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“Lee! Officer Lee Jihoon! Stop right now! This is an order!” Said officer kept on running after a tall guy with a mask covering his face. He ran as if his life depended on it, panting and pushing himself to the limit. When rounding a corner, the officer caught up with the guy at last. He kicked him hard into his back and the guy began to falter.

The masked man turned around pulling a gun out, but before he could even release the security of the gun, Jihoon punched him in the gut - hard. The gun fell to the floor while both men started throwing punches at each other. The masked guy being much taller than Jihoon gave him an advantage, but Jihoon wasn’t one to back down easily.

One trained kick onto the knees and the tall guy was falling over. Jihoon was on the guy at lighting speed, pulling his arms against his back and putting handcuffs on him.

Another guy was arriving at the scene panting hardly, holding a hand to his side. “I told you to stop Jihoon! He’s dangerous and has a gun. You can’t just run off and do whatever you want. I’m your team leader. If I say it’s too dangerous, then it’s too dangerous!!”

Jihoon turned around and looked at his boss. “But I got him, team leader Park.” He had a nonchalant look on his face as if he didn’t even know what his boss was talking about.
The older sighted loudly and leaned down to help Jihoon get the guy up from the street without him breaking away. “You are under arrest for murder of your wife. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.”

Two police cars arrived at the scene that very moment and four officers rushed forward to help them. When the murder suspect was safely put into a police car, team leader Park looked again at Jihoon, who just blankly stared at him. “We’ll talk about this back at the police station, do you understand?”

“Yes sir.”

*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Team leader Park Dohyoen was fuming while walking up and down in his office. The four men in front of him were not moving at all while silently waiting for his outburst.

“You know, what you’ve all done wrong, right? Jihoon you run off AGAIN and the rest of you let him do what he wanted AGAIN. Do you have anything to say about this?”

Jihoon looked like he wanted to say something, but just kept his mouth shut. Another one took a step forward instead. “We are sorry boss. You know it’s difficult to hold Jihoon back. Also he was right, AGAIN. We all know he’s the most capable one here.” Jeon Wonwoo stared at his boss, who just let out a dramatic sigh.

“Yes, I know that Jihoon is a great officer, but he can’t do things like that alone all the time. He’ll get himself killed one day.” A light chuckle was coming from one of the other men in the room. “I seriously doubt that team leader. Jihoon can take it up with everyone.”

“Don’t even tell him stuff like that, Seokmin. He’ll just get more reckless. Seriously, you guys… what should I do with you?” Park Dohyeon sat down in his chair, having a serious expression on his face.

“Boss is something wrong?” Vernon, the youngest of the team asked his boss blankly. He wasn’t really one to show many emotions.

“Actually, I have something to tell you. I’ll quit being your team leader. I found a job at the National Intelligence Service. It’s a quiet job, where I don’t have to chase after murderers all the time and will actually have time for my family. I’ll only be here for another week. I wanted to tell you much earlier, but I never found the right time to do it.”
The four guys of the crime investigation unit looked surprised at each other. They hadn’t expected such news.

“Congratulations team leader. But, what will become of us if you are gone?” Wonwoo asked his boss. Before the other could even answer, Jihoon already spoke up. “Did they already hire a new team leader?”

Dohyeon didn’t look surprised at Jihoons question. He had probably actually expected Jihoon to ask that. “From what I’ve heard, they are still reviewing candidates. They have to make a decision in the next two or three days I guess.” Jihoon had a determined look on his face, already turning around to leave the office.

“Officer Lee!” His team leader shouted at him. “You stop right now. I know you want to talk to the deputy chief immediately, but do you really think it’s already your time to lead the team? You are a good guy, but reckless in your job. You have to take care of your unit as team leader.”

Jihoon was in thoughts for a while before answering. “I think that I’m fully capable to lead this team. I’m for three years part of this team already. I know how to handle the cases and I watched you leading the team. I can do it. I know I can.” The team leader just sighted once again at Jihoons words.

“Do what you have to do officer Lee. I know you’ll find the right path for you.” At these words Jihoon stormed out of the office without looking back again. He needed to a have a talk about his new job as a team leader.

*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“I heard you talked with the deputy chief?” Jihoon let himself fall onto a chair in front of his friend Seungcheols desk. Seungcheol was the team leader of the organized crime investigation unit. His team was highly capable and professional. Choi Seungcheol being a great team leader might be one of the key factors in the efficiency of his team.

He was not surprisingly an Alpha. One who never was aggressive outside of his job. But while investigating, he was a really tough guy. No one could mess with him and much less escape him. “Does your mate has nothing else to do than bring you immediately the newest gossip?” Seungcheol let out a friendly laugh.

“You know how Hannie is. It’s exciting for him if something new is happening in the police station. It’s his greatest joy as secretary of the deputy chief.” Jihoon laughed back at his friend. Yes, he knew how Jeonghan was and that was actually also why he was such a great person.

Seungcheol and Jihoon were already working in this police station, when Jeonghan started working as secretary here 4 years ago. Jihoon knew Seungcheol already from university and he had been quite the player, not wanting to mate with anyone. But the moment he saw Jeonghan, the alpha was totally head over heels for the omega. Sad for Seungcheol that Jeonghan liked playing hard to get. So he had to court him for a very long time. He came crying to Jihoon many evenings with some bags of alcohol in the hand saying that his life was over if Jeonghan didn’t want him.

At that time it was quite a serious matter, but thinking now back on it made Jihoon actually laugh. Big, bad alpha officer Choi Seungcheol crying over an omega day and night. After a couple of months, Jeonghan agreed to go on a date with the alpha and they were inseparable since then.

Jihoon wasn’t sure if it would really work out with the pair at the beginning, because working at the same place is never a good thing for a relationship, but they managed everything really well. They were a match made in heaven.

They mated half a year after going on their first date and were still as much in love as in the beginning. They were a great couple and great friends to Jihoon. He wouldn’t want to miss them in his life.

“So what did the deputy chief say? You told him that you wanted to become team leader, right?” Jihoon leaned forward and laid his head onto the table. He just grumbled slightly and then kept quiet for a while.

“He said that they are reviewing candidates and they’ll also consider me.” Seungcheol looked confused at his friend. “But isn’t that good news?”

“No. Good news would be if I already got the job, Cheol. This is my team. I deserve this. I won’t accept a new team leader.” Seungcheol hummed lowly at Jihoons words. “I know you won’t like what I’ll say now, but you are still quite young, Ji. You are only 28 years old and your career in the police is still long.”

“Yes, I hate you for saying that. You also became team leader with 28. Am I being discriminated here?” Seungcheol just rolled his eyes at his friend who sat up again and gave him a fake annoyed look.

“As if I would ever dare to discriminate you. You are more badass than I’ll ever be. I can’t even think of you as an omega. I never saw you acting like one or smelling like one or looking like one. Your aggressive pills make you more beta than any beta in the whole world.”

Jihoon couldn’t help but smile at Seungcheols words. This was exactly what he wanted. That people would not see him as the omega he actually was.

When Jihoon presented really belatedly after his 16th birthday as an omega, it came as a big shock to him. He had the attitude of an alpha, but his body turned out to be the one of an omega. Small in height with a pretty face. He didn’t want to see it, but all signs were clearly there from the beginning on.

As the only child of a deputy chief in Busan, his only dream had ever been to become a police officer. When he presented as an omega, his father neither was surprised nor did he seem disappointed in him. The problem was Jihoon himself.

Becoming a police officer as an omega was not unheard of but certainly a difficult path. Still he wanted to walk this path until the end. So right after he presented, he asked his father to buy him the hardest suppressants for omegas available.

His family had been totally against it, telling him that it would change his whole nature completely. But Jihoon didn’t give up on it, If that was the price to pay then he would do it gladly.

They went to a doctor who actually had to do a psychological test on him to see if the suppressants were really necessary in his case. But the doctor deemed him in the end fitting for the suppressants, so the pills became Jihoons best friends.

Not one day since then went by where he didn’t take one of the shiny orange pills at mostly the exact same time of the day. If he would skip taking one for more than 48 hours, they would lose affect and Jihoon didn’t even know what would happen then. He took the blockers already since 12 years. Since 12 years all of his omega senses had been completely blocked. His scent, his heats, his typical omega behavior – Jihoon never experienced any of it and he also didn’t want to experience it. He was glad that he could live as a beta without any scent and any special needs. The only thing he wanted is to do his job well. And that was certainly a lot easier as beta.

Even though Jihoon took the blockers regularly and no stranger could tell that he was actually an omega, everyone in the police department knew of his true gender. He also didn’t make a big deal out of it. He was an omega, who was living as a beta. Simple as that.

“So you think you’ll get the job, Ji?” Jihoon was torn from his thoughts by Seungcheols question. “Of course. I’m the best for the job, because I know the team best.”

“Let’s hope it will work out then. How about we finish work and have some drinks with the whole crew?” Jihoon was considering Seungcheols question. They hadn’t been out for drinks for a while and he really missed that. But he was also tired from a long day at work. He would never admit it, but running after murderers and risking your life was actually kind of exhausting at times.

“Next time. I’m too tired today. The weekend would be good I think. Saturday? I’ll tell my team, you tell yours and we can all hang out then. Deal?” Jihoon gave Seungcheol a tired smile and got up from the chair.

“Deal! I’m also bringing Hannie of course. And we also should tell Minghao. You’ll be at the training center at one point this week? Your case is closed now, so you’ll probably have the time.” Seungcheol also got up and followed Jihoon to the door.

“Yes for sure. I didn’t really have the time to train lately, so I have some catching up to do. I will tell Minghao then.” Seungcheol patted Jihoon on the back and grinned at his friend.

“Go home, Ji. You look like shit.” Jihoon rolled his eyes at the comment. “I still look better than you. Bye, hyung.” He waved slightly at Seungcheol and went to his desk in the open-plan office. He grabbed his jacket, keys and purse and stopped for a moment to look at his team, who was still hanging around while discussing the case.

“You should all go home, it was a long day.” Seokmin cheered happily, while Wonwoo and Vernon quietly started packing up their stuff.

Jihoon slowly made his way to his car and drove off to his home. His apartment was in a big apartment complex. When he started working at the police station, Seungcheol recommended him to rent an apartment there because it’s close to work. Every apartment was perfectly isolated, so alphas, betas and omegas could live there together without a problem. No scents could penetrate the walls.

Seungcheol was already living there when Jihoon moved in and he also never moved out there – but Jeonghan moved in with him at one point. It was great for Jihoon, because always when he felt alone or troubled, he could go over to their apartment and hang out there. They not even once made Jihoon feel unwelcome at their place. He was really thankful for that.

In general he was really thankful how life turned out for him. Not only did he do well at work, his private life was also very stable. He was close to his whole team, especially to Wonwoo, with whom he already studied together at Korean National Police University. He also got along well with Seongcheols team, which consisted of Joshua, Jun, Mingyu and Chan.

When Jihoon was a child, he would have never dreamed of having that many good friends. He always had been very quiet and closed off. He had been quite the loner his whole school life, but Wonwoo and Seungcheol had been his rescue at university. They had been inseparable for all the years and that’s also how they ended up trying for the same police station. Or better said, Jihoon and Wonwoo followed the older one a year later to his police station. It had been great that everything had worked out that well.

That they also would find so many other good friends at the police station wasn’t something that Jihoon expected, but it certainly wasn’t unwelcome. Having good friends made life a lot more enjoyable, especially when you are long term single.

It’s not like Jihoon didn’t try to have relationships, but it just never worked out. He knew that the suppressants were the problem. An omega living as a beta, wasn’t something people could cope with in a relationship. Alphas wouldn’t even bother dealing with him, so he always went for betas. But even that was problematic. At one point they found out that he was an omega and would start discussing with him, why he was taking the suppressants. It always ended in a break up.

But Jihoon wasn’t unhappy because of that. He had his friends and his work and that was all he needed.

Jihoon parked the car at the apartment complex and got off. He was really tired and just wanted to go to sleep immediately. Skipping one meal shouldn’t be too bad, he pondered.

*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The rest of the week went by without any big incidents. There hadn’t been a new case, so Jihoon and his team were busy with writing the report for the last case. Sometimes it felt like they wrote half of the time only reports. It was quite bothersome, but in the end it had to be done.

It was Friday, which meant that the week was almost over. Jihoon felt a bit anxious, because he still hadn’t got any feedback for his application as team leader. He’d gone to the deputy chief two days ago and asked him about the result, but the chief told him to be patient.

Jihoon looked at the clock and saw that it was almost time to call it a day. It would be his first weekend off in some weeks and he couldn’t hide his giddiness about it. Especially because the whole crew had time for the get together tomorrow. Jihoon really looked forward to it. Their get together would probably make him forget all his worries in no time.

Just when he wanted to get up to call it a day, he heard the deep voice of the deputy chief.

“Listen up everyone, I would like to introduce you to the new team leader of the crime investigation unit.” Jihoon turned his head around looking with wide eyes at the two persons standing behind him.

This was not how Jihoon had planned things to go.

Chapter Text

“We should have seen the hint earlier! We are getting praised for something that could have ended with one murder less, how is that satisfying?” “Why are you even the one complaining? If it hadn’t been for Soonyoung, the killer would be still on the run!” ”Yes, but…”

Soonyoung listened to his two colleagues arguing while already starting to write the report. The faster he got it done, the earlier they could take upon another case. This case indeed didn’t end well. Three people had lost their lives, they should have been faster.

“Officers!” Soonyoung turned around, seeing their chief. “Well done, well done. Especially officer Kwon. I heard that you figured out who the killer is.” Soonyoung looked ahead without any real emotion, just nodding slightly. “Fantastic. The press is celebrating the catch of the murderer!”

Soonyoung went back to writing his report, not really hung up on the idea that the media was actually celebrating there catch. It’s just like his colleagues said, how can they be happy about a case that could have ended with one more person alive? “Officer Kwon, I’ll expect you tomorrow in my office. For now you should all call it a day and relax a bit.” Soonyoungs colleagues jumped up from their seats, immediately starting to pack their things together.

“Yo, Soonyoung. Go drinking with us?” Soonyoung looked up from his papers, cocking his head slightly to the side. “I want to write the report, but have fun drinking! Drink one also for me!” The other officer groaned at Soonyoungs words. “We are working since almost three years together and you never went drinking with us. It’s a shame.” His second colleague just shoved the man ahead whispering that he should leave Soonyoung alone.

Soonyoung got up from his seat shortly to bow slightly and went back to work. He knew that his colleagues thought he was strange for never hanging out with them, but he plainly didn’t have the time to play around. He had a goal set and he needed to reach that. After that he could play as much as he wanted.

*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Soonyoung opened the door to his apartment and turned the light on. Nothing but silence greeted him. When he was younger, the constant silence made him feel unnerved. But now the silence was comforting. It was the proof that he was working hard. He wasn’t wasting his time on a lover or friends. Only his work was waiting in silence for him.

Soonyoung put his coat onto the rack and went over to his work desk. He put his bag on top and pulled some files out. He sighted once and started reading through them. After 10 minutes of reading his phone suddenly started to ring. Not many people even had his phone number, so he knew it would be important. When he looked at the lockscreen, he saw that it was actually his father calling. He hesitated for a moment picking up the call, but did so nevertheless. “Hello, father.”

“I wanted to check how things are going. I read that your team caught the murderer and the press was especially praising you.” Soonyoung knew already where this call was leading to and he didn’t like it. “Yes, but we weren’t fast enough. If we would have been faster, we could have saved one more person.” Soonyoung heard how his father chuckled slightly. “You can’t save everyone. You did good catching figuring out who the murderer is and then catching him that fast.” Soonyoung ignored what his father said and just didn’t answer him. Discussing this with his father would be pointless.

“So did you hear any feedback about your application to the National Intelligence Service?” There it was. He knew that this could be the only reason that his father would actually call him. Congratulating him for a well done case? What a joke. “No, I haven’t.” Soonyoungs father cleared his throat. “Should I ask the one who is in charge of the applications?”
Soonyoung fought down the need to get angry. Sometimes he also wanted to be like other alphas and just get angry and shout at his father. But he was well behaved or should he rather say well trained? He rarely allowed himself to get really angry. “No, thank you. They will tell me their decision when it’s time.”

“Soonyoung, how much longer will you need to get into the National Intelligence Service? How much longer do you expect me to keep on telling my colleagues that you are not good enough for the National Intelligence Service?” Soonyoung slowly breathed in and out. He could do this, he would shout at him. His father had said already much more hurtful things. This was nothing.

“I’ll get back to you, when I heard something. Have a good night, father.” With that Soonyoung cut the line. He got up from his chair and walked a bit around his room. He wanted to scream and throw things at the wall, but he kept it all in. What use would it even be? No one would see his agony and no one even cared.

Soonyoungs father was in a high position at the National Intelligence Services. He came from a poor family and somehow still made it with a scholarship into Police University. He worked for many years hard and earned himself the job at the National Intelligence Service because of outstanding accomplishments in his job.

Since Soonyoung was born it had been his obligation to take after his father. There was a time when he was younger, where he really wanted to do something else later. The day his father heard about that, he had been totally out of his mind screaming for almost an hour at Soonyoung. So he gave up on his own dreams and started dreaming about becoming a police officer. It was a highly respectably and exciting job, so it wasn’t too difficult to chase after that dream.

At least that’s what he’d thought all his school life. Studying had always come easy to him, so his grades were always one of the bests at school without even studying hard. He hang out a lot with friends, was loud and just had a fun life. That all completely changed when he started attending Korean National Police University. His father suddenly got a lot stricter, constantly telling Soonyoung that he should concentrate on his studies and not hang out with his friends all the time.

At one point he just right out forbade Soonyoung to bring people home. Soonyoung felt frustrated for a long time. He was a naturally outgoing type and liked being together with people. He liked to joke around and have fun in general, but his father didn’t care. He only cared about Soonyoung being in the top spot at university. He wouldn’t accept anything less than that.

There were many talented and bright students at university, so Soonyoung constantly had to work hard. And at one point, being alone wasn’t even that hard anymore. He didn’t even have the time to worry about friends, because no one wanted to hang out with someone who always prioritized his studies over his friends.

He graduated university with distinction as best student of the year and he thought things would get easier then. He started off his rookie year at a police station in Seoul and was finally having some fun again. He dated some omegas, made some friends… but after his rookie year was over, his father became strict again with him. He shouldn’t play around but try to get into National Intelligence Service as soon as possible, he told him. If Soonyoung didn’t manage doing that fast, then how could he even look at his colleagues anymore without being ashamed?

So Soonyoung went back into solitary. He worked his ass off for two more years and made it into a crime analysis team and became a profiler. As good profiler, you had a good chance to get into National Intelligence Service.

Soonyoung had been constantly working day and night for the crime analysis team. Under the pressure of his father, he sent out three weeks ago an application to the National Intelligence Service. He still hadn’t heard anything from them and he was also sure that he wouldn’t get positive feedback. Even though he became a great profiler in the last years, he was still far from being experienced enough. He knew that and his father probably knew it too.

Soonyoung sat back down on his chair and took the file that he had read before into his hand.

“What sense does this all even make?”

*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Soonyoung stood in front of the door of the deputy chief. He couldn’t shake of the bad feeling he had. There was no reason for him to come here, so why did the chief actually call him? He knocked two times sharp on the door and opened it after he got called inside.

“You wanted to see me, sir?” The deputy chief was a great man. Clever, a good character, but still a great leader. Soonyoung liked him. “Yes, yes, sit down.”

Soonyoung sat down on the chair in front of the desk feeling a still a bit anxious. “I called you here, because I heard that you‘ve sent an application to the National Intelligence Service.” Soonyoung should have known they would contact the chief. This was going to get messy.

“Yes, I did.” The chief hummed lowly looking at Soonyoung. “You know, it’s still too early for you to join the National Intelligence Service, right?” Soonyoung nodded shortly. He didn’t even feel like explaining himself here. “I know your father, he’s a great man, but also not easy. Don’t let him pressure you too much.”

Soonyoung wanted to roll his eyes, but refrained from doing so. “But I can agree on the fact that you can take upon a new challenge now. There is nothing left for you to learn here. But there is something else you still need to learn.” Soonyoung looked confused at the chief. He didn’t know what the other was talking about.

“Teamwork. I can see how passionately you are doing your work, but you are never really working together with the other officers. You really need to learn how to work in a team and also lead a team for your later career. This is the next step for you to get into National Intelligence Service.”

Soonyoung still had a completely straight face. The tumult going on inside of him didn’t show at all. Teamwork really was the one thing he always tried to avoid. Being so long alone makes you believe that it’s better to work alone. He couldn’t just change that so easily.

“There is an open position at another police station in Seoul where they are in the need of a new leader for the crime investigation unit there. The team leader who just quit got into National Intelligence Service, so you see that it’s a really good job for you. I sent them your profile and they already approved of you. You can start there on Monday.” His father wouldn’t like this. Hell, not even he liked this. Team leader? It seemed like an impossible task to Soonyoung. But if this is what it takes to get into National Intelligence Service then he would do it. He could do it.

“Thank you, sir.” Soonyoung bowed deeply. “I already spoke with the deputy chief and he would like to see you today as soon as possible. Can you go there immediately? This is the address.” Soonyoung looked at the paper the deputy chief handed him. The address was at the other side of Seoul. He would have to search for a new apartment. A pity, because he liked his current one.

“I’ll take my leave then and go to the other police station.” The chief smiled at Soonyoung who still had a stoic impression on his face. “Good luck. I hope you’ll find what you are still missing.”

*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Soonyoung felt restless when he arrived at his new deputy chiefs office. Seo Hosung was a well-respected and well known deputy chief in Seoul. He was quite curious why he was chosen for this job, there must have been many officers who actually applied for this job themselves.

Even more restless made him though that he would probably need to meet his team soon. This time as a team leader. Soonyoung really wasn’t sure how he should handle it. He kept on trying to persuade himself that it would work out somehow and that he would find the answers along the way, but deep down he wasn’t sure that he really could handle being the leader of a team.

Soonyoung knocked sharply twice at the door, like he always did and waited for the deputy chief to answer him. When Soonyoung opened the door, he saw a stern looking middle-aged man sitting at a desk. He only got up slowly and motioned Soonyoung to sit down. “Good to see you officer Kwon, I’ve only heard good things about you.” Soonyoung bowed deeply before sitting down.

“I can only give that compliment back. Thank you for giving me this chance.” The deputy chief had a knowing little smile on his face.

“Are you really thankful for this chance or is it just a bother? I heard that you actually applied for the National Intelligence Service.” Soonyoung stared ahead for a while, busily thinking how to answer that question without embarrassing himself. “Of course it is not a bother. I applied for the National Intelligence Service, but I know that I’m still young and have many short-comings. I am really glad to get the chance to prove myself as a team leader now. It will be an insightful experience.” Lies. Lies. Lies. Hopefully the deputy chief wouldn’t detect them.

“That’s reassuring to hear. You are well qualified for this job, because of your excellent work as profiler in the last years. I also believe being a team leader will be an important experience on your way to the top. And with your ambition, I expect nothing else than aiming for the top from you.” Soonyoung bowed slightly in his seat again. “I’ll try my best to be not a disappointment.” The deputy chief now laughed at Soonyoung, obviously amused how serious the officer was.

“You’ll be doing great for sure.” The deputy chief took some files from his desk and put them in front of Soonyoung. “These are the files of the four officers in your team. You should study them well. It’s important that you know and understand everything about them.” Soonyoung grabbed one of the files immediately, but the deputy chief stopped him.

“I have to tell you something before you go through these files. Actually this team is not an easy one. They are really efficient and also go along well, but there is one officer who always runs off on his own to solve the cases himself. It would be good if you could get him a bit under control somehow. Your predecessor never managed to do so. I’m sorry that this job won’t be an easy one.” Soonyoung suddenly got a bad feeling. The file felt heavy in his hand and he didn’t even want to open it anymore. The deputy chief was watching him expectantly though, so not opening the file wasn’t an option.

Soonyoung opened the first file and saw the profile of an officer. And it wasn’t just the profile of any officer, but the profile of one he knew very well. Suddenly this new job had gotten from challenging to almost impossible in mere seconds. “Now I understand what you meant when you said that the job is not easy.”

The deputy chief looked slightly surprised at Soonyoung. “You know officer Lee?” Yes he knew Lee Jihoon. And he had really hoped that he would never meet him again. Though, that was kind of difficult in their field of work.

“Yes, we were in the same year at university.” The deputy chief nodded at Soonyoungs explanation. “I should have known that. You are the same age right? That’s good then. If you know each other, it might be easier for him.” Soonyoung cleared his throat and looked in uneasiness at the deputy chief.

“I think you are mistaken. This will not make things easier at all. He hates me.” The deputy chief looked taken aback for a second, but suddenly started then laughing loudly. “He’ll hate you either way, I guess. Have a look at the other files and then I’ll introduce you to your team.” Soonyoung swallowed nervously. He hadn’t expected to meet his new team already today, when he would only officially start working here on Monday.

Soonyoung looked through the other three files and saw two unknown faces and one more face he was quite familiar with. Of course Jihoon was still hanging out with Wonwoo. That was not coming as surprise to him. At least Wonwoo was a lot easier to handle than Jihoon.

The deputy chief got up from his seat when Soonyoung had closed the last file. Soonyoung unwillingly followed the deputy chief outside. They went through the corridor and arrived in an open-plan office. Soonyoung easily spotted Wonwoo already from far away. The guy who was sitting in front of him, his back turned to Soonyoung, was unmistakably Lee Jihoon. You don’t see police officers with such a small stature that often.

“Listen everyone, I like to introduce you to the new team leader of the crime investigation unit.” Soonyoung saw how Jihoon turned his head around looking with wide eyes at him. The shock didn’t last long and he angrily got up, his chair falling to the side in the process.

“What the hell is he doing here?” When Soonyoung heard that single question, he knew that the gates to hell had opened right in this moment.

Chapter Text

“What the hell is he doing here?” Jihoon couldn’t believe his eyes and neither could he believe what he just heard. He got angrily up from his chair and it fell with a loud thump down to the floor. “Did you just say new team leader?” He gritted out.

“Officer Lee, calm down this instant. I know you are not pleased by this outcome, but we reviewed all the candidates and officer Kwon was the best one for the position. He worked the last years for a highly efficient profiler team. He was our first choice.” Jihoon just angrily looked back and forth between the two men. He was close to exploding any second.

“This is not about him being better qualified! This is just about him being an alpha and me being an omega! That’s why you didn’t want to give me the job!” Jihoon saw how Soonyoung slightly flinched at his words. He wasn’t sure if it was because the other one hadn’t known that he had also applied for the job or because of the talk about gender discrimination.

“Officer Lee, you are out of line. If you don’t want to get suspended, I advise you to calm down this instant. We didn’t decide this because of anyone’s gender and I would like it if you wouldn’t assume things like that again.” Jihoon stomped over to the two men and stopped right in front of Soonyoung.

“Long time no seen, Kwon. This must be so funny for you, right? Did you actually plan this? As if university already hadn’t been enough, now you also come to MY police station and taunt me here?” Soonyoung had a straight face while Jihoon threw all the angry words at him. It was unnerving to Jihoon. Why did he have to come back into his life?

“Jihoon don’t be unfair. We graduated from university 5 years ago. Isn’t it time to let the past be just the past?” Jihoon looked over at Wonwoo who just took his glasses down while watching Jihoon in a calm manner. “Are you betraying me now too? How do I deserve all of this? I’m working my ass off just to get this pathetic excuse of an alpha as team leader!” Jihoon heard Soonyoung inhale sharply. He knew that it wasn’t clever to insult an alpha like this, but he just couldn’t help it right now. It would even feel good to him if the other would also explode right now.

“Officer Lee, you are dismissed for the day. It’s better if you leave right now. I expect you back on Monday morning at work and if I hear one more word like this, you’ll be suspended for however long it takes you to accept your new team leader.” Jihoon was clenching his jar and his eyes were still blown wide because he was so very angry. He looked once more over to Soonyoung.

“I won’t accept you as my team leader. Never!!” Jihoon stormed angrily out of the door. This talk wasn’t finished yet, but for now he had to give up. What a very unlucky day.

*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Soonyoung looked after the angry Jihoon for a moment. He had expected the other to be not happy about his arrival, but he didn’t expect the situation to escalate that badly. He had quietly hoped that Jihoon wouldn’t be that angry anymore after all these years. That hope had been in vain.

But maybe this wasn’t even because of their personal problems, but more because Jihoon was disappointed that he didn’t get the position as team leader. It would have been nice of the deputy chief to actually tell him beforehand that Jihoon had also applied for this job. But it wasn’t possible to change the situation anymore, so Soonyoung just had to make the best out of it. He still wasn’t sure what the best actually was though.

He stepped closer to his team members and bowed slightly. “My name is Kwon Soonyoung, I’ll be your team leader starting on Monday. Even though the first meeting didn’t go very smoothly, I still hope we’ll be able to work together well.” The other three all got up from their chairs and also bowed slightly.

“I want to apologize for Jihoons behavior. He didn’t mean it like that. He was just shocked that he didn’t get the job. He isn’t the same person who he was at university. Even if you probably can’t believe that right now…” Wonwoo gave him a small smile and it made Soonyoung actually feel a bit better. Wonwoo had always been a good guy, also back at university. If he wouldn’t have fallen out so badly with Jihoon, they all would have been great friends. But what’s the use of mourning things that happened a long time ago?

“It’s okay. When I saw his file, I knew he would leash out at me. And that I got the job he wanted also probably didn’t make things better. But we can make it work somehow, I’m sure.” A lie once again. He wasn’t sure at all that they could make this work. Jihoon said that he would never accept him as team leader and he sounded very serious while saying that. This whole job seemed to be doomed from the beginning on. But there was no way that he could step back from this position now. His pride wouldn’t allow it.

“That all sounds very good. Officer Kwon, you can take the files with you and we’ll see each other on Monday again. I’ll make sure that officer Lee will be behaving then.” Soonyoung bowed deeply and waited for the deputy chief to leave the office.

“Soonyoung, long time no seen.” Soonyoung turned around and saw how Seungcheol slowly made his way over to him. Of course he knew Choi Sungcheol. Everyone in their university knew him at that time, because he was at the top of his year. Really intelligent guy, but they didn’t interact that often. Probably because he was friends with Jihoon. They once worked on a project together, so they nevertheless had a kind of friendly relationship.

“Seungcheol-hyung long time no seen. Or should I call you something else now?” Seungcheol was laughing at the younger one. “No, hyung is fine. How have you been? I sometimes saw you in the news. You’ve become a really great profiler.” Soonyoung shook his head slightly. “I still have a long was to go.”

“It’s great to have you here. Your team is really awesome, you know? And Ji will also come around. His pride is just hurt right now. I mean even at university your feud was really ridiculous to begin with. I never understood why Jihoon kept that up all the years in university.” Soonyoung gave Seungcheol a tight smile and nodded slightly. He was right. Their feud had been ridiculous and he had never really understood how their relationship even had turned out that badly, when they had been something like friends at one point. But then again, having a rival like Jihoon had made him work even harder in university. It had been a good motivation all the years.

“I’ll talk to Jihoon on Monday. We can get over our past problems.” Seungcheol patted Soonyoung on the back. “Don’t worry! I’ll also scold him! Oh right, we have a big meet up tomorrow evening in a close by restaurant. Do you also want to come? You could get to know everyone better. Also Seokmin and Vernon who are part of your team.” The two mentioned guys were waving to Soonyoung and Soonyoung waved in a friendly manner back.

“I’m sorry hyung, but I still have to pack my things at the old police station and I also need to find a new apartment, because my old one is really far away. There is a lot to do for me over the weekend.” Seungcheol nodded sympathetically. “Of course, I can understand that. Just join us the next time then. But give me your phone number, maybe I can help you with something.” Soonyoung wanted to decline, but he knew that it would be strange to do so. He hesitated for a moment before finally sending his information per airdrop to Seungcheol.

“It was nice meeting all of you. See you on Monday again.” Soonyoung bowed once more and walked out of the office. On the way to his car he was busily thinking about how to avoid going to these meet ups for a very, very long time. He didn’t have time for friends after all.

*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

It was Saturday and Jihoon and the others were at their usual restaurant ordering food and drinks. Jihoon had been sulking silently since they had arrived. When Jihoons drink was placed in front of him, he downed it in one go. “Ji, don’t drink that fast. You aren’t even much of a drinker.” Jihoon just gave Seungcheol a dark look. “I don’t care. Maybe I’ll die of alcohol poisoning if I’m lucky.”

Jihoon heard Wonwoo sigh beside him. “Why are you still so angry with Soonyoung? You were the one being an ass to him at university. If someone has the right to be angry then it should be him.” Jihoon ignored Wonwoo and winked a waiter over and ordered another drink.

“Don’t pester my Jihoonie like this. He is still my baby.” Jihoon growled lowly at Jeonghan, but the omega just laughed it off. “I hate you all.” Jeonghan leaned over the table to pat Jihoons head. “No, you are the one who loves us the most.” Jihoon swatted his hand away, but didn’t deny what Jeonghan just said.

He really did love them all. He looked quietly around his group of friends. At the side of the table, Jun and Minghao were discussing agitatedly something. The police officer and the material arts trainer were both from China and pretty inseparable since Minghao started working in the training center of the police one year ago. Jihoon had always thought that they would end up dating fast, but they were both still denying that there was more than friendship between them. Either they were dumb or stubborn or liars. Jihoon wasn’t sure which one it really was. But they were both betas, so maybe they also just weren’t in such a hurry to start dating. Being a beta clearly had advantages. But in their case it might also be a bit of a disadvantage. For alphas and omegas it was almost impossible to hide their true feelings, but betas did just fine.

Next to Jihoon sat Wonwoo and Mingyu, the great power couple of the office. When Mingyu joined the police station one year after them, Jihoon would have never expected Wonwoo to fall for the too loud puppy. But love was strange and the two betas made an awesome team and were disgustingly in love. Jihoon sometimes felt like vomiting while seeing them interact. He never knew that Wonwoo was such a romantic until Mingyu came along. But Wonwoo was one of his best’s friends, so how could he not be happy for him? Sometimes he even couldn’t help smiling when Mingyu was doing a little victory dance when he scored a date with his boyfriend.

Jihoon looked to his other side where Seokmin and Joshua were sitting. Seokmin was just making a stupid joke and laughing loudly about it. These two were another mystery to him. Betas were just the most difficult ones to understand after all. Sometimes Jihoon thought he saw something more than friendship between them and then he thought that it was totally ridiculous to even think like that. There wasn’t anything really obvious going on between them like with Jun and Minghao, but sometimes he thought that these two might be a good fit. Just time could tell in the end.

He let his eyes wander over to the two youngest of their group, Vernon and Chan. Both alphas were watching some video on Chans phone while Chan was obviously explaining Vernon something. They were both uncomplicated alphas. Vernon was quite the silent type and Chan was really cutesy and hyper for an alpha, but they were both very pleasant to be around with. Neither of them was mated yet, but with mid-twenty that was also quite normal.

Jihoons gaze went back to Seungcheol and Jeonghan who sat in front of him while having big grins on their faces. “What?” He asked them irritated. “You were totally out of it for a moment. What were you thinking about?” Seungcheol asked him. “Nothing much. Just that we are a very strange bunch.”

Seungcheol and Jeonghan both laughed at him. “So what will you do now on Monday? It’s not like you can avoid the situation forever.” Jihoon took his glass and downed the rest of the drink, suddenly feeling annoyed again. “What even happened at university that you are still so angry with him, Jihoonie?” Jeonghan looked curiously at his friend, but Jihoon remained silent.

“Yes, explain him, Jihoonie. I’m really curious how you explain that situation to someone who didn’t go with us to university. I mean, not even I really understood what was going on.” Jihoon leaned onto the table because the alcohol was suddenly rushing into his head. Kwon Soonyoung. Everything had been so many years ago that the memories were a bit fuzzy in his head.

“We started university at the same time and at first I didn’t really know him. We didn’t have the same group of friends, so I never even talked to him.” Seungcheol suddenly interrupted Jihoon. “Your group of friends only consisted of Wonwoo at that time.” Jihoon looked annoyed, because of Seungcheols comment but decided to ignore it.

“Then one day Wonwoo and I ended up with Kwon in a group for a project. He was… okay I admit it, he was a great guy at that time. We got along well until that one day. It was the day we got all our test results and Kwon beat me in EVERY subject. I was so freaking annoyed already the whole day because of it. We met up in the evening and went drinking and do you know what happened? He shamelessly flirted with me! He had the nerve to flirt with me after beating me in every single subject when he knew how hard I studied to be the best!!”

Jeonghan was looking strangely confused at Jihoon. “Do I understand that right… you were angry for YEARS because he flirted with you?” Jihoon yelled through the room another order for a drink and gave Jeonghan afterwards a slightly annoyed look. “You don’t understand this right! Soonyoung is an alpha! Alphas are not interested in me. He knew that I was an omega who was taking the strong suppressants. No alpha is ever interested in an omega like me. He just wanted to make fun of me, because he got all the top marks in our year!”

“Wow, Lee Jihoon, I didn’t know you are this petty.” Jihoon glared at Jeonghan but the omega just looked unimpressed. “This all doesn’t even make sense. Get your act together and start behaving like a normal person on Monday when you meet him again.”

Jihoon was sulking at his friend’s words. They all weren’t there that evening and didn’t know what Kwon had exactly said to him. They all just didn’t really know. “I won’t flip again. But I also won’t make his life easy. It’s my police station and my team. I don’t give that up easily.”

“But Soonyoung is now also part of your team.” Jihoon shrugged Seungcheol off and laid his head on the table. Maybe he really would manage to get alcohol poisoning and then he could call in sick for some days.

Seeing Soonyoung again on Monday really didn’t make him look forward to work. Somewhere in the back of his mind he knew that he was behaving childishly, but at this point he still couldn’t admit that he was wrong. He had to hold on to his anger for a bit longer. Especially because Soonyoung had taken away HIS job. No, he wouldn’t forgive the other that easily.

Chapter Text

It was only a bit after 9 in the morning but Jihoon was already staring without a break at the clock. He should continue writing the report but anger was still slightly buzzing under his skin, making him unable to concentrate. He knew his new team leader could arrive any second and he wasn’t happy about it. Somehow he still wished the deputy chief had just made a stupid joke. That he would now come into the room to tell him that they actually chosen him to be the team leader but it all was just wishful thinking.

Jihoon looked around the room and his eyes met Seungcheol’s, who sat down at a table waiting for the newcomer. Jeonghan was sitting there as well, talking and laughing with Joshua about something Jihoon couldn’t catch. Getting a new colleague was always a spectacle at the station - almost to the point of it becoming ridiculous.

Jihoon began tapping his foot subconsciously on the floor, and continued for a couple of minutes. “Jihoon, could you please calm down a bit?” Wonwoo looked at him with worried eyes and Jihoon couldn’t help huffing slightly. “I am calm. I have never been more calm in my whole life.” Jihoon opened his notebook, so he could at least make the others believe he was working. “You’re a bad liar. I can see you being close to exploding and do you know what? That’s not you. You're not the same brat from years ago.” Jihoon snapped the notebook shut again at Wonwoo’s words. “Did you just call me a brat?”

Wonwoo chuckled slightly and pushed his glasses up his nose. “I know that you are deep down, aware that you are behaving like a brat.” Jihoon looked angrily at his amused friend. “Don’t get smart with me now! And I’m not behaving like a brat. I’m just angry I didn’t get the job. Why can’t I be angry about that?”

“There lies the problem. You are mixing your anger of not getting the job together with an unjustified anger towards Soonyoung.” Jihoon was gripping the desk tightly trying to stay calm somehow. “It’s not unjustified! You know what happened! It is NOT unjustified! It is…” Jihoon stopped talking when he heard footsteps and voices of several people arriving. Everyone hastily got up from their seats as they saw the deputy chief enter the room.

The deputy chief came together with Kwon Soonyoung and a young guy Jihoon had never seen before, who probably was in his mid-twenties, with blonde hair and a bright smile. When the trio came closer to them, Vernon sitting beside him slightly flinched. He had never seen that reaction from Vernon before, but it could only mean one thing: The blonde guy was an omega.

“Good morning everyone. Like many of you know already, this is officer Kwon Soonyoung. He’ll lead the crime investigation unit from now on.” Soonyoung looked very collected, but Jihoon was sure he saw a bit of uneasiness in the others eyes. It gave Jihoon a tiny bit of satisfaction. “And this here on my right side is Boo Seungkwan. He’s the new secretary and he’ll help Jeonghan.” There was a short scream of joy coming from the far end of the room as soon as the words left the deputy chief’s mouth.

“Oh my god, this is the best day of my life! Thank you deputy chief! I have requested for another secretary for years. I really can’t believe this is finally happening.” Jeonghan came forward and took Seungkwan's hands into his. “Hi, I’m Yoon Jeonghan. I’m the head of secretary here and if you do what I say, we’ll be best friends.” The younger just smiled brightly at him. “My name is Boo Seungkwan! I’ll do my best working here! Please take care of me.”

“Deputy chief, I love him. Thank you. This is really the best day of my life.” The deputy chief laughed slightly at his secretary. “I don’t think you should say it that often, your mate already looks a bit annoyed.” Jihoon looked over and also saw the annoyed glint in Seungcheol’s eyes. It had to be an alpha thing. Normally Seungcheol wasn’t one to get annoyed easily.

“Jeonghan, you can show Seungkwan his desk and what he’ll be working with for now. Officer Kwon, you can put up your things in your office and then get to know your team. You don’t have a case right now, so it’s the perfect time to get to know each other.” Jihoon tried to keep a straight face the whole time while the deputy chief spoke. He had to act calm and collected to not earn himself yet another suspension. Jihoon had been suspended before and it wasn’t that pleasant.

Two years ago he had wrecked a police car to catch a murderer, which was in his opinion a very normal thing to do. However seeing that he didn’t manage to catch the murderer in the end, the car had become a write-off. His former team leader had been more than furious for having to write a lengthy report about the incident. That had been reason enough to suspend Jihoon for a full week. He didn’t know what to do with all the free time and his inner workaholic was literally screaming in despair during that week of suspension.

The deputy chief and officers from other teams got up and went back to their respective offices. Jeonghan took Seungkwan by the arm and lead him to their department all the while a chipper expression on his face. Jeonghan had asking for a second secretary for such a long time he had almost given up on any hopes of a recruitment. His main argument was that it would lessen Jeonghan's continuously growing workload and in turn lessen his stress levels. Lately he had been under a lot of pressure because he couldn’t keep up with the workload anymore, things kept piling up no matter how hard he worked. It felt good to see that in the end they hired a second secretary.

Jihoon turned around to see Soonyoung staring at him. He snared slightly at the alpha, but Soonyoung didn’t seem impressed by the younger one’s behavior. “I’ll put my things up in the office and come back again in a while.” Jihoon wanted to tell him that it wasn’t necessary to come back ever, but held it in because Seungcheol suddenly stood beside his chair.

His team nodded at Soonyoung's words while Jihoon turned to Seungcheol and gave him a questioning look. Seungcheol calmly replied “You looked like you wanted to say something you would have regretted.” Jihoon got up from his chair and started walking to the coffee machine. “Yes, I wanted to say something and no I wouldn’t have regretted it.”

“Don’t be an ass, Ji. Just give him a chance. You have to work together now.” Jihoon cleared his throat and ignored what Seungcheol just told him. “I’m glad Jeonghan will have someone who helps him from now on. It’s been painful to see how stressed out he’s been all this time.” Jihoon took his coffee and headed over to Seungcheol office, the other tagging along with a slight frown on his face. “You don’t even know half of it, Ji. Hannie was close to having a mental break down. I don’t know how much longer he would have been able to handle that workload alone.”

Jihoon didn’t know for a moment if he should actually feel offended that Jeonghan didn’t tell him how bad things were, but came to the conclusion that everyone would probably behave that way. Seungcheol would naturally know how things were far better than Jihoon since the two were mated. Alpha-omega pairs can always sense the mood of the other, it’s basically impossible to hide any feelings from your partner once you’re mated. “So...the new secretary is an omega, right?” Jihoon asked Seungcheol, who looked a bit surprised. “How do you know? Can you suddenly smell him?”

Jihoon shook his head slightly. “No, of course not. I saw Vernon flinch beside me when Seungkwan entered the room.” Seungcheol went quiet for a bit before saying anything again. “That’s interesting and sounds like a bit of trouble ahead.” Jihoon cocked his head to the side, not really understanding what the alpha was talking about. “What’s so interesting about it? Alphas and omegas usually react to each other, that’s nothing new.”

Seungcheol sighted loudly and gave Jihoon a scolding look. “Ji, sometimes I think you never actually learned anything about alphas and omegas. Did you really stop caring about what is going on around you just because of your aggressive pills?” Jihoon’s ears heated slightly, because he felt embarrassed that Seungcheol was right. He really stopped caring about alpha and omega biology when he started taking the suppressants. Of course he knew things from school, but some dynamics he still didn’t really understand.

“All unmated alphas and omegas working here and also in many other professions are advised to use strong scent blocking body soap, so things won’t go crazy. Of course we can still smell who is omega and alpha, but the scent is very faint and there normally shouldn’t be a reaction on it from someone of the other gender in a normal situation.” Now that Seungcheol told him that, Jihoon nodded, remembering having heard about it before. As long as the pheromones don’t go out of control, due to stress, aggression, a heat or something similar, the scent blocking soap makes it possible for everyone to work quietly together.

“Then why did Vernon then react to the new secretary’s scent?” Jihoon took a sip of his coffee and waited curiously for the answer. “In this case, there is actually only one explanation: They are a good match. And believe me when I say, that doesn’t happen so often. The only time it happened to me was when I first met Hannie. I never met any omega beside him, where I actually really reacted strongly on their smell. Of course omegas smell good to alphas, but everyone has a different scent and not everyone’s scent is super appealing. At least when the omega is not in heat. Omegas in heat are a totally different topic, but we don’t even have to go there right now. I think we should keep an eye on Vernon for a while. Has he been together with an omega lately? You should know that better than me.”

Jihoon shrugged slightly. “Not since university if I remember right. He wanted to concentrate on work and hasn’t really searched for a relationship.” Seungcheol leaned back in his chair and looked outside where Vernon was sitting at his desk. “He’s a good guy and will be fine but still, you need to keep an eye on him. Maybe he wants to talk to you at one point… not that you are a big help, but I think he respects you a lot.” Jihoon snorted at those words. “Well, thank you and sorry for not being a big help with your alpha and omega drama… so will they end up together then?”

Seungcheol seemed to be lost in thought for a while before answering. “Difficult to say. Just because you are a good fit in your biology doesn’t mean that your mind and emotions are a good match. They have to see and figure it out by themselves. In the end it’s just a push your biology gives you to make you try and go for it. It’s no guarantee they’ll really end up liking each other.” Jihoon finished his coffee and threw the paper cup into the trash.

“This shit is complicated. And you always make us believe you are so much better off with your heightened smell, pheromones and whatever.”

Seungcheol grinned at him and pointed to the door outside. “Nothing is ever easy with love, Ji. Go back to work now. I know you want to avoid talking to Soonyoung, but you can’t do that forever. He just arrived.” Jihoon turned around to see Soonyoung standing at their table, talking to the other members of his team. “Whatever. See you later, hyung.” Jihoon got up slowly from the chair and walked back to his work desk. He completely avoided looking at Soonyoung on the way and only gave him a cold stare when he was standing right beside him.

“You are sitting in my chair.” Soonyoung looked up for a moment, shrugged just slightly and continued his listening to Wonwoo.

“I read the articles about your last case. It seems like you’ve become an awesome profiler during the last few years. That case was really difficult. Most people would have overlooked the evidence you found.” Jihoon saw how Soonyoung had a slight awkward smile on his lips when he answered. “It didn’t really work out like my team and I wanted it to. If it did then we would have found the murderer earlier.”

Jihoon cleared his throat loudly. “Kwon, go the fuck away from my chair. And if you are already leaving, you might as well leave for good.” Soonyoung got up from the chair slowly and gave Jihoon a hard look. “Lee, I’m your team leader now, which makes me higher in rank. You should get a hold of yourself.”

Jihoon was clenching his teeth wanting to scream in annoyance. “You are not my boss or team leader or whatever. I won’t accept that.” Soonyoung still didn’t let any emotions show on his face and just continued on as he did before. “Then do you want me to tell the deputy chief that you like to be dismissed from the team?”

Seokmin suddenly sprang up from his chair and stood in between the fighting officers. “Maybe we should all calm down a bit, right?” Wonwoo also got up slowly and grabbed Jihoons by his arm. “I already told you to leave the past behind, why are you this stubborn right now?” Jihoon pulled his arm out of Wonwoo's hold, but before he could answer him, Jeonghan came running into the room.

“There had been a murder and they are requesting your help,” he told the team slightly out of breath while handing Jihoon a paper with an address on it.

Soonyoung let out a cold laugh and turned around. “I guess, the introductions will have to wait until later. We have a murder to solve first.” He looked over his shoulder right at Jihoon. “And those who doesn’t want to work together with me can stay here.”

With that Soonyoung began to leave the room with Seokmin and Vernon following him immediately. Jihoon still standing there frozen while Wonwoo looked at him with worried eyes. “Snap out of it Jihoon. This is your job. You love your job, so please get over it.”

Jihoon suddenly started moving again and ran after the others. Wonwoo was following him closely. “You are right. This is MY job. I won’t give up my job.”

Jihoon and Wonwoo caught up with the others just when they arrived at the car and Soonyoung opened the driver’s door. Without thinking he pushed the alpha hard to the side. “You don’t know your way around here so I’ll drive.” Soonyoung replied with a slight shrug and walked around the car to the passenger side. Jihoon strapped himself in the driver's seat and waited until everyone was seated before he drove off towards the crime scene.

This was Jihoon’s team, job and car. It was all his and he was determined to make sure Kwon Soonyoung would know that too.

Chapter Text

The crime investigation unit arrived at the scene after a ten-minute drive from the police station. Jihoon had barely turned off the engine before Soonyoung already jumped out of the car and hurried over to the crime scene with the rest swiftly following their team leader.

The door to the apartment was open and two police officers awaiting them. The older one of the two immediately began talking to Soonyoung. “Good you came so fast. I didn’t really expect to discover such a scene here when my colleague and I received the call. It was the sister who made the call. She wanted to drop off her cat at her brother’s place before her holidays, but he neither opened the door nor answered her phone calls. She’s still in shock. It’s good that she didn’t see her brother. You don’t see such a brutal murder often. I think it was…” Soonyoung held up a finger to signal the officer to stop talking. “We’ll take it from here, thank you, good job officers.”

Soonyoung went into the next room and found the victim at once. He had seen quite some brutal killings over the years, but this one was particularly gut wrenching. The throat of the victim had been cut and there was another deep laceration across the stomach. The victim was completely naked, his hands were bound together and there was an obscene amount of blood everywhere

Soonyoung kneeled on the floor, leaned close to the victim and inspected the cut on the throat. “That wasn’t his first murder. The cut is far too clean for that. This all actually looks like some kind of ritual of the murderer already.” Soonyoung inspected the body closely and stopped at the hair of the victim. “The killer cut off some of his hair. It is bad that he took a trophy with him. He’s probably a pathological narcissist.”

The profiler got up from the floor again and looked at the officer he had spoken to earlier. “So the door was closed, but could you detect any signs of a forced break in?” The officer just shook his head and Soonyoung clicked with his tongue. He already knew that this will be a messy case.

“You know, you can cut out your profiler-wonder-show here. I could have told you the same things at once. You are not all that special.” Soonyoung turned around to look at Jihoon who was spotting a smug expression. “What do you mean?”

“I mean that if you wouldn’t have unnecessarily behaved like some kind of boss here, I could have told you immediately that we worked on a very similar case a while ago.” Soonyoung felt anger flaring up in him and tried his best to push it away. It was very difficult when Jihoon was undermining his authority at every turn. It didn’t go well with his alpha character and even less so with his new position as team leader. Still he swallowed all of the anger down before speaking in the most pacific tone he could muster.

“When was this case? And how similar are the two cases?” Jihoon collected his thoughts for a short moment before answering. “It must have been two months ago, I think. And the victim pretty much looked the same. Same cuts, male omega, all naked and hands bound together. Even some of his hair was missing too.” This case had suddenly gotten from bad to really worrisome in a matter of seconds. Two months wasn’t a long time in between two murders.

“How did the cuts look the last time?” This time it was Wonwoo who actually stepped forward and answered before Jihoon could. “Not quite as clean as here, but also not like it was the first cut the murderer had made.” Soonyoung pushed his hair out of his face and walked up and down the apartment. “So there must have been at least one more murder we don’t know of. Why didn’t you catch him the last time?”

Soonyoung heard Jihoon snorting loudly. “Excuse us mister super profiler, but there was nothing we could work with the last time! No fingerprints, no body fluids, because there actually wasn’t any sexual violence and no signs of a break in. Also no one saw the killer! Do you think we didn’t try everything?”

Soonyoung gave him a sharp look, not liking how the other talked with him at all. “Maybe you just didn’t look closely enough.” Jihoon immediately walked over to Soonyoung and grabbed him by the collar. “Are you implying that we are not doing our job right?” Soonyoung didn’t really react to Jihoon’s outburst. He didn’t even bother to get out of the other’s grip. “Well, you don’t seem to know how to behave in front of your superior, so how should I know if you can actually do your job right?”

Jihoon was already hauling off to punch Soonyoung, but Wonwoo and Seokmin grabbed him before he could do it. “Who are you to tell me something like this?? We are all good officers! You have no right to say that!” Jihoon was trying to shake the other two off with all his strength, so even Vernon had to come and help hold his team member back. “You better start behaving like a police officer and not like a crazy dog then. Like I said, if you don’t want to cooperate, I can request for your transfer, Lee.”

Jihoon was still struggling against the holds of the other’s, a furious glint in his eyes. “Calm down, Jihoon. This is a crime scene, you have to calm down NOW,” Wonwoo told him in a calm but authoritative voice. Jihoon took a couple of deep breaths and stopped struggling at last.

“We need photos of everything and all information about the victim. We also need his phone and computer if he had one. Just everything that could be useful.” The two police officers nodded. “The forensic team should be here any minute. We’ll send everything to your office once they cleared the scene.” Soonyoung signaled the other members of his team to follow him outside again.

“We’ll go back to the police station and get of all reports and materials about the murder case you worked on two months ago. We don’t have a lot of time. If he already killed after two brief months, his cooling down phase will just become even shorter. He could kill again at any moment. We have to catch him as soon as possible, we can’t risk getting one more person killed.” The others nodded in agreement and Jihoon didn’t make any snide remark this time.

“Let’s go. You can drive again, if that makes you happy, Lee.” Jihoon shot him a dark look, but didn’t make any comment and just went over to the driver’s seat. They really needed to sort out their differences soon. They couldn’t go on working like this, because it was slowing them down to fight all the time. Soonyoung didn’t even want to fight with Jihoon, this was all pretty ridiculous to him. He hadn’t done anything bad in the first place to deserve all of this hate. He knew where it came from, but that didn’t mean that he actually thought he deserved any of it.

*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Back at the police station, Jihoon loudly expressed that he would get all the documents from the previous case, not even bothering directing it at Soonyoung. “Vernon, come and help me,” he told the youngest of his team and they both walked in silence over to the other department. They were greeted by two secretaries seemingly in a good mood.

“Jihoonie!! What can we do for you?” Jeonghan asked in a chipper voice. Jihoon smiled at him while observing Vernon from the corner of his eye, who stood very stiffly beside him staring at the new secretary. Vernon was always a bit stiff, but something seemed to be a bit off right now.

“Is everything going well, Boo Seungkwan-sshi?” Seungkwan jumped up from his seat at the question. “Just Seungkwan is enough! And yes, everything is going really well. I like it here a lot already. I heard many things from Jeonghan-hyung about you! You are really impressive Jihoon-sshi!” Jihoon chuckled at Seungkwan’s overly energetic attitude. “There is nothing impressive about me. I’m just doing my job. You could have also done it.”

Seungkwan suddenly started laughing loudly. “No way. I like my job as a secretary. I can do good deeds with it. I don’t have to run around trying to catch killers. That’s not my cup of tea.” Jihoon nodded his head understanding at once what Seungkwan wanted to actually tell him.

It was a well-known gender prejudice that omegas always take easy jobs - easy jobs where they can help alphas in higher positions. It was a prejudice that Jihoon fought his whole life, but Boo Seungkwan just didn’t seem to care much about it. Maybe Seungkwan was leading a more satisfying life with that attitude.

“We actually came here because we need all files and documents about that brutal omega-murder-case. You know Jeonghan-hyung, the cold case from two months ago?” Jeonghan looked like he was deep in thought before answering. “Oh right, I remember that one. Did you get a new lead on the case?”

“I wouldn’t really call it a new lead. The crime scene we just went to, the victim was killed the exact same manner as the omega from two months ago.” Jeonghan inhaled sharply. “So it’s a serial killer?” Jihoon nodded. “Yeah, looks like it. And because the cases are only two months apart, we have to hurry up and catch the killer before he gets another chance to find another victim.”

“Seungkwan and I will search for all documents immediately. Don’t worry. We’ll bring them over as soon as possible.” Jihoon smiled at his friend and turned around without saying another word. When he and Vernon walked down the corridor, the younger officer stopped suddenly his step. “Why did you take me along? It wasn’t necessary.”

Jihoon also stopped and turned around to Vernon. “Sorry, that was a bit out of line. I actually wanted to see your reaction to Seungkwan again.” Vernon greeted him with a small smile to Jihoon’s surprise. “I’m surprised you noticed. You normally don’t notice things like that.” Jihoon casually leaned against the wall and his stare not focusing on anything. “Yeah well, it was difficult not to notice how you reacted on his first day.”

Vernon hummed a bit, keeping the amused expression. “So what? What do you actually want to know?” Jihoon felt a bit bad his junior was seeing through him that easily. “I’m just curious what you’ll do now. Will you ask him on a date?”

“You really have my highest respect as police officer, hyung, but excuse me if I’ll tell you that you know absolutely nothing about alpha-omega-dynamics. Why would I ask him out on a date now? Just because I like his smell? Don’t be ridiculous. I don’t even know him.” Jihoon’s jaw dropped at Vernon’s surprisingly harsh answer. He wasn’t used to the younger one talking like this. Normally he was always very calm and collected.

“Sorry, I overstepped. You are right, I really know nothing… still if you ever feel the need to talk, you know you can come to me.” Vernon smiled at him again and started walking down the corridor once more. “Let’s just wait and see what happens.”

*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The whole team sat for hours over the documents of the last case. All of them were quietly reading most of the time, only speaking up when someone found an interesting aspect. At one point all the belongings of the victim arrived at their office turning everything into a big mess. There were so many boxes with items, documents and electronic devices. They would probably need a couple of days to go through all evidence.

At half past eight, Soonyoung closed the file in front of him and got up from his chair. “Let’s call it a day. We have been working for over 12 hours without a break. We all could need some sleep to be able to concentrate on finding a lead tomorrow.” Jihoon also got up from his seat and walked over to Soonyoung. “Are you that weak? Can’t you pull an all-nighter, aren’t you an alpha?”

Before Soonyoung could answer, Wonwoo was already getting in between them. “He’s right, Jihoon. We do need some rest. Just one all-nighter won’t be enough and you know that very well. It will take days to go through everything.” Soonyoung gave Wonwoo a thankful smile and grabbed some files from his desk. “Let’s go home everyone.”
“But it’s okay if you take files home or what?” Soonyoung ignored Jihoon’s question and simply walked over to his office. “He’s still an arrogant ass. Always thinking he is something better.” Wonwoo shook his head at Jihoon’s words but chose to say nothing.

“Alright, let’s go home. See you tomorrow at 8 o’clock again!!” Seokmin’s voice was still loud and cheerful despite working hard all day long. Jihoon really couldn’t understand how the other managed to do that. “Whatever. See you tomorrow then, I guess.” Jihoon grabbed his stuff alongside a staple of files from his table. If Kwon could take files home, he certainly could do that too.

Jihoon drove home as fast as possible and started feeling tired the moment he came into his apartment. However, going to bed wasn’t an option for him at this point. He still needed to read the files he brought home with him. He sat for two hours at his desk reading through a couple of files. He was far from finishing all of them but he was beginning to have trouble keeping his eyes open. The only thing that could save him now was a coffee or an energy drink or better both.

Jihoon got up and walked over into the kitchen just to find an empty fridge. He didn’t even know what he expected to find here. His fridge was almost always empty. He sighed tiredly and went over to his desk again to grab his wallet. He headed out to the nearest convenience store planning to grab some coffee, energy drinks and maybe even some coke. Come what may, Jihoon needed to read some more files before going to bed. Soonyoung was probably doing the same and he couldn’t get the other get ahead of him.

When Jihoon came out of his apartment complex, he saw a big van parking in front of it. The trunk was open and Jihoon saw a couple of boxes inside. He stopped for a moment in wonder who the van belonged to.

“Lee? What are you doing here?” Jihoon turned around in shock hearing the all too familiar voice. “Kwon?” Soonyoung was spotting a surprised expression while looking at his colleague. “Don’t tell me you are moving into one of the apartments.” Soonyoung shrugged his shoulders at Jihoon’s question. “The deputy chief seem to have a strange sense of humor to recommend me an apartment in the same complex you are living in.”

“You must be joking.” Jihoon looked furious. How much worse could his life even get at this point? Did the deputy chief really hate him that much? “You can’t move in here. This is my home! You already terrorize me at work. You can’t terrorize me at home too.” Soonyoung rolled his eyes and went over to his car to get another box. He lifted it with ease and walked past Jihoon. “Don’t worry. I don’t really want to see you during my private time either.”

Jihoon turned around to look after Soonyoung who just walked away without further comment. Suddenly Jihoon felt like he needed a drink, and just coffee wouldn’t do it. He needed to fix this somehow. He couldn’t live in the same apartment complex as Kwon Soonyoung.

Chapter Text

The doorbell was ringing furiously and Jeonghan opened the door with an annoyed look on his face. As soon as the door was opened far enough to get inside, Jihoon made his way into the apartment without even waiting for the invite in.

“Do you have coffee?” Seungcheol sat on the couch in the living room, a book in his hand and reading glasses on his nose. He laid the book on the table and looked in wonder at Jihoon. “Not that you aren’t welcome here, but why are you coming to our apartment at half past eleven asking for a coffee? Why didn’t you get some coffee from the convenience store?” Jihoon sat down on the armchair he always sat on when he visited Seungcheol and Jeonghan’s apartment.

“I won’t go outside again.” Jeonghan who now had also joined them, sat down beside his mate on the couch. “Why? Is there a wild animal outside?” Jihoon crossed his arms in front of him obviously angry. “No, worse. Kwon Soonyoung.” Seungcheol and Jeonghan looked at each other for a moment and then back at Jihoon.

“Why is Soonyoung outside, Ji?” Jihoon suddenly sprang up from the armchair and started walking in circles around the living room. “He’s moving in! Can you believe that? The deputy chief advised him to move into an apartment here. I can’t believe it. What did I do to deserve all of this?”

“Ji, calm down a bit and sit down again. It’s not the apocalypse that he moves into an apartment here. You’ll probably not even see him that often.” Jihoon threw his hands up in the air in pure frustration, but sat down in the armchair as he was told. The anger burned so badly inside of him it was difficult for Jihoon to handle. The worst of all was that he didn’t even understand why he was angry to begin with. He hasn’t felt this agitated in a long time.

“Jihoonie, this is not normal behavior for you. What really happened between the two of you?” Jihoon looked at Jeonghan without answering. His thoughts slowly drifted to that fateful night many years ago.

“You have such pretty eyelashes, Jihoonie.” he shoved Soonyoung slightly into the side. Both men had been drinking too much but Jihoon was starting to get really annoyed with the other. He had been upset with Soonyoung the whole day for beating him in every single subject. He shouldn’t vent his anger on Soonyoung, but he just couldn’t help it. “Shut it, Kwon. You’re digging your own grave right now.” Soonyoung gave him a warm smile and leant a bit closer to him. “And such pretty lips. You’re just so pretty, Jihoonie.” Soonyoung leaned even closer to him until his cheek pressed against Jihoon’s cheek. He slowly rubbed his cheek across Jihoon’s cheek and then along the other’s throat until he arrived at the neck. He left a small kiss there and Jihoon suddenly snapped in that moment. He punched Soonyoung square on the face and the other fell off his chair with a surprised look on his face. “Never touch me again you asshole!”

Jihoon felt his gut clenching at the memory. He had been angry and humiliated. He could never forgive that behavior. “He scented me,” Jihoon told his friends shortly. He wouldn’t need to say more, because it was obvious how bad that was.

To his surprise, Jeonghan didn’t look shocked at all but suddenly started laughing loudly. “You are so stupid, Lee Jihoon.” The officer felt even more anger bubbling up in him. He expected some sympathy and not to get mocked over the incident. “Why would you call me stupid? Do you know how humiliating it is to get scented when you are an omega, who feels more like a beta? It’s ridiculous! He obviously wanted to humiliate me. An alpha only scents an omega to mark his territory. Alphas don’t scent betas, because they can’t even smell them!” Jeonghan suddenly stopped laughing and gave Jihoon a stern look.

“You really have no idea what it was all about, do you?” Jihoon didn’t know what Jeonghan tried to say. He was frustrated and agitated. “What do you mean?” Jeonghan shrugged. “You have to find out on your own, because it is you should know. And if you can’t figure it out, then just die stupid.”

“HYUNG!!” Seungcheol sat a bit closer to his mate and laid a hand on his shoulder. “I also don’t know what’s going on. Maybe you could explain it to the both of us.” Jeonghan swatted Seungcheols hand away and gave him a sharp look. “Like I said, Jihoon has to figure it out by himself. He’s being an unreasonable idiot and I can’t stand it. Maybe he should really think clearly for once about what happened all those years ago and the real reason he’s so angry in the first place.”

Jihoon couldn’t take his friend’s talk anymore and got up again. “Thank you for your help then,” he said sharply and walked towards the door. Seungcheol immediately came after him and held him by the arm. “Don’t go like this. You know how Hannie can be at times. He doesn’t really mean it like that. Come on, stay and I’ll make you coffee.” Jihoon relaxed a bit at Seungcheol’s words but still opened the door.

“Thanks for the offer, but it’s late and I don’t want to keep you up. We’ll see each other at work. And NO, I’m not angry at either of you, okay?” Seungcheol smiled at him and let Jihoon’s arm go. “Alright, see you tomorrow at work.”

Jihoon went from the third floor to the second where his apartment was located. Just when he opened his door, he saw Soonyoung coming out of the elevator. Just his luck that the other’s apartment was on the same floor as his.

Jihoon entered his apartment quickly and dove head first onto the couch. He still didn’t know what Jeonghan meant earlier. Was there something he had missed all these years? Maybe he really should give it some more thought, but right now Jihoon felt a massive headache building so it would be better to sleep. He wouldn’t get any work done like this, so at least a few hours of sleep could be helpful for the upcoming day.

*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The slight headache Jihoon had before going to bed had evolved into a full blown headache the next morning. He took a painkiller before leaving the house and hoped that the headache would be gone when he arrived at work.

Unfortunately, the headache was still there when he came into the office. He threw his bag onto his desk and went straight to the coffee machine. He hoped for the caffeine to give him some relief. He was in a plain bad mood, not only didn’t the throbbing pain in his head refuse to go away but he didn’t sleep well at all.

Adding to all of this, Jeonghan’s words from the night before also fueled his foul mood. Nothing that Jeonghan had said made any sense to him. One fact was painfully obvious for him though: Jeonghan seemed to know what was going on and Seungcheol didn’t. So it probably was omega-related and he didn’t even want to think about that. He wasn’t even living as a normal omega so to think it was related to the biology he couldn’t escape pissed Jihoon off even more. Jihoon figured that it would be best to ignore the whole deal for that simple reason.

Jihoon went over to his desk again, sat down and grabbed the first file he could find. “Also a good morning to you Jihoon. Didn’t sleep well?” Jihoon looked from the file up and was greeted by a smiling Wonwoo. He had seen that Wonwoo had been there, he just didn’t feel like talking at the moment. Unfortunately for him, Wonwoo seemed to have other plans. “It’s rather a bad morning than a good morning I would say.”

“What happened?” Jihoon leaned back in his chair. Annoyance was written all over his face. “Nothing much. Kwon moved into my apartment complex. Jeonghan told me I’m an idiot, but apart from that everything is just peachy.” Wonwoo got up from his chair opposite of Jihoon and walked around the table to sit down beside his friend.

“Jihoon, you know that this stupid feud between the two of you has to stop, right?” Jihoon turned away from Wonwoo and started looking at the file again. “Leave it Wonwoo. I need to start going through the files now. I have to find something before Kwon even gets here.”

“This is not a competition, Jihoon. We are trying to solve a murder case here. Together. This is not about your hurt ego, but about people losing their lives.” Jihoon got up from his chair and walked away without saying another word. Wonwoo followed him to the conference room where the smaller one had sat down.

“Don’t follow me. Go away.” Wonwoo grabbed the file that Jihoon had taken with him and sat down in the chair beside him. “Not before we had a chance to talk.” Jihoon balled his hands into fists. He wanted to walk away again, but he knew that Wonwoo wouldn’t give up at this point. “Everyone just tells me all the time that my behavior is wrong. No one sees that Kwon’s behavior back then wasn’t that great either! You know that I chose this lifestyle to not get treated the way Kwon treated me that evening! He fucking scented me. You know that his behavior hurt me, but still everyone is on Kwon’s side!”

Wonwoo stared silently ahead and Jihoon knew what that meant. Wonwoo was busily thinking about something, probably going through all the consequences his words would have. “Jihoon, I’ll tell you now something that you won’t like. I promised Soonyoung to never talk about it, but you really leave me no other choice with all your hate towards the guy.”

Jihoon was confused why Soonyoung had talked to Wonwoo and especially why he should keep it a secret. Wonwoo was his best friend. He shouldn’t keep secrets from him. “During university, I really liked Soonyoung. The exactly same way I liked you. Even though we only spent time together for two months, we had become good friends and if it were up to me, then we would have stayed that way. After you hit Soonyoung that night and swore to never talk to him ever again, you put me in a difficult position, Jihoon. I tried to get you to talk to him hundreds of times, but you simply wouldn’t listen. One day I went to look for Soonyoung and do you know what he told me?” Jihoon was fidgeting with his fingers nervously. He didn’t like where this was going.

“He said that I should take care of you and that you needed a friend more than he did. That I should just ignore him and he would be fine.” A very unsettling feeling was creeping up on Jihoon. He felt like running away, but at the same time he knew he had to listen to what Wonwoo was revealing.

“And you in your hate never watched Soonyoung. You only saw his academic success and his cool attitude. But I watched him and do you know what I saw? I saw very lonely person without a single friend. You were the one who took that away from him and now you are also the one to take responsibility for your behavior.” Jihoon felt slightly sick, guilt burning deep in his gut.

“And to make it even worse for you, I think he is still all alone. When he arrived first in our office, Seungcheol offered him to come along to our meetup, but he politely declined. From what I’ve seen in his gaze and posture, he didn’t even want to come along. I’m pretty sure he’s a loner. And that is quite shocking, because we both know that he’s actually a very social person.”

Jihoon wanted to deny everything, but Wonwoo was always right with such things. He’s very perceptive with people. He can easily see through everyone. It’s a great quality as police officer but it had exposed Jihoon countless times already. Jihoon could not even once hide something from Wonwoo and Jihoon believed that he had a pretty good poker face. Wonwoo’s knowledge of people was just exceptionally high.

Jihoon felt completely defeated. He should have listened to the voice in the back of his mind that kept on telling him that he was behaving like a child. He only wanted to see that he had been hurt by Soonyoung, but the truth was that he had hurt Soonyoung a lot more with his behavior. Soonyoung really had been a bright person when they first met. He had many friends, was loud and happy. Jihoon couldn’t understand what actually happened to him. Even if it was partly his fault that Soonyoung ended up alone, that couldn’t be the only reason for his change.

Now Jihoon had gotten himself in a very difficult situation, not only did he behave like an idiot once but twice. During university he didn’t care about what happened to Soonyoung, because he had been very self-absorbed at that time. But now many years later, he was living a happy life with many good friends and he couldn’t help feeling guilty that Soonyoung was living the exact opposite way.

“What should I do now?” Jihoon's voice was small. He felt like a hurt puppy not knowing what to do. “Shouldn’t you be the one to think about that?” Jihoon nodded his head shortly avoiding the gaze of Wonwoo. “I don’t think I can fix this anymore, Wonwoo.” Wonwoo grabbed Jihoon's shoulder and the smaller one lifted his head again. “It’s never too late to make things right. I think you both just need to talk to each other. You actually should have done that many, many years ago, but sometimes you just don’t listen to me.”

“I’m sorry.” Jihoon’s voice was getting smaller and smaller. He really just wanted to hide in a corner right now. He felt so very stupid. “You shouldn’t tell that to me, but to Soonyoung. So will you behave now at last?”

Jihoon nodded his head and saw a big smile spreading on Wonwoo’s face. “Good, it was really getting annoying to work with you. I really love you Jihoon, but you were totally out of line.” Wonwoo took his phone out of his pocket and typed a message in a hurry.

“Whom are you messaging?” Jihoon asked curiously. It was a bit strange that Wonwoo would send a message in a situation like this. “I actually told Mingyu this morning that I could make you two stop fighting and he didn’t believe me that I would manage to do it. He said he’ll pay for our next ten dates if I’m right.” Jihoon suddenly felt like hitting Wonwoo, but he wasn’t even really surprised with what he just heard. Wonwoo and Mingyu were always betting on the most ridiculous things and most of the time Wonwoo was ending up as the winner.

“I hate you a bit right now, do you know that? Don’t make a bet about me!” Wonwoo just shoved Jihoon out of the conference room and chuckled slightly. “Don’t take my fun away, Jihoon. You should worry about the case and what you’ll do with Soonyoung instead.” Jihoon stopped again and grabbed Wonwoo by the arm so he turned around to him.

“You should have told me all of this back then.” Wonwoo sighed slightly like he knew that Jihoon would retort with something like that. “It wouldn’t have made a difference at that time. You were still really difficult at university. You were just a small, angry boy.” Jihoon immediately interrupted his friend. “Did you just call me small, angry boy?”

Wonwoo laughed a bit and just carried on with what he wanted to say. “You had trust issues and didn’t like people in general. I could tell you now, because you are different and all grown up. At university you would have probably said that it would be for the best if Soonyoung stayed far away from me. And that it serves him right to be alone.” Jihoon flinched slightly and let Wonwoo’s arm go. His friend was right with everything he said. It really wouldn’t have made a difference at university.

“Now let’s get back to work. We have a case to solve. Don’t worry too much. Everything will work out somehow.” Even though Wonwoo already started walking again, Jihoon spoke up once more. “I’m sorry for making you choose between me and Soonyoung at that time.” Wonwoo turned around once more and smiled at Jihoon. “You’re my best friend, Jihoon. Even if you were a pest at times, I would have never left you behind.” Jihoon smiled at Wonwoo and was unbelievably grateful that he had such a good friend. He really didn’t deserve him. “Thank you, for always being there.”

“You are becoming slightly creepy now. Stop being all mushy and let’s go back.” Jihoon laughed loudly and followed Wonwoo back into the office. His eyes immediately caught Vernon who was sitting at his desk while talking with Seungkwan. Seungkwan was making big movements with his arms obviously telling Vernon a funny story. Vernon just smiled slightly at the omega while listening intently. Maybe these two didn’t even need any help. They seemed to get along just fine taking small steps on their own.

Jihoon walked over to his desk and noticed immediately the electronic devices lying there. “They belonged to the victim. The IT people just brought them over and said that we can have a look at them.” Jihoon grabbed the smartphone and started scrolling through the photos where he couldn’t find anything interesting and then through the address book. One name caught his interest at once.

“I think I’ve found something.” His team members looked at him curiously and Jihoon felt relieved they might have a lead at last. “I know this one name on his phone from the other case. It’s the name of a fitness instructor.” Seokmin got up from his seat and looked at the phone in Jihoon’s hand. “It’s really the same guy. I remember his name too. Should we go and talk with him?”

Jihoon shook his head. “No, first of all we don’t have any real proof that he has something to do with the murders. And secondly if he’s really the killer and if we just go and talk with him, we might never be able to catch him. He would get alarmed and destroy any possible evidence. Or he could kill another person as stress reaction. I think it would be better to observe him first to see if he’s fitting into the profile.” Seokmin cocked his head to the side like he always did when he was thinking. “That sounds reasonable, I guess.”

“Where is Kwon?” Jihoon saw how Wonwoo got a small smile on his lips and he didn’t like it one bit. The other must know already exactly what would happen next. He really hated it when Wonwoo just knew everything. “He’s in his office. He said he needs some quiet to go through the things,” Vernon said and Jihoon got up from his chair immediately.

“That’s bullshit. I’ll go to his office.” Jihoon walked with big steps to Soonyoung’s office and tried to push the talk with Wonwoo out of his mind. This was about work and he couldn’t panic now.

Jihoon went into Soonyoung’s office without knocking and the other looked up from the file he was reading. “I’ve found something. Both victims had the same fitness instructor.” Soonyoung closed the file and leaned back in his chair. “What do you want to do now?” The alpha asked quietly, probably expecting one of Jihoon’s outbreaks again.

“I think it would be best to observe him first. Going to him would be mindless.” Soonyoung stared at Jihoon for a moment before talking up. “Alright, I’ll go and observe him.”

Soonyoung got up from his seat and walked to the door. Just when he wanted to grab the handle, Jihoon stopped him. “I also want to go.” Soonyoung looked at him in surprise.

“Are you suggesting that we’ll go and observe him together?” Jihoon knew that his behavior must be strange to Soonyoung right now. He had been nothing but a pain in the ass to him since he arrived and he suddenly tried to act civil. If he would be in Soonyoung’s shoes, he wouldn’t understand what was going on either. “Well, yes. That’s what I wanted to say.”

Soonyoung blinked a few times and then grabbed the door handle and walked out. In the corridor he stopped again. “Alright, let’s do it then. Hurry, we have some plans to make.” Jihoon let out a relieved sigh and felt some tension leaving his body. Things were still far from being good between them, but talking once in a civil manner already felt like a small victory. Still, this observation would most probably turn into one awfully awkward affair.

Jihoon left Soonyoung’s office and looked after the team leader. He knew there was a price he needed to pay for his stupid behavior and he had a feeling that the price would be very high.

Chapter Text

Jihoon and Soonyoung were on the way to the gym to observe the suspect. Jihoon drove the car and Soonyoung sat in silence beside him. It was slowly getting dark outside and Jihoon had to fight back a yawn. The short night and eventful day was slowly wearing him down.

He and Soonyoung talked over their plan earlier for a long time. While discussing the observation, Jihoon had also described Soonyoung the suspect in full detail. Jihoon knew what he looked like since they had questioned him for the last case. They had desperately tried to find a lead at that time and talked to everyone who knew the victim, but everything had been in vain. In the end they couldn’t find the killer and another murder was committed.

Jihoon glanced at Soonyoung who sat stiffly beside him while staring out of the window. Already at the very moment they got into the car together, Jihoon felt the awkward atmosphere between them weighing him down. They hadn’t said a single word since driving off and that had been a good ten minutes ago. Somehow he felt the need to break the silence between them and the easiest topic was the case. “What do you think about the suspect? Could he really be the killer?” Jihoon stopped the car because of a red light and turned around to Soonyoung who seemed to be thinking about the question.

“He doesn’t fit the profile. From the way he killed, I’m pretty sure he’s a pathological narcissist. Fitness instructor isn’t a job that someone like the killer would choose. He needs more power.” Jihoon stepped on the gas when the light turned green and considered Soonyoung’s words. He had thought about that too. Still he tried to hold onto the idea of the fitness instructor being the killer, because they had no other leads. That Soonyoung had the same impression made him feel quite uneasy. He didn’t want to lose their only lead.

“I considered that too. The killer probably has a high position in his job. He needs the power to control people. But then again it can’t be a really high profile job, because his character is probably too nasty for that.” Jihoon saw the gym they were searching for coming up in the distance. He slowed down the car and parked close to the studio, but not right in front of it. Only few cars were driving by. It was quite peaceful in this part of Seoul and Jihoon would have liked to either sleep or take a walk now. Both were out of question because they needed to get the job done.

“Yes, but it’s just a profile we make and we could be wrong with it. We can’t simply exclude suspects because of a certain profile we have in our heads.” Jihoon nodded at Soonyoung’s words. That was the small hope he had left. That the profile they made was wrong.

Jihoon took the seat belt off and leaned back in his seat. “You are right. There is nothing else we can do now but wait for the suspect. The studio will close in 10 minutes so he’ll hopefully turn up soon. For now we can only observe and follow him.”

Soonyoung didn’t comment on Jihoon’s words and they fell back into the uncomfortable silence from earlier. Jihoon started feeling restless fast with his mind going in circles. The talk he had with Wonwoo earlier was constantly nagging in the back of his mind. He couldn’t ignore it forever.

Right now was maybe the best situation to talk with Soonyoung about everything. They were so busy with the case that there wasn’t time to have a quiet talk. If he didn’t muster up the courage to talk to Soonyoung now, he probably had to wait after the case is closed. That didn’t seem like a good choice, his guilty conscience had been calling him out multiple times today and he couldn’t live with that for weeks. He needed to get it off his chest fast. This stupid grudge he had hold onto for years needed a final closure. He was ready to move on and make things easier between them from now on.

Jihoon looked at Soonyoung who had his head turned away to look at the entrance of the gym. He took a deep breath to calm his nerves a bit. Jihoon had to do this talk. He hated to admit that he had been an idiot for far too long, but needed to fix things between them.

“Kwon… Soonyoung, I want to apologize. I haven’t behaved very professional since you arrived.” Soonyoung turned around to look at Jihoon. He looked positively surprised at what he heard. His eyes were softer than all the days before and Jihoon liked it a lot better than his constant hard gaze. “Where does this sudden change of mind come from?” Jihoon gulped and considered ignoring the question, but decided in the end that it was time to really talk things through.

“Wonwoo spoke with me and yeah… I didn’t behave well - not in university or now. I’m not such an asshole anymore and I just shouldn’t have behaved so badly when you turned up at the police station.” Soonyoung nodded his head and looked out of the window again. “I would have liked it if you had talked with me at university about what happened. It’s not like I don’t know that I did something wrong, but all the hate over so many years was a bit too much.”

Jihoon kept on looking at Soonyoung and saw how the alpha clenched his jaw tightly. It seemed like he wasn’t the only one who thought this talk was difficult. “I know and I’m sorry. I just was so angry. I’m actually still angry when I think about it. You were always ahead of me and then you also did this humiliating thing. Why would you scent a beta? I’m not really an omega, you know?”

Soonyoung turned his head back around looking a bit confused. “That’s why you were so angry? Because you thought I mocked and humiliated you?” Jihoon gnawed at his lip slightly. He worried about what Soonyoung would say next.

“I was for sure out of line for scenting you because that’s something you should do with consent. But I didn’t do it to humiliate you. I don’t know how you even got the idea I would have done something like that to you. Didn’t we get along well before that evening?” Jihoon thought for some time about Soonyoung’s words and had to acknowledge that the other was right. Soonyoung never behaved like he was better because he’s and alpha, neither did he brag about his higher academic results.

“I don’t know. I just…” Jihoon suddenly stopped talking because he didn’t know what to say anymore. Everything had always made perfect sense in his head, but now nothing fit together anymore. It was like a puzzle falling apart.

“I was pretty drunk that evening and I didn’t even know what I was doing anymore, Jihoon. I just followed my instincts and I really want to apologize for that. I tried to apologize at university already but you were never listening to me.” Jihoon stared at Soonyoung. He heard the words coming out of the other’s mouth but couldn’t understand the meaning. “I don’t understand what you are talking about.”

“Don’t you get it, Jihoon? I liked you at that time. I really liked you a lot.” Jihoon felt like someone had emptied a bucket of ice water over his head. His pupils were nervously shaking slightly and he wanted to open the window suddenly to get some fresh air, because his lungs were burning. He couldn’t breathe anymore. “That can’t be. You are an alpha. You wouldn’t like someone like me.”

Soonyoung huffed slightly. “Why wouldn’t I? You are intelligent, strong and beautiful. I couldn’t help falling for you. What difference do the suppressants make? Biology can’t make you like people. It’s your heart that makes you want them. Maybe I’m a bit unusual in that aspect, but I really just liked you for who you were.” Jihoon felt the need to get out of the car, but they were still on an observation so he was bound to stay in his seat.

He had been really blind about many things. If he would have looked for clues, he might have even been able to see that Soonyoung liked him at that time. Soonyoung had asked him many times if just the two of them could meet up but he had always declined, because he thought that Wonwoo would have felt left out then. He had been an idiot. “I’m sorry, Soonyoung.”

Soonyoung turned his head once more around hiding whatever emotion was in his eyes in the moment. “It’s okay. It’s all in the past now.” Somehow, everything was now a lot worse than before. He hadn’t just cut off their friendship and made Soonyoung lonely but he had in fact broken the other’s heart in a very cruel way. He hated Soonyoung while the other had loved him.

“Wonwoo said you never had friends after us at university again.” Soonyoung turned his head around again, a slight smile on his lips. But that smile didn’t reach his eyes. “It’s not your mistake if you think that. I needed to focus on my studies so this cut actually came at the right time.”

“That’s bullshit and you know it. Everyone needs friends! You can’t do everything alone.” Soonyoung’s smile turned into a little smirk, but there were still no emotions in his eyes. He was hiding them expertly. “I think I’m doing quite well. The National Intelligence Service is right in front of my eyes and that’s everything that is important.”

Jihoon remembered suddenly a conversation he had with Soonyoung when they were friends. The other had told him how his father worked for the National Intelligence Service and the he wanted Soonyoung to join it later too. He had been under a lot of pressure if Jihoon remembered correctly. “Is that still your goal? Is your father pressuring you even now?”

Soonyoung shrugged slightly and didn’t answer. “Soonyoung, if you want to be our team leader, we need to be able to trust you. If you don’t open up then you are bound to fail your job.” Soonyoung still didn’t answer Jihoon and it left him feel frustrated. “Good. Don’t talk about it then. You don’t need to talk about it, but you nevertheless need to get along with us. I still have some things to make up for, so I’ll help you.”

“Leave it, Jihoon. You have nothing to make up for. If we can work professionally with each other, it’s more than enough for me.” Jihoon shook his head strongly, his hair messily falling into his face. “You know me, I’m stubborn. I held on to this stupid grudge for this long and now I’ll make up for it. I’ll show you that it’s important to have friends.” Jihoon saw an annoyed glint lightning up in Soonyoung’s eyes. He really must have hit a nerve. Other people would stop now annoying an alpha, but Jihoon never had been like other people.

“Just don’t. I’m glad we talked about everything, because I also feel better now having everything off my chest, but I really don’t need any help. I’m doing fine.” Jihoon snorted loudly and the annoyance in Soonyoung’s eyes visibly grew larger. “You are coming to our next meetup. I don’t take no as an answer.”

“I won’t go.” Soonyoung said shortly. Jihoon could feel that the team leader was close to snapping, but he didn’t even care. His bad coincidence and stubbornness was pushing him to go even further. “You said you were out of line for scenting me. I’ll only accept your apology for that if you come to our next meetup.”

Soonyoung’s mouth fell open, obviously not believing what was happening. “Jihoon, we didn’t exchange one friendly word for years and now you suddenly want to become friends again? Don’t you think this is a bit too much?” Jihoon rolled his eyes and crossed his arms in front of him.

“Would you like it better if we keep on fighting? Either come to our next meetup or I won’t take your apology. I don’t care.” Jihoon knew he was totally out of line right now, but he couldn’t help the urge to show Soonyoung that his way of living wasn’t right. And even more he couldn’t suppress the urge to make it up to Soonyoung. The more Soonyoung refused his help, the more he couldn’t give up his idea. He’ll become Soonyoung’s friend again and the other had no saying in that.

“Okay, I’ll go once and then we’ll forget about the past.” Jihoon couldn’t help grinning widely. Soonyoung didn’t know that he wouldn’t get off the hook that easily, but he also had no intention of telling him that right now. If someone would ask Jihoon who was the most stubborn person he ever met then he would answer “Lee Jihoon”. Not many omegas can get into police and also not many people are able to hold a grudge for almost 10 years. No one could beat Jihoon in being stubborn. Jihoon always got what he wanted and right now he wanted to help Soonyoung.

Jihoon kept on staring at Soonyoung who had turned back around to watch the gym. Their conversation seemed to be over for now, so his thoughts drifted back to what they had talked about just now. He tried making sense of their conversation, but there were still some things he didn’t understand. He couldn’t make out in his mind why the situation at university had gotten so out of hand between them. Jihoon now knew Soonyoung’s side of things and he clearly understood it, but he didn’t understand how he could be so angry and blind for so many years. Maybe he should talk with Jeonghan about it, because his friend clearly seemed to know what the problem was.

“Isn’t that the guy?” Jihoon now also looked over to the gym and saw a man standing in front of the building. “Yes, that’s him. Who is he waiting for?” Soonyoung didn’t answer him, but Jihoon also didn’t expect an answer. Both of them quietly observed the man waiting there not saying another word. A couple of cars drove by until another figure turned up in front of the gym.

“Oh, it’s a woman.” Jihoon saw how the fitness instructor and the woman first hugged and then kissed. She was a pretty girl with a petite body and long hair that was flowing in waves over her back. After they finished hugging both of them talked for a moment and the woman got something out of her bag and showed it to the man standing in front of her. He looked first surprised and then thrilled. A big smile was spreading on his face. He hugged her again and took the photo out of her hand to look at it.

Soonyoung made a small unhappy noise. “She’s pregnant. He’s not the killer. They look far too happy and he didn’t even really fit the profile with his job.” Jihoon started the engine of the car even before answering and hit the wheel with his fist twice. “You’re right. This doesn’t make sense. Even if he would be in a relationship, it would be most probably an unhappy one. The killer just wants to possess a person. He’s not able to really love someone. He only loves himself.” Soonyoung pushed some hair out of his face and leaned his head to the side of the seat. “His ego was probably hurt greatly in the past. The cut over the stomach clearly suggests that he has some kind of trauma with pregnancy. So a relationship gone wrong might have been the trigger to his killings. But it’s really all just speculation. The only thing I’m sure of is the fact that the fitness instructor is not the killer.”

Jihoon drove off at last and Soonyoung let out a sigh. “What a waste of time.” Jihoon wanted to agree with the alpha, but suddenly remembered their conversation from earlier. No, not everything had been a waste of time. This evening had been really important for both of them. They were at last able to move past their problems and could maybe get along again after all these years. Soonyoung didn’t seem too happy about the idea of them becoming friends again, but Jihoon would work hard on it.

Now the only problem was that they didn’t have a suspect or lead in the case again and that left Jihoon feel quite sour. They had to start at the very beginning once more and Jihoon wasn’t sure if they could find the killer before he found another victim.

Chapter Text

Soonyoung sat in his apartment and stared at the mostly blank wall. He hadn’t taken many things from his previous flat because his new flat had been already fully furnished. He still hadn’t gotten used to his new home, simply because he had really liked his previous flat. This one was nice too but it just wasn’t the same. The walls were a crisp white and it hurt his eyes. What if he painted the walls in a different color? Soonyoung couldn’t help chuckling at his own thoughts. He probably would never take the time to actually paint the walls. He didn’t even make time for friends or a hobby, so why would he waste his time with painting walls?

He looked at the file in his hand and got the feeling it was silently laughing at him for reading it over and over again. The content would stay the same and he would never find a new lead in it. He closed the file and threw it onto the glass table. They had nothing. The whole week they had talked to people living nearby the victim, went to places he frequented and talked to his relatives and friends. They went through files, documents and electronic devices, but they found nothing. On top of all of this, the forensic team couldn’t find a single foreign fingerprint or anything remotely useful from the evidence.

Soonyoung knew that in cases like this one, they needed to wait for the killer to make a mistake. That meant in return that they had to wait until the killer would find a new victim. They would lose another person, another life. It wasn’t acceptable to Soonyoung. They needed to find the killer before he would murder someone else. He still had no idea how to do that though.

Soonyoung’s stomach started growling loudly. He hadn’t eaten since morning and it was now evening. He really should start taking better care of his health, but it was the last thing on his mind. With the unsolved case hanging over him, it wasn’t possible to think about anything else.

The profiler got up from the couch and walked into the kitchen to search for something to eat. The bright red fridge in the otherwise white and silver kitchen stood there like a warning sign. He really couldn’t understand why someone would choose to buy a bright red fridge, but he tried to accept it because the rest of the kitchen looked nice. He made his way over to the fridge and while he opened its door, he suddenly noticed that his earlier thoughts hadn’t been right. He had thought about something else besides the case and that was Lee Jihoon.

Jihoon’s sudden change of heart was still strange to Soonyoung and he couldn’t help thinking about that from time to time. Was he really another person now compared to university or was it just Jihoon having a guilty conscience because he thought he made him a loner? Soonyoung felt very uncomfortable with Jihoon so stubbornly trying to make him go to one of their meetups. The alpha would have refused him until the end of time if the other didn’t blackmail him with the scenting incident years ago.

Soonyoung let out a sigh and closed the door of the fridge again. He could hear the clock in the living room ticking loudly even here in the kitchen. He needed to get rid of it fast because he was really sensitive to sounds. All alphas and omegas had heightened senses, but Soonyoung had been especially sensitive since the day he presented. In the beginning he had refused to go outside anymore, even to school.

After three days, his father had been fed up with his behavior and told him to get a grip again. His father had straight up told him that he couldn’t behave like this as an alpha. So Soonyoung had gone back to school after that but it had been hard. Eventually he got used to his heightened senses after some months, but that didn’t mean that it never bothered him anymore. Certain colors, sounds and smells still completely ticked him off. The loud ticking of a clock was one of the sounds he really couldn’t stand.

The alpha turned around and went to the cupboard where he had stored a whole stack of instant ramen in. Now the only question was which favor he should choose.

Soonyoung was still considering which kind of instant ramen he should eat when his doorbell rang. He didn’t give anyone besides his work his new address and he also hadn’t ordered something. No one should come here and ring his doorbell.

He went over to the entrance and opened the door without even checking who it was. Saying that it was surprising to see Jihoon in front of him was and understatement. He didn’t expect the other officer to ever come to his apartment. After all he had complained loudly the day Soonyoung had moved into the complex.

“There are no clues to our case right now so we decided to go to a restaurant this evening. We all need a break and get our mind off the case to get new ideas.” Soonyoung knew immediately what Jihoon wanted to tell him, but he chose to ignore it. “What does this have to do with me?”

Jihoon gave him an impatient look. “You know why I’m here. Get ready now. I‘ll get you in half an hour and we can walk there together.” Jihoon turned around and left without saying another word. The smaller male really didn’t leave him any choice in this matter.

Soonyoung went over to his bedroom and searched in the wardrobe for something to wear. He decided that a simple black shirt and jeans would do. After he got changed he went back to the living room and sat down on the couch. 20 more minutes to wait until the waste of time would start. He really wished he could just not open the door for Jihoon again, but maybe he shouldn’t upset the other unnecessarily. After all they had to work together.

The ticking of the clock suddenly was even more annoying than before to Soonyoung. He went over, took it off the wall and ripped the batteries out. If he had to go out and deal with people and noises the whole evening, at least his home should be quiet. The silence gave him at last some peace of mind again.

*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Soonyoung sat awkwardly at a table beside Wonwoo and Vernon. There were so many people at the table and he didn’t even know half of their names. Sure he had seen all of their faces before at work, but he didn’t really know a lot of people working at the police station apart from his own team. Even his knowledge about his own team was very limited.

The restaurant itself was nice. Decorated in warm colors and nice lightning, just a tad too loud for his liking. But on a day with less people it would be very relaxing. Soonyoung just looked in fascination at one of the big paintings of a landscape when Wonwoo’s voice pulled him out of his thoughts. “I’m glad you and Jihoon made up.” Soonyoung turned to Wonwoo who smiled warmly at him. “It’s easier to work if we are not picking fights constantly.”

“It wasn’t you who picked the fights. I wish Jihoon would have been ready to make up already at university. I have always felt bad about us ending our friendship on bad terms.” Soonyoung looked over at the clock on the wall and saw that only 15 minutes had passed since they arrived. He already felt slightly anxious that he was sitting here leaving the case behind. He wanted to go back home.

“It’s in the past. You don’t have to worry about it. I also have the impression that it was you who made Jihoon talk to me. So you don’t need to feel guilty.” Wonwoo chuckled quietly at Soonyoung’s words. “Of course you noticed that. I just gave him a little push in the right direction. Jihoon had been annoying for far too long. He’s a good guy, Soonyoung. If he holds his hand out to you, you should take it.” Soonyoung wanted to ask Wonwoo for what purpose he should take Jihoon’s hand, but kept silent. This whole big group of friends seemed to be really friendly and close, but he didn’t feel like he had a place in it. He felt a bit like a fish that had been alone in a glass bowl for a long time and suddenly was put into a big aquarium full with other fish. He had liked his solitude just fine so how did it turn into this?

“Do you know everyone here? Next to me is my boyfriend Mingyu. He’s part of Seungcheol-hyung’s team. So is Joshua-hyung who is sitting over there, same with Jun and Chan.” While talking, Wonwoo pointed at the people he described and Soonyoung quietly nodded his head trying to remember all the names.

“Next to Jun is Minghao, he’s one of the instructors in the training center. And of course you know Jeonghan-hyung who’s a secretary and also the boyfriend of Seungcheol-hyung. Our newcomer Seungkwan you should know, because you started working on the same day.” Soonyoung looked over at Jeonghan and Seungkwan who were sitting at the far end of the table laughing together about something. Their eyes sparkled mischievously probably making some joke about Seungcheol who was pouting slightly next to his boyfriend. It was curious to Soonyoung how well Seungkwan already got along with everyone even though the omega had arrived on the same day he did.

“Thank you for the introduction.” Wonwoo sighed slightly at Soonyoung’s words. “You could at least make an effort to look happy. Talk a bit to Vernon, you need to get to know our team.” Soonyoung clenched his jaw tightly, but Wonwoo didn’t see that because he had already turned around to talk with his boyfriend.

Vernon seemed to be a quiet person so he needed to really make an effort to get the other to talk to him. That’s probably why Wonwoo suggested talking to him in the first place. Wonwoo was just as sly as he remembered him - very nice, but too intelligent for his own good. Soonyoung turned to Vernon and saw how the younger was looking to the far end of the table.

“Why don’t you go over and talk to him?” For Soonyoung it had been painfully obvious how Vernon and Seungkwan were attracted to each other from the very day they met. Because of Soonyoung’s heightened sensitivity to smells, he could pick up the slightest change in pheromones easily, so it was plain obvious to him that the two of them were naturally attracted to each other.

“I don’t know what to say.” Soonyoung couldn’t help smiling at Vernon’s words. The kid really was shy for an alpha, it was quite endearing in Soonyoung’s eyes. “Anything is better than sitting here and constantly staring at him.” Vernon’s eyes widened slightly at Soonyoung’s words but otherwise he didn’t show any emotions on his face. “Am I being that obvious?”

Soonyoung shrugged and looked over to Seungkwan again who was still talking to Jeonghan. “I don’t think he has noticed. Might be just that I’m also an alpha and I pick these things up fast.” A waiter came to their table and started handing out their orders. Soonyoung wasn’t drinking alcohol often, but today he really felt like drinking at least a bit. He grabbed his glass and immediately took a sip.

“It’s strange to have someone else here besides Seungcheol-hyung who notices these things. There are so many betas in our group that we rarely discuss alpha and omega related topics.” Soonyoung felt slightly bad for Vernon. If you are more on the shy side as an alpha, you need some reassurance from other alphas. Seungcheol probably did the best he could, but it wasn’t easy in such a big group of friends.

“Did you ever meet someone who had a strong impact on you?” Soonyoung considered how to answer Vernon’s question, because no, he never had such an experience before. Still he wanted to be at least somehow helpful to the younger. “No, I never met an omega to whom I was naturally attracted to. But I know how it is to feel drawn to someone. Attraction is not easy to handle, because you don’t know if it’s enough to actually make something out of it. But in my opinion you should at least try. You have nothing to lose. If you won’t try then you might end up regretting later that you ignored the attraction.” Vernon nodded and kept silent for a while.

“What happened to you and the person you were attracted to?” Soonyoung gave Vernon a tired smile. “He didn’t want me.” Vernon looked immediately guilty after hearing the answer. He didn’t even need to feel sorry because it had been long ago. It just felt like a fuzzy memory in Soonyoung‘s mind. “I’m sorry to hear that, hyung… can I call you hyung?” Soonyoung grinned slightly at the younger. He really was endearing. “Of course you can.”

Meanwhile the table had been filled with food and everyone was starting to eat while talking animatedly. Soonyoung and Vernon fell back into silence, but the profiler didn’t mind it. He quietly ate some of the food and when he grabbed for his glass he saw Jihoon watching him intently. Soonyoung had tried to ignore the smaller one‘s frequent glances since they had arrived, but now he couldn’t escape the other’s eyes anymore.

Jihoon pointed slightly first at Wonwoo and then at Vernon and gave him a questioning look. Soonyoung understood that he wanted to know why he wasn’t talking to anyone. The alpha only shrugged as answer at Jihoon and downed some of his drink. He saw how Jihoon then talked to Seokmin next to him quietly who in return got up immediately and walked over to Soonyoung. “Jihoon-hyung said that you should sit beside him.”

Soonyoung felt a slight annoyance flaring up in him but he went over to sit next to Jihoon anyway. He also took his glass with the overly sweet alcoholic drink with him. The drink was a nasty green color and looked pretty much like poison. Just the thing he needed right now.

“You suck at socializing. How have you gotten that awkward? But don’t worry, I’ll teach you.” Soonyoung made a sour face at Jihoon’s words. “That seems very strange coming from you. If I remember correctly, then you are the socially awkward person. You don’t need to teach me anything.”

Jihoon laughed loudly and waved the other’s words off. Soonyoung felt an annoyed pang going through him because Jihoon just waved everything he said off like that. “Don’t you see that I have many friends? I’m not socially awkward at all. So, do you still like anime?” Soonyoung grabbed his glass and downed the rest of his drink. He felt a slight buzz from the alcohol in his head and right now he didn’t know if it was a good or bad thing. “What kind of random question is that?”

“Just answer with a yes or no.” Soonyoung narrowed his eyes slightly and put the glass he was still holding back on the table. “Theoretically yes.” He didn’t want to tell Jihoon that he hadn’t watched any anime in years because he was working 24/7. In school and at the beginning of university he had still greatly enjoyed watching them but at one point he completely gave up on anything that wasn’t related to his studies or later his work.

“Good. I wanted to watch the third season of Attack on Titan already for some time. We can watch it together then. Or have you already watched it?” Soonyoung couldn’t understand Jihoon’s obsession with becoming friends again. He didn’t want the other to invade his private life more than necessary. These times were long gone. He just wanted to sit in the tranquility of his apartment and read some files or a work related book. Watching anime wasn’t high on his priority list of things he wanted and needed to do.

“What is Attack on Titan?” Jihoon’s eyes widened comically and his mouth fell open for a second. “What do you even do on your free time, Soonyoung? Don’t you ever do something fun? I’m also obsessed with my work, but from time to time you have to take your mind off work and do something for leisure.”

“I do lots of things on my free time,” Soonyoung lied through clenched teeth. He didn’t really like lying, but sometimes it couldn’t be helped. “I don’t believe you at all. How can you not know Attack on Titan? I’m shocked. You are not the Soonyoung I knew. But whatever, we can just start from season one then.” Soonyoung couldn’t help laughing at Jihoon’s words. He couldn’t be serious.

“You want to watch three seasons of anime with me?” Jihoon picked at his food with the chopsticks for a moment and then calmly looked at Soonyoung. “What’s wrong with that?”
“That would take weeks or even months. We are not students anymore and can just binge watch all night.” Jihoon nodded and laid the chopsticks back on the table. He grabbed his drink and took a big gulp and put the glass with a loud thump back on the table. ”So what? Are you planning to only work for a couple of weeks with our team? Have you already applied for a position at the National Intelligence Service?”

Soonyoung looked at Jihoon and tried to understand what the other was thinking right now. He was a good profiler, but Jihoon was difficult to read. Even back when they were students he often couldn’t understand what was going on in the other’s mind. That had been one of the fascinating things about Jihoon at that time, but right now it left Soonyoung feeling tired.

“No, of course not. I wouldn’t apply right after I got a new job.” Jihoon watched him for a while before a brilliant smile suddenly spread over his face. He was still beautiful. Soonyoung would be an idiot to deny that. But he really seemed to have changed. He was a lot more annoying now than he had been at university. Their roles had somehow been reversed, because at university it had been him who was constantly pestering Jihoon.

“Then I’ll go to your apartment on Saturday at 7PM. We can order a pizza or something.” Soonyoung grabbed for his glass but remembered that it was already empty and pulled his hand awkwardly back. He glared at his glass at first and then at Jihoon. “You can’t just invite yourself like that.”

“Well, you won’t invite me, so I have to invite myself. I’m bringing the anime and you get something to drink. And you better not dare running away or refuse opening the door. Wonwoo doesn’t call me a pest for nothing. Believe me you don’t want to find out.”

Soonyoung sighed quietly. There really seemed to be no way out of this situation. He had to give into Jihoon’s wish or they would keep on discussing this forever. “Do whatever you want then. You won’t even listen to me either way.” Jihoon suddenly grabbed his chopsticks and started eating again with big appetite. Lee Jihoon had turned into quite a strange guy. One of these days Soonyoung really needed to find out what was going on in Jihoon’s head.

“Don’t worry. You’ll like the anime.” The anime wasn’t what Soonyoung worried about. It was a certain small guy who suddenly refused to leave him alone. Many years ago he would have been thrilled to spend time alone with Jihoon, but right now he dreaded their meeting on Saturday. Jihoon tried to get him out of his comfort zone and he didn’t like it one bit.

Chapter Text

“Did you meet someone yet?” Soonyoung had heard that question already a hundred times. His father was overly obsessed with him joining the National Intelligence Service while his mother’s only wish was for Soonyoung to mate as soon as possible. She always said that he was working too hard and that he would start living like a normal person when he finally had a mate. In a way, she was right about that. Soonyoung was sure that if he had a mate his priorities in life would shift completely. That’s also the reason why he never really looked for a relationship. First he had to join the National Intelligence Service and get his father off his back.

“No, mum. I already told you countless times that I’m too busy to meet someone.” Soonyoung walked around his living room in circles, the phone in a tight grip in his hand. “I went to a yoga class lately and met there a really nice woman. She has a daughter who is the head secretary of a well-known lawyer. She said that her daughter is still looking for a mate. Maybe I can set you two up?” Soonyoung rolled his eyes at his mother’s words. It wasn’t the first time that his mother tried to set him up with someone. Some years back, his father was still strictly against Soonyoung seeing someone so he could concentrate on his work. But as Soonyoung gotten older, his father couldn’t argue against his wife anymore.

His parents had a very big fight two years ago on the topic and Soonyoung’s mother came out as the winner. Normally Soonyoung’s mother was always standing by the opinion of her husband, but she had her mind set on Soonyoung getting a mate before the age of 30. Now that Soonyoung had turned 28, his mother was slowly going insane with worry that her son wouldn’t be able to find a mate and instead slowly work himself to death. Every time she called, she presented him with a new option for a mate - always someone from a wealthy family and with a good job. His mother didn’t care much about whom Soonyoung would take as mate, but his father was for sure not accepting someone inappropriate into the family. That’s why his mother only picked out omegas up to the standard of his father.

“I have no time to meet her. I’m working on an important case right now and I just can’t make time for it.” Soonyoung looked at his phone for a second and saw that it was almost 7PM. He wasn’t lying to his mother, because he really was busy working on the case. But then, Jihoon would ring his doorbell any minute to watch anime with him. It sounded ridiculous just to think about it in his head.

“Soonie, you have to meet someone at one point. You can’t be alone forever.” A growl threatened to make his way out of Soonyoung’s throat but he held it in. It was already bad enough that his father was putting him under constant pressure. He didn’t need to get even more pressure from his mother.

“I will find someone one day, but not now. I’m busy with work.” Soonyoung heard his mother letting out an annoyed huff. “You are saying that for years already. I know that you aren’t even looking for someone. You never introduced me to anyone. Did you even really love someone before?” Before Soonyoung could answer the question, the doorbell was ringing loudly.

“Sorry mum, my colleague is coming over. We have to talk about the case.” Soonyoung heard another irritated noise coming from his mother. “I think you are lying to me right now, but do whatever you want. I’ll also do whatever I want then and give that girl your phone number. You better be nice to her.” Soonyoung felt a strong anger flaring up in him. “You better not do this. I’ll find someone myself, okay? Give me some more time. I really have to hang up now. Love you.” Soonyoung cut the line and immediately went over to open the door.

Jihoon was standing in front of him with messy light brown hair, clad in an oversized white t-shirt and pale blue jeans. His cute look was a stark contrast to the pissed off look on his face. “I thought you wouldn’t open the door. What took you so long?” Before Soonyoung could even answer, the other was weaseling his way into the flat.

“I was on the phone.” Jihoon gave him a look that screamed “I don’t believe you” and went over to sit down on the big black couch in the middle of the living room. “Did you eat already or are we ordering pizza? You’ll better say we order pizza because I’m starving.” Soonyoung sighed and sat down beside Jihoon. “Alright, let’s order something.”

Jihoon immediately took his phone out and opened an app to order food. “What kind of pizza do you want?” Soonyoung answered Jihoon without thinking a second about it. “Hawaiian.” Jihoon made a disgusted face and let his hand with the phone sink down onto his legs. “That is not a real pizza. Pineapple doesn’t belong on a pizza.”

“Well, you don’t have to eat it.” Jihoon started rotating the phone in his hand seemingly in deep thoughts for a moment. “But if you order something else then we could share. Isn’t it better if you are able to eat two different ones?” Soonyoung needed to think for a moment about what Jihoon just said. In his mind it wasn’t something he would ever consider, because he always ordered alone. But it seemed like Jihoon normally ordered with other people together and shared the pizza. Habits are difficult to break.

“Okay, what do you want then?” Jihoon pouted slightly at Soonyoung’s cold voice. “Barbeque chicken and white cheese.” Jihoon lowered his eyes and colored slightly red and it immediately brought out the alpha protectiveness in Soonyoung. There was no way he could refuse the other’s request like this.

Omegas normally knew quite well that they had the ability to manipulate alphas easily. But Jihoon was completely oblivious to his influence – always had been. Even if Jihoon lacked the scent of an omega, sometimes he did these small things that were really endearing and it had melted Soonyoung’s heart already on the very day they met at university. He had been a foolish puppy running after Jihoon for months in the hope the other would notice his feelings one day. The wait had been in vain.

Now they were sitting here many years later and he was still unable to refuse Jihoon when he looked cutely at him. The only difference was that his heart wasn’t fluttering anymore like it did at university. He had given up on these feelings a long time ago. “Alright, order them.”

“Really? I mean, if you want something else, then we can still discuss it.” Soonyoung shook his head slightly. “It’s okay, I eat pretty much everything.” There was a small smile on Jihoon’s lips while he was tapping through the app ordering the pizza. The alpha in Soonyoung felt content about it, but his brain told him that the whole situation was plain stupid. He shouldn’t let himself get manipulated that easily by Jihoon anymore.

“What do you like to eat? We can order that next time.” Soonyoung felt like telling Jihoon that there won’t be a next time, but he couldn’t get the words out. “Sushi. But I really just enjoy any food.” Jihoon smiled even wider at Soonyoung’s answer. “Sushi is fine. I like rice, so it’s a great choice… Alright, I ordered the pizza. It should only take them 15 minutes, because the store is right around the corner. Let’s get something to drink then.”

Jihoon got up from the couch and walked into Soonyoung’s kitchen without asking for permission. He opened the fridge and looked curiously inside. “Beer or wine?” Soonyoung had followed the younger officer into the kitchen and leaned against a counter. “I don’t care. I rarely drink and don’t really enjoy alcohol.” Jihoon turned around to look at Soonyoung and laughed airily. “Neither do I, but this shit between us is awkward. We both need to loosen up a bit.”

Soonyoung kept quiet for a moment before deciding that he didn’t want to hold back what he was really thinking this time. He narrowed his eyes slightly before speaking up. “We don’t have to do this, Jihoon. I never asked you to come here.” Jihoon took the bottle of white wine out of the fridge and slammed the door shut. “I’m already here, so it would be nice if you could stop looking at me like I’m not welcome here.”

Soonyoung got two glasses out of a cupboard and placed them onto the counter and then took the bottle of wine out of Jihoon’s hands and opened it. “Well, you aren’t welcome here.” Jihoon made an unhappy noise at the comment and grabbed the glass of wine that Soonyoung had just filled up. “Shut up and drink your wine Soonyoung.”

When the alpha came back into the living room, glass in one hand and wine bottle in the other, Jihoon was already busily starting his blu ray player. “Good thing I brought the first two seasons on blu ray. It will look awesome on your big tv. It’s a lot bigger than mine.” Soonyoung put his glass and the bottle of wine onto the table and sat down on the couch. Jihoon had closed the player just in that moment and quickly made his way over to sit down beside Soonyoung. “I actually really wanted to rewatch this but I never took the time to do so.”

Jihoon fumbled with the remote controls he had found in front of the tv and pushed some buttons until he found the menu of the blu ray.

Soonyoung watched him curiously while sipping on his wine. Jihoon seemed much too comfortable in this awkward situation. Soonyoung didn’t know what to make out of it. “I still don’t understand why you are here Jihoon.” Jihoon stopped in his tracks and turned to Soonyoung. There was an unreadable expression on his face and it made Soonyoung even more curious about what his answer would be.

Jihoon had just opened his mouth when the doorbell rang loudly. Soonyoung cursed under his breath and got up from the couch and opened the door for the delivery service. He paid for the pizza and went back to place the boxes on the glass table. He sat back on the couch and sighed slightly before opening the pizza boxes. “Let’s just watch the anime,” he said tiredly, not even wanting to hear Jihoon’s answer anymore. He probably wouldn’t understand it either way.

Jihoon started the anime and both of them grabbed a piece of pizza ate in silence. The pizza was finished fast and the wine bottle was slowly getting empty. The further they got into the anime, the more comments each of them made on what was happening. At the end of episode 5, Soonyoung got up from the couch in frustration and threw his hands into the air. “What the hell is going on? How could he get eaten like this??”

Jihoon chuckled at Soonyoung’s exaggerated reaction. “I can promise you that it will only get worse.” Soonyoung gave the smaller one a dark look and sat down again. “This is not funny! I can’t watch this anymore! Why are you doing this to me?” Jihoon now laughed loudly and hit Soonyoung on the shoulder. “Don’t be such a baby about it.” Soonyoung took the remote control from Jihoon and stopped the blu ray. “I’m serious! I need a break right now.” Soonyoung wanted to give the younger an annoyed look but ended up laughing himself. He had to admit that the anime was really interesting. He couldn’t help enjoying himself.

Jihoon grinned at Soonyoung and grabbed his glass to drink the last bit of his wine. They had finished the whole bottle and Soonyoung felt his head buzzing from the alcohol. “Understandable. Let’s take a break.”

Soonyoung watched Jihoon intently. The other’s face was slightly red from the alcohol and his eyes sparkled brightly. No traces of his normal harshness were left on Jihoon’s face and he just looked very happy. It had been a long time since he had laughed with Jihoon like that. Actually he couldn’t remember when he had last laughed with anyone like this. Now that he was slightly drunk it was easy for him to admit that it felt quite good.

“Tell me a secret, Soonyoung. Something no one knows.” Soonyoung cocked his head to the side slightly confused by Jihoon’s request. “Why would I do that?”

“Why are you questioning everything all the time? I’m just trying to do some bonding here.” Jihoon glared cutely at him and Soonyoung felt the need to ruffle his hair but held it in somehow. “Then why don’t you tell me a secret first?” Jihoon shrugged and looked at the empty glass he was still holding in his hand. “I actually like pink things. But I would never buy clothes or other things in that color because it’s too much of an omega-thing.” Soonyoung smiled slightly. The younger really was endearingly cute at times. “And I like cute things even though I’m an alpha. Cute plushies, cute stationary, cute guys in pink clothes.” Jihoon hit him hardly on the arm, but Soonyoung just laughed about it. “You’re an ass. Don’t make fun of me.” Soonyoung was laughing so hard now that it drove tears into his eyes. “I’m not making fun of you. I’m serious. I do like cute things. Is that a problem?”

Jihoon put the glass finally on the table, leaned back on the couch and looked at Soonyoung. “No, it’s not.” They sat there in silence for a while just looking at the other. Soonyoung could see that there was something on Jihoon’s mind he didn’t dare to ask.

“What is it you want to say, Jihoon? Just ask me already.” Jihoon shuffled slightly around. It was interesting that the younger still could be nervous while being drunk. Especially because he had been neither nervous nor awkward the whole evening. The thing on his mind must be a big deal for him.

“Can I hug you for a moment?” Soonyoung immediately froze up. He hadn’t expected Jihoon to ask him something like that. Now he wasn’t surprised anymore that Jihoon had hesitated so much to ask him. “I know it’s a strange request, but I… when I’m drunk I always feel the need to hug someone.” Soonyoung felt his heart pounding slightly faster at Jihoon’s words. The younger probably didn’t even understand why he wanted to hug someone while drunk, but to Soonyoung it was clearly Jihoon’s omega biology talking. There was no other explanation for it. And naturally Soonyoung couldn’t refuse him as alpha - especially not in his slightly drunken state of mind. He was just much too soft for Jihoon in this moment.

“Alright, come here.” As soon as Soonyoung had spoken the words Jihoon crawled over to him and sat on his lap and hugged the alpha tightly. Soonyoung didn’t expect the younger to place himself on his lap like this, but it wasn’t unwelcome. Soonyoung hadn’t let any person near him for quite some time and it felt good to hold someone close again.

“Thank you. It had been a while since I could hug someone like this. I used to hug Wonwoo, but since he started dating Mingyu I feel uncomfortable asking.” Soonyoung slowly caressed Jihoons back. He could feel the warmth radiating through the others shirt and it left a tingling in his fingers. “Only Wonwoo? What about Seungcheol-hyung? You two seem very close too.”

Jihoon pushed his face into Soonyoung’s neck and a slight shudder went through the alpha at the gesture. Jihoon really didn’t know what he was doing here, did he? The hugging and the slight touch on his neck was clearly omega scenting. It was a lot more subtle than what alphas did but still easy enough to notice. Nothing would come out of this scenting because Jihoon had no scent but the gesture still left Soonyoung slightly intoxicated. Maybe he should tell Jihoon what he was doing here exactly.

“I never did this with hyung. It would have been…” Jihoon stopped talking and Soonyoung noticed how the younger froze up slightly. He knew immediately what that meant and every thought of telling the other about the scenting flew out of the window. “You liked him.” Soonyoung felt Jihoon swallowing against his neck. “Just for a short while back at university. He is an alpha so I ignored the crush until it had dissolved. But still it always felt kind of wrong to ask him for something like this even after I was over the crush.”

Soonyoung swallowed down a pang of irritation. It was a bitter pill for him that Jihoon had been interested in an alpha back then, but hated his own advances that much. Soonyoung pushed these thoughts fast out of his mind because it was all in the past and he shouldn’t even think about it.

Jihoon snuggled even closer into Soonyoung’s embrace and made a small content noise. The subtle gesture made Soonyoung smile again. “You’re so cute, Jihoonie… Sorry, I probably shouldn’t call you this.” Jihoon shook his head slightly and his hair tickled against Soonyoung’s neck. “No, it’s fine.”

Soonyoung couldn’t help putting a hand on top of Jihoon’s head threading his fingers softly through the light brown locks. “Will it be still fine when you wake up sober tomorrow?” Jihoon let out a quiet yawn before answering. “Yes, because we are friends now.”

“Okay.” They sat there quietly like this until Soonyoung heard Jihoon’s breathing evening out. He had fallen asleep. Soonyoung carefully lifted Jihoon up and laid him down on the couch. He turned the tv off and brought the empty pizza boxes and glasses into the kitchen and then went to fetch a blanket from his bedroom.

When he came back into the living room, Jihoon was lying curled up on his side. His mouth was slightly open and his hair fell messily over his eyes. He looked cute. Jihoon never really looked cute when they were at the police station, so this evening brought a lot of memories of their time at university back - the time he had gotten along with Jihoon. Soonyoung put the blanket over the sleeping officer and watched him for a moment.

Soonyoung had the unsettling feeling that this friendship between them was doomed from the very start. It hadn’t worked for them at university and it probably also wouldn’t work out this time. They weren’t meant to be. Not as lovers and not as friends. They just would end up hurting each other again.

Soonyoung went to his bedroom and closed the door. Jihoon should have never reached his hand out to him again. He was sure this was going to end in a catastrophe.

Chapter Text

Jihoon woke up with a splitting headache. He looked around the room confused and not sure where he was for a moment. The memory of the night before with Soonyoung came slowly flowing back into his mind and he couldn’t help but groan loudly. He said up on the couch and the headache doubled, his vision swimming slightly in front of his eyes. Jihoon hissed in pain and stood up carefully.

He looked at the closed bedroom door across the room and didn’t know what to do for a moment. He wanted to run away and fast, but this wasn’t even a situation where he should feel the need to run away. It’s not like they had a one-night-stand and he never wanted to see the other again. If he really wanted to be friends with Soonyoung then he maybe shouldn’t just run away like a coward.

Jihoon searched for something to write and left a little note for Soonyoung on the table telling him that he had a bad headache and needed to go home to take some painkillers. He added at the end that he had fun yesterday and a thank you for buying the pizza and wine. He didn’t write that he was thankful that Soonyoung covered him up after falling asleep. Some things were better left unsaid.

Jihoon swayed slightly when he made his way quietly out of Soonyoung’s flat and went down the corridor to his own. He walked at once over to the bathroom and got the painkillers out of the cabinet and hastily swallowed one of them down with some water. He really shouldn’t have drank that much.

Jihoon made his way over to his bedroom and closed the blinds. The sun was shining brightly into the room and it would have probably been a nice day to take a walk. But right now the light was just hurting his head. He crawled into bed and closed his eyes. Jihoon tried to push any thoughts invading his head away but he still ended up thinking about the previous evening.

He really was a dumb drunk. How could he have asked Soonyoung to hug him like that? They weren’t even that close and more importantly was the other an alpha. He really shouldn’t have done that.

The pounding in Jihoon’s head made him feel nauseous so he pulled the blanket up over his head and curled himself into a ball. Through the pain and nausea he could feel a thought nagging at the back of his mind. He needed something but he couldn’t place what it was exactly.

Jihoon felt dizziness enveloping him and he fell into a restless slumber before he could make out what his mind wanted to tell him.

*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Jihoon spent the Sunday mostly in bed, his headache didn’t get better. When he woke up on Monday morning the headache was still there. His mood was unsurprisingly bad when he arrived at the police station. Before going into his office, he went to look for Jeonghan. The omega had luckily arrived before him and greeted him with a smile.

“Jihoonie! How are you doing? Did you have a nice weekend? I was surprised that you didn’t even visit once. That rarely happens.” Jihoon sat down on a chair and closed his eyes. “I have an awful headache since yesterday morning. I already took a painkiller after waking up but it’s still not better. Do you maybe could get me another one?” Jeonghan looked worriedly at Jihoon. “You have these headaches for an awful long time, but you never had them for longer than a couple of hours. That’s really worrisome. You should go to a doctor soon.”

Jihoon had expected Jeonghan to say something like that. It was true that he had these headaches already for a long time, actually for years. In the beginning he only had them twice a year, then every couple of months and recently he had them every second month. Now he had two of them in a timespan of not even two weeks and they were a lot worse than before. Jeonghan had every right to be worried and he should probably be worried too. But there were more pressing matters he had to take care of in the moment so he didn’t want to make a big deal out of it.

“The case is important, you know that hyung. I’ll go to the doctor as soon as the case is closed. I promise.” Jeonghan snorted slightly. “Yes, you better go there after the case is finished or I’ll drag you to the doctor myself, with force if needed.” Jihoon knew that the omega wasn’t joking. Jeonghan’s wrath was nothing less than scary, so he never ever tried to go against what his hyung told him.

“Hyung, there is actually another thing I wanted to ask you about.” Jihoon couldn’t get any further with his talk because a smiling Seungkwan was suddenly coming into the room. “Good morning you two!” He said in a loud voice and Jihoon cringed slightly in pain. The headache was still just as bad as before.

“Jihoon-hyung, it’s great to see you here. Can I talk to you for a second?” Jihoon blinked a few times in confusion. He didn’t know what the young secretary wanted to talk about at all. He also felt a bit annoyed that he had missed the chance to talk with Jeonghan about his strange behavior at university. He needed to ask his friend what he didn’t tell him before, but that could probably also wait for another day. Seungkwan was laughing so brightly at him that he just couldn’t turn him down.

“Yes, of course we can talk. Hyung can you get me the painkillers in the meantime? That would be really nice.” Jeonghan nodded and gave Jihoon a knowing look. The older one probably wouldn’t be back until Jihoon and Seungkwan had finished their talk.

“What can I help you with?” Seungkwan suddenly got a slightly panicked look on his face when he heard the question and didn’t answer him. “Boo Seungkwan! Spit it out right now.” Seungkwan winced at Jihoon’s hard voice and started talking immediately. “It’s about Vernon. Did he say anything about me?” Jihoon couldn’t help chuckling slightly. Of course this was about Vernon. He should have known. “What exactly should he have said about you?”

Seungkwan gave Jihoon a fake innocent look. “Oh, I don’t know. Anything would do.” Jihoon smirked at the younger one. “He said you make good coffee.”

“Hyung!” Seungkwan puffed out his cheeks slightly in annoyance. “You know what I mean!” Jihoon wasn’t an expert in relationships. No one should ask him for guidance because it would really do no good. Still he was standing here considering how to help Seungkwan. He liked Vernon and Seungkwan also seemed like a great guy. He couldn’t just turn a blind eye on their situation.

Still it might have been better if Seungkwan had just asked Jeonghan for help. He was an omega in a relationship and also very helpful in situations like these. But Seungkwan probably chose him because he was working together with Vernon. It made sense in a way, but still he might not be the best choice for such a conversation.

“He didn’t really say a lot. He rarely does. But he seems to be interested.” Seungkwan’s eyes lit up and he clapped loudly once. Jihoon had to admit that happy omegas are quite charming. “Really? Then why isn’t he asking me out on a date?” Jihoon wanted to bang his head against the wall even though it wouldn’t have been very helpful with his headache. How could these two think so completely different? Maybe their biology was wrong and they didn’t even make a good match. One of them immediately wanted to go on a date while the other said that it would be stupid to go on a date when they didn’t even really know each other.

“Why don’t you ask him on a date then?” Seungkwan made a scandalized face and waved his arms around. “No way I can do that. I know, you don’t care about alpha-omega-dynamics, but I don’t want to ask him on a date as omega. It’s his job! Why do I have to ask him?” Now Jihoon couldn’t help rolling his eyes at Seungkwan’s antics. This was dangerous territory for him. If he wouldn’t be cautious, he would insult the omega for sure. He simply didn’t understand how the minds of alphas and omegas worked.

“You’re right, I don’t understand it. Either you ask him or you don’t complain about Vernon taking some time to ask you.” Seungkwan huffed loudly and went over to his desk and sat down. He didn’t say another word to Jihoon.

“Are you offended now?” Seungkwan turned his head away to look out of the window, still not answering. “Stop acting like a diva and just ask him yourself.” Seungkwan grabbed a file from the table and started reading it with fake interest. It seemed like the younger one wouldn’t listen to Jihoon anymore if he didn’t come up with something else.

“Okay, I’ll talk to him. Happy?” Seungkwan suddenly turned his head around and his eyes were all sparkly again. “Really? Thank you so much, hyung! You don’t know how much that means to me.” Jihoon wanted to say that he really didn’t know or understand how much it meant to him, but chose to keep it inside.

Like on cue, Jeonghan came back into the office and gave Jihoon the painkillers. He was pretty sure the other had eavesdropped or his timing wouldn’t have been so on point. It also wouldn’t be the first time Jeonghan have done that. There was a reason the omega always knew what was going on inside the police station. He kept on saying that it’s “part of his job as a secretary”, but in reality he was just overly curious.

“Have a nice day then. I have to start work.” Jihoon waved once and started his way over to his own office. The other three members of his team were all already sitting at their desks busily reading though some papers, only the team leader was nowhere to be found. “Morning. Where is Soonyoung?” Seokmin gave him a confused look while Wonwoo started laughing loudly. “Morning Jihoon. You went really fast from wanting Soonyoung gone to wanting to see him first thing in the morning.”

Jihoon gave Wonwoo an angry look that made the beta even more amused. “I was just wondering where he was! He’s the team leader after all. Why are we the only one’s doing the work?” Jihoon scolded himself in his mind because he couldn’t come up with a better explanation on the spot. What he said didn’t sound natural at all.

The curious thing was that he didn’t even know himself why he had asked about Soonyoung. It had just slipped out of his mouth. “What should we do now? We went through so many cases that were similar to the two murders of our killer but nothing fits. We have nothing, so only another victim could bring some kind of evidence or a lead. But I rather want it to be an already dead victim than a victim that will die in the future.” The four officers looked helplessly at each other. They had spent the last week looking through countless cases in Seoul and then even in whole Korea. First just by computer and then they got the files to all the cases that could be a match. In the end they still had nothing. No other case fitted their current case.

The silence between them became slowly unbearable. It was a relief to all of them when Soonyoung came into the office and they could finally stop searching for something to talk about. “Good morning. Jihoon, can I talk to you for a second?” Without giving the officer even the chance to answer, Soonyoung walked over to his office. When Jihoon got up from his seat, he saw Wonwoo giving him a sly smile. “Stop looking at me like that!” Jihoon complained loudly but he knew that his friend would never stop now. “What exactly happened between the two of you? Your behavior is really peculiar.” Jihoon huffed and started walking to Soonyoung’s office. Whatever he said now, Wonwoo would just keep on making fun of him. He didn’t need that on top of his horrible headache. Thinking about his headache reminded immediately of the fact that he still hadn’t taken the painkiller.

“Can I have a glass of water? I need to take a painkiller.” Jihoon said while entering Soonyoung’s office. The alpha nodded and got some water from a side table in his office. “Did you get hurt somewhere?” Jihoon watched Soonyoung filling a glass of water and couldn’t help noticing how perfect the other’s hands looked. He had noticed that already at university but he hadn’t thought about it ever again. Jihoon hardly shook his head to get the thoughts out of his mind. “No, I just have a headache. I have these from time to time again. I can deal with it.”

Soonyoung placed the glass in front of Jihoon and sat down on his chair. Jihoon thought that he could see something like worry in the alpha's eyes, but he also could be wrong. “Thanks, Soon.” Soonyoung gaped like a fish at him and Jihoon couldn’t help laughing at the comical face Soonyoung made hearing the nickname. “What? I called you that at university too.”

“Yes, but that was at university and…” Soonyoung stopped mid-sentence trying to find the right words. There were many emotions in Soonyoung’s eyes and it wasn’t easy for Jihoon to decipher them. “Fine, call me whatever you like.” Jihoon couldn’t help smirking slightly. The alpha was pushing him less and less away each time and it left him incredibly satisfied. Soonyoung would open up to him fast, he could feel it already.

“There is a reason why I called you here. I have a plan to lure the killer out of his hiding but it’s a bit dangerous. You are the only other crazy person here so I wanted to hear your opinion on it first. Everyone else would just tell me not to do it, but I think I can trust you on giving me an earnest opinion.” Jihoon didn’t know if he should feel honored or insulted. He decided on both. “Give it a shot.”

“Alright. We already made it clear that the killer is most probably a pathological narcissist. And I think we could lure him out with reports on the case that would hurt his ego.” In Jihoon’s head were immediately going alarm signals off. He was pretty sure that he knew what Soonyoung wanted to do. “But if we publish such a report, he’ll just murder faster someone again. It would be a stress reaction. That’s why we need to give him someone else to channel his anger at.” Jihoon knew it. Soonyoung must have a death wish.

“You’ll let the news use your name in the reports, so he’ll channel his anger at you.” Soonyoung nodded his head. “Thank you, Soon. You just excelled me as most crazy person here in the police station.” Soonyoung made a sour face at Jihoon’s remark. “I don’t need your sarcastic comments right now. I just want to know if you think it could work.” Jihoon went through all possibilities in his head, spinning a big scenario. He only answered when he finished thinking everything through. “Yes, I think so. But it’s really dangerous. You could die.”

Soonyoung took a paper from his desk and stared a while at it. He sighed and laid it back on the table. “How high is the possibility that we’ll find the killer before he’ll kill another person without me doing this?” Jihoon gulped slightly. He didn’t like what he had to say now. “Zero percent.”

“That’s everything I need to know. Thank you. I’ll go to the deputy chief and discuss it with him now.” Soonyoung got up from his chair and walked to the door but Jihoon also sprang up and stopped him. “This is insanity Soonyoung!” The alpha gave Jihoon a hard look and pulled his arm out of his grip. “No, this is my job.” Soonyoung turned around and left Jihoon in his office behind. Jihoon knew that they had a dangerous job and had to risk their lives sometimes, so why did the panic that shot through him, make him unable to move? Why was he so unreasonably scared that Soonyoung wouldn’t make it out of this case alive?

*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The day went by in a flash and Jihoon was just running around headless in the office. Soonyoung had informed the team later of his decision and everyone was shocked when they heard the news. But the deputy chief had given his go and Soonyoung had already sent out the information to the biggest newspapers and tv stations. There was nothing they could do to stop this anymore.

When Jihoon returned to his flat in the evening he walked aimlessly up and down the living room. He couldn’t calm down because his mind was occupied with worrying about Soonyoung. He knew he wouldn’t be able to calm down and sleep like this, so he decided on the spur of the moment to go over to Soonyoung’s apartment and talk with him again.

Jihoon rang the doorbell of Soonyoung’s flat in his distress countless of times until the alpha opened the door. “Why are you ringing my doorbell nonstop? I’m really sensitive to noise so it would be nice if you could never do that again.” Jihoon winced at Soonyoung’s harsh tone and felt at the same time a knot of guilt pulling in his chest. He knew that alphas were especially sensitive to noise but didn’t think about it in his desperation.

“I’m sorry. I won’t do it again. Can I come inside for a second?” Soonyoung opened the door further and let Jihoon in. Like a regular guest, he walked immediately over to the couch and sat down. “Why are you here?” Jihoon could hear the annoyance in Soonyoung’s voice and it made him slightly angry. Soonyoung had no right being annoyed after the stunt he pulled today.

Soonyoung sat down beside him and Jihoon suddenly felt like punching the other now that he was so close to him. “I can’t believe you really did that. What will you do now? You made yourself the target of a killer!” Soonyoung shrugged slightly. He looked around the room and when he stopped moving his head, Jihoon followed his line of view. He was looking at a clock that was lying on a side table, batteries beside them. “Time will run out for everyone one day.”

“Are you joking with me right now? What the hell is wrong with you?” Jihoon got up from the couch and walked over to where the clock was laying and put the batteries inside again. “Here, your time is running again.” Soonyoung groaned loudly. “Take the fucking batteries out. I hate the ticking of that clock.” Jihoon let out a small ‘oh’ and took the batteries out again.

“Jihoon, it’s the only way to get the killer. I know that the chances are still slim, but we might be able to catch him like this. It’s better than waiting for him to kill another person. I was already too slow on my last case and we lost one more person. I don’t want this to happen again.” Jihoon stubbornly shook his head and went back to the couch to stand in front of Soonyoung.

“You have to promise me when something happens that you don’t run off alone but take me with you. You also shouldn’t walk around alone too much. Let’s go at least in the evening home together.” Soonyoung suddenly smiled warmly at him and Jihoon couldn’t remember when the other had looked at him the last time like this.

“Are you worried about me? Don’t be. I’m an alpha, I doubt he’ll try to do the same thing to me as he did to the other victims. I also have a gun.” Jihoon leaned down angrily and grabbed Soonyoung’s shirt to pull him close. “But he could still kill you.” Both of them stared quietly at each other. Jihoon could feel Soonyoung’s breathe on his face and a shudder went through his whole body. There was a strange tension between them and Jihoon suddenly couldn’t take it anymore. He quickly let the alpha go and sat down beside him, not looking at the other again.

“Okay, I’ll tell you when something happens and I’ll take you with me. But I’m still the team leader so you’ll have to do what I say. Deal?” A small smile tugged at Jihoon’s lips when he turned around to Soonyoung again. “Yeah, deal.”

“Are we done then? I want to get eventually some sleep this night.” Jihoon fumbled with his fingers for a moment. He didn’t want to leave yet, but he couldn’t tell that Soonyoung. Soonyoung seemed to notice it because he leaned over and ruffled Jihoon’s hair messily. “Go to bed Jihoon. And don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine.”

Jihoon got up from the couch and walked with slow steps to the door. He still didn’t want to leave but he also had no reason to stay. “Good night then.” Soonyoung had followed him to the door and gave him another smile. It was an amazingly handsome smile and Jihoon didn’t know how to handle it. Soonyoung’s smile did things to him that should be better left ignored. “Good night. And thank you for worrying for me.” Soonyoung told him in a calm voice and instead of answering Jihoon hastily opened the door and slammed it shut after him. He didn’t acknowledge that his face felt hotter than normal and that his heart might have just skipped a beat.

He was just worried for his colleague and tired from the constant headache. This was all nothing special at all.

Chapter Text

Jihoon’s headache was finally gone by the next day. He felt refreshed when he woke up and sang loudly while getting ready for work. It was a habit of his whenever he was in a good mood. He started singing random songs he heard on the radio or songs he’d known since childhood. His friends often praised him for his voice but he thought it was nothing special at all. On the contrary, his voice was too high in his opinion. When he was younger, he had always hoped it would get deeper at one point but it never did. In the end it wasn’t something he could change and just learned to live with his high pitched voice. He could still boss around everyone just fine.

Jihoon arrived at the office quite early, made himself a coffee and searched for something to do. While he was reading through a letter that had been left on his table, he saw Soonyoung in the corridor walking to his office. He didn’t have anything important to do right now and the others haven’t arrived yet, so he went over to Soonyoung’s office without much thought. He had to ask Soonyoung if something out of the ordinary had happened after all.

“Morning Soon. Did anything happen?” Soonyoung shook his head. “No, nothing, but I have something for you.” Jihoon looked surprised at Soonyoung. The alpha just smiled at him and got something out of his bag. “There is a toy shop beside the coffee shop I always go to and I saw it in the window. It somehow reminded me of you. Take it as a thank you that you were so worried for me yesterday.” Soonyoung pulled his open hand out and there was a small pink and white plush cat on it. Jihoon didn’t look all that enthusiastic.

“You got me a pink plush cat?” Soonyoung just shrugged defensively. He obviously had expected another reaction from Jihoon. “It’s cute. But if you don’t want it then I’ll keep it.”

Soonyoung started pulling back his arm, but Jihoon immediately grabbed the cat. “NO!” Jihoon held the cat close and looked at it. “You got it for me so I might as well keep it.” There was a smile tugging at Jihoon’s lips and an uncomfortable warmth was spreading through his whole body. He looked at the alpha again who was spotting a relaxed expression and a lazy smile.

Maybe, just maybe, Jihoon really liked the present Soonyoung got him. He would never admit that though. But he gladly took it as a sign of their blooming friendship. “Thanks Soon,” Jihoon said in a small voice and watched the warmth in Soonyoung’s eyes growing. “No problem Jihoonie.” Jihoon forgot to breathe for a second after hearing the nickname for the first time after their slightly intoxicated evening together. He had thought the other had forgotten that Jihoon told him it was okay to call him like that, or that Soonyoung felt uncomfortable with it.

“Yeah, right..” Jihoon mumbled slightly awkward and turned around. “Inform me if something happens. I have to go somewhere.” Jihoon left the room and walked a couple of steps down the corridor just to lean against a wall there. He actually had no place to go and nothing to do. What a blunt lie.

“What do you have there?” Jihoon jumped slightly and immediately hid the plush cat behind his back when he heard Jeonghan’s voice. “Nothing.” He felt his face heating up and cursed his body for being such a traitor. “Don’t try to lie to me. You can’t hide anything from me, Jihoonie.” Jeonghan stepped close to Jihoon and closed his arms around his body trying to get the cat out of Jihoon’s hands.

“Go away, hyung.” Jihoon whined slightly, but it just motivated Jeonghan more. He pinched Jihoon’s hip and the officer let go of the plushie with a yelp. Jeonghan cheered loudly and looked at the small pink cat in his hands.

“Where did you get this and why is it pink?” Jihoon growled lowly at Jeonghan’s words and tried to get the cat back but Jeonghan pushed him away expertly. “I swear if you weren’t my hyung, I would punch you right now!” Jeonghan took a step back and looked at his friend curiously.

“I maybe haven’t asked the right question. Who did you get this from?” Jihoon just looked at his friend and didn’t answer. He didn’t want Jeonghan to pry too much into his and Soonyoung’s relationship. At this point, it hardly was something that you could even call a relationship. They were just on the verge of becoming friends. Maybe in a few weeks they really could become good friends.

Jihoon couldn’t help smiling at the thought and Jeonghan looked even more curious at him. “Didn’t you just come out of Soonyoung’s office?” Jihoon gave Jeonghan an angry look. The older one really didn’t know when to shut up. “It’s none of your business. Now give it back to me.”

Jeonghan smirked wildly at Jihoon. “Maybe I should go into Soonyoung’s office and ask if he knows what this is.” Jihoon kicked in frustration against the wall. “Why do you always need to know everything? This is so annoying. Soonyoung got it for me as a thank you gift. Nothing more. Happy?”

Jeonghan looked taken aback for a second but recovered fast. “Since when are you two so friendly that you give presents to each other?” Jihoon sighed loudly and leaned back against the wall again. “I’m trying to make up for my past mistakes. I haven’t treated him right, hyung. We were friends at one point and I just want us to go back to that. It’s also much easier to work together if we get along.” Jihoon saw it on Jeonghan’s face that he had lots of questions and he obviously also wasn’t buying his story. It was just the truth though.

“What exactly happened between you two that you get along so well suddenly?” Jihoon went over to Jeonghan and ripped the cat finally out of the older ones grasp. “Why is everyone asking me that? Nothing happened. We just talked and watched some anime together. There is nothing much to it.”

“Whatever you say, Jihoonie. Let’s talk about this in detail later.” Jihoon turned around and quickly walked away. He could hear Jeonghan screaming “At least say goodbye to your hyung” but that didn’t stop him. He really wished he wouldn’t have to talk with Jeonghan about the strange relationship between him and Soonyoung. He didn’t even have to say something about it at this point.

When Jihoon arrived back in the office, he hid the cat in one of the drawers of his desk. He let out a relieved sigh when no one else noticed the small gift. Jihoon sat on his chair awkwardly and tried to think of something he could do. Until the killer did something, there wasn’t really anything to do.

Without even realizing, Jihoon opened the drawer again and looked at the small pink cat lying there. Was it really that strange for Soonyoung and him to be close again? Was he maybe burdening Soonyoung too much with trying to become friends? Jihoon’s thoughts suddenly became very complicated and he didn’t know what he was doing anymore. Why had he hated Soonyoung so much and why was he so stubbornly trying to become his friend again? There must be some explanation for his behavior but he couldn’t make it out. Which was plain strange because he should be the one to know best. If he couldn’t understand himself, then another person also won't have answers to his questions.

*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Just one hour after uselessly sitting in front of his desk, Jihoon saw Soonyoung coming into their office. He was the only one who noticed their team leader, because everyone was busy with reading. He looked curiously at Soonyoung who pointed first at Jihoon and then into the direction of his office. Before leaving, he made a shushing motion and gestured at the rest of the team.

Jihoon considered for a moment what to say to his team members so they wouldn’t get suspicious for a while. “I’ll be back in a moment, I have to make a call,” was what he came up with. He hurried over to Soonyoung’s office who just stood there looking worried. “What happened?”

“The killer called me.” Jihoon shuddered at Soonyoung’s words. There was an unsettling feeling in his chest and he was afraid to hear what the killer had said exactly. “He just called you? That’s quite daring.” Soonyoung’s face didn’t convey any emotion and it made Jihoon even more worried.

“Yes, he just called. He must be very sure that we don’t know who he is and that we can’t catch him right now. He told me an address and said that I should go there alone.” Jihoon wasn’t happy about the situation. But at least he felt a bit relieved that Soonyoung wasn’t in danger alone right now but instead had kept his promise and called him over.

“What do you want to do now?” Soonyoung hesitated a moment before answering Jihoon, but when he did, he looked very determined. “Going there of course. That’s what I’ve aimed for. I need to catch him.”

“You are not planning on going alone, right? That’s too dangerous. You have to take me along. Or even better, take the whole team with you.” Soonyoung suddenly gripped his arm, probably because he noticed the slight panic in Jihoon’s voice. “I can’t take the team with me. He said I should go alone. I can take the risk of taking you with me if that is what you want, but you have to listen to me come what may, is that clear? If I tell you to run, you’ll run and leave me behind.”

Jihoon’s eyes started shaking and his mind was busily trying to figure out if he should agree with Soonyoung’s conditions. He didn’t want to leave the other behind at all costs. That went against his principles as a police officer. But if the other would only take him along under these conditions then he had to agree. He couldn’t let Soonyoung go alone.

“Okay, I’ll do everything you say. But still it will be much too dangerous if we don’t inform the others.” Soonyoung nodded and went over to his desk to pick up his gun. “I left a note on my table with the address and an explanation of the situation. It’s best like this because we’ll have a head start then. We don’t know if the killer is watching so we have to be cautious. He needs to believe that I didn’t tell more people.“

“What makes you think that he’s okay with you taking me along?” The alpha gave him a confident smile. “He’s arrogant. He’ll think he can handle two officers.” Jihoon had a bad feeling about the whole situation. He wanted to tell the other team members desperately what was going on, so Soonyoung wouldn‘t need to get himself into danger. Strangely enough it didn’t cross his mind even once that the situation was just as dangerous for himself as it was for Soonyoung. He normally always ran off alone and didn’t worry a lot about the consequences.

“Let’s go Jihoonie.” The smaller one couldn’t help making a sour face. Getting called Jihoonie by Soonyoung made him completely unable to refuse the other and he was quite sure the alpha knew that from his dumb reaction earlier. He was not playing fair.

Jihoon checked the gun in his holster and then hurried after Soonyoung. The others would be so angry when they find Soonyoung’s note.

*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

They arrived after a half-hour long ride at their destination. It was a quiet neighborhood at the border of Seoul and Jihoon was confused why the killer had ordered Soonyoung to come here. They both looked around but couldn’t see anything out of the ordinary. No cars were driving by and no people could be seen anywhere. There wasn’t a single soul around.

“Isn’t it strangely quiet here?” Jihoon asked Soonyoung while still scanning the surroundings. “He must have chosen a really quiet neighborhood on purpose.” Before Jihoon could answer the other, he heard the loud ringing of a phone. He quickly looked around, hand on his gun, but couldn’t see anyone.

“He must have placed a phone somewhere. Let me get it,” Soonyoung said and went over to a small stone wall where the ringing was coming from. He bent down and picked up something lying behind the wall. It was a burner phone and Jihoon was asking himself how fast the mind of the killer must work to come up with such a ploy in this short time. The news reports had only been released yesterday after all.

Soonyoung picked the call up while calmly looking at Jihoon. “Hello…. No, a colleague is with me. He overheard the phone call and I needed to take him along so he wouldn’t alarm any other officers. We didn’t tell anyone else that we came here.” Jihoon couldn’t help being in awe at Soonyoung lying that smoothly to the killer. Not only made the explanation sense but he also didn’t sound nervous at all. Soonyoung was a good officer.

“Okay, we’ll leave our phones here.” Soonyoung placed his phone on the stone wall and looked at Jihoon who just shook his head at him. If they’ll leave their phones here, they couldn’t be tracked. It was too dangerous. “Yes, my colleague will also leave his phone here.” Soonyoung nodded at Jihoon and the younger one knew he had no other choice than give his phone up. The killer really had a way to see what they were doing.

Jihoon went over to where Soonyoung was standing and unwillingly laid his phone down onto the stone wall. He looked worriedly at the alpha but the other just started talking into the phone again. “So you’ll just tell me where to go? Understood. Yes, I’ll just listen and won’t talk.” Soonyoung started walking and Jihoon followed along immediately. They walked quietly for 10 minutes and Jihoon began feeling slight nervousness rising up. The murderer could be hidden anywhere and could shoot them without much trouble. This was a very dangerous situation. If they wouldn’t be careful, they would most probably end up dead.

Jihoon kept glancing at Soonyoung when he wasn’t watching the surroundings. Every time their gazes met, the alpha gave him a reassuring smile. It told him: “We’ll find him, he won’t hurt us, we will survive this”. Jihoon smiled back at Soonyoung hoping that his smile would tell him the same things even though he was afraid on the inside.

“How long do we have to walk? …Yes, okay no talking. I get it.” Jihoon really wished he could hear what the killer was saying. The way someone talks, the words he uses, everything can be useful to spin a profile in your head. He was sure that Soonyoung was already busily thinking up one in this very moment. He hated that he could be of no help there at all. The only thing he could do was watch their surroundings.

The 10 minutes they walked turned into one hour and the hour turned into two hours. Their surroundings gradually changed and they were walking along some fields now. They must be outside of Seoul already and it was deeply worrying. Their team had no way to track them and they were in the middle of nowhere.

Jihoon tried to fight the worries he had down but they gradually got worse. He could feel it in every fiber of his body that something bad would happen. He unconsciously grabbed for the sleeve of Soonyoung’s jacket and held onto it. The alpha looked curiously at him for a second but let his gaze drift then immediately back to their surroundings. Jihoon didn’t let go of his sleeve.

Another five minutes later they saw something that looked like a farm coming up in front of them. It was pretty clear to Jihoon that this was their destination. He finally let go of Soonyoung’s sleeve and watched the farm with a narrowed gaze.

The alpha suddenly stopped walking and turned to Jihoon. “He said he’s waiting for us and cut the line.” Jihoon bit his lips in worry and put his hands into the pockets of his trench coat. “What do you think about him?”

“He’s clever and educated. He talks like someone who has people working under him, but not like a CEO or someone in a similar high position in a big corporation. Maybe a boss of a smaller company or something like that? Well, that’s not so important right now. The thing is that he’s really sure of himself. He has planned everything out very carefully and we are about to run right into his trap. I can’t really tell what’s about to happen, so I need you to stay alarmed at all times, okay? If the situation gets crazy then you have to get out of there and call help. Is that clear?“

Jihoon gulped and looked into Soonyoung’s eyes. The other had been calm the whole time but now he could see the desperation in his eyes. “We’ll manage. We’ll make it out alive.” Soonyoung took Jihoon by the arms and pulled him close. “That is not what I wanted to hear.”

Jihoon let his gaze drop to the floor to avoid the angry eyes of Soonyoung. “If the situation gets dangerous, I’ll get out of there and get help.” Soonyoung let go of Jihoon’s arms and patted him carefully on the head a few times. “Good. Let’s go then.”

The farm looked like there hadn’t been anyone here for quite a while. Everything was worn down and a bit spooky. Thick dust was covering the farming tools and the houses and barns made out of wood were partly destroyed from the weather. Jihoon observed everything carefully but he couldn’t make out any movement. The farm looked abandoned but he knew that this wasn’t completely right. The killer had to be hidden somewhere.

While scanning the farm again a small barn was catching Jihoon’s interest. The door that was left open was made of steel which was a stark contrast to everything else that was made out of wood. “That barn over there seems suspicious.” He pointed at the direction and Soonyoung followed it with his gaze. “You’re right. Hold your gun up high.”

They slowly made their way over to the barn and Soonyoung took a deep breath and ripped the door even further open while holding his gun in front of him. Jihoon scanned the rest of the farm in the meantime but there still was no sign of the killer. He turned around finally to also take a look into the barn.

With the light from the outside flooding inside, it was easy to see that the small room was furnished. It looked like someone had stayed there. Jihoon took a step inside and searched for a light switch and found it very fast.

They couldn’t see everything before because the room had no windows but now the room was perfectly lit. Jihoon took another step into the small barn and looked around. There was a couch and a table with a chair. A small shelf was filled with books and CDs. An old fashioned music player was standing on top of it. Another door in the room seemed to lead to a toilet and that was everything there was to discover in the small barn. Jihoon wondered who could live in such a sparsely furnished room.

Jihoon took another step into the room and saw something on the wall that made him feel nauseous. “Soonyoung look at this.” The alpha came up to him and looked at what Jihoon just found. There were marks on the wall that a person would make to count days if there were no other means to do that. It must have been at least 200 hundred marks.

“Someone was locked in here.” Just when the words left Soonyoung’s lips Jihoon had a horrible burst of intuition. He knew what was going on here. He sprinted to the door but it fell shut right in front of his eyes. They had walked like idiots right into the trap of the killer. They were locked in and no one knew where they were.

Chapter Text

“Hasn’t Jihoon been gone for an awfully long time? It must have been half an hour since he went to make that call.” Vernon looked up from the paper he was reading and turned to Wonwoo. “You’re right. It’s a bit strange that hyung has been gone for such a long time just to make a call. He would have told us if he needed to leave for a longer period.” Seokmin got up from his seat and walked towards the door. “I’ll go look for him outside the police station!”

Vernon thought back on how Jihoon had excused himself earlier and suddenly got the feeling that something wasn’t right. “I rarely see Jihoon-hyung on the phone. He even says that he hates calling people. Of course sometimes it can’t be helped because of our job, but now that he’s gone for such a long time, I can’t help wondering if he lied to us.” Wonwoo stared at the younger one quietly, a worried expression on his face. “It’s strange indeed. Maybe we should also look for Jihoon. Can you go and ask Jeonghan if he knows something? I’ll go and check with Soonyoung.”

Vernon nodded his head and started making his way over to the secretary's office. When he got there, the head secretary was nowhere to be found and only a smiling Seungkwan greeted him. The smell of orange and cinnamon slapped him right in the face and he couldn’t concentrate for a moment. He thought that at one point Seungkwan’s smell wouldn’t affect him like this anymore, but it's still as strong as it was the first day they met.

“Can I help you with something?” The secretary smiled sweetly and got up from his seat and walked up to Vernon. The alpha pondered for a moment about the question, because he totally had forgotten why he came here. It was just so difficult to concentrate with the omega around. He never had had these problems with any omega before. Of course he could smell them and yes many of them smelled nice, but no one smelled as alluring as Seungkwan did. And before he met Seungkwan, he didn’t even know that he could like the smell of oranges and cinnamon that much. It wasn’t even the smell of fresh oranges, but the one of a freshly baked orange cake sprinkled with cinnamon - overly sweet, but still alluring.

“Vernon? Is something wrong?” Seungkwan’s voice shook Vernon out of his stupor and he remembered that he was actually in a hurry to find Jihoon. “Yes, sorry. I’m looking for Jihoon-hyung. Have you perhaps seen him?” Seungkwan cocked his head to the side thinking deeply for a second.

“He didn’t come here, but I did see him with Soonyoung-hyung earlier.” Vernon was a bit surprised by the answer. It was peculiar how Jihoon and Soonyoung were hanging around each other so much now. Jihoon had so much hate for their team leader when he arrived and out of the blue he became very friendly with him. He still remembered how shocked everyone was when Jihoon had bought Soonyoung along to their last meetup. It had been the biggest gossip in their group of friends for days to no end.

Wonwoo had told him when they were alone that Jihoon had a bad coincidence for behaving like an idiot, but somehow Vernon had the feeling that there was more to it than a bad coincidence and he couldn’t put a finger on what it was exactly. It would be easier if he could pick up the scent of Jihoon, but the omega never had a scent. And from Soonyoung he couldn’t get anything. The alpha was very good at keeping his emotions under control, so there was no way to pick up his mood. Vernon was quite curious what happened between them, but he wasn’t someone who would pry into the affairs of other people. Maybe one day his hyung would talk himself about what happened between them. Until then he wouldn’t bother him with questions.

“Thank you, Seungkwan. Then I’ll go to Soonyoung’s office.” Seungkwan suddenly got a slightly panicked expression and came a step closer. “Wait!” Vernon watched the omega going through some kind of inner turmoil. It was easy to see it on his face but also pick it up in his scent. The secretary seemed to be nervous.

“Is there something you want to tell me?” Seungkwan fidgeted with his fingers, obviously trying to find the right words. “Did Jihoon-hyung tell you something special since yesterday?” Vernon knitted his eyebrows together. He couldn’t remember any important talk between Jihoon and him. What was the omega trying to say? “We only talked about work.” Seungkwan’s face fell and his scent gave off a slight disappointment.

“Oh, okay. Then forget it.” Vernon was now quite interested in what was going on. Seungkwan obviously had something to say but chose not to. Did it have something to do with Jihoon? “If you know something more about Jihoon-hyung then please tell me. He behaved a bit strangely earlier and he’s gone for already half an hour without an explanation.” Seungkwan made big eyes and winked Vernon’s words off. “I don’t know anything!”

The omegas behavior was just getting more and more suspicious. Vernon couldn’t just walk away like that when the other might know more about Jihoon. Vernon walked even closer to the omega and gave him an encouraging smile. “It’s okay, if you know something about Jihoon-hyung, you can tell me.” Seungkwan just huffed at Vernon’s words and turned his head to the side. “I just told you that I don’t know anything.”

Vernon grabbed Seungkwan’s arm and the omegas head shot around immediately in shock. Did the other also feel a shudder going through his whole body or was Vernon the only one having a reaction like that? Touching Seungkwan maybe hadn’t been one of his brightest ideas. Seungkwan’s pheromones really did strange things to his brain. He should get out of here soon or he would make a fool out of himself for sure.

Vernon slowly let go of Seungkwan’s arm before speaking up again. “You are obviously hiding something and I need to know it. Hurry, I really need to find hyung.” The omega suddenly turned around and let out an annoyed loud noise. “I talked with hyung about you, okay? This is not about Jihoon-hyung but about you and me.” Vernon was completely dumbfounded by Seungkwan’s words. If he had known, then he wouldn’t have tried to make the omega talk. He wasn’t sure if he even wanted to know what they talked about.

“Sorry…. I misunderstood.” Vernon swiped his slightly sweaty hands on his pants off and considered just leaving the office but Seungkwan’s heavy gaze didn’t let him move away from where he stood. “Is that everything you have to say? Do you not want to know what we talked about?”

He didn’t want to know – he was sure of that now. The thought that Seungkwan had talked with his hyung about him was scary in his mind. Even his own thoughts were scary to him lately. He wasn’t in a phase in his life where he searched for a relationship, because he was content with how things were in the moment. He needed time for his work and his friends. There wasn’t any time left for a relationship. But if he would let Seungkwan get close to him, he knew that the omega would turn his whole life upside-down. It could be a great thing, but it also was kind of terrifying to Vernon. He liked having a quiet life.

“That was your private talk. I shouldn’t be prying.” Seungkwan’s scent suddenly changed and it smelt now more like burnt orange cake. Vernon knew immediately that he must have pissed off the omega greatly but he didn’t even know with what exactly he had offended the other.

“Every normal person would ask me now what we talked about!! Is it not interesting at all to you?” Vernon took a step back at Seungkwan’s outburst. “Yes, I mean no, I mean yes…” The omega gave him a confused look but his scent turned a bit sweeter again. “Sorry, I’m not very good with words,” Vernon said and the last bit of burnt smell vanished from Seungkwan’s scent.

The omega suddenly burst out into laughter. “Yes, I’ve noticed that already. But don’t worry, I’m good enough with words for the both of us.”

Vernon couldn’t help smiling back at the other. Seungkwan was loud and flashy, but maybe he was just the kind of person he needed in his life. Maybe he was just hiding away in his quiet lifestyle. “So, I said to Jihoon-hyung that he should tell you to ask me out on a date.”

Just when Vernon thought nothing could shock him anymore, Seungkwan came up with that confession. He didn't know what to do with it. Just a short while ago he had told Jihoon that it was still much too early to go on a date. What should he do now?

“But we don’t even really know each other.” Seungkwan rolled his eyes at Vernon’s remark. “But isn’t that the point in going on a date? To get to know each other better? Oh my god, I can’t believe I’m saying all of this when I told hyung that I don’t want to be the one to ask you out on a date. He even scolded me to just ask you, but I kept on saying that I can’t do that as omega. What am I doing right now?”

The rambling of Seungkwan was so hilarious to Vernon that he couldn’t help laughing out loud this time. “Are you laughing about me right now? If you don’t stop it right now, I’ll end up being really offended. Stop laughing!!” Vernon just laughed more at Seungkwan’s pouty face and wiped some tears out of his eyes. “Sorry, you are just so cute right now.”

Seungkwan colored a deep red and turned his gaze down. “I guess I can forgive you if you put it like that.” When Seungkwan looked up again, Vernon was still smiling at him. “Do you want to go on a date with me Boo Seungkwan?” Seungkwan tried obviously to keep a straight face, but after mere seconds a smile broke out on his face.

“I thought you would never ask.” Vernon felt warmth flowing through him and maybe Seungkwan really was right and they should just get to know each other better. What’s the point in waiting forever when they already felt so close? Even if his life was comfortable as it is right now, there was always room for improvement. He really should give Seungkwan and also himself the chance to try and see if this is just a mere attraction or if it could turn into something more.

“Let’s talk later about a date and a place, okay? I have to go back and search for Jihoon-hyung. I’m actually in quite a hurry.” Seungkwan nodded and sat back down in front of his desk. “Tell me when you found him.” Vernon waved awkwardly goodbye and Seungkwan told him loudly to just go already. Somehow Vernon didn’t feel like leaving right now, but he pulled himself together and turned around. The sweet scent of orange and cinnamon followed him all the way down the corridor and he couldn’t help feeling slightly giddy.

Vernon stopped in front of Soonyoung’s office and looked inside but no one was there, so he walked back to their office. Wonwoo was at Jihoon’s desk going through his drawers when he came back. There was a strange look on his face when he obviously found something, but he didn’t take it out and just pushed the drawer close again.

Wonwoo noticed Vernon when the younger officer came closer to their desks. “Did you talk to Jeonghan?” Vernon shook his head. “No, but I talked to Seungkwan. He said that he saw Jihoon-hyung together with Soonyoung-hyung.” Wonwoo sighed loudly. “That is strange. Soonyoung is also not in his office. Where did they go?” Just a second after Wonwoo had said the words, a look of terror formed on his face.

“Those idiots. We have to hurry. Let’s take a look at Soonyoung’s office.” Wonwoo started running and Vernon just followed him without a second thought. On the way to Soonyoung’s office he tried to understand why Wonwoo had been so shocked, but couldn’t come up with an answer that fast. Where did Jihoon and Soonyoung go?

Wonwoo hastily opened the door to Soonyoung’s office and hurried over to his desk. The beta picked up a note lying on the desk. While reading the note, the worry on his face grew considerably. “What does it say?”

“The killer just called me and told me to meet him. I took Jihoon with me. If we still aren’t back when you found this note then please come with back up to this address.” Vernon hissed lowly hearing the content of the note. Soonyoung and Jihoon had gotten themselves into an unnecessarily dangerous situation. They were gone for almost an hour already. Something must have happened to them or they would have contact someone at the police station already.

“Let’s try to call them.” Wonwoo nodded at Vernon’s words and got his phone out and dialed immediately a number. After a minute he took the phone down again. “Jihoon is not picking up.”

In that moment Seokmin also came into Soonyoung’s office painting hardly. “I couldn’t find Jihoon-hyung anywhere but from the looks on your faces I can tell that you know more than I do.”

“They went to meet up with the killer.” Seokmin’s mouth fell open hearing the words. “Why didn’t they tell us? I mean, I’m used to Jihoon-hyung doing stupid things but why is Soonyoung-hyung now behaving the same way?”

Wonwoo shrugged and leaned against the wall. “I have my theories why it turned out like this, but the only thing I can say for sure is that they are both idiots.”

“What do we do now? Should we inform the deputy chief?” Seokmin asked but his team members just kept quiet. Wonwoo sighed deeply and made his way out of Soonyoung’s office, the other two following him closely. Now that Soonyoung and Jihoon were gone, Wonwoo naturally picked up the role as the leader of the team.

“We have to inform the deputy chief and then we’ll go immediately to this address. I just hope that nothing bad happened to them.”

*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Wonwoo, Seokmin and Vernon sat in the police car driving to the address that Soonyoung had left behind on his table. Wonwoo was driving a lot faster than allowed but in a situation like this it couldn’t be helped. This was an emergency after all.

All the way, none of them dared to speak up and talk about what might have happened to their two colleagues. The thought that something bad might have happened to them was too scary.

In the quiet of the car Vernon thought back on the first day he met Jihoon. It had been over three years ago when he had just graduated from university and got a job at their police station. It had been his very first day at the police station and right after arriving there, he had bumped into Jihoon who had asked him if he was the new officer.

Vernon always had been a bit shy around strangers even though he was an alpha, so he had been glad that Jihoon had talked to him immediately. The older one had shown him where to go and told him not to be nervous. Vernon had never told that Jihoon, but it had really helped him a lot at that time to calm down. Over the years, Jihoon had often helped Vernon out when he needed someone to talk to. He was really thankful for that. Besides all the private help, Jihoon also had been a big inspiration to Vernon in his job. No one worked as hard and was more determined to catch criminals than Lee Jihoon. There were so many things he respected Jihoon for and so many things he felt thankful for. Still he had never really thanked Jihoon for any of it. He should really do that after they found him.

The car suddenly stopped and Wonwoo sprang out of the car at once. Vernon and Seokmin had trouble keeping up with him.

All three of them looked around their surroundings but there was nothing to see. It was just a normal suburb. Vernon helplessly went down the road searching for some kind of clue and only stopped when Seokmin called loudly that he had found something.

Vernon sprinted over and saw two phones lying on a small stone wall. One of them was Jihoon’s phone, he would recognize that Black Panther case everywhere. Vernon looked at Wonwoo who was spotting a painfully worried expression.

“We have no way to track them. How should we ever find them now?” Seokmin asked loudly. Wonwoo still looked a bit absent-minded and gave no answer. After a minute he looked up and started scanning their surroundings again. “There is a surveillance camera over there. We have to go back to the police station and look at the video. Hopefully we can track them while going through the surveillance cameras in the neighborhood. Let’s hurry up. We have no time to lose.”

*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Getting their hands back at the police station onto the surveillance camera video hadn’t been difficult because the police had access to most surveillance cameras. They had watched Soonyoung picking up a burner telephone and then talking on that very phone with someone. He had afterwards laid down his own phone and winked Jihoon over who had done the same then. They had eventually started walking away, Soonyoung still on the phone. It was obvious that Soonyoung had been talking to the killer and that said killer was telling them where to go.

The three of them went through countless of videos from surveillance cameras to slowly track the way they went. It was a lot of work and over 10 hours later they had reconstructed a one hour walk of Jihoon and Soonyoung. The real problems started there. They had walked into a rural area without any cameras. They would need to go there and search for them by foot.

It was now four in the morning and there was no way they could get enough men for the search right now. The deputy chief had told them to wait until morning and then take a large group of men to search for the two missing officers. Wonwoo had gotten really angry talking on the phone to the deputy chief, but in the end he had to accept the decision of his superior. They all knew that it wouldn’t make any sense to start a search when it’s still dark outside, but they were desperate to find Jihoon and Soonyoung. The longer the two of them were gone, the higher the possibility of something happening to them.

After not getting an immediate search approved by the deputy chief, the only thing they could do now was to prepare a plan for the search and wait for daytime to come. In the end a big scale search had to be prepared well, so everything took a lot longer than Wonwoo had anticipated. Vernon had never seen Wonwoo that agitated ever in his life. But he wasn’t the only one who felt this way. Seokmin had given up on smiling long ago and Vernon himself just felt tired and stressed out on top of being worried. The three of them hadn’t slept the whole night and it was slowly getting difficult for their bodies to handle the lack of sleep and stress. But with their friends in danger, they didn’t even think about taking a break.

When the big search squad arrived where they had seen Soonyoung and Jihoon last on a surveillance camera, almost 20 hours had gone by since they last saw Jihoon. There was no way to tell if their colleagues and friends were still alive after so many hours gone by. This was by far the most horrible mission they ever went on - a mission where they might find their friends dead.

Vernon looked over at Wonwoo who calmly instructed the different groups of officers where to go to. Under his calm demeanor, Vernon could see the terror in Wonwoo’s eyes. All of them were worried but Wonwoo knew Jihoon the longest and best and it must have been unbelievably stressful to him. Still the beta tried to stay calm for the sake of the mission, for the sake of finding Jihoon and Soonyoung.

“Let’s go everyone! The mission is clear.” Wonwoo screamed and went over to where Vernon and Seokmin and another three police officers were waiting for him. “We should also hurry,” he told them but Vernon didn’t move away from where he was standing. “Do you think we can still find them alive, hyung?”

Wonwoo took a deep breath and gave Vernon a reassuring look. “Yes, I believe we can still find them alive. Now let’s go. We really shouldn’t waste more time.” Vernon couldn’t detect a lie in Wonwoo’s words, so he pushed his worries away and started walking. They could and they would find them alive. Without believing in that, their mission would be doomed to fail.

Chapter Text

Jihoon was banging his fists against the door made out of steel like a mad person. He screamed in wild rage but the door wouldn’t budge. Soonyoung walked up to him and pulled him back, but Jihoon just struggled against the hold. “You’re hurting yourself. Stop it.” Jihoon tried to get out of Soonyoung’s grip with everything he had but Soonyoung had him in a perfect grip from the back and all struggling was in vain.

“We have to get out of here. Let me go! Let me the fuck go!!” Soonyoung pressed himself even closer to Jihoon and pulled him in a back-hug-like position. He knew he needed to calm the other down somehow or Jihoon would really end up hurting himself.

“Calm down. We’ll get out of here. They’ll find us.” Soonyoung expected Jihoon to calm down a bit now but to his surprise he did the opposite. Jihoon elbowed Soonyoung hard into the gut and the alpha released him as reflex.

Jihoon turned around and looked at Soonyoung who was spotting a pained expression holding onto his hurting stomach. “The fuck they will! We are in the middle of nowhere! They can’t find us here!” Soonyoung coughed and then straightened himself again. He didn’t know what to do with the younger one, he seemed completely out of his mind.

“Jihoon, they will find us. I left the note with our starting location and they can look at the surveillance cameras videos up to the point where we left for the landside. We only walked one hour after that. They’ll probably need some time, but it’s not impossible to find us. The whole police station will search for us.” Jihoon took a couple of steps back until he hit the wall. He was shaking hard and it worried Soonyoung a lot. Something was not right. Jihoon was a police officer, he shouldn’t react so out of control in such a situation.

“It will be too late then,” the younger mumbled. Soonyoung could only make out the quietly spoken words because his hearing was exceptionally good. “People don’t die this fast.” Jihoon didn’t react to Soonyoung’s words and just breathed heavily. Soonyoung felt like it would be better to give Jihoon some space and sat down on the couch, but never leaving the other out of his sight.

Jihoon just stood there shivering and breathing heavily. Even after five minutes the officer still hadn’t calmed down and Soonyoung was starting to get seriously worried. “What is wrong Jihoonie?” Soonyoung watched the younger one lifting up his gaze slightly to look at him. There was nothing else than terror in his eyes.

“My suppressants… I took one this morning and I left them behind at the police station. If I don’t take one in 40 hours, they’ll lose their effect.” Soonyoung felt stupid for not thinking about that. Jihoon’s behavior had been strange from the very start, so he should have known that he wasn’t just afraid of no one finding them. For Jihoon, dying was probably less scary than living without the suppressants.

“40 hours are a long time. It’s very possible that they’ll find us before that.” Jihoon shook his head in defeat. It looked like he had given up already. “I always have the tablets with me, but I left them behind today. I’m so stupid.” Soonyoung felt a pang of guilt at Jihoon’s revelation. It was him who made Jihoon leave in a hurry. It was at least partly his fault that the officer hadn’t the suppressants with him.

“I’m sorry Jihoonie. It was me who made you leave in a hurry. You didn’t take them with you because of my bad decisions.” Jihoon shook even harder his head now. “No, it’s just my fault. I normally always carry them on my body, but I forgot to take one at home and took it at work. I was absent-minded this morning and just threw them without thinking into a drawer of my desk instead of putting them back into the pocket of my pants.” Even after Jihoon’s explanation, the guilt didn’t leave Soonyoung. It was still him who got them into this situation. He had calculated wrongly.

“It’s still my fault we are locked in now. I should have noticed earlier what the plan of the killer was. I have failed as team leader and profiler.” Jihoon slowly slid down the wall and sat down on the floor. He pulled up his legs and hid away his face. “I’m afraid, Soonyoung. I’m so afraid.”

Soonyoung watched the younger one losing slowly any hope and it broke his heart. He wanted to help Jihoon somehow but he didn’t know how to do it. Nothing he said could soothe Jihoon right now.

Jihoon wasn’t moving in his position at all and only his irregular breathing could be heard. Even though he looked like he calmed down a bit, Soonyoung heard just from the way the other breathed that he wasn’t fine at all. There was only one thing he could offer Jihoon and the other officer would probably feel very offended when he did that. But sometimes it’s necessary to take a risk if you want to help.

“Come here Jihoonie. I’ll give you a hug.” Jihoon’s head shot up at once hearing Soonyoung’s offer. The officer stared in shock at his team leader, his eyes bigger than Soonyoung had ever seen them. “Are you crazy? I won’t let you hug me.” Soonyoung chuckled lightly. He knew Jihoon would react like that. “You are craving it when you are drunk, so it’s probably something you are craving right now too. You are just too proud to admit it. But pride has no place in a situation like this. You need to calm down. You are close to a mental break down, Jihoonie.”

Soonyoung expected the younger to get even angrier at his words and deny everything. He didn’t expect Jihoon to watch him for a bit and then stand up and come over to him without saying another word. Soonyoung opened his arms and Jihoon crawled onto his lap the same way he had done when they had watched anime together.

The alpha closed his arms tightly around the small body and noticed that he was still shaking. “Don’t worry Jihoonie. They’ll find us in time. Everything will be okay.” Jihoon just started shaking more and Soonyoung heard the other sniffing slightly. He considered his choices what to do with the younger one at this point, because nothing seemed to help him. There was one thing that might calm the other down, but he didn’t know if he would cross a line with it. He had already crossed the line many years ago when he had scented the other. He didn’t want to do such a mistake again.

“Jihoonie, can I do something to help you calm down? I don’t know how else to help you…” Jihoon didn’t answer but nodded his head against Soonyoung’s neck.

Soonyoung took a deep breath and carefully touched the spot on Jihoon’s neck where his scent gland was hidden under the skin. When the younger one didn’t flinch away he started rubbing with two fingers circles over it. Jihoon let out a small moan at the touch and melted boneless against the alpha, finally not shaking anymore.

Soonyoung pushed any inappropriate thoughts out of his mind feeling Jihoon melting so compliant against his body. This was just to help Jihoon calm down.

“There you go. You’re much more relaxed now. Don’t worry, I’ll take care of you.” Jihoon snuggled closer and laid his head onto Soonyoung’s shoulder. “I’m so afraid.” Jihoon said in a small voice. Soonyoung patted him lightly on the back while still rubbing small circles onto his neck. “Don’t be. You’re not alone.”

They didn’t talk anymore after that and eventually Jihoon fell asleep at one point. Soonyoung laid him onto the couch and put Jihoon’s head onto his legs. The alpha threaded through the smaller ones hair carefully. “What should I do with you?” He whispered into the silence of the room. “If they don’t find us in time, nothing will ever be the same again.”

*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Soonyoung had sat on the couch for hours just staring at the peaceful sleeping face of Jihoon resting on his lap. He had just gotten really bored when the younger one turned from his side onto his back and slowly opened his eyes. “How long was I asleep?” Jihoon mumbled lowly and let out a small yawn. He blinked a few times to wake up more when something startled him suddenly. He tried to get up from Soonyoung’s lap but the alpha just pushed him down again. “Four hours. Keep on lying there. We have nothing better to do either way.”

“But the position must be horrible for you. Your legs must hurt.” Soonyoung laughed quietly at Jihoon’s worry. Hurting legs really weren’t a big deal in a situation like this. “No, it’s okay.” Jihoon closed his eyes again for a moment and wiggled around a bit to find a more comfortable position.

“What did you do to me earlier?” Soonyoung froze up slightly. He knew that the chances the other wouldn’t ask this question were slim, but he still had hoped that he could get away without an explanation. He wasn’t sure how Jihoon would react when he heard what Soonyoung had done. “I touched you where your scent gland is. It’s the point where an alpha bites down for a mating mark. For omegas it’s highly pleasurable to get touched there and I kind of hoped it would calm you down. You take the suppressants so I was quite sure it wouldn’t have a great effect on you, at most a calming one. And I was right.”

Jihoon didn’t answer him so Soonyoung spoke up again. “Are you angry with me?” Jihoon bit his lip in concentration and answered only a while later. “No, I… no. I was really out of my mind earlier. If it wouldn’t have been for you, I would have probably had a panic attack.” Soonyoung felt the tension leaving his body hearing Jihoon’s words. Luckily he had worried for nothing.

“Why do you think the killer locked us in here? He could have killed us.” Soonyoung had a lot of time in the last hours to think about what was going on in the killer’s mind and he was pretty sure Jihoon had an idea too. “Well, why do you think he did it, Jihoonie?” Jihoon thought a long time before he answered the alpha. “This is a game for him. He just wants to show us that he is cleverer than we are. He wants to feel superior and he probably wants the police to watch how he’ll kill more people.” Soonyoung sighted tiredly. This was exactly what he thought too. The killer was just playing with them.

“I think so too. He is angry with me but probably can’t get any satisfaction when killing me because I don’t fit his type. But showing that he is cleverer than the police is giving him probably an incredible ego boost.” Jihoon looked worriedly at Soonyoung and the alpha already knew what the other wanted to ask him. “Do you think he’ll kill someone while we are locked in here?”

“I thought about that for a long time, but I’m still not sure.” They both fell into an uncomfortable silence afterwards. Soonyoung tried to find something to talk about but Jihoon beat him to it. “Tell me something about you.” Soonyoung laughed at Jihoon’s words. “Why do you always want to know things about me? What should I even tell you? You already know many things about me.”

“We have nothing else to do than talk. Tell me something about your childhood. Did you always want to become a police officer?” Soonyoung thought about refusing to talk about that topic. He didn’t particularly like talking about his childhood and his family. It was difficult to explain it to other people.

“Yes and no. My father always told me to become a police officer and I naturally got interested in it. But at one point, during my high school days, I really didn’t feel like becoming a police officer anymore. It was tiring having to listen to my father rant about my upcoming studies at university and how I had to join the National Service fast almost every day. I didn’t dislike the thought of becoming a police officer but I was just so tired of everything. That’s when I started thinking about where I could imagine myself in the future. But in the end, I didn’t even have a choice. My father flipped out when I told him that I considered studying something else and screamed at me for hours. I have never said another word about another career path since then.”

Jihoon looked at him with pity in his eyes and Soonyoung hated that look. He always got it when he talked with people about this topic and that was exactly the reason why he stopped talking about it. “Don’t look at me with these pitiful eyes. I’m fine. I like my job and I don’t regret taking this route in life.” Jihoon’s eyes softened slightly and Soonyoung couldn’t help threading his fingers through the smaller ones hair again. Jihoon didn’t complain. “What did you want to be?”

“I wanted to study to become a doctor. A pediatrician to be exact.” Soonyoung thought for a moment about where he would be right now if his father would have allowed him to study medicine. Would he have been happier right now? Soonyoung couldn’t find an answer on that question.

“You like children?” Soonyoung nodded, a small smile on his lips. “I do.” Jihoon hummed at Soonyoung’s words and turned onto his side hiding his face in Soonyoung’s shirt. “You would have been a great pediatrician. If you didn't have to go this tiring way your father forced onto you, then you would be still the happy and goofy Soonyoung I met at university. The children would have loved you.” Soonyoung patted Jihoon’s head slightly. Warmth spread through his body that he hadn’t felt in a long time. It was the warmth you experience when someone cares for you. He really had forgotten how it was to have someone caring about you.

“I still don’t really understand how you became like this, Soon. You are so different from university.” Soonyoung pushed some of Jihoon’s hair behind his hair and laughed airily. “Am I boring now?” Jihoon turned around onto his back again, a playful glint in his eyes. “Yes.” Soonyoung pouted slightly and Jihoon hit the alpha onto the arm for it. “No, you’re a warm and gentle person. But sometimes I miss your goofy idiocy from university.” Soonyoung gave him a sly smirk while answering. “But you hated me for the most part of university.” Jihoon hit him again on the arm, this time a lot harder. “Shut up! Why do you have to bring this up all the time? We were talking about something completely different!”

Soonyoung chuckled seeing Jihoon so angry. There were two situations where Jihoon was especially cute - when he was either really angry or really embarrassed. Soonyoung had always liked aggravating Jihoon at university, but even more he had liked to make him embarrassed. “So what do you want me to do to be more like my old self again? Should I start calling you marshmallow again? Or shortcake? Bit-size? Cute face? Angel eyes? Sugar fairy?” Jihoon now shot up from Soonyoung’s lap a hard look in his eyes, but a cute blush on his face. “Kwon Soonyoung! I’ll fucking wring your neck! All these pet names were horrible. I had nightmares from them.” Soonyoung laughed loudly at Jihoon’s annoyance. Jihoon had really hated all these pet names but still Soonyoung had come up with new one’s all the time.

He really had been so whipped for Jihoon. He still didn’t know how the other had never noticed. It must have been painfully obvious to everyone but Jihoon. Soonyoung stopped laughing at last and rubbed his arm where Jihoon had hit him before. A question went through his head that he had wanted to ask Jihoon already at university but never had dared to. Maybe now was the time for it.

“Did you ever think about not taking the suppressants anymore?” Jihoon looked surprised at Soonyoung, but there wasn’t any anger in his eyes. Soonyoung had expected the other to be really angry at him for asking that, so it was a welcome surprise that the officer seemed to be okay with answering that question. “No, never. Many people asked me that before. Everyone wonders why I don’t want to live with my original biology, if I don’t want to know what it is like. But the thing is that I never lived as omega once in my life. I’m not missing or want to experience it simply because I know nothing about it. I’m leading a happy life and I don’t want anything to change.”

Soonyoung felt the need to tell Jihoon that he was actually quite omega-like in many aspects, but he knew that Jihoon would just deny it. If Jihoon was happy like this, then he also had no right to question his decision.

“Come on lay down again. Let’s sleep some more until the others will find us.” Jihoon made a sour face but laid back down on Soonyoung’s lap. “They still have 35 more hours to get us out of here. Wonwoo better hurry up or I’ll never forgive him. He should be intelligent enough to find us in even half of the time.”

*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Jihoon slept for a few more hours and then they talked for hours after that. They mostly talked about the case, about past cases, about the job as police officer and profiler. When they felt done exhausting each topic, they just slept again. Well, Jihoon did. Soonyoung never allowed himself to actually fall asleep. Someone had to stay awake in case the killer would come back.

5 hours became 10 hours, and 10 hours became 20 hours. Soonyoung’s stomach was growling loudly, there wasn’t anything to eat or drink here, but it was okay. They would survive.

Soon 20 hours turned into 30 hours and Jihoon started to become restless again. Time was slowly running out and the panic over the others not being able to find them in time started to rise in him once more. Soonyoung tried his best to calm him down in any way and talked to the smaller one about any topic he could think of. The animes they watched years ago or why Jihoon thought Black Panther was the best Marvel movie ever done. Jihoon could thankfully talk about that topic for a very long time.

At one point Jihoon was so tired of walking agitatedly up and down the room that he lay down on the couch and went back to sleep. The smaller one kept on turning around on Soonyoung’s lap, probably not dreaming well. Even when he caressed the smaller ones hair, it had no effect. Soonyoung tried all the while to keep his thoughts busy but he couldn’t help looking at his watch regularly. Only five more hours left. He really thought the others would have found them by now.

Soonyoung closed his eyes for a moment and took a deep breath. His eyes flew open immediately again. There was a faint sweet smell in the air and he knew it meant trouble. The scent was so faint that he almost couldn’t make it out and he was quite sure not a lot of other people would have been able to pick it up, but his senses were sensitive enough to do it.

He started caressing Jihoon’s hair again and concentrated on the scent. It was a little floral and fruity, but too faint to make out what the smell exactly was. The more Soonyoung inhaled the scent, the more he knew that there was no way he was wrong about it. He could feel the alpha in him getting a lot more restless, telling him to do something to get out of here - if necessary to open the door with his bare bands. The rational part of his brain knew that this wasn’t even possible but that didn’t hinder the alpha in him urging him on to get the omega out of here as soon as possible.

They still had five more hours left. The suppressants should still work, so why could he already smell pheromones coming from Jihoon? Soonyoung considered for a moment waking Jihoon up and telling him about it. But he was too afraid that the smaller one would get a panic attack so he just let him sleep. Now, even Soonyoung felt panic rising in him like a thunderstorm. He wasn’t sure what would happen if the suppressants lost all their effect and he didn’t even want to think about it.

Lucky for Soonyoung his senses picked up something else when he was just starting to get seriously stressed out. There was something or someone outside, he could clearly hear it. Soonyoung immediately started shaking Jihoon awake. “Jihoonie, someone is outside.”

Jihoon sprang up at once and staggered still sleep drunken to the door. “Get us the fuck out of here!!” He screamed loudly and Soonyoung felt like telling him to lower his voice a bit, but that really wasn’t the situation for such a comment. So he rather got up from the couch himself and walked over to where Jihoon standing while still banging like a madman against the door. When Soonyoung was close enough, he could smell the sweet scent again.

“Jihoon, is that you?” Wonwoo’s muted voice was heard through the door and Soonyoung let out a sigh of relief. “Who else should it be? Open the fucking door RIGHT NOW!” They could hear how something was moved in front of the door and while waiting Jihoon grabbed for Soonyoung’s wristwatch. “Still five hours left. They made it in time.” Jihoon gave Soonyoung a brilliant smile, but Soonyoung didn’t feel like celebrating at all.

The door opened at last and Jihoon immediately stormed outside. “What took you so long?” Wonwoo, Seokmin, Vernon and a handful of other officers were standing outside their guns but also flashlights held high up, because it was pitch dark outside. When the officers saw that Jihoon and Soonyoung were the only ones coming out of the barn, they slowly took their guns down. Wonwoo immediately grabbed Jihoon by the arm and gave him a hard look. “Is that the right thing to say after we just freed you? You two run off like idiots and got yourself in unnecessary danger. You didn’t even really inform us about any of this! Do you know how difficult it was to find you two? The deputy chief is furious. He’s especially angry of Soonyoung because he’s the team leader. You are both crazy! You are really lucky that you are still alive.” Jihoon’s eyes were wide and the shock was obvious on his face. Soonyoung was pretty sure that Jihoon had never been screamed at by Wonwoo ever before in his life. Still the smaller officer recovered quickly. “Yes, okay we were reckless and we’ll pay the price for it later. But first of all I need my suppressants. There is not a lot of time left!”

Wonwoo sighed loudly and got something out of the pocket of his pants. “Here, I found them in your drawer while searching for a clue where you could be. I thought you might need them as soon as possible.” Jihoon immediately ripped the tablets out of Wonwoo’s hand and opened the packing with shaky fingers. As soon as he got one out he swallowed it down without even bothering to ask for water. Only then he thanked his friend for bringing the suppressants with him, his expression now more relaxed than it ever had been for the entire duration in the barn.

“We should go back for now. It must have been a difficult time for you two. We’ll send a forensic science team here in the morning so they can scan for something useful. Some men will also stay behind and wait in case the killer comes back.” Soonyoung and his team went over to the car and got in quickly. Neither Jihoon nor Soonyoung were in any condition to drive, so Wonwoo sat down in the driver’s seat. The beta rubbed his eyes and Soonyoung started feeling quite guilty because it was obvious that everyone had stayed up the entire time searching for them. Wonwoo must be very tried too but he still didn’t complain that he had to drive.

There was an uncomfortable silence in the car for a while, but you could always count on Seokmin to not bother with things like that. “So what happened? Did you see the killer?” He looked back at the two officers sitting beside each other in the backseat together with Vernon.

“No, he locked us in there and we never saw him. But Soonyoung heard his voice on the phone. We’ll find him for sure now, he must have left behind some clues on the farm.” There was an unhappy sound coming from Wonwoo hearing what Jihoon said. “We’ll better get something out of your reckless stunt or the deputy chief will never be calm again. When he allowed Soonyoung to let the reports be published, he didn’t want you two to run off like this and I quote “I knew that Jihoon is crazy, but I didn’t expect Soonyoung to be just as crazy as him”.” Seokmin laughed loudly hearing this but noticed after a second that it wasn’t really something he should laugh about and mumbled a “sorry”.

Soonyoung just sat quietly in the backseat and watched Jihoon who was sitting beside him. The scent he picked up in the barn earlier wasn’t there anymore. It seemed like their team had been in time after all. Still there was an itching feeling under his skin that just didn’t want to go away. Hopefully it was only a side effect of being tired and hungry. Soonyoung closed his eyes and leaned his head against the window of the car. For the first time in the last 35 hours, he allowed himself to drift off to sleep.

Chapter Text

Soonyoung woke up before the alarm went off. It wasn’t something unusual to him, but after all the stress he has been through the previous days, he expected to not wake up that easily.

He got up and walked into the kitchen when a strange feeling creeped up on him. He couldn’t really put a finger on what bothered him so he got himself a glass of water and downed it quickly. He was still really tired and out of his mind, his brain barely functioning.

Soonyoung got ready for work very slowly and just when he wanted to walk out of the door, it finally hit him: he was worried about Jihoon. Everything seemed fine when he dropped him off by his door but the question of his scent appearing was still unanswered. Soonyoung felt the need of least checking in on the younger officer and see if he’s doing alright.

Soonyoung stood for a long time behind his front door contemplating what to tell Jihoon. He felt kind of awkward going to Jihoon’s flat first thing in the morning but he just couldn’t shake the heavy worry off. Waiting until he saw the other at work wasn’t an option in his mind, so he just shut all unnecessary emotions out and left his flat.

Soonyoung walked the short distance down the corridor and rang the bell to Jihoon’s flat. When no one opened the door even after five minutes of waiting, he started banging loudly against the door.

Jihoon finally opened the door after another two minutes and Soonyoung knew immediately that something was wrong. He let himself in and looked worriedly at the other. He had seen Jihoon take a suppressant the evening before and the scent he noticed when they were locked in had completely vanished after that. Now the scent was back and a lot stronger than the first time.

Soonyoung could now clearly make out that it was a gentle scent of peonies with a sweet layer of raspberry. It was like a very pretty perfume, sweet but not sickly sweet with a bit of freshness in it. The scent was quite addicting and difficult to ignore, the lovely mixture was filling up all of Soonyoung’s senses and it made him sway slightly. The problem was that the sweetness of the pheromones was keeping on getting stronger and it made it quite difficult to breathe. “Are you okay, Jihoonie?”

Jihoon swayed slightly taking a step closer to Soonyoung. He was shaking badly, almost not able to hold himself upright. “My head hurts so much,” he said in a pained voice while staring at the floor. Soonyoung immediately got closer to him and held onto his arms to steady the younger. “I’ll bring you to the hospital. Come on, hurry.”

As soon as Soonyoung touched Jihoon, the shaking stopped completely and the pheromones flared up. Jihoon didn’t move for a while, but when he finally looked up, his eyes were blown wide and almost completely black. Soonyoung could now see close up the slight sheen of sweat on the others face and his smell just kept on getting stronger. He was in big trouble.

“Alpha.” Jihoons voice came out in an uncharacteristic whimper and it went through Soonyoung like a shock. The other was going into heat and was completely feral, he probably didn’t even recognize him anymore. He could see it in his eyes. “Jihoonie, listen to me. You have to hold onto consciousness for a while okay? I… shit, I…”

Jihoons pheromones were getting stronger by second and Soonyoung felt his mind getting hazy. He had to hold back and take care of Jihoon. He couldn’t leave him alone like this, but at the same time he also couldn’t take advantage of him, Jihoon wouldn’t want that.

Jihoon came closer to Soonyoung and looked up at him. “Don’t you want me, alpha?” Fuck. He couldn’t deal with it. Refusing an omega in heat was very difficult for an alpha, especially if the omega obviously wanted the alpha. How should he hold on like this?

Jihoon started to shake slightly, the distress was obvious in his posture. Soonyoung knew that he reacted like this, because he felt his refusal. Getting refused from the alpha you want was painful for an omega in heat. He needed to calm the smaller one down somehow. “No, no, Jihoonie. It’s not like this, okay? Don’t worry. We just need to get you some help.”

Soonyoung could see how tears were slowly filling up Jihoons eyes and it broke his heart. “Please, it hurts so much.” Soonyoung took a step back and he immediately saw how much more distressed the omega got. “Why don’t you want me alpha? Am I not good enough?” The alpha in Soonyoung was screaming at him to take care of the other, but his mind was busily trying to hold on. He couldn’t take advantage of Jihoon, he really shouldn’t.

“I.. I’ll call Jeonghan. He can help you.” Soonyoung pulled his phone out of his pants but Jihoon put a hand on his arm holding the phone for a moment, before pulling it back immediately. An omega normally waited for the alpha to make the first move. Touching him like this was out of place and the omega probably noticed that too.

“Alpha, please.” Jihoon whined quietly and when the alpha still didn’t react, he slowly sank down on his knees and bared his neck. It was the ultimate sign of submission and Soonyoung felt his dick throb in his pants. Seeing Jihoon like this on his knees, begging, baring his neck to him drove him crazy. The need to mate and breed the other was overwhelming. Jihoon’s scent kept on getting sweeter and it was completely clouding his mind. But he couldn’t give into his needs, not like this.

He shook his head hardly and dialed Jeonghan’s number with shaky hands. After just two rings, the other picked up. “You.. you have to come to Jihoon's flat. He’s in heat and I can’t… I can’t…” He heard Jeonghan say that he’ll be there in a minute and tried to slip the phone back into his pocket, but he was shaking so much now that he just barely managed to do this simple task. His breathing became slowly faster and it was so difficult to hold onto consciousness. The only thing he could think about was giving Jihoon what he wanted. Anything he wanted.

When the doorbell rang, Jihoon looked up at him again with lust filled eyes. “Please take me. Make me yours alpha,” the omega said in the most alluring tone Soonyoung had ever heard and he just couldn’t move anymore. The alpha inside kept on telling him to not let anyone inside, but instead go over to Jihoon, rip his clothes off and give him exactly what he wanted. Just when he took a step towards Jihoon, he remembered the incident years ago where he had scented the other. Jihoon didn’t want this, he didn’t want him and probably would never forgive him if he spent his heat with him. Jihoon didn’t even know who he was right now. None of this was right.

Soonyoung finally turned around and while he went over to the door, he heard a loud sob coming from Jihoon. It was almost impossible for him to bear it. He wanted the omega so much at this point that his whole body was shaking uncontrollably. The want went through him in waves and left him breathless.

He opened the door and Jeonghan immediately stormed inside. “So the pills didn’t work anymore after all? Oh shit, Jihoonie?” Jihoon was growling lowly sitting on the ground. His eyes were narrowed while he looked at Jeonghan. “Hey Jihoonie, don’t worry.” Jeonghan sank slowly onto his knees and pushed his shirt out of the way to show his mating mark. The younger omega should normally pick up on Jeonghan’s scent that he’s mated but he was probably too far gone for that. “I’m no danger for you, okay? I won’t take your alpha away.” Jihoons body and expression relaxed immediately after he saw the mating mark, just to tense up seconds later again. “Why doesn’t my alpha want me?”

Soonyoung took another step back. The words felt like a punch in the gut and it was impossible to hold on anymore at this point. He was moments away from snapping. Jeonghan immediately sensed that and turned around and screamed at Soonyoung. “GO NOW! You both don’t want this. GO!” Soonyoung hit with his back against the door and looked at Jihoon who was still kneeling on the floor, tears now streaming freely from his eyes. The sob that left the omega made him sound completely broken.

“Please don’t leave me. I’ll be good, I promise. Please, please, please…” Soonyoung took his last bit of willpower and turned around and walked out of the door. When the door closed behind Soonyoung, his head cleared a bit because he couldn’t smell Jihoons pheromones anymore, but the shrill scream coming from inside the room still broke his heart. It was a scream of an omega who was left alone by his alpha. Soonyoung felt sick to the core, but he still started walking back to his flat. After opening the door with shaky hands, he immediately went into the shower and turned the cold water on. He stepped inside with all his clothes on and sank down on the floor just sitting there under the cold water.

He couldn’t stop thinking about Jihoon. He wanted to go back to his apartment and help him in the most basic and animalistic way he knew. The need was so strong that he could almost taste it on his tongue. He crawled at the floor and shouted loudly, not even sure what exactly he was shouting. He felt so horrible for leaving the other alone that he felt like vomiting. He was a useless alpha. Useless.

Soonyoung sat almost one hour under the cold shower until he calmed down a bit again. He turned the water off and carelessly discarded all his clothes and took a towel to dry off. The only thought on his mind was to get out of here. He hurried into his bedroom and grabbed some clean clothes, got dressed and ran out of his flat, hair still dripping wet.

He drove like in trance to work and parked his car somewhere close to the police station, probably in a no parking zone. He stumbled out of the car and hurried to his office. On his way there he didn’t bother to greet his team members. He just wanted to lock himself away.

Soonyoung threw the door of his office close with a bang and started searching in panic for something to do. He needed to get his mind off what happened earlier or he would go insane. When he grabbed some papers, he saw how much his hands were shaking. He was not okay. He was slowly going insane and he could do nothing about it.

The door to his office suddenly opened again and Seungcheol came into his office. “Are you crazy? You can‘t come to work like this. Your pheromones are completely out of control! You can probably smell them over the entire police station.“

Soonyoung let the papers fall onto the desk again and sat down in his chair. “I couldn’t stay at home“ Soonyoung said quietly and Seungcheol’s eyes softened immediately.

“Jeonghan called me earlier so I know what’s going on. He’s taking care of Jihoon so you don’t have to worry about anything. Jeonghan is also an omega, so he knows how to deal with the situation.” Soonyoung had a blank look on his face listening to Seungcheol’s talk. It was good that Jeonghan was with Jihoon, but that fact wasn’t enough to make him feel better right now.

“Soonyoung what you did was exceptional. Not many alphas would have been able to hold back like that. Jihoon will be really thankful when he’s back to his senses. I’m also really thankful, so is Hannie.“ Seungcheol walked over to where Soonyoung was sitting and put a hand reassuringly on his shoulder.

“I left him alone hyung. He was crying and screaming and I left him alone. I can’t think about anything else. I just feel so horrible.”

Seungcheol looked worried at the other alpha who had his gaze lowered staring empty at the floor. “Soonyoung I know it’s difficult for you right now. Getting exposed to so many pheromones of an omega in heat is not something you can just shrug off. But it will get better soon. Already tomorrow it will be much easier.“

“But I can’t go home hyung! I can’t be there when Jihoonie is... you know what I mean. I can’t go there. I CAN’T!“ Soonyoung had looked up at Seungcheol again breathing harshly in distress. Just mentioning Jihoon already drove him more towards insanity.

“I‘ll ask Wonwoo, okay? You can stay with him and Mingyu for sure. I would offer to let you stay at my flat but it’s not really of any help because we live in the same complex.“ Soonyoung forced himself to smile at Seungcheol, even if it was weak. “Thank you hyung.“

Seungcheol waved Soonyoung to get up from his chair and hugged the other alpha immediately when he was standing. “Thank you Soonyoung. Jihoon will probably be very agitated when he comes back to his senses but if you would have spent his heat with him... it would have destroyed him. None of this was his choice and in a feral state of mind, he also couldn’t make a clear headed decision.”

“I know. That’s why I held back even when he begged me not to leave.“ Soonyoung knew that Seungcheol was completely right and Jihoon would probably thank him later for what he did. But with the hollowing emptiness inside him, Seungcheol’s words couldn’t make him feel better. Jihoon’s eyes when he left him behind tormented him. His voice begging him to stay was constantly ringing in his head. He just wanted to be at Jihoon’s side right now. He needed it but he knew he had to stay away. For Jihoon’s sake but also for his own. It was just the alpha in him going crazy. When some time went by and the alpha in him had calmed down again, he would be really glad to not have touched Jihoon.

Seungcheol still looked worriedly at Soonyoung and the profiler couldn’t even blame him. He must look nothing like an alpha right now but just like a confused child. “Soonyoung, don’t come to work tomorrow. I’ll talk to the deputy chief. Take a day off and go outside. Best would be to take Wonwoo with you. I’ll sort everything out and when you come back in two days, you’ll be as good as new.“

Soonyoung hoped that Seungcheol was right. He wouldn’t be able to bear feeling like this for a long time. It would kill him.

*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Soonyoung sat in Wonoo’s car and looked with void eyes out of the window. The two of them hadn’t talked since Wonwoo had come to his office and told him to get going. The alpha still felt restless and sad.

“Are you okay Soonyoung?” Wonwoo asked finally and Soonyoung didn’t even have the strength and will to answer, but he knew it would be rude to just keep quiet. “No. But I’ll be eventually.”

“Seungcheol-hyung said that Jihoon was in heat when you found him.” Soonyoung really wished that Wonwoo wouldn’t talk about that. It was already difficult enough as it was, he didn’t need to talk about it on top of that. “Yes,” he answered shortly and let his head fall against the window. He closed his eyes and tried to breathe slowly in and out.

“But he took his suppressant in time, didn’t he? Why did it turn out like that?” Soonyoung wondered why Wonwoo couldn’t get the hint that he didn’t want to talk about Jihoon. He normally was a very perceptive person and easily picked up what people were thinking. He must be ignoring Soonyoung’s feelings for the sake of getting to know more about Jihoon’s situation. Soonyoung couldn’t even feel angry about that because Wonwoo was Jihoon’s best friend after all.

“When we were locked in, I could already slightly smell pheromones on him, but when he took the suppressant, the scent was gone again. I thought he would be fine but he obviously wasn’t. It must have been too late after all. I really don’t know why. Maybe because he took the suppressants every day and his body couldn’t handle waiting 48 hours.” Soonyoung’s thoughts became slowly darker and darker. The feeling of having failed as an alpha was back so strong that he felt like being strangled. Wonwoo must have noticed Soonyoung’s distress now too because he loudly cleared his throat.

“We probably shouldn’t talk about what happened. Sorry, I don’t really understand what you are going through since I’m a beta.” Soonyoung slowly lifted his head away from the window of the car and looked at Wonwoo. “Don’t be sorry for that. Being an alpha, beta or omega is not something we can choose. It’s just what we got and we have to deal with it.”

Wonwoo waited a moment before he spoke up again. “Do you hate being an alpha right now?” Soonyoung sighed and thought about the question for a long time. “No, I don’t. It’s my biology. Why should I hate who I am? Of course my biology doesn’t define who I am but it’s nevertheless a part of me. I’ll feel shitty for a while, but I know I did the right thing today. Like I said, my biology is part of me but at the same time I won’t let it control me completely. That is not right.”

Wonwoo parked the car in front of a big building and then turned around to look at Soonyoung. There was a gentle smile on his lips. “You’re a good person Soonyoung. And even if you don’t want to hear it right now, especially not from a beta who understands nothing, I still want to thank you. Seungcheol-hyung said that you called Jeonghan to help Jihoon and then left him alone. Even though I’m a beta, I know how difficult that is for an alpha.”

Soonyoung shuddered slightly and turned his head to the side. “You know Wonwoo, I spent heats with omegas before, but today was completely different - maybe because it’s Jihoon’s first heat. His pheromones were too strong. I can still smell them, feel them fuzzing up my brain. It’s horrible. I was just seconds away from snapping when Jihoon stood in front of me. That never happened to me before. I’m normally pretty good at controlling my actions.” The longer Soonyoung thought about it, the stranger his behavior seemed to be. He needed to think about it again when his head had cleared up more.

Soonyoung sighed again and Wonwoo patted him lightly on the shoulder. “Let’s go inside and not talk about that anymore. We can order some food and watch a movie.” Wonwoo did a lousy job in keeping his mind off Jihoon. Ordering food and watching a movie just reminded him again of the younger officer. Of course Wonwoo didn’t know that, so he shouldn’t blame the beta for it.

“Can we maybe do something else?” Wonwoo looked slightly confused at him when he started getting out of the car. Soonyoung followed him and they slowly made their way to the tall building in front of them. "How about we play some games?” Wonwoo asked the other finally and Soonyoung felt a lot less distressed with that option.

“I suck at playing games, but it will do I guess.” Wonwoo laughed at Soonyoung’s words and opened the door to the building. “I hate losing either way. It’s good when you suck at playing games. More fun for me.”

Now even Soonyoung escaped a small laugh. Maybe he really would feel better soon. He just needed to be away from home and do some things to get his mind off Jihoon. He would be back to his old self in no time.

Wonwoo went inside and held the door open for Soonyoung. The alpha hesitated entering the building for a while. In the end he turned around and looked at the sky. The blue sky had always been a sight that calmed him down but today it didn’t give him any comfort. Besides his own troubles he went through, there was something else nagging at the back of his mind that he didn’t pay full attention to because he had been so out of it. Now he clearly knew what it was.

He would be okay in a couple of days again but the same thing couldn’t be said for Jihoon. Jihoon’s whole life as he knew it would change now. Soonyoung felt his own distress melt away and it got replaced by another strong emotion - worry. He was worried that Jihoon wouldn’t be able to cope with the situation.

When Soonyoung turned around and went into the building finally, there was only one thought left in his mind: Jihoon hopefully wouldn’t do something stupid.

Chapter Text

Soonyoung and Wonwoo sat on the big and comfortable couch in the middle of Wonwoo and Mingyu’s flat for hours and played more games than a person should play in one day. To Wonwoo’s great amusement, Soonyoung really sucked at playing every single game.

Neither of them noticed when the front door opened and Mingyu entered. “Babe, I’m home!” Soonyoung turned his head around to look at the door and his character in the game got shot down again. When he noticed his repetitive failure, he groaned loudly. “Let’s take a break. This game is annoying.”

Wonwoo just grinned amusedly and now also turned around to his boyfriend who slowly made his way over to the couch. “Did you game the whole day? How is that fair when I had to work?” Mingyu whined and plopped besides Wonwoo onto the couch.

“Don’t you have an important busking soon? You must be busy with work.” Mingyu leaned onto Wonwoo’ shoulder and sighed. “Don’t remind me. We have been nothing but busy for weeks. I’m home now, so I don’t want to talk about work.”

Soonyoung looked curiously at the exchange of the couple and Wonwoo was sure that he must be confused why Mingyu hadn’t said anything about his situation at all. Wonwoo had sent his boyfriend earlier a long message explaining the situation and telling him to refrain from asking Soonyoung any question. Wonwoo knew that his team leader needed to get his mind off Jihoon. He had looked close to insanity earlier and he really didn’t want to witness Soonyoung losing his mind completely.

Since Soonyoung had been back in their lives, he had been nothing else but calm and collected. Seeing him so distressed was a bit difficult to handle for Wonwoo. Yes, he knew Soonyoung for a long time but they only had been close during a very short time. That’s why he wasn’t feeling all that comfortable with unconditionally comforting the other. Still Wonwoo saw this as a chance to get to know the alpha better again. They didn’t have a lot of time to really talk since Soonyoung arrived after all. The case came crashing down on them and Soonyoung was also busily running away from making friends. Now he couldn’t run away, so this bad situation might have one positive aspect too.

“Did you order Chinese earlier? Why can’t you clean up?” Wonwoo and Soonyoung both looked at Mingyu who had an annoyed look on his face while looking at all the empty boxes on the table. “You have to know Soonyoung, Mingyu is obsessed with cleaning.” Mingyu sprung up angrily from the couch. “I’m not obsessed with cleaning! You just never clean! If I wouldn’t be the one cleaning all the time, we would live in a dirty cave.” While saying that, Mingyu started collecting all the packages of the Chinese food and put them into a trash bag.

“See, he is obsessed with cleaning.” Soonyoung laughed along with Wonwoo and even Mingyu had to chuckle lightly, knowing that his boyfriend’s words were completely right. “You must have eaten some hours ago. Do you want me to cook something?“ Soonyoung immediately wanted to speak up but Wonwoo beat him to it.

“Don’t refuse Mingyu’s food. You will miss out on something great.” Soonyoung looked slightly confused by Wonwoo‘s remark for a second. "Okay, I guess I can‘t refuse then.“ Mingyu smiled widely and left with a happy step for the kitchen. "You won‘t regret it!“ He screamed loudly and Wonoo and Soonyoung both chuckled at the same time.

"Mingyu is a great cook and a neat freak.“ Soonyoung looked impressed and Wonwoo felt a bit proud as his boyfriend. "But he’s clumsy. He always breaks things. It’s kind of annoying sometimes.“

"Nobody is perfect... So how did you two start dating?“ Wonwoo took one of the cushions of the couch into his hands and started breaking the feathers inside. It was a strange habit of him. Wherever he went and the cushions had feathers inside, he would start breaking them. "It’s not an interesting story.“

Soonyoung had a gentle smile on lips while watching Wonwoo. "Every love story is interesting. And actually the simple stories are the best.“ Wonwoo cleared his throat and sat a bit more upright. He didn’t even really know how to tell this story. Most of his friends watched what happened with their own eyes so he barely had talked about how he started dating Mingyu.

"Gyu started a year after me at the police station. I was in my second year and still worked as a patrolling officer. New officers get often paired up with a second years, because the older officers don’t want to get dragged down by the rookies. I ended up being a pair with Gyu.“ Wonwoo made a pause and thought back to when he first got paired with Mingyu. Mingyu and him were like fire and water. Mingyu always talked before thinking and Wonwoo did the exact opposite. In the beginning Mingyu had been plain annoying to him.

“We were on patrol one day where we ran into an armed assault and Mingyu almost ended up getting shot, but I pulled him out of the fire line. From that day on Mingyu got kind of obsessed with me and didn’t leave me alone anymore. He pestered me to go on a date with him but I kept on refusing him… until I was so tired of his constant asking that I decided to just go once to shut him up. It was clear to me that Mingyu would notice that we didn’t match each other and would stop bothering me afterwards.” Soonyoung listened intently while Wonwoo was talking, all the while a small smile on his lips. Wonwoo couldn’t help feeling happy about it. The other seemed a lot more relaxed now.

“Strangely enough, it was me who noticed that I had been wrong all along. We are indeed different in many aspects but we also have many similar interests. We sat together in a small coffee shop talking for hours about the things we liked and it never got boring for a second. I immediately knew that I wouldn’t be able to let him go.” Wonwoo laughed sheepishly before continuing. “We went on more dates and at one point it was already like we were in a relationship. Everyone believed we were dating even though we had never even talked about that. So we naturally ended up dating and moved in together quite fast. People say that betas are too dumb to know fast that they are in love but Mingyu and I were very soon completely sure about it. I guess we are just a good match.”

Soonyoung hummed lowly, his eyes radiating gentle warmth. “You were very lucky, or better said you are very lucky.” Wonwoo nodded his head looking over to the kitchen. “Yes, I am very lucky.”

Soonyoung grabbed his glass from the table and drank some water before speaking again. "Why aren‘t you two on the same team?“ It was a reasonable question but Wonwoo still couldn’t help laughing about it. "We decided it’s for the better if we are on different teams. It’s already difficult sometimes just to have my best friend on the same team. You end up making irrational choices.“

Soonyoung hesitated speaking for a moment. It looked like something was bothering him. "It must have been difficult for you when Jihoon and I just ran off without telling you. I shouldn’t have dragged Jihoon into it, but he was so stubborn about it...“ Wonwoo laid the cushion back to the side and straightened out his shirt with his hands. He was surprised the other was picking up that topic right now. It was a good chance for him to ask also something that had been on his mind.

"When I found Jihoon’s suppressants in his drawer, I also saw a plush cat lying inside. He got that from you, right?“ Soonyoung shuffled around slightly nervous on the couch but his face remained stoic. „That’s right. How do you know?“

"None of our friends at the police station would ever dare to buy him a pink plush cat.“ Soonyoung nodded but didn’t comment further on it. „Do you still like him Soonyoung?“

The question took Soonyoung obviously off guard. He pressed his lips into a thin line and turned his head away from Wonwoo for a moment. "You knew that I liked Jihoon at university?“ Wonwoo rolled his eyes at the alphas question.“ I needed to be blind to not know. Jihoon probably knew it deep down too but he chose to ignore it because you‘re an alpha.“

There were many emotions running through Soonyoung’s eyes and he suddenly wasn’t sure anymore if this was the right time to talk with the alpha about Jihoon. He had just calmed down a bit and this topic might just agitate him again. But in the end this talk already came so far and Wonwoo really wanted to know what was going on between the two of them. „So do you still like him or not?“

The emotions left Soonyoung’s eyes and he gazed calmly at Wonwoo. "No, I don’t. I didn’t even want to be friends with him but he just wouldn‘t give up. When I told him that I wanted to make me a target for the killer, he was genuinely worried about me and no one has really worried about me for quite a while. That’s why I thought it would be nice to give Jihoon a small gift. It’s nothing more than that.“

Wonwoo wasn’t sure if he should believe what Soonyoung just told him, but the other seemed to be genuine so he decided not to question him further on it. “Let’s have a look at what Mingyu is cooking. I’m always a bit scared he’ll burn down the kitchen one day.” Both of them stood up from the couch while laughing loudly. From the corner of his eyes, Wonwoo saw that Soonyoung’s gaze didn’t match the laughter at all. He couldn’t pinpoint if it was still the after effect of Jihoon’s heat or if it was because of the talk they just had. But even if he would ask Soonyoung now, he probably wouldn’t get an answer from the other.

*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Wonwoo rolled around in bed not really able to settle down. The events of the day had been more upsetting for him than he had initially thought. “You’re worrying about Jihoon-hyung, right?” Wonwoo rolled over and looked at Mingyu who smiled at him knowingly. “Yes, I would like to help him somehow, but I can’t. Jeonghan-hyung is with him so he should be fine, but I still can’t help worrying about him.”

Wonwoo wasn’t only worried about Jihoon’s current situation, what worried him even more was what would happen after his heat. Wonwoo had been at Jihoon’s side for almost 10 years and the thing the smaller one hated the most in the world was the thought of living as an omega. Strangely enough Wonwoo had been so naïve to believe that Jihoon’s life would always continue on as it was. He knew that the suppressants Jihoon took weren’t really a long time medication, but since Jihoon has taken them for 12 years straight, he kind of forgot that it was unusual to take the pills for that long.

He should have expected that one day his friend might need to stop taking the suppressants. Of course he couldn’t have guessed that Jihoon would be locked away by some crazy killer and couldn’t take his pills for almost 48 hours. But if he had prepared his heart that the other would need to take a break from the medication one day than he wouldn’t be so shocked now. He could have researched how Jihoon’s body would react to the discontinuation of the suppressants and could have helped him maybe somehow. Now he had no clue what would happen to Jihoon and if he would be able to help and support him somehow.

Omegas normally have their first heat in their teen years. Wonwoo couldn’t imagine how it would be at the age of 28 years. Things might be very different for Jihoon than for an omega who normally evolved after presenting.

“Stop overthinking. That also won’t help Jihoon-hyung.” Mingyu wiggled closer and wrapped an arm around Wonwoo’s waist. “Try to sleep babe. Jihoon-hyung will be alright. Like you said, Jeonghan-hyung is with him so you really don’t have to worry.”

Even when Mingyu said that, Wonwoo still felt the need to worry about many persons and things - Jihoon, who just went into heat, Soonyoung, who almost had a mental break down because of it and a crazy killer on the loose who probably was still targeting the two officers somehow. Additionally Wonwoo was wondering why the suppressants actually stopped working for Jihoon. He had deliberately tried to find Jihoon and Soonyoung as soon as possible, also because he knew that Jihoon didn’t have the suppressants with him.

He had been really relieved to find them in time only for the suppressants not to work anymore. Soonyoung’s explanation that Jihoon’s body must have been too used to a regular intake seemed quite plausible, but he couldn’t shake off the feeling that there was more behind it. Something strange was going on and he needed to find out what.

*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Wonwoo woke up the next morning at 6AM. It was half an hour before the alarm would go off and Mingyu was still soundly asleep. He rolled silently out of the bed and made his way over to the living room. He wasn’t surprised when he saw Soonyoung sitting already awake on the couch scrolling through his phone. He closed the bedroom door behind him and patted over to the couch.

“How are you feeling?” Soonyoung looked up from his phone hearing the question. He had dark circles under his eyes and Wonwoo was sure that he couldn’t have slept more than two or three hours. Maybe he hadn’t slept at all. “Restless, but not completely out of my mind anymore. Thank you.”

Wonwoo sat down beside Soonyoung and leaned back closing his eyes still feeling tired. “What do you want to do today?” He heard how the alpha laid his phone onto the table and made a small discontent noise.

“Go back to work.” Wonwoo opened his eyes again and looked surprised at Soonyoung. “But Seungcheol said that you should take the day off.” Soonyoung shook his head, a determined glint in his eyes. “I’m fine. I’m much more in control of myself again and I really need to know if the forensic team found something on the farm. I can’t just lean back with the killer still not captured. It was already unacceptable that I didn’t go to work yesterday.” Wonwoo couldn’t blame Soonyoung for feeling this way. He also didn’t feel well taking a day off when the murderer could kill any time again.

Soonyoung’s eyes suddenly narrowed dangerously and Wonwoo couldn’t help feeling unnerved because of it. “This is no longer just a case, this has become personal, Wonwoo. I’ll catch that maniac with my own hands and make him pay.” Wonwoo had never seen Soonyoung behave like this. His eyes, his posture and his voice all screamed alpha. Soonyoung had been already at university quite a gentle alpha. He was never angry, never loud and never rude. He didn’t need to behave like he was better than other people, he was just very easy to get along with. That‘s why it was very foreign to Wonwoo seeing Soonyoung radiate now such a strong alpha aura. Maybe it was still an after effect of being exposed to the pheromones of an omega in heat.

“Alright, I’ll make some coffee and then we can get ready. I can lend you some clothes for today.” Soonyoung suddenly fell out of his over domineering attitude and smiled sheepishly at Wonwoo. “Do you think you could let me stay for some more days? I don’t think I can go back tonight already.”

“I have to ask Mingyu, but I don’t think it should be a problem.” Soonyoung nodded understandingly at Wonwoo’s words. “Of course. Thank you really so much – for letting me stay here but also for keeping me company the whole time.”

“Isn’t that what friends are for?” They both looked quietly at each other for a moment, an awkward atmosphere hanging in the air at Wonwoo’s mention of them being friends. Suddenly both burst into laughter and Wonwoo finally got up to make coffee. They were in a damn shitty situation with Jihoon being in heat and the killer still on the run, but at least he felt that it got Soonyoung and him closer again. It took away some of the bad conscience he carried around with him since he chose Jihoon over Soonyoung at university. Maybe everything could now go back to how it should have always been between them.

*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Soonyoung, Wonwoo and Mingyu arrived shortly after 8AM at the police station and while Mingyu headed over to Seungcheol’s office, Soonyoung and Wonwoo went to their own office. Seokmin and Vernon were hanging over some papers on Seokmin’s desk, a worried look on their faces.

“Good morning,” Wonwoo said and both officers’ heads snapped around immediately. “Hyung! We thought you two would only come back to work tomorrow.” Seokmin seemed very relieved to see them which in return worried Wonwoo. Something must not go well with the case.

“I’m the team leader. I can’t drag the whole team down with staying at home and also letting Wonwoo stay with me.” Soonyoung sat down on a table and looked at the two younger officers who looked quite surprised about the alphas words. “But wouldn’t it have been better…” Soonyoung immediately cut Vernon’s words off. “I’m fine, don’t worry.”

Watching Soonyoung talk so calmly and confidently made Wonwoo respect the other quite a bit. He couldn’t be all fine already, but he was really good at keeping his emotions in control. Soonyoung was an impressive person. “So what did we miss?”

Seokmin gulped nervously and stared a moment at the papers on the table. “The forensic team was on the farm yesterday. They found fingerprints but they aren’t in the database. The only other thing they found was cameras in the room you were locked in, but we couldn’t track the signal. The killer must really know what he’s doing.”

Soonyoung banged with his fist onto the table an angry look on his face. “So we got nothing? We went through all of this for nothing?” Wonwoo could see the desperation in Soonyoung’s eyes. It must have dawned on the alpha that he had dragged Jihoon into a useless mission. That would just make everything more difficult now for Soonyoung, who probably felt very guilty already before.

Wonwoo tried to find something to say, but there really wasn’t anything consoling he could say in this situation. Soonyoung had fucked up and nothing anybody would say now could make him feel better.

Wonwoo let his eyes wander over to Seokmin and Vernon who looked just as helpless as him. The awkward silence got interrupted when a hectic Seungkwan came running into their office. He stopped in front of their desks and tried to catch his breath for a moment before starting to talk. “I didn’t know that you would be all here. Shouldn’t you be at home?” Soonyoung waved Seungkwan’s question off with a nonchalant attitude. “What happened, Seungkwan?” The secretary handed Soonyoung a paper and took a deep breath.

“There was a murder. From the description of the officers on scene, it was most likely the serial killer.”

Chapter Text

Jihoon woke up feeling completely exhausted. He kept his eyes tightly shut and rolled from his side onto his back. His whole body was aching and he felt sweaty and gross. The only good thing was the calming scent of roses and vanilla. It was a lovely mix of scents, but it slowly dawned on Jihoon that he didn’t know where it came from. Did someone light a scented candle?

Jihoon forced his eyes open and was greeted by the worried face of one Yoon Jeonghan. "Hyung? Why are you here? What happened?“ Jeonghan leaned over to him and felt his temperature. „Is your head clear again Jihoonie? What’s the last thing you remember?“ Jeonghan‘s questions caught Jihoon off guard. Something odd was going on here but he didn’t know what.

Jihoon tried to think back on what happened last, but his memory was a bit hazy. "Soonyoung and I were locked in and the others rescued us. We went back home and I said goodbye to Soonyoung at my door. I ate something and got a horrible headache again. And then... I don’t know. I can’t remember what happened afterwards hyung.“ Jihoon felt slightly nervous now. Why couldn’t he remember how he got into bed? What happened that he didn’t know of?

"Jihoonie, I need you to stay calm when I tell you now what happened, okay? Please, I‘m begging you.“ Jihoon sat up in bed and looked at his friend confused. It was strange for Jeonghan to be that desperate. Something was very wrong here.

"You went into heat Jihoon. The suppressants didn’t work anymore.“ Jihoon felt like someone had ripped his chest open. The shock that went through him was so great that he completely forgot to breathe. This had to be a joke. There was no way this was real. "This is not funny, hyung. Stop scaring me.“

"Do you think I would joke about something like this?“ Jihoon felt his heart hammering in his chest. Panic was rising up more and more in him but he still tried to sort his thoughts. There were so many things he wanted to say and ask but his mind was a mess. "How many days? How many days do I not remember?“ Jeonghan let out an inaudible sigh. "Seven days.“

Jihoon leaned back against the headboard of his bed and turned away from Jeonghan. He couldn’t believe what Jeonghan just said. It wasn’t possible that he couldn’t remember seven whole days. He also didn’t feel very different, just tired and his body was aching a bit. Jeonghan had to be lying. He wasn’t any different from before. There wasn’t anything that... Jihoon suddenly gripped the bed sheets tightly. There actually was one strange thing.

"The rose and vanilla scent... is it coming from you?“ Jeonghan gave him a pained smile and Jihoon knew the answer without hearing it. The suppressants really didn’t work anymore. He went back to being an omega. He twisted the bed sheets in his hands around and tried to breathe calmly. This was not a situation to panic about. He could just take the suppressants again and everything would be fine.

"It’s okay. Something like this won‘t happen again. I’ll always carry the suppressants now in the pocket of my pants again.“ Jeonghan had an expressionless look on his face and Jihoon had quite frankly never seen his friend like this before. He didn’t know what to make out of his lack of reaction. "No, you won’t Jihoonie.”

"What do you mean, hyung?“ Jihoon tried to keep his hands that started shaking slightly under control but it wasn’t possible. The officer let go of the bed sheets and hid them underneath the sheets instead. "I talked with the doctor and he said that you should have stopped taking the suppressants already long ago. If he would have known that you have these bad headaches then he wouldn’t have given you a subscription anymore. Your body is breaking apart.“

Jihoon was shaking his head from side to side. He suddenly felt dizzy and suffocated. He wanted to get out of here. "I don’t understand.“

"The doctor said you aren‘t allowed to take the suppressants at least until you had another heat. He strongly advised to abstain from taking them for one year though.“ Jihoon suddenly sprung up from bed and staggered over to the bathroom. He felt so dizzy that he almost fell down a couple of times on the way there.

Jeonghan followed him immediately but the younger one didn’t pay him any attention. The only thing on his mind was his suppressants. He searched through the cabinet where he stored his medication but he couldn’t find them there. "Where are my suppressants, hyung?“

Jihoon turned around and looked angrily at the omega. "WHERE THE FUCK ARE MY SUPPRESSANTS??“ Jeonghan looked taken aback but his voice was very calm when he answered. "I threw them away.“

"You what?“ Jihoon stumbled over to where Jeonghan was standing and gripped his shirt pulling him close. "I knew you would just keep on taking them. I had to throw them away.“ Jihoon started laughing hysterically letting go of his hyung.

"I‘ll just get new ones.“ Jeonghan gently laid a hand on Jihoon’s shoulder. „You are on the blacklist in the whole country for suppressants. You won‘t be able to get any for at least the next four months.“ Jihoon swatted Jeonghan’s hand away glaring at the other angrily.

"Why are you doing this to me? This is my life! You can‘t just decide for me like this!!“ Jihoon felt tears welling up in his eyes. This was a nightmare. A nightmare he couldn’t wake up from.

"Jihoon, you could die. You got the subscription for the suppressants because you were deemed fit to take them but now your body can’t handle them anymore. You’re one of my best friends, I can’t let you die.“

Jihoon stormed out of the bathroom and looked around. He needed to get out of here. He needed to talk with someone else. "Jihoonie please calm down.“

"Shut up! I fucking hate you!“ Jeonghan came closer and hugged the smaller one tightly. "I know. I also hate myself right now.“ Jihoon tried to push the other away, but Jeonghan stubbornly held onto him.

"Jihoon you should take a shower and I’ll make something to eat and then we can talk about everything more, okay? I‘ll help you, we can do this.“ Jihoon stopped struggling at last and let his arms fall down. "I want to be alone for a while.“

"Jihoonie I don’t think that’s a good idea.“ Jihoon pushed Jeonghan tiredly away. "Please leave me alone. It’s my only wish.“ Jeonghan gave the younger a sad look but Jihoon ignored him completely.

"Okay. I leave then for now but call me later please.“ Jihoon nodded and turned around to walk back into the bathroom. He shredded off his shirt and boxer shorts and stepped into the shower. Next to his normal body wash stood a scent blocking body wash for omegas. Jeonghan must have left it there for him. He considered not using it, but he knew it would be stupid not to when he wanted to go outside. He needed to go and talk to his doctor and fix all of this. He needed his suppressants.

*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

When Jihoon left his house and walked down the street, he noticed that he had been wrong. He was far from being just like before. Colors were brighter and everything was a lot louder than he was used to. It was a bit like buying a new super HD TV and turning it up to the highest volume.

But the worst thing of all was the scents. He could immediately tell who was an alpha, beta and omega. Jihoon decided he liked betas best. They had no annoying smell. Omegas all smelled annoyingly sweet and alphas gave off all kinds of earthy or herbal scents. Jihoon couldn’t find any appeal in it. It was all just too much for him to handle.

The hospital he always visited was luckily in a walking distance of ten minutes, so he didn’t have to suffer all the scents, colors and noises for a long time. The hospital was a lot quieter and just all white. It was much easier to bear. Only the annoying scents wouldn’t leave him alone it seemed.

Jihoon came twice a year to the hospital to get a new subscription for the suppressants, so he already knew the staff quite well. Also the receptionist at the front desk was a familiar face. "Hi, I need to see Doctor Kim. It’s an emergency.“

The receptionist looked annoyed at Jihoon, her lips curling downwards. "I know you are a police officer and you can get inside everywhere with just saying that this is an emergency. But this is the hospital and here you need an appointment...“ Jihoon just wanted to start arguing with the middle-aged woman but she just kept on talking. "But you are lucky. The doctor has time right now because another patient cancelled his appointment. You can go inside immediately.“

Jihoon muttered a thank you and hurried over to the doctor‘s office. He knocked two times loudly and opened the door hastily.

Doctor Kim looked up from some papers he was reading, not in the least surprised at Jihoon’s sudden entrance. "I expected you to come here soon after your friend called me.“

Jihoon went over to the seat in front of doctor Kim‘s desk and let himself fall down on it. "I need my suppressants.“

"I can’t give them to you. Your friend must have told you that already. You lied to me for years and said you have no health problems. You probably also lied to your friend about the headaches because he didn’t seem to think they were all that bad. They must have been horribly painful.“

Jihoon wanted to lie again and say that the headaches weren’t that bad. But there was no point in lying when the doctor already knew what was going on. "Yes okay, they were quite painful but it’s still just a headache.“

"It’s a symptom of your body refusing the suppressants. With such a headache once a week, you were already in a critical condition. You can‘t take the suppressants anymore. My decision is final.“

Jihoon jumped up from the seat again and glared angrily at the doctor. "This is my body, my life and my decision!“

The doctor seemed unimpressed by Jihoon’s outburst. He must have seen a lot worse as doctor already. "And it is my duty as a doctor to save people from dying and you will die if you don’t stop taking the suppressants immediately. You are really lucky that everything happened like this. If you would have kept on taking the suppressants then you really could have died. Your body needs to regenerate now. We can talk again after your next heat.“

Jihoon kept on glaring at the doctor, adrenaline rushing through his veins. He felt treated so unfairly. "Don’t look at me like this Lee Jihoon-sshi. I know you are not happy but I’m just doing my job. There are so many omegas who lead a perfectly fine life without taking suppressants, so you’ll be able to do the same. This is not the apocalypse. It’s just your biology. I would like to give you some advice about how to handle your life now, but I‘m under the impression that you don’t want to listen to what I have to say right now. But if you need help later, you can always call me or come here again.“

"I won’t come back. I‘ll find a doctor who will give me a subscription for the suppressants!“ Jihoon turned around and stormed angrily out of the room. There was no point in arguing with the doctor anymore.

When Jihoon stepped outside again, all noises, scents and colors were again like a slap in the face. His eyes burned slightly and he suddenly felt very tired. Still he didn’t want to go home. He didn’t want to talk to Jeonghan or any of his friends about his situation. He didn’t want to hear that everything would be alright or that it wasn’t even that bad.

Jihoon just wanted to be alone, so he didn’t take the route back to his home but walked into the other direction. There was a big park near the hospital where he always went to when he wanted to clear his head. That was maybe exactly the place he needed right now.

*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Jihoon sat for hours on a park bench just thinking about what had happened. He went from being angry to frustrated then sad, and finally accepting that he had no way to get out of this nightmare.

"I thought you might be here.“ Jihoon looked up and saw Wonwoo standing in front of him. "Can I sit?“ Jihoon nodded his head and shifted a bit more to the left side.

"We were worried about you. You just left and didn’t answer your phone. Jeonghan-hyung was completely out of his mind and kept on saying that he shouldn’t have left you alone. I already contacted him and told him where you are.“ Jihoon felt bad hearing how worried everyone had been about him. He shouldn’t have left his phone at home, but he hadn’t been in his right mind earlier, so he simply forgot to take it with him.

"I‘m sorry. I kind of forgot about the time. I first went to the doctor and then just didn’t want to go home.“ Jihoon leaned back on the bench and looked up at the sky. It was a lovely blue color, prettier than he had ever seen it before. Unfortunately he wasn’t in the mood to fully appreciate it.

"It’s okay Jihoon. We all understand.“ Jihoon shook his head. „No, it’s not. I said many harsh things to Jeonghan-hyung and I should have known he would worry if I‘ll disappear for a long time. Hyung cared for me through my whole heat. Even if I can’t remember any of it, it must have been a lot of trouble. I’m really lucky that hyung found me.“ Wonwoo cleared his throat and Jihoon looked finally at his friend. He didn’t like the look on the betas face. "Actually it was Soonyoung who found you.“

Wonwoo’s words went through Jihoon like a shock. He felt the distress from earlier full force coming back suffocating him. "No, no, no, that can’t be…. What exactly happened when Soonyoung found me?"

Wonwoo shrugged at Jihoon’s question. "You should ask Jeonghan. I just know that he called hyung to take care of you and that he was pretty affected by the whole thing afterwards. He actually stayed over at Mingyu’s and my place.“

Jihoon chose not to talk any further about the topic but in his mind was still busily thinking about what might have happened. How did he behave in front of Soonyoung? What did Wonwoo mean with Soonyoung being pretty affected?

"So what did the doctor say?“ Jihoon focused on Wonwoo again, thankful that he didn’t need to think about Soonyoung anymore, even though the new topic was just barely better.

"That I probably would have died soon if I would have kept on taking the suppressants. Wonwoo, I lied to the doctor intentionally. I always knew that there was the possibility that my body wouldn’t be able to handle the suppressants anymore. Not many take them over a long time, you know. My doctor advised me a couple of times to take a break from them, but I stubbornly refused. And because I said that my health is fine, he kept on giving me a subscription for new suppressants. I was just… so scared. I’m still scared. I don’t know how to handle this, Wonwoo.“

Wonwoo listened quietly to Jihoon’s talk. The omega knew that his friend as beta couldn’t give him the best advice in this situation, but they knew each other for a very long time and he could always count on the other never lying to him and trying the best for him. That’s why Wonwoo’s opinion would always be one of the most valuable for Jihoon "You might not know it now, but you’ll learn. You don’t have to be scared because you have many people who care for you. Also you can always ask Jeonghan... oh well, talking about Jeonghan...“

Jihoon followed Wonwoo’s line of view and saw Jeonghan sprinting up to them, Seungcheol following close behind. When Jeonghan reached the bench, he immediately took Jihoon’s face in his hands and inspected it from every side. “My baby! Jihoonie!!! Are you alright?“

Wonwoo beside him laughed loudly and he could also see Seungcheol grinning from the corner of his eye. Normally he would scold Jeonghan for calling him his baby, but he had too much to make up for to get angry at the older. “I’m sorry hyung. I shouldn’t have stayed outside for such a long time. Also… I shouldn’t have said that I hate you. I don’t hate you. You stayed with me through my whole heat and it must have been very difficult. When I woke up I was even in fresh clothes. I didn’t appreciate what you did for me at all but just screamed at you. I’m really sorry.”

Jeonghan hugged him tightly. “It’s okay Jihoonie. I know you don’t hate me. You were just panicking. Don’t worry about it.” Jihoon closed his eyes and inhaled deeply the scent of his hyung. Earlier he thought that it was just rose and vanilla but there was a thin layer of something like sandalwood in there too. It must be because he’s mated to Seungcheol. Strangely enough it blended together in perfect harmony.

Jeonghan let Jihoon go and straightened himself again. “What is it you want to ask, Jihoonie?” Jihoon wasn’t sure if Jeonghan just read it from his face or if he could detect it on his smell that he was curious about something. He didn’t even want to know.

“Wonwoo said that Soonyoung found me first when I went into heat. What happened?” Jeonghan looked like he had expected that question and answered quite fast. “He called me.”

“Hyung, what exactly happened? He’s an alpha and I was… I was in heat. What happened? I need to know! How else should I look at Soonyoung again?” Jeonghan suddenly squeezed himself between Jihoon and Wonwoo onto the bench looking extremely tired.

“You really have to thank Soonyoung later. He behaved exceptional even though your pheromones were really heavy. He didn’t touch you at all but called me instead to help you… but it was really difficult for him. He was close to snapping. Really close. I could see it in his eyes but also smell it on his pheromones which were completely out of control.” Jihoon gulped nervously. The image of Soonyoung going crazy because of him made his head slightly hazy. Was that normal?

“What about me? What did I do? I can’t remember anything at all. Come on hyung, tell me. And no lies.” Jeonghan looked at his hands for a while before speaking up. His scent slightly shifted but Jihoon didn’t know what it meant. “You begged him not to leave. You cried and screamed for your alpha not to leave you. It was a pretty heartbreaking sight. I can’t even begin to imagine how Soonyoung must have felt in that situation. Alphas have the instinct to protect an omega, especially one in heat. He must have been close to insanity leaving you behind like this.”

Jihoon felt his face heating up at Jeonghan’s words. This was even more embarrassing than he imagined. Maybe he would have been better off not knowing. “Actually through your heat I was mostly in the living room, only checking up on you when you were in a resting phase. But from there I heard you crying so much through your whole heat. It’s always painful to go through a heat alone for an omega, but it seemed to be especially bad for you. I think you really felt like your alpha left you alone.” Jihoon suddenly got up from the bench and started walking away. He couldn’t listen to this anymore.

“Hey Jihoonie, don’t just walk away!!” Jeonghan, Seungcheol and Wonwoo quickly caught up with him and the four of them slowly made their way back to the apartment complex.

“How are you coping with everything, Jihoonie? Especially the smells?” Jihoon shrugged at Jeonghan’s question. “It’s annoying.” Jeonghan suddenly stopped and Jihoon couldn’t help doing the same wondering what the problem was.

Jeonghan and Seungcheol were looking strangely at each other and Jihoon knew that something was going on. “It’s just annoying? You have no problems with the scent of alphas?” Jihoon shook his head, confused at why this was so surprising. “Yeah, they are not very appealing to me. Some scents are nice but most of them are just annoying. Smelling so many different scents must be annoying for you too.”

Jeonghan suddenly started walking again and Jihoon was this time the one to sprint after the older. “What is so surprising about this?” He asked and Jeonghan hesitated answering for a moment. “It’s just surprising that you aren’t greatly affected by alpha scents. New presented omegas are easily affected and you are almost like a new presented one. But maybe it’s different for you because you are older.”

Jihoon suddenly remembered how Doctor Kim had said to him that he could come back when he had questions. Maybe he really should go back to the hospital soon. He didn’t know what was normal for him and what not. Also Jeonghan of course couldn’t know how an omega who took for so many years suppressants would behave after suddenly not taking them anymore.

“Will you be alright, Jihoonie?” Jihoon sighed loudly for everyone to hear. “I’ll manage somehow. It’s hopefully just for four months. This will neither change me nor break me.”

Jihoon could feel the lie in his words as soon as he said them. He had already started changing. But it made no difference to him. He could just go back to the way it always had been after taking a break from the suppressants for four months. Such a short time was nothing compared to living up to now as a beta. This was just a short nightmare and at one point he would wake up from it again and he could forget that all of this happened.

Chapter Text

In just a day, Jihoon’s whole life had changed. He went through a whirlwind of emotions, but he decided to stay strong and fight his personal nightmare of being an omega. It was just a limited time after all. That’s also why Jihoon went back to work the next day. Jeonghan had tried to convince him when they arrived back at their apartment complex to stay at least one more day at home, but Jihoon didn’t want to hear any of it. He needed to get back to his job. He already missed a whole week and didn’t know at all what happened with the case in the meantime. He needed to assist his team and his work would also help him to feel more normal again. Feeling normal was exactly what he needed right now.

He arrived at the office at 8AM sharp and he expected to be one of the first ones. But curiously enough, everyone was already there. He cleared loudly his throat and his three team members looked up from whatever they were reading at that moment. “Jihoon you’re back already?” Jihoon gave Wonwoo a sour smile at his question. “Already? I wasn’t at work for one week. I couldn’t stay at home any longer. I must have missed an insane amount at work.”

Vernon looked curiously at Jihoon and the older officer couldn’t help but wonder if Vernon as alpha was checking out his scent and what he was feeling. It was very unnerving to Jihoon to know that other people could suddenly understand what he was feeling just through his scent. His poker face would be useless now. “But hyung, this is not something you can control…” Jihoon gave Vernon a sharp look and the younger shut up immediately. Vernon gave off a scent of pine and strangely enough fresh snow and the scent pulled back slightly at Jihoon’s annoyed gaze. He kept on forgetting that not only others could scent and sense him now but he could do the same. He still couldn’t really read their scents, but noticing that Vernon was intimidated by his behavior was a small first victory to him.

“Let’s not talk about this anymore, okay? I’m feeling well enough to work and that’s everything you need to know.” Jihoon wanted to say that he’s feeling good, but he held himself back from saying that because it would have been a blunt lie. He barely managed to live with his new senses at this point. Everything was still overwhelming to him.

“You should tell me what happened with the case. I must have missed a lot.” Wonwoo, Seokmin and Vernon looked at each other, obviously not knowing what to tell Jihoon. If his team members reacted like that, something bad must have happened. “What the hell is going on? Don’t just stay silent!”

“Maybe it would be best if Soonyoung explains to you what happened. He’s already in his office.” It was curious to Jihoon that not even Wonwoo wanted to tell Jihoon what was going on. Pushing all responsibility onto Soonyoung wasn’t something Wonwoo would normally do. Of course Soonyoung was the team leader and handling the case was his responsibility, but Jihoon couldn’t help feeling that something fishy was going on here.

“Okay, whatever. I’ll go and talk to Soonyoung then.” Jihoon walked with big steps over to Soonyoung’s office but right before opening the door, he paused for a moment. He remembered suddenly Jeonghan’s words from the previous day. He really needed to thank Soonyoung for how he behaved, but at the same time he felt slightly embarrassed about what had happened. The only good thing was that he couldn’t remember any of it. If he would remember begging Soonyoung to stay with him, he would probably never be able to look the alpha in the eye again.

The longer Jihoon stood in front of Soonyoung’s door, the more restless he became. The strange thing was that this feeling wasn’t a result of feeling embarrassed. He was restless because of something else, but he didn’t know what it was. Something inside him told him to go inside the office and just like in trance he finally opened the door.

Jihoon stepped into Soonyoung’s office and halted only a few steps into the room. The scent that filled up all his senses made him weak in the knees, unable to walk anymore. The warm scent of coffee was mixed together with a layer of fresh mint that was so crisp it knocked the air right out of Jihoon’s lungs. Since his omega senses kicked in, he hadn’t smelled something similarly alluring to this scent. The smell of coffee had always been one of his favorite scents. Very strong and slightly bitter but it still always gave him a warm feeling. The mint reminded him of a fresh spring morning and of the gum he liked so much. It felt like a gentle caress on his skin. The two scents together were the perfect combination. He wanted to bathe in it, roll around in it and just smell it on himself 24/7. It was a scent that made you feel protected and loved.

Jihoon finally looked at Soonyoung who watched him intently and the omega lost it completely in that moment. A wave of arousal crashed down so strongly on him that he almost couldn’t stand upright anymore. Jihoon staggered another step closer to Soonyoung’s desk. The scent was luring him in. He needed to be closer, closer to that alluring scent and closer to that perfect man. Perfect alpha with his strong shoulders, large hands and the most expressive eyes he had ever seen. No one else came close to being that perfect, no one smelled that good.

Another step and Jihoon was right in front of the desk grabbing tightly onto the desks edge. The only thought left in Jihoon’s mind was to submit, right here. As long as the alpha didn’t reject him, he would do anything for him. “You smell so good.” Jihoon whined quietly and Soonyoung immediately got up from his chair and walked over to the omega. “Jihoonie, are you okay? I thought your heat was over.” He strongly gripped Jihoon’s arm and the younger one woke up from his trance finally. “S-sorry…” he stuttered and took a step back. What had happened here? What did he just do?

Jihoon pulled his arm strongly out of Soonyoung’s grip and ran out of the room. His feelings were all over the place and arousal was still rushing through his whole body. He was confused and didn’t know what to do. He run as fast as his feet were carrying him into the bathroom and opened a cubicle and closed it behind him. He was shaking so much that he slid down the door until he sat on the ground, arms tightly closed around drawn up legs.

Jihoon still couldn’t get the scent of Soonyoung’s pheromones out of his mind. He wanted to be closer to the scent again but at the same time he was scared – scared why his body but especially his mind reacted to Soonyoung’s scent like this. That wasn’t normal. He had never seen an omega react to the scent of an alpha like this. Like Soonyoung had said, he wasn’t in heat anymore. There was no reason to go so crazy over an alphas scent. Something must be wrong with him.

Jihoon felt tears sliding hotly over his cheeks. He didn’t even know when he started crying and he also didn’t know why he started crying. He was so confused.

The door to the bathroom opened and Jihoon smelled the familiar scent of rose and vanilla. “Jihoonie?” Jeonghan knocked against the door quietly. “Hey, open the door.” Jihoon slowly stood up again and opened the door with shaking hands. As soon as he saw Jeonghan, he started crying even harder. Jeonghan embraced him immediately and caressed his back in soothing motions.

“It’s okay, Jihoonie. Calm down, everything will be okay.” Jihoon sobbed and buried his face in Jeonghan’s neck. So close to the other omega, the scent of Seungcheol was a lot more noticeable than from for away. Their mixed scent was quite calming.

“Hyung, I think something is wrong with me.” Jihoon got out of the embrace and took a couple of steps back until he hit the wall. He slid down the wall again and hid his face behind an arm.

"What happened? I could smell your distress all the way over to our department. You seemed well enough yesterday.“ Jihoon tried to calm down somehow but it was so difficult with all the feelings still swirling around in him making his mind hazy.

"I was okay. I could deal with everything well until I went into Soonyoung’s office.“ Jeonghan slowly crouched down and patted Jihoon’s head lightly. „Hyung, his smell. It’s driving me completely crazy.“ Jeonghan didn’t say anything and just kept on patting the smaller one. "I even told him he smells good. It just came out of my mouth! Fuck! I’m so embarrassed. Why am I behaving like this?“

Jihoon looked at Jeonghan at last and saw a very serious expression on his face. "Jihoonie, I didn’t want to tell you this because it’s not something I should tell you, but in this situation I have no other choice. There are only two cases where an omega reacts strongly to an alpha outside of his heats. It can happen when the pair is very compatible.“ Jihoon remembered the talk he had a while ago with Seungcheol about Vernon and Seungkwan. That was what happened to these two, but neither of them reacted as strongly as he did, so this couldn’t be the case for him.

"The other case where omegas react to an alphas scent strongly is when they like them.” Jihoon froze up at Jeonghan’s words. That couldn’t be the truth. "When you react that strongly to Soonyoung’s scent then both of these must be the case for you. Jihoon, you reacted to Soonyoung’s scent so strongly because you’re drawn to him as omega but you also like him as a person. Only if you like him a lot you react to his smell like that.“

Jihoon’s heartbeat sped up and his mouth suddenly felt completely dry. "No, I don’t like him,“ he said stubbornly. He didn’t believe one word of what Jeonghan just told him. "Yes, you do. You didn’t know because betas don’t have the senses to notice it immediately and you are quite frankly too dumb to notice something like that fast by yourself. But I‘ve seen it, Jihoonie. The way you looked at that kitschy pink plush cat didn’t lie. Also you calling Soonyoung ‘your alpha’ through your heat is actually not a normal thing to do. Even in a feral state of mind an omega wouldn’t just call any alpha theirs. You only do that if you really feel that way.“ Jihoon suddenly got up from the floor and glared at Jeonghan who also stood up again.

"No, no, no. That’s not true. I don’t like him.“ Jeonghan sighed loudly and leaned against the wall. "You can deny it as much as you want but it’s still the truth. Actually there is even more, Jihoonie. You said that you don’t react to any alphas scent. Like I told you already that is not normal for a newly presented omega. That only happens when you already have strong feelings for someone and aren’t interested in other alphas anymore. I should have told you that immediately but I thought it might really be because of your age. If I would have known that Soonyoung’s scent would affect you that much, I would have told you beforehand. I’m sorry.“

Jihoon shook his head without a break fidgeting with his fingers nervously. “I don’t like him.” Jeonghan looked at him with gentle eyes but it didn’t make the situation better. It just felt like pity to Jihoon. “If you calmly think and feel than you’ll know it’s the truth. It’s in your biology to notice these things.” Jihoon thought back on what happened in Soonyoung’s office. What the alphas smell triggered in him. When the realization hit him he started shaking slightly again. He wanted Soonyoung. He wanted him so much he could feel it in every fiber of his body. He wanted the alpha to hold him, be with him, kiss him and so much more. Jeonghan was right, it was impossible not to know. But he hadn’t felt any of these emotions when he was still taking the suppressants so it was strangely confusing. It was a bit like falling in love at first sight. Hard.

Through all his confused feelings, there was one more thing he finally understood now that his omega biology was taking over his mind and body. Jihoon had meant to ask Jeonghan why he had reacted so stupid because of Soonyoung’s advances at university but now he didn’t need to ask anymore. His own mind was providing the answer. The explanation was that his biology had worked against the suppressants the whole time. His omega self had been attracted to Soonyoung and everything got out of hand when the other scented him. He went crazy because he couldn’t smell Soonyoung on himself. He had been angry the whole time because the suppressants denied him what he had wanted: Smelling the scent of the alpha he was attracted to on himself. Jihoon had fucked himself over big times. People always said that there are consequences for everything. He could really feel that now. The consequences for denying his real biology were graver than he could have ever expected. It felt like someone pulled the rug out from under his feet.

The thing was, Jihoon hated it. All of it. In his mind all these emotions were foreign to him and he couldn’t accept them without questioning them. The emotions for Soonyoung felt real but in his mind it didn’t make any sense. When he still took the suppressants, he never thought once that he liked Soonyoung and now his whole being was suddenly screaming for the alpha. This was so wrong to Jihoon. “I don’t want to feel this. I never felt anything like this before. This is not who I am hyung.” Jeonghan gave Jihoon a small smile and it unnerved him quite a lot. “No Jihoon, this is exactly who you are. For the first time in your life you are your real self and you have to start accepting who you are. An omega.”

Jihoon took a couple of steps away from Jeonghan, still not wanting to accept what the older one was telling him. “I know it’s difficult in the beginning, Jihoonie. For everyone it’s difficult in the beginning. Do you think it was easy for me? I also have a strong character and hated a lot of things in the beginning too, but being an omega doesn’t make you a worst person! You have to embrace your nature and be happy with it. If I wouldn’t be an omega, I wouldn’t be together with Seungcheol right now and I would never ever want to even think about not being with him.”

Jihoon stared at Jeonghan with void eyes. This whole situation was a big complicated mess and he didn’t know how to get out of it. “Jihoon you are still yourself. Nothing has changed.” The younger one laughed coldly at Jeonghan’s words. That’s the same thing he tried to tell himself since he woke up after his heat but it became more and more difficult to believe that. How could he still be himself when he behaved like a wild animal?

Jihoon sighed and pushed that thought out of his mind for now. There was an even more pressing matter on hand that he had to worry about. „What do I do now, hyung? I have to work together with Soonyoung and I can’t hide these stupid feelings because he’s an alpha and will know immediately. But I don’t want him to know about it! How should I work with him then? I don’t want all of this!!“ Jihoon got louder and louder the longer he talked and his words were reverberating strongly in the small bathroom.

"Calm down, Jihoonie. Everything will be alright. He probably just thinks your pheromones are out of control. Normally pheromones don’t flare out like yours are doing right now. You just can’t control them because you never learned how to do it. You should go home for the day and I‘ll teach you everything I know later, okay? I’ll talk also to Soonyoung. I promise you that he won’t know. I’m good at manipulating people, you know that. Trust me.“ Jihoon nodded weakly and wobbled over to the door. "I think I really need to get out of here for today. I’ll go insane if I’ll see Soonyoung again. I can’t deal with it right now.”

*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Jihoon tried to sleep when he came home but to no avail. Afterwards he tried to watch a movie but he couldn’t concentrate on it so he turned it off after only half an hour. He went to the kitchen and thought about cooking something but first of all he was a horrible cook and secondly he didn’t even have something he could cook in his fridge. He considered ordering some food but decided that he wasn’t even hungry to begin with.

Jihoon lied down on the couch in the living room and closed his eyes. His mind immediately drifted back to what had happened earlier. He had been dreading that he could only think about Soonyoung when returning home. He really made an effort to think about something else but he always ended up remembering the scent of Soonyoung’s pheromones.

Remembering the alphas amazing scent lead to Jihoon wanting to know how it would be if Soonyoung would stimulate all his newly heightened senses. How would it feel like if the other touches or kisses him? How would he taste like and how would it sound if the other moaned?

Jihoon rolled onto his front and hid his face in a cushion. Everything was horrible. How should he live like that? His life had been perfectly fine. He had everything under control and there hadn’t been any unwelcome feelings. But now his whole life turned upside down and he got confronted with feelings and needs he didn’t even know he had.

Jeonghan had said that the feelings were there all along but he seriously doubted that. Soonyoung had been a friend until he cut off their friendship and now he had slowly become a friend again. Yes, he liked Soonyoung as a friend, but that was all it was.

The omega felt his heart clench painfully at the thought. His body was rejecting his thoughts clearly. Jihoon rolled again onto his back and stared at the ceiling. He didn’t love Soonyoung. Even when his whole body screamed that it was a lie and even his mind battled with different ideas, he wouldn’t accept any of it. He didn’t want to be controlled by his omega nature but he wanted to be the same Lee Jihoon who didn’t like Soonyoung in a romantic way.

His mind was providing Jihoon memories of being in Soonyoung’s embrace, of being happy about Soonyoung’s present and of just feeling content when he saw a rare smile on the alphas face. He didn’t like Soonyoung. He really didn’t...

*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Jihoon had fallen into an restless sleep and only woke up when the doorbell rang. He slowly made his way over to the door and saw Jeonghan waiting in front of it. "Hyung? What time is it? It seems to be a bit too early for you to be here already.“ Jeonghan went inside the apartment and shrugged his shoes off and left his coat on the cloth rag.

"I took half a day off. Seungkwan managed the last week well alone, he‘ll also manage another half day.“ Jeonghan sat down on the couch and looked curiously at Jihoon. „What did you do the last hours?“

Jihoon sat down beside the older one but stared at the wall opposite of him. "Nothing really. I thought about some things and then I feel asleep at one point.“ Jeonghan nodded understandingly. "You should still be quite tired. A heat is hard on the body. I always stay at least two more days at home after a heat is over.“ Jihoon didn’t comment on what Jeonghan said because he plainly had nothing to add and also didn’t want to talk about his heat again. If he would not talk about it, he could imagine that it never happened. It was actually quite easy to do that because he didn’t remember anything of it.

Unfortunately there was another thing he couldn’t ignore that easily: His reaction to Soonyoung’s scent. It still drove him insane and one thing in particular bothered him.

“Hyung is it normal that…” Jihoon broke the question off, because he felt a bit embarrassed asking Jeonghan something like this. But he really needed to know. “Is it normal that I got aroused by Soonyoung’s scent?” Jeonghan didn’t laugh about Jihoon’s question but just gently smiled at him. “Yes, it’s very normal.”

“But it affected me so strongly! He didn’t even touch me but I almost went insane with need. There were thoughts in my head… I don’t even dare to say them out loudly.” Even now these thoughts were haunting him. He always tried to push them away but they came back persistently.

“Jihoon, the senses of omegas and alphas are a lot more heightened than the ones of a beta. We feel much more than them and we also have different needs than them. Feeling the need to submit to an alpha, the need to get filled, the need to get mated and pregnant… it’s all part of the deal. But these feelings don’t define you. You can control these needs quite well with time. Still if alpha and omega are together, certain things will just feel right.” It felt like a lever moved inside of Jihoon and his emotions completely switched. He had been confused earlier, but now he was extremely annoyed and irritated. Every word that came out of Jeonghan’s mouth made Jihoon annoyed and angry. Jeonghan wanted to make something out of him that he wasn’t. He had a right to chose how to live his life and this wasn’t what he wanted.

“I don’t want it. My body is telling me things I don’t really need! It’s all just stupid biology! I don’t want to submit and mate and get pregnant! It’s ridiculous.” Jeonghan was obviously annoyed for a moment but straightened his face immediately again.

“This is all just very new to you. You never thought about things like this because you always lived as a beta. You’ll slowly learn the appeal of your biology.” Jihoon made a sour face at Jeonghan’s words. “There is no appeal in it. Like I said, I don’t want any of this.”

Jeonghan sighed loudly. It was easy to see that the older one had problems to keep calm with Jihoon behaving like a stubborn child. “I know Jihoonie, I know. Just give it some time and try to learn to live in harmony together with your omega biology. And please try to calm down and not let your emotions rule you like this. You’re becoming unfair and mean.”

Jihoon got up from the couch totally done with listening to Jeonghan. “How often do I have to repeat that I don’t want it? I was leading a better life before. I don’t want this stupid animalistic omega biology and I don’t want Soonyoung in any way!” Jeonghan’s eyes narrowed slightly while Jihoon screamed at him.

“So when you were in Soonyoung’s office you didn’t want him to rip your clothes off and fuck you on the table? You really didn’t want that?” Jeonghan had been always a very blunt person and it came as no shock to Jihoon that he talked so nonchalantly about this, still he blushed a deep red. He wanted to deny everything, but the problem was that his body told him even in this moment that Jeonghan was completely right. It was exactly what he wanted and needed.

“I… I don’t…” Jihoon couldn’t lie about it. He really wanted to but all the emotions that were running again through him made it difficult to clearly think and he just couldn’t come up with an believable excuse. “And there is more to it Jihoonie. This is not just about sex, you want to be close to him, you want him to take care of you, love you so much that you won’t be able to breathe anymore.”

Jihoon was shaking his head continuously. He started panicking again like earlier. The want, the love, Jeonghan’s words, it was all just too much to handle.

“You like him Jihoon. Even as beta you would have wanted these things! You would have just needed more time to notice that you like him, but this is not all about the biological attraction. You like Soonyoung as person. You met him again and fell for him immediately. And you probably already loved him at university and were just cowardly running away because he is an alpha. And now you want to run away again and…”

“Please stop.” Tears were flowing over Jihoon’s cheeks again. He couldn’t listen to this anymore.

Jeonghan stopped immediately talking when he saw Jihoon crying. “Sorry. Sorry, Jihoonie. It must be all too much for you. I’m sorry. It’s just when you talk about omegas like they are no real people but just some sort of animals that I also can’t help feeling hurt.” In the back of his mind Jihoon felt apologetic for hurting Jeonghan but right now it was difficult to see something else than his own emotions.

“I don’t like him,“ Jihoon said in a small voice, not looking at Jeonghan. “Yes, I know. Let’s start with the training, okay?” Jeonghan’s voice was gentle again and Jihoon sat back onto the couch and looked at the other omega at last. There was a friendly smile on Jeonghan’s face and finally the regret of having acted like an ass fully kicked in. He normally wasn’t this emotionally unsteady anymore. He had been like this many years ago - always mean, letting his emotions run wild and never thinking about the consequences. But since he started working at the police station he had calmed down a lot, because he was content with his work and happy being together with his friends.

Jihoon really didn’t want be like his past self anymore, just because of his omega biology. He needed to get the situation under control before he would do more things he regretted. He needed to learn how to control his emotions and pheromones and Jeonghan hopefully would be able to help him with that.

"Okay listen Jihoonie, it is most important for us to have our emotions under control because the more emotional we get, the more pheromones we produce. On top of that it gets gradually more difficult to think straight if omegas feel a very strong emotion and you end up completely out of control. Pretty much every emotion can be a trigger: Sadness, anger, fear, but also very strong love and lust.“ Jihoon listened to Jeonghan calm and attentively but when the other mentioned love and lust, he almost sprung up again to flee, but he held back the urge. He needed to learn how to control his feelings to live a somehow livable life for the next four months.

"I think every omega has their own way to manage their feelings. It’s normally something you slowly work at after presenting. You could probably come up with something yourself after a while but you seem not to be in a mood to wait, so I tell you what I’m normally doing in highly emotional situations. It’s not that difficult.“ Jihoon seriously doubted he was telling the truth when Jeonghan said that it’s not that difficult. If everything would be so easy then he wouldn’t even be in this awful situation right now. He wouldn’t made a fool out of himself and told Soonyoung he smelled good and he wouldn’t have started crying when Jeonghan kept on telling him how much he liked Soonyoung.

"If I start getting very emotional, and I‘m not talking about normal happiness or sadness but very strong emotions, then I try to think myself out of the situation. I have different scenarios in my head that calm me down. For example Seungcheol and I went together walking in a big forest when we were still not mated - I really like using that memory.“ Jihoon remembered Jeonghan as well as Seungcheol talking about that multiple times. The forest had left a big impression on both of them.

"I try to think myself back into that situation. How I walked through the forest, how the air smelled, what I’ve heard and every small detail. Finally I try remember what exactly I felt in that moment. That’s the most important part, you need to really get into the feelings you had at that time. Then you’ll be able to cancel out your current feelings.“ Jihoon stared at Jeonghan as if the omega had grown a second head. Cancel out your current feelings with a calming memory? That sounded ridiculous and impossible.

"Can you think about a situation like this Jihoonie? One that felt very calming?“ The first thing that shot up in his mind was the time he had sat on Soonyoung’s lap being embraced by the alpha. He hated himself for thinking about that first. Also it probably wouldn’t be useful to use a situation that contained Soonyoung when he wanted to get his feelings for said alpha under control.

"I don’t know.“ He really couldn’t think about a situation like that. Maybe because he was still too emotionally unstable to remember something nice. "Something from you childhood in Busan maybe? There must be a day you like to think back to.“ Now that Jeonghan mentioned Busan, Jihoon knew immediately what memory he could use.

"Yeah, I went with my dad sailing after graduating from high school. That had been very nice.“ Jeonghan clapped loudly. "I knew there must be something! Now first think back on what happened in Soonyoung’s office and then try to push the emotions away like I told you.“

Jihoon looked sceptical at Jeonghan. He felt like a Jedi in Star Wars who needed to learn how to control the Force. He really tried to take the whole thing serious but it was so difficult when everything seemed so ridiculous. Still he had no other choice than try out what Jeonghan had told him.

Jihoon slowly breathed in and out and then thought back on how he walked today into Soonyoung’s office. He immediately remembered the alphas scent again, how it filled him up completely and left a hot feeling in his whole body behind. Jihoon’s mind was fuzzing up slightly and he knew that this was the point where he had to push his emotions aside or he would lose himself again in the feeling of wanting the alpha so much that it drove him insane.

The omega forced his mind to go from Soonyoung’s office way back in time to the trip on the sailboat. He still remembered the scent of the ocean and how the sun was shining gently on his face. There was a breeze but it wasn’t cold and Jihoon had felt like he had no worries in this world. Maybe at that time it was even true.

His father had laughed at him and told him that he’s proud that he got accepted into police university. He felt amazed hearing his father’s words, also happy and calm. He still remembered thinking that he really wanted to do this again one day. It really had been a nice day.

Jihoon took another deep breath and finally looked at Jeonghan again. "You made it. Your pheromones are almost back to normal. If you’ll remember everything I told you, it will be easier to control your feelings and also your pheromones now. Of course you won’t be perfect in the beginning but it will get easier each time your emotions go out of control. And now you should go to Soonyoung when he’s back from work and talk to him about the case.”

Jihoon almost fell in shock off the couch at Jeonghan’s suggestion. “What? No! I can’t go to him now!” He had just calmed down but now Jihoon went back into full panic mood. He couldn’t stand the thought of seeing Soonyoung right now and smelling his alluring pheromones again.

“Jihoon do you want to go to work tomorrow?” Jihoon nodded carefully. “Then you need to be able to talk to Soonyoung and it’s better if you talk to him first at home rather than at work. Or do you want to run away from work again?” Jihoon didn’t answer Jeonghan for a long time, but when he finally did, he had a determined look on his face.

“You’re right. I need to do this.” In reality, he didn’t feel emotionally stable enough to see Soonyoung but he didn’t have any other choice if he wanted to continue working at the police station. He had to learn how to cope with being around Soonyoung. Right now.

Chapter Text

It was a bit after 9AM and Jihoon was walking up and down in front of Soonyoung’s front door. He tried to prepare himself in the last hours for this talk but now that he was so close to actually seeing the alpha again, he couldn’t help but to feel nervous.

Jihoon went through what Jeonghan had told him countless of times and he seemed to slowly get the hang of it. Hopefully it would also work when standing in front of Soonyoung.
Jihoon finally stopped his pacing and knocked at the door. No procrastination, he needed to get this talk over with.

The door opened faster than he expected and the scent of coffee and mint was like a slap in the face. He immediately tried to think back to the day on the sailboat but it wasn’t working. The pheromones were like a strong wave pushing him closer to the alpha in front of him. Jihoon couldn’t swim against the stream even when he wanted to.

Jihoon took a step forward and looked finally at Soonyoung. The alpha had an unreadable expression on his face. “What are you doing here Jihoon?“ He asked in a quiet voice and Jihoon had to shake his head hardly to get his brain somehow working again. “The case... I wanted to talk about the case.“

Soonyoung opened the door wider so Jihoon could step inside. The omega hesitated for a moment before finally going into the flat. He wanted to run away but he knew it would be of no use. He couldn’t run away forever from Soonyoung.

He walked over to the couch and sat down. Soonyoung followed him quietly and sat beside him, but with a much greater distance than the previous times Jihoon had been over at his flat. Jihoon wondered what the other was thinking right now and what he was smelling on him. Could the alpha sense how much he was attracted to him?

Both of them didn’t say anything but just stared ahead. Jihoon saw the clock still lying there without the batteries inside. He wished that time would have really stopped when he had been over the last time at Soonyoung’s flat. Everything had been still okay then. Now he was sitting here and the attraction to Soonyoung was pulling at him, making him slowly go insane. He finally turned his head around and saw the alpha doing the same thing. There was an emotion in the brown orbs he couldn’t decipher, but he felt Soonyoung’s pheromones getting slightly stronger and he knew he couldn’t hold on much longer before his mind became completely fuzzy again.

Jihoon closed his eyes and concentrated on the day on the sailboat. On the calmness he had felt that day and it cleared his mind up a bit again. When he opened his eyes and looked at Soonyoung again words slipped out of his mouth without a second thought. “You called Jeonghan when I went into heat. Thank you. I don’t remember what happened but I think I really need to thank you.”

“It was the right thing to do,“ Soonyoung said again in a very quiet voice and Jihoon started to wonder why Soonyoung was behaving so strangely. “Jeonghan told me that you are reacting strongly on various alphas scents and that it’s also the case with my pheromones.“ Jihoon could barely hold himself back correcting Soonyoung. It had been clever of Jeonghan to tell him that but it felt so wrong to Jihoon. He only liked Soonyoung’s scent. There was no other alpha for him.

“It’s difficult,“ Jihoon said through clenched teeth. He couldn’t muster up the strength to say more than that. He couldn’t straight out lie to Soonyoung right now. It was impossible. “I see. So you wanted to talk about the case?“ Jihoon nodded, not daring to say one more word.

“There had been another murder, Jihoon.“ The omega had expected these news. When his team didn’t want to say what had happened, he had already prepared himself to hear that there had been another victim. Thinking about the previous victims, about the killer and about them being unable to catch him cleared his head up completely again. Maybe Jeonghan was right and every omega had a different way of coping with overwhelming emotions. Calming memories seemed to not have a lot of impact on Jihoon, but remembering his work did. Maybe he should try to use that in the future.

“The killer left a note.“ Jihoon was surprised hearing that. The killer had never left behind anything at the crime scene before. “The words had been neatly set together in red letters cut from a newspaper.“ That was very particular. Nowadays people mostly use print outs and don’t bother cutting out letters from a newspaper. Especially not red ones, because they are difficult to come by. Not many newspapers use red ink and if they use it, they only do so sparsely. “The note said: You can only blame yourself.“

Jihoon knew that the killer wanted to play with their minds, still he felt guilt burning deep in his gut. In a way, the murderer was right, they still couldn’t catch him, so they could only blame themselves. They made this whole thing personal with challenging him and then running like idiots into his trap. The killer knew them personally and this would get even more ugly if they wouldn’t catch him very soon.

“But I also have something positive to say. I think we found out where the killer finds his victims.” They got a lead at last and Jihoon hadn’t been there to witness it, but it wasn’t really a reason to feel disappointed. They needed to catch the killer fast, so a major lead was more than welcome. “How did you find out?” There was a small smile on Soonyoung’s lips and for the first time this evening Jihoon had the feeling that the alpha was a bit relaxed. It could be the result of his own emotions not running wild right now. It could be that he had a certain influence on the alpha afterall.

“Maybe you remember from the first murder case that the victim went to a support group for omegas who were abandoned by their alpha.” Jihoon clearly remembered that, because he had never heard of such groups before working on the case. As someone who lived as a beta for all his life, he couldn’t really understand what good such groups could do at that time. “Yes, but the second victim wasn’t part of that group.”

“That’s not true. The second victim was also part of that group, but he never wrote about it somewhere, but we checked with the group now and he really had been part of it. We found yesterday the info material of the group between some papers of the third victim. They were actually hidden quite well, but yes, that’s how we made the connection. We went there today already but we still aren’t sure how the killer is connected to the group. We have to find that out now.”

Jihoon knew that it would still be difficult to find the murderer. They had to be very thoroughly to find him. Also it would be difficult to work together with a support group because they want to protect their members and also have the right to do it. When the members are dead then they might be cooperative but when it’s about the living they are most probably not. But each of the members was in great danger, they needed to keep them safe somehow.

“Did you try already to get a list of the members? They are in grave danger.” Soonyoung made a small discontent noise. “Of course we tried, but the manager of the support organisation didn’t want to give it to us. He said that he’ll talk to the members if they want to have protection, but he can’t promise us anything. Most of the members are part of such a group because they want to stay anonymous.” Jihoon sighed loudly and leaned back against the couch. If they couldn’t protect the potential victims, then they needed to find the killer fast.

“Do you want to come with me tomorrow when I’ll talk to the manager of the organisation again?” Soonyoung smiled warmly at him and Jihoon felt a tight knot forming in his chest. “Y-yes..”

Jihoon closed his eyes and let the scent of coffee and mint wash over him. His mind swayed away from the case and concentrated solely on Soonyoung. Even with closed eyes he could only see Soonyoung smiling at him, watching him with sharp eyes that clearly hid the alphas emotions. Suddenly Jihoon wanted nothing more than to know what the alpha was thinking. He felt the other’s pheromones pulling him in again and he was too weak to resist this time.

He slowly became suffocated by Soonyoung’s pheromones. He really tried to concentrate on the case, but it became more and more unimportant to him. Soonyoung had shuffled a bit closer while talking about the case and was now so close to him that he could easily imagine the alpha pushing him back onto the couch, kissing him, touching him, biting down deep into his neck... Jihoon felt the arousal flow through him in thick waves and he immediately sprung up the couch in shock. “I need a glass of water,“ the omega said with an unsteady voice.

Jihoon almost run into the kitchen and looked around completely lost. He couldn’t remember where Soonyoung had stored the glasses. He didn’t remember anything, because he only could think about the alpha right now. The scent of coffee and mint was getting slowly stronger again because the other was following him into the kitchen.

“I know it’s not easy for you right now. Don’t worry, I won’t misunderstand.“ Jihoon felt so embarrassed hearing Soonyoung’s words. And at the same time, deep down he felt disappointed and angry that Soonyoung didn’t take his feelings serious. He should be just happy that Soonyoung didn’t think he had any feelings for him, but the omega in him was discontent. Maybe he was just discontent himself. He couldn’t differentiate anymore.

He got pulled out of his thoughts when Soonyoung laid a hand on his arm. He looked up at Soonyoung and just couldn’t breathe anymore. The warmth of his touch burnt his skin and the only thing he wished was for the alpha to lay him onto the counter and take him right here. There was no way to get out of this swirl of emotions anymore. He tried to think about the case and about the day on the sailboat but it was no use. He gave completely up fighting his needs and just let everything go. He wanted Soonyoung just too much.

Jihoon’s heart was hammering in his chest seeing that Soonyoung’s eyes became slightly hazy too. He could see some of his own want reflected in the brown orbs and he felt his hands starting to shake slightly in arousal. “You should probably leave now.“ Soonyoung said in a deep and slightly breathless voice. The attraction he felt was skyrocketing and he wanted to tell the alpha that he didn’t want to leave. Not now or ever. But there was a small voice in Jihoon’s head that sounded a lot like Jeonghan’s that told him to pull himself together. He bit his lip hard, turned around and staggered out of Soonyoung’s flat without looking back.

He went down the hallway to his flat and when Jihoon finally pulled the door of his own flat close behind him, he felt like he could breathe again. “Well, that went well,“ he quietly said to himself.

Jihoon sat down on his couch and stared at his still slightly shaking hands. He easily remembered what had started this swirl of emotions - it was Soonyoung’s smile. It wasn’t his pheromones, but it was his warm smile that pulled at his heartstrings. It became more and more difficult for him to seriously believe that the didn’t like the alpha.

At this point only acceptance might actually help him. He was trying to fight a battle that he was doomed to lose. Maybe if he would accept his feelings for Soonyoung, it would be easier to cope with everything. His body was obviously rebelling, trying to teach him what he should do. If he would accept his feelings then his mind and body would probably calm down a bit and his reaction to Soonyoung might not be so annoyingly strong anymore.

Right now he was only a small step away from acceptance, but he still didn’t dare to cross the line. He needed something more to be completely sure. Maybe he would find that something tomorrow. Now he was just dead tired from the long day. He laid down on the couch and closed his eyes. When his thoughts drifted back to Soonyoung, he didn’t try to fight them.

*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Jihoon was back at the office the next morning, acting like he never had run off the day before without saying a single word to his colleagues and friends. He must have given off a very unfriendly aura, because no one dared to ask him what had happened, not even Wonwoo who normally didn’t care if Jihoon was in a bad mood or not.

Jihoon was going through a lot of paperwork since arriving at the office one hour earlier. He hadn’t seen Soonyoung once this morning and was quite thankful for it. Like this, he was able to catch up with everything he had missed out on the case without being distracted by his feelings for Soonyoung.

He had a good flow reading through the papers and only stopped when he wanted to write something down. Jihoon opened his drawer to get his notebook and saw the small pink plush cat lying on top of it. He immediately started smiling at the memory of Soonyoung giving him the present. In his head Jeonghan’s voice was ringing telling him that the way he looked at the kitchy pink plush cat didn’t lie. It dawned upon Jihoon that he wanted to see Soonyoung right now, as he had wanted many times before. He always didn’t gave it a second thought why he actually felt the need to see the other. But now it was different, because he knew why he wanted to see the other: He missed him. He missed him even though they had seen each other just yesterday evening. It was stupid, unreasonable and it could only mean one thing. He liked Soonyoung. It was as simple a that. And no fight he put up would change that. Even though it was worth it fighting against his omega biology for Jihoon, fighting feelings he most probably had the whole time felt suddenly very stupid to him.

Jihoon didn’t get any further with his thoughts because he heard the loud clicking of high heels and an overly sweet smell started to fill his nose. It was a mixture of honey and white chocolate and he wrinkled his nose in distaste at the scent. Jihoon curiously turned his head around and saw a petite woman walking into their office - he had never seen her before. She had long hair, styled in perfect waves and a doll like face. Together with her scent it was clear that she was an omega.

Wonwoo was the first one to speak up after spotting her. “Can we help you somehow?” She gave the beta a sweet smile and leaned her head a bit to the side. “I’m searching for Kwon Soonyoung. An officer at the entrance told me I could find him around here.” Jihoon froze up at her words, his mind going completely blank. “Why are you searching for Soonyoung?” Wonwoo asked in a very neutral voice. He eyed Jihoon cautiously, probably noticing that something wasn’t right.

“We have something like a blind date.” Jihoon felt his heart cracking at the words. He had been stupid to believe that accepting his own feelings would make things easier. It didn’t make things easier at all if he had to watch Soonyoung finding another person to like, to date, to love. Devastation was creeping up on Jihoon and the omega woman was turning to him, giving him a strange look. She must have been able to pick up on his scent that he was sad and angry. And if she was able to sense it, then every other alpha and omega around would sense it too. Jihoon needed to get out of here fast.

The small officer sprung up his seat and run out of the office. Why were things never going his way? When he had just accepted one thing, another obstacle came his way. He hated the thought of Soonyoung and that woman talking and laughing together. Just imagining the two of them kissing was driving him mad. He was completely jealous and he knew it, but he couldn’t help it at all.

Jihoon sat down on a stone wall in front of the police station and tried to calm himself down a bit with breathing slowly in and out. He was so inside his head that he didn’t notice Wonwoo had been following him. “Are you okay?” Jihoon looked up and saw Wonwoo standing right in front of him with a worried look on his face. “Yeah, just needed some fresh air,” Jihoon lied smoothly. Wonwoo gave him a knowing look and sat down beside him.

“I’m a beta and not able to smell what’s going on with you, but I’m still your best friend and can easily see through your lies. You suddenly vanished yesterday from work without saying a word and now you are behaving strangely again.” Jihoon wasn’t sure what he should tell Wonwoo. Should he tell him the whole truth or only parts of it? Would he even be able to tell his friend the whole truth? Speaking about his feelings for Soonyoung would make everything even more real. Once spoken about it, there would be no way back anymore.

“Jihoon I’m not an idiot. What’s going on between you and Soonyoung? Something must have happened yesterday when you were in his office, because you went straight home afterwards.” Jihoon opened his mouth to start talking, but closed it immediately afterwards again. Wonwoo looked at him with worried and knowing eyes and something snapped inside of Jihoon. Wonwoo was probably already knowing what was going on and he really needed to talk about this.

“I think I like Soonyoung!!“ Jihoon nearly screamed the words at his friend, but Wonwoo didn’t even look taken aback. It was almost like he expected this reaction. “Before my omega senses kicked in, I wasn’t aware of it at all. But now it’s getting more and more difficult to ignore. Wonwoo I think I...“

“What is it you think?“ Wonwoo asked him gently. Jihoon hesitated for a moment speaking up again. He was about to confess something he really wished that it wasn’t true. The thought had been constantly nagging at the back on his mind, never able to shut it down completely since the moment Jeonghan had talked about it. „I think I‘ve liked him already at university but just ignored it because I thought I couldn’t be together with an alpha. It was easier to hate him than not being together with him.“ Wonwoo’s eyes widened slightly at Jihoon’s words, but he didn’t comment on it. He just let Jihoon go on talking.

“When I reacted really strongly on his pheromones yesterday, I wanted to stubbornly believe it was all just my omega biology, but that was actually me being stupid. I really like him. I’m chasing after him all this time not because I want to make up for the bad time at university or because I want to be friends, no it’s because I like him. I’m dumb for him, I want him to spend his time with me, laugh with me and buy me kitchy presents. I‘m totally gone for him and never even noticed it. I’m pathetic. And I’m still so bad at controlling my feelings and pheromones and he’ll probably know everything soon.“

Wonwoo laughed quietly after Jihoon had finished his talk. “You’re not pathetic Jihoon. I actually never was sure if you liked him or not at university. It was from day one easy to see how much he liked you, but you were always hot and cold with him. Sometimes you looked completely smitten and then other days Soonyoung seemed to be nothing more than a mere annoyance to you.” Jihoon winced slightly at Wonwoo’s words. His friend was right. He could still remember the days when he was sitting close to Soonyoung, laughing with him loudly about one of the alpha’s lame jokes. But then there also had been the days when he had refused to meet up alone with the other, the days when he told him to shut up because he was too fucking annoying. The days when he had screamed at the other for merley brushing his arm slightly.

He had been afraid to let the other get too close to him. Because the closer he got, the more difficult it would have been to push the alpha away. “I never tried to closely think about what I was really feeling for Soonyoung at that time.” Wonwoo nodded at Jihoon’s words. “When you reacted very strongly on his advances that one fateful evening, I was pretty sure that you liked him more than you let on. It had been a bit like a self defense mechanism. I really wanted to get you to talk with him, so you two could get your things sorted out, but you were too stubborn. And do you know what? Maybe it just wasn’t the right time for the two of you.”

Jihoon felt himself tearing up slightly at Wonwoo’s words. No other words could have comforted him more in this moment. He couldn’t make his ignorance and stupidity look nice in any way, but believing that it hadn’t been the right time at university made him feel a bit better. Maybe he could live with that. He had been young, stupid and insecure at that time. He still makes stupid decisions at the age of 28, but he was a better person than at university. Maybe he could also be a better person for Soonyoung now.

“Wouldn’t it be better if you tell him about your feelings?” Wonwoo’s question caught Jihoon off guard, so he just kept on looking at his best friend with big eyes without answering his question. “You probably can’t hide your feelings forever. If you’re still not good at controlling your emotions and pheromones like you said, he‘ll figure it out soon either way. Isn’t it better if you told him personally than letting him figure it out by himself?“ Jihoon hated that Wonwoo was always right. Especially when he was telling him such an uncomfortable truth. Jihoon could either wait like a coward for Soonyoung to figure out his feelings or he could be strong and tell him about it.

“I think I don’t want to run away anymore,” Jihoon said in a quiet voice and Wonwoo patted him immediately on the back. “I think that’s the right choice. Let’s go inside again. We have work to do. Try not to worry too much about everything. I know it’s difficult for you right now, but for the time being, just think about the case and then talk later to Soonyoung.“ Jihoon knew that Wonwoo was right. He really needed to pull himself together now and do his job. He would sort out everything with Soonyoung later.

When Jihoon and Wonwoo came back into the office, Soonyoung was standing at their tables talking to Seokmin and Vernon. The omega woman was nowhere in sight. Jihoon stopped his step when Soonyoung turned around to him. The alphas gaze was heavy and Jihoon felt like he was an open book to Soonyoung. It was almost like the other could read on his scent and see it in his eyes that he liked him and that he had just run away out of jealousy like a teenager.

“Jihoon you have to keep on moving forwards.” The omega knew that his friend didn’t only mean that he had to start walking again, but that he should take a step towards Soonyoung. He needed to face him straight on and be sincere with his feelings. Jihoon prayed that he wouldn’t mess it up.

“Didn’t you want to come with me to the support group? We have to figure out fast who the killer is. The others will look through the information we already got from the support group, but I have the feeling that these documents won’t be sufficient. We need more.” Jihoon was still standing unmoving in the door while listening to Soonyoung. This was his chance to catch up on the case and maybe to talk to Soonyoung. So why couldn’t he still move? Probably because he could smell very faintly the scent of the omega woman on Soonyoung. He wanted to hit the alpha and at the same time hide in a corner.

Soonyoung looked strangely at him and started walking right to where Jihoon was standing. “Do you need to take something with you or can we go now?” The omega balled his hands into fists and then unclenched them again. He did that a few times to calm down before answering. “Yes, we can go now.” Soonyoung looked him into the eyes for a moment and it felt like he wanted to tell him something with it. But Jihoon had no idea what. “Let’s go.”

Jihoon grabbed his coat from the cloth rag beside the door and hurried after Soonyoung who had already left for the main entrance of the police station. They quietly walked beside each other until they reached their work car. “Do you want to drive?” Jihoon shook his head at Soonyoung’s question. Normally Jihoon always wanted to drive, but today he felt more comfortable in the passenger seat. He wanted to talk to Soonyoung about a couple of things after all.

Soonyoung shrugged and went around the car, opened the door and sat down in the driver’s seat. Jihoon had already taken his seat in the meanwhile. The alpha drove off and Jihoon started to think about what he should first say to Soonyoung. This didn’t feel like the right place to confess and he also didn’t want to talk about his feelings before knowing who that woman was and if Soonyoung really planned on dating her. A confession would be useless then. He didn’t want embarrass himself.

“What is agitating you so much, Jihoonie?” Soonyoung was not playing fair. He hadn’t called him Jihoonie once since they had been locked into the barn. Why was he using the nickname in this situation? Did he know it made the butterflies in stomach just worst? “Nothing, I’m fine.”

“I don’t know why you feel the need to lie to me. I thought we were on the way of being able to really talk about things to each other.” Jihoon made a sour face and looked out of the window. “What do I even know about you? I certainly didn’t know you go on blind dates.” Jihoon wanted to bang his head against the window. He didn’t intend to ask Soonyoung about the woman like this, but he was now constantly smelling her on the alpha in this small restricted place and he just couldn’t help it. He still felt the jealousy clenching his heart in a tight grip.

“I never went on a single blind date. My mother is obsessed with me marrying soon, so she tries to play matchmaker all the time, but I’m always refusing. She gave that woman my number, but I never picked up so she came to the police station to talk with me.” That didn’t answer anything and Jihoon felt frustrated because of it.

“Is she your type?” Jihoon felt slightly embarrassed asking that, but the need to know was bigger than anything else. “You should know better than anyone else that she is not my type.” Jihoon’s heart was suddenly speeding up and he was sure that Soonyoung would be able to sense his excitement. The alphas scent shifted slightly and it wrapped around Jihoon like a warm cloak.

Jihoon wanted to confess right now. He was ready for it. Ready to lay his heart bare in front of Soonyoung. It was strange how fast he went from denying all his feelings to accepting them. But since his suppressants had failed him, his feelings were on a never ending rollercoaster ride and he finally wanted to reach the end.

It came as a big disappointment to Jihoon when the car suddenly made a u-turn and Soonyoung stopped the car in front of a small white building. “We’ve arrived. Let’s get going, we have no time.” The alpha immediately left the car and Jihoon leaned back into the seat and sighed deeply. There would be another chance to confess, now he had to do his job.

Chapter Text

Jihoon and Soonyoung walked quietly into the building of the support group and were greeted by a middle-aged man sitting at a table close to the entrance. “Team leader Kwon, you are early,” he said while a smile was plastered on his face but the smile didn’t reach his eyes. He seemed to be unnerved by their sudden appearance.

“People are losing their lives. We have to find the offender as soon as possible. Did you reach all the members of the support group? Did they all agree to get protection from the police?” The manager shrugged slightly and Jihoon couldn’t help but feeling annoyed at the manager‘s behavior. Didn’t he understand how grave the situation was?

“Yes, I talked to all of them, but two members are refusing to work together with the police. They want to stay anonymous.” Now they were in big trouble. The killer could still go after these two persons, so their situation wasn’t any better than before. They couldn’t force the two members to work together with the police and the only thing they could do now was catch the killer fast.

“Okay, we can do nothing about it, but I would like it if you could try talking one more time to these two people. Their lives are in grave danger.” The manager nodded hearing Soonyoung’s words, but didn’t comment on it, so Soonyoung just started talking once more. “Did you think again about people working here who are in any way suspicious? Or just people who come into your building from time to time?”

The manager looked onto a piece of paper lying on the desk in front of him with a blank look on his face. “Like I told you already yesterday, I only work together with two omega doctors, who are doing this voluntary. And then there are the cleaners, but I already gave you the name of the company I’m having a contract with. Besides these people and the members of the groups I really can’t think about anyone else. Some months ago we had a handyman here because the aircon wasn’t working, but I never saw him again.”

Jihoon was in deep thoughts while listening to the manager. All the people he mentioned didn’t fit the profile. The manager must have forgotten about someone. There must be… “The surveillance cameras!!” Jihoon suddenly half screamed and the manager winced at the officers outburst. “You have one inside and one outside the building. I saw it while entering.”

“Yes, it’s for the safety of our members. We had them installed at the beginning of the year. But now that you mention it, we had trouble with the surveillance cameras a few times. The boss of the company that installed the cameras came personally to check up on them. It’s only a small company and the boss still does these things from time to time. He started off as a normal worker, I think.” Bingo. He fit the profile perfectly and it made a lot of sense that he was the boss of a surveillance company. Jihoon had been wondering how he had been monitoring them when he lured them into the trap. He could have installed cameras himself or maybe even hacked into cameras - with insider knowledge it would be possible.

“Could you tell us the name of the company?” The manager got up from his seat and walked over to a shelf and searched through some papers. He pulled a business card out and handed it over to Soonyoung. “Here, that’s his business card. If you would excuse me now, I have things to do.”

“Yes, of course. Excuse us for taking up your time.” Soonyoung and Jihoon turned around and had already reached the door when Soonyoung turned back again. “Please try to talk to the two members one more time. They really need protection from the police.”

Jihoon followed Soonyoung outside and couldn’t help staring at the alpha. Now that Jihoon wasn’t concentrating on the case anymore he noticed how Soonyoung’s pheromones were giving off a very dominant feeling. It was sexy.

Jihoon stopped walking at his own thoughts. He shouldn’t go there now, this really wasn’t the time for it. He hurried to the car, because Soonyoung was already opening the driver’s door. As soon as Jihoon sat down, he started talking. If he wouldn’t talk about the case, he would just think about Soonyoung again the whole time and he really didn’t need that right now.

“That guy must be the killer. He fits the profile and it makes sense that he’s the boss of a surveillance company. It would be easy for such a guy to lure us into a trap and watching us the whole time.” Soonyoung nodded his head and let out a deep breath. His pheromones were suddenly gentler again and Jihoon felt very relieved because the Soonyoung from before would have been difficult to deal with, but with a gentler Soonyoung he might be able to contain himself.

“Yes, I think so too. The problem is, that we can’t just go to his company and arrest him. We have nothing against him. First of all we should do a background check and then we need to talk to people around him, but I think everything will be very tricky. He seems to be obsessed with surveillance, so he probably has cameras everywhere. He’ll know what we are doing. I mean, he probably watched us also talking to the manager just now.” Jihoon shuddered slightly. Imagining the killer watching them was very creepy.

If that guy really was the killer, he would be difficult to catch. They would need to watch out for surveillance cameras now everywhere. Maybe even at the police station and close to their homes. They probably were nowhere safe from the killer‘s eyes.

“And if we just go and talk to him? What can he do? I hate to search for information quietly. Sometimes it’s just better to confront a suspect straight ahead. He probably knows what we are doing already, so there is no need to hide.” Soonyoung was quiet for a while, obviously considering what Jihoon had just told him.

“But what help would it be? We have nothing against him at this point. We don’t know why he is murdering all these people. If we talk to him, we need to know him better. That guy is clever, we would get nothing out of him just like this.” Jihoon couldn’t argue with that. He really wanted to talk with the suspect and arrest him as soon as possible but without knowing a single thing about him, they wouldn’t be able to accomplish anything. The murderer would just laugh at them and kill another person. They couldn’t risk that.

“You’re right. We need to know some facts about the boss of the surveillance company and then we can go and talk to him.” Soonyoung smiled slightly at Jihoon’s words. “Good that we are agreeing on that.” The thought of ‘I would agree on anything you say when you smile like that’ went through Jihoon’s head and he was angry at himself for being so annoyingly smitten with the alpha. Stupid omega brain that comes up with the most corny lines. In all his relationship he had been in before, he never had been thinking stuff like that. His omega biology must be really messing with him.

*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Back at the police station the whole team sat together and brainstormed how to proceed with the case. First of all they made the normal background check, but nothing suspicious came up. Min Jaeho, 30 years old, alpha, no registered bonding, no police record. Both of his parents were already dead, natural death was written as cause of death. He had no siblings.

No family meant for the team, no one to ask about the suspect. “It’s too dangerous to talk to the neighbours. He has surveillance cameras installed around his flat for sure,” Wonwoo said and the other’s of the team nodded at his words.

“Yes and he’s probably a secretive guy. His neighbours might not even know him,” Seokmin quickly added and everyone was at a loss for words for a moment. Jihoon looked annoyed at his team members, they needed to talk to someone close to the suspect without alarming him. He could only think of a certain group of people. “We need to talk to one of the workers at his company.”

Soonyoung got up from his chair and started walking around the room hearing Jihoon’s words. “We don’t know how loyal his workers are. They might tell him that the police called, but it’s probably our best shot. If he really is a pathological narcissist, the possibility is high that he’s not a very nice boss,” the alpha said and Jihoon tried to sense the profiler’s mood but there was nothing he could pick up. Soonyoung’s scent of coffee and mint was very lowkey at the moment and Jihoon wished he would be just as good at hiding his emotions. Vernon’s scent on the other hand was flickering slightly and Jihoon guessed the cause was uneasiness or slight anxiousness. Jihoon couldn’t blame him. They most probably knew who the killer was but had no way to arrest him.

“I’ll go and ask Chungho to find out the telephone numbers of the people working at the surveillance company. I’ll be back soon.” Seokmin run off and Jihoon leaned back in his chair, looking at the clock on the wall. It was noon and he felt a bit hungry, but at the same time he didn’t feel like eating. As long as they had nothing in their hands against the killer, he didn’t want to waste his time with something as unimportant as eating.

“I’ll go and get us something to eat. We can work better when we are not hungry.” Jihoon looked at Soonyoung and wondered if the alpha could also sense that he was hungry. He hoped not, because that would be ridiculous. Jihoon considered for a moment to offer their team leader to go together, but decided against it in the end. He preferred staying at the police station and look through some papers in the meantime. He didn’t want to get all mushy again while being around Soonyoung.

*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

The day went by very unsuccessfully. It turned out that the surveillance company was indeed very small and had only two workers beside the boss. The officers tried to reach them for hours on their cellphones but couldn’t get through to either of them. After 7PM one of them picked up at last and explained that he couldn’t take calls while working. He also explained that his co-worker was on holidays in Japan, so they wouldn’t reach him right now. Soonyoung who made the call asked him about his boss afterwards, but the guy more or less hung up on him, saying that he had to pick up his child from kindergarten now. At least he was willed to meet up with them tomorrow at 8AM before his work starts to talk about his boss. He also promised to not tell his boss about the phone call.

Jihoon felt unhappy that they had to go home with nothing. They did a background check on the worker, because there wasn’t anything else they could do. He had a four years old daughter and his wife had died in a car crash one year ago. It explained why he couldn’t meet them immediately - his daughter was the most important to him. And even though Jihoon felt frustrated, he could understand the man’s decision. Now they could do nothing else than wait until tomorrow and hope that the killer wouldn’t kill another person.

The whole team went home a bit after 9PM and when Jihoon got out of his car in the underground parking lot of his apartment complex, he saw Soonyoung getting off his own car at the same time. Now that nothing was left he could do about the case, he allowed his mind to go back to his plan of confessing to Soonyoung. His feelings were immediately bubbling up strongly again and Jihoon let them wash over him while picking up Soonyoung’s enticing scent.

He still wanted to confess. Nothing had changed since morning. He still wanted to talk with Soonyoung about his feelings and correct what Jeonghan had told him. Jihoon didn’t like various alphas scent but only Soonyoung’s. He needed to get it out of his system fast.

Jihoon knew of the possibility that Soonyoung could straight out reject his feelings. He didn’t really want to think about that possibility but he tried to prepare his heart for it. Still he hoped that Soonyoung could accept his feelings in some way. He didn’t expect the other to confess his undying love for him, the alpha was much too guarded for that. He just wanted a chance at becoming more than friends, a chance to be close to him. He wanted to go on kitchy dates and look if they fit together. Jihoon’s biggest hope was that the feelings Soonyoung had years ago for him were still hidden somewhere in the other’s heart. Maybe it even was his only hope.

The omega suddenly noticed that Soonyoung had already gone to the elevator and was in the middle of going inside. Jihoon started sprinting and jumped into the elevator right before the doors closed. Soonyoung chuckled and Jihoon couldn’t help feeling slightly embarrassed about the situation. “In a hurry to get home?” The alpha asked him, but Jihoon chose not to answer. Afterall he had been in a hurry to catch up with Soonyoung and he didn’t want to explain that to the other right now.

The two officers got off on their floor and Soonyoung looked at Jihoon and gave him a small smile. “Good night then Jihoon.” Soonyoung turned around and started opening his door.

Jihoon didn’t want to wait anymore, not even one more night. He needed to get the weight of his secret feelings off his shoulders. “Can I come in for a moment? I have something to tell you.” Soonyoung turned around to Jihoon, a puzzled look on his face. “Yes, why not.”

Soonyoung opened the door and Jihoon followed him inside. Instead of going over to the couch like he normally did, he just stood rooted close to the door. Soonyoung also didn’t move away and waited for the other to start talking.

Jihoon’s heart was racing and he felt close to fainting. Never in his life he had confessed to someone before. He didn’t know how to do it. All his relationships had started with his partner asking him out, it never had been Jihoon. Now he wished that he had at least some experience in confessing. Maybe he would be a bit less nervous then. Jihoon took a deep breath and stopped overthinking, because it wasn’t leading anywhere. This was a matter of the heart after all, thinking wasn’t useful in this situation.

“What Jeonghan told you yesterday was not entirely true. I don’t react to various alphas scent. I only react to your scent.“ Jihoon sounded brave while talking even though he almost couldn’t hear his own words because his heartbeat was resounding so loudly in his ears. He was biting onto his lip nervously and drummed his fingers against the material of his pants. This situation was more nerve wracking than going after an armed criminal.

Jihoon took a step closer to Soonyoung and finally let go of all his worries. He needed and wanted to tell the other and now was the right time. “I like you Soonyoung.“ Jihoon’s heart was still beating wildly in his chest while he waited for a reaction of the alpha.

Jihoon saw how the Soonyoung paled slightly and his eyes widened in shock. His pheromones pulled back from Jihoon and the omega immediately knew what it meant: This might not end positive for him. But it was too late to stop now. “I like you Soonyoung,” he repeated and the alpha took a big step back from him.

“No, your hormones are just out of control. You don’t really like me.“ Jihoon gave the alpha a hard look. That wasn’t a reaction he had expected. Rejection unfortunately had been one of the reactions he had expected, but he didn’t expect the other to not believe him. “Are you telling me now that I don’t know what I‘m feeling? Since I’m not taking the suppressants anymore I can’t lie to myself. Believe me when I say that I really tried to convince myself that I don’t like you, but in the end I was just trying to run away and close my eyes from the truth. I like you so much it hurts Soonyoung. My whole body, every fiber of my being longs for you. It’s driving me insane. Even at university it had only been you but I didn’t know because of the suppressants and because I believed I could never be together with an alpha. I was an idiot and turned my feelings into hate. But I can’t ignore it anymore. I like you too much.“ Saying all of this felt so good to Jihoon. Finally being sincere while laying his heart bare to Soonyoung was an amazing feeling.

Jihoon’s giddiness stopped abruptly when he saw the blank look on Soonyoung’s face. His eyes were hard and cold. “I’m sorry Jihoon. I don’t feel the same way about you. I still think you are only confused now that your omega biology is taking over. You didn’t like me at university and you don’t like me now - and neither do I. I‘ll just forget what you told me.“ Every word that left Soonyoung’s mouth felt like a deep stab into Jihoon’s heart. The omega didn’t know it was possible that a heart could hurt so much. Even after Soonyoung had finished talking he still felt like a knife was stuck in his chest.

Jihoon felt tears welling up in his eyes and knew he had to get out of here now or he would have a break down right in front of Soonyoung. His pride wouldn’t be able to take that. He turned around and hurried out of the alphas flat and over to his own.

He hastily opened the door and as soon as he got inside he started shaking like a leaf. He felt like his chest and heart had been cut open. It got harder and harder to breathe because his lungs were burning so much. Jihoon sunk to the floor and took harsh breaths while the words of Soonyoung were resounding in his head again and again. “I don’t feel the same way.“ Jihoon began crying, sobbing loudly in the quiet room. He couldn’t live like this. He had failed as an omega. The thought was crawling at his heart and mind and ripped him slowly apart. He wasn’t good enough. He was a failure. Failure.

Jihoon felt like he was close to losing his mind completely and only one person might be able to help him right now. He got his phone with shaking hands out of his pants and called Jeonghan. When the older one picked up, Jihoon couldn’t get a word out, but just loudly cried into the phone. “Jihoonie? What’s wrong? Jihoon? I’m coming over okay? Just wait a minute.“ Jihoon let the phone fall down to the floor. He just couldn’t calm down. It hurt too much.

The doorbell was ringing only a minute later and Jihoon crawled over to the door and opened it somehow. Jeonghan looked out of his mind seeing his friend crying so hard. “Oh my god what happened?” Jeonghan sat down on the floor beside Jihoon and took the shaking omega into his arms.

“Soonyoung… Soonyoung said he… doesn’t want me.” Jihoon started crying even harder and sobbed into Jeonghan’s shirt. He cried for a while and took a couple of breaths and started talking again.

„He doesn’t want me and it’s all my fault. I rejected him at university! Of course he wouldn’t want me.“ Jeonghan hugged Jihoon tightly and tried to calm him down with patting him on the back but it didn’t work. The younger was still crying and trembling. “And there is even more hyung.“ Jihoon’s voice was tear strained and shaky. “If you hear this you‘ll also hate me.“ Jeonghan was shushing Jihoon while hugging him tighter. “I won’t hate you. Soonyoung doesn’t hate you either.“ Jihoon escaped a loud sob at the mention of Soonyoung’s name.

“I told Soonyoung that I liked Seungcheol-hyung at university. Why did I do that? I refused him but liked Seungcheol-hyung. Why? Why? I didn’t even like hyung the way I like Soonyoung. It just had been a crush for a short while, but he must think I’m only playing with him. He hates me hyung!!“ Jihoon didn’t even know what he was talking about. Everything hidden deep in his heart was coming to the surface and he couldn’t control his words and mind.

Jihoon was breathing harshly and Jeonghan pushed him slightly out of the embrace to look at him. “Jihoonie, you have to calm down. You’re almost hyperventilating. Please, take deep breaths. No one hates you. You’ll be fine. I‘ll help you. We can get through this.“

Jihoon tried to take some deep breaths like the older had told him and he finally started to breathe more normal again but he was still shaking and crying. “Everything will be fine Jihoonie. You’ll get through this. It’s just your biology that can’t take the rejection. It will get better after a while.“ Jihoon shook his head at Jeonghan’s words. “I feel like dying. I can’t go on like this.“ Jeonghan took Jihoon’s face in his hands and gave him a stern look. “You are strong. You’ll survive this. It just hurts like this right now. You won‘t die from this.“ Jihoon hiccuped slightly from the constant crying. He fell tiredly into Jeonghan‘s arms and didn’t move anymore. “Just let me die. I’m a failure.“ The crying started again and Jeonghan kept on trying to calm the other omega down, but nothing really worked.

The doorbell suddenly rang, but Jihoon didn’t really notice it. Jeonghan pulled away from Jihoon and got up from the floor to open the door. It was Soonyoung. Jihoon smelt the scent of coffee and mint immediately and the devastation just got bigger.

“I can help Jihoon,“ Jihoon heard Soonyoung say and he clutched at his shirt where his heart was painfully. “First you reject him and now you come here to do what? He’s out of his mind Soonyoung! You coming here and seeing him like this is humiliating to Jihoon. Go away.“

“No, I can help him,“ Soonyoung’s voice was calm and beautiful. Normally Jihoon loved listening to Soonyoung but right now it made him feel horrible. It was the same voice that had told him he didn’t feel the same way. The same voice that said Jihoon’s feelings weren’t real. “We’ll manage alone. Just go home!“

Soonyoung pushed Jeonghan aside, walked into the flat and immediately crouched down beside the shaking and crying omega. “Hey Jihoonie,“ he said gently and Jihoon let out another loud sob. He should feel humiliated at the alpha seeing him like this, but he was too much out of his mind in that moment. Nothing was important anymore. “It’s okay, I’ll help you. This is my fault after all.“ Soonyoung took Jihoon’s shaking form into his arms and lifted him up. The omega immediately leaned against him, curling into the alphas body. The calming scent of coffee and mint filled Jihoon’s senses and he slowly started to breath evenly again. All the heavy feelings were leaving his mind and only peace was left behind. This was what he wanted - to feel protected and loved. Only his alpha could give him that.

Soonyoung laid the omega onto the couch and softly brushed the hair out of his face. “I‘ll stay with you Jihoonie. Sleep a bit for now.“ The omega rolled into fetal position and closed his eyes in utter exhaustion. Jihoon felt the alpha getting up from the couch but was much too relaxed to bother at that moment.

“Are you crazy??? You influenced him with your pheromones!!!“ Jihoon could still hear Soonyoung and Jeonghan talking, but his mind was starting to drift away. “Shhh, Jihoon is almost asleep. It’s better like this.“

“Better? You’re an asshole Kwon Soonyoung. You ripped his heart apart! You’re not doing him any good by doing that.“ The voices were only like a far away memory and Jihoon finally fell asleep to the voice of Soonyoung. “I know, I just wanted to help. I never intended to hurt him so much.“

*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Jihoon felt disoriented when he woke up. His heart hurt and he was gravely exhausted. “How are you feeling?“ He heard Jeonghan’s voice asking and slowly opened his eyes and saw his hyung sitting at the side of his bed. It felt a bit like a deja vu. But this time the other wasn’t here because he went into heat. He was here because Jihoon got rejected by Soonyoung. The omega wished he couldn’t remember it the same way he couldn’t remember his heat, but unfortunately he remembered everything all too well.

“I feel empty. Like my heart is missing from my body,“ Jihoon said and closed his eyes again. He was so tired and sad. “It will get better. Rejection is never easy for an omega if your feelings are that strong but I guarantee you that you won’t die from it. That could only happen if you were mated.“ Jihoon couldn’t feel happy about Jeonghan‘s words. He just felt devastated and that horrible feeling was weighing him down. He wanted to stay in bed and never get up again.

“Do you remember what happened yesterday Jihoonie?” The question seemed strange to Jihoon at first, but it suddenly hit him what Jeonghan was implying. “Yeah, Soonyoung came to my flat. But my memory of that time is kind of fuzzy. I think he said that he wanted to help me? And… and I think you were very angry. You told him that he’s crazy for influencing me with his pheromones or something like that.” Now that these memories came back, Jihoon couldn’t help feeling even worse. First he got rejected and then the one who rejected him had to help him calm down.

“He manipulated you. He shouldn’t have done that! You have every right to be angry.“ Jihoon let out a tired laugh at Jeonghan’s words. “I‘m not angry, I‘m just sad.” Jeonghan gave him a pitiful look and Jihoon just wanted to crawl under the blanket and stop talking about yesterday already.

“Jihoonie you have to listen closely to me, okay? You can‘t hide yourself away now. You need to pull yourself together and go back to work. If you don’t do this, everything will just get worse and you’ll end up hating yourself for not doing your job. You still have a killer to catch.“ Jihoon suddenly felt panic rising up in him and he sat a bit straighter up in bed. How should he look Soonyoung in the eye after yesterday? Yes, he half expected getting rejected and he shouldn’t feel so bad about it, but he couldn’t help it. His body and mind was refusing to work properly, the pain of rejection still too fresh, rushing like poison through his body.

“I can’t work with him, hyung. I can’t.“ He tiredly shook his head and leaned back on the bed again. Jeonghan immediately crawled closer to him and pulled him up on his shirt.
“Yes you can! Even if he rejected you, you are still friends. He doesn’t hate you and you shouldn’t be ashamed of your feelings!“ Jeonghan was right. He needed to do his job and therefore he couldn’t avoid talking to Soonyoung forever. It was either losing his job or dealing with his broken heart.

“Okay, I‘ll try,“ Jihoon mumbled quietly. The knife of Soonyoung’s rejection was still stuck deep in his heart and he knew that the pain wouldn't stop any time soon. Seeing Soonyoung again might make everything even more painful, but he had nothing to lose anymore. He already had been rejected and it couldn’t get worse than this. He had to live with the pain and needed to start forgetting about Soonyoung slowly. It probably would be a long process because he had hidden away his feelings for such a long time and he just had so many feelings for the alpha. But one day the rejection would hopefully turn into a small scar on his heart that didn’t hurt Jihoon anymore. Hopefully one day he would be able to smile again - maybe even together with Soonyoung.

Chapter Text

Soonyoung didn’t want to get up from bed. He normally never had problems with getting up. The alarm went off und he got up immediately to get ready for work, because nothing was more important to him than his work. He had always been fully able to concentrate on his work, because he had no relationship and no friendship and didn’t need to waste time on them.

That was the reason why he had tried not getting close to Jihoon. He knew that everything would change if he would start getting friendly with other people again. Things would get messy and he would end up wasting his time on thinking about what to do and how to behave. He would go back to being like his dumb and useless younger self. His dumb and useless younger self who wanted to be different, but didn’t have the courage to fight for it. His dumb and useless younger self who had been so much in love, but let himself be easily pushed away. He had given up long ago in human relationships the same way he had given up fighting for what he wanted. After all, the people close to him had never wanted him to be the way he really was.

After he came to terms with his role in life, everything had been easy. He did his job, worked hard and a certain goal was set at the end of everything. There was nothing to worry about, because every day was just the same. But now things had changed.

Soonyoung didn’t have the will to get up, because he didn’t want to deal with the mess that was waiting for him at work. He didn’t want to deal with behaving like everything was okay after Jihoon’s confession, after seeing Jihoon cry heavily, because he had rejected the other like a bastard. It had never been his intention to hurt the omega so deeply.
He still couldn’t forget the scent of burnt peonies, all the devastation and sadness the scent gave off. Soonyoung had often smelled deep devastation when talking to the family of a murder victim. But it was the first time in his life that he had been the reason for that devastated scent and it had almost killed him. Especially because it had been Jihoon, the only person he had ever been deeply in love with.

Thinking about it now, Soonyoung should have seen the confession coming. He shouldn’t have been so dumb to blindly believe what Jeonghan had told him after Jihoon came to his office. After he had smelled that heavenly scent that was Jihoon’s pheromones for the first time while being not in heat.

The attraction hit him instantly at that time. It was like the heady feeling you get when you walk into a perfume shop. You get totally knocked out by the smell, not able to concentrate anymore, barely able to breathe. It was the exact same thing, but while Soonyoung naturally hated going into a perfume shop, because it was too much for his senses to handle, he loved being surrounded by Jihoon’s scent. It suffocated him in a positive way and allured him constantly.

Still the scent wasn’t the as potent and overly sweet as it had been when Jihoon had gone into heat, so Soonyoung was able to control himself quite well in front of the omega. The same couldn’t be said for Jihoon. His pheromones had flared out and he had looked at him with so much want in his eyes that Soonyoung hadn’t been sure anymore if his heat had really ended or not.

After Jihoon had fled from his office, Soonyoung didn’t know what to make out of the situation. Luckily, or so he thought, Jeonghan had visited him soon and explained to him why Jihoon had reacted that way. It made sense that a newly presented omega would go crazy over various alphas scent, but he should have known better after Jihoon came to him in the evening to talk about the case and things went crazy once more. He should have known better that an omega wouldn’t produce so many alluring pheromones just for any alpha. But maybe he didn’t want to see it or he couldn’t because Soonyoung himself had been barely able to hold back that evening. Jihoon’s scent was driving him mad. He didn’t know how many more times he would be able to hold back when Jihoon kept on alluring him like that. He was good at keeping himself in check, but at the end of the day he was just an alpha like all the others - at one point he would snap.

But before that could happen, everything had already broken apart yesterday evening. It had been a long day at work and Soonyoung had been tired and annoyed when he arrived at home. He should have noticed immediately what was going on when Jihoon said that he needed to tell him something. Soonyoung had been able to smell the nervousness on Jihoon, the hopefulness and the allure, but he had brushed it aside like he always did when feelings were getting too deep and troublesome. That was the reason why Jihoon’s confession had hit him completely out of the blue.

Soonyoung could have sensed it coming if he would have analysed Jihoon’s scent closer, if he would have paid more attention to Jihoon looking at him with gleaming eyes, if he would have considered for a longer time why Jihoon was chasing after him and why it was totally fine for the other to have physical contact with him, why he even had subconsciously scented him. There had been many signs, but he had closed his eyes willingly.

Now Soonyoung had to pay the price for always looking away. He had been so surprised by Jihoon’s confession that he had coldly rejected him. His mind had been a mess and a clear rejection was the most logical and easiest for him. But the moment Jihoon’s scent became a burnt mess, he knew that he had made a mistake. He could have made it easier on Jihoon and didn’t need to be such a bastard about it. Most of all he shouldn’t have doubted the other’s feelings, because Jihoon’s strong reaction to the rejection made it clear that his feelings were real.

The scent of a distressed omega had been hanging heavily in the air even long after Jihoon had left his flat and it made Soonyoung almost go insane. Before his mind had even caught up, his legs had already brought him over to Jihoon’s flat where he saw something even worse than the omegas devastated scent. Jihoon had been completely out of his mind crying heavily while sitting on the floor of his living room. He was shaking and gasping for air and it almost looked like he would stop breathing any second. Jihoon shouldn’t be in such pain. Ever.

Soonyoung had completely panicked on the inside and the only thing on his mind had been calming the other down. He knew that Jeonghan was right, first rejecting him and then influencing him with his pheromones to calm down was alpha-asshole-behavior, but he hadn’t been able to control what he was doing at that point. Jihoon’s scent of complete devastation made his brain stop working and his alpha biology took over. He wasn’t sure though, if he wouldn’t have done the same in a clear state of mind...

Soonyoung looked at the clock and saw that it was almost 7AM. He had to get ready now or he wouldn’t make it in time to meet up with the worker of the surveillance company at 8AM. Yesterday he had agreed on meeting there with Jihoon to do the questioning together, but after what had happened, the alpha was sure that Jihoon wouldn’t turn up. He couldn’t even blame him for it. Still, it was important that at least Soonyoung would arrive there on time with Jihoon not going to the meeting. They needed to catch the killer as soon as possible and his personal problems had no priority when a person’s life was in danger.

*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Soonyoung arrived 10 minutes early at the coffee shop they had agreed on meeting at. Soonyoung had chosen a neutral place inside, so they wouldn’t have problems with surveillance cameras. He bought a caramel latte macchiato and sat down at one of the tables. He had never gotten used to drinking coffee without milk and sugar and many people had laughed about it throughout his life considering that his scent was based on coffee. But to Soonyoung it didn’t matter all that much. An alphas or omegas own scent was a lot less noticeable to them than the scent of another person. Maybe because alphas and omegas were always surrounded by their own scent or maybe because it could neither be alluring nor threatening to one’s self. The scent was just there, almost not noticeable.

Soonyoung laid a newspaper on the table and stared at the door. No other guest was at the coffee shop right now and he had anticipated that, because he came frequently to this place when he was still working in the profiler team. Still the worker from the surveillance company and him had agreed on lying a newspaper on the table to make it easier to find each other.

There was a loud bang coming from the kitchen and Soonyoung turned around to see what was happening. Only seconds later the door to the coffee shop opened and the alpha froze up in shock. The scent of peonies and raspberry was unmistakable. He hadn’t expected Jihoon to come here. He hadn’t prepared anything to say to the other, so he was at a loss for what he should do.

“Good morning.” Jihoon’s voice was low and tired. Soonyoung turned around finally and looked at the other only to see the omega taking a seat while looking away from him. It was awkward. Soonyoung had nothing to say and it made him anxious that Jihoon’s scent was still layered with devastation and sadness.

“He should be here any minute,” Soonyoung told the omega, but Jihoon still didn’t lift his head up to look at him and it was painful. Soonyoung wasn’t sure what exactly was painful though. Was it painful seeing Jihoon like this? Was it painful being the reason that the omega was hurting? Or was it the realization that their whole relationship, their friendship had crumbled down into nothingness? Soonyoung had fought very long against the friendship with Jihoon, but now that he saw it lying in broken pieces in front of him, he couldn’t help feeling sad about it. Jihoon had been his only friend. Soonyoung felt immediately bitter at his own thoughts. This mess was exactly the reason why he didn’t need friends. Everything just came crumbling down one day and he would be left alone with his confused feelings.

The door opened once again and a middle-aged man came into the coffee shop. Soonyoung got up from his seat and waved the man over. He came with big steps to their table and sat down on one of the empty chairs. “What is this all about? What did my boss do?” Soonyoung liked the man already. He wasn’t one to beat around the bush, but said exactly what was on his mind. It would make the questioning a lot easier.

“First of all thank you for taking the time to come here. This is very important. Can I ask you some questions about your boss first before answering your question?” The man nodded and Soonyoung took it as a yes to keep on talking. “How is your relationship to your boss?” The man shrugged slightly. “Neither good and neither bad, but if I had to decide on one of the two, then I would say more on the bad side. I’m working since three years already for him and he was throwing more tantrums in that time than we had clients. He’s a difficult person, arrogant and loud. But he pays good money and I quite like my job. I’m good with electronics, you know? So I don’t want to complain too much.”

Min Jaeho’s characteristics all seemed to fit the profile of the killer. But a profile was just a profile and they needed more than that. “Is your boss in a relationship?” The man was quiet for a while before speaking up again. “That’s actually a good question. If you would have asked me that in the last year, then I would have said yes, but now I’m not really sure. An Omega was visiting sometimes to our company to see the boss. He told me that they were living together, but I haven’t seen him… for over a year, I think.”

Soonyoung didn’t have a good feeling about this. “Do you know his name by chance?” The man nodded again his head and Soonyoung felt relief wash over him. That was exactly the information they needed. “His name is Park Joowon. I talked to him a couple of times. He told me once that both of his parents were decreased and that he had no siblings, so our boss was his only family. I think he even quit his job in a kindergarten for the boss.” That was more than enough information, they could easily work with that. “Thank you very much, these information are very helpful to us.”

The man gave Soonyoung a questioning look. “What is this all about?” Soonyoung couldn’t give him details, because it would be too dangerous, but not saying anything wasn’t an option after asking the man to come here. “Your boss might be involved in a case we are working at. That’s why we need some information about him. We’ll question him later too, but before we do that, we would like to ask for your cooperation and not tell him about this conversation.” The man nodded shortly and got up from his seat. “I believe we are finished then? I have to go now or I’ll be late for work and my boss will get suspicious. I’m never late for work.” Soonyoung got up too and bowed slightly. “Thank you very much for your cooperation and understanding.” The man bowed and left the coffee shop quickly. Soonyoung turned around now to look at Jihoon who was still sitting unmoving on his seat. He hadn’t said a single word the whole time, which was very untypical for him.

“Let’s go to the police station. We should do a background check on Park Joowon.” Jihoon got up from his seat and walked out of the store with neither answering or looking at Soonyoung. The alpha followed him quickly and caught up with Jihoon on the street. “Jihoon, we need to talk to each other while working together.” Jihoon turned around and looked for the first time this morning at Soonyoung. The pain was so obvious in his eyes that it left the alpha feeling slightly sick. “He killed him. I’m sure that he killed him.”

Soonyoung wasn’t sure if he should just play along and not mention what had happened yesterday or say something about it after all. Not saying anything wouldn’t resolve the mess they were in. Maybe he should at least apologize for what had happened. “Jihoon, yesterday I…” The omegas pheromones started smelling strongly burnt at once when Soonyoung mentioned the previous day. Soonyoung stopped talking at once and took a step back. “Don’t talk about it. I don’t want to talk about you rejecting me. I don’t want to hear that you are sorry and I don’t want to hear that everything will be alright. People keep on telling me that everything will be alright lately, but nothing ever is alright!” Soonyoung kept quiet at Jihoon’s words. If the other didn’t want to talk about it, then he had no right to force him.

“I’ll go to my car then. We’ll see each other at work.” Jihoon didn’t answer him once more and just turned around and walked into the other direction. Soonyoung wasn’t sure how long they would be able to work together like this. Jihoon was correct, absolutely nothing was alright.

*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

At the police station Soonyoung went at once to his team’s office. Jihoon had already arrived and stared blankly at his table. Vernon looked worriedly at him and Soonyoung wasn’t surprised about it. Sadness was still radiating off the omega and Vernon could probably sense it, but at least it wasn’t as strong as it had been earlier. Jihoon tried obviously very hard to contain himself. Soonyoung exhaled once loudly and walked finally over to his team’s tables.

“Good morning, we have work to do. The boss of the surveillance company had a partner, who hadn’t been seen since about one year ago by the worker of the surveillance company. His name is Park Joowon and he worked as a kindergarten teacher. Both of his parents are dead and he has no siblings. We need information on him right now.” Jihoon looked up when Soonyoung had finished talking and gave him a cold look.

“He killed him. I’m sure of it.” Soonyoung was at a loss of words, because he didn’t know how to deal with Jihoon anymore. His assumption was reasonable. Soonyoung himself had thought about the same thing, but right now they needed to do a background check and search for facts. It wasn’t the time to make assumptions in front of the whole team. Jihoon knew that, but either he didn’t care about it or was doing it on purpose, Soonyoung wasn’t sure.

Wonwoo started typing quickly on his computer and Soonyoung waited until he came up with a result. Wonwoo was the fastest in searching for data, all of them knew that. “I found him,” Wonwoo said finally after 10 minutes of searching. Everyone, with the exception of Jihoon, went to stand behind Wonwoo and stared at the computer screen. “Park Joowon, 28 years old, father died when he was eight years old in an accident at work and his mother died a natrual death when he was 16. There is one really interesting fact written here. He registered a bond when he was 19 and that bond was broken when he was 24 years old.”

Breaking a bond was a very rare thing to do. It left the omega in a broken state of mind behind most of the times, even when she or he agreed on breaking the bond. Some omegas got over it when bonding to another alpha, but only few even got to the point of accepting someone new.

“The boss is the killer and he also killed his partner. Park Joowon stopped working and had no family. No one would search for him. He probably had been locked into the same barn where we had been locked in too. The killer had locked him in for almost a year and then killed him. Afterwards the killer started murdering other people. It all fits perfectly together.” Soonyoung made a discontent noise and ignored Jihoon.

“Where is he registered?” Soonyoung asked Wonwoo who made a sour face. “The same address as Min Jaeho.” Of course he was registered under the same address as the boss of the surveillance company. They couldn’t go and look for him there.

“Seokmin can you try finding out at which kindergarten Park Joowon was working at and call there? Maybe they still had contact after he left. And we also need to know why he broke his bond. Vernon maybe you can try calling his former alpha? And most importantly we have to find out if someone has seen him lately at his registered address.”

Soonyoung swallowed heavily, before he went on talking. “Jihoon, Wonwoo you should try calling some of the neighbors. I’ll try to reach the manager of the building. Let’s do this fast! I’ll be in my office for the time being, if you found something, come over at once. Oh right, and please send the file to my mail address, Wonwoo. Thank you.”

Seokmin shouted loudly “yes sir” and Wonwoo and Vernon chuckled at the reaction. Jihoon was still sitting frozen on his seat, but there was nothing Soonyoung could do about that in the moment. He needed to do his job first.

Soonyoung turned around and walked over to his office. Inside he immediately opened his notebook and searched online for the address written in the file that Wonwoo had sent him. Luckily he found a telephone number fast and called there at once. The manager of the apartment complex took the call after only two rings and everything seemed to go well. Unfortunately things didn’t keep on going as smoothly, because the manager wasn’t of any help. He could only tell him that both persons he was asking for were registered for the apartment, but he couldn’t remember both of them at all. The complex was very big and he went there only when things were broken, because he was living elsewhere. Soonyoung’s now only hope was that the others would find something out.

The alpha closed his eyes for a moment and tried to think about another way to figure out if Park Joowon was still living at the apartment complex without going there. He couldn’t come up with anything, so his mind drifted off to Jihoon. The awkward tension between him and Jihoon was exhausting. He didn’t know how much longer he could bear working like that.

Soonyoung sat unmoving on his chair for a couple of minutes already when door to his office flew open loudly. He knew that it was Jihoon without opening his eyes. He would recognize that scent between millions of others.

“We have to talk.” Soonyoung opened his eyes and saw a completely different Jihoon than not even 20 minutes ago. His eyes weren’t void of emotions anymore, but there was a determined glint in them. “If you have something to say about the case then please talk.” The alpha saw the other flinching slightly at the mention of the case. Soonyoung knew that Jihoon didn’t want to talk about the case, but after the omega had told him not to talk about yesterday, he wouldn’t dare talking about it again. He wondered why Jihoon changed his mind so fast and was now the one coming to him. The omega was really unpredictable.

“I can’t work like this Soonyoung. It’s suffocating me. My feelings, the rejection and the pain. Everything!“ Soonyoung felt bad at the mention of Jihoon’s pain. Paired together with the sadness and devastation he could still slightly smell on Jihoon, it felt like a stab into his heart. “I considered what we can do about it, because we need to be able to work together and catch the killer. I came to the conclusion that I need you in my life, Soonyoung. And if you can give me nothing more than friendship, then it’s fine with me. Just forget about my feelings for you and let’s go back to the friendship we had before.“

Soonyoung couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He smelt the sadness on Jihoon all the while he was talking and it just didn’t make any sense to him. The omega was obviously in pain and going back to being friends would probably worsen it. Besides that, Soonyoung couldn’t cope with being friends again when he knew what the other was feeling. These feelings wouldn’t just go away overnight.

“Jihoon, it’s not that easy. We are alpha and omega. I can sense what you are feeling. I can’t just forget about it and you can’t just stop liking me.“ Jihoon drummed with his fingers against the fabric of his pants like he always did when he was nervous. “You said that I don’t really like you.” Soonyoung expected Jihoon to pick up this comment one day. It happened sooner than he had expected. “I shouldn’t have said that. I’m sorry. It was not okay to downplay your feelings. Still, we should stay away from each other in our private time. It’s better for the both of us.”

Jihoon suddenly had a very angry expression on his face. He came over to Soonyoung’s desk and hit loudly with his hand on the top of the table. “WHY CAN‘T YOU DO THIS FOR ME?“ Soonyoung was taken aback at Jihoon’s sudden outburst. He hadn’t expect the omega to react that strongly to his words. “Why can’t you at least do this for me? Do you hate me so much? Was I always just a bother to you?“ This felt a bit like the beginning of their friendship at the police station again. Soonyoung wasn’t able to follow Jihoon’s thoughts at all. Why did he want to be friends when he was obviously in pain and how did he get to the conclusion now that Soonyoung hated him? He had never hated him. Not even at university when he had been angry and mean to him all the time. He hadn’t hated Jihoon even once. Soonyoung wasn’t capable of hating him.

“I don’t hate you,“ the alpha said calmly and it made Jihoon clench his teeth. “How should I know? Even with my omega senses I never know what you are thinking. You are always guarding yourself too well. Soonyoung, what do you really think about me? Now and back at university?“ This time it was Soonyoung who looked away from Jihoon. The omega wanted to break down his walls and see what was hidden in his heart, but he couldn’t tell him that. Never. He had nothing to show and nothing to give.

“Okay, let’s be friends again,“ Soonyoung told the omega suddenly, his gaze still calm. He didn’t have another way out of this mess right now. He needed Jihoon to stop asking questions, even when the price for it was the promise of an awkward friendship. He could figure out later how to handle it. “You’re avoiding my question.“ Jihoon stepped closer to Soonyoung and looked him straight into the eyes. “You’re crossing the line, Jihoon. We‘re at work, let’s talk about this later.“ Soonyoung’s tone had turned slightly cold and as reaction Jihoon’s scent turned immediately into a completely burnt mess again. Soonyoung heart ached feeling Jihoon’s anger and pain and it left him troubled and restless.

At university he had wished for nothing more than being together with Jihoon. But now he was confused. He had sorted out his feelings for the other long ago but the sudden attraction he was feeling towards Jihoon after he went back to being an omega was messing with his mind. He felt Jihoon’s emotions strongly and he felt constantly drawn to the other, but it was different from what he had felt at university. He was sure that it was his biology and not love. Still, this attraction was slowly pushing the memories of his long forgotten love back to the surface and Soonyoung was scared. Scared to fall head over heels for Jihoon again and end up with a broken heart once more. His heart was already like a pile of broken glass, merly what it had been years ago when he had been a very bright and fun person. He didn’t want to pick up all the shards again and set his heart back together just to end up with Jihoon breaking it once more. It was never a good idea to mend what had already been broken.

That’s why Soonyoung wasn’t able to tell Jihoon about his feelings. He shouldn’t tell him how much he had loved him at university and how much he had really suffered from Jihoon’s strong rejection. And even more he shouldn’t talk about his current utter confusion. It would give Jihoon hope again when he really shouldn’t expect anything of the alpha.

Jihoon turned around angrily to walk away, but Soonyoung run after him at once and grabbed his wrist tightly. “Jihoon wait. You need to calm down. We‘re at work. Your scent...“ Jihoon looked at him with tears in his eyes and Soonyoung wasn’t sure if he was near crying, because he was angry or sad. “What is wrong with my scent? What do you smell on it?“ Soonyoung hesitated answering. Jihoon’s scent was too complex right now, too angry and sad. He was afraid to analyse it too deeply. “SAY IT!“

Soonyoung closed his eyes and concentrated on Jihoon’s scent. At first there was nothing more than burnt peonies he could smell. The scent was strong and dark reflecting the anger Jihoon felt right now. At the same time there was another layer that smelt like sadness and devastation, like tears and rejection. Hidden very well underneath this very ugly mess of feelings, there was still the gentle scent of sweet peonies and raspberry. It was glistering hopefully in all the darkness. Soonyoung could sense clearly now what Jihoon was trying to hide underneath all the pain, anger and deveastiaton. It was love. His love was warm, but shy and fragile - just like Jihoon’s heart.

„Heartbreak. You smell like heartbreak.“ Jihoon was tearing up more at Soonyoung’s words and turned around to stomp off, but Soonyoung grabbed his wrist once more to stop him. “Wait Jihoon, please don’t go now. Calm down a bit first. The others...“ Jihoon’s eyes narrowed angrily, a single tear spilling from his eye rolling down his cheek. „What? Do you want them not to know you broke my heart?“ Soonyoung didn’t worry for himself, but he worried for Jihoon. The omega didn’t like it when other people were pitying him, but that was exactly what would happen if he went outside of his office now smelling like that. He wanted to protect Jihoon at least from that, even if he had no right to do so.

“Just please calm down a bit, Jihoon. If you want to be friends again, we can try. We can talk about it later. I promise.” Jihoon ripped his hand strongly out of Soonyoung’s hold, but his eyes softened a bit and his scent became less overpowering. “You better don’t go back on your words.” Soonyoung let out an inaudible sigh. That was the best he could do for now.

They stood quietly in Soonyoung’s office for a couple of minutes and Jihoon’s scent had calmed down a lot in that short time. “I’m okay now,” Jihoon told the alpha and opened the door to go back to his team’s office. Soonyoung followed the omega, curious if the others had found out something already. Seokmin and Vernon were busy on the phone while Wonwoo just sat there and watched the two of them walking into the office. He probably knew what was going on between them. He always knew what was going on.

The two officers went over to Jihoon’s table and the omega picked up a letter lying on top of his papers. “I haven’t seen that before. Where did it come from?” Jihoon looked at Wonwoo, who was still watching them curiously. “Someone from the mailroom brought it over just now.” Jihoon opened the letter carelessly and turned immediately pale when he looked at the paper.

A bad feeling creeped up on Soonyoung and he ripped the paper out of Jihoon’s hand. The profiler saw the same red letters neatly set together like he had already seen them on the letter from the last crime scene. There was only one short sentence written, but it made Soonyoung’s world stop turning.

“You are the next pretty omega.”

Chapter Text

Soonyoung stared at the paper in his hand, the red letters screaming at him, mocking him. This was all his mistake, he should have never brought Jihoon with him into this mess. He had failed as team leader. He should have protected Jihoon and not made him the killers target, but he would make up for his mistakes starting right now.

Soonyoung suddenly grabbed Jihoon’s hand and dragged the omega in the direction of his office. “What is written in the letter? Where are you going?” Soonyoung heard Wonwoo shouting, but he didn’t pay him any mind. He was much too agitated right now.

“What the hell has gotten into you? Let me go!” Jihoon tried to get out of the alphas grip, but Soonyoung was much too strong. Soonyoung opened the door to his office and shoved the other officer inside. “Why are you behaving like this? It’s not even that surprising that the killer is targeting me now.” Soonyoung went over to his table and shoved furiously the papers off. He turned around to Jihoon and an angry growl came deep from his throat. Jihoon took instinctively a step back from the alpha.

“You’re not going to work on the case anymore.” Jihoon’s eyes widened hearing the alphas words. “You must be joking, this is also my case! Besides that, it’s good that he is targeting me. He won’t kill then more omegas from the support group.”

“Did you really just say that it’s good that he’s targeting you? Are you crazy? You have seen the victims. They all died a horrible death! This is no joke!” Soonyoung noticed how angry he sounded. This was very unusual for him, he couldn’t recognise his own voice anymore. “I know, I’m just saying that it’s better he targets me than someone else. I can defend myself better.” Soonyoung clicked his tongue hearing Jihoon’s words. He wasn’t happy with the omegas attitude. It just irritated him more.

“You’re taking this too lightly,” the alpha said in a low voice, but Jihoon wasn’t impressed by it. “And you are overreacting! You’re neither my mother nor my boyfriend.” Soonyoung couldn’t argue with that. He had no right to worry, but Soonyoung felt very agitated and decided that he didn’t care that he had no right. He couldn’t leave Jihoon alone in this situation. His behavior was very unreasonable, because the situation between them was already difficult enough as it was, but he just wasn’t able to calm the alpha inside of him down.

“You’re right. It’s not good to suspend you from working on the case. I can’t keep an eye on you then. I need to keep you around 24/7 now.” Jihoon was shaking his head in disbelief. “Why are you acting like this Soonyoung? You don’t make any sense.” Soonyoung walked slowly over to where Jihoon was standing with his back against the wall of his office and only stopped when he was right in front of the other. “You will listen to what I say.”

Jihoon was frozen for a moment and when he spoke up again, his voice was only a whisper. “You’re trying to manipulate me with your pheromones.” Soonyoung was balling his hands into fists trying to get the anger under control again. Jihoon was right. He hadn’t even noticed that he tried to manipulate the omega into listening. He was horrible for doing something like that, not better than all the alphas who thought they had a higher standing than omegas - alphas who thought it was okay to manipulate omegas, because it was their right.

“I’m sorry, it wasn’t my intention to do that. I’m just so angry, especially of myself. I couldn’t control it.” Soonyoung took a couple of steps back again to give Jihoon more space. The smaller one immediately slumped down the wall slightly like he fell out of a spell.

“Are you done with being angry now? We have to discuss the letter with the team. We also have to hand it over to the forensic team.” Soonyoung considered for a moment what to do with the situation. He still didn’t feel ready to go back and discuss everything with the team. He didn’t feel ready to let Jihoon just go like this. He needed to have the situation more under control, because he still couldn’t keep his alpha instincts at bay.

“I‘m staying with you tonight. I‘m not taking a no as answer. I’m your team leader and I‘m also the one who brought you into this situation. You’re stuck with me.” Jihoon opened his mouth to say something, but closed it immediately again. His scent shifted slightly and Soonyoung could see something like hope glistening in his eyes. The alpha knew he should make it even clearer that this is not an emotional choice, but just a work related one, but he couldn’t bring himself to voice it out loud when Jihoon looked at him like that. Also it would have been a blunt lie. He was worried sick in a not very professional way. He just couldn’t bear the thought of losing Jihoon.

Jihoon blinked a few times and his scent that had just reached out to Soonyoung drew back again. The omega had probably noticed that his thoughts were going into the wrong direction and he immediately went back to being angry and defensive. “I can stay at Seungcheol’s and Jeonghan’s flat.” Soonyoung moved his head slightly from side to side, his eyes narrowing dangerously. “You’ll stay with me. We can’t endanger other people.” Now it was Jihoon who took a step closer to Soonyoung again. “Seungcheol is a police officer and a really good one! He can keep me safe just fine. He…” Jihoon suddenly shut his mouth obviously noticing that he was not helping the situation with his words. Soonyoung was barely able to hold back shouting at the omega, his alpha pride didn’t do well with Jihoon’s words.

“You can come over to my flat and I’ll order us pizza again and we can continue the anime.” Jihoon looked unbelieving at Soonyoung. The alpha knew he was being unreasonable, but at least for today he needed Jihoon to agree to his wish or he wouldn't be able to calm down. He couldn’t handle his alpha instincts right now, so he just kept on pushing the omega.

“Didn’t you say that we can stay friends?” Soonyoung immediately regretted asking this question, because it was a very stupid thing to ask. Saying it once must have been already difficult for Jihoon. Now Soonyoung made him say it again, just because he was angry and wanted to get him to agree with his unreasonable request. He was horrible.

Jihoon hesitated for a moment, but answered the alpha then in an surprisingly calm voice. „Yes, of course. We are friends and as friends we can watch again anime together. It’s no problem.“ Jihoon worked very hard on not becoming too emotional, but Soonyoung knew that the other must have been lying. Of course it was a problem. Everything between them was a big obstacle at the moment and it was just a matter of time until things would blow up again.

Still with Jihoon agreeing finally, he felt something like peace settle in again. He didn’t feel like ripping the next best person's throat out anymore and his mind cleared up completely. This had been the first time since puberty that he hadn’t been able to control his alpha temperament. As a result, he had hurt Jihoon once again.

“Can we go now?” Jihoon said tiredly and opened the door without waiting for an answer. Soonyoung hoped that he would be done now with crushing Jihoon’s feelings. He had hurt him already too much at this point. Still, the alpha couldn’t help making mistake after mistake. Maybe if his heart wouldn’t be so malfunctioning then he would make better choices and he would be a better person. But his heart was just too broken to be useful in these situations.

When both of them arrived back at the other office, their team members were already waiting impatiently. “Why did you run off like this? Show us the letter!” Jihoon shrugged at Wonwoo’s words and looked at Soonyoung who had still the piece of paper in his hand. The alpha hesitated for a moment, but laid the letter onto the table so everyone could see it. Seokmin made a shocked noise when he saw what was written and the other two seemed frozen for a moment.

“Hyung, you’re in great danger. Maybe you should not work on the case anymore,” Seokmin said and Jihoon gave him an angry look at once. “I already discussed that with Soonyoung. I won’t stop working on the case.”

“He’s probably safer when he’s with us than doing stupid things alone.” Jihoon rolled his eyes at Soonyoung’s comment and sat down on his chair. “We just have to catch that asshole before he can catch me. Or if he’ll try to catch me, I blow his head off. Easy.” Wonwoo was shaking his head in disbelief at Jihoon’s words.

“Do you even understand how serious this situation is?” Jihoon made an unimpressed face at Wonwoo’s words. “You can partner up with Soonyoung on that. You’re telling me the exact same bullshit. I’m a police officer and know quite well how grave the situation and how to handle it.”

“I don’t think so. You always overestimate yourself and run headlessly into danger.” Jihoon waved Wonwoo off and didn’t bother answering. Soonyoung looked back and forth between the two friends and decided that this discussion was not leading anywhere. They needed first of all information about the killer, so they could arrest him before something bad would happen.

“Did you find something out? Seokmin?” The beta looked uncharacteristically unemotional hearing the question. Either he was still in shock about the letter or he didn’t get any useful information. Maybe both. “I found the kindergarten Park Joowon was working at, it’s actually just 10 minutes away from our police station. The kindergarten teacher told me that he didn’t even come and pick up his things after he quit his job. He called her and said that he couldn’t do the job anymore and she never saw or heard anything of him afterwards again.” Soonyoung nodded his head. “Okay next. Vernon?”

“I don’t have a lot. The alpha he was mated to said that they mated too early and both of them agreed on ending the bond. He said something along the lines of ‘a mating bond is not always enough to maintain a relationship’. After breaking off their bond he only saw him once by chance on the street, but that had been two years ago.” Soonyoung was sure that this alpha was one of the really bad sort. Saying that a mating bond is not always enough to maintain a relationship was a ridiculous thing to say. One can’t get closer to another person than with a mating bond, breaking it is unbelievable painful, because you are breaking the connection to one another that you had for years. You had to be a cold hearted bastard to think that a mating bond is not worth a lot.

“Wonwoo what about you? You are our last hope.” Wonwoo was still staring irritatedly at Jihoon. He was probably really worried right now and Soonyoung couldn’t blame him. He was just the same after all. “I spoke to a neighbour who is living on the same floor as Min Jaeho and Park Joowon. She said that she hasn’t seen Park Joowon the whole year. She couldn’t even remember when exactly it was that she saw him the last time, but it must have been in the last year she said. She believes that they broke up. She added that she wasn’t surprised about that, because Min Jaeho is not a very friendly person and Park Joowon was much too nice for him.”

Jihoon smirked at Soonyoung. The profiler really hated that look on the omegas face. “Like I said, he killed him. Park Joowon was his first victim and now we just have to find his corpse and then we can arrest Min Jaeho.” Jihoon was right with what he said, but unfortunately it wasn’t that easy. “If he has killed him one year ago and the corpse still hasn’t been found, it will be difficult to find it now. He must have hidden it well,” Soonyoung said and started walking around the room in circles. They needed to figure out where Min Jaeho had hidden the body.

“I have an idea about that,” Vernon said quietly. “If Park Joowon really had been locked into the barn for almost one year, then the possibility is very high that he had been killed there too. Wouldn’t it make the most sense if the killer hid the corpse close by? It’s a abandoned farm after all. No one goes there anymore, so no one could find the body.” Soonyoung smiled slightly at Vernon’s words. That kid had a bright mind. “You’re right, it makes perfect sense. I’ll talk to the chief, so we can send a team with police dogs there. If the body is hidden there, it can probably take days to find it, but we really have no other choice. Hopefully the chief agrees, the evidence is a bit weak after all...”

“I think I know how we can handle that.” Soonyoung couldn’t help smiling even wider at Wonwoo’s words. He had a very intelligent team. “Seokmin, did the kindergarten teacher tell you if they still have the things Park Joowon had left behind?” Seokmin laid his head slightly to the side at the question. “Yes, she said that she really liked him, so she couldn’t bear throwing them out.”

Wonwoo nodded his head obviously pleased at the answer. “Good, we can probably get a DNA sample from one of the things and compare it with the DNA that had been found in the barn. If it matches, the chief can’t refuse a search of the farm and area around the farm.” The idea was brilliant. Soonyoung should have thought of that too.

“Let’s do it like that. If we pick up Park Jowoon’s things now and bring them immediately to the lab, we can have a result by tomorrow and start the search.” They were now at a promising place in their investigation and there was only one thing left to do right now.

“We should talk to Min Jaeho. We probably won’t get a lot out of him, but every small thing matters at this point. If he makes false statements, we can use them against him later when we arrest him.” Everyone nodded at Soonyoung’s words, besides Jihoon who sprung up from his seat hastily.

“I’ll go!!” Soonyoung was laughing darkly at the omegas words. “No, you won’t. You can go and pick up Park Joowon’s things at the kindergarten together with Seokmin.” The angry glint was suddenly back in Jihoon’s eyes and Soonyoung couldn’t help feeling slightly angry himself. “He’s targeting me! I need to talk to him! You can’t refuse me that.” Jihoon’s voice was loud and rang through the whole office. Still Soonyoung looked unimpressed hearing the other’s resentment.

“I can and I will. I’m the team leader and I’m deciding what to do. I’ll take Wonwoo with me.” Jihoon walked over to where Soonyoung was standing and grabbed his shirt angrily. “You can’t do this to me! I’m not a child!” Soonyoung shrugged the other’s hands off and took a step back. “I know that, but you are his target and too emotionally involved. I can’t take you with me.” Jihoon laughed loudly and went back to his table. “And you aren’t emotionally involved? How dare you telling me this after what just happened in your office?“

“You’re crossing the line. Wonwoo, let’s go. When we’re back, the things of Park Joowon are better already at the lab. And don’t your dare going alone. You need to take Seokmin with you... Oh and Vernon, try to figure out how the letter came to the police office and bring it to the forensic science.” Jihoon kicked his chair away in anger, but Soonyoung didn’t pay it any mind and walked out of the office. This was for Jihoon’s own safety. He couldn’t take him along to meet the killer.

At least Soonyoung kept on telling himself that. In the back of his mind he knew that the problem laid in himself. The situation was already difficult for Soonyoung, but with Jihoon around he wouldn’t be able to keep a clear head at all. He would worry too much the whole time.

*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“What happened between Jihoon and you?” Soonyoung should have known that Wonwoo would start asking questions on the way to interview Min Jaeho. He should have taken Vernon with him instead. He wouldn’t have to suffer through an awkward conversation then. “Nothing,” Soonyoung answered while concentrating on the road. “This morning Jihoon had been completely out of his mind, Soonyoung. Then you two went to your office and things seemed to be a bit better again and now after finding the letter you two are suddenly really angry and aggressive. It’s difficult to keep up. What exactly happened?” Soonyoung tried to keep a straight face and not look annoyed. He didn’t want to talk about this before the interview with the suspect. Actually he never wanted to talk about this. “Ask Jihoon. He’s your friend after all.” Wonwoo chuckled slightly at Soonyoung’s answer. “I thought we became something like friends too.” Soonyoung ignored Wonwoo’s comment and stopped at a red light. He wished they would have already arrived at their destination, so Wonwoo wouldn’t be able to ask more questions.

“Jihoon told you that he likes you, didn’t he?” Soonyoung turned finally his head around to look at the beta. He wasn’t surprised that he knew about it, but he was a bit taken aback that the other asked so bluntly. “Yes, he did.” The light turned green and Soonyoung drove off looking at the road again. “I guess you rejected him.”

What should he even say to that? Soonyoung didn’t know what Wonwoo wanted to hear. “Yes, I did.” Wonwoo hummed lowly and Soonyoung had no idea what the other was thinking right now. Why was Wonwoo so good at reading other people, but it was almost impossible to read the beta? “Since you are not talking, let me have a guess what happened. You rejected Jihoon and he was devastated, then he told you that you should stay at least friends and after you found the letter you went crazy with worry and Jihoon was angry about your reaction.”

Soonyoung seriously didn't want to deal with Wonwoo right now. Why was he even asking when he already knew everything? “Yes, something along the lines…” Soonyoung finally saw their destination and let out a quiet sigh. He parked the car in front of the building and wanted to get off the car at once, but Wonwoo grabbed his arm and stopped him. “What did you tell Jihoon when you rejected him?” Soonyoung’s heart was beginning to pound slightly faster. He didn’t want to say it, but at the same time he didn’t want to bring Jihoon in the unfortunate situation of having to tell Wonwoo what happened.

“I told him that I don’t feel the same way and that I think his omega biology makes him believe that he likes me.” Soonyoung heard Wonwoo taking in a harsh breath. “You told me already that you don’t like him anymore, but I actually didn’t believe you at that time. I thought about it afterwards and I was very sure that you still have feelings for him.”

Soonyoung finally pulled his arm out of Wonwoo’s grip. “Let’s go inside. We have to do our job.” The alpha got out of the car and started walking to the building of the surveillance company. Wonwoo followed him closely, but Soonyoung refused to look at him.

“If you keep running away, you’ll lose him, Soonyoung. Probably forever.” Wonwoo’s words shook Soonyoung more than he let on, but he didn’t want to think about it in the moment. He had to interview a murder suspect and he couldn’t become emotional. The situation was already difficult enough as it was. “Let’s concentrate on the interview right now. This is important Wonwoo and you know it. Jihoon is the target after all,” Soonyoung whispered to the other, scared that Min Jaeho was listening to their conversation over a surveillance system. “You’re right. Let’s talk about this later.” Soonyoung didn’t tell Wonwoo that he had no intention to talk later about this topic again, but chose to stay quiet.

Soonyoung went with big and strong steps into the surveillance company. He pushed away all worries and let his alpha attitude fall into place. In situations like these it was quite useful. He knocked at the door and went into the office. A man was sitting on a big swivel chair turning around when the door opened. The man smirked at the officers leaning back in his chair. He had short black hair and a strong build, his eyes had a dangerous glint in them. “Welcome. What can I do for you? Do you want to install a surveillance system?” Soonyoung could hear the mockery in his undertone. This guy knew exactly why they were here.

“We are from the police. Are you Min Jaeho? We need to ask you some questions.” Soonyoung showed his police badge and waited for an answer. “Yes, I am. Why do you need to ask me questions?” Soonyoung looked around Min Jaeho’s office to find anything interesting, but there was nothing. No photos, no personal belongings, the whole room was nothing more than a cold work space. “You installed cameras for an organization that helps omegas who were left by their alphas. There have been crimes surrounding omegas who get help from that organization. That’s why it would be of great assistance to us if you could answer some questions.”

Min Jaeho kept quiet for a while, before he gave Soonyoung another mocking smile. “I don’t answer any questions. I have the right to remain silent. If you want to talk to someone, you can talk to my lawyer.” The situation had turned into the worst case scenario. They couldn’t make him talk, because he really had the right to remain silent. He needed to make him talk somehow, but the situation seemed to be hopeless.

“It would be very helpful if you could cooperate with us. We only have a few questions.” Min Jaeho winked Soonyoung immediately off. “I don’t trust the police. I have my reasons. Here is the business card of my lawyer. Call him if you want.” Soonyoung had to admit that the guy was well prepared. He could do nothing else now than going back to the police station without one piece of information. It was frustrating.

“Then excuse us for taking up your time. We’ll contact your lawyer. Good bye.” Soonyoung turned around to leave, but Min Jaeho let out a loud laugh. The officer looked back at the other alpha again, his lips pressed into a tight line.

“I really can’t stand boring alphas and betas like you two. The next time you’ll come here, you better bring a pretty omega along with you.” Soonyoung started moving angrily in the direction of Min Jaeho, but Wonwoo grabbed his arm and tried holding him back with all his might. That guy was the killer, but they had nothing to prove that he is guilty, so he sat here having the audacity to mock them.

“Why so agitated officer? As far as I can tell from your scent, you are not mated. You shouldn’t go so crazy over the mention of an omega. You’re probably just an alpha who would reject a pretty omega and then still try to be the hero. But can you even keep an omega safe?” Soonyoung was seeing red. He wanted to kill this man with his bare hands and if Wonwoo wouldn’t have held him back, whispering to him that he needed to calm down and do his job, he would have probably ended that man’s life right here.

Soonyoung took a deep breath and shook Wonwoo who was still holding strongly onto him off his body. “We’ll see each other soon again, Min Jaeho.” Soonyoung gave the man an icy glare, turned around and opened the door finally. “Goodbye officer Kwon. Good luck protecting what is dear to you.”

Soonyoung’s hands were shaking in anger and he was barely able to hold back not running over to the alpha to strangle him. Instead he stormed out of the building and went immediately into his car where he repeatedly hit the wheel while letting out a loud scream.

Not long afterwards, Wonwoo opened the door and sat down in the passenger seat, but Soonyoung didn’t look at him, but just stared straight ahead breathing heavily in agony.

“He’s the killer Wonwoo! He sent that letter to Jihoon and he also knows I rejected Jihoon. He knows everything!!! Jihoon is in great danger and it’s all my fault. He wants to punish me because I was the one who started this game. We have to find the body of Park Joowon as soon as possible or I don’t know what I’ll do to him.”

That Min Jaeho was using the term ‘pretty omega’ the whole time had been no coincidence. The same term had been used in the letter and Min Jaeho used it now because he knew it would agitate Soonyoung. He was playing with him and right now he had the upper hand in this game. But Soonyoung was dead set on turning tables. He wouldn’t let that monster touch Jihoon.

*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Back at the police station, Jihoon and Seokmin were already waiting for them, but Vernon was nowhere in sight. Seokmin explained that Vernon was still trying to figure out how the letter came to the police station. The beta also explained Soonyoung and Wonwoo in detail how he picked together with Jihoon the things of Park Joowon up and brought them to the lab.

All the while Jihoon kept on asking annoyedly what Min Jaeho had said, but neither Soonyoung nor Wonwoo answered that question until Seokmin had finished talking. “He said that we should talk to his lawyer,” Soonyoung finally told the omega and sat down on a chair beside him. Jihoon drummed with his fingers nervously on the table. “That’s everything he said? You got nothing out of him? Nothing at all?”

Soonyoung had already considered on the way back how to tell Jihoon about the things Min Jaeho had said. He didn’t want to tell him what the suspect had said exactly, but he couldn’t keep all of it a secret. “He mocked me. He knows about everything that’s happening. I don’t like saying something like this without hard evidence, but after talking to him I’m positive that he’s the killer.”

Soonyoung saw in Jihoon’s eyes that he wasn’t happy with the explanation, he could even smell it on his scent. Still the omega chose to not ask again, which came as a surprise to Soonyoung. The alpha hoped that the topic had been closed just like that, but his intuition told him that Jihoon would pick the topic up later again.

Before the silence between the officers could get awkward, Vernon came stumbling into the office breathing heavily. “You look like you figured out something important,” Wonwoo told the other officer who had a stoic expression on his face. “Not at all,” he said quietly and walked over to his chair sitting down tiredly. “I just wanted to let you know as soon as possible that the letter is useless. There are no fingerprints on it, which isn’t really surprising. It was bought by a young boy to the police station. I saw him on the surveillance camera. Of course we could try to find that boy, but I’m pretty sure that it won’t lead us anywhere. The killer probably gave the kid money or chocolate to bring the letter and disguised himself while doing so. These are old and boring tricks, we know how criminals work. It’s nothing new, but still effective.“

Soonyoung knew that Vernon was right. Searching for the child wouldn’t lead to anything. It would be wasted time and effort. “After all, we have to find the body of Park Joowon. We need to wait for the results of the lab, so we can prove that Park Joowon had been locked into the barn and get the approval for a search from the chief. When will the lab have the results?” Seokmin sighed at the question. “Not before tomorrow they said.”

It had turned into yet another day where they couldn’t catch the killer. But at least Soonyoung could be sure that no one would die this night, because he would make sure that Jihoon was safe.

*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

The team went through files again and tried to figure out more things about Min Jaeho and Park Joowon, but in the end they had to give up and go home for the day. Soonyoung followed Jihoon closely all the way from the office to his car and got into the passenger's seat when the omega opened the doors. He was really glad when the other didn’t complain about it. They had fought today already enough.

The drive was quiet and the walk to Soonyoung’s flat was quiet too. He opened the door and Jihoon went inside and sat down at the far end of the couch. “I’ll order pizza and we can watch anime when it arrives.” Jihoon still didn’t say anything and Soonyoung started worrying that Jihoon would end up not talking the whole evening.

Soonyoung got his phone out to call the delivery service, but couldn’t help talking to Jihoon again before doing so. “You haven’t said a single word since we left the police station.” Jihoon turned his head around sharply and gave the alpha a cold look. Something was definitely not right.

“You’re being unfair! I know that I said we should be friends, but you are taking it too far right now. I would be safe on my own in my flat and you know it! How do you think I should deal with your current behavior?” Soonyoung should have seen that coming. He had hoped that Jihoon had accepted his need to stay with him, but that didn’t seem to be the case.

“In your office earlier… I’m still not good with understanding the scents of alphas and omegas, but even I could sense how angry and scared you were. How much you want to protect me…” Soonyoung tightened the hold on his phone. He knew that he should behave differently. He shouldn’t act so protective and possessive, because he had absolutely no right to behave like this - not after rejecting Jihoon just yesterday.

Soonyoung called the delivery service without saying another word to Jihoon. He had nothing reasonable to say. It was all his alpha biology messing with his mind, but Jihoon wouldn’t like that as answer. So it was better to just keep quiet.

When Soonyoung had finished ordering he went into the kitchen and fetched some cola to drink. He placed a glass quietly in front of Jihoon and sat down on the couch as well. “I guess you also won’t tell me what Min Jaeho said exactly? You’re just ignoring every single thing I’m saying after all.” Soonyoung rubbed his eyes tiredly. Everything was getting out of hand between them. He knew he should tell Jihoon the truth about everything, but he just couldn't do it. He was a coward.

“Yeah right, just keep on ignoring me. Ignore my feelings, ignore my questions and ignore my whole being. Why am I even here in the first place?” Soonyoung kept quiet again wondering why the tables had turned so fast. Just some minutes ago it had been Jihoon who hadn’t been talking. Soonyoung’s heart felt heavy in his chest, but he didn’t know what to do about it.

The two officers settled into an awkward silence until the doorbell rang. Jihoon ripped one of the pizza boxes out of Soonyoung’s hands as soon as he came back from getting the pizza at the door. He gave Soonyoung another annoyed look and started eating afterwards. Soonyoung turned the TV on and they quietly ate while watching anime.

It was 10 minutes into the second episode when Soonyoung noticed that his leg was brushing Jihoon’s. He remembered sitting down as far away as possible from the omega, so how did they end up like this? Did he move closer or had it been Jihoon?

Soonyoung tried to concentrate on the anime, but to no avail. This really had been a stupid idea. Jihoon’s scent had taken a full turn from this morning and was back to the sweet peonies and raspberry scent. There was no anger, no devastation on his scent right now and Soonyoung couldn’t help but wonder if it was because of their close proximity. After all, the other had been annoyed and angry with him just half an hour ago.

The alpha turned his head to look at Jihoon. The smaller one was looking at the TV, but it was obvious that he wasn’t really watching. The longer Soonyoung looked at him, the more his scent intensified. The alpha turned his head away again, but the damage had been done already.

Jihoon’s scent kept on pulling him in, alluring him. He loved Jihoon’s scent so much that it was almost embarrassing. Soonyoung felt his pulse speeding up at the gentle scent of peonies and raspberry enveloping him completely. He started imagining how their scents would smell mixed together and he could just barely hold back a moan. The need to be closer to Jihoon was overwhelming.

Soonyoung tried to swallow down the feelings, but it was too difficult. He slowly turned his head again and saw Jihoon watching him this time. His eyes were bright and hopeful looking right into Soonyoung’s soul. The alpha inside of him was growling in frustration at Soonyoung’s lack of action.

“Soon…” The profiler felt his heart beating faster and his mind was slightly fuzzy. It was getting more and more difficult to find a reason to hold back when Jihoon was looking at him like this, saying his name like this. Jihoon‘s pheromones were engulfing him, the scent of peonies and raspberry so sweet and alluring.

Jihoon looked unearthly beautiful to Soonyoung in this moment. His skin smooth and snow white, his small mouth opened slightly, lips the prettiest pink color and in his eyes there was glistering a whole galaxy. Jihoon had always been beautiful to him, more beautiful than any other person. Since Jihoon had smiled the first time at him while sitting in their university’s cafeteria he had been sure that he would never meet another person as beautiful ever again - and he had been right. But it hadn’t only been his looks he fell in love with, it had been his whole personality. And now he was sitting here remembering all these feelings he had years ago and slowly went crazy, the same way he had been crazy about Jihoon many years ago. He tried to push the feelings away again and again, but it was too difficult under the allure of Jihoon. He couldn’t fight it anymore.

Just one time, he told himself while slowly grabbing Jihoon’s face and caressing it with gentle fingers. Jihoon’s skin was soft and warm under the alphas fingertips. He slowly moved his fingers along the others cheek to his chin and then up to his lips - perfect pink and petal soft lips. He had dreamed about this a million of times at university and had truly believed that it would be forever nothing more than a mere dream without any substance.

Soonyoung held his breath and leaned forward to kiss Jihoon oh so carefully. It was just a brush of lips, but Jihoon’s pheromones were flaring up instantly and it made Soonyoung loose any reasoning. Soonyoung deepened the kiss and Jihoon immediately opened his mouth for him. There was nothing shy in this kiss. It was rar pent up emotions and desire. Soonyoung’s senses were in complete overload while kissing Jihoon. The omegas scent was swirling around Soonyoung, caressing him, begging him not to stop. But that wasn’t all, Jihoon’s mouth was hot and he tasted just so sweet to Soonyoung. It was amazing and more addicting than anything the alpha had ever tasted before.

Soonyoung slowly pushed Jihoon back until he laid on the couch all the while never stopping their kiss. Being on top of Jihoon and kissing him like this was perfect. His whole body sang in satisfaction. Soonyoung grabbed some of Jihoon’s hair and gently pulled at it and the omega let out a small noise of contentment that it lit a fire deep inside of Soonyoung. He kissed the smaller more desperately, their tongues in a feverish dance with each other. The hand that wasn’t playing with Jihoon’s hair was caressing along the smaller one’s side and hips and his body reacted to each small touch. It was all too perfect.

Soonyoung stopped the kiss for a second to take a long breath, but went right afterwards back to kissing the the omega deeply again. Jihoon who had greedily kissed him back all the while, but didn’t touch him once up to that point suddenly wrapped a hand around his neck and pulled him even closer. His other hand roamed Soonyoung’s chest in lazy circles. The alpha wanted and needed more than this, nothing seemed enough and he could smell the same need on Jihoon. The kiss got slowly out of control, teeth clicking hardly, but neither of them cared. When Soonyoung shoved Jihoon’s shirt up to touch the smooth skin of his chest and hips, the omega moaned quietly into the kiss. Soonyoung’s fingers started trembling slightly from sheer pleasure.

Soonyoung knew that he was close to giving into his alpha needs completely and finally pulled back from Jihoon just to see the omegas pupils being blown wide. There were so many emotions in his eyes that Soonyoung fell out his trance instantly. He sat abruptly up in shock. He had gone too far. This should have never happened.

“I’m sorry, Jihoonie. I shouldn’t have done that.” Soonyoung smelled the change immediately. Jihoon’s sweet scent suddenly turned into burnt peonies. The omega sat up and turned away from Soonyoung, but not fast enough for the tears in his eyes to go unnoticed.

“Sorry. Oh my god, don‘t cry. Please don’t cry Jihoonie.” Soonyoung gently touched Jihoon’s shoulder, but the omega swatted his hand away aggressively. “Fuck off! Never touch me again!” Soonyoung could smell the devastation and sadness on Jihoon and he didn’t know what to do. Jihoon suddenly got up and stormed out of his flat. The smell of a distressed omega was still heavy in the air. What was wrong with him? Why did he have to fuck up so much not only once, but all the time? Soonyoung started panicking slightly and did the first thing he could think of. He got up and rushed over to Seungcheol’s and Jeonghan’s flat.

He rang the doorbell continuously and an annoyed Jeonghan opened quite fast the door. “Why would you ring the doorbell so often? What… why do you smell like that? What happened?” Soonyoung hesitated answering for a moment. He was embarrassed that Jeonghan had to clean up after his mess one more time. “I fucked up with Jihoon again.” Jeonghan took Soonyoung by the shirt and gave him a cold look. “What did you do this time?” Soonyoung bit his lip and looked away from Jeonghan. “I kissed him and then I told him I’m sorry about it.” Soonyoung didn’t see the hand of Jeonghan coming that slapped him square across the face. “Fucking asshole. Don’t even think about coming after Jihoon again. Stay the fuck away!” Jeonghan ran off into the direction of Jihoon’s flat and Soonyoung just stood there feeling like the worst scum on earth. He deserved to be slapped like that.

“Jeonghan will take care of Jihoon. Come inside and let’s have a talk.” Soonyoung stood rooted on the spot after hearing Seungcheol’s words. He could deal better with getting slapped than having a serious talk. “I know you don’t want to talk and I know you’re worrying about Jihoon, but he’ll be fine when Jeonghan is with him. He won’t break and the killer won’t go after him in his flat, so come inside now.” Soonyoung had no arguments to turn down the invitation, so he finally went inside Seungcheol’s and Jeonghan’s flat.

Soonyoung looked around for a moment, because he had never been inside their flat before. “Sit down, I’ll get something to drink.” Soonyoung sat down on the couch and shuffled awkwardly around. His cheek stung, but he would never complain about it because he deserved getting hit.

Seungcheol came back and put a glass of water in front of Soonyoung and sat down in the armchair. “Why did you kiss him, Soonyoung? You just rejected Ji yesterday.” Soonyoung shuffled again around on the couch. He didn’t want to talk about this. “Soonyoung, you never talk with anyone about your feelings. That is not good. Come on, I’m an alpha too. I can probably understand you best.” Soonyoung knew he wouldn’t get out of this situation without saying something. Better get it over with fast.

“I was so angry when I saw the letter. I couldn’t control myself anymore and I can normally always control myself. I needed to be sure that Jihoon is safe and I needed him by my side for that, but when we were in my flat it was… it was…” This was so difficult for him. He hadn’t talked about his feelings since university anymore. He didn’t even really know how to express them correctly. “Jihoon’s allure was so strong. I couldn’t resist, hyung."

Seungcheol chuckled and his eyes sparkled mischievously. “Do you really want to tell me that you could resist Jihoon while he was in heat, but not outside of his heat?” Soonyoung sighed loudly. That was the problem with talking to an alpha. An alpha could easily see when certain things didn’t make sense.

“It was the whole situation. Watching Jihoon’s heartbreak, smelling that awful devastated scent on him, being in worry about him because he became the target of the killer… I don’t know, I just lost my mind.” Seungcheol still smiled at him and it left him unnerved.

“So you kissed him just because you were agitated? You didn’t do it because you actually wanted to kiss him? You didn’t like kissing him?” Soonyoung wanted to scream. Seungcheol was asking all the right questions so Soonyoung would start doubting all of his words and thoughts.

“No, I… how could I not like it? Please don’t ask me such questions, hyung!” Seungcheol laughed loudly and Soonyoung was really close to just getting up and running out of the flat. „If Ji is naturally attracted to you, it’s probably the same for you. Why are you so cowardly ignoring it? Because he refused you at university?“ It wasn’t that easy. Seungcheol wouldn’t understand.

“I loved him back at university, hyung. I can’t love him again. I’m not capable of it. What happened today was just because of the attraction between us.” Soonyoung sensed that the other alpha got now slightly annoyed with him and it made Soonyoung even more defensive.

“The same way Jihoon had to admit that this isn’t just his biology, you have to admit it too. Why are you both such stubborn idiots? I‘m used to Ji being like this, but you were different Soonyoung. Don’t be an idiot and hurt Jihoon even more.” Seungcheol knew nothing about him right now. Seungcheol expected things of him that he wasn’t capable of fulfilling. He wasn’t brave. He was just a hopeless case.

“You are running away Soonyoung. You are running away from Jihoon and from your true nature. You’re not better in that aspect than Ji. You never listen to what your heart tells you. You have to get a grip and behave like a fucking alpha for once! You need to live Soonyoung and not just hide all the time.“ Soonyoung pondered on what Seungcheol just told him, but couldn’t find an answer right now. “I have to think about this, hyung.” Seungcheol nodded his head and gave him a friendly smile. “Yes, you do.”

Seungcheol got up from the armchair and Soonyoung immediately did the same knowing it was the sign for him to leave. “Go home Soonyoung. And don’t worry about the killer, he won’t try to get Ji at his flat. You know that, right? Staying with him was unreasonable from the very start. It was just your alpha instincts telling you to stay with him.” Soonyoung ignored the comment and walked to the door. He hated to admit that Seungcheol was right, but the possibility that the killer would try to get Jihoon at his flat was almost zero. The flats were really safe, so he couldn’t break in and Jihoon would never willingly let someone he didn’t know into his flat. After all, Jihoon is a police officer and knows how to handle such situations. Soonyoung just hated the situation so much because he couldn’t stop worrying when Jihoon wasn’t around.

Soonyoung grabbed the door handle and wanted to just press it down when Seungcheol spoke up again. “Oh and one more thing. It’s my own small revenge for hurting one of my best friends. Think about how it was to kiss Jihoon. Think about it all the time and then try to keep on telling yourself that you don’t like him. I’m curious how long you’ll last.” Seungcheol was waving him happily and Soonyoung made a sour face and left the flat. Seungcheol’s words would now keep on messing with his mind. Alphas were awful, because they knew all too well what would rile up another alpha.

Soonyoung walked over to his flat and inside he immediately went into the bathroom. He shrugged his clothes off, got under the shower and tried to forget what happened the same way he did when Jihoon’s heat hit him. But it was different this time. This wasn’t just an urge he had because Jihoon was in heat. Seungcheol had been right, he couldn’t hide behind it this time. He had been under the allure of Jihoon, but he couldn’t blame it on the allure alone. He had simply wanted Jihoon in that moment and it scared him.

He was scared that nothing of this was real. That their biology was just messing with them and one day when Jihoon hormones weren’t out of control any longer, he wouldn’t want him anymore. That even in this very moment he didn’t really want him, but it was only the omega in Jihoon who was telling him what to do. He wouldn’t be able to get over another rejection by Jihoon. His alpha pride couldn’t take it and his already broken heart would ultimately burn into nothingness. They shouldn’t be together. It would only turn out nasty. He could feel it deep down in his broken heart. And still he didn’t know if it was the right decision to keep on denying Jihoon. Seungcheol was right, he was an alpha, but didn’t have the courage to act like one.

He was an idiot and a coward. He kept on hurting Jihoon and himself, but he wasn’t capable of acting differently. The best would be to stay far away from Jihoon, but he couldn’t even do that. He didn’t know what to do anymore.

It was only a matter of time that one of them would end up completely broken.