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The Masquerade

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Anticipation boils in his blood, chasing whatever trace of tiredness he might've had. He's spent the night preparing for this meeting and despite the many articles he's read, none offered a picture of his soon to be business partner. Something about the man wanting to keep private. Seokjin respects that, but he can't help being a little bitter. He wants a face to attach to all the good deals Taehyung has secured, wants a face to hate. Without a picture for it, Seokjin's hostility is diluted and muted and he has no choice but to keep charging it up.

It's the first time he's meeting the infamous Kim Taehyung, a CEO with a reputation as fierce Seokjin's. A ruthless businessman. A lot of people on the market are scared they'll get along and strike a deal. That's the end goal of course, to get a deal beneficial to both of them, but Seokjin knows from experience it's easier said than done, both of them will fight hard to get the upper hand and more benefits.

He smiles and adjusts his jacket. He's dressed the part, wore contact lenses instead of glasses and had his hair slicked back.

The clicking heels draw his attention to the door and he stands.

He grins, the sounds are getting closer, making something rise in him like a tide and he's almost holding his breath.

And then Taehyung walks in and Seokjin's smile falls.

Fucking Hell.

He falters and barely surpasses a gasp. 

Taehyung is breathtaking .

He's definitely young, god he's young —can't be a year over twenty five. A flash of naïveté behind the façade he's assembling. His jet black hair is slicked back, leaving his forehead exposed, a perfect nose and a sharp yet delicate jawline. Full, red lips and round cheeks. His eyes are big and intense, whiskey amber, swirling with something like surprise.

Taehyung bows and Seokjin moves to respond on an autopilot honed by years of experience. Shake hands, nod politely. Inside, his bones are quaking.

They sit and stare at each other for a few seconds and Taehyung visibly collects himself, draws a current of frigid air around him and schools his expression into something less...shocked.

Seokjin wonders what has him so astonished but he himself is gobsmacked and out of the loop. He's in a trance where everything is vivid, the sounds and smells and motions. Colours too vibrant, air too thick

He gets snaps of Taehyung, and he can't concentrate on what he's saying, only on the way his pink lips shape words, the blink of his lashes, the curls draping over the shell of his ears and on his nape. Seokjin's eyes trail down to his neck, the unblemished pale skin and the pulse he swears he can see .

It makes his mouth water, and his teeth grit.

He tries to collect the shreds of his focus, but all he has in his sight is the subtle shine of Taehyung's hair and the moles scattered on his flawless face. Nose, left cheek, right under the line of his right eye, on his bottom lip.

“Seokjin-ssi?” Taehyung says, even his voice is spell-like.

“Yes?”

Taehyung smiles shakily at him, more of a grimace really. He looks down at the papers they're supposed to be reviewing like they're giving him actual pain and Seokjin jolts, suddenly full of concern and the desire to move forward and soothe.

“Let's do this another time?” he hears himself suggesting. And it's not a good idea, if Taehyung is sick or weak for any reason, Seokjin should pressure, climb over it and advance. It's a perfect, golden opportunity, one that he can't expect to find soon and yet he's all too eager to give it up.

It's not just because Taehyung is paling by the second but because Seokjin's stomach is clenching on itself and twisting and it's taking everything in him to keep his breathing under control.

Taehyung nods, tries for another smile that misses the mark and he hurriedly gets up and bows. He takes the papers in a quick, elegant movement and then rushes out of the room, the trace of his clean deodorant leaving Seokjin feeling like someone punched throughout his chest.

He walks back to the car, thoughts swirling in his head like smoke. He can't pin any of them down, each one of them is pushed by a useless detail he caught. A mole, a sweep of lashes, a hint of shine on red lips.

When the driver closes the door after him, Seokjin is nauseated.

Something akin to disappointment brews in him and he’s hit with an out-of-place sense of loss. He shouldn’t be feeling like this and his desire to escape it rushes him to rationalize what happened.

Taehyung must have planned this, perhaps he leaves his pictures out of the media for this very reason. Shock value. And boy did it work. Seokjin feels like a fool, a sick food.

His embarrassment and surprise morphs into something hotter, something stronger and he chases that dark pull and sinks into it. It coils in his gut like a serpent and he seethes. Fucking Kim Taehyung with his tricks and unfairness.

Seokjin will show him how it's done. He might know a trick or too, but he's young and new in business.

Seokjin will eat him alive.

**

Seokjin prepares for the rescheduled meeting like he's going to war: articles, deals, and numbers, over and over again. He's so full of spite he doesn't sleep, the thrum in his blood keeping him energized and jumpy. He wears his finest suit like armor and whispers bad things about Taehyung under his breath.

Despite that, when he thinks of the name, the picture his mind conjures up is not that of an evil alpha taking advantage of his looks. It's one of soft lines and beige ends, a vintage photo with fold lines running through, fading at the edges. Like an old flame, like someone who drove you insane and walked out on you.

Seokjin digs his nails into his thigh and rages.

He fucking hates Kim Taehyung and whatever sick mind game he's getting at.

This time, Taehyung is waiting for him when he arrives and somehow he looks different. Seokjin can't put his finger on it but he seems more composed, standing straighter, his shoulders pulled back and tense and the way he looks at Seokjin is cocky and full of challenge.

A head on approach that makes Seokjin so angry he's grinding his teeth until they hurt.

Taehyung pushes the papers on the table between them and when he speaks, it vibrates through solid surfaces. It's confident and strong. He doesn't give an inch, fighting Seokjin one to one like he's been doing this his entire life.

The back and forth, the subtle insults, the frost in Taehyung's eyes. It leaves him breathless and unhinged. He feels seventeen again, full of hormones and wrath and buzzing for a fight.

Taehyung purses his lips so hard they turn bloodless white. His hands are shaking, and Seokjin can't help but notice how dainty they are. His wrists peek from underneath his shirt, pale skin stretched over bone and veins, almost transparent. It makes him think of Taehyung as something that he can break, and the idea fills him with terror.

And just like that, he deflates like a balloon and all negative feelings seep out of him.

Once he gets there, something else dawns on him.

He's never had so much fun striking a deal, was never so thoroughly challenged, no one has been able to stand against him and hold his own. It's so satisfying, like a good fuck and expensive whiskey.

Taehyung snaps something else about the deal and Seokjin laughs. It's a joyous sound that makes Taehyung flinch, blink many times. Eyes big and confused and for a second, he looks his age. He collects back his cool mask quickly and raises an eyebrow at Seokjin.

“What's so funny?”

“This,” Seokjin says with a grin, pointing at everything around them. “Us.”

“I'm not following.”

Seokjin sighs. He leans forward, threads his fingers over the table and looks Taehyung right in the eye. “We're not going anywhere. If we don't make this fair and easy, we'll keep walking around in circles forever.”

Taehyung narrows his eyes, gaze intense and penetrative. Seokjin folds. “I'm saying a draw is the best we'll both get.”

Taehyung sputters. “Huh?”

Seokjin laughs again. “Don't seem so shocked.”

“I was told you'd tear me apart,” Taehyung says bluntly.

“Oh I want to,” Seokjin tells him, his gut twisting with how much he wants to but he doesn’t stop and consider it. It’s a dangerous path. “But I know my limits, Taehyung-ssi. You're amazing, and this is all I've got. We agree on equal benefits for both of us, or we'll end up dead.”

“You...You're serious. You're just being straightforward about this?”

Seokjin nods.

Taehyung throws his head back and laughs. It's a melodious sound, deep and hearty; it carries Seokjin along. The line of Taehyung's exposed throat is mesmerizing, the careless whisk of his hair as it slides over his ear when he tilts his head to the side. Mirth in his eyes like stars as he regards Seokjin.

“Alright, Seokjin-ssi. No more business games. Let's both say what we want of this and try to accommodate each other.”

“I can live with that.”

Taehyung shakes his head, a small smile sitting on his lips like he can't believe how this went. Seokjin can't either, he's never done this before. But he's thrilled still as they negotiate their way through a contract.

With both of them being honest and forward, it doesn't take long and they get more of it. Seokjin feels good, feels high. He wants to get drunk, wants to play the violin, wants to take a stranger home to his bed.

“Do you want to go for a drink?” He says. Taehyung opens his mouth, rejection clear in his features and the mysterious feeling is back to slithering between his intestines. He can't take a no. “To celebrate a good deal,” he adds. “My treat of course.”

Taehyung looks caged, hesitant. He glances at the table, at something over Seokjin's shoulder then down at his lap. He takes a deep breath before he meets Seokjin's eyes and nods once.

“Okay,” he says.

Seokjin is charmed by the coy act, it's on the complete opposite end to how Taehyung was behaving during the deal negotiation. Seokjin chooses a bar and suggests they take his car.

Halfway there, Taehyung starts squirming on his seat. Distressed as he looks out of the window.

“Is something the matter?” Seokjin asks.

Taehyung shakes his head, messing his hair up then his eyes widen and he blushes. He sits straighter, the bewildered look on his face gets swept away in one of his cool ones.

“I'm alright,” he says.

Seokjin frowns. “Look, I know we're already going there, but if there's something wrong with the place or if you changed your mind, it's okay to tell me. I won't be offended.”

“I hate crowded places,” Taehyung says at last.

Seokjin cocks his head. “Like a phobia?”

“No,” Taehyung laughs. “Not a phobia, just. It's a preference. I can deal if it's necessary.”

“I'm sorry if I made you think you have to,” Seokjin says. “Let me take you home?”

Taehyung bites his bottom lip. Seokjin's throat constricts. He shouldn't be looking there, and he definitely shouldn't make the next offer but his brain has gone on a vacation and it doesn't seem to be in a hurry to return.

“Do you want to have that drink at mine? It's not crowded.” He nearly grimaces at the dumb line but, it's not like he's trying to pick Taehyung up. He's not sure what he's trying. All he knows is that he wants to stay in his space for a little while longer.

Taehyung's cheeks colour again, but this time his acceptance is more relaxed. Seokjin tells his driver about the change of destination and they remain silent the entire way there.

Taehyung's steps are stiff, like he's trying too hard to appear big. He's not small, no. But as he walks in front of Seokjin, Seokjin can't help but notice all the ways that he's delicate. The suit is bigger than he needs it to be, giving an illusion of wider shoulders but Seokjin can see the man is slender, small waist, wide hips. He blinks himself out of it and runs past Taehyung to open the door.

Taehyung is used to luxury, unlike many of Seokjin's usual dates— it’s not a date . He doesn't stop to admire the modern furniture, or praise the ceiling to floor windows with the view. He takes a casual glance around and tells Seokjin his place is nice.

Taehyung removes his jacket, hangs it on the back of a chair, and Seokjin's thoughts are confirmed. He is leaner than his suit is tailored to make him appear and with only the white shirt on, he provokes something in Seokjin's chest.  Something fierce and almost protective.

“Whiskey?” Seokjin asks. It's his go-to drink. Taehyung seems to be caught off guard. “Or wine, maybe?” Seokjin adds, feeling that Taehyung doesn't want a very strong drink.

“Wine please,” he says.

He retrieves a bottle of the best he has and two glasses and heads back to his living room. Taehyung is still standing, looking between the table and the chairs set near the window and the big couch. Seokjin thinks it'd be too friendly to sit on the couch, so he sets the glasses on the table. He takes off his suit jacket and tie, and rolls his sleeves up to his elbows. He'd rather take off his socks too, but Taehyung kept his on for some reason and Seokjin feels like he should follow.

Taehyung sits down and Seokjin takes the chair beside him, pouring them a glass each and pushing Taehyung's to him. Taehyung tips his head in thanks and Seokjin tries not to stare at the movement of his Adam's apple as he swallows and fails miserably. 

He's on edge and excited at the same time and he has no reason for it. Instead of thinking about it too much, he gulps his drink down and goes for another glass. 

“Easy,” Taehyung murmurs. “It's not going to run away.” 

Seokjin feels his ears going red. Taehyung notices too, he seems to be fighting a grin. 

They talk about their companies and how they ended up in their positions. Seokjin climbed his way up over the course of ten years, and Taehyung inherited it from his father. 

“Must be nice,” Taehyung says. “That you took your place by hard work.” 

Seokjin laughs. “It is, but I had no time for anything else. I slept in the office more than I slept at home the first three years.” 

“Do you regret it?”

Seokjin pauses to actually think about it. He's never been asked that before, no one would think he might want something other than being rich and powerful. 

“Not completely, no.”

“But?” Taehyung promotes. 

“How do you know there's a but?” 

Taehyung shrugs. “Just a feeling.” 

“It's a little lonely, sometimes.” 

The silence after his statement is deafening. Taehyung regards him with big, surprised eyes. His cold mask cracks a little, a sheen covers his eyes and he lowers his head in surrender. 

“I accepted that I'd be alone when I decided to follow in my father's footsteps.”

“It doesn't have to be that way for you, you're still young.” 

“Not like you're that old,” Taehyung huffs. Seokjin grins. 

“I tried before. It never worked out.” 

Taehyung leans forward, whispers: “How come? You're…” He doesn't finish and Seokjin has gotten the same compliments from many before. Even Alphas. He's good looking and rich, that's more than a lot have going for them. But that's exactly the problem. 

Taehyung swirls wine in his half-full glass, his eyes cat-like and hypnotizing. Seokjin is on his third and starting to feel a little less reserved.

“It never felt right,” he croaks. 

“Why?”

“They didn't really want me .” He snaps his jaw before he says more. This isn't a pity party and baring himself like that to a rival alpha, even if they're on good terms now, isn't ever a good idea. 

Taehyung looks like he understands and he drops the matter. He takes another sip of the wine, and Seokjin empties his glass and reaches for the bottle. It's not even that late yet. 

They finish their glasses and Seokjin stands up and heads to the kitchen. 

“I don't want more wine,” Taehyung says. “but I'm hungry.” 

“Oh. Of course!”

They didn't have anything after their lunch break and Seokjin feels guilty for not offering earlier. It's past nine now. 

“I'll order something. What would you like?” 

“Anything with meat is fine by me,” Taehyung says. Seokjin laughs. 

“Same. I'll get us burgers.” 

Taehyung asks about the bathroom and Seokjin motions to the door, phone to his ear. 

He rattles off their order and the address and sits on the couch.

After a few minutes of silence, he hears steps behind him then Taehyung's deep voice asks with marvel. 

“You play violin?”

Seokjin turns, sees him standing in front of the glass cabinet where his violin is kept like an heirloom. Seokjin hasn't been in the mood for a long while, he only thought about it today when he closed the deal with Taehyung. 

“Would you play?” Taehyung asks softly and Seokjin hears a different question, hears a plea. 

Play for me.

Seokjin isn't drunk enough to deal with this. No one cares about a talent that he enjoys, it doesn't make him richer. It's enough for them that he knows how, because it's cool. No one wants to actually listen. 

“Maybe after we eat,” he mumbles. 

Taehyung nods and walks to him, settles beside him. The space between them is enough to seat another, but they're closer than they were at the table. And closer than Seokjin's ever been to anyone. 

They don't speak after that. Taehyung rests his head on the back of the couch and closes his eyes and Seokjin stares at the fan of his lashes and the minute movement behind his delicate lids until the food arrives.

There's a subtle something dampening the air, making it heavier and harder to breathe. Seokjin's palms are sweaty and his skin is too tight. By the time they finish, he's trembling head to toe. 

He's never performed before. Never played for someone's sake.

He stands up and walks with slow steps, taking the violin and the bow. He doesn't face Taehyung, keeps his back to the couch when he settles the instrument under his chin. 

“Seokjin-ssi?” 

The formality feels too wrong but he clamps on the urge to tell Taehyung to drop it. He's sinking into something and he knows these petty niceties are his last line and without them he'll plummet. 

“Yes?” 

“Look at me, please.”

Seokjin does. He loses his breath. Taehyung doesn't seem much better, he's panting, staring at Seokjin like he's expecting a miracle. 

Seokjin pulls the bow, the strings moan. He plays with his rising heartbeats, with his labored breath and the shake of his insides. Taehyung's eyes tear up and he clutches at his chest. 

Seokjin plays and plays. 

He stops when his fingers can no longer move, aching and stiff. Taehyung claps, and the smile on his lips makes Seokjin's chest tight. 

He goes and takes a seat beside Taehyung and this time they're pressed together, arms in a line of heat. 

“There's a Masquerade,” Taehyung starts. “We're holding it next Friday night with the Victorian era as a theme. I'd like it very much if you attended.”

Seokjin nods and closes his eyes. He hasn’t played like that in so long, and it feels like the bow was sawing his heart strings. His body is heavy and his lids refuse to open.

He drifts, between waking and sleeping, floating in a hazy daze where everything is possible. 

Like his head pillowed on a firm thigh, tender fingers pushing his hair back. The hum of soft lips on his forehead.

He clings to the dream then slips off. 

When he wakes up, he's on the couch, covered by his jacket and alone. 

On his coffee table lies a small note. 

Thank you for the wonderful night. You play beautifully. 

I hope to see you at the masquerade. 

Kim Taehyung.  

 

**

The music is the only good thing about being trapped in the cage of extravagance that is this hall. Tall walls and vaulted ceilings, chandeliers dangling like waterfalls of light, sparkling blinding yellow. The violins have dancing couples floating on their notes, a high classic melody, something airy and cheerful.

It keeps him from going insane.

He stands in the corner, his stuffy costume threatening to suffocate him, frills and tight belt and even high heels, creating the mood for the supposedly Victorian era ball they're throwing. His mask covers half of his face, black and gold and molded to his features. There's enough of him showing for everyone to recognize him as Kim Seokjin, his height or as the flirty omegas keep telling him, his wide shoulders.

No matter, he doesn’t feel the need to commit to the theme. 

He’s not here for the party.

He can't recognize half the audience, not for how good their disguises are, but because he's never paid attention. He spends his time closing deals and skimming contracts and studying ways to dominate the market, and as such has little desire to memorize people.

Tonight, he's alone. Invited by Taehyung to this stupid show of the rich and powerful. He's yet to find the other Alpha, even when he scans his eyes on the crowd. He doubts someone like Taehyung would go for a heavy disguise so he's reasonably sure his host hasn't arrived yet.

Another piece starts playing and Seokjin smiles, it's too old to be Victorian but it's good. He sways his head to the rhythm, enjoying the dance of violins' delicate chords with the more forceful piano.

“You play violin, right?” A voice as soothing as the symphony says and Seokjin opens his eyes and turns to the man.

The man is tall but slender, a fact made painfully obvious by the leather corset accentuating his waist and the peeks at smooth skin from the wide collar of his white shirt. His bones look delicate, his neck tantalizing and his smell is sweet and subtle.

He's wearing a mask of lace that covers his face to the tip of his nose and melts into dark cloth that hides the rest of his features and ends under his chin, like a veil. His hair is silver, curling below his ears and he's wearing a golden headband. Despite his covered face, Seokjin is mesmerized.

“Do I know you?” Seokjin asks, a cliché line really. He means it as it is, and not as a come on. The omega laughs, a soft yet deep melody.

“You don't,” he says sweetly. “But I do.”

Seokjin offers a palm, and he loses his breath when a dainty hand settles in his. Long fingers and pretty nails emerging from the flow of white, almost sheer long sleeves.

Seokjin swallows and the man tilts his head to the side, his veil slides along his jaw in a tease, draws more attention to the line of his throat.

“May I have this dance?”

He gets a shy nod and he pulls on the hand in his, places his arm around a slim waist in a pose that's closer than needed for any waltz or tango. The man's eyes are honey brown, his lashes thick and dark and Seokjin blinks, feeling slow.

“What's your name?”

The man shakes his head, a soft calculated movement. “I can't tell you,” he whispers. “You can call me whatever you want for tonight.”

Seokjin has never been in a situation where his heart is louder than his brain, but in front of this veiled angel he feels weak and dumb. He hasn't seen him, but something, perhaps foolish hope, tells him this man is beautiful and just the way he speaks and moves has Seokjin infatuated.

The music changes into a lighthearted string of guitar notes and his mysterious companion sways, pulls Seokjin to the dance floor so they're spinning amidst the other faceless couples.

Their steps are light, like dancing on the clouds. Seokjin allows the music to carry them, and he leads them to the bouncy beat, enjoying the closeness and the warmth.

“I don't know what to call you,” Seokjin admits as they spin. The man laughs, and it's more beautiful than the music guiding their steps.

“Vee.” He leans in and sets his forehead on Seokjin's shoulder as the melody slows. Seokjin inhales his scent and closes his eyes, orange blossoms, spring.

“Vee?”

He gets a deep hum as an answer and he nods simply. Vee isn't a name, not fitting for the siren in his arms. For a second Seokjin's mind fixates on the idea of the supernatural, a creature so beyond words that he can't show himself to mortals. He lures his victim to a lethal dance, eats their hearts after.

Seokjin's heart thuds loud and he huffs a chuckle at his absurd musings. The hand in his tightens, Vee steps closer.

“You looked bored,” he says.

“I was,” Seokjin admits.

Vee sighs deeply and nods in sympathy. “The masks at least are appropriate, everyone here is a liar,”

Seokjin dips him, but his hopes of getting a glimpse at his face go unanswered. He gets a breeze like laugh though and he smiles.

“What about you?” Seokjin says. “Are you a liar?”

Vee brings their dance to a halt, drapes his arms around Seokjin's shoulder and presses their chests together shamelessly. Seokjin holds his waist. He's seared by his heat, by the feeling of his leather corset. He plays with the laces on the back with the tips of his fingers, thinks about pulling on them until he gets a gorgeous hitch of breath.

“Not tonight,” Vee tells him like a secret. “I'm real tonight.”

It leaves a sour taste in Seokjin's mouth, the unsaid truth about Vee being a liar every day. And the bitterness of needing a mask to be real, Seokjin's heart aches and he holds on tighter, just a little.

Vee pulls back, slow. He slides his pretty hands down Seokjin's arms and onto his wrists, then he hooks his fingers with Seokjin's and takes a step backward, like he truly is a siren, leading Seokjin to his untimely end. Seokjin is captured though and he can't break their fragile contact.  He follows Vee and he's sure Vee smiles at him from behind his dark veil.

He turns but keeps Seokjin's hand in his, guides him out of the big hall and into long corridors, they're running before long, away from the music and the clatter.

Vee opens a door into a dimly lit bedroom and Seokjin stumbles behind him.

The room consists of huge bed set in the center, canopy with draping crimson curtains drawn to the poles. A vanity and closet sit at one side, a loveseat in the far corner. Huge windows hidden behind curtains that match the ones on the bed.

Seokjin is still stunned at being here when Vee hugs him from behind, bringing him the smell of sweet flowers.

“Who are you?” Seokjin breathes, turning around without breaking Vee's hold.

“Yours,” Vee whispers, pressing closer. Seokjin's heart is pounding in his chest and he knows he should be dubious, more suspicious. He's always careful, he didn't make it to his position of one of the most powerful CEOs in Seoul by following stranger omegas into their boudoirs. But his blood is singing and his flesh is stirring and the way he wants this man is terrifying and intense. He knows it's nothing that can be ignored, knows he can't escape it and the way Vee says that one word. Yours . Like he means it with all that he is, like he knows the hollow in Seokjin's chest and has come to fill it.

Like he knows how lonely Seokjin feels.

Seokjin leans down and hugs him close. Relishes the way Vee goes pliant in his hold, his instincts scream at him to take Vee and throw him on the bed, strip him of everything and ravish him but something in him is cut open and it's bleeding tenderness and he can't bring himself to do more than hold gently.

He pulls away only to lift Vee up in a bridal carry, Vee wraps his arms around Seokjin's neck, his sleeves sliding back, revealing all his forearms. Seokjin walks to the bed and places Vee on it. He gets rid of his shoes then takes in Vee's.

They're long boots, laced up to his mid shin. Vee extends a leg to him, leans back on his hands and there's something so sensual about him. Seokjin tugs at the laces, takes the boot off then moves on to the other. He sets them side by side on the floor, slips Vee's socks off and cups his heel.

His bare feet make him vulnerable, more approachable than he seemed the entire night. Seokjin leans down and touches his lips to the side of his delicate ankle, closes his eyes at the soft gasp he gets. He lets the foot go and climbs up, Vee reaches to him with both arms and they topple onto the mattress. Seokjin's mouth finds the curve of Vee's neck and follows it up with his lips, to under his ear where he sucks.

“No!” Vee gasps.

Seokjin jerks back, locking his eyes with big brown ones. “Did I hurt you?”

Vee shakes his head, his hand lands on Seokjin's cheek and he sweeps his thumb under Seokjin's eye. “I wouldn't mind if you wanted to hurt me,” he says softly. Seokjin's heart jumps to his throat, he's overwhelmed by the urge to weep and ask for forgiveness.

“Just,” a breath. “Don't leave visible marks, I…”

“Okay,” Seokjin agrees. Touching the fading mark with the tips of his fingers and mourning the fact that he can't blemish the skin with his lips and teeth. “Whatever you want.”

The faint music floats to his ears as Seokjin reaches around Vee's back and opens his corset, sets it aside reverently. Vee sinks back into the sheets, his arms by his head and he pushes his shoulders down, arches up. Seokjin feels up his abdomen and chest, dishevels his shirt and wracks it up. He attaches his mouth to the center of Vee's chest and sucks a mark there, not visible, not possessive enough but it has to do.

The fire in his chest flames and spreads and his kisses turn feverish and firm. He plants them over every inch he can touch, down to Vee's hips where he bites and sucks more hickeys. Vee moans so pretty for him, his legs falling open like he's trained for it and Seokjin noses at his arousal from behind his trousers.

He smells heady and heavy here, makes Seokjin's mouth water. Vee whines and bucks up and Seokjin fits his fingers along his jutting hip bones and pins him down with a growl. Vee struggles against the grip, lets out a wanton sound when he can't escape and Seokjin's brain short-circuits.

His lover wants to be pinned down, wants to fight and not be able to break free. It's so impossibly hot Seokjin's cock turns iron hard in mere seconds, leaves him lightheaded and disoriented. He buries his nose in Vee's groin and inhales, closes his eyes at the overwhelming heat.

He opens his mouth and sucks at Vee's cock through the cloth, wetting it, getting a speck of the musky taste.

“Alpha,” Vee calls, his voice breaking. “Please.”

Seokjin can't tell him no, he isn't strong enough. He yanks Vee's trousers down with his underwear and throws them back, dives right back in to take Vee's gorgeous, flushed cock into his mouth.

The sound Vee makes is sweet and desperate and Seokjin closes his eyes and nurses at the head, not looking to please but to taste. It's divine on his tongue, makes him hungry for more and he goes for it, lets go of Vee's cock to lick down on the underside of it and lap his smooth balls. He squeezes the undersides of Vee's full thighs and gropes his way up to his knees, pushes his legs up and apart and licks right between his cheeks where Vee has started leaking for him.

Vee lets out a choked-off moan and grabs at Seokjin's hair, yanks hard. Seokjin lets him, sucks at the sweet slick and stabs the tip of his tongue in. The taste makes him more ravenous and he renews his attack with gusto, licking deep, biting at the rim and groaning.

“You taste so good,” he husks. “All this for me?”

“Everything is for you,” Vee gasps, the honesty in his voice cleaves Seokjin open. He's been wanted by many, every day and every minute. He's a catch, a prize many desire. People want his money and status, want to benefit from being attached to him. No one wanted him , not ever and he's taken to fuck and leave.

The way Vee gasps his name, the way he writhes, the fact that he's not asking for anything. It makes Seokjin determined to give more, to make this the best night Vee has.

He litters the inside of Vee's thighs with love bites, sinks his teeth in and licks at the skin, admires each mark he leaves on the soft flesh. Vee's skin is perfect, smooth and untainted.

“Please,” Vee begs. “Alpha, Seokjin. Seokjin, please.”

Seokjin kisses his way up to Vee's throat again, chances a nip to his Adam's apple. Vee jolts, his fingers tighten in Seokjin's hair and Seokjin lifts his head up. His smile falls when he sees Vee's covered face, and it hits him square in the chest. He slips the pads of his fingers along the tendons in Vee's neck, following the thump of pulse up to the angle of his jaw, tugs lightly at the cloth.

“Can I remove this?” He sounds like he's begging and he's surprisingly alright with it.

“I can't be yours without a mask,” Vee croaks. Seokjin's heart splinters.

“I want to kiss you,” he says. Vee moves up and forward, and Seokjin follows his touch and ends up with his back to the pillows and Vee straddling his lap. Vee is unbuttoning his shirt.

“I want to kiss you too,” Vee tells him. “I want to kiss you everywhere.” He slides the shirt off of Seokjin's shoulders. “Do you trust me?”

Seokjin stares into his eyes, the only thing he can see from behind his mask and he's hypnotized by the clear want and longing in them, the familiarity, the deep sense of right. His insides snap and readjusts and liquid heat pours its way through him. He nods like he's drugged.

“Close your eyes.”

Seokjin does.

He hears the sound of the drawer being opened and closed and then a piece of cloth is settling over his lids. Vee reaches behind him and ties it in a secure knot.

“Vee,” he breathes, his heart picking up speed. Vee's hand passes on his chest, his lips follow, kissing over Seokjin's heart then up to his shoulder. Seokjin tips his head back, gasps as teeth grazes his pulse. The same soft lips drag in a path of fire to his own and Seokjin lifts his hands, cups Vee's face.

He traces his features blindly, a small nose, thick lashes, soft cheeks. A perfect mouth, he caresses the shape of it over and over, leaning closer with every sweep until he can feel Vee's breath on him.

He connects them together and Vee comes alive on top of him, surging forward into the kiss like Seokjin has reached inside his soul and set him on fire. He's all heat in Seokjin's arms, pressing closer and kissing deeper, making small hurt sounds into Seokjin's mouth.

Seokjin tilts his head to the side and kisses him breathless, then keeps kissing him until he forgets how not to. There's a certainty carved deep in him, that he was made to be here, to kiss this man like this, like both their existences depend on it.

Seokjin is a pessimist, as far from romantic as he can get. He's been described with ugly names: heartless, cold, cruel and he's agreed to every single one, worked to prove them right. But here he's fractured, here his eyes sting with every touch. He's losing his breath as he flips them around, as he feels his way to kissing Vee down again. He believes in fate and forever, he believes in stars aligning and finding a light to guide him home.

He drowns in the scent of orange blossoms and wetness and heat, sinks into the pliant body underneath him. Vee wraps his legs around his waist and pulls him closer by the neck, locks their lips again. Seokjin thrusts in, feeling his sanity slipping as the sounds of the skin slapping on skin and their hasty pants and moans fill his ears, mix with the soft music from the party.

It's exquisite, and he fucks like it's the last thing he'll do. Vee urges him on, digging his nails into Seokjin's back and arching up into him. Seokjin feels his knot inflating and he stills as it pops and locks them together. Vee gasps into his mouth, bucks and seizes.

His hot release splashes between them and Seokjin explodes into him, filling him up. He collapses on top of him, slides their cheeks together and jolts at the feeling of wetness he finds on Vee's skin.

He lifts a trembling hand, brushes the tears away and coos. Vee hugs him and they roll to the side so they're more comfortable. Vee's leg high on Seokjin's waist to accommodate where they're joined.

“Don't cry, baby,” Seokjin croons, wiping at more tears and rubbing at Vee's shaking back. “You were perfect.”

“Thank you for having me,” Vee says in a scratchy voice and Seokjin pulls him in, kisses him again.

“I'll have you forever if you'd let me,” Seokjin says. The funny thing, the sad pathetic thing, is he means it. His heart throbs at the possibility of Vee leaving the circle of his arms and he's already aching with loss. He tamps it down with another kiss and he wishes he could just yank his blindfold away and see who the man in his arms is.

He knows him.

He doesn't move though, because that question of trust goes both ways. Because when Vee put the blindfold on him he wasn't just asking Seokjin to trust him, he was trusting Seokjin right back and Seokjin would rather take a knife between the ribs than break this fragile trust between them.

“Can I?” he begs into the kiss. His lips are numb now, but he's afraid to stop, afraid to lose this before he fully gets it. “Can I keep you, baby?”

Vee nuzzles their noses together, places his palm over Seokjin's heart like he's cupping the beats. “I'll always be yours,” he whispers. Seokjin holds him tighter and hopes, but when he wakes up again, he's alone and the sheets are cold.

He's cleaned up, his clothes are set neatly on the loveseat. Seokjin's chest feels carved up as he puts them on and leaves.

His heart is heavy and his bones are rattling and he needs to go back home and drink himself to sleep.

He does just that, and the stupidity alcohol brings makes him think he found his end game, the person he's meant to be with. He drowns in fantasies, and his logical side loses to booze and a rebellious heart. He plants face-first into his bed and groans, still wearing his era-inappropriate clothes and smelling like his temporary lover.

He flips to his back and stares at the ceiling. He has a meeting early in the morning, his assistant will be on his ass in less than four hours, and he's well into his way to a phenomenal hangover. But the nausea he feels isn't the liquor. It's the fear of not ever knowing who that omega was.

“I want to see you,” he whispers to the ceiling. “I want to get to know you.”

There's another line on the tip of his tongue but even alone, he doesn't dare speak it. He closes his eyes and before sleep pulls him away a familiar voice whispers.

You do know me.

**

He wakes up to banging on his door and winces. It feels like the knocking is inside his fucking skull, perhaps on the inner side of his eye, trying to poke it out backward. He groans and mutters a curse, drags himself into a sitting position and scowls at the world.

His mouth tastes foul, like something crawled in there and died. He smacks his lips and stands up just as another bout of violent knocks shakes his doors.

“Fuck off!” He shouts, grimaces at the flare of pain in his head. He stumbles to the door and comes face to face with an angry Hoseok. It's one of very few things that can scare Seokjin.

Hoseok narrows his eyes and leans in, sniffs. “You got drunk when you knew you had to be up early?”

“Listen,” Seokjin lifts a palm. “I'm not in the mood, I'm really…” He sighs and turns away, bound for the bathroom.

Hoseok grumbles and moans but Seokjin ignores him. He opens the shower and steps under the stream, closes his eyes and mourns the loss of whatever feeble trace remained on his skin from last night that's now spinning down the drain.

He bites the inside of his cheek and inhales the steam. He needs to get it together, today's meeting is important. He needs to secure this and not only for his company but for the one he's merged with, any weakness and Seokjin will be thrown on his ass and then Taehyung will kill him.

Taehyung.

His chest aches.

The hot water soothes him, but he can't stay here forever. Hoseok reminds him of the same fact as soon as he thinks about it and Seokjin smiles as he turns the faucet and steps out of the bathtub.

He dries himself distractedly, and thinks about the meeting he was supposed to have with Taehyung. His memory draws Taehyung in a softer light, he always remembers him with tender lines when they're not face to face and Taehyung has that infuriating twist to his lips. Seokjin shakes his head, splatters water droplets everywhere.

Hoseok has his clothes ready. He points at them and crosses his arms, narrows his eyes.

“I get it,” Seokjin whines. “Can you get me coffee while I dress? I really need it.”

“I don't doubt it,” Hoseok quips, stomping out of the room. Seokjin doesn't waste more time on his thoughts. He accepts the ache in him as a new companion, slips it on the same as he does his shirt and slacks. He doesn't think about Vee's delicate hands when he adjusts his tie, doesn't imagine a subtle hint of that sweet orange blossom fragrance on his skin, and he sure as hell doesn't yearn to see him again.

He drinks his coffee in the car, takes two painkillers. What the caffeine and medication can't fix remains as a throb behind his eye that dissipates throughout the day, and by the time it's nine and he's seated in the meeting room where he'll be negotiating, Seokjin is composed again.

Unbidden, Taehyung's image appears behind his eyes and he can't breathe around it.

I can't be yours without a mask. 

He springs up and every face turns to him. He bows deeply. “I apologize to you all,” he says, his heart going frantic. “I need to go.” He barely holds himself motionless until one of the present alphas nods and then Seokjin is running faster than he's ever done. He pulls his phone out and asks for the driver to meet him at the entrance. Soon as he closes the door behind him, he barks at the driver to go fast.

Taehyung's secretary meets him with a smile that turns to surprise when he demands to see Taehyung right now.

He stands with crossed arms and jittery legs while she makes the call. It takes her a while to relay to Taehyung that he is not leaving and then she closes the phone and politely informs him that Taehyung will be waiting for him in conference room C.

In the elevator, he loses all his nerve. He's probably wrong, or maybe it's a sick kind of hope that brought him here. A one night stand with an omega who told him he can't be his without a mask bringing him back to the man he wants but can't have. Wishful thinking, or self-torture, he's toeing the line.

He walks to the meeting room at a slow pace, opens the door not knowing what to expect.

Kim Taehyung stands up to greet him, a scowl on his face that Seokjin should've expected, but it hits him as different. They don't shake hands, Taehyung motions for him to sit and Seokjin does. But his eyes stay on Taehyung.

Taehyung's black hair is ruffled and frizzy, and the deep purple bags under his eyes emphasize the misery etched into his every feature. Despite his impeccable suit and his rigid pose, he looks fragile and ready to topple over.

“Are you alright?” Seokjin blurts. He doesn't know who's more surprised at the genuine worry in his tone, him or Taehyung and it makes him laugh. Taehyung's brows knit.

“What's so funny?”

Seokjin shrugs his shoulders and smiles. “I'm sorry, nothing is funny. But really, if you're tired…” He trails off, not knowing how to finish that line. He barged in here, insisted Taehyung meet him and then he sat down without a clue about the next step.

Taehyung stares at him for so long Seokjin thinks he'll be thrown out but Taehyung smiles and...

Seokjin blinks.

He's always thought Taehyung was too pretty, but with a soft smile on his lips he looks otherworldly. Beautiful beyond words and soft. Soft like he is when Seokjin remembers him. Taehyung ducks his head bashfully, and tucks a strand behind his ear. Seokjin follows the movement, his eyes widening at the grace in such a simple gesture. At his long fingers and dainty wrist.

Taehyung clears his throat and speaks, asking Seokjin why he's here maybe. Seokjin tries to listen but to no avail, the thought has taken root in his head and all he sees builds on it. Taehyung gestures with his hands a lot, points his index at things, traces the edge of the table with his fingertips and Seokjin's heart is in his throat.

He knows these hands. He came racing here with the hope to kiss them.

“Seokjin-ssi, are you listening?” Taehyung says, exasperated.

Seokjin jolts and his eyes fly up to meet Taehyung's. Honey brown, sparkling and framed by thick lashes. Seokjin stares, takes in the fine features, the bow of full heart-shaped lips, the kissable moles. Just as taken the first time he saw Taehyung, he remembers the boiling in his gut when he stood beside Taehyung and smelt nothing but the clean, fresh deodorant most alphas wear. He remembers how angry and out of it he was. 

Now he's looking again. He follows what's little exposed of Taehyung's neck and swallows because he's insane and sure he's kissed this perfect tan yesterday.

“Seokjin-ssi!” Taehyung snaps.

“I had a rough night,” Seokjin tells him. Taehyung stills, whips his head away. He looks down at the table and purses his lips, and Seokjin presses.”A wonderful night,” he says. “A magical night. I…” he takes a breath. “I think I fell in love.”

Taehyung jumps in his chair, his wide eyes lock with Seokjin's and he looks scared now. Terrified.

“Did you come all the way here to tell me this?” Seokjin can tell he's trying to be annoyed but the tremble in his voice sells him out. Seokjin stands up, goes to him. He places a hand on the back of Taehyung's chair and swirls him away from the table, leans in so they are nose to nose.

Seokjin hums. He closes his eyes and sways closer, touches the tip of his nose to Taehyung's jaw. The breath Taehyung lets out is like a punch to the gut. Seokjin turns just so, nuzzles under Taehyung's ear and Taehyung whimpers .

“Wha.. what are you―Ah!” He jerks up when Seokjin kisses the spot. “Seokjin-ssi, you're being very―”

“You have my scent on you,” Seokjin marvels. Taehyung freezes. “Did you dye your hair?”

“Please, Seokjin-ssi. You have to―” 

“You said you're mine,” Seokjin whispers. He pulls back and his heart screams at him. Taehyung's eyes are full of tears, his cheeks are flushed and he's panting. He looks sad and small and Seokjin can't bear it. He drops to his knees and takes Taehyung's hands into his, kisses his pretty fingers.

“No, baby. Don't cry,” he coos.

Taehyung bows over him and sobs and Seokjin has one second to ready himself before he's knocked back on his ass and Taehyung's on his lap, shivering and crying into his neck. “I'm sorry, alpha,” he hiccups. “I can't be yours here, I have to be strong so they'll take me seriously.”

Seokjin kisses over his cheeks, hugs him close and rocks them side to side. “You are strong,” he says. “Amazingly so, it's scary at times.”

Taehyung whines. Seokjin laughs. “It's hot as hell, too.”

Taehyung pulls away, blinks his big gorgeous eyes and more fat tears slide down. “You don't mind?”

Seokjin cups his face and wipes his eyes. “Why would I?” he asks, genuinely looking for an answer. “I'd love a strong mate. I need one.”

“Mate,” Taehyung breathes with awe. Seokjin blushes.

“If you're serious about being mine,” Seokjin says. “I'd love to be yours, too.”

Taehyung nods frantically, more tears raining down and he throws his arms around Seokjin's neck and hugs him close. “I'm yours,” he promises, following it with a heated kiss to Seokjin's neck. “Always been yours, alpha.”

Seokjin holds him, buries his nose in his nape and huffs when he can't smell him. Taehyung burrows closer, his arms and legs tightening on Seokjin.

“I know it's bothering you,” he says. “I hate it too.”

“If you need it—”

Taehyung shakes his head. “Just for a bit more,” he says. “I'll be brave enough to fight for this company as myself, I will get there.”

“I trust you,” Seokjin says. Taehyung sighs, melts on top of him.

“I know,” he whispers.

They kiss, soft and unhurried. Seokjin tastes the embers of desire waiting to be fanned into blazing flames but he keeps it chaste, exploring and sweet. He tells himself he doesn't need to push for more now, because they're together and Taehyung is his and they have all the time in the world.

“I skipped the deal I was supposed to negotiate today,” Seokjin says into Taehyung's mouth. Taehyung bites at his lip teasingly, licks over the hurt then kisses Seokjin again.

“I'll kick your ass about it later,” he says. Seokjin steals another kiss. It's ten minutes before they can pry their hands off of each other and get back into their chairs. Taehyung pins him with a smirk that's beyond sexy, says:

“Don't think I'll let you off easily just because you're my alpha.”

My alpha . Seokjin's bones turn to jelly and he nods dumbly.

“I expect nothing less.”

Taehyung's grin rivals the sun in its brightness and Seokjin spends the time he was supposed to spend fighting for a deal, staring at Taehyung telling him off for skipping it and giving him pointers about what he needs to do now and how to reschedule. Taehyung has to slap his shoulder every few minutes to bring him into the present and Seokjin knows with a certainty he's never experienced before.

He is so very screwed and he doesn't give a single fuck.

He wouldn't trade this for the world.

 

-End