Genre: AU, angst, slice of life
Disclaimer: I don't own anything apart from the story. I wish I had YunJae and if I had my way, they'd move to New Zealand so they can be civil-unionised here :P
AN1: I am REALLY emoshinki… woke up emoshinki… And I’m still upset from yesterday I think. And this oneshot is seriously testament to how upset I am… Consider this your only warning. I think some of you might want to kill me after this, but life isn’t all fluffy no matter how much I wish it to be.
AN2: Un-betaed and although this is from my Sleeping Beauty verse, you don't need to have read it. If you like YunJae and you like kids, that should be enough lol. Though even my readers who don't like/want kids like the SB verse so IDK... it's up to you XD You can find the other drabbles/oneshots from this verse here
“JJ! JJ! JJ where are you!?”
“I’m coming, Mama! I can’t find my blue hair clips!”
“JJ, everybody is in the car but you!”
“But I can’t go if I don’t match!”
“Mama, please!” JJ is scrambling under the breakfast table. She had her hair clips when she came down for breakfast but has somehow misplaced them in the last half hour. She is wearing a blue dress with a pretty sunflower on the front and she wants her blue hair clips with the sunflowers. She knows she is testing her Mama though cos he only uses her full name when he is at the end of his patience.
The morning has been chaos from the start. They had all managed to wake up late, and Yunho had woken to find several urgent phone calls that he had missed because he had put his phone on silent the night before due to Changmin sleeping with them. The matter was urgent enough that he had been unable to take the boys to day care as he normally does. It is the first week back at school, and JJ’s first day. It should have been a fun day with both her parents, but best laid plans are never set in stone when it comes to the Jung household.
“JJ, come on! You’re going to be late for your first day!”
“I don’t wanna go!”
The normally placid child can actually be rather stubborn and she shrugs off her backpack, crawling under the coffee table and lays there. She stays there for a few minutes, not hearing her Mama anymore, when she sees the familiar stockinged feet of her older sister suddenly appear.
“JJ? Mama is very mad. Chunnie and Susu are fighting and they accidentally hit Minnie.”
JJ jerks up at her sister’s words, hitting her head on the underside of the table and she starts to howl.
Jiyool crouches down quickly, tugging her sister out from under the table and rubbing her head for her. She had heard the loud thump and can feel her own head hurting in sympathy. She hugs the six year old, kissing her forehead the way she sees her Mama do when any of her siblings are upset.
“You’re ok, baby.”
“I l-l-lost m-m-my ha-hair cli-cli-clips.” JJ sobs miserably, clinging to her older sister as she rubs the sting out of her head.
“Your clips? The blue ones?”
JJ nods, nose buried against her sister’s shoulder.
“I have them. I saw them drop from your lap and when you went to put your bowl in the dishwasher, I picked them up for you. I was going to do your hair for you in the car cos we’re so late. I’m sorry you thought you lost them.”
JJ draws back, blinking away her tears as her pretty older sister looks sad for being the reason for the commotion in the first place.
“It’s ok, Yoolie. Thank you for rescuing my hair clips.”
“JJ! Jiyool?! Where are you!?”
Jaejoong’s voice is loud, and the frustration is clear in his tone as he yells from the foyer. He rarely yells, and especially not from such a great distance. He knows JJ is in the kitchen but he has no idea where Jiyool has vanished to. One minute she was in her seat, and the next she is gone. The twins are both sulking, having been moved from the backseat with their brother to the front where they are seated separately in the seven seater Chrysler Voyager. Yoochun had been angry enough to kick the seat in front of him, and Jaejoong had taken his toy for show and tell at daycare away, telling him he can explain to them that his Mama had taken it because he had been naughty.
He stalks back out to the car, going round to the other side to shut Yoochun’s door, only to get a still fuming little boy bite out cruelly, “I hate you, Mama. I hate you. I want Daddy.”
“Chunnie!” Junsu’s voice is horrified, but his twin’s face is absolutely mutinous as he kicks the seat in front of him again and folds his arms, flatly refusing to look at his Mama or his twin.
Changmin is watching in silence from the back, sucking down a large sipper cup of warm milk. Milk is still the main thing that can quieten him, the only Jung child who had been fed for almost ten months. Something that is so rare that Jaejoong’s doctor had actually asked if he could do a write up for a medical journal about it. It might also explain why he is growing so fast. The girls are all on the small side, the twins normal, but Changmin is like a weed, watered by milk.
Jaejoong simply slams the door in response, knowing he is too angry himself to be able to watch his words. He is tired, Changmin keeping both him and Yunho up last night because he had refused to sleep in his own bed. He has no idea why, and as far as he could see, the child isn’t sick, but the second either of them try to carry him out of their bed, he starts howling the house down.
Story after story was read and finally at about three, the stubborn Jung finally falls asleep from sheer exhaustion, his parents not far behind. They could have left him howling in the attached nursery, but for some reason, Jaejoong didn’t want to.
As he walks round the car, he sees his daughters emerging from the house, Jiyool pulling the door shut with JJ wrapped around her tightly. They walk down the steps like Siamese twins, and he can see that JJ has been crying. Normally, he’d find out why, but today, he just can’t. Jiyool seems to have it in hand, and he is more than happy to let his responsible older daughter deal with her sister. The girls climb into the backset in silence, though he does hear the whispered apology from JJ. He rubs the top of her head in acknowledgment but doesn’t say a word.
Satisfied that all of them are buckled in, he shuts the door, and climbs into the front to drive to the girls’ school.
They get there ten minutes late, and he leaves the boys in the car while he takes his daughters in to apologise for their lateness. JJ is no longer upset. She is beaming in fact with her clips neatly in her hair, holding her older sister’s hand. Jaejoong feels a twinge at remorse for being so grouchy that morning, and he gives both his girls extra long hugs, telling JJ he will cook her favourite meal for dinner.
He feels a pang as they both walk off, accompanied by one of the admin staff to take them to their classes. He stands there waiting, wondering if JJ will be like Jiyool and turn around. He knows he doesn’t deserve to get that last look from his daughter, especially after the morning they’ve had.
But JJ is her Mama’s daughter.
He watches as the three suddenly stop, JJ whispering to her sister, before turning and running back to him. He crouches down as she crashes into his arms, hugging him tightly around his neck. He can feel the prickle of tears as she whispers against his neck.
“I love you, Mama. I’ll miss you.”
And for the second time, he watches his six year old walk away. Even after the hug, she turns to wave at him before entering her classroom, and he finally returns to the car where the twins are surprisingly subdued, talking quietly.
He can hear their whispered conversation as he backs the car out to take them to day care.
“Say sorry to Mama. Say sorry now.”
“You can’t talk like that to Mama. I won’t play with you if you don’t say sorry to Mama.”
“I don’t wanna play with you anyway.”
“I don’t wanna say sorry. Mama is mean.”
“Mama is not mean. You hit Minnie.”
“I didn’t mean to!”
Their quiet bickering is interrupted by Jaejoong’s phone going off, and he answers it.
His day is about to go from bad to worse.
He is still on the phone, talking frantically, when he gets to the creche. He opens Junsu’s door, gesturing for the twins to unbuckle themselves and get out. After Yoochun hops out, he shuts the door, hustling his sons up and into the creche, leaving them in the foyer with one of the teacher aides. The twins watch him retreating, staring at each other confusedly.
Jaejoong hops back into the car, still on the phone. Something has come up at work, and he needs to get home immediately. One of the kids he had been working with at the orphanage that had been adopted out recently, has thrown a fit in his new home, and his new parents don’t know what to do. They live at the other end of the country, and they want to Skype with Jaejoong because the four year old boy keeps asking for him.
He gets home soon enough, in such a hurry that he leaves the car in the driveway instead of parking in the garage as he normally does, sprinting up the front steps of his house to get to his study. He could have worked from the penthouse in Jung Tower in retrospect, but he had been driving on autopilot and had found himself home.
Jaejoong is making kimchi fried rice when the home phone rings.
“Jaejoong? I’m picking up the boys but they say you didn’t drop off Changmin.”
Jaejoong pauses, turning off the stove as he holds the phone instead of cradling it, his brow furrowed deeply.
“What? Yes, I did. I dropped them all off this morning.”
“Junsu says you didn’t, and so does Yoochun. The staff here said you only turned up with the twins.”
Jaejoong’s eyes widen in utter horror when he realises what he has done, and the heart rending sound he makes as he drops the phone to run out to the car has Yunho moving in seconds.
The car is in the shade in the sheltered driveway, and while it is a mild September afternoon by most standards, it is still warm. The tinted windows are dark, but Jaejoong can make out his son, head hanging limply, still strapped into his car seat in the back seat. He is almost blinded by tears as he tries to open the door, only to find it locked. The sounds he is making as he runs back into the house are animalistic, his pain is so intense that he is moving on adrenaline. Each step feels like a stab through the heart. The more distance he needs to cover, the more pain he is in. Had someone actually shot him then, he would not have felt it.
When he finally gets the door open, the smell hits him first.
The acrid smell of urine, and the sour stench of stale milk.
He doesn’t feel his fingernails ripping as he scrabbles to the back seat.
His son is lying in a seat soaked in urine, his front covered in vomit. Jaejoong cannot see through the flood of tears, as he struggles to unbuckle the unmoving toddler, whose head lolls limply with each jerk of the buckle. The window next to him is smeared with marks, as the baby had tried to get out.
He can hardly breathe. He has never ever felt such pain. Not even with the births of his children.
Not even close.
Not even when he had to stay in hospital for a month after the birth of the twins.
That pain is nothing.
When he finally gets the buckles free, blood smeared everywhere from his ripped nails, he pulls the limp body of his three year old into his arms.
He cannot breathe.
He is suffocating as he weeps, holding the young boy in his arms.
Yunho hears before he sees Jaejoong. The cries coming from the car, the wailing, the pain is so palpable. He is glad he’d left the twins at the creche, because he didn’t know what he would have found.
He can feel himself retreating back and becoming an automaton as he approaches the car. His brain is automatically shutting down and blocking out the pain he can hear in his wife’s cries. He has an idea as to what happened, and to see it here in confirmation, Yunho just cannot face it.
He has enough sanity to call the family physician, explaining what has happened, telling the man to bring everything he can think of, and then he drops his phone to the ground, just as he gets to the car.
He can see the shadow of Jaejoong in the backseat, the man’s crying is harsh as he opens the other door.
The smell almost sends him to his knees.
He pushes the seat forward, moving categorically, carefully. He can see his wife holding their son and rocking in the backseat. Once the seat is out of his way he reaches back to pull Changmin from Jaejoong’s arms.
But his wife refuses to let go.
He tries again.
And again, Jaejoong refuses.
There is no emotion on Yunho’s face as he hauls Jaejoong bodily out, dragging the man from the backseat.
Jaejoong finally loosens his hold enough on the immobile body of their youngest child, that Yunho is able to take the boy from him. He cradles the frail body, and for the first time finding that the three year old is small.
He turns to walk back into the house, leaving Jaejoong on his hands and knees in the driveway, weeping inconsolably by the car.
His eyes are shuttered as he walks slowly through the house, to the back, where he gently lays the toddler onto the couch. His eyes roam across the pale, pale face. He can see the dried streaks of tears, and the stale vomit down his front. His hands shake as he strokes it down the little boy’s face, fingers searching for a pulse.
He bites his lip, the wall he has put up is wavering, and he can feel the tears pooling behind his eyes.
He tries again, touching the hot skin lightly, searching gently at his son’s throat.
He takes a deep shuddering breath, his walls cracking with the tears that seep out, and he tries for one final time.
And he feels it.
Thready, rapid, and very weak, but he can feel it. He hears footsteps behind him, and the gentle soothing voice of Dr. Han.
He allows the doctor to push him aside, but he doesn’t leave Changmin’s side as the doctor cuts away the clothes from his son and sets up an IV.
“Please be gentle,” Yunho’s voice is barely a whisper as the doctor looks for a vein on his son’s skinny arm. “He doesn’t like needles. Please be gentle.”
The doctor, who had seen the wife outside throwing up by the car as he wept, unable to offer the young man comfort. The younger Jung had made himself sick crying so hard, and he barely acknowledged his presence as he tried to coax the man into the house. And now, seeing what has happened, he understands.
He nods at the older Jung, the man’s face almost as lifeless as his son’s.
He checks the toddler’s vitals, examining his body carefully. The blood smeared on him had given him cause for concern but he had been unable to find the source. He remembers the bloodied fingertips of Jaejoong, and reasons that the blood must have been from him.
The boy’s heartbeat is a very fast, and it is still weak.
Once the IV is in, Dr. Han asks to be taken to the closest tub.
“We need to cool him down.”
Yunho scoops up his son carefully as the doctor holds the IV bag, and wordlessly walks through the house to the closest bathroom with a tub.
Dr. Han plugs up the bath, and turns the cold tap on to fill it.
“Do you have any cushions or pillows you don’t care about getting soaked?”
“Just take whatever you need.”
“The doctor eyes the tall man, cradling his son so gently, and he nods, leaving the IV bag on the counter as he goes in search of the pillows. He has been to the Jung home often enough to know where to find things. He is the personal physician of all the children as well as their parents, and he only ever makes house calls. The bathroom they are in is attached to the downstairs guest bedroom normally reserved for Jaejoong’s parents, and he takes the pillows from the bed.
When he returns, Yunho hasn’t moved. He drops the pillows at the head of the tub.
“Lay his head on the pillows. It will keep him upright. We need to bring his temperature down. Can you fix the thermostat and make the house cooler?”
Yunho has just laid Changmin out, his son not even stirring, and he turns his eyes to the doctor. The pain is finally seeping into them, and the doctor can see it.
“I can’t leave him…”
“I’m here, Yunho. I’m not going anywhere. Changmin is a strong boy. Look, he’s waking.”
Yunho’s head whips immediately back to the tub, and the sound that rends from his chest is pain-filled as he sees his youngest child blinking confusedly, before he starts to cry, though no tears come forth.
“Mama…” Changmin’s voice is a hoarse croak, after having cried and screamed for hours in the stifling car.
Yunho leans over, willing himself not to cry as he strokes his son’s overheated body. It feels as if he has a fever, and he gently scoops up water to drizzle over the prone body. His son doesn’t even flinch, turning his confused eyes towards his father.
“It’ll be ok, baby. It’ll be ok. You just need a cold bath.”
“Do you want Mama?”
“Want…Mama…” Changmin’s eyes flutter shut, too exhausted, as he drifts back into unconsciousness.
Yunho stays on his haunches by the tub, scooping up water to wet his son’s upper body, as the water level rises too slowly for his liking.
“I can do that, Yunho. Go fix the thermostat and check on your wife.”
Yunho’s hand stills as he clenches his jaw. He takes one last look at his baby, satisfied that the boy is fine for now, before he gets up to leave the bathroom.
He fiddles with the thermostat, bringing the temperature down five degrees throughout the house, before he walks out the still open front door, shutting it quietly behind him.
His wife is still on his knees, hugging himself, a pool of vomit next to his head. He is shaking, but Yunho cannot hear him crying any longer. There is no expression on his face as he bends down to yank the man up by his collar, throwing him against the side of the car.
“What the fuck is wrong with you? How could you leave him out here? How could you?”
Jaejoong staggers, but he doesn’t fall, his arms still wrapped around his body as he stares lifelessly at his husband, shaking his head.
“I forgot…I forgot…”
Yunho’s anger is unchecked when he sees what he perceives as no reaction from the younger man, grabbing him by the front of his shirt, pulling him from the car, and practically throwing him down the driveway.
“You stupid fool. He could have died. What the fuck is wrong with you? What the fuck?”
This time, Jaejoong’s legs fail him as he tumbles to the ground, and he doesn’t get up, still shaking his head as he stares unseeing up at his husband.
“I forgot…I forgot…”
“Even after what you did to him, he still wants you. He’s calling for you. You don’t deserve to even look at him right now but he loves you. He wants you.”
Jaejoong shakes his head mutely, unable to vocalise any further words, not even really hearing his husband. He can’t even see through the haze of pain, his tears spent. His eyes are swollen almost shut, and he just doesn’t care anymore. He wishes Yunho would hit him. He wishes Yunho would kill him. The pain is unbearable and he just wants to die. He cannot live after killing his son. He can’t.
Yunho sees his wife swaying as he sits, and he approaches to haul the man up, but his wife’s next whispered words stop him short.
“Please kill me… I can’t live if he’s dead… please…”
Yunho drops to his knees in front of his broken wife, and he pulls him into his arms, his anger leaving him at the man’s words, and he starts to cry as he speaks, rocking his shaking wife in his arms.
“Jaejoong, no. Changmin is alive. He will be ok. Our baby is ok. He’s alive. He wants you.”
Jaejoong is still deaf to the words, so caught up in his pain, his voice is hoarse with the broken plea.
“Please kill me…please kill me…please kill me…”
Yunho squeezes his wife tight, crying at the despondent plea.
“You can’t Jaejoong. What about Jiyool? And JJ? And our twins? What about me, Jaejoong? What about me? I can’t live without you. Our son is alive. Changmin is alive. Baby, come back to me.”
Yunho has no idea how long he sits there, crying as he tries to convince his wife their son is alive. He knows the second Jaejoong’s sanity comes back to him.
“He’s alive. Our baby is alive.”
“Changmin… Yunho oh my god what did I do?”
“It’s ok, baby…”
Jaejoong struggles to get out of his husband’s embrace. Starting to cry once again, shaking his head vehemently, denying that it is ok. That it will never be ok.
Yunho holds on.
“Calm down… calm down…”
When his wife finally stops sobbing, he coaxes him up, and then bends to carry him in his arms bridal style, and is stunned by the wetness on the front of his shirt.
“How did you wet your shirt? It wasn’t wet earlier.”
Jaejoong looks down, blinking at his shirt plastered to his chest, and he feels the ache in his nipples. He unbuttons a couple of buttons, touching the stickiness, and brings it to his mouth.
His eyes widen, and he looks up at his husband’s confused face.
“What? How is that possible?”
“I don’t know…”
Yunho shakes his head, and strides quickly to the house, milk phenomena aside, he just wants to see his son now.
The house is noticeably cooler, and Jaejoong shivers in his arms as they go from the 25 degree warmth of outside to the 16 degree temperature of inside. He walks quickly to the bathroom, to find a smiling Dr. Han chatting with Changmin.
The doctor turns to greet the couple, relieved to see that husband and wife are in accord. He had feared for them, because something like this has the potential to tear a family apart. He had helped Jaejoong through all of his pregnancies, and he knows how close the Jungs are. If any family can survive this, he has utmost belief that it will be this one. He has absolutely no doubt that it had been a complete accident, and while there is an obligation to report an incident such as this to the authorities, he has absolutely no intention to.
“Your son is hungry.”
“He’s awake?” Yunho steps forward, dropping Jaejoong gently to his feet. He is met by a toddler with a wrinkled nose, immersed in water to his chest.
“Mama…” his voice is still hoarse and broken, but his eyes are wide as he stares up as his Mama. “Milk…”
Jaejoong doesn’t hesitate, unbuttoning his shirt and discarding it as he climbs carefully into the tub, stretching out next to his son, making sure his head is above the lap of water at his neck, and guiding him to latch on.
If Changmin thinks that any of it is weird, he doesn’t show it as he starts to feed.
The two men watch in silence, till Dr. Han takes a few steps back and pulls Yunho with him till they are just outside the bathroom.
“He doesn’t remember what happened.”
“Will he ever remember?”
“I don’t know, but I don’t think so. Your wife will know more about the psyche of a child in a circumstance like this.”
“What of the milk? Most men can’t feed past four months but Changmin fed till ten and now… why is he suddenly producing milk?”
“The human body is a miraculous thing. Your wife is more miraculous than most. Perhaps god is smiling down on your family, knowing that Changmin needs his Mama. He will heal quicker with his milk.”
“I guess you have yet another article to write for your medical journal?”
Dr. Han shakes his head, as he walks back into the bathroom to check on his patient. The toddler is clinging to his Mama, feeding noisily, as if he’s been starved for months.
“Some miracles are so sacred they shouldn’t be shared.”
AN1: This happened to someone I know recently… She has five kids aged 15, 14, 13, 11 and 3.
AN2: In retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have started that non-AU fic… it’s messing with my emotions… and today is YunJae day… The day they bloody met in Ice and I’m just lskdjfshf;ksdhflsjG;JLS;GJLSJDKLGJFSKLGJ
AN3: I KNOW I SUCK AT CELEBRATING YUNJAE DAY… Put it this way, I’ll never forget it ever. I was crying writing this from start to finish…