a rumble comes from deep down in his chest.

The sound is thick in his throat and chest, making it hard to vocalize any sounds around it. He forcefully tries to stop, clearing his throat as best as he can. When it finally dies down, he feels himself blush all over, burying his head in the blanket with a groan.

He just fucking purred. What. The actual fuck. Jeongguk has heard about purring but he's never experienced it before. Especially not from his own body. "I can't believe this is happening," he mumbles to himself, his eyes stinging. "This is so humiliating."

Taking some deep breaths, he convinces himself that this is normal. As abnormal as they feel to him, every Omega experiences these things. Some, every day. Blinking his eyes furiously to rid the burn, he turns to the bed, bundles of fabric in his arms.

Kneeling onto the bed, he forcefully pulls the comforter out of its tucked-in position, knocking a bunch of pillows off and onto the floor. Huffing, he yanks the thick blanket towards the headboard, pushing the rest of the pillows onto the carpeted ground.

Setting the assortment of blankets aside he focuses on the large duvet, using it as his base. The thick cotton inside the satin casing allows for the comforter to make a very durable shape for the lining of the nest. He curls it around in a crescent moon shape, humming softly.

Once satisfied with the base, he grabs for a few of the fallen pillows, using them to apply cushion up against the headboard and sturdy the makeshift lining. His next target is the satin green blanket. The cool texture feels nice against his feverish skin.

He flattens out the blanket beneath his knees and spreads it to disappear beneath the pillows and walls of his nest. Jeongguk then grabs the quilt and tapers off the rest of the wall, leaving enough space for at least two people in the middle.

Luckily, the guest room has a king-sized bed. As he's applying the next round of pillows and piling up the softest of blankets in the middle, he finds himself blushing once more. Today has just been so embarrassing. It's not even midday yet. He's going to combust at this rate.

Once the nest is finished, he sits back on his feet to inspect his work. An involuntary rumble makes itself known in his throat and he rolls his eyes, letting the sound do what it wants. He can't seem to control it anyway.

Jeongguk crawls into the middle of his nest, letting his instinct take over. For a moment he just curls up, testing the durability of the walls with some soft kicks and rolling movements. Then he finds himself nuzzling into the blankets and pillows, purring quietly.

As he's getting situated, however, he realizes that the itch to nest still hasn't gone away. His purr dissipates into a whine and he sits up with his legs crossed under him, pouting. He wants something to add to his nest, but he doesn't know what.

Jeongguk's gaze falls on the piles of clothes sitting on the dresser, licking his lips at the sight of them. Cautiously, he gets up, approaching the stacks. Once close enough, he inspects them thoroughly, realizing the linen shirts and hoodies are saturated in scent.

Taehyung's scent. Some have a stronger undertone than others, the musk of an Alpha infiltrating his nose and soothing his instincts. Embarrassingly enough, he realizes that this is what his nest is missing. The scent of a mate. A mate? He quickly shakes that thought away.

This phantom heat is really fucking up his head. Cradling the clothes to his chest, he pads back over to his nest, dumping the assortment of linens into the center. Immediately, he works to fan them out around the inner walls, piling them up on one side like a pillow too.

He lets out a noise of satisfaction a few minutes later, his scent mingling with the Alpha's in an enticing way. Before he lets himself fall back into his nest, he turns to the blouse and sweats Taehyung had offered him after his shower.

With a blush of humiliation, he grabs them, carefully stripping off the robe. As intimate as it is, he wants to be surrounded by the male's scent right now. He can only hope Taehyung won't be disgusted or uncomfortable with this development.

He slips on the shirt, buttoning it up in the front slowly. Jeongguk starts to feel a little sluggish once the neckline of the blouse brushes against the scent glands on his throat. As he's putting it on, he realizes the shirt seems a little smaller on him.

He never realized it before, but he must be broader than the other male in shoulder-length. While Taehyung wearing this shirt looks loose and flowing, it's fitted and comfortable on Jeongguk's body. "I never noticed our size difference before," he murmurs to himself, smiling.

He pulls on the sweats, even though his flushed body complains about the additional layers. When dressed and comfortable, he gingerly folds the robe and places it on the dresser next to his phone, wanting to keep at least something available if he needs to change.

The pants he wears feels tight around his groin, that arousal he's come to hate pooling heavily in his abdomen. "Mating drive," he reminds himself, flexing his thighs to readjust himself. "What a pain in the ass." He knees back onto the bed, curling up in his nest with a huff.

Being surrounded by his scent and the grounding scent of an Alpha, he finds his eyelids drooping, comfort and drowsiness pulling at his limbs. Before Jeongguk can really complain or determine if he needs anything else, his eyes close and drifts off, giving in to the temptation.

His dreams are full of unwanted flashes of skin, warmth, and pleasure. When he wakes next, his body is flushed head to toe and he's sweating, lips parted in a pant. He groans when his abdomen contracts, pain rolling through his body angrily.

The light filtering through the windows is bright, the curtains just barely keeping the sunlight from blinding him. Sluggishly, he maneuvers into a sitting position, not sure how long he's been asleep.

Taehyung's scent smells fresh in the room, two bottles of water sitting on the nightstand. He must have brought them while Jeongguk was asleep. He reaches for one of the bottles, stopping halfway when pain stabs harshly in his stomach, making him gasp on a whimper.

Curling into himself, he stifles the urge to sob, gritting his teeth. Fuck, it hurts. "Tuh- Taehyung-ssi..." he calls weakly, stuttering on a shaky exhale. His voice is much too quiet, a whine stuck in his throat when no response comes. "Taehyung," he tries again, whimpering.

Jeongguk groans when his whole body spasms feeling like his skin is on pins and needles. He's never felt anything like this before. Do Omegas experience this during their heats? Or is this the effect of him taking suppressants for almost eight years of his life? He doesn't know.

A soft knock comes to the door and Jeongguk whines, unwanted tears blooming and hanging onto the ends of his lashes. "Jeongguk-ssi?" Comes Taehyung's muffled voice from behind the door, sounding concerned. "Did you call for me?" Something in the younger breaks at his voice.

Instinct wells up under his skin and he outright sobs, hugging his arms to his abdomen. "A- alpha, please." The door opens not even a moment later, Taehyung peeking in with eyebrows furrowed and a frown on his lips. He hovers by the door, hesitant to step any closer.

"How can I help you?" Taehyung asks, looking crestfallen. Jeongguk whimpers, curling into himself, "It hurts." The older male steps right inside the door, closing it behind him. Still, he refuses to move any further into the room. "Use your words, Jeongguk-ssi."

Blinking furiously, the younger tries to pulls some coherent thoughts together, his body and mind hazy. "W- water." Taehyung moves further into the room, padding towards the nightstand with sock-covered feet.

Jeongguk realizes now that the Alpha has changed clothes, dressed in a white celine shirt and some brown sweat pants. He looks comfortable and cuddly. He grabs for one of the water bottles on the small end table, popping open the cap.

Taehyung offers the bottle to Jeongguk, eyes dark and unreadable. The Omega takes it gratefully, careful not to spill any or drink it too quickly. With his tongue and throat not feeling as dry, he thanks the elder quietly, still sluggish and floaty.

"Do we have any pain killers?" He asks after a few moments, fumbling with the bottle cap as he screws it closed. Taehyung shakes his head, keeping a respectful distance away. "You can't take any medication right now, Jeongguk-ssi. Even pain killers." "Why not?"

"Your body is going through some biological changes," the Alpha crouches down next to the bed, careful not to touch his nest. He makes eye contact with him, frowning. "You're also going through some horrible withdrawals right now, too." "Withdrawals?"

"From the suppressants." Is that why his body feels like it's tearing itself apart and putting itself back together over and over again? Jesus Christ. "Everything hurts," he complains, a whine escaping from his throat. "I hate this so much." "You did this to yourself."

"Thanks for the pep talk," Jeongguk deadpans, his head falling back against his makeshift pillow with a muted thump. Taehyung looks over him for a few moments, observing both Jeongguk and the nest he occupies. His nostrils flare and he clears his throat, standing up.

Immediately, something in Jeongguk starts to panic. "I should--" He reaches out with fast reflexes and grabs ahold of Taehyung's wrist, effectively cutting him off and halting him in his spot. Jeongguk swallows thickly, unable to meet the elder's eyes. "Don't leave."

"Jeongguk-ssi," Taehyung says his name, his voice sounding strained. "I shouldn't be in here right now." "The pain goes away when you're here," Jeongguk blurts, realizing how true those words actually are when he makes a self-assement of his body. "Please don't go."

"I'm invading your space," the Alpha grits out, licking his lips. "And quite frankly, you have no idea what you smell like right now." "You're right, I don't," Jeongguk agrees, his body and senses solely focused on Taehyung's scent and body heat. "Just-- Please. Stay."

He looks up to see a variety of emotions play across Taehyung's face at the request, the elder's jaw working as he swallows. Finally, he comes to a conclusion, nodding his head slowly. "Alright... if it helps, I'll stay. But this is as far as I'm going to be."

Taehyung crouches down and then shifts his legs under him, resting his back against the side of the bed. Jeongguk feels overwhelming relief at the other male agreeing to stay, his grip on the Alpha's wrist loosening but never quite letting go. "Thank you..."

He curls up on the side of his nest that is closest to the Alpha, shifting around to get comfortable. Hesitantly, he lets go of Taehyung's wrist, relieved when he doesn't go anywhere, sitting right where he said he would. "Do you find this uncomfortable?"

Jeongguk hums in question, looking at Taehyung's fluffy hair over the lip of his nest. "Being here," he continues, clarifying. "You're in an unfamiliar place going through an unfamiliar experience. Does it make you uncomfortable?" Taking the question to heart, Jeongguk replies.

"I think under normal circumstances, I would feel uncomfortable," he admits, nuzzling into the soft blanket he's leaning on. Taehyung tilts his head a little at the admittance, listening.

"But ever since I collapsed back in the lounge earlier today, you've been nothing but kind." Jeongguk itches to run his fingers through his soft locks, settling for gripping the hem of his shirt. "You've made me feel safe and You've shielded me from my demons."

Referring back to his fear of being found out has him shuddering, swallowing thickly. "In all honesty, I'm feeling extremely embarrassed and humiliated. This whole situation is out of my control, sure, but it's still an embarrassing thing to go through in front of a stranger."

"I can see that," Taehyung replies genuinely, twisting his neck to look back at him for a moment, smiling. "Your instincts aren't ones you're in-tune with. You've probably said and done some embarrassing things today you never would have imagined yourself doing." "Yeah..."

Jeongguk purses his lips, not mentioning the things he still wants to do. "Like I said earlier, this is the first time I've ever done something like this for someone," Taehyung starts, taking a deep breath through his mouth. "I don't know what I'm doing."

"You and me both." They share a quiet moment where they both laugh, finding comfort in one another, despite the situation. "How about this," the Alpha shuffles onto a kneeling position, turning to look at Jeongguk face-to-face. He looks nervous.

"We need to establish boundaries, right? Your instincts are probably going haywire right now. And I want to be a good host to you, so that I might be able to help someone -- or even you, again -- in the future." Jeongguk nods, agreeing with him.

"Let's speak our mind, transparently," Taehyung suggests, searching his eyes. "When you have an itch to do something tell me. I'll tell you if you're crossing a boundary or not." "But we don't even know each other," Jeongguk points out, feeling small. "What if I cross the line?"

The Alpha shakes his head, smiling, "You won't. Like I said, I'll let you know if you are. And you can do the same for me, vice versa. I do think we need to set some immediate restrictions, though." Jeongguk nods, knowing exactly what he's talking about. "You first."

"No sex," Taehyung says without missing a beat, surprising Jeongguk. "In the throes of an Omega's heat, even a phantom one, you might lose yourself to your fever or mating drive. The last thing I want is for you to agree to something you're not ready for while under influence."

Something warm and fulfilling wells up in Jeongguk's chest at this and he honestly has the overwhelming want to cry. He smiles in gratitude at Taehyung, agreeing easily. "I'm down with that. Thank you," he feels kind of shy, fiddling with the blanket in his arms.

Taehyung smiles, licking his lips. "Your turn. Set one you think would help to make you feel more comfortable in the long run." Jeongguk looks down, wracking his brain for things that he would prefer to happen or not happen at all. His hazy mind is having a hard time thinking.

"Aftercare," he mumbles, feeling his whole body heat up at the mention. "When-- when you inevitably clean me up, please don't touch my back," Jeongguk feels himself closing off. Although the request is strange, Taehyung offers him a reassuring smile, not asking questions.

"If that is what you want, I'll respect it." "Thank you." The 'no sex' rule has really set the boundaries between them, covering a lot of ground in just two simple words. Jeongguk can feel an unacknowledged tension dissipating between them.

Taehyung goes over some care times, informing Jeongguk of when he might leave the room and what for. For some reason, any thought of the Alpha leaving him alone has a whine wanting to surface from within his chest, making him tense. The Alpha notices his stiffness.

"What's wrong?" Jeongguk shakes his head, tonguing his cheek at his own petulance. "Nothing, I just--" he squirms, pouting. "Every time you mention leaving, I get really upset. Like panicked. It's weird and illogical..." "It's not weird," the Alpha reassures him.

"Right now, your instincts consider me your anchor." "My anchor?" "Like an object they want to attach themselves to. The moment you took in my scent off your suppressants, your instincts latched onto me as your anchor." Jeongguk scowls, "That's dumb."

Taehyung chuckles, his gaze softening. "I'm glad you told me, honestly. It helps me to understand how I should approach you and other situations from here on out." Huffing, Jeongguk sits up, crossing his legs under him. "This is all so weird to me."

"Don't like relying on others?" "Oh, fuck off," the Omega groans, glaring at Taehyung's teasing grin. "Seriously though," the elder smiles, rolling his shoulders back in a half-assed stretch. "Thank you for telling me. I want you to be comfortable. Tell me whenever you're not."

"You too." "Huh?" Jeongguk pinches at the fabric of his sweatpants, still pouting. "You tell me too, if you're not comfortable. This is a two-way street." Taehyung stares at him for a moment, lips parted. When he finally seems to snap out of it, he grins his big boxy smile.

"You're really cute, you know that?" "What?!" Jeongguk looks scandalized, blushing furiously. "I am not-- not /cute/!" "Very cute." "Fuck you!" Taehyung throws his head back and laughs, the sound making Jeongguk smile too, giggling airily under his breath. This is nice.

Jeongguk smiles, feeling extremely content right now. But still, he feels like something is out of place. He searches inside of him to recognize what it might be, biting down on his bottom lip when he realizes. Taehyung pouts at him a few seconds later, reaching forward.

The Omega's brows shoot high into his fringe when he uses his thumb to pull Jeongguk's lip out from between his teeth. He rubs over the sensitive skin there, frowning. "You're always biting your lip. Look how chapped and bitten raw it is," he scolds gently.

Jeongguk blushes all the way down to his collarbones. "It-- It's a nervous habit." He leans away from the Alpha, fiddling with the sleeves of the blouse he's wearing. Taehyung shifts his attention to his clothes, then, a rumble starting deep in his chest. "You're wearing them."

"Your scent comforts me," Jeongguk blurts out as an explanation, feeling shy. "I thought it was too intimate?" He groans, covering his face with his hands. "Don't quote me. I'm wearing them because they're comfortable, that's all it is." "Mhmm," Taehyung hums, unconvinced.

"I'm only teasing," he chuckles, his eyelashes fluttering. "I'm glad my scent comforts you." "Yeah, whatever," Jeongguk grumbles. "You're insufferable." Taehyung watches him with a soft smile, probably picking up on his body language. He tilts his head, curious.

"Is there something you want?" He asks softly, his demeanor shifting to caring and considerate in a moment. Resisting the urge to bite down on his lip, Jeongguk nods, twisting his hands in the blanket he's been clutching. He feels so small like this, it makes him want to whine.

"Speak your mind, Jeongguk-ah," Taehyung urges him, informal speech becoming a continuing pattern between them. "Transparency, okay?" "But it's embarrassing," he outright whines, wanting to disappear as the sound escapes. "Even so," the Alpha smiles. "I want to help."

Jeongguk squirms, the steadily rising heat in his body now causing his body to feel a little too overheated. His instincts urge him to reach out and bare his neck, making him grit his teeth. Instead of vocalizing, he shyly moves over in his nest, making room.

He pats the bed beside him, pleading with his eyes. Taehyung looks wholly taken aback, his eyes widening and his lips parting in shock. "You want me to...?" He looks between Jeongguk and the offering to join him in his nest, his adam's apple bobbing.

"Juh-- join me?" Jeongguk stutters, finding his voice shaking on the actual offer. "But it's your nest," Taehyung looks overwhelmed, his scent spiking. The younger whines and shrinks back when his scent sours, panic flashing across the Alpha's face.

"No, no, I'm sorry!" He rushes out, quickly getting to his feet. Taehyung reaches out for Jeongguk, cupping his cheeks instinctively. The tears that threatened to fall at the rejection hang on the ends of his lashes and he closes his eyes with a whimper. "You don't want to?"

"Of course I do," Taehyung's voice cracks. "Your nest is beautiful and I would love to join you. I was just shocked, I'm sorry, Jeonggukie." The Alpha's scent blossoms into something warm and comforting as he speaks, making Jeongguk let out a sound of contentment.

Sniffling, the younger shifts even farther away, giving him more room to get situated. Taking a deep breath, Taehyung kneels onto the bed, taking off his socks one by one before gently crawling onto the makeshift nest.

Jeongguk observes the way the Alpha remains careful and intentive, making sure not to shift the outer ring of blankets or accidentally kick a pillow. Once his body is fully inside the nest, he lays down on his side, his breaths coming out in fast pants.

When he's comfortable, Jeongguk scoots a little closer, taking in Taehyung's striking features with awe. Up close, he can see how full the male's eyelashes are. His favorite part about his features being the secret little details you wouldn't know about unless you look closely.

There's a small beauty mark under his right eye and his left one is double-lidded. Taehyung has another beauty mark on his left cheek, his upper lip, and the tip of his nose. Jeongguk almost has the urge to trace their spots with his lips. "You're so pretty," he mumbles.

Taehyung flushes all the way down to his collarbones, smiling shyly; "Thank you." With the older male's scent now wrapping around him in its entirety, Jeongguk feels himself grow drowsy. That floaty and content headspace starts to make his thought fuzzy.

Without even realizing it, he starts to purr, his eyes closing as the sound reverberates through his chest. Taehyung stiffens next to him, making him open his eyes. When he meets the Alpha's gaze, he finds surprise and unadulterated shock there. "You're purring for me."

The words come out in a whisper, Taehyung looking both pleased and overly shocked at this development. Although hesitant, the Alpha reaches out, his fingers ghosting over Jeongguk's hair. The younger feels the purr in his throat grow louder involuntary, his eyes closing again.

Encouraged by the sound, Taehyung lets his fingers card through Jeongguk's hair freely now. When the Omega pushes up against his touch, he lets out a responding rumble, smiling. "This is insane," he laughs quietly to himself, the sound of his voice causing Jeongguk to look up.

He makes a questioning noise as best he can in his throat, the sound almost drowned by his purr. "Do you realize how rare this is?" Taehyung breathes, scratching his nails gently over Jeongguk's scalp. "I'm honored you feel safe enough with me in order to purr the way you are."

Reaching up a hand to his own throat, Jeongguk tries to talk around his purr, the attempt taking longer than he'd like. "You make me feel safe," he finally manages with a blush. "Truly." "You don't even know me," Taehyung replies seriously, frowning.

"You give me no reason not to trust you," Jeongguk tries to reassure him. "I wouldn't mind getting to know more about you, if you want to about me." "I'd love that, actually," the Alpha smiles, his grin growing when Jeongguk's purr starts up again. The Omega huffs in annoyance.

"Don't be upset," Taehyung continues to run his fingers through his hair, watching him with a soft expression. "Your purr is lovely." Jeongguk pouts but decides it's not worth arguing, knowing the damned sound won't go away. With a sigh, he deflates, eyelids fluttering.

"You can sleep," the older male reassures, smiling. "I'll still be here when you wake up." Will he though? It's most likely mid-afternoon by now and neither of them have eaten yet. He doesn't find it in him to ask after a few moments, though, when he starts to drift off.

This time when he dozes, his dreams are abstract but kind to him. Flashes of bright lights, weird shapes, and talking animals. Despite the calmness of his dreams, his body doesn't wake up in a calm state. It's very aggravated, actually.

He's not exactly sure what wakes him up. When Jeongguk fell asleep, it was to the soothing press of Taehyung's fingers through his hair, his scent surrounding him in a caccoon of warmth. Now, he wakes with a start, his nest cold beside him and a pain knawing at his stomach.

The Omega whines when he realizes he's alone, still not awake enough to take in his surroundings with a level head. His instincts are completely in control when he rolls onto the side where Taehyung was laying before, burying his nose in the cold scent of the Alpha.

His skin feels flushed and sweaty, his hair sticking to his forehead. As his mind clears from his sleep haze, he feels for a moment like he's reliving the morning's events. Except this time, he's craving a body against his own and a scent in his nose.

The scent of the Alpha is still strong despite his place in his nest being cold. Jeongguk finds himself rubbing his nose and mouth over the spot, thoroughly scenting the fabric of his nest.

Mind still blurry with sleep, he doesn't notice the tightness of his sweats until his groin rubs against inner thighs and the bed, making him gasp. A whimper of humiliation and desire stings the back of his throat as he buries his head into his makeshift pillow, wanting to hide.

♤ author's note | warning ⚠️ Semi-nsfw 🔞 content up ahead. Reader discretion is advised. ▪︎ masturbation ▪︎ heat-induced arousal ▪︎ self-lubrication ▪︎ feelings of humiliation ▪︎ scent marking You have been warned. Enjoy :)

A shudder of arousal goes through his body, making him stifle back a moan when heat pools heavily in his lower abdomen. Everything throbs and begs for attention, Jeongguk refusing to let himself touch when Taehyung could be just outside his door somewhere.

A whine builds and builds in his chest, and he pushes it back with a sob, closing his eyes tightly when his body shivers again. He is so fucked. Even if Taehyung doesn't catch him in the act, he'll still smell his arousal. He'll still know how his body responds to his scent.

He bites down hard on the fabric of a hoodie in his makeshift pillow, muffling his moan when his body moves involuntarily, creating friction. Humiliation makes his whole body flush when he realizes his ass and the backs of his thighs are sticking to his sweats. Oh God.

Not sure he can find a way out of this situation he lifts his head and fumbles for a pillow that he can omit from his nest. He grabs one that won't terribly mess up the structure of the nest, shifting around to place it between his legs.

He gasps when the minimal pressure adds friction to his aching cock, a moan punching from his lungs before he can stop it. Whimpering, Jeongguk buries his head into the pillow, biting down hard on the cotton to muffle his noises.

The fact that an Alpha is somewhere within this house, able to help him if he so asked, does not help his pleasure-induced state. His hips twitch against the pillow, a whine pulling from his throat at the thought of the things someone could do to him.

How someone could pleasure him. Suddenly, his clothes feel like too much, the fabric too thick and restricting. Despite his body telling him to strip and take them off, he refuses that one self-request, not letting his mind humiliate him more than he already has.

Losing himself in his instinctual pleasure, he slowly starts rutting up against the pillow, his body begging for release. Arousal causes for more slick to coat his ass, wanting something more to fill him up, tame his instincts and claim him.

Just the thought of an Alpha's knot has him moaning, biting down hard on the pillow to ground himself. He has no doubt in his mind that Taehyung can't smell him by now. His scent is thick in the room, probably even thick in the entire apartment. He's a complete mess.

Tears of humiliation well up in his eyes when he realizes this mild friction isn't enough get him off. Feeling both disgusted with himself and more aroused than he's ever been in his life, he slowly reaches into his sweats.

His moan turns into a sob when he gets a hand around himself. The raw pressure against his aching cock makes him buck his hips shuddering with every stroke of his hand. His whole body feels like it's on fire and the flames only seem to grow more as he gets closer to his release.

Digging a nail into his slit, he cries out, curling into himself as his body wracks with waves of pleasure. A patch of wetness grows on the front of his pants, the stickiness making him bury his head into the pillow, shaking.

He doesn't know how long he lays there, coming down from his high. When the realization at what he's done hits him, he flinches, yanking his hand out of his sweats like he's been burned. He chokes on a sob as he rubs his palm furiously on the outside of sweats.

Humiliation and disgust burn heavily in his chest as he comes to realize that he just got off in a stranger's apartment. With said person not even fifty feet away. He lays on his back, knees bent and feet digging into the bed as tears well in his eyes.

Jeongguk reaches up and drapes his arm over his eyes when he starts to cry, hating everything about this. His body, his reactions, his instincts. Everything about himself is horrible. Disgusting. He wants nothing more than to disappear.

Quiet sobs and whimpers leave his lips as he cries, basking in the humiliation of what just transpired. He doesn't even notice anyone else in the room until his arm is gently being lifted from his face, showing his tear-stained cheeks and red-rimmed eyes.

Seeing Taehyung above him with the most concerned and worried expression on his face makes Jeongguk panic, quickly sitting up and scooting away from him. "Duh- don't touch me," he whimpers, his body and voice trembling. "Why are you crying?" The Alpha looks lost and hurt.

He doesn't kneel onto the bed like he did before, instead giving Jeongguk the space he needs from the foot of it. Even Jeongguk can tell by his own voice and scent that what he's just said is a rejection towards the Alpha. "I'm-- I'm gross," his voice breaks. "Disgusting."

"Oh, Jeonggukie, no," Taehyung's whole expression crumbles as realization dawns on him. "You didn't do anything wrong." "I just--" he hiccups, digging his palms into his eyes with a sob. "I just did something so humiliating--"

The Alpha lets out a distressed sound, his hands twitching by his sides. "You haven't done anything that isn't natural, Gguk-ah," he pleads. "I already knew your body would react this way. You're not disgusting." Jeongguk shakes his head back and forth, crying still.

"Will you let me come to you?" Taehyung begs him, his own voice wavering at the possibility of rejection. "Please, Jeongguk-ah?" "No!" He almost shouts it, curling into himself further. "Please go away," he sobs. "I can't-- I can't look at you right now."

The elder flinches at the conviction in his voice, his eyes moving away from him and to the floor. "I understand and I'll respect your boundaries. If you need me, I'll be in the living room." Looking like a kicked dog with his tail between his legs, Taehyung leaves the room.

Once he closes the door behind him, Jeongguk finds himself crying all over again. This time for a different reason. His body and mind want nothing more than to be reassured, to he held. And he's just pushed away the one person who is offering that comfort.

Looking at his nest, a feeling of disgust and hate towards himself well up inside of him. With a growl, he reaches forward and rips apart the circle of comfort, throwing pillows, blankets and clothes onto the ground. Once the bed is clear and the floor is a mess, he cries.

He lays down and just lets the tears come, muffling his sobs into the bed. Jeongguk's whole body shakes with the force of his self-loathing, pain and heat flushing over his skin once more as his fever starts up again.

Time is lost to him as he cries, wanting nothing more than to curl up in his nest, Taehyung carding his fingers through his hair. This time when he falls asleep, he doesn't dream of anything, darkness meeting him as his body falls into slumber.

"Jeonggukie." His eyes flutter open to the feeling of someone softly shaking him awake. Jeongguk sniffles, his nose feeling stuffy as he shifts around, looking up sleepily at the culprit. "Let's get you cleaned up, hm?" Taehyung offers him a soft smile, reaching out his hand.

He accepts his hand with minimal hesitation, head foggy as the Alpha pulls him up and out of the bed. They shuffle around the assortment of linens on the floor, Taehyung careful not to step on anything or unintentionally get it dirty.

The elder leads him to the bathroom, leaving the door open as they step inside. The shower is already hot and streaming as Taehyung lets go of his hand. He reaches into the stream of water to test the temperature, shaking the wetness from his fingers a moment later.

When he turns to Jeongguk, it's with a smile, his scent a calming lull to the Omega's tired brain and senses. "Arms up," he coaxes, Jeongguk immediately lifting his arms even though they feel heavy and limp.

The Alpha gently helps him undress, not commenting on his body at all or saying anything about his soiled clothing. He's also very careful not to graze his skin with his fingertips, offering him a hand when it's time to step under the spray of water.

Taehyung helps him into the shower, reaching for some of the cocao butter shampoo as Jeongguk rinses his body, just letting the water touch against his skin. The elder kneels by the open door to the shower, motioning towards the floor when Jeongguk looks at him in question.

"I'll do your hair, if you'd like." A short whine gets stuck in his throat at the offer, Jeongguk quickly reaching up to run his fingers through his hair to make sure it's wet enough. When he moves towards the spot curiously, he crosses his legs under him, facing the male.

He leans his head forward, letting Taehyung gently lather his hair with the shampoo. Tears prick behind his eyes again at the caring gesture, his brain coming back online as he sits there, inhaling the Alpha's scent. "I'm sorry," he mumbles, keeping his gaze on his hands.

"What for?" Taehyung shakes his head when Jeongguk parts his lips to reply. "Rhetorical question. You haven't done anything wrong." Jeongguk makes a sound deep in his throat. "That's not true. I did a lot of things." "Like what?"

Jeongguk shoots him a weak glare, frowning. "You know what." The Alpha shrugs, scratching at his scalp softly; "Indulge me." "I yelled at you," Jeongguk starts, clawing at the skin around his nails. "And threw your stuff on the floor."

"Mhmm," Taehyung hums, agreeing with him. "So, you threw a tantrum. Your hormones are hardwired right now. I don't blame you for any of those things." The Omega blushes at the nonchalant way he brings it up, pouting. "But I hurt you."

Taehyung rolls his eyes, shaking his head. "You didn't hurt me. Bruised my ego a little bit and made me feel helpless, sure." Jeongguk winces at his admittance. "But you didn't hurt me. I knew what I was getting myself into when I offered my home to you."

For a few moments, Jeongguk says nothing, staring down at his hands between them. Taehyung seems to sense his hesitancy, stopping his motions. "Why are you so kind?" The younger asks after a while, his voice quiet under the sound of the shower.

"What do you mean?" "All of this," Jeongguk motions towards himself and the running water, his eyes red. "You didn't have to do all of this for me. Why did you?" Taehyung frowns, moving to stand. The younger watches him with a hint of confusion and panic in his gaze.

Maybe he said the wrong thing. When the Alpha simply reaches overhead to grab the shower head and pull it off the wall, Jeongguk relaxes, taking a deep breath.

"You could probably ask me that same question a hundred times, in a dozen different ways, and I wouldn't be able to answer." Taehyung replies honestly. "Why do you say that?" The elder shrugs, pursing his lips as he sits back down again.

Jeongguk stretches his head back and closer to the drain as he runs the hose over the Omega's hair, contemplating his answer. "Probably because there isn't exactly any particular reason why I decided to help?" Taehyung shrugs, his expression clouded.

"You were panicked, in pain, and afraid," he continues, running his fingers through Jeongguk's hair to help rid the soap from the strands. "I wasn't going to leave you there to spiral. You needed a comforting hand I offered that hand." "Unbelievable," Jeongguk mumbles.

"Hm?" "You helped me because you wanted to?" The Omega looks at him for a moment before closing his eyes when Taehyung sprays gently into his fringe. "Or because you felt obligated to?" "Subconsciously, I might have felt obligated," he admits.

For some reason, hearing that has a sting panging deep down in Jeongguk's chest. He frowns. "Don't be like that," the Alpha chuckles softly. "Every Alpha has the instinctual need to help someone who is in distress." He blushes, caught.

Then, Jeongguk scowls, huffing. "This is so weird." "What's that?" "I get so shy and feel small around you," he reveals with embarrassment reddening his cheeks. "Is that an instinctual thing too?" He opens his eyes when the Alpha doesn't respond, finding him staring. "What?"

Taehyung blinks at him, a smirk curling his lips. "Jeongguk-ah, have you ever been cared for before?" "Huh? Of course I have." Namjoon hyung takes care of him all the time. "Allow me to reiterate," Taehyung lowers the hose, a smile twitching at his lips. He finds this funny.

Jeongguk puffs his cheeks, feeling his body flush. He's trying to be serious and the older male finds this conversation amusing. The nerve of him...! "Have you ever been taken care of by someone you're physically attracted to?" He freezes at the question, eyes widening.

"Who-- who said I'm attracted to you?" Jeongguk narrows his eyes, trying to look accusing when he's pretty sure he just comes across as silly and embarrassed. Taehyung's smile grows and he laughs quietly, reaching forward to tap on his nose. "Your sense of smell told me."

Jeongguk scrunches his nose, pouting. "That's no fair. I can't tell if you like my scent or not," he huffs. The Alpha watches him for a moment, smiling. "Who knows?" He groans, shuffling around to stand, his legs cramping from under him.

Taehyung passes him the shower head, keeping his gaze above the neck, respectively. "Thank you," he mumbles, turning and reaching up to put the hose back in place. "For taking care of me." "You don't have to thank me for that," Taehyung waves off, expression softening.

"Scrub yourself down and meet me in the living room, yeah? I made food earlier but you were asleep when it was done. I'll go heat it up while you're showering." "Thanks," Jeongguk bends to grab the body wash. "I'm starving." Taehyung rolls his eyes, leaving the bathroom.

Jeongguk opts to take his time cleaning himself, enjoying the spray of the hot water. His body still feels feverish and sensitive, but at least now he's calm and slowly starting to wake up.

Thinking back to the events of the day, it's kind of hard to imagine all this happening twenty four hours from now. Just this morning, he was sitting at his desk at home, working like he normally would.

If someone told him he'd be in Kim Taehyung's house because of a phantom heat, he would have laughed and called them crazy. He wraps his arms around himself under the spray of the water, feeling something thumping painfully in his chest.

He can't pinpoint what it is, but he knows it's an instinctual thing. Jeongguk takes a deep breath, searching inside himself for the key, figuring things out about himself that he's never experienced before. When he finds the reason, an involuntary whine escapes his lips.

He's in mourning. For the nest he destroyed. Reaching up a hand to touch over the pain in his chest, he feels his eyes sting. He destroyed his nest. The place where Taehyung and him rested. The place where he feels safe. And he tore it all apart.

Fumbling for the lever, he turns off the water, making a high distressed sound in the back of his throat. The sound is much louder than he expects it to be in the tiled bathroom. As if called Taehyung's scent wafts around him, the Alpha hovering by the door hand raised to knock.

Jeongguk feels emotional looking at the male as he steps out of the shower, his hormones all over the place. "You okay?" The elder asks, moving to pull the door closed slightly to grab his towel. He doesn't come any closer, though.

"I destroyed my nest," the Omega mumbles, shaking his head. "It's ruined." "Don't worry," Taehyung smiles, offering him some reassurance. "You can always build a new one." "But it won't be the same." The Alpha hums, agreeing with him. "True. But you never know."

He slowly approaches him, giving Jeongguk the ability to send him away if he wanted to. The younger doesn't, though, pouting when Taehyung finally stands in front of him, moving to gently towel off his hair. "Maybe you'll like the new nest better than your other one."

Jeongguk bites down on his bottom lip, earning a quiet tsk from the elder. "What did I say about biting your lip?" He scolds, pausing in his movements to softly pull his lip out from between his teeth. "Let the skin heal." "It's habit," he grumbles. "I can't help it."

Jeongguk flickers his eyes up to meet Taehyung's, realizing how close they are. Being the same height, he can see the other male's concentration up close. Strong eyebrows pulled together, sharp jaw taught around the tongue that sticks out between his lips.

Hooded eyes that flick up to look up at him for a moment before going back down, continuing to dry him off. The looks, the touches. Everything this male does makes him feel hot all over. Taehyung lets out a rumbling growl after a moment, snapping his gaze to Jeongguk's.

"Stop." The Omega blushes, averting his gaze. "I'm not doing anything." "Stop thinking." Jeongguk huffs, scowling. "It's my brain. How do you expect me to turn it off?" Taehyung narrows his eyes at him, taking a step back. "I'll leave you to finish drying off on your own."

Affronted, the younger whines in complaint. He smacks a hand over his mouth when he realizes what he's just done, not missing the way Taehyung smirks at the sound. "Do you want me to bring you my robe?" Jeongguk looks down at his bare feet, embarrassed. "Yes, please."

Passing him the towel, Taehyung pads out of the bathroom, letting Jeongguk wallow in his embarrassment. Once the male is out of sight, he lifts the towel to his face and whines into the material. He can't believe his body betrayed him like that.

Honestly, he doesn't really blame himself. The Alpha helping to towel him off... it was comforting. A little arousing, sure. But comforting nonetheless. Grumbling to himself, he bends down to dry off his abdomen and his legs, blushing furiously.

"You're a grown man, Jeongguk. Get your shit together," he curses himself, straightening to take a deep breath. "I'm acting like a blushing school girl with a crush." "I can second that." He promptly drops his towel, spinning around to glare at Taehyung.

"I was talking to myself." "I can see that," he offers his robe to the younger, smiling. "It's cute." Snatching the soft cotton robe, Jeongguk huffs turning back so his backside is facing the other male. "I already told you, I'm not cute."

Without even thinking, he bends to pick up the towel from off the floor, freezing in his movements when a throaty growl echos off the tile. "Fuck," Taehyung curses, the younger frozen in place. "You don't fucking do that around me." "Suh- sorry," he stutters, cheeks flaming.

Quickly grabbing the towel, he straightens up as fast as possible, spinning around and taking a few steps back. Taehyung looks like a predator where he stands in the doorway this time, his eyes dark and heated. He grits his teeth, forcing himself to look away.

"Food is done. Come out when you're ready," he gruffs, his deep baritone sounding more husky than before. He turns and strides away, Jeongguk watching him go with wide eyes. He doesn't even realize he's been holding his breath until it comes out in a shaky exhale.

Fumbling with the robe and towel in his hands, he puts the latter on the sink vanity, quickly slipping his arms through the sleeves of his robe. His body feels hot. Overheated. Aroused. He can smell Taehyung's pheromones permeating the air.

The Alpha's reaction clicks in his brain after a few minutes when he plays the events over again in his head. He stifles a needy whine when he realizes why the fuck everything turned out the way it did. He presented himself. Bare. To the Alpha that is taking care of him.

Humiliation makes him slap a hand over his face, a red-hot heat flushing his entire body. Jeongguk's instincts love that thought of that. His brain knows better, though. "My god," he groans. "I'm so sorry!" "Just get your ass in here," is Taehyung's reply from the kitchen.

Tying the ribbon on the front of the robe, he cautiously takes a step out of the bathroom. "You really like my ass, huh, Taehyung-ssi?" The Alpha snaps his head up to glare at him from where he pours some drinks at the counter, waving a hand towards the couch. "Go sit down."

Giggling, Jeongguk pads over towards the couch, the delicious scent of japchae and bulgogi making his mouth water. His eyes flit over the sofa to see a few clean blankets folded neatly over the arm farthest from him. A soft vocalization gets stuck in his throat at the sight.

Taehyung follows his gaze over to the linens at the sound, his expression softening into a smile. Sitting down on the couch, Jeongguk runs his fingers over the blankets, humming at their softness. His body is going through a lot of changes.

Biologically. Instinctually. Even his hormones are changing. Earlier, he felt disgust and hate towards his own wants and needs. The state of being clingy, needy, aroused all the time feeling wrong. His thoughts were clouded. Biased.

He's been living his life smartly, even if damaging his own body in the process. Wanting to be a strong figure, one that society would see. One that he wanted his family to see, too. That he is more than just an Omega. That he could be successful. So, he hid.

Everything about his true nature. His scent, his instincts, his pain. Jeongguk locked it all away climbing higher and higher on the podium. He wanted to be seen, to be recognized. Omegas in today's society are looked down upon, treated like dirt. He wanted to be more than that.

He hasn't exactly accepted his true nature, if he's being honest. He still feels humiliated or upset with himself when he does certain things or has a certain reaction to offhand situations.

But being in the presence of an Alpha who wants nothing more than to care for him, make him feel safe and comfortable... it's made Jeongguk realize that maybe he isn't 'just an Omega'. For now, he kind of wants to test his instincts. See what it's like to live this way.

Just once. So, when he grabs one of the soft blankets off the small pile and raises it to his nose, he doesn't feel any shame. He doesn't feel any regret or disgust with himself as he begins to run it over his cheeks, neck, and lips. He lets himself be selfish.

"You seem to like soft things," Taehyung observes quietly, sitting down next to him on the sofa. He sets down the two mugs of tea on the glass surface of the coffee table, smiling. Jeongguk pauses in his scenting, his eyelids drooping in content. "I think so, yeah."

"Mmm," Taehyung hums, cupping his mug and bringing it up to his lips, the steaming liquid wafting up into his face. "You can scent and nest all you want later. Get something in your system."

With a pout, Jeongguk sets down the blanket, carefully moving from the couch onto the floor. Sitting cross-legged, he leans his back against the sofa, closing his eyes as he inhales the scent of the food greedily. "Thank you very much," he says gratefully, taking up chopsticks.

He first takes a bite of the smoked beef, his eyebrows pulling together as a satisfied sound vibrates in his throat. Nodding in appreciation, he slurps some noodles, flavor exploding on his tongue. "This is delicious," he slurs over a half-full mouth of food.

"I'm glad you like it," Taehyung chuckles, taking a sip of his tea. "For a moment, I thought it was no good." "Mm?" He vocalizes in question, his lips covered in sauce as he turns to the Alpha. "You look real mad when you like something, you know that?" Taehyung snorts.

Swallowing around his mouthful, Jeongguk licks his lips. "My hyung tells me I look like I want to fight the food," he agrees, chuckling. "Perfect description," the elder grins, leaning forward to set down his drink. "You do look pretty angry."

Huffing, Jeongguk wraps some bulgogi in a kale leaf, stuffing it into his mouth with a frown. "'S good," he muffles, chewing thoughtfully. "I can see that now," Taehyung leans back on the sofa and just watches him, looking pleased by his reactions. "I'm glad."

Finishing up his with meal with hums of appreciation and small talk between them, Jeongguk leans back against the couch, throwing his head back with a groan. His stomach is full and his body isn't giving hell, at this moment, so he's pretty content.

Closing his eyes, he lets a purr start up in his throat, rumbling softly. Taehyung makes his own rumble down in his throat, laying down and reaching out to gently card his fingers through Jeongguk's hair. "How are you feeling?" "Good," he manages around his purr.

"How do you think our companies faired without us today?" The Alpha asks, his voice soft and curious. "I don't know about yours, but mine is well and good," Jeongguk says with confidence, tilting his head slightly when he scratches at a particularly sensitive spot.

"How so?" Forcefully stopping the purr rumbling in his chest, the Omega clears his throat. "Jimin-ssi is good at his job. There's no doubt in my mind that the conference went well and that everything is in order." Taehyung hums, smiling. "I can say the same for my employees."

"Yeah," he sighs softly, sounding relaxed. "Jeongguk-ah?" "Hm?" Taehyung shifts to sitting on the couch, his movement making Jeongguk open his eyes curiously. His expression is stern, his tongue coming out to kick his lips nervously. "Can you tell me about yourself?"

Shuffling onto his feet, Jeongguk plops down on the couch, facing the male with his legs crossing comfortably under him. "What about?" The elder shrugs, drawing patterns with his finger on the fabric. "I don't know. Your life story, maybe? If you're comfortable, of course."

Jeongguk parts his lips to reply, his mind racing. Just when he's about to speak on the matter, his phone pings loudly from the other room, going off three or four times in succession. Taehyung frowns at the sound, moving to stand. "I'll get it for you."

"No, that's not necessary--" He gets cut off when the notifications go off again, making him huff. The Alpha offers him a sympathetic smile, standing up and padding out of the living room and into the guest room. Jeongguk promptly sighs, crossing his arms over his chest.

Taehyung hands him his phone when he returns, the younger gratefully taking the device out of his hands. When he sees who the messages are from, he frowns, opening up their texts.

"Is everything okay?" The Alpha asks, Jeongguk glancing up at him before looking back down at the screen. "Uhmm, maybe? It's Jimin hyung. He's being cryptic." "Cryptic?" "Mhmm," Jeongguk hums in confirmation, typing out his response. "He's asking if I've seen the news."

Taehyung hums in understanding, grabbing his mug from earlier and taking a few sips of his lukewarm tea. "Did he say why?" "Speculations, apparently?" "About what?" "Not sure yet," Jeongguk looks up at him, shrugging. "He hasn't responded."

Just then, he gets a response with an image attached, looking down at his phone. His eyes widen when he sees what it's about, eyebrows shooting high into his fringe.

"Taehyung-hyung, do you know anything about what the press is saying about us?" The Alpha looks up, tilting his head while Jeongguk types out a response. "I know they saw us leaving together. There were some articles about our no-show at the conference, too."

The Omega nods his head, pursing his lips in agreement. He's about to mention something else when Jimin sends him some more information, his blood running cold. Taehyung snaps his head up at the first sign of his distress, letting out a sound in question.

At first, he feels a sense of upset, staring down at the article about his scent blankly. He asks Jimin to send him the link, scrolling through the words with his distress growing. Taehyung watches him with dark eyes, no doubt wanted to know what's wrong.

When he gets to the end of the article, he reads the name of the journalist, his eyes widening before narrowing angrily. Immediately, he's calling up his secretary, his gaze fierce as he burns a hole into the coffee table. /"It's not as bad as it seems,"/ Jimin starts.

"I don't care how bad it looks," Jeongguk growls. "I know that damn reporter. I want her confiscated." The Alpha frowns, picking up hints and details from his conversation as he talks. /"For which article?"/

"The one about my scent," he grits out. "She got real close and personal this morning. I would have thought Taehyung-ssi's growl would have been warning enough." He flits his gaze over to the male in question, watching the way his eyes darken. Now they're on the same page.

Jeongguk can hear Jimin typing away on his computer on the other line. /"Is there anything specific I should know about her?"/ "The fact that she doesn't know common decency and personal space should give you a pretty good idea." /"Noted,"/ he hums, rustling around.

/"How are you feeling?"/ "At the moment, annoyed," Jeongguk huffs, lifting his head only slightly when Taehyung moves closer to him, their thighs touching. He feels himself calm down a little at his scent, eyelids fluttering closed. He takes a deep inhale. /"Physically?"/

"Tired," he replies, humming. "Mentally drained, not so much physically." /"You say that and yet you weren't the one hosting six other fashion industries today,"/ Jimin complains. "Sorry," Jeongguk slumps his head forward when two fingers come up to massage his neck.

"I'm going through some things right now." /"Hmm,"/ Jimin hums, clacking away on his computer. /"Just make sure to take care of yourself. And tell Taehyungie I said 'hi'."/ "Will do," he mumbles, stifling a relaxed moan at the pressure on his neck. "Go home soon."

/"Whatever you say, boss man."/ Jeongguk can just smell the sarcasm and the eye roll. He hangs up the phone a moment later, tossing it onto the table. The Omega whines, high-pitched, when Taehyung digs his thumb into the juncture between his neck and shoulder, going pliant.

"Are you okay?" Taehyung asks him lowly, continuing to massage his nape with skilled fingers. The heat-riddled part of Jeongguk's brain absentmindedly wonders what else he could do with those fingers. "Feels good," he slurs, opening his eyes, vision hazy. The elder smiles.

Jeongguk has to blink a few times when the Alpha pulls away, ridding his brain of the fog that surfaced in such a short time. Once oriented, he reaches up and cups a hand over his nape, frowning at Taehyung. "What was that?" The Alpha shrugs, standing.

"You seemed tense, so I used a submissive-type technique to relax you." "That was weird," Jeongguk mutters, rubbing over his neck with furrowed brows. "It's like I lost control of my body." "You went into an instinctual headspace," Taehyung offers him a hand.

Jeongguk takes it, letting himself be pulled up. "It still felt weird," he huffs. "Please warn me the next time you do that." A teasing smirk rests on Taehyung's lips as he gently pulls the younger towards the guest bedroom. "No promises."

Once inside, Jeongguk feels a spark of pain, staring down at his ruined nest. He whines quietly, Taehyung offering comfort with a hand rubbing down his back. "Would you like me to help you rebuild your nest?" Instinctively, Jeongguk moves. He even surprises himself by doing it.

He spins around and throws his arms around Taehyung's shoulders, pressing his body up against the older male. The Alpha almost stumbles at the sudden added weight, his hands hovering by Jeongguk's shoulders but never quite touching him.

The younger forcefully prevents himself from pushing his face against Taehyung's scent glands, just hugging him close. Slowly, the elder relaxes, cautiously snaking his arms around Jeongguk's waist, holding him. The Omega let's out a content sound, nuzzling into his shirt.

When he pulls back, it's just enough to look into Taehyung's eyes, the two of them sharing breaths. "I'd love it if you could help me rebuild my nest," he says shyly, searching the male's eyes. "If that's okay with you?" A rumble vibrates in Taehyung's chest. "I'd love to."

Grabbing his hands, Jeongguk pulls him towards the bed, almost tripping over the piles of blankets and pillows on the floor. He giggles when they stumble, his butt falling onto the bed and Taehyung catching himself on the edge, eyes widening in mock panic.

"You're trying to murder me," he concludes cheekily, turning to properly sit down on the bed. Jeongguk grins at him, moving to get down on his knees on the floor, sifting through the mess. "You're going to stay there while I grab things."

Something unreadable flickers over Taehyung's expression when he realizes his role. "I'm going to be building it?" "Mhmm," the Omega hums, feeling something warm settle in his chest as he vocalizes it out loud. "Want your scent on my nest."

"What if I don't do it correctly?" There's uncertainty in his voice. "It's /your/ nest." Jeongguk pauses in what he's doing, something coming as a realization to him as he sits there, running Taehyung's words over and over again in his head. He's right. Absolutely right.

This nest isn't Taehyung's. It belongs to Jeongguk. What he's doing is abnormal, even for Omegas. He knows that much. The only time someone is usually allowed into an Omega's nest is if they are mates. Does that mean he thinks of Taehyung as his mate?

But they don't know each other. They know anything about one another except for what they've spoken about in passing. Is this wrong? Jeongguk can't tell. It feels right to welcome him into his nest, to ask him to help rebuilding. So, why is he suddenly unsure?

Anxiety bubbles in his chest and he whines softly, deflating. "I'm... I'm sorry. I don't know what I'm doing." Taehyung softens, moving off the bed to sit down beside him, offering him a small smile. "Do you want to talk about what's bothering you?"

"I'm projecting," Jeongguk blurts, feeling overwhelmed too quickly. "At first, I thought I was simply letting my instincts free, since I've hiding them for so long," he looks down at his palms, eyes stinging. "But I realize now I've been projecting onto you. I'm sorry."

Humming, Taehyung sits crossed legged on the floor, grabbing for a blanket and folding it with skilled hands. "It's true, you have been projecting." Jeongguk whines, ashamed. "But I'm not upset at you for doing so," the Alpha continues, putting the blanket on the bed.

He looks at the younger, eyes softenening. "As much as I'd like to help you with your nest this time around I'm afraid it would be inappropriate due to the nature of our relationship." "Yeah," Jeongguk grabs his favorite blanket -- the crocheted forest green one. "You're right."

He runs his thumbs over the fabric, feeling s lump settle in his throat. "Earlier, you asked me if I could tell you my life story." "Only if you're comfortable." Jeongguk nods, giving the older male a sad smile. "I'd like to tell you. I've kind of been bottling it up..."

He sighs, moving into a more comfortable sitting position, resting his back against the side of the bed. "Only Namjoon hyung -- my roommate -- knows about my predicament." Taehyung leans back and joins him, listening quietly as Jeongguk talks.

"When I was sixteen years old, my parents always thought I would be an Alpha," he starts, remembering a time in his life where his parents actually cared. "I develop muscle easy, even though it's hard to maintain it all the time. And I'm more masculine than most Omega.

"Immediately, my parents thought I'd be an Alpha. They made all these preparations for my presentation. But, well, it never came," he shrugs, thinking back to his seventeenth birthday and the disappointment. "Three years later, when I was nineteen, almost twenty, I presented."

"At this point, my parents thought I was a Beta, since I never presented. My scent had never developed, my instincts, everything." He takes a deep breath, clutching the blanket in his hands. "When I finally did present, my father was pissed, as you can imagine.

"Omegas aren't allowed to do higher education without being on a separate curriculum. At this time, I had already started college. I was in my Freshman year," Jeongguk swallows, getting lost in the memories. "Namjoon hyung was the one who found me during my presentation."

"It happened while you were /at/ the college?!" Taehyung stares at him, horrified. "Oh my god, that must have been horrible." Jeongguk nods, pursing his lips. "You can imagine how scared I was. An Alpha approaching an Omega during their presentation... I cried that day.

"Namjoon hyung never had any intention in hurting me, though," he continues, a small smile curling his lips. "You kind of remind me of him -- the panicked ease in which he got me off campus and to the dorms safely. We bonded immediately." "Is he your pack?"

Jeongguk shakes his head at the question, humming. "Him and I don't have a pack. We've bonded like siblings, sure, but we're not packmates. If you asked me why, I couldn't tell you. It's like a silent agreement between us," he explains, frowning. "I can understand that."

The younger offers him a small smile, looking back down at the blanket in his lap. "But yeah, that's how I met Namjoon hyung. A few days later, I arrived back in Busan to visit my family and tell them in person." His expression hardens, chewing the inside of his cheek.

"The moment I walked through the door and my father took a whiff of my scent, I was being backhanded." Taehyung stiffens, watching him with wide eyes. "Apparently, I should have told them right away. He went a four-hour long tangent about how my subgender will ruin his life."

The Alpha lets out a quiet rumble, his hands clenched where they set on his thighs. "That's fucked up. It's not like you can control how you're born," he fumes. "And how in the hell would /your/ subgender ruin /his/ life?" Jeongguk shrugs, "I can't answer that. I wouldn't know."

"He ended up forcing me to take online classes for the rest of the semester, taking away my campus privileges. From that moment on, he would 'discipline' me in the way 'omegas are meant to be disciplined'." Jeongguk shuffles onto his knees, his back facing Taehyung.

Pulling the ribbon on the robe, he lets the cotton fall, hearing Taehyung's sharp exhale once his back is exposed. He fists the hem of the robe, forcing himself to not cover up, to hide. Jeongguk wants him to know. Know what he's been through, see what he's had to deal with.

"Are these...?" Taehyung hovers his fingers over the exposed scars, goosebumps rising on Jeongguk's skin even though he's not touching him. "Belt welts," the younger whispers, finding he can't speak any louder. "He punished me at least once a week. Twice, if I was unlucky."

"If he wasn't your father, I would track him down and snap his neck," Taehyung growls, moving away from his back. Jeongguk covers his shoulders and backside a moment later, quickly tying the knot to the ribbon. His hands tremble. "If I was strong enough, I would do it myself."

Jeongguk let's out a shaky exhale, taking a deep breath. "But I wouldn't do that to my mother. She might not love him anymore, but breaking a mating bond is worse than death." "How did she even love that asshole to begin with?" Taehyung growls. "He wasn't always heartless."

The Omega shakes his head, not expanding on that statement. "As it was, he would prevent me from doing things and would blame me for them, even if I didn't have anything to do with it. "My mother finally thought that enough was enough. She got ahold of some specialists.

"And that's how I obtained my suppressants," Jeongguk looks up to make eye contact with Taehyung, something sad in his gaze. "I attended the university the following semester and the rest... well, you know it." "You're so strong, Jeongguk-ssi," Taehyung says softly, genuine.

"I--" His phone starts blaring from in the living room, cutting him off. Before Taehyung can get up to retrieve it, he pushes himself onto his feet, padding out of the room. Upon getting to the living room, he makes a beeline for the coffee table, picking up the device.

His blood runs cold as he sees the caller ID. The fucking bastard. Taehyung comes up behind him, nosily taking a peek over his shoulder at his phone. He curses out loud at seeing the caller, glaring at his phone. It's like he knew Jeongguk was talking about him.

Throwing Taehyung an apologetic look to the older male, Jeongguk takes a few steps away from the Alpha. He takes the call, putting it up to his ear. "Abeoji," he greets, voice quiet. "This is a surprise."

/"I didn't call for pleasantries, Jeongguk,"/ the man gruffs over the phone, his voice worn by years of smoking. /"You're all over the news."/ "I'm aware," Jeongguk grits his teeth, glaring at the wall to prevent himself from saying something he shouldn't.

/"Get it fixed. I didn't hire that publicist for you for nothing."/ Tonguing his left cheek, Jeongguk huffs. "I fired her two years ago. I told you that." /"Ungrateful--"/ "Look," the Omega exhales loudly, feeling a headache start. "You don't have authority at my company."

/"The fuck I don't. I'm the chairman."/ "In name only," Jeongguk snaps, fuming. "You threatened me to put your damn name on the contract giving you what, three percent? You can't change anything, Abeoji. This is /my/ company. You can fuck off." /"Be careful what you wish for."/

"Or what?" Jeongguk laughs humorlessly, feeling pain start to throb again in his abdomen. "You'll make my life a living hell? You've already succeeded in doing that." He just wants to curl up in his nest and sleep. Maybe cuddle, too.

It's silent on the other line for a moment. For some reason, that silence sends a cold sweat over his brow, his hands turning to ice. /"I could make you lose everything,"/ his father finally decides, making Jeongguk growl. "I'd like to see you try."

And just like that, he hangs up the call, feeling much more mentally exhausted after the interaction. He almost stumbles once he lets his arm fall from his face, looking up at the ceiling and taking a few deep breaths. Fucking asshole. "God, I hate him," he mumbles sighing.

"I don't even know the guy and I can second that," Taehyung agrees, coming up beside him and grabbing his hand. Jeongguk lets him gently pull him towards the couch, sitting down with a groan. "All he wants is control over me. He's not as bad as he used to be but..."

"He's still a dick," Taehyung concludes, getting comfortable on the sofa. "What did he want?" "For me to clear my name with the media," Jeongguk shrugs, turning his phone over again and again in his hands. "I don't know how it affects him. It's /my/ company."

"Perhaps he thinks he's entitled," the Alpha gruffs. "Because he's your father." "I'm twenty-six years old," Jeongguk says fiercely, looking at the elder with conviction. "I don't need to be baby sat like some child. He needs to get that through his thick skull."

Taehyung smiles, understanding; "I believe you." Taking a deep breath, Jeongguk calms down, deflating back against the couch. At this point, his spasms have started up again and his abdomen is starting to get painful. He groans, closing his eyes with a quiet noise of distress.

"Pains, again?" Taehyung moves closer to him, hovering next to him, looking a little lost. "What can I do for you?" The younger shakes his head, opening his eyes and slightly leaning his head towards him. "I don't... It's not appropriate." "Transparency, Jeongguk-ah."

The Omega blows out a breath, staring up at the ceiling before relenting. "Cuddle...?" Something in Taehyung's expression lights up and he tries to hide it, smiling not unkindly. "If that's what you'd like, I wouldn't mind being the big spoon."

Jeongguk scowls. "You say that like I was going to ask you to be the little spoon." "You seem like a big spoon." "Fuck that, I love being held." Taehyung grins while the Omega uses the shooing motion to get him off the couch.

Once standing, Jeongguk also stands, motion for him to lay down. Chuckling softly to himself, Taehyung lays down horizontally on the couch, laying on his side so there's plenty of room for the younger. Jeongguk lays down next to the Alpha, nodding to his question gaze.

Immediately, Taehyung curls him close, an arm around his waist, one leg between his thighs and the other gently thrown over his calf. It's spontaneous, the way Jeongguk's body gives in to the hold, relaxing against the couch and cuddling close.

"Oh," Jeongguk breathes, suddenly feeling winded with the male so close. "You're a cuddler." "Mhmm," Taehyung hums, satisfied. "That I am. And you're fairly comfortable." "But I'm all muscle," the younger retorts softly, pouting. "I can't be that comfortable." "Exquisite."

Huffing, the younger cautiously rests his head against Taehyung's chest, his nose pressing gently into his shirt. He's hit with the strong scent of clean linen, sandalwood, and sage, his eyelids growing droopy. An involuntary purr starts up in his chest as he closes his eyes.

Humming in response to the sound, Taehyung rests his chin over the crown of Jeongguk's head, enveloping the other male. Although they may be the same size, and Jeongguk may be broader in shoulder-width, he still ends up feeling smaller next to the male.

And somehow, it makes him feel safe. Or at least cared for. Drowsiness pulls at his limbs again, making him let out a quiet whine. He's been sleeping so much today. At least his abdomen isn't in pain anymore. It's more of a dull throb, one he can't feel as much.

His skin feels feverish still, flushed a sickly red color, but that's not something he can control. Even with sticky skin and slicked back hair, he still attaches himself to Taehyung. Jeongguk's too comfortable and content to go anywhere else.

"When you wake up, we'll need to get you some fluids," the Alpha murmurs by his ear. "Don't want you to leave this time," Jeongguk grumbles back, nuzzling into his shirt. "Please don't go away. You're always gone when I wake up." Although hesitant, Taehyung agrees; "Alright."

When he's awake, Jeongguk finds the world always so dark and grey. Unlike his dreams that are full of color and abstract shapes. Usually, he finds his dreams a comfort, an escape from the hardships and tough times of the present.

When he sleep this time, however, he finds he misses the warm and blooming colors of the daytime world. He's never seen his dreams look so dim in comparison. He wakes to the sound of a husky baritone voice talking, a growl rumbling quietly.

Jeongguk's eyes flutter open and it takes a moment for him to orient himself. He's laying with his back to the couch, his head resting in Taehyung's lap. As he opens his eyes, he feels the male's fingers gently carding through his hair -- he likes to do that it seems.

The Alpha is on the phone, speaking in hushed but angry tones. He doesn't seem to notice Jeongguk being away as he continues to talk into the receiver. "Look, I don't care what means necessary you have to take. Get that article off the internet, now."

Taehyung clenches his jaw, expression darkening at the response he receives. "You can't be fucking serious. I'm above the media... get it fixed, make it vanish, do whatever you can, Jin. This is not a game, this is his life on the line."

With that last snarled statement, he hangs up the phone. Jeongguk watches as he throws the phone down loudly, running a hand through his hair. Without meaning to, he flinches at the sound of the phone smacking against the glass coffee table.

Immediately, Taehyung is looking down at him, his expression a complete 180-degrees from what it was a moment ago. "Hey," he whispers, gaze softening. "I'm sorry, did I wake you?" Jeongguk shakes his head, stifling a yawn. "No... who was that?"

"Oh, on the phone?" Taehyung waves his free hand dismissively, his right hand still playing with Jeongguk's hair. "Just my secretary, Kim Seokjin hyung. You've met before, right?" "Yeah," the younger agrees, humming as his eyes close again. "You sounded angry, though."

"Something going on in the company," Taehyung denies, huffing. "Sometimes, I don't know what to do with my employees. One moment, they're helping me, and the next they're telling me they can't." "I know what that feels like," Jeongguk chuckles lightly. "We ask a lot of them."

Eyelids fluttering, Jeongguk smacks his lips together, carefully rising up into a sitting position. Taehyung's hand leaves his hair. "Can I get some water...?" He asks softly, his mouth feeling dry and with a bad taste. "Of course!" Taehyung gets up, moving towards the kitchen.

Spotting the darkness of the sky, Jeongguk grabs for his own phone off the coffee table, seeing that it's almost ten o'clock in the evening. When he sees the texts marked urgent from his secretary, he frowns, opening them up.

Anxiety churns through his stomach as he reads down the messages, his brows furrowing more and more as he sees the urgency and fear in Jimin's remarks. He clicks on the images linked to the messages a moment later, his breath getting stuck in his throat.

Icy cold panic takes a hold of his heart as he scrolls through the link. Excerpts from articles, images and snippets of videos from this morning's departure. News footage of the public either agreeing or disagreeing with the facts given to them.

A tip from an anonymous reporter. His hands shake after reading through a few of the claims and news articles in the package. Before he knows it, his vision is blurring and his phone falls from his hands onto the couch.

Jeongguk feels like he's suffocating, a ringing starting up in his ears. They know. Everyone knows. How they know, he can't be sure. The security guard? The reporter? Fuck, he can't think straight. Everyone knows that he's an Omega. He can't fucking breathe.

"...gguk..." Tears run down his cheeks and there's cotton in his ears but he can't feel or hear anything. His body feels numb, his mouth numb. He can't speak, he can't breathe. His thoughts cloud over him and he can't seem to make them go away.

"...Jeongguk!" His eyes flutter at the sound of his name breaking through the static. There's a person there, and he's calling his name. His lips move around words but Jeongguk can't hear them. Can't hear anything. The male reaches out and touches his face.

Oh. He can feel that. It's warm. "Jeongguk, you need to breathe," the male says frantically. Wait, his cheeks are wet. Is he crying too? Jeongguk tries to take in a breath of air, his throat stuttering and suddenly he's coughing, heaving, wheezing.

"That's it," the deep voice of the male continues to speak, the static in his ears still present but not as string. "Breathe, I know it hurts. Inhale, 2, 3, 4, that's it. Now exhale." Jeongguk chokes on a sob, his chest rising and falling quickly with his stilted breaths.

Listening to the directions of the male in front of him -- he is Taehyung. Kim Taehyung, -- he slowly regains his conscience. "Hey, shh, shh, you're okay," Taehyung soothes softly when Jeongguk fists a hand in the elder's shirt, sobbing loudly into the fabric.

"I'm not," he forces out around his cries. God, he sounds horrible. "They know, everyone knows!" He sounds hysterical. Probably looks hysterical too. This is his worst nightmare coming to fruition. His worst fear. Nothing is okay anymore.

"First off," Taehyung say as calmly as possible. "I'm going to need you to calm down, Jeongguk-ah." The Omega lets out a growl, leaning back and away from him. "How do you expect me to-- to calm down?" His breathing is ragged, his body still feeling heavy from the come-down.

Looking down at his hands, he clenches them into fists, trying to stop their shaking. He hasn't had a panic attack in years. Especially not one as bad as the one that just shook through his body. The stickiness of tears on his cheeks reminds him of how weak he really is.

"Look," Taehyung takes a deep breath, giving him his space. "I know this situation looks bad--" "It /is/ bad." "-- Okay, yes, maybe it is bad. But we can work through it together." "How do you expect I do that?" Jeongguk glares at him. "Do you have any idea /how/, Taehyung?"

"Jeongguk-ssi, I said 'we'," the elder tries to explain. "It's a bad situation, I know. People might ve doubling your abilities or feel betrayed by you. But they can't doubt what you've managed to do up to this point. /You/ did all those things. They can't overlook that."

"You don't seem to understand," Jeongguk gets up from the couch, almost stumbling when his knees give out, catching himself on the arm of the sofa. Taehyung quickly stands up, hovering close enough to catch him but far enough to keep his distance.

"The media somehow got ahold of that information," the younger's brain works too quickly, going over scenarios and conversations in his head to try and figure it out. "Who knows what else they have on me but haven't released yet." "Jeongguk-ssi."

"Not to mention the fact that I'm now out as an Omega," Jeongguk moves away from the couch once his legs come back online. He starts pacing. "What will my mother think? Will my employees even welcome me back into the office? Oh God, what about the Fall Collections?"

"Jeongguk-ssi," Taehyung tries again, getting close to him. When he puts a hand on his shoulder, the Omega lashes out, slapping the palm away. Jeongguk looks at him with wide eyes, unseeing. "Duh- don't hurt me." This time, the words are fearful. He's not looking at Taehyung.

"Look at me, Jeongguk," the Alpha reaches up and cups his face, making him flinch. Jeongguk blinks furiously, the fog in his gaze receding.

"Jiminie is on his way here with Seokjin hyung, my secretary. We also have a publicist from my company coming too. We're going to work this out." He feels small again, pulling away from Taehyung. "But... they'll see me." "I told them both what's going on."

Jeongguk curls his arms around his body, taking a few unsteady steps away from him. "You told them...?" "Not the complete details," Taehyung rushes out when he sees the younger closing off. "Just that we need a solution to get the press off our back for a while."

The younger lets out a sound of distress from in his throat, falling back onto the couch with a muted thump. "I can't believe this is happening." A knock at the apartment door has Taehyung leaving him with a lingering look, moving to answer the door.

The person he opens up to speaks in hushed tones, Jeongguk not paying attention to their conversation as he contemplates what to do next. Taking a deep breath, he calms his nerves, running rational decions through his head. There has to be something he can do.

More than likely, the articles and newsletters are rumors. Even so, if he were to try and dissipate the rumors or combat against them, the press and the public would want an official statement -- with viable proof -- for it all to blow over.

He obviously can't disclose his presentation papers. Perhaps he can find someone to falsify the information, but it wouldn't explain his scent and its potency. Taehyung said that scent blockers were a thing, but is it possible to hide his scent forever? He doubts it.

He rests his chin on his clasped hands, elbows digging into his knees while he stares intently at the edge of the coffee table. As though the piece of furniture can solve his problems. There's no doubt this anonymous tip came from his father. The man did threaten his company.

With only a few different options to go through, Jeongguk is a little lost on what would be the best decision to take. Would denying the rumors calm the uproar? Or will it make the scene even bigger? What would happen if he were to live as he is, an Omega? Then what?

"Jeongguk-ssi," Taehyung calls, breaking him out of his intense staring match. He looks up, blinking his eyes a few times to rid the spots from his vision. In front of him stands -- to his surprise -- another Omega, the male deft and slender in build.

"Hello, Jeon Jeongguk-ssi," the male bows, a tablet and folders clutched to his chest. "My name is Jung Hoseok. I am Taehyung-ssi's publicist." Eyebrows shooting high into his fringe, Jeongguk turns his gaze to the Alpha, shocked. "An Omega?" He asks genuinely, impressed.

"Our industry, as does many others, do not take Omegan employees and their abilities for as they are simply because of their subgender," Taehyung smiles, moving to grab one of the dining chairs from the kitchen. He sets it across from the couch, scooting the coffee table over.

"Hoseok hyung was very persistent in the position, despite my hesitancy to let him join amongst our ranks. I never doubted his abilities, I just didn't know what the higher ups would think of my decision." Taehyung places another chair adjacent to the former, satisfied.

"Taehyung-ssi told me I'd be given a lot of hell until I proved myself within the company," the male speaks for himself, his lips curving up into a heart-like smile, eyes turning to crescents. "It was hard, sure, bur I've never regretted my decision. I am very accepted now."

"You're very strong for that," Jeongguk feels himself soften and relax around the older male. "You've come far and I'm sure you'll continue to show your potential." "You're strong yourself, Jeongguk-ssi," Hoseok quickly deflects, grinning.

"Hiding for so many years. It must have been hard. A lot of Omegas on the streets are looking up to you, right now. You're proof that /is/ possible for us to make a difference in this society." "Ah," the young CEO looks down, averting his gaze. "I don't know about that."

He feels too much shame at his true subgender, and the fear that comes with it. Hiding for years can seem strong in some people's eyes, sure. But he doesn't deserve their praise. Jeongguk has only done what he has to survive. He's not an influence, not the way Hoseok thinks.

Taehyung watches their exchange quietly before moving again towards the door to the apartment, someone rapping their knuckles on the door insisted through the wood. Jeongguk feels himself tense up when two voices speak to Taehyung, one more familiar than the other.

Hoseok settles for sitting down on one of the offered dining chairs, putting his tablet and file folders down on the coffee table. His clothing is very eccentric: bright yellows and oranges covered by a white zip-up jacket. Quite the combination, if Jeongguk is honest.

"Jeongguk-ssi," that familiar tenor voice comes towards him, the younger taking a depe breath before looking up to greet him. Jimin's hair is disheveled, his button-down open in the front, only holding on by a few buttons. He looks worried as he looks at the younger, frowning.

His nostrils flare as he takes in the sight of the younger male, no doubt taking in his strong scent. It makes Jeongguk lean back into the couch cushions, wanting to disappear. "Are you okay?" Jimin asks, softening once he notices Jeongguk's instinctive curling away from him.

"Define okay," the younger mumbles, not meeting his eyes. "I'm peachy." "I'm so sorry this happened--" "Jimin hyung," Jeongguk cuts his gaze into his secretary, making the elder snap his mouth shut on his apology. "I don't want to hear that right now."

Jimin opens and closes him mouth for a moment before deflating, his shoulders sagging. "Oh." "Jeongguk-ah, be nice to your hyung," Taehyung scolds, moving around the couch to plop down next to the Omega. He pinches behind the younger's ear, making Jeongguk growl, glaring.

Jimin watches the exchange with confusion, cautiously moving towards the other side of Taehyung and sitting down on the couch. "Since when did you guys get so close?" The final newcomer gracefully makes himself known, sitting down on the chair next to Hoseok.

He crosses a leg over the other, his intense gaze boring in Jeongguk where he sits on the couch. Feeling the burn of the Alpha's eyes, Jeongguk looks up, meeting the elder's gaze challengingly. Kim Seokjin has always been the mysterious type.

Whenever he saw the older male with Taehyung during conventions and conferences, he's had this very quiet but intimidating aura about him. He didn't say much, and when he did, it usually was within good reason. Either that or he was cracking jokes at other people's expense.

"I think," Seokjin starts, moving his gaze to Taehyung. His voice is like smooth honey, eyes cat-like in nature when he's concentrating. "We should put together a scandal." "Excuse me?" Jeongguk narrows his eyes at the Alpha. "How in the hell is a scandal meant to fix things?"

"It's not," the eldest of the group shrugs, pointing a finger at Jeongguk. "It's meant to make things more complicated. More chaotic. When the public is thrown through a loop about one thing, distract them with something bigger." Hoseok listens in, tilting his head.

"He has a point." Jeongguk moves his glare onto the other Omega, watching the way the publicist raises his hands in defense. "Rumors usually circulate and become wide-spread unless tamed. If we can give them a bigger story to talk about, the original will be buried."

Taehyung hooks an arm around Jeongguk's shoulders, his scent helping to relax the younger's nerves and keep his head level. He understands what they're saying, he really does. But will a scandal really help him? Or will it make everything worse in the long run?

Exhaling softly, Jeongguk meets Seokjin's gaze, lips in a thin line. "What are my options?" The Alpha hums, curling his index and thumb close together, holding up the number three. "Option A) make up a scandal. B) falsify and deny. Or C) live as an Omega."

Jeongguk feels Taehyung's arm tighten briefly at the mention of the last option, probably wanting to comfort him but not knowing how. Out of everyone, the male knows what Jeongguk has had go through and why he hides so thoroughly. What option would be the right one?

Turning to Jimin, he makes up a decision. "Show me the articles and news broadcasts." "Wha-- which ones?" His secretary stutters, not expecting the sudden direction of attention. He turns on his tablet, punching in his code and skimming through the news networks.

"The ones where people accept me," he replies, making four pairs of eyes look at him. Taehyung leans in close, his lips almost brushing the younger's ear. "You sure about this?" "I don't know yet," Jeongguk shakes his head. "I just want to see."

Jimin passes him the tablet after a few minutes of searching, letting Jeongguk scroll through and watch clips of videos. After he's done reading and watching, he passes it back, taking a deep breath. There's more positive reaction than he thought.

"How bad would the backlash be if I continued as I am?" He asks, turning towards Hoseok. "Well, being that you never officially came out with your subgender throughout your years in the industry, I'd say the backlash would be fifty-fifty."

"What about the internal influences?" Jeongguk looks to Jimin and Taehyung now. "How bad would the higher-ups think of me?" "Pretty poorly," Taehyung winces, his gaze skimming over Hoseok. "It took Hoseok hyung six months of fighting to be accepted for his skills."

"Your employees still think highly of you," his secretary adds, offering him a small smile. "By what I've seen, no one blames you for hiding. And there aren't many people who are upset about this outcome, either. They're all still behind you, Jeongguk-ah." That's reassuring.

Even if he were to tell everyone now that he's an Omega, it wouldn't change the fact that he's the CEO of one of the biggest brands in fashion right now. They can't outright fire him just because of his subgender.

And if by what he's hearing is true, other Omegas see him as an icon. Someone they can look up to and prove to them that yes, they can be successful. Then can follow their dreams.

He doesn't know how any of this will change how society works, but he can only hope things will start to shift. "Jimin-ssi," he looks at the blonde male, smiling softly despite the anxiety that churns in his stomach. "Call for a press conference the day after tomorrow."

Immediately, Jimin is pulling out his phone, messaging their faculty in the office. "What would you like me to tell them?" "That I'm going to make an official announcement and statement," Jeongguk looks down towards his hands, staring at his palms. "I just hope this works out."

"What have you decided on?" Taehyung looks at him curiously. "That I'm going to be my true self," he curls in a little on himself at the admittance. "Hiding is tiring. And if me coming out can make a difference for other Omegas in our society... then why not?"

"You're playing a dangerous game, Jeongguk-ssi," Seokjin comments, intrigued. "I hope you're ready for what's coming your way." "I'll never be ready," Jeongguk gives him a tight-lipped smile. "But that doesn't mean it will go away. I'd rather face it all then watch it burn."

Part Two <3333

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