xiumin/luhan, xiumin/ocs (non-con), platonic xiumin/suho, suho/chen, mentions of other pairings; nc-17; approx 9k
warnings: physical abuse, non-con
disclaimer: messing around in danie's wolvesau.
There's nothing special about the night Minseok is taken. They had gone to bed late, as usual, because Minseok had been up late working on a presentation. Everyone else was already in bed - Chanyeol and Jongin had exhausted themselves on a mini video game tournament; Yixing and Yifan had gone to bed early so as not to miss a morning appointment; Tao and Sehun had said their goodbyes and fallen asleep with the youngest secure in his lover's arms; Baekhyun and Kyungsoo weren't on speaking terms, which meant they'd locked themselves up in their own rooms for the night.
Luhan doesn't remember when he fell asleep, but he wakes up feeling groggy and unrested, as if he's spent the night running and is finally dragging himself home. He sits up and blinks around the room with bleary eyes, rubbing at them to straighten his vision. Minseok isn't in bed, but Minseok always gets up early, so there's nothing strange about that, either. It's only when he walks to the bathroom and feels the breeze through the curtains that Luhan senses something is off, something is wrong.
Minseok hates to sleep with the windows open.
"Minseok?" he calls, taking quick strides to the bathroom door. When he yanks it open, there's no one to greet him.
Panic wells in him, waking him up completely, and Luhan's feet carry him quickly out the door and downstairs. Minseok is in neither the kitchen nor the living room.
"Minseok?" he calls again, barely remembering to slip into his sandals as he hurries outside.
"Minseok! Kim Minseok!"
But the only people he manages to summon are all the rest of their household, just as groggy and confused as he was as they file down the stairs, grumbling about the noise.
"Hyung?" Sehun asks, as the sight of Luhan looking frantically out into the distance wakes them all up. "Hyung? What's wrong?"
Luhan whirls around. "M-Minseok. Have any of you seen Minseok?"
Yixing is the one who first catches the hour on their microwave clock. It's already fifteen past eleven – their alarm had been set for nine.
"-something in the food-"
"-didn't check his face-"
"-should have known-"
"-call the Elders-"
"What about Junmyeon hyung?"
And the entire room goes silent as Chanyeol's deep voice cuts through their confused dialogue. Jongin casts a wary glance at Luhan, because Luhan has never really forgiven Junmyeon for that night - but their Beta doesn't seem to be listening. Luhan is staring blankly down at the mug of tea Yixing had placed in front of him, not having moved since he'd sat down and the heaviness of the situation had finally settled.
Their Alpha is missing and, even without anyone saying so, Yifan is very clearly in charge.
"He isn't a member of the clan anymore, so we'll have to wait for a go-ahead from the Elders before we involve him. But we have to contact them, Minseok's parents. His sister, too."
Chanyeol rises first, ready to meet the task. He's known Minseok the longest, aside from Sehun, but Sehun is just as shell-shocked as Luhan is and won't be of any help in calming down Minseok’s family.
"Yixing, can you just make sure Luhan doesn't- doesn't do anything too rash?" Yifan asks, rising to his feet.
Yixing looks down at Luhan and, calm as their eldest appears, they can all feel the wild crackle of energy permeating his very skin. "I'll take care of him."
He doesn't know how long he's been under. He doesn't know what they keep feeding him, but it's hard to resist them when he barely has any energy. Fully conscious, he might be able to escape. His energy could probably overpower a couple rogues - he knows that's what they are, he can sense their presence even through the haze - but not when he can barely open his eyes.
He doesn't know why they have him. They're careful not to speak in his presence and he can't sense much because they're not members of his pack - but he knows they have something planned for him if they're keeping him here. If only he could stay awake long enough to figure it out.
They have to find him. They have to figure out who has him, where he's being held, and it only barely matters to them the reason why.
Minseok's parents and sister can't come over. Too many wolves in one area in such a tense time - of course they recognized instantly that it wouldn't be possible. But Chanyeol is on orders to inform them of any chances to the situation.
When he returns, Luhan is locked up downstairs in the basement. When he asks why, Yixing can only show him the mess in their kitchen - appliances overturned, chairs broken, and chipped paint in angry patterns, scratched by large wolf's claws.
Yifan and Tao are out to investigate in the forest area near their home, trying to pick up his scent, trying to pick up on anything suspicious. Their stand-in pack leader has Kyungsoo and Baekhyun - for once, not fighting - looking through books without any leads, just to give them something to do. Yixing helps, warm energy permeating the house to try and keep the calm, as he looks through Minseok's and Luhan's room for any clues. The youngest two are unofficially guarding the basement door. When it starts to get dark and the house is settled, they can hear Luhan's soft whimpering and whining through the wooden frame, sad and pained.
Tao is the one who calls Junmyeon first. The idea has been on the back of all their minds - but technically they have a leader, even if Yifan is only the Third. But the Elders have been of no help, despite all their magical resources.
They can't sense him is the problem. Whoever took him must have him under something that's keeping his energy level lows - extremely low, if an alpha with his level of talent can't be picked up. So they have to keep searching, they have to consider motives, they have to think that there might be someone out there who might want to do harm to Kim Minseok.
And none of them have any leads.
There's one option - another option. But that option is currently locked up in the basement, because even the elders worry that he might do more harm than good.
"That's ridiculous," is the first thing Junmyeon says when they tell him where Luhan is. He's come alone (Jongdae was never meant to be involved in this life, anyway) dressed in his university jacket and worn jeans, having rushed out the door as soon as he'd heard.
"They said he's too dangerous," Yixing explains, though he doesn't look as if he's particularly happy with the situation, either.
"He's your Beta.”
But only Junmyeon seems to understand the impact of his own statement. With a shake of his head, he heads straight for the basement doors, picking up the set of keys he's already familiar with, hanging from a hook over the microwave.
No one stops him. They called him, after all, and they have to trust him again - because Kim Junmyeon might not be one of them anymore, but there was a time - a time when Minseok trusted him above all else.
Luhan hasn't been out of his wolf form in days. When one is stuck in wolf form for too long, naturally remnants of their more feral traits remain even after transforming back into human form. It's no surprise to anyone how dark and hooded Luhan's eyes are, how hunched his posture is as he climbs up the basement steps and back into the sunlight permeating the window. His hair is matted, messy, and there are odd red scratches at his neck, clear signs he's been scratching at himself.
Above all, he looks tired and seems as confused as to why he's being asked to come out, but one look at Junmyeon in the middle of the kitchen has his back tensing, shoulders straightening.
"What's he doing here?" he practically snarls.
"I called him," Tao says, standing immediately to Junmyeon's defense.
"Why?" comes the clipped response, though Luhan keeps his eyes sharp and focused on Junmyeon. "He's not one of us anymore."
If Junmyeon flinches, no one seems to notice. Tao is standing closer to him now, slightly forward, a clear sign of his protection. Junmyeon doesn't seem to think he needs it, stepping forward, hand on Tao's forearm briefly as reassurance. "I'm here because of Minseok hyung."
"Don't call him that," Luhan says, voice low, fists unmistakably clenched. "You lost that right after what you did to him."
Junmyeon sighs, under his breath, but the entire room can pick up on it - the tension in the room is too strong and Luhan's power is crackling in the atmosphere. Yixing looks back and forth anxiously between the two of them. Tao stands his ground, one of the few strong enough to hold Luhan back even if he can't stop him. Sehun is the one to break the silence.
"Whatever is past is past." Something about his voice, his energy, seems to calm Luhan down a bit. "I know you don't like him, but he's the only one right now who might be able to help. He thinks it might be rogues - he thinks they might have a motive."
"He's the one who asked that we bring you out," Yifan adds quietly.
And Luhan's eyes betray surprise at that.
Junmyeon clears his throat. "Well. We need you. He needs you."
"The rogues in this area are growing in number," Junmyeon informs them, sipping at a hot mug of tea Yixing has prepared with the intention of calming down the crackling tension in the room. It doesn't seem to be working, but Junmyeon is the only one not glancing nervously at Luhan every other sentence spoken. He's entirely focused, eyes revealing a glint of something none of them has seen in a while. Not since their planned hunts, before-
"What would rogues want with him, though?" Chanyeol pipes in, brows furrowing in a confused frown. "Most know better than to bother a pack, especially one as big as ours."
Junmyeon shakes his head. "They're growing desperate for new ground. Some are even teaming up, rather than sticking it out alone." He sets down his mug and straightens his back. "They approached me, when I first left. Three altogether, enough to start a pack of their own if they so wished. But they weren't interested in anything committed - they needed more manpower, so to speak. So they came to me."
"Why didn't you say anything?" Baekhyun exclaims, rising abruptly and nearly knocking his knees into the low coffee table in the process.
Junmyeon sets down his mug of tea, looking at him with wry amusement. "I was no longer a member of your pack. I didn't want to bother you - and I thought nothing of it at the time. There was no way they could be so foolish- and I had Jongdae to think about."
That's what sets Luhan off, has him rising slowly but with enough presence to turn all their heads. He's radiating so much heat and energy that they can practically see it in the aura around him. Junmyeon looks at him head-on, trained apparently to betray no emotions, as their current Beta glares with murderous intent at him.
Luhan spits the word out like a dirty curse. He's advancing, but in his human form he doesn't pose too much of a threat, so nobody makes a move - nobody dares to provoke him.
Junmyeon stands up.
"My human," he repeats, calmly. " And I would do anything to protect him, like you would for Minseok hyung."
That does set Luhan off and in a moment he has transformed, lunging at Junmyeon and pinning him to the ground.
DON'T CALL HIM THAT! HE ISN'T THAT TO YOU ANYMORE! HE'S NOTHING TO YOU ANYMORE! YOU LEFT HIM! YOU LEFT US! YOU CHOSE THE HUMAN AND YOU DON'T GET TO COME BACK LIKE THIS WHEN YOU SHOULD HAVE NEVER LEFT IN THE FIRST PLACE!
Yifan, Sehun, Tao, and Chanyeol have all transformed - the others remain hesitant and they need Yixing to stay back, his role as healer crucial at the moment. The four who have changed move around Luhan, ready to attack him if necessary - ready to bring their own Beta down.
Junmyeon speaks, cutting past Yixing's pleas for Luhan to calm down. "I know you're upset and worried, Luhan. But killing me doesn't save hyung. You're his mate - his Beta. He needs you right now. He needs you to be everything, because that's what you're going to be if he's gone. He needs you to control yourself, and I know you can, hyung. I know you can. I know you can."
Luhan does calm down, though the scars at Junmyeon's wrists have be wrapped up before they can continue. He fills him in on the rogues - the (?) who had approached him, the others he suspects they might have gathered.
"If they have him and plan to use him as a bargaining chip, I doubt they're far. And to hide him in his human form, there's no way they'd be out in the opening of the forest - too risky, in case he tries to run. My guess is they've hidden in the city somewhere - and if that's true, that leaves too many possibilities open for us to narrow it down with a simple sweep. We'd arouse suspicion going around asking too many questions and that would give them the chance to find out about us and move before we even got to them. But we have something to our advantage."
"What's that?" Baekhyun asks, with a frown.
Junmyeon looks to Luhan and, for the first time since he's arrived, smiles. It's exactly as they remember it - confident and optimistic, encouraging and reassuring. "We have his mate."
"What can I do?" Luhan asks, skeptical. He's already accepted he'll have to limit his powers, control himself. That sacrifice makes it difficult for him to be of much use in terms of brute force.
"Nothing you don't already do. You need to track him - feel him out. Hyung, you're the only one of us who can sense him even when he's too far under."
Luhan frowns. "But even that requires me to tap deep-"
"And nobody said you couldn't do that."
"You told me to control myself!" Luhan snaps, frustrated.
"I believe you can," Junmyeon says, in that same calm tone, as if they're discussing a problem set. All eyes are turned to him, some incredulous, others curious. Junmyeon doesn't waver, looking at Luhan straight on. "I believe you can tap deep enough to find him and I believe you'll be able to control yourself enough to take us to him. You won't lose control, hyung. You can't be afraid, where Minseok hyung is concerned."
Minseok's isn't fully conscious of what's happening when he comes to this time. He's only vaguely aware that what's pressed against his lips is not the usual porcelain rim of a bowl of broth - broth mixed with a potion of some sort intended to keep him sedated, his thoughts hazy enough that he can't figure out where he is. His body is weak and numb; he's barely aware of his leg being lifted, only conscious of the warmth of the fingers at his lips, the hand on his thigh.
Those fingers push past his lips and if he had enough energy, he might bite down. But there's something else going on, something distracting him as his legs are pulled apart and he realizes he's undressed.
He closes his eyes tightly when the impact hits, when with his wrists held down he is laid open to be ravaged, the searing burn causing him to cry out against the fingers pressed deep into his mouth, suppressing his voice.
He blacks out again, too weak to sustain the pain, too panicked to make sense of what's happening as he feels like he's being torn apart.
It happens in an instant. Luhan is doubled over all the ground, eyes panicked and voice strained as he makes an agonized moaning sound that startles them all. Yixing hurries to his side, arms protective around his friend, though Luhan throws him off of him in the next moment and looks up at them all with a horrified expression.
They're all hesitant to approach him, but most rise to their feet. "What?" "What do you mean?" "Did he try to contact you?" "Where is he?"
They're a mix of confusion, no better than when this all started, and Junmyeon cuts through the silence. "Enough!" It gets them to quiet down, though they all still look confused by the expression on Luhan's face. "Is he hurt?" Junmyeon asks, already well aware of how a mate's distress call works.
Luhan shakes his head, but it's not at all reassuring. He looks like he's stuck in disbelief.
Then his expression changes, clouding over. "I'm going to kill them," he snarls, rising to his feet, the clouds around him growing darker. "I'm going to tear them limb from limb and drown them in their own blood." His voice isn't his own anymore, as he heads towards the door.
Yifan has enough sense to grab his wrist and to deflect a blow, just in time for the rest to jump on him and hold him down before he can transform.
"You don't even know where he is!" Chanyeol exclaims. "D-do you?"
Luhan does change then, throwing them all off of him as his wolf's form grows. I'll tear the city apart to find him.
"They might kill him if you do!" Yifan points out.
They're killing him now!
Luhan takes off before any of them can stop him. Junmyeon, for the first time in months, transforms of his own will to take off after him. He hadn't anticipated this.
It takes nearly all of them to take Luhan down, with more than a few casual injuries. It doesn't help that some were hesitant to even try to stop him, until Junmyeon rationalized this could very well be a trap. Fortunately they aren't too deep into the forest and, carrying Luhan back on Yifan's back, Junmyeon manages to get him tucked into bed before they're ambushed. If there was indeed an ambush.
"Do you think it was a message?" Tao asks, as they sit downstairs discussing their next move. Kyungsoo is keeping an eye on Junmyeon - no one wants to call it guarding.
"It was definitely a message. But not clear enough for Luhan to figure out where Minseok hyung was, judging by the sound of it." Junmyeon is frowning, thoughtful and confused. "They want him, though. They must know who he is - they must know this would alert him."
Jongin shudders, curling up against Chanyeol. By now they've all figured out what's happened to Minseok and he hasn't stopped shivering since.
"I think they're keeping him sedated, or he would have told Luhan by now where he is. But they must have woken him up enough for that. If Luhan couldn't make out a clear image, though, we're still stuck. We have to- we have to wait."
Sehun is glowering. "How can we wait for them to do that again? Shouldn't we go find him? Shouldn't we go into the city?"
"We don't know what we're looking for. We don't know if they'd move. Maybe if- Maybe if Minseok hyung regains consciousness again, he can send a clearer message. Right now, we need to figure out our plan of attack, since it's obvious at least that they mean to lure Luhan out."
And without Luhan, they can't find Minseok. They already know they have to send him out, as high as the risk is.
When he comes to full consciousness, Minseok would like nothing more than to go back to sleep. His eyes are covered by a blindfold and his arms ache from where they're bound behind his back. Worse is that the feeling of the cool wooden floor beneath his body alerts him to the fact that he is indeed still undressed and everything hurts.
It hurts in a different way than the burning pain that threatens to destroy his insides after a punishment - it hurts in a different way to be assaulted from the outside tearing in. He doesn't know how long he's been like this anymore, but every time he wakes up, they start in again, and he wishes he could just stop - that he could keep his eyes closed and feign sleep forever.
They know he's awake now, probably by the unsteady way in which he's breathing as panic settles in when their footsteps pad closer. He can hear one of them chuckling.
'Pretty thing,' he murmurs to his companion. 'It's a shame we'll have to send him back.'
Minseok squeezes his eyes shut as they roll him onto his front and his legs are quivering as they pry them apart.
His screams are muffled, his tears soaked in the blindfold, as they start in with something foreign and cold to the touch.
Sometimes they just like to toy with him.
It doesn't take long for him to black out again.
It's been on and off like this for the past few days. But Luhan gets no closer to figuring out where Minseok is. He just knows he's cold and everything hurts and he wants to tear out his abductors' throats with his bare teeth.
But Junmyeon won't let him - won't let him go in blind, even though he knows Minseok is hurting. Luhan thinks he would like to tear Junmyeon apart limb by limb, too.
The others are getting anxious and Sehun, young and reckless and Minseok's favorite, suggests the idea of going off on their own. They can find Minseok - they can track him down. Luhan can sense him now that he's further awake and they can sniff him out, so to speak.
"And then what?" Jongin asks, with a worried frown. He is on Sehun's side - he's always been on Sehun's side. But he trusts Junmyeon. "What if this is a trap? What if you're walking right into it?"
"They've contacted the Elders," Luhan snaps. "But the old fools are too stubborn to agree to their demands right away - and every second we waste, they break him further. They're just killing time - they're just having fun."
"And what kind of Minseok hyung are we going to get back, if it's as bad as Luhan hyung says it is?" Sehun asks.
Jongin doesn't know what to say to that. It doesn't seem to make sense, any of it. If Minseok is their bargaining chip, why do this to him? Unless to rush the Elders' decision.
Junmyeon answers before he can say anything, stepping into their room quietly and catching the lot by surprise. "They'll give Minseok hyung back. They know the Elders will agree, eventually. But - they want something else. The rogues I met – they’re greedy - I think they're after something else. And if you go, you'll be giving it right to them." He looks Luhan dead in the eyes and Luhan glares back. So different yet the same as the Luhan he remembered before leaving the pack.
"You think they're after my power," he concludes.
Junmyeon nods. "I think these messages are for you. Of course we'll be sending you - that was our plan in the first place. But we need a strategy. We need to ensure you make it back with Minseok hyung, that you don't fall into their hands. These rogues - I sensed their energy, and they aren't weak by any means. They'll use your feelings to distract you and then they'll attack you. What kind of Minseok hyung are we going to get back, if they kill you first?"
They've finally removed the blindfolds, but Minseok's vision is always hazy, blurred by tears when they start in on the torture. He's sure two fingers have already been broken in struggle and one of his ankles seems twisted the awkward angle it was bent at when they'd turned his legs out to drive two at a time into him. He's not sure how much more of this he can take, especially with one of them always whispering into his ear all manner of dirty things.
Sometimes it's just shameful words, intended to make him feel cheap and used.
Other times they bring Luhan into it, and that's the worst. Because he does think about Luhan.
"Do you think about him fucking you like this?" his assailant whispers, biting his earlobe tenderly, a sharp contrast to how he's abusing him again with something too blunt, too wide, too cold. "Does thinking about him make you feel better? Make this easier? Does it make you want this more? Imagine if he could stretch you like this. Imagine if he could hurt you like this. How would he feel, knowing you imagine he's the one behind this."
"N-never-" Minseok tries to deny.
But he's met with a soft, confident chuckle and a sharp twist of the wrist that has him crying out, body wracked with sobs from the pain.
"Open your eyes... Tell him where you are... So he can come and see you like this - see you torn apart. This is all you've left to offer him. Do you think he'd take you back? He must - you're bonded. He's stuck with you for a lifetime."
Minseok refuses. Because he's gathered as much that this is a trap intended for Luhan, for the others. And he needs to get out of this, but he needs more time - he needs a plan.
This is just pain, he tells himself. He's endured plenty of pain for the pack before.
If only this damned wolf would stop /talking/.
Luhan can't take much more of this. It's one thing to feel it, it's another to know that it's happening to Minseok, probably so many times worse. Every time he collapses onto his knees, chest heaving, the others are immediately around him. He knows some mean to comfort him, he knows others are worried he'll lose control again. But he hates the way Junmyeon stands passively at the side, only the slight furrow of his brow betraying his feelings on the matter. He's so calm that it's maddening - how can anyone remain calm knowing what's happening?
He can see how ill Sehun looks every time he drops to his knees, he can see the way Jongin shudders, he can see the stricken look on Baekhyun's and Chanyeol's faces when he starts calling out for help - but from Junmyeon there is nothing. Just questions, just more of, "What do you see? Can you make out their voices?"
"You don't even care, do you?" Luhan spits out, on his knees, body wracked with pain from whatever they've just done to Minseok. He's at his limit, they're alone - there's no one to hold him back now. He feels so much - he wants to tear them apart limb from limb, he wants to strangle them, bludgeon them, break every bone in their body. But he can't, and it's Junmyeon's fault. It's Junmyeon's fault they haven't moved out yet, because Junmyeon insists they can't just feel Minseok out like this.
Junmyeon stands, alone in the room and looking so small in his human form. Luhan hasn't even realized he's shifted.
Luhan circles around him, like a predator, like he means to eat him. He does - he wants to make a bloody meal out of Kim Junmyeon, standing there looking so calm, his head bowed, his hands fisted.
You don't even give a fuck, do you? This is a game for you - another challenge. You want to show the Elders you can do something they couldn't. You want to win but you don't care what happens to him.
Luhan is snarling, waiting for a response, waiting for Junmyeon to do something.
But Junmyeon doesn't. Junmyeon stands there, calm as ever, and says in a low voice, "You're being reckless."
Luhan lunges. He has Junmyeon pinned to the ground, claws digging into his shoulder, and Junmyeon doesn't even cry out, just moaning slightly in pain. He just glares up defiantly into Luhan's eyes. And Luhan realizes - oh. Oh.
Kim Junmyeon is crying.
"You're not the only one who loves him," Junmyeon says, and his body is quivering with suppressed tears.
In that moment, Luhan's thoughts are swept over with thoughts that aren't his own. Memories that aren't his own.
Luhan's first memory is of Junmyeon, only five years old, falling off a swing set because he'd tried to walk off of it mid-air. He'd fallen onto his knees to the ground and instantly started bawling. Luhan is the first to run to his side, arms going around him and reassuring him as loudly and clearly as he can that everything will be okay, boo-boos are easily fixed with bandages, Mom and Dad will take care of it. Junmyeon's crying subsides into soft sniffling, as he lets Luhan pull him up to his feet and into his mother's waiting arms.
Luhan’s next memory is after the first time he’s shifted. When he and Junmyeon are essentially babysitting Sehun and all that either of them is interested in is what it feels like to transform. Luhan explains as best as he can, though he still isn’t fully used to the idea of it, but the way the other two boys’ eyes light up encourages him to be as specific and detailed as possible. They’re living it through him, experiencing it with him, and he feels a little less confused and alone, as the first of the neighborhood kids.
The first time Luhan does something truly reckless as a wolf, he’s grounded for a good month, afterwards. But it was worth it – entirely worth it to lift Junmyeon onto his back, even if the boy was a little heavy to carry, running through the woods with him clutching so tightly to the fur on his back. Junmyeon laughs and Luhan smiles, grins - exhilarated already by the run and happier still to be able to share it with Junmyeon. Junmyeon who is still waiting to transform, who had stared with wide eyes when Luhan had suggested they do this just so he could see what it was like, who had leapt eagerly onto his back even as he asked, “I’m not too heavy, right, hyung?”
Luhan remembers when Junmyeon finally shifted on his own. He was a little late and his parents had stopped being so careful to be around – they hadn’t expected this, couldn’t wait around for it – so they’d taken a trip out of the city for the weekend to visit some human friends. Luhan had intended to come over to keep Junmyeon occupied, after all his homework was done. He’d brought snacks, some cola, and expected Junmyeon to be poring over his books. He hadn’t expected he’d be breaking into the house, climbing into the window from the fire escape and finding Junmyeon already fully out in wolf form, curled up and trembling by his television set, whimpering with confusion. “Hey. Hey… It’s okay. I’m here now.” Luhan had talked him through his transformation back, had patted him on the shoulder and grinned proudly at him when he was returned to his human form. “You did it, Junmyeon.”
“You really did it! I knew you would!” Luhan is laughing as he jumps on top of Junmyeon in his eagerness to be the first to congratulate him, to embrace him on placing first at the regional debate competition. Junmyeon had worked for a month preparing his proposal, arguments, counter arguments – he’d driven his team nearly mad, but shown himself capable as their leader. And this was the final result. Luhan couldn’t have been prouder and wasn’t afraid to let it show. Junmyeon laughed as Luhan ruffled his hair, eyes bright and sparkling as he beamed up at Minseok. “I’m so proud of you!” And Junmyeon only squeezed harder back.
Luhan remembers when they had been placed into the same pack. “Junmyeon will make an excellent Beta,” the Elders had said, apparently quite pleased with their decision in placing together this particular pack. Junmyeon’s parents had been more ambitious, had tried to talk them out of it. There was talk of money being exchanged, though in the end they had come together, anyway. Luhan remembers the week of apologies every time he’d run into Junmyeon at school or the park. Junmyeon had been embarrassed, ashamed. “Really, they don’t understand. This is what I want, too, hyung. You know that, right? Wherever you go, I’m gonna follow.” Luhan only smiled, ruffling his hair.
Their first month as a pack was a stressful one. So many strong personalities in one place naturally led to conflict – why the Elders even thought to place Baekhyun and Kyungsoo together was beyond Luhan. But perhaps it was because Chanyeol didn’t want to be separated from either, though it seemed these days even his bright smile was strained. Luhan still dealt with the punishments alone. But whatever he needed done otherwise – well, there was always Junmyeon. Junmyeon who snapped the kids to attention when he felt Luhan had had enough. Junmyeon who quietly took care of the youngest ones so that Luhan would have a little burden off his shoulders. Junmyeon who always listened to Luhan’s commands and looked up all the details on the incantations they would need to protect themselves before their hunts before Luhan even asked him to. “Thanks,” Luhan mumbles sleepily as Junmyeon hands him a mug of hot tea for one of his late night study sessions.
The memories that are the warmest are the ones of their few weekends in, the other pack members having gone home, but Junmyeon unwilling to visit his family and face all their griping over the position they thought he deserved. “I’ll stay with you,” Luhan says, though he could be visiting his sister, eating his own mother’s cooking. Junmyeon points all this out, but Luhan brushes him off, putting in an action film as he grabs their many packets of microwavable popcorn. They fall asleep side by side to the sound of machine gun fire.
Then the Chinese members had come and these kinds of memories become farther and fewer in between.
Until that night – that night Junmyeon had accused Luhan of not bothering to pay enough attention to him. Of being too busy fucking his Beta to notice him anymore. And suddenly Luhan is filled with guilt. The punishment carries on for too long, it’s too strong, perhaps even for the crime Junmyeon has committed. But Luhan feels like every bit of pain he endures after the fact is only deserved. Even as he’s crying out for his Beta to help him, to make it stop, he knows deep down he deserves it – deserves it for having neglected Junmyeon all this time.
There’s the memory of their time in the meadow. Luhan weak and exhausted, but determined to make things right. Curled up against Junmyeon’s warm wolf form and promising, “We’ll make it work. We’ll convince them. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”
It's a strange thing, facing himself. Facing himself with murderous intent and being so angry and livid at the idea that someone would dare to think that protecting him would mean killing a member of his pack. But that's the next memory Luhan finds himself in - standing between Junmyeon with his head bowed in submission and Sehun and Luhan with their teeth bared.
"What the hell...are you two doing?" he asks, voice calm, too calm. This is his Alpha voice, and it's echoing back into his own ears, familiar though new - a reminder, a message. "You shifted without permission. You shifted in an area where any human could see. You shifted while I was away. Luhan-ah, you attacked your own pack member. And now, both of you are giving off harmful intent towards that same pack member..."
Pack member. Junmyeon may have left the pack, but their Alpha has never considered him out of it. In a flash, Luhan sees a flash of other memories, of bits and snippets of time spent with Junmyeon and Jongdae at their shared apartment. Small, quaint, home. He smiles as Jongdae takes Junmyeon in his arms, squeezing him tightly, smiling so brightly it looks like he could very well light up the room. Junmyeon is laughing, as he turns in his lover's arms, giving Jongdae an affectionate peck on the cheek. And Luhan's chest swells with pride and happiness, glad Junmyeon's finally found where he belongs.
Luhan comes to his senses, returned to his human form, staggering backwards with the force of the emotions coursing through his body right now. Emotions that aren't his own, but somehow so strong they overwhelm him.
"You-you really do mean a lot to him." He grasps around for something to hold onto, to steady his mind. He's back to human form now, all that pent up frustration from before worn out now that he's seen - now that he knows.
Junmyeon is frowning at him with confusion, apparently surprised by this sudden shift in attitude. "Hyung?"
"Minseok. Minseok did something. I don't know how, but-"
Luhan? Luhan? Can you hear me?
They can communicate now. Somehow, Minseok has broken through the barrier and is in Luhan's mind. He's weak, but his thoughts are nothing but a gentle reassurance. He's trying to control them, though Luhan already knows what he's been going through, or at least has some idea.
Can you see where you are? he asks, fighting back is incoherent concern and focusing on the words Junmyeon has written down.
In a basement of some sort. They've removed the blindfolds, but I haven't been - I didn't want to know - they want you to come here. I don't think you should-
Of course we're coming!
He can feel Minseok flinching, recoiling, and tries to calm himself down again, looking at Junmyeon now as he repeats to him what Minseok is saying.
Junmyeon nods, not surprised, but he's been saying this from the start.
Do you know what they want?
No. They don't talk about it when they come. But they aren't just after territory - you have to be careful.
Okay. Okay. Next time - Luhan swallows, staring at the words before him, because he doesn't necessarily want there to be a next time, but it's all they've got to go on. Next time, see if you can... if you can find some hints.
Yeah. Don't worry, Luhan. I'll figure something out.
He's radiating warmth and Luhan almost smiles, albeit a bit painfully. Even from where he is, Minseok is still trying to shield them all.
Being able to open up the connection means he can’t really close it up again – he’s too afraid to lose it. That means anything he experiences, Luhan is sure to find out about. He finds a way to use this to his advantage.
With his eyes open, he manages to locate one avenue of escape. Not that he has the strength or energy to climb out. Not to mention the metal bars that leave gaps too narrow for him to maneuver his body through. But a window means he can see outside – so if he can just crawl over there when they leave him alone…
He groans and grits his teeth as his captor tires of wrecking him directly, shoving him forward and dropping him onto his face. He sees stars as he starts to fade, losing consciousness to the sound of amused laughter behind him.
When he wakes up, Minseok manages to crawl to the small opening. But there are no clear signs indicating his position.
Perhaps they don’t mean for him to be found. Or perhaps they only want him to be vaguely aware of his surroundings so that Luhan will tear the city apart, giving them plenty of warning so as to plan an ambush. As it is, he knows he’s gated in, but that’s the extent of it.
We need a new plan… Luhan... Don’t believe anything I do for the next few days, okay? Just pay attention to anything they might be saying or doing.
It’s horribly reckless, but it’s the only hope he has. Anyway, they can’t kill him – not until they get what they want.
Minseok goes back to waiting. He doesn’t wait long, before one of them returns, with food this time. More soup, though it’s not laced with the sedative they had been using before. Their mistake, because as broken as he is now, he’s starting to feel more of his energy return. He still puts on a pretense, though, of not being able to lift his head, and lets this captor lift him into his arms.
“Thank you…” he murmurs, his first words since this started.
Minseok bites back curses when they pry him open and lets his lips part willingly when one of them tries to kiss him. The violence and force is the same as usual, but he doesn’t fight it this time, not even struggling in the small ways he used to.
‘Guess he’s giving in,’ one of them chuckles, as he zips up his pants. Minseok is left shivering on the floor, as usual.
‘Maybe he thinks they won’t come for him, after all. It’s been weeks.’
‘Thank you…’ Minseok mumbles, as a blanket is dropped over his body. He burrows under it, pretending to fall asleep.
Days go by, following pretty much the same routine, and Minseok awakes with a jerk as one of them strokes hard knuckles across his bruised cheek. He’s quivering, but doesn’t flinch away, looking up blearily into his captor’s eyes. His own flutter shut, when he’s kissed. He whimpers, confused, doesn’t fight back as he’s laid out.
This is perhaps the gentlest they’ve ever taken him.
“It’s a shame… You’re so pretty. I’m going to miss you.”
Minseok quivers, with his first release. Don’t believe it. Don’t believe it. Don’t believe it.
Minseok is sobbing, because they were too rough again. He’s torn and bleeding and everything hurts. But his tears are pretty, is captors remark, as they lay him out and wrap him up in blankets to rest again. He knows what they meant to do this time – they’re trying to rush Luhan. They had to be rough to get results.
“Please…” Minseok moans, grasping onto one of his captor’s feet.
“What’s it like outside?” Minseok murmurs, feigning sleepiness as he leans into the embrace of one of his captors. The other is out and it’s easier to fool one than two of them.
“Today’s weather forecast? Bright skies, lots of pretty clouds.”
“I wish I could see…”
“When they come, then you’ll be able to see.”
How are you doing? Luhan asks, and Minseok tries to project reassurance.
They think I’ve lost it. But they believe me.
Not what I meant. Luhan’s voice in his mind is sad.
Don’t worry. It’s just a little longer. Just pay attention and you’ll figure something out. The plan – keep the plan in mind.
Mm. Wait. I have something to show you.
Hm? Show me?
Yeah. I think I figured it out.
Minseok gasps softly, shuddering as he’s taken out of the basement and finds himself back home. This-
Welcome home. Even if just for a little bit.
Minseok looks around the room. He can see the other sitting around Luhan, anxious and waiting. But Baekhyun smiles and waves. Kyungsoo nods. Chanyeol pulls Luhan into a hug and laughs a little. “Can he feel it?”
Minseok sees Yifan and Yixing offering him smiles from the couch, reassuring him silently that they’ve got things under control. Jongin pats his cheeks. “Miss you, hyung.”
“He says don’t cry, magnae.” He hears Luhan’s voice and smiles as Sehun hides his face in Tao’s shoulder. Tao is already crying.
Where’s Junmyeon? Minseok asks, realizing the only member of his family that's missing.
Saved him for last.
Minseok watches as everyone becomes smaller, as he shifts and is suddenly staring down at them.
There’s another wolf in the room. Minseok can hear more than Luhan’s voice now – he hears Junmyeon. He hears Junmyeon as the other wolf approaches, nuzzling in against Luhan.
Hey. Hey, you.
We’re gonna save you.
Just wait a little more.
I love you, hyung.
Minseok is pretending to sleep, pretending to be woken up, the day he’s blindfolded again and taken outside.
“How’s it feel?”
He burrows his cheek in against his captor’s chest, letting the warmth of the sun relax him. It does feel good to be outside.
“Don’t tell Juhyuk. He’d have my head.”
‘Jun-ah… Thank you.’
-wouldn't move past a certain--protection spells--overheard a neighbor--searched the name--got 'em, Minseok. Junmyeon says-
Minseok pretends to sleep as they argue. Their voices don't usually carry very far down into the basement, they'd been so quiet until now - but tensions have risen since Minseok became more cooperative. Since Jun started falling for his vulnerable act and Juhyuk started getting jealous.
Minseok had picked the gentler one. The softer one. Because Juhyuk seemed too smart to be played in this way.
“You moron! What if the blindfold has slipped? What if he somehow projects-“
“Then don't be so fucking hard on him! We'll hear reports of wolves sniffing around soon enough. We have eyes and ears all over the city. They'll come for him - what wolf could leave his mate like this? They're just sneakier than we think.”
“We haven't heard a single positive report. How are we gonna lay the trap? You think this is gonna be easy? It's not just his mate we're after!”
“I know- I know. The white one, we need the ones with the most power. But he's already swaying to our side, since they haven't come for him. We could use him, Juhyuk.”
A sharp slap.
“If he isn't already using you.”
Minseok's breath catches in his throat, but he breathes easy again when Jun laughs.
“If he's using me, it'd only be for survival. He's so weak right now - and he's only got us to talk to. He's entirely dependent on us. We just have to convince him that we care enough about him right now to keep him safe when they come.”
“When they come it'll be for him.”
“He already resents them for coming so late. Don't worry so much- just worry about the battle plan.”
Minseok closes his eyes, as their footsteps recede. He can still hear Luhan chuckling softly in his mind, as he falls asleep.
“Are you sure this is okay?” Yixing asks, frowning as he looks over Jongdae's torn jeans and heavy side bag. He's carrying books, pretending to be a regular university student - well, he is actually a regular university student - for their first scouting mission.
Jongdae, with his ever bright smile, gives a salute in response. “Don't worry. With your masking charm, I'm sure they won't smell Junmyeon on me.”
Junmyeon is frowning from where he's seated, but the decision is out of his hands now. Jongdae had insisted, the moment Junmyeon had filled him in on their plans. But the rogues know Junmyeon's face and the other wolves would also be too easy to sense. This would be exactly what they would have been waiting for - the pack to go sniffing around.
“Don't worry. It's just a walk. I'll be making it a part of my regular routine.”
“Thank you,” Luhan says, clasping a hand on Jongdae's shoulder.
Jongdae is the only one who doesn't seem surprised, beaming a smile up at the older boy.
There's no point in attacking if they don't know the area well enough. As stupid as the one holding Minseok is, he's never let Minseok take off his blindfold outside. But that's what Jongdae is for.
It's not hard for him to walk down the streets unnoticed. He blends in pretty well, earphones in and occasionally humming to himself as he walks with a practiced, hurried pace on his way to school. The information he gathers he recites back to Junmyeon when he gets home.
Junmyeon worries, but the information they have is invaluable. Rather than walking into an ambush, they'll be the ones planning the surprise attack.
"We have more than enough information. You don't have to keep going."
"If I stop going, they'll get suspicious. I mean, if they've noticed me, and we don't know if they have."
Junmyeon sighs, but lets Jongdae wrap his arms around him, snuggling in against his neck and maneuvering him to bed. "I'll keep going up until the last day. It'll be soon, won't it? You don't have to worry so much."
"I'm sorry. I never wanted you to be a part of this life."
"Stupid - I never wanted to tear you from them."
He hasn't tried it yet, but Minseok is almost certain he can shift now. Not that he would be much use in a fight. All the same, he’s getting stronger every day. And now that they’ve stopped being so rough on him, he’s beginning to heal, even if he’d had to reset some of his bones himself.
“Best to stay as you are. One of us will grab you, as long as you can stay safe long enough.”
Don't worry about me. Minseok pretends the smile is for Jun as he is fed a slice of toast with his soup today. If I stick by him, I'll be okay. Juhyuk, though - Juhyuk will need to be disposed of immediately.
The others are on orders to kill any wolf that isn't a part of our pack. And Tao and Jongin will be keeping an eye out for him specifically.
Do you think they can-
For you, they can do anything together.
Mm. Tomorrow, then?
Be ready. Stay safe.
Junmyeon-ah - make sure Luhan doesn't do anything too reckless?
Don't worry. Things are under control on this end. Hyung. You're going to go home soon.
Yeah. I know.
Minseok is alone downstairs, when they come. He can already sense them, not that he'd let his captors know, but timing is crucial because he's still locked up behind enemy lines. Minseok closes his eyes, imagines his pack closing in. In the darkness of his mind, he can make out the vague outline of their forms, emerging from the shadows.
The initial crash of the door being broken down startles him, but Minseok has no time to recover before there's frantic yelling that turns quickly into snarling and growling, windows crashing as others force their way in. He can sense three of his own in the house right now - Junmyeon leading the pack, Kris beside him, and Tao fiercely angry and murderous.
Juhyuk and Jun aren't the only wolves at home at the moment, but there are an unknown number of others that Minseok is sure will come running once the distress signal is sent out.
The door to the basement bursts open and Minseok can hear more clearly the sound of wolves fighting, teeth bared as they snarl at each other, the pitiful wailing moans of those who have fallen.
He sits up, looks up with feigned confusion into Jun's eyes. "What's- Jun ah!"
Were it Junmyeon or Kris or Tao, he wouldn't have said anything. But the form that threatens to barreling into Jun to force him out of the way is neither - is Juhyuk. And Juhyuk might kill him, were it not for Jun's body standing between them.
Minseok hasn't shifted - can't yet - timing is too important. He scrambles back against the wall, confused and scared, as Jun and Juhyuk stare each other down. They're talking, but in his human form, he can't be sure what they're saying without a proper link. And they're rogues - they have no proper link.
Juhyuk's eyes are suddenly on him and he lunges, without warning. As expected, Jun jumps in the way, trying to knock Juhyuk back with the strength of his shoulders. Minseok watches as they struggle, claws and teeth, drawing blood.
In an instant, two more wolves have joined the fray. Tao and-
Luhan, you were supposed to stay outside.
It's taken care of.
Juhyuk is no match against three wolves. But Minseok only stands when the last of his whimpering whines have faded.
The wolf's ears prick slightly, but he remains snarling at Tao and Luhan.
Minseok takes an unsteady step forward, his legs still somewhat weak from lack of energy and lack of use.
Jun snarls, a warning for him to stay back. But Minseok moves forward, until he's standing beside the wolf, lightly brushing his fingers over the fur at his forelegs.
"Jun-ah. It's okay."
It's when Jun's eyes turn to his that they attack. Minseok takes a step back, watches as Tao lunges right for the jugular. He has no idea if Jun can still see him when he climbs atop Luhan's back, clutching onto his fur as he carries him out.
He's carried off, as planned, through the fray. Other wolves have come, but walked themselves straight into a trap. His pack is a large one and with so many lying in wait, they had no chance to start with.
Yixing will take care of the people in the area.
None so far. Everyone's too afraid to step outside - with the charms around the house, they just hear a rabid dog fight.
Good. Good. Let’s go home.
Luhan sweeps Minseok into his arms the moment he's out of the Elders' council room. The young alpha had gone in with his shoulders straight, eyes hard as steel, but Luhan knew he'd been agonizing about this all week.
It's been almost a month since his return and his wounds have almost all healed, though there is still an awkwardness to how he walks, and he still wakes up from nightmares that seem ten times worse than the screaming punishment after effects. (Luhan is there, though, always there, and the reminder itself is enough to calm him somewhat.)
"How'd it go?" Luhan asks, after a quick kiss.
Minseok is beaming, the happiest Luhan has seen him since his return. Arms looped around his lover's neck, he plants a more solid, firm kiss to his lips. "I did it."
And Luhan is swinging him around in circles, unabashed as their laughter fills the hallway.
Junmyeon's parents are present at the ceremony. They greet Minseok with firm handshakes, his mother clinging to his small palms a little longer than necessary, her thanks overflowing. He just smiles, before hurrying her inside so that there are no delays.
He stands at the center of the ring the Elders have prepared, as they sit around it. Junmyeon is the last to enter the scene, stepping into the circle and facing Minseok. He'd been doubtful, if this was the right decision. But Minseok is grinning so widely, so ready to accept him, that all those doubts fade the instant he sees him.
"Ready?" Junmyeon asks.
"Been ready," Minseok says, with that confidence Junmyeon had always admired in the Alpha.
"The reinstating ceremony shall begin."
And Junmyeon closes his eyes, as instructed, as the Elders' incantations bind him back to his pack once again.
It’s the night of a hunt. The moon is bright and all the members of their pack have been itching and ready to go since the sun set. It’s Minseok’s first hunt since coming back and he is especially excited. As he and Junmyeon stand by the sink, their palms face up, Luhan hands Minseok the knife and takes a seat up on the counter.
“Glad I never have to do this again.”
Minseok flashes a grin. “We might need you to again, one day.” He flinches slightly as the knife cuts against his skin and blood oozes out from the open wound. Luhan looks away as Junmyeon presses his own bleeding palm against Minseok’s, their mixed blood filling the container placed in the sink. Junmyeon murmurs the incantation, letting his newly returned powers flow from his own body into the blood binding him and Minseok together in the same spell.
“Luhan-ah. Get the others.”
Luhan gladly escapes the scene, leaving the Alpha and his Beta to clean up after themselves .