Summary: It's the twenty-first century and the royal family is an extension of a democratically elected government but that does not mean the Crown Prince can marry whomever he chooses. In a world with a rapidly changing social landscape Jung Yunho's marriage is used as an instrument to force social reform and Kim Jaejoong finds out that for someone like him, a rise in status comes great danger and intrigue.
A/N: Don't brick me.
Previous - Prologue - 1
Jasmine and honey. The scent had been driving Yunho crazy all night. At first it had just been curiosity. Who was wearing the sweet smelling perfume? After a few drinks and not finding the source of the smell, Yunho's curiosity had progressed to near obsession.
Jihoon had brought him to this party claiming his cousin needed a break from his studies and being the perfect heir. The Kim sisters' parents were away for the weekend and their house staff loved the girls too much to inform on them. Anyone who would was gone with their parents.
This party, although technically no different from any other party thrown by a group of university students, had an exclusive guest list. Only members of the noble class were permitted attendance ensuring no one here would be spreading around any inconvenient photos or videos. Yunho had felt it safe enough to drink the soju Jihoon insisted on plying him with. His cousin had been right. Yunho was twenty-one and needed a break. Sometimes he needed to let go. If he had known letting go would result in his losing his mind over someone's perfume, he would have just stayed home with his textbooks.
Yunho pushed away a girl attempting to hug him as he left the room where most of the party goers had congregated. He didn't know who she was and he didn't care. She was probably too drunk to remember that the Crown Prince had been rude to her. All he cared about was that smell. After walking around then in and out of the ballroom several times, Yunho had concluded the scent was stronger outside of the room. It was coming from somewhere else in the mansion, somewhere up the grand staircase to be exact.
He walked up the stairs, breathing deeper as the scent got stronger. When he reached the top he turned his head towards the left hallway then the right before turning left. He dragged his finger lightly against the wall as he walked, not bothering to take in any of the decorations.
He heard a door open.
Yunho's gaze snapped towards the source of the noise. H+-e barely had time to register dark hair, large eyes, and a full mouth before he was pushing the person back into whatever room the door led to and burying his nose in their neck.
Yunho inhaled deeply. That was it. Jasmine and honey, hidden under a fresh layer of beta scent. Artificial beta scent, he noted. Alpha women wore it often enough for him to recognize it. But he had never smelled it like this before. When those women wore it, he felt relieved. It made them seem less challenging, less threatening, less like he wanted to rip out their throats. When this girl wore it, it felt wrong. All he wanted to do was get it off. Why would anyone want to cover up such a delicious scent?
He breathed in again, noticing something else, the faint scent of an omega in heat. He nuzzled her neck. “Do you know how gorgeous you smell?”
He felt hands pushing at his chest. Yunho grabbed them at the wrists and walked the girl back into a wall, keeping his face attached to her neck. He pinned her wrists to the wall near her waist and licked a path up to her ear. “You smell so pretty,” he said.
Under regular circumstances, Yunho would have stopped immediately. Under regular circumstances, Yunho would not have done this at all. But with his soju addled brain, all he could do was whisper, “Shh, just let me.”
He released her wrists and slid his hands under her loose shirt. “I'll make you feel good,” he said, rubbing his hands up and down the sides of her torso. “Don't you want that?” He kissed the shell of her ear. “You smell like you want that.”
He pressed his right hand against her stomach and rubbed. Smooth. He slipped the tips of his finders into the waistband of her pants, smiling at the discovery that she wasn't wearing and underwear. Yunho slid the rest of his hand into her pants and froze.
That would explain the bet scent. No male omega would walk around with out it, let alone one in heat. It was dangerous in their country.
Yunho had never met a male omega before but he'd heard enough about them, all of it insulting.
Slut. Whore. Boy cunt. A hole good for fucking but not much else. Not for marrying, certainly not for bonding with. Male omegas were considered dirty creatures who masqueraded is women, luring good men into sin and depravity. Now Yunho knew why. The boy's heat scent smelled just like a woman's. Sweet. Desperate. Wanting.
Yunho wrapped his fingers around the boys cock and squeezed.
The boy groaned.
He would regret this later but right now all he wanted to do was bury himself in the sweet smelling body. “Is that good?”
The boy whimpered in response.
Yunho pulled his hand out of the boy's pants and turned him around so his from was against the wall. He tugged the boy's pants down and pressed his groin into his bare ass. “Do you want it?”
The boy nodded.
“Yes?” Yunho asked.
“Yes,” the boy said, pushing back into Yunho.
Yunho slid his hand between the boy's thighs, feeling the wetness that had already leaked down. “Just like a slut then.” he said. “Willing to give it to the first alpha that comes along.” The words were harsh, but the boy's quick acquiescence had made Yunho angry.
“No!” The boy bucked against him, trying to push Yunho off.
Yunho just pressed his body in harder. He smiled into the back of the boy's neck. “Not a slut then?” He dragged his fingers up from between the boy's thighs to to press against his opening. “What do you want then?” He used his other hand to pull down the collar of the boy's shirt, exposing the top of his back. “Should I mark you?”
Yunho rubbed his fingers against the boy's leaking hole and kissed his way from the base of the boy's neck to the space between his shoulder blades. “Should I mark you?” he asked again. “Make you mine?”
The boy trembled. “Yes.”
Yunho pressed two of his fingers into the boy's hole and rubbed is teeth against his back before biting sown. Hard.
He tasted the blood in his mouth when he was jerked away by hands pulling at his shoulder and the back of his shirt.
Yunho had never treated someone was so disrespectfully before in his life. He had woken up the next morning feeling horrified and ashamed. He'd been sick to his stomach. Jihoon had rubbed his back and told him it was okay as he crouched in front of a toilet dry heaving. Jihoon had hugged him and held back his hair when he'd finally thrown up., despite the black eye Yunho had given him the night before. When Yunho had recovered enough to stop puking and apologize, Jihoon had just told Yunho there was nothing to be sorry for and asked if Yunho was okay. He hadn't been.
So when the rest of the family called Jihoon a failure and a screw up, Yunho defended him because although his hyung had done a lot of shitty things over the years, he had never assaulted someone and he had been there when Yunho needed someone.
Jihoon had never told anyone why Yunho spent that week holed up in his rooms refusing to see anyone. When Yunho had curled up on his bed crying, it was Jihoon who had reassured him he wasn't a terrible person. And when Yunho had needed to know who the boy who he had tone that to was, it was Jihoon who had found out for him.
Yunho had never felt more remorse towards anyone than he did towards Kim Jaejoong. He had never felt more grateful towards anyone either. Yunho had marked him, defiled him, and Jaejoong had never said a word. Not that anyone would care about what had been done to Jaejoong, they would have said he deserved it, but they would have cared that it had been Yunho who had done it.
Yunho couldn't believe he had done such things to someone Changmin's age. He didn't know how to apologize and couldn't face the other boy so he sent him gifts. For five years, Yunho sent Jaejoong gifts. Flowers. Candy. Electronics. New furniture. Cars. Most people assumed one of Jaejoong's sisters had a particularly persistent suitor. Yunho, Jaejoong, and Jihoon were the only ones who new it was all from Yunho.
So yes. Yunho 'knew' Kim Jaejoong.
But he had no intention of marrying him. He loved Ara too much to do that. But if his grandmother chose Jaejoong then at least he could make sure Jaejoong was taken care of. He would take care of Jaejoong while buying enough time to find another solution to the problem.
A soft touch to his shoulder broke Yunho out of his thoughts. He turned his head away from the phone to see Kim Junsu standing next to him. Junsu had entered military service around the same time Yunho had and they had become fast friends. The other alpha was kind, caring, and didn't feel the need for posturing most other alphas felt around Yunho.
“Are you alright hyung?” Junsu asked.
Yunho smiled. “Yeah. It's just some stuff at home. Nothing that won't work itself out.”
“Kim Jaejoong?” his grandmother asked.
“Yes halmeoni.” Changmin had done what Yunho had told him to do and informed their grandmother that Yunho was amenable to her... proposal if Kim Jaejoong was the choice. He wasn't sure what his hyung was thinking but if it would make Yunho's life easier then Changmin would do it.
“What do you know about Kim Jaejoong?” his grandmother asked.
By all accounts, Kim Jaejoong was something of a hermit. He had one friend, Park Yoochun, and rarely left his family's home. His contacts had told him Jaejoong was a quiet and well behaved beta. Changmin almost snorted. A beta. He wasn't surprised no one seemed to know Jaejoong was an omega. The situation was fairly common in noble families. Parents usually had one of two reactions to sons who were born omegas. Either they gave them up for adoption, effectively disowning and disinheriting them, or they hid them away, keeping anyone from discovering their true nature by dosing them with heat suppressants and beta scented body washes or perfumes.
(For the parents who did the second, it was love that drove them to keep their sons under house arrest or to ship them overseas to more liberal minded countries. It was among these families that Grand Prince Jaejoong would find allies and protectors.)
“Yunho probably met him through one of his sisters.”
“Perhaps,” his grandmother said. “Perhaps not.” She caught the attention of one of her servants. “Bring Jihoon.”
“Halmeoni?” Changmin asked.
She smiled at him wanly. “Your cousins have secrets Changmin,” she said. “Secrets that have them keeping only each others council. I have let it go for a very long time.” The smile faded. “The things I know about Kim Jaejoong. I think I should not have done so.”
Kim Daejung was disturbed from his review of his company's quarter financial report by a knock on the door of his study.
“My Lord, you have messenger.”
At this late hour? “Who is it?” he called.
“It's a courier from the royal palace My Lord.”
Daejung dropped the report and stood. He walked to the door of the study and jerked it open. One of the servants was standing in the hallway, head bowed. “Did he say what this was about?” he asked.
“No My Lord. He said he would only speak with you or the Lady.”
“He's waiting in the receiving room My Lord.'
Daejung walked quickly to the first floor. He held no notions that this was about anything good for his family. They had no involvement in politics and were not socially important enough to gain the notice of the Crown. Why then would he have a courier from the palace in his home?
When he reached the receiving room he found not only the courier but also several royal guards. They bowed at Daejung's entrance.
“What is your business here?” he asked.
“My Lord,” the courier said and presented a small, sealed, folded piece of paper.
Daejung took it from him, eyes widening when he saw the seal that held the paper closed. It was the seal of the Queen Dowager. “What is this?” he asked, not actually expecting an answer.
The courier simply bowed in response.
Daejung broke the seal, unfolded the paper, and quickly scanned it's contents. He paled. “What is this?” he asked again looking at the courier.
“Her Highness requires a response.”
Daejung felt faint. This could not be happening. They had hidden Jaejoong so well. “I must discuss this with my family. We will send a response in a few days time.”
“I'm sorry My Lord.” The courier bowed again. “Her Highness requires a response tonight.”
Daejung closed his eyes for a moment, gripping the letter tightly. “Her Highness may be informed that I, my wife, and,” he swallowed, “my son will be delighted to attend her.”
“Then I will take my leave.” The courier and the guards bowed before turning to leave. “My Lord.” They paused on their way out. “My Lady.”
Daejung breathed heavily and closed is eyes. He opened them when a small hand placed itself on his.
“What's wrong?” his wife asked.
“Jaejoong,” he said brokenly and handed her the letter. He did not want to explain it to her. How could he tell her they would need to send their only son to live in a pit of vipers? How would they tell Jaejoong?
Unbeknownst to his parents, Jaejoong eavesdropped on their conversation that night. What he heard did not upset him at all. He was relieved. Of course he had to marry the Crown Prince. He had never had any intention of doing anything else.
The man had bit him. Bled Him. Scarred him. Marked him. He contorted an arm to reach the space between his shoulder blades and gently traced the cluster of raised skin.
How could he marry anyone else? How could he bond with anyone else? How could he ever go to anyone else with that on his skin?
A/N: Okay. You can brick me if you need to.