The dining table is uncharacteristically silent, the seven members of the Jung family all practically inhaling the delicious kimchi stew that Jaejoong had prepared. The man himself is alternating between feeding the baby of the family, as well as himself, the toddler squawking loudly if he takes over long with the next spoonful.
"Yah, no wonder your brothers think you are a ball. You're going to get rounder, Minnie-ah."
Yunho's curious voice causes Jiyool to giggle, which in turn sets off JJ who is still not quite able to grasp the concept of a giggle, guffawing loudly instead.
"What's going on?"
Jaejoong simply hums in response, lips twisting into a tiny smile as he watches his daughters laugh. He has given up on eating his food, focusing on feeding Changmin instead as his baby boy grins happily at him.
"I feel like Captain Von Trapp with no clue why his children are crying. In this case, laughing."
He speaks too soon though, because Yoochun suddenly bursts into tears, closely followed by Junsu. Instead of being sympathetic to the twins' bawling, the older girls laugh even harder, leading Jaejoong to send them a look. One of those looks that halts laughter in its tracks. But his look is half hearted, and the girls quieten down, but don't quite let go of their amusement completely.
Yunho looks around the table. To his left are the girls, and to his right, the boys. His wife is across the table with the youngest in a high chair next to him. Apart from his twins, everyone else seems decidedly amused about something, Changmin included. Though really, give that boy food and he'll be happy regardless.
Yoochun's sobbing has turned into loud wailing as he is not getting the attention he wants. Junsu's crying is a tad more genuine than his brother's, but not by much.
"Yoochun-ah. What's wrong?"
"Yes, Chunnie. Tell daddy what's wrong." Jiyool chirps up in an oh-so-helpful manner.
"Yes, Mama?" her voice is dripping with innocence, but clearly innocence is just an illusion if the naughty twinkle in her eye is anything to go by.
Jaejoong simply shakes his head at his 6 year old. He's not sure when she got to be so cheeky but according to his husband, it is apparently all his fault.
"Can someone tell me what's going on?"
Yunho's voice is perplexed as he looks around the table, feeling a little left out. He has been working from home a lot more, especially since Jaejoong started with his TA position, but today is just one of those days where he had to spend 12 hours in the office, and it really cannot be helped.
All Yunho caught from that garbled sentence from his crying son was Chunnie, Minnie, ball, daddy and sorry.
"Su-ah. Can you say that again, slowly?"
And now the garbled sentence is coming from his oldest son. This time he managed to get the word kick as well as the same apology his brother has just given. He chances a look at his wife, and Jaejoong is nodding towards Changmin, and then back at the twins, and wrinkling his nose as he tries not to laugh.
Jiyool, who had been taking a sip of water right then, snorts, and then proceeds to choke rather spectacularly on her drink, and the ensuing chaos distracts everyone from the naughty twins, who slip slowly from their seats, running from the room hand in hand. By the time Yunho and Jaejoong determine that their oldest daughter is not in fact dying as she screeched and flailed, the twins are long gone.
"Where did they go?"
"They ran out." It is JJ's turn to be helpful as she takes a calm sip of her soup. She is not quite the middle child, but out of all the Jung children, she is the least prone to theatrics. She tends to be the peacemaker amongst her siblings, her older sister taking after Jaejoong in behaviour; loud and boisterous and very cheeky. The younger boys are constantly getting into mischief, and she usually ends up playing diplomat when they steal Jiyool's crayons and breaks them, among other things. Her brothers know that Jiyool listens to her, and they take full advantage of that, hiding behind her slim form when their oldest sister is on the warpath about her missing or broken belongings. She is her Mama's helpful little angel in the house, always keen on helping where she can.
Yunho knows who to ask in these circumstances. Jiyool will tend to embellish, never actually lying, but able to weave a tale that seems a lot more amazing than it is. Most of the time, this is a good thing, but he's had enough excitement today.
"JJ, what happened?"
"Promise you won't get mad?"
Yunho looks up at Jaejoong for his cue, and his wife smiles and nods.
"Chunnie and Susu thought Minnie was a ball. Chunnie kicked him. But daddy, Minnie has a lot of padding, so it didn't hurt."
"Mama said he got kicked on the bottom, and he's still wearing a nappy so it can't have hurt. Plus, he is a little fat..."
Yunho is trying desperately not to laugh. Jaejoong's facial twitches are not helping at all as he watches his wife struggle as well. Jiyool is biting her bottom lip, snorting, trying to keep in her laughter, while Minnie, the youngest and subject of the conversation is gurgling happily as he is fed.
"Jiyoolie, can you find your brothers please?"
"Daddy you aren't going to punish them are you? They're only little." Jiyool, despite finding the entire thing completely hilarious, is not the type of person who finds glee over another's misfortune. Yet another Jaejoong trait.
"Just find them please, baby girl."
Jiyool sighs, getting up from her seat and heading up to the bedrooms. She knows where they will be, where they always are when in trouble, which is rather often. And true enough, they are back in the nursery, huddled together by Changmin's cot.
When the twins see their sister, they start whimpering, and she feels a little bad for laughing now. She knows their father in all likelihood will not punish them, but the anticipation is bad enough.
"Come on. Daddy wants to talk to you. You can hide behind me."
Yoochun shakes his head, burying his face against Junsu's neck. Junsu's eyes are wide and tear-filled but he coaxes his brother to move. This cannot be as bad as the time they got spanked for running down the driveway. Their Mama was crying then, and their daddy was very angry. But even in that anger, all they got was a light smack on the bottom and a stern lecture on not going anywhere without an adult. He doesn't remember their mama or their father being angry this time, so maybe it won't be too bad.
Meanwhile in the dining room, Jaejoong is explaining what happened to Yunho, who is more amused than anything else, but he knows he cannot let his twins get away with kicking their baby brother.
Several minutes pass before the twins emerge, clinging to their oldest sister. Jiyool is still petite, and so the twins don't actually have much in terms of a shield. Both are hiding behind whatever of the girl that they can get, their eyes peeking anxiously over each of her shoulder as they shuffle into the dining room. All three end up before their father, Jiyool standing tall in front of her brothers. Unnoticed by her parents who are watching them, JJ slips out of her seat to join her siblings, standing next to Jiyool in front of the sniffling twins.
What started out as being amusing, is turning into something heartwarming. The children squabble more often than not, as children are prone to do, but as he watches them now, he cannot help but feel proud. Proud of his boys for owning up to what they've done without being prompted, and proud of his girls for standing with their brothers.
"Chunnie is sorry, Daddy. Chunnie is sorry."
A soft voice breaks through the silence, suffocated with tears.
"What are you sorry about, Chunnie-ah?"
“Chunnie is sorry for kicking Minnie. Chunnie thought he was a ball because he is so round.”
God help him, Yunho is dying from the need to laugh but he cannot. His son is absolutely drowning in remorse.
“Su didn’t kick him. I did.”
“But daddy, I called him a ball too.” JJ interrupts, as she reaches back to grab Yoochun’s free hand.
“And I didn’t correct them, because Minnie does look like a ball.” This time it is Jiyool who interrupts, grabbing JJ’s other hand and squeezing it.
“What do you think I should do?”
The four children stare at their father. This has happened before and they are familiar with it. The two girls turn to face their brothers and they huddle briefly, whispering loudly.
“Hush, Su-ah. Mama will record it.”
Jaejoong rolls his eyes at Yunho who in turn has his hands palm up as he shrugs his shoulders. The issue really isn’t that serious, but the children need to learn.
Jiyool is clearly the designated spokesperson as they break from their huddle and turn back to face him.
“We will share the blame, daddy. No tv time for one week.”
“Is that too long?”
Yunho’s lips quirk, unable to hide the smile at Jiyool’s sassy retort.
“Yes, that is rather long. Three days. Now you can stop hiding your brothers and finish your dinner. Chunnie, Su, come here.”
The girls send a look at their mama, and when they see him nod, they return to their seats. It’s rather funny how everyone unconsciously take their cues from Jaejoong, and he is sure none of them realise it. He smiles to himself even as he hefts Changmin from his high chair, the youngest is the only one done with his dinner in all the excitement, sitting the boy in his lap as the toddler sips water from his bottle, watching the goings on curiously.
Yunho sits his twins on each knee, hugging them close, and kissing the tops of their heads.
“Daddy is not happy that you kicked Minnie. What have you learned from this?”
“Minnie is not a ball.”
“Minnie doesn’t bounce.”
“Doesn’t bounce—“ Yunho almost chokes, trying not to laugh. His children stare at him, mild confusion across their faces, and he schools his features. God knows trying to keep a straight face with his children is much harder than keeping a straight face at work.
“We should not kick Minnie because he is not a ball.”
“Chunnie!” Junsu whispers, already coached by their oldest sister. “Because he’s our brother not because he’s not a ball!”
“Oh, right. Minnie is our brother and not a ball.”
Another snort from Jiyool, and this time she is joined by Jaejoong.
Changmin, silent this whole time, finally opens his mouth to add his own part, complete with a happy wave of his sippy cup as he rocks his pudgy body in his mama’s lap. He has long forgotten the pain in his butt.
Yunho loses the battle right there, hugging his twins to him as he bursts out laughing.
AN1: You know, IDE want to know what kind of chaos happens with five kids age six and under at the dinner table... Sigh. Actually I do know but that's beside the point. I remember once, I was at a friend's for dinner and there were TEN kids age 8 and under. I was sitting on the stairs, out of their way, almost catatonic from the noise. Honestly, I wanted to cry.
AN2: It's actually amazing I wrote this because I have had sex on the brain all night thanks to Before U Go lol! But I channelled that into my NaNoWriMo fic so no smut for y'all :P
AN3: OMG... Ok that was bloody long... not sure what happened there OTL Nicki has failed drabble school rather spectacularly this time.