Five Steps Forward

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Seulgi found Jimin first the next day.

He was huddled down in the corner of an empty hallway, biting his lip and fussing with his fingers, hoping it was hard enough to identify the corridor that he could be alone for a bit. She walked up to him, crouched down, and ruffled his hair.

"I saw you and Yoongi, yesterday," she said.

Jimin tensed.

"How did it go?"

"It went okay," Jimin murmured.

"And?"

Jimin looked up. He was surprised to see that Seulgi was genuinely curious, probing for answers. "He's nice," he said, swallowing hard. "He's really nice."

Seulgi let out a long, soft breath. "So you do get it," she said.

Jimin frowned. "What are you talking about?"

"Mates," she said. "They're intoxicating."

Jimin nodded. "He's so kind to me," he blurted. "Yesterday, I was so scared and zoned out, and he didn't even try to hug me without permission--He was so gentle-- and he talked so nicely-- I just don't know what to do!"

"A lot of omegas are in the same boat right now," Seulgi said. "It tends to happen around the end of senior year."

"It's not fair," Jimin grumbled.

Seulgi took his hand, pulling him to his feet. "Well, there's not much we can do about that. C'mon."

***

Jimin took his suppressants in time to avoid his heat, mostly because he didn't want to miss final exams. Yoongi's resulting panic had him in the bathroom, half laughing as he struggled not to throw up all over the stall.

"You're sure you're okay?" Yoongi said.

"Min Yoongi, I'm about to throw up," Jimin groaned. "It's just for the next six hours, so I can take my test. I promise I won't take one after that."

"No one hurt you or anything?"

"Are you and Taehyung brothers?"

"Cousins. But that's not the point. Are you sure you're okay?"

Jimin gagged and scrambled up, leaning over the toilet as the contents of his stomach discharged themselves.

"Min!"

I'm fine. Calm down. Jimin took a deep breath, closing his eyes and wrinkling his nose at the smell. How about I meet you at the gate after school? You can fuss over me then.

"But what if you--"

Jimin rolled his eyes. Seokjin was right-- alphas were almost as needy as the stereotypical Omega. I promise I'll call you if I need you, alright? he thought, taking another deep breath.

"Okay," Yoongi said reluctantly, then added, "Purple you, Min."

Purple you, Jimin responded automatically, then sighed, leaning back against the stall door. Let's hope this exam is worth it.

***

"You're sure you're alright?" Yoongi asked.

Jimin rolled his eyes, laughing and pushing his arms away. "I'm fine. C'mon, people are staring."

He felt a swell of gratitude when Yoongi's ears turned pink and Yoongi jogged forward, pausing only to fumble for Jimin's hand before walking in the direction of Jimin's house. It was nice to have a mate who didn't want any more attention than Jimin did.

"Why did you take your suppressants?" Yoongi asked, softer this time.

"I wanted to take my exam instead of sitting around waiting for my heat to pass," Jimin said, laughing when Yoongi's ears turned bright red. "What?"

"Just... hadn't thought of that in awhile," Yoongi said, shoving his free hand in his pocket and shooting Jimin a sheepish smile. "It was lesson one of self-control-- don't provoke your instincts by imagining sexual situations with your mate."

Jimin nodded, eyebrows raised. "Fair," he said.

"You think it's stupid!" Yoongi whined.

"Nah," Jimin said. "I'm like you. I hadn't thought about it until I felt preheat yesterday."

Yoongi leaned in, bumping shoulders with Jimin, and Jimin bumped him back, laughing when Yoongi pretended to whine and nurse his 'injury'. They picked up the pace without thinking, only stopping at the crosswalk, and when they fell into silence Jimin didn't try to pick the conversation back up, already knowing that Yoongi had nothing more to say.

Each knew the other was safe.

That was enough. 

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