ℰmmi (seulpeo) wrote in galaxyabandoned,

{got7; jb/bambam} the soft animal of your body (v)

Title: the soft animal of your body, part v/v

part four

The days pass and Jaebum keeps count, watching as they reach 40, 50. Closer and closer to the 60 they need.

On day 42, Bambam decides that he's going to try and make dinner, all by himself, and will only let Jaebum watch worriedly from afar; he's been banned to the other side of the kitchen counter. Every time Jaebum offers to help, watching Bambam's small hands around big pans and hot stovetops, Bambam shakes his head, saying, "No, I can do it!"

In the end, his kimchi fried rice is mostly a success, except for the part where he put the eggs and vegetables in a bit too early and so they come out overcooked. It's such a tiny detail, though, Jaebum showers Bambam with praise despite it, and Bambam beams throughout the meal and all the way until bedtime.

On day 47, Bambam is in heat again. This time, it doesn't fall conveniently on the weekend, the desperation beginning Wednesday afternoon and only rising. Jaebum doesn't leave his side for the entire time, save for the 8 AM morning class Bambam forces him to go to on Friday, eyes firm even though they're still so hazed with arousal; it goes without saying that Jaebum doesn't learn a single thing during the two-hour class, nearly knocking over a classmate in his mad rush to leave the classroom and scramble back to his apartment.

"I'm back, Bambam," he gasps out the second he flings the front door open. He drops his laptop and jacket on the couch on the way down the hall, struggling to divest himself of his jeans even as he enters his bedroom, and doesn't regret his haste when he sees the state Bambam is in.

"Jaebum hyung," Bambam whimpers needily. He reaches out for Jaebum and Jaebum goes, instantly, remembering how Bambam confessed to him one night that he'd recognized Jaebum's scent as the only human source of safety and comfort during his first heat, even though he'd been so far gone at that point he wouldn't even be capable of remembering his own name. It's clear that he means that same sense of solace now, maybe even more so, as Bambam takes deep, rasping inhales of his scent.

"I'm right here, baby," Jaebum murmurs. "I'm not going anywhere."

He ends up fucking Bambam that night, giving Bambam control by letting him straddle Jaebum's hips and work himself on Jaebum's cock himself. It's not one of his best ideas - Bambam is too good at it, and the very sight of it has Jaebum dangerously close to coming already. Bambam just looks so goddamn amazing, his fingers clinging tightly to Jaebum's shoulders as he writhes and bounces on Jaebum's cock, moaning a constant stream of "hyung, it feels so good, it's so good." Even though he's already come multiple times, his cock is dewy with precome, clear droplets of it wept out of the slit and running down the sides of his hard length. But he doesn't touch it, too focused on the way Jaebum fills him where he needs it most.

"Look at you," Jaebum says, marveling. When Bambam begs him for more, he gives it to him, snapping his hips up to meet Bambam every time - Bambam cries out with each thrust, thin chest heaving and shining with sweat - and starts jerking Bambam off without hesitation.

"Hyung - hyung - " Bambam cuts himself off and shudders hard, the force of his climax sweeping through his body as ribbons of white streak over Jaebum's fingers and knuckles. Jaebum can't help but tease, rubbing the head of Bambam's cock with his thumb, and Bambam keens at the overstimulation and hurriedly catches Jaebum's wrist with a hand.

"Better?" Jaebum asks, even though he's still buried to the hilt inside of Bambam and so, so hard. He can wait, though.

Bambam slumps against him, trying to catch his breath. "Yes," he manages to answer. His tail sweeps lightly against Jaebum's legs, back and forth, a soothing counterpoint to the tight heat that Jaebum forces himself not to rock back into while Bambam waits for his senses to return him to the present. The heat is almost over, Bambam's skin beginning to cool; by this time Saturday, he'll be all back to normal.

Jaebum cards his fingers through Bambam's messy, sweat-tipped hair, the fading pink strewn among the black, and wonders what color Bambam will want next. Surely he can drop by the hair dye aisles for something new this week, just to surprise Bambam. "You with me?"

"Yeah," Bambam says, his voice sounding a little clearer now. He nuzzles the underside of Jaebum's jaw, before bracing his hands on Jaebum's chest and leaning back, shifting in his seat deliberately; Jaebum groans at the stimulation, the urgency of his need returning immediately. "We should take care of this now, huh?"

"Brat," Jaebum growls, drinking in the playfulness in Bambam's expression even as he shifts them as carefully and quickly as he can, Bambam's back settling onto the mattress so Jaebum has better leverage; the sheets are dirty, but it doesn't seem like Bambam minds the slightest. Bambam's warm hands find his shoulders, the catboy purring quietly in the back of his throat and arching, moving to meet Jaebum's movements. When Bambam's like this, it's easier for him to forget that this is heatsex, that they might not be comfortable enough to do this if not for Bambam's catboy hormones - that they still have a ways to go in exploring whatever it is that they've developed, gentle and precious, between them.

He loves it, though, loves these last times before Bambam's finally worked the heat out of his system, the coherency settling something in his chest that soon roars into flame with the way Bambam still clings to him, keening his name and gasping for more with each of Jaebum's thrusts. "Do it," Bambam mewls when Jaebum's rhythm falters, becomes erratic, when he starts pulling back, "Do it, I want it, Jaebum hyung - "

With Bambam's name falling from his lips, Jaebum can do nothing but obey, driving his hips forward and holding them still as he comes into the condom dividing their bodies. He drags air into his lungs the best he can, trying his best not to crush Bambam as he lays back onto the bed as well. His whole body feels warm, floating, tingling. When he pulls out, Bambam whimpers against his chest at the sudden emptiness.

"I've got you," Jaebum says sleepily, smoothing a hand up and down Bambam's side until he feels the catboy relax under his touch. He manages to tie the condom off and rolls onto his side to drop it in the general direction of the trash can beside his bedside drawer. When he wakes up Saturday morning, he'll probably have to go again, make sure he takes care of Bambam to the best of his abilities before tackling his schoolwork - but that's a whole sleep away, and Jaebum is already beginning to drift.

He settles back and holds an arm out, opening a space that Bambam fills perfectly when the catboy fits himself up against Jaebum's side. They're coming down from the high, but Jaebum finds that he still feels good, warmed by the soothing heat of Bambam's body against his. Bambam presses his nose against Jaebum's neck, and Jaebum closes his eyes.

On day 53, Jaebum goes with Jinyoung to pick up some general supplies at a store a ways farther into town, one with good discounts especially for university students. It's close enough, but Jaebum keeps a list on his phone for all the things he needs so he can get them all at once before Jinyoung starts whining about gas money. Jinyoung is the only one between them with the car, though both of them learned how to drive a couple years back, but Jaebum figures it's fine - needing a ride gives him the perfect excuse to hang out with his best friend. He calls home after class, hears Bambam squeak and fumble with the phone receiver before he figures out how to use it the way Jaebum showed him, and waits until Bambam says, "Hello!?" to talk.

"Bambam, the phone picks up automatically when you take it off of the machine so you just have to put it up to your ear," Jaebum says. "I'll be a little later coming home today after class, I need to go buy some things."

"Later?" Bambam echos, and Jaebum can picture him fidgeting, maybe with the edge of his shirt or some loose thread on a pillow on the couch.

Jaebum sees Jinyoung waiting for him restlessly by the driver's side door of his car, eyeing him meaningfully as if to say hang up already, c'mon hyung, he'll be right home waiting for you anyways. He rolls his eyes at Jinyoung. "Yeah, but not too late. Maybe an hour or so. You'll be okay?"

"I think I'll be fine, hyung," Bambam says, sounding cheerful. He's gotten better at being by himself, now. Jaebum noticed him tackling a science fiction novel the other night, even though all those uncommon words, and felt (probably disproportionately) proud. Science is something entirely foreign to Bambam, seeing as he never really needed to learn it, but Jaebum can't teach him much; he's a social sciences major and hasn't needed to take a science class since he was an underclassman. He hates the thought of Bambam not being able to learn what he wants to learn, though. There has to be some way to fix that.

"Okay, I'll see you soon then," Jaebum says, and lets Bambam hang up first before he puts his phone away and joins Jinyoung, who teases him mercilessly the whole way to the store. Jaebum takes it all with a long-suffering air, but truth be told, he's relieved that Jinyoung's just taken it all in stride - Jinyoung's never given any sign of prejudice towards catboys in all the years Jaebum's known him, even though it's as good as fact that catboys are lesser than humans, lesser intelligence and lesser morals. Most are ignored or even scorned directly in company, seen as stupider than a human of their equivalent age. But, despite his limited education, Bambam is as smart and bright as any human boy his age, if not more, and Jaebum has been careful to make sure everyone treats him as such. Still, that Jinyoung likes Bambam so much is more than Jaebum could ever ask from his best friend.

In the store, Jaebum walks through the familiar aisles and recalls raiding the snack shelves in the weeks before finals freshman year, stocking up on candy and chips and, at a feeble attempt at being a bit healthy, pretzels. This time, however, he leaves off the extra snack and peruses the hair dye aisles instead.

"Pick blond," Jinyoung says, coming up behind him with a hamper full of freshman-worthy snacks. Jinyoung never changes.

"Blond?" Jaebum frowns at the rows of dye, each advertising its vibrant color and high quality. "Do you think that's bright enough?"

"Yes, yes, it'll be great," Jinyoung says airily, picking a box of dye off the front of the shelf and dropping it into Jaebum's own basket. Jaebum redirects his frown at him but lets Jinyoung nudge him towards the check-out lanes.

When they get to Jaebum's apartment, Jaebum turns down Jinyoung's offer to help him carry his things up and promises to see Jinyoung for lunch soon. The elevator is, thankfully, running, and Jaebum manages to shift all the bags to one hand as he wedges the key into the lock of his front door. It swings open without warning, though, and Jaebum stumbles forward into Bambam, who squeaks in surprise.

"Sorry!" Jaebum says, stepping back automatically. "I didn't expect you to be there."

"No, I'm sorry," Bambam says hurriedly. He hurries forward and takes some of the bags off of Jaebum's hands, helping him haul them into the living room and start putting things in their rightful places. Some magnets for the fridge, more toilet paper, printer paper that's much cheaper than the paper at the campus bookstore. Bambam moves through the apartment with ease, like he's always lived here, and Jaebum loves it. When Jaebum comes back from restocking the bathroom next to his bedroom, he finds Bambam sitting on the couch, staring at the box of hair dye.

"Whoops," Jaebum says, moving closer even though he knows it's a lost cause now; it's not like he can snatch it out of Bambam's hand, now that he's seen it and the figurative cat is out of the bag. "I just - I noticed the pink was starting to go away, and I thought - "

"You got this for me?" Bambam interrupts him, sounding kind of like he's choking up.

"Yes?" Jaebum answers, thrown off course. He tentatively sits next to Bambam and watches the catboy turn the container of dye over and over in his hands; Bambam's face is turned away, so Jaebum can't see his expression. "Do you not like blond? I told Jinyoung maybe you would want a more, I don't know, exciting color, but he said blond would be okay? It's good enough, hopefully?"

"More?" Bambam says incredulously. "Good enough?"

Jaebum falls silent, trying to read Bambam's face, but it's hard when Bambam won't meet his eyes, too busy staring at the dye in his hands. He isn't sure what to say anymore.

"Jaebum hyung," Bambam finally gets out, "you've given me a place to stay for the past almost two months, and maybe for the rest of my life, and you cuddle me and let me read all your books and cook for you even though I probably could have poisoned you on accident. You take care of me no matter what, even when I'm in heat. You treat me like I'm normal, like I'm any other human, which no one has ever done for me in my entire life, and now you're worried you didn't get me the right color of hair dye?"

"Um," Jaebum says weakly.

Bambam shakes his head and finally drops the dye on the seat beside him, scrambling into Jaebum's lap and grasping Jaebum's face in his two small hands - the same hands that have Jaebum's heart tight in their grasp. The hands that always have, if Jaebum's honest with himself. Ever since that day he saw the outline of two cat ears behind the blurry plastic of the bus stop wall. "How are you so nice to me?" he whispers. "How do I deserve all this?"

"It's not about what you deserve," Jaebum replies just as softly, finally finding the words for this situation. He smooths a hand down Bambam's back and feels Bambam lean into the touch, like clockwork. Push and pull. "It's about us, and how I feel about you, and how you feel about me. It's about how I want to give you things better than your old life, because no one deserves to be treated like an object merely for sexual gratification."

"That's all I was," Bambam tells him, tears beginning to sting at his eyes, making Jaebum's chest ache. "I thought I was going to live like that until the rest of my life. Until I got too old for heats, or he found some newer, younger catboys to replace me with. And then he dropped me off at the side of the road and never came back."

"I could never replace you. And I never will," Jaebum breathes, and Bambam's breath hitches.

The rest of the story spills out when they're back in the bathroom, though Bambam isn't in the bathtub this time. He's sitting on a chair they dragged in from the kitchen and propped up against the bathroom counter, Bambam's head tipped back over the sink to catch the drips from the hair dye. They're not dyeing much, but Jaebum would rather be on the safe side. As they wait for the color to set, Bambam pulls Jaebum down onto the chair and settles back into his lap, leaning against Jaebum's chest as closely as his hair will allow him to.

"In Thailand," Bambam begins, swallowing hard, "they aren't as tidy or strict about catboys as they are here. I was born into the same trade as my mother, and her owner did everything he could to ensure that I would be desirable."

"Like what?" Jaebum asks. It horrifies him, but another part of him still wants to know, wants to figure every piece out so he knows where to start healing.

"I never had much to eat," Bambam admits. "And I was given hormone pills to start heat cycles early. Several years earlier than was natural. But I didn't know that until later. And then I was sold to what basically was a dealer, who was linked to my - my past owner, who lived in Korea and collected catboys for his own private purposes. I told you before, he had so, so many, and I was lucky to be just one out of the bunch."

Jaebum closes his eyes, struggles to check his emotions. He remembers all too well what the bastard keeps so many catboys for, and the thought still makes him want to hurl, even with Bambam warm and settled on his lap. "Go on."

"But when I wasn't in heat, I was mostly left alone," Bambam says tremulously. "I had it easy, really, because I was still rather young and small, and the others wanted to protect me. They saved food for me and tried to shield me if he g-got violent. But there was not much space, and barely any bedding to go around even though it was obvious he was very rich, so we were always cramped and sore. And afraid at every sound that could possibly be his footsteps, constantly holding our breaths and cringing away from the door..."

"I'm sorry," Jaebum murmurs, trying to put everything he has into those two words, which would be empty without. "You will never go back there."

"It wasn't all bad, though," Bambam says, mustering a small but genuine smile. He reaches up to touch Jaebum's face. "If it weren't for him, I would have never come to Korea."

The timer on Jaebum's phone goes off and they wash the dye out of Bambam's hair, Jaebum carefully cupping the water in his hands and making sure not to get any in Bambam's eyes. When it's all done, Bambam's pleased, more pleased than Jaebum expected, with the new color, admiring it in the mirror and clinging to Jaebum with joy. When he kisses Jaebum thank you, though, Jaebum can tell that the message is for more than just the hair dye.

On day 58, Jaebum wakes up with a start at two, maybe three in the morning. At first he thinks it's because Bambam is having a nightmare about his past life, and he has to mediate before Bambam hurts himself, but the catboy curled against him is still, his breaths steady and rhythmic in sleep. Maybe it was Jaebum's own dream that woke him. His own mind.

He looks down at Bambam, the newly dyed shock of blond hair still so bright even in the almost-morning darkness. Bambam looks so peaceful, so sweet. Jaebum used to think he looked young, too, but he's begun to re-evaluate that thought lately. Nowadays, Bambam looks strong, too.

"I love you," he says to Bambam's sleeping face.

The next day, a cheerful Sunday, Jaebum takes out the envelope with the paperwork for the transfer of hybrid ownership, and places it on his desk; it's like a promise, their future, wrapped up in a manila folder and carefully addressed and stamped.

He goes to make breakfast and discovers that they're out of milk and eggs, among other rather essential groceries. i need the car again, he texts Jinyoung. grocery run

Jinyoung drops the car and its keys off for him in the afternoon, and this time, Jaebum takes Bambam along with him to the store. The catboy has begun to warm up to being out in public, despite his fear of humans he has never seen before; his favorite place away from home is the family restaurant, and Jaebum is hardly surprised. It's an amazing place of acceptance Jaebum didn't really realize was possible: a physical manifestation of the care put into filling each and every one of the milk saucers, even though no one would let Bambam drink out of one of those. It's the meaning of the gesture, more than anything. They adore him there, treat him like their very own little star, and Bambam has even struck up an unlikely friendship with Yugyeom, the cook's assistant, the two chatting away happily as Jaebum works on waitstaff. Jaebum hasn't taken Bambam to the university yet but he wants to, so Bambam can see what a school is like, and when the weather warms up, the park will be open to them as well.

Going grocery shopping with Bambam transforms the mundane task into something exciting. The catboy sticks close to Jaebum's side but his eyes are everywhere, drinking in the odd vision of so many shelves of so many different foods, stacked in neat, endless rows. Small as it is, the grocery store Jaebum frequents isn't that impressive, but Bambam's probably never seen this much food all in one place. "What's that?" he keeps stretching up to whisper into Jaebum's ear, pointing as surreptitiously as he can so Jaebum knows what he's talking about.

Jaebum is happy to give him the answers, offering again and again to buy the things that catch Bambam's eye. But Bambam shakes his head every time, one hand curled into the back of Jaebum's sweatshirt so he won't get lost amid so many people. The only time he'll let go is when Jaebum asks him to grab something off of the shelves, and then he's back immediately, staying as close as he can without plastering himself up against Jaebum's back. Clearly, his trepidation about minimizing physical contact doesn't hold here, with so many strangers moving around them on their own courses; Jaebum pulls Bambam against his side with an arm around his shoulders, and hopes the gesture helps.

At the check-out lanes, Jaebum heaves the basket of food he's collected onto the conveyer belt and starts unloading. He's finishing up, reaching for his wallet to pay, when he notices Bambam eyeing one of the displays of gummy snacks laid out beside the end of the belt. "Do you want it?" he asks, and Bambam jumps, staring at his face in surprise. Jaebum gives him an encouraging smile, wishes he could echo it with touch.

Bambam doesn't answer right away, peeking at the gummies again before looking up at Jaebum's face. "Really?" he says finally, careful, his ears pointed forward.

"Sure," Jaebum says. He's noticed, of course, that Bambam is horrible at asking for things he wants. Nonverbal cues seem to work best for him, the weight of his body against Jaebum's arm just enough so that Jaebum notices and raises his arm to make room, Bambam cuddling up against him happily. Or a pleading look, like now, the longing barely there but it is. It's there. And Jaebum wants to be someone who can give him these things. "Whichever one you want."

He peruses the display intensely, hand hovering over the little packages, and Jaebum resists the urge to laugh, he looks so cute. "Strawberry," he decides at last, and Jaebum gestures for him to put it on the conveyer belt with the rest.

The thought of the candy has Bambam so excited he can't keep still, watching with wide eyes as the food get passed through in check-out at the hands of the cashier. Jaebum notices the cashier take note of Bambam's ears and tail and doesn't like the scorn in her eyes, but he hands over his money without comment when she tells him the total. She doesn't understand, Jaebum thinks to himself - doesn't know what Bambam looks like when he's finished a book all by himself, doesn't know how good it tastes when Bambam kisses him after a successful dinner.

Jaebum collects the bags of groceries in his hands - Bambam insists on helping so Jaebum gives him a couple of the lighter ones - and they make their way back out to the car, the sky dimming around them gradually. Rooting through the bags in his hands, Bambam pouts when he comes up empty and bumps gently against Jaebum's side. "Go ahead," Jaebum says, raising the bags in his own hands so Bambam can retrieve his strawberry gummies.

"Thank you!" Bambam says happily, searching the bags for the brightly-packaged treat. It's kind of amazing how happy he is with a gummy snack that only cost Jaebum a couple of dollars during a trip to the grocery story he already needed to take.

Bambam senses it - him - first, nose flaring and cat ears suddenly flattening down when he jerks his head up away from the bags, even though he hasn't retrieved his candy yet. "Bambam?" Jaebum says, surprised, when Bambam's tail fluffs out in fear and he stiffens, scooting closer to Jaebum. Jaebum turns his head to look at him and slows his steps, taking in how Bambam has latched onto his jacket and ducked his head, hiding as if he can bury himself in Jaebum's shadow and disappear. "You okay?"

His surprise heightens to more concern, more anxiety, when Bambam shakes his head hard and tightens his grip on Jaebum's shirt, the bags of groceries in his hand knocking against Jaebum's hip - he's trembling ever so slightly, breath coming out in stuttering gasps. Jaebum doesn't realize what's triggered him until a strange man approaches them, walking directly before them in their path.

"The little kitty's gone grocery shopping, huh?" he says, voice snide, dark eyes too knowing when they fix on the hunched silhouette of Bambam behind Jaebum. "How very domestic."

The nausea rolls in Jaebum's stomach, and realization hits him, threatening to swallow him whole. If Bambam's deeply-ingrained reaction wasn't enough of a giveaway, this is how Jaebum realizes this is Bambam's owner. This is him. This is the man who forced Bambam into a life of neglect and exploitation, for years until he got bored of the small, helpless catboy he abused and left him on the streets to fend for himself the night of one of the biggest snowstorms ever forecasted for the city, and now he's found them. Jaebum doesn't really know what he expected - was unable to imagine a face suited to his atrocities, really - but the one he sees somehow doesn't surprise him much. It seems like anywhere he looks, he can see the filth and darkness embedded under the man's skin, wealth dripping off of him not only in his brand name-filled wardrobe but also in the very way he holds himself. Otherwise, he could be engaging, or even charming, maybe if Jaebum had simply bumped into him in the very grocery store behind them. Maybe if he didn't look at Bambam like a piece of meat with a fancy price tag.

"What do you want," Jaebum says defensively, when it seems like Bambam won't respond. Jaebum would never make him, though. Seeing the man is bad enough.

The owner raises his eyebrows, curls his lip a little in disdain. "And look at you, playing the hero. Though you could rescue a cat and he would be yours to keep forever?"

Fuck, Jaebum thinks. They were so close, fuck, he can't believe this. He glances back at Bambam, who's still holding onto him so hard his knuckles are white but won't dare look back at him, and turns forward again. "He's not just a cat," he says flatly, refusing to rise to the bait that's been laid out in the jabs at his own character. This isn't about him, this is about Bambam and Bambam's freedom; if this vile man opens his mouth to ask for Bambam back, there will be nothing he can do to prevent that from happening. He has no cold, hard proof of any abuse. "He's a boy, too."

"Sure he is," the owner says easily, the words sliding slickly from his mouth like he holds them in for too long before they slip free. "Sure he is, especially when he mewls and cries for your dick, right? Just like a normal boy."

The smirk on his face accompanying those words, the very audacity of his remarks - Jaebum shudders to imagine this man anywhere near Bambam during heat. His anger threatens to boil over but it's soured by the impending sense of his helplessness, instinct telling Jaebum that he can't lash out the way he so desperately wants to. It's too obvious that he's lost the upper hand in this conversation. That he never had it in the first place. All this time he's spent thinking about how to best take care of Bambam, and protect him, and heal all the fragmented pieces of him in the future, it was just all a delusion in the first place. Because in the face of the man who scares Bambam the most, there's nothing he can do that won't cost them its own set of consequences. If he hits the guy, like he so desperately wants to, it'll be all over. Jaebum shifts the groceries in his hands, the straps of the heavy bags cutting into his fingers, and wonders frustratedly why he even has these hands in the first place if he can't use them when it counts.

Behind him, he senses movement, Bambam stepping to the side and forward: putting himself directly between Jaebum and his owner. This time, the position of his ears is entirely different, set back against his head, and he bristles, the trembling turning into something stronger, more violent. "Don't talk to him like that!" he yowls.

The owner is shocked, obviously, expression finally spreading across the smug veneer of his face, at Bambam's reaction. Jaebum can't see Bambam's face, but he can pick out something steely he has never heard before in his usually sweet voice. There's no mortification, not even any fear left, when Bambam leans forward and bares his teeth, saying, "You were never my rightful owner. Just stay away from us." And this is the first time Jaebum has ever seen Bambam more animal than human in a dangerous way, eyes almost glowing against the dimming skies of evening, a low growl rumbling warningly in his little chest.

Jaebum guesses the man has never seen Bambam lose his temper too - too used to seeing the slender body roll over for him, its eyes closed shut to try and block out as much sensory detail as possible to save itself from the nightmares later - because he scrambles back a step instinctively. There's a moment when Jaebum can see the owner hesitate, wavering, before he rejects Bambam as a bad job, for a second time. "Fine, you're not worth the trouble anyways," he mutters, leaving much more quickly than his assured entrance.

When Bambam turns back around, his fur has settled and he looks almost shy as he draws closer to Jaebum again. Jaebum laughs a little in disbelief. Right now, he feels kind of like he can't touch Bambam for a moment, like he hardly deserves to, now that he's only just now discovered this suddenly fierce side of Bambam - Bambam, who's usually timid, usually quiet, but now Jaebum sees that it's only because he's been beaten down for so long. He's spent so much time getting used to the fact that Bambam and all other catboys are just as human as Jaebum himself that seeing the cat side at its full capacity takes him by complete surprise, too. He's impressed and a little afraid but mostly amazed, so amazed, because Bambam is so strong and gorgeous like this. "Hey, you," he says, relief washing through him.

"Hi," Bambam says shyly, and looks at him with a hopeful smile. Back to the Bambam Jaebum knows best. "Let's go home?"

"Yeah," Jaebum says, but he doesn't move forward right away. Instead, he shifts some grocery bags from one hand to the other so he can reach up and stroke a hand down Bambam's cheek, feeling Bambam lean into the touch, and linger on Bambam's neck for a long, concrete moment. "Home."

The drive back is silent, but not uncomfortably so, Jaebum preoccupied with trying to figure out what just happened and Bambam lost in his own thoughts, too, looking out of the passenger seat window. Night falls quickly, with the last traces of winter still edging the forefront of spring, and Jaebum is hit with a vague sense of deja vu when he and Bambam walk into the lobby of his apartment building. He looks back to check whether or not Bambam's wearing his winter jacket, and ends up catching Bambam's eye; the catboy smiles back at him, meeting his eyes in a way that hadn't been possible before.

In the elevator, Bambam reaches out and links their hands together between them, still quiet. Jaebum glances over at him, presses his lips to his temple in a quick kiss, but pulls away when the elevator's ding announces their arrival to the right floor.

"You hungry?" he asks as they step into the apartment, Jaebum letting go of Bambam's hand to take off his shoes. Bambam pauses in the threshold to follow in suit, and shakes his head when Jaebum turns around to look at him.

"Not that hungry," Bambam says. "Just…"

Jaebum holds still as Bambam moves forward again, as close as he can get without touching, and ironically he's the one who feels like Bambam is a soft animal he can't scare away. The world holds its breath around them. Jaebum's hands are still full, laden with grocery bags, and if he doesn't put it away soon, the milk will spoil.

Yet when Bambam leans in to kiss him, Jaebum doesn't stop him, choosing instead to kiss him back for a long, slow moment. Bambam keens into Jaebum's mouth and pulls away with his fingers somehow clenched in the fabric of Jaebum's sweatshirt; the flash of surprise on his face tells Jaebum he didn't even realize what his hands were doing. Nevertheless, Jaebum leans his forehead against Bambam's, and whispers, "Tired, then?"

Bambam shivers a little, but it's the good kind. "Yes. Ready to go to bed."

"Yeah, me too," Jaebum murmurs. He kisses Bambam again, this time quick, and takes the groceries into the kitchen so he can put them away. By the time he's done and getting ready for bed, Bambam is already burrowed into the blankets, the only parts of him visible his sleek cat ears and the tuft of hair dyed blond

He approaches the bed, and Bambam peels back a corner of the blankets to let him in with a shy smile. Kind of coy, if Jaebum's honest, and he can't help but encourage it by pulling Bambam close to his side and dropping another kiss on his mouth, this time minty fresh. Bambam laughs breathlessly and clings on again, fingers finding purchase in the folds of Jaebum's tank top. "Hi," Bambam says, sounding a little giddy.

"Hi," Jaebum whispers back, and thinks he probably sounds the same. It's starting to sink in a little now, what happened at the grocery store, and Jaebum can't really believe that their biggest worry has melted away just like that. Tomorrow is day 60, the paperwork is ready, and now the two of them will never have to worry about that man ever again. The very thought is exhilarating, Jaebum's heartbeat is still racing.

If he's the one who can't stop going over what happened mere hours ago, Bambam's already cast it away in favor of the present. Jaebum is pleasantly surprised when he's reeled back in for more kisses, Bambam surging up towards Jaebum with a hunger that Jaebum never really expected in the catboy's slender body. He's mumbling something, too, feeding the words to Jaebum between slick kisses with such urgency that Jaebum's been swallowing them without registering them completely, too busy trying to keep up. Again, and again, until Jaebum whispers, "What?" and Bambam seems to press even closer.

"Hyung, I'm yours," Bambam gasps out finally, "I'm yours, I'm yours, always, I will always - " and he cuts himself off to seal their mouths together again. The conviction in his voice, the near-desperation from how firmly he believes it, somehow manages to banish away all of Jaebum's doubts (they've only known each other for two months so what if things change farther down the road, what if Bambam only wants him because Jaebum is the first one to be kind to him all his life, what if, what if, what if). None of that holds anymore, not when they feel like this.

"Mine," Jaebum answers fiercely, Bambam keening immediately at the single word of possession. "And I'm yours, too, Bambam, don't you forget that."

Bambam seems like he might cry a little, nodding vehemently even as he locks his arms around Jaebum's neck and begs for more. Jaebum is more than happy to give it to him, and there's something different this time - in the way Bambam clings to him and keens for more, or maybe in the way Bambam meets his gaze straight on when Jaebum pulls back for breath. He's searching for something he never really had the chance to request before, and the warm earnestness in Bambam's eyes says everything without a word. He pushes back the Are you okay with this? at the tip of his tongue and asks, instead, "What do you want?"

"Touch me, please," Bambam says, releasing the words as if he's been holding them back for too long. "Hyung - "

Jaebum groans low in the back of his throat and obeys. He slides Bambam's shirt up along his body, then kisses his way down to the smooth, pale skin of Bambam's stomach, admiring as the muscles tense at the contact. Then another, along the curve of Bambam's ribs, then teasing experimentally at Bambam's right nipple with just a hint of tongue on the way back up. Bambam whines needily and reaches out like he's half-afraid to touch, threading his fingers in Jaebum's hair. "Good?" Jaebum whispers.

"Yes," Bambam gasps out. As Jaebum slowly, deliberately maps out his body with his lips, he whimpers every so often, breath hitching whenever Jaebum finds a particularly sensitive spot. Jaebum reaches the top of Bambam's waistband again, and notices Bambam is trembling slightly, the pleas dropping from his lips spiking into a cry when Jaebum peels back the fabric to take Bambam's cock into his mouth. It's been a long time since Jaebum's done this, to be honest, but he takes his time, surprised that Bambam is already so hard. By the time Bambam comes, sobbing out Jaebum's name, he looks wrecked - pupils blown, mouth dropped open, chest heaving and flushed from his orgasm.

"You still with me?" Jaebum asks, and Bambam looks down at him between his legs and whimpers at the sight, dropping his head back on the pillows. Jaebum laughs and wriggles his way back up along the bed, kissing Bambam's welcoming mouth.

If tasting his own come on Jaebum's tongue odd, Bambam doesn't seem to care. More than anything, he seems preoccupied in tugging at Jaebum's shirt, trying to get rid of the fabric in the way between their bodies. The vivid sensation of skin on skin is even better than expected when they finally succeed, and Bambam moans urgently against Jaebum's lips. "Please, more, Jaebum hyung, I want you so much."

The words fill Jaebum with an unfamiliar but pleasant heat. "Yeah," he breathes, "Yeah, me too." He lets Bambam tug at him, reversing their bodies on the bed until Bambam is straddling his hips with an unfamiliar kind of attentiveness, soft lips and new eyes. Jaebum reaches out and strokes down the line of Bambam's neck, his shoulder, along the length of his arm so that their fingers intertwine and squeeze for a moment at the end.

"Can I touch you?" Bambam whispers. At Jaebum's nod, he surges forward to kiss him again before he wriggles down far enough to take Jaebum's cock carefully into his hand, just holding the weight of it for a moment as he hesitates. Jaebum looks up at his face - bottom lip caught in his teeth but his eyes are sharp and focused - and just lets himself feel Bambam's fingers along his length as Bambam works up a tentative rhythm. When Bambam smoothes his thumb over the head of Jaebum's cock, Jaebum moans appreciatively, trying to encourage - trying to show him that yes, this is so good.

Touching Jaebum seems to turn Bambam on, too, his cheeks flushed and skin hypersensitive when Jaebum absently follows the curve of Bambam's side and hip with his fingertips. Lines he knows well, maybe, but wants to memorize, so he can trace them in his sleep. Bambam seems to take them as a tease and promise in one, body heat rising until he lets go of Jaebum and mewls for more. But Jaebum still wants to keep things slow, using liberal amounts of lube for the first finger he slides into Bambam's hole and stretching him until he sobs impatiently before Jaebum adds a second, then a third. His body springs back fast even when he's not in heat, pre-come pooling and smearing across his belly from his hard cock, hands gripping tight onto Jaebum's shoulders as he seems to open right up.

The pleas are gone though, replaced by gasps and breathy whines. Jaebum finally pulls back, moving off the bed to get a condom and promising he'll be back even as he moves away. When he turns back around, Bambam's already on his hands and knees, tail curved over his back, face buried in the crook of his elbow as he waits.

For a second, Jaebum can see it - Bambam holding himself just like this, heat rolling under his skin relentlessly, that filthy man coming up behind him and Bambam's muscles locking against him inadvertently.

"Hey, hey," he says softly, the words escaping his lips before he can even form them entirely in his mind. He lays a light hand on Bambam's naked back, the notches of his spine jutting slightly under his fingertips, and pushes gently; Bambam lets himself be moved, but he peeks up at Jaebum with confused eyes. "Lie down for me, baby?"

Bambam gets where he's going after a moment, pulling his limbs into the right places as Jaebum slots himself between Bambam's spread thighs. When Jaebum leans down for a moment, his body covering Bambam's with just barely enough weight to feel it, Bambam lifts his head off the mattress to meet him for a kiss. He understands now, of course. In a way, Jaebum is the one who needs this more than anything. "Hyung," Bambam says, but it's a question, now. A request.

Jaebum kisses him again and presses his forehead to Bambam's shoulder, fumbling a little as he grasps his cock and presses forward. When he's as deep as he can go, he's panting to try and catch his breath, Bambam moaning quietly in turn as he adjusts. It's good like this, good when Jaebum tries to keep things slow but deliberate, each stroke of his hips aiming for the place that makes Bambam feel best. He feels everything so vividly: Bambam's own movements when he meets Jaebum's thrusts, Bambam's fingers scrambling for purchase, the way his moans feel against Jaebum's lips as their mouths don't seem to separate, sloppy and wet. Even without the urgency of heat driving them forward towards the perfectly orchestrated mating - or maybe it's because that drive is gone, leaving just the two of them, slightly awkward but so very real - Jaebum feels like he's the one drowning in sensation. All he can do is try to make Bambam feel the same.

"Hyung, please," Bambam manages to say, back arching at a particularly deep thrust. "Please, I'm so close -"

"I know, I know," Jaebum whispers. He manages to get his hand between their bodies and Bambam cries out when he starts jerking him off, fast now, picking up the pace of his hips until Bambam wails out his name and comes hard, clenching tight around Jaebum's cock as the orgasm crashes through his body. It's not long at all before Jaebum follows in suit, Bambam whimpering as Jaebum's hips stutter and still against him.

He thinks Bambam dreads the moment when they have to separate, the catboy's small face scrunching unhappily as Jaebum sits back on his heels. They're both sticky with sweat, though, so Jaebum stumbles on unsteady legs to the bathroom to get rid of the used condom and bring back that small hand towel to at least wipe away Bambam's own come from the pale skin of his stomach. Bambam squeaks a little, blushing and pulling away when Jaebum passes the warm, damp towel over his thighs and the curve of his ass, and Jaebum laughs and presses a kiss to his knee wordlessly, unable to put this feeling into words anyways. He drops the towel on his bedside dresser and pulls Bambam against his side, a different kind of heat pooling in his chest when Bambam snuggles up against him at once. It's still a bit too warm to pull the blanket over them, and Jaebum has to admit he's much too comfortable to move from this spot at the moment. This may not be the first time they've had sex, but it feels right. Perfect. Worth the wait.

Bambam seems to be on the same wavelength when he turns to bury his face against Jaebum's bare chest, not even seeming to care about the residue of sweat clinging to Jaebum's skin. "Thank you," he mumbles, and Jaebum knows it's not gratitude for the sex, per se - something more.

"Why are you thanking me?" Jaebum asks him, reaching up with the hand of the arm closer to Bambam's head, stroking his fingers through the hair at the nape of his neck. "You faced off your old owner on your own. I'm...really proud of you."

"Mmh," Bambam acknowledges, and nuzzles his neck. "But I only had the strength to do what I did because I knew you were with me. Right there. You know - before I left, I remember…" He trails off, and Jaebum guesses he's unwilling to break the lovely atmosphere of this moment, the bliss of their come down. But some things need to be said.

"Go on," he coaxes softly.

"I remember just doing what all the other catboys said to do," Bambam whispers, words slightly muffled because he won't lift his head. Jaebum can hear him fine, though, and that's what counts. "I never fought back because that would only make him angry. Angrier, I guess. He lost his temper sometimes. And I just...rolled into as tight a ball as I could so there would be fewer places for him to hit, and waited for it to be over.

Jaebum feels sick, even stronger than he usually does when he's considering that scum of a man; it's one thing to exploit a catboy's heat, it's another thing to attack someone who won't even fight back because that's all he's ever known. His expression must give him away, because Bambam props himself up now, reaches out to hold Jaebum's face between his warm palms and say, "This time, I wasn't scared of that. But I couldn't stand the thought of letting him have his way and take me away from you, okay? Jaebum hyung, I want to stay with you."

"I love you," Jaebum says, his voice hoarse. There's nothing else he can say. And Bambam seems to know it, leaning in to kiss him with a purr rumbling in his chest, and whispers it right back.

Jaebum sits on the ground with a loud sigh, leaning back on a hand and wiping at the sweat along his temple with the other. He regrets it instantly, though, when he realizes he's just smudged dust and paint on his face. Summer is, undoubtedly, the worst time to move, but this is the best time when he still needs to account for school.

He'd just signed the new lease last week, and Jinyoung had dropped by earlier today morning with the car to lend a hand with moving the boxes from Jaebum's old apartment complex to the new one, where Jackson and Mark lived - he'd chosen this one, after all - and Jackson had offered to help with some of the heavy lifting, too. The new apartment is smaller than his previous one, not extremely so but definitely enough so that the boxes of Jaebum and Bambam's belongings crowd the rooms, even with how much they've thrown out while moving. Jaebum hasn't regretted it yet, though, not with how ecstatic Bambam looked when Jaebum said he was free to go off on his own to visit Mark whenever he wanted as long as he gave Jaebum a head's up on his way out.

It feels like Bambam's just been especially happy about the entire thing, even though it's such a mundane happening. His energy made Jaebum laugh at first, and admire how he managed to effortlessly take off the edge of exasperation and frustration that has always accompanied moving house for Jaebum and make it into something to look forward to. Now, Jaebum thinks there's something more. Earlier, around noon, Jaebum wandered around the apartment to look for Bambam so they could take a break from unpacking and get some lunch; he found Bambam sitting cross-legged in their bedroom, surrounded by opened boxes, quietly reaching out to touch the folded clothes inside them. His head jerks up when he senses Jaebum in the doorway, a smile spreading across his face despite the slight embarrassment in his eyes. "Hyung!" he says, turning and reaching his arms out.

"Hey," Jaebum said, sitting down beside Bambam on the ground and wrapping the catboy up in his arms despite the heat. The combined efforts of Jaebum, Jinyoung, and Jackson had managed to cram the bed frame and mattress into the small bedroom, but it wasn't set up yet, the sheets stored away in another box Jaebum hadn't located yet. "What are you up to?"

Bambam shrugged, blushing a little. "Well...I was going to start unpacking the clothes, but I realized the dresser is still out in the living room. So I was just thinking."

"What about?" Jaebum asked, propping his chin on Bambam's shoulder and smiling when Bambam snuggles back against Jaebum's chest. At least one of the perks about summer is that Jaebum has the perfect excuse to wear his sleeveless shirts and tank tops, and feel just that little bit smug when he notices Bambam stealing looks at his chest and arms, products of hard hours at the university gym.

"It's kind of silly," Bambam mumbled. "It's just that this is the first time I've really ever had a place to call 'home,' you know? I never realized it would feel this nice."

Jaebum looked down at Bambam and realized, not for the first time, how many things he'd simply taken for granted in life by virtue of not being a catboy. "Not silly at all," he promised, kissing Bambam's temple. He felt so glad he could give this to Bambam, show him that there really were things sweet and good in the world - for a second, the emotion threatened to overwhelm him, even among all the dust and cardboard boxes and paint cans. Lunch forgotten, their focus on this moment, this day.

Now that they've gotten the dresser in properly, before Jackson had to run home for a quick shower before class and Jinyoung needed to get to work, Jaebum guesses that Bambam's in there, putting the clothes away like he originally intended. He was when Jaebum popped in to check on him before getting into Jinyoung's car to stop by a store he should've visited a long time ago; Bambam looked up from his task and nodded when Jaebum told him he'd be going out, knowing Jaebum's been running out every once and a while for random errands. This one's a bit different, though. Ever since Jaebum got home, he's been thinking about the little bag he hid away in the clutter on their kitchen counter, between two boxes of kitchen appliances where Bambam would never think to check. He threw himself into unpacking the bathroom when he got back, so Bambam wouldn't think to suspect anything, but now he's finished both bathrooms and the bag is still waiting there, a gift more than ready to be given. Long overdue.

He heaves himself back up onto his feet and washes his hands in the newly set-up bathroom, running the water for a moment so it comes out refreshingly cold. Then he makes his way back out into the kitchen, snagging the nondescript bag from the counter, and into the bedroom, where Bambam's down to the last box of clothes. "Good work," Jaebum says, aiming for casual, and Bambam beams up at him, tail waving cheerfully behind him. "Time for a break?"

"Okay," Bambam says. Sensitive as ever, he seems to pick up the nervousness buzzing under Jaebum's skin, and his expression turns unsure. "Hyung? Is there something wrong?"

Jaebum shakes his head immediately. "No, no - I," he hesitates, then decides to go for broke, "I have something for you."

Bambam relaxes, obviously relieved, and shifts his body towards Jaebum's. "What is it?" he asks, hopeful and excited. He's getting better at accepting gifts now, whenever Jaebum thinks of him and goes out of his way to make Bambam feel special. This particular gift is special in itself, though, weighing on Jaebum even after he hands it over to Bambam.

When Bambam pulls open the bag and gets rid of all of the tissue paper in the way, he goes quiet, eyes focused on the present nestled inside. Anxiety makes Jaebum want to talk away the silence, and he tries awkwardly, saying, "I know you never had one before, and if you're used to going without, I promise I won't be offended if you don't want to wear it, and - "

"Be quiet and put this collar on me," Bambam says abruptly, interrupting Jaebum's rambling. It startles Jaebum enough that he laughs out loud, and Bambam finally looks up at him, his eyes admittedly wet but so, so happy.

"Of course," Jaebum tells him. He lifts the leather collar out of the bag carefully, Bambam seeming to hold his breath as he tilts his head back to give Jaebum the room he needs to fasten it around his throat. As he arranges it so that the tag with Jaebum's name engraved into it is in the front, he feels almost like there should be a sense of ceremony to this new weight around Bambam's neck. "All of the catboys I've ever seen wear collars, and I want you to know that you have someone who cares about you unconditionally," he says finally. "But I don't want you to feel like you're my pet, or - or my property just because you wear a collar. I know you're more than that. All I wanted was a way to mark you as mine in a way that you'll remember no matter where you go - more than a flimsy file of paperwork at the Department of Hybrid Affairs."

"Oh," Bambam whispers. Jaebum thinks he's imagined the tear that tracks its way quickly down Bambam's cheek, but then Bambam reaches up to wipe it away and Jaebum reaches out to take Bambam's other hand in his own.

"But it's not just one-way, you know that, right?" Jaebum adds softly. "I belong to you just as much as you belong to me now. And that's true even without a tag and documentation."

Bambam whines and snuggles up against Jaebum, sniffling even as he hides his face against Jaebum's chest. "You're making me emotional," he says into Jaebum's shirt, and Jaebum rubs his back soothingly, loving how he can feel how Bambam's really filled out and started to put on muscle onto his wiry frame. He's tried to give Bambam chances to do whatever he wants to do, even looking into finding him a way to take online courses because there's bound to be one program out there who'll accept catboys as students. All they need is one program to say yes, now that Bambam's almost completely caught up to his age group and exhausted all of the textbooks Jaebum can get for him. Bambam is so smart and even more eager, he just soaks the information all up, and Jaebum knows that he can do better and go farther than this.

"Not sorry for that," Jaebum whispers back fondly. Bambam grumbles but clings onto him nonetheless, tipping his head back with that pout that always appears when he's demanding a kiss. Jaebum is only happy to oblige, touching the smooth leather tentatively and shivering when Bambam moans into his mouth, hyper-aware of every touch to his new collar.

They pull back eventually, because there's still work to be done and they need to get the mattress on the bed frame if they want somewhere to sleep tonight. Jaebum drops a kiss on the top of Bambam's head, Bambam purring in response, and then pulls away so he can get up. Bambam tips his head back to look at him, pouting again in protest.

"C'mon," Jaebum says, laughing and reaching out so he can pull Bambam up to his feet. "The cardboard boxes of our home awaits."

Bambam flushes, pleased, at the words 'our home,' and presses close to Jaebum's side for a long moment, even though they're both grimy and the August heat swells outside defiantly. "Time to tackle those cardboard boxes, then," he says, growling playfully, and Jaebum laughs again.

"Let's do it," Jaebum says. His heart feels full, and he doubts there's ever been a day before he met Bambam when he's felt happier than this.
Tags: au: catboys, fandom: got7, pairing: jb/bambam
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