Genre: AU, 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 needed to get this muse out of my system because if I don’t, Ice will never get written. Seven children vs. Anyang Halla, believe it or not, Halla LOST.
AN2: Un-betaed and although this is from my Sleeping Beauty verse, you don't need to have read it. All my oneshots and drabbles for the Sleeping Beauty universe can be found HERE
Jaejoong stands in the doorway to the media room, currently taken over by the sound of tires screeching and three boys hollering and yelling at each other. He waits for about a minute or so and his brow furrows as he tries again.
Changmin, normally willing to drop anything for food, doesn’t even look at his Mama as he screams round a corner as he races some Formula 1 night race with his older brothers. He does however, answer him.
Jaejoong’s brow goes up.
“Are you sure?”
Changmin swallows a curse as Junsu overtakes him on another corner, and in his annoyance with his brother, he takes it out on his Mama.
“We’re old enough, Mama! We can feed ourselves!”
His tone is rude and dismissive, though he himself is unaware of it, and his twin siblings glance at him and at their Mama’s face for a split second before Changmin’s loud gloating as he overtakes Junsu back steals their attention once again.
Jaejoong stays in the doorway, looking from the large screen, to his three sons with their controllers elbowing and nudging and yelling at each other in various attempts to dislodge the other from first place. Changmin, the youngest is currently leading, closely trailed by the twins, Junsu and Yoochun respectively.
“I’m not gonna ask again. Dinner is ready now. Are you coming down?”
“No!” Three voices shout, eyes glued to the screen, not even sparing their Mama another glance.
Jaejoong sucks in his bottom lip, chewing on it, before he turns and shuts the door quietly. Now, Jaejoong normally would not have allowed his children to get away with being rude like that. He would have gone in and yanked the plug to the television off and herded his little brats out the door and down to dinner.
But Changmin’s words are ringing in his ears.
”We’re old enough, Mama!”
When did his boys grow up that they no longer need him?
The twins are almost 12 and Changmin already 10. They are in the home stretch of the summer holidays and the house has been bustling more than usual.
But not so much today.
Yunho is away on a trip to Jeju and won’t be back till later that night, the older girls are both at sleepovers and won’t be home till the next afternoon. Being left with the boys, the house would normally be noisy indeed as they run up and down the stairs hollering at each other. More often than not, it is the twins running after Changmin who has probably yet again played another prank on them or done something to annoy them. The youngest boy is cheeky, precocious and very much loved despite his tendency to irritate his older siblings.
It also doesn’t help that he is also the smartest out of all the boys. He is actually in the twins’ class at school, and when he’s being particularly ornery, enjoys reminding his brothers of this.
That doesn’t happen often though, and his brothers are actually confident enough in themselves, and mature enough to feel pride at their baby brother’s achievements, although at that age, the twinges of jealousy do come in on occasion.
Jaejoong’s steps are heavy as he walks down the stairs. Changmin’s words are cutting him more than they probably should. Jiyool is already 15 and JJ is 13, and yet neither of his girls have said such a thing to him.
Not that he can recall anyway.
But of all his children, to have Changmin say that to him.
”We’re old enough, Mama!”
He knows his son probably doesn’t mean to hurt, but unfortunately for Changmin’s rather cavalier attitude towards minding his tongue, he does it accidentally more often than not.
Jaejoong can still remember Changmin’s immunisation day at fifteen months all those years ago. His baby, the little brat that he fed till ten months from his own body, had told him to go away.
“Go! Minnie don’t want Mama. Mama, go! Mama, naughty!”
He enters the kitchen, and his gloomy thoughts are pushed away by the brilliant identical smiles he receives when his baby girls catch sight of their Mama.
Na-young and Mi-young are sitting in their high chairs, waving their sipper cups as they bounce excitedly in their seats.
“Mama!” Screeches one, happily.
“Mama!” Echoes the other one.
Jaejoong smiles as he collects their bowls from the kitchen counter, placing it in front of them as he settles into his own seat opposite them.
“You still need me don’t you? You’re not old enough yet, are you?” Jaejoong questions the twin girls who both have a spoon stuck in their mouths as they watch him. “Nana, you still need Mama don’t you? Mimi, you too?”
Both girls stare back with almond eyes that are so dark, they are almost black. They are the image of their father, just like Jiyool, complete with the cupid bow mouth. Every time Jaejoong looks at them, he is reminded of when he had first met Jiyool. Their big sister had been beyond amazed to see that they could probably pass off as triplets if their baby photos were lined up side by side.
He remembers an afternoon a few months ago. Yunho had been looking through a bunch of old photos and had found a few of Jiyool. He had stared and stared, and then gotten up without a word, with his handful of photos. Curious, Jaejoong had trailed after him as he goes up to the attached nursery where the twins are taking their afternoon nap. He had watched from the doorway as Yunho had placed the photos next to the waking twins’ heads.
Jiyool had walked in on them, fresh home from ballet and wanting to tell her parents about how she will be the lead in the autumn production of Sleeping Beauty. She had sidled up next to her father, curious as to what he was doing.
She had stared, and stared, just like her father. But unlike him, she had burst into tears, much to the shock of both Yunho and Jaejoong.
”They look like me. Mama, they look like me. I can be yours too, Mama.”
Jiyool, the sole child who had not come from Jaejoong, had carried the fact silently, her parents unaware that she sometimes felt like the only one left out, because she never said a word. It is a very rare twinge of pain that comes every now and then, but it does rear its ugly head when she is feeling vulnerable, especially in large gatherings when people comment about their looks. All her siblings look like their Mama in some way or other except her. She knows why of course, and she knows her parents have never ever made her feel any different from the other children, but the words of random strangers can hurt when you least expect it. Jaejoong too had cried when his baby girl had finally explained it to them.
Jaejoong bites his lip as he stares at his twins, his own dinner lying untouched in front of him as they demolish theirs. His then fourteen year old daughter still needed her Mama, so why don’t his boys?
He spends the rest of the evening with the twins, missing the older girls even as he plays with their baby sisters. Jiyool can probably be considered the twins primary caregiver alongside himself considering how much she babysits. Given a choice between free time and looking after the twins, she will invariably choose her siblings. She had been there from the day they were born, when Yunho was stranded in Tokyo due to a blizzard, and his daughter had been the only one around when the twins decided they were going to arrive seven weeks too early. It was his Yoolie who held his hand in the operating theatre, her father’s eyes on his, giving him the strength to keep fighting as once again, just like with the twin boys, his heart stops.
Her face had been his first image, tears streaking down her cheeks, but her voice is firm and unwavering despite her tears.
”Fight, Mama! We love you so much. The babies are fine, but you need to fight, Mama. Fight the way you fought for me and Daddy. We need you, Mama.”
Jaejoong is staring at the drowsing twins on his bed as they drink their milk, lost in his memories, when Yunho enters the bedroom.
Yunho smiles at the sight he is greeted with. He had looked in on his sons, still in the media room despite it being almost 10pm. It is the summer holidays and the boys are old enough for them to not be given bedtimes during vacation. Jaejoong’s sole rule is that all the children are in their bedrooms by midnight. What they do in their bedrooms is up to them; read, play games, talk, whatever. But they are not to be in any of the other rooms and this especially includes the media room and the computer room.
He changes out of his clothes, not bothering with a shower just yet because he wants Jaejoong to join him. He slips in behind his wife, wrapping his arms around him, and nuzzling into his neck.
“I’ve missed you.”
Jaejoong smiles as Yunho slips his hand over his, intertwining their fingers over his belly as the twins both pull their mostly empty bottles from their mouths and turn.
“Daddy!” twin voices say together. Perhaps it’s because they are identical. So identical, the only way to differentiate them is that one has a mole on her cheekbone and the other on her upper lip, on opposite sides to the corresponding moles on their parents. The girls tend to speak in unison, in one voice, and their older siblings all find it very amusing when they do so.
“Itchy, Daddy! Itchy!” Mimi drops her bottle, narrowly missing her twin’s head as she reaches towards her father who chuckles, knowing what she wants.
Yunho moves over his wife, settling just his head between the twin girls who are now gurgling and giggling happily in anticipation.
“Itchy, Daddy!” Nana’s voice is a tad more demanding then her sister’s.
Yunho pushes up her top, exposing her soft, slightly pudgy baby belly, and rubs his chin on it, making her squeal happily.
Mimi, not wanting to miss out, gets as demanding as her sister as she reaches out to tug at her father’s thick hair, now going slightly grey at the temples.
“Daddy, me! Itchy, me!”
Jaejoong laughs along with the giggling baby girls as Yunho rubs his whiskered chin against their soft skin. His eyes meet his husband’s, and the love between them is still palpable now as it was all those years ago. He is 33 years old, no longer the wide eyed teenager he was, but he is more in love now than he ever was as his husband groans when Mimi tugs a little too hard.
“I’ve been reduced to a scratching post.” Yunho’s voice is rueful as he gazes at his beautiful wife as their baby girls pull themselves up, and smoosh their cheeks against his, rubbing happily and cooing as their father, not shaving since the night before, tickles at their sensitive skin.
“You love it.”
“It’s definitely nice to be needed, even if it’s just for a scratch. Why aren’t they in bed?”
“They had a long nap. We can put them to bed now. They’ll amuse each other till they fall asleep.”
“And then I can amuse you till we fall asleep?”
“We’d be up all night…”
“I’m not working tomorrow.”
Jaejoong grins at the wicked smirk he gets as Yunho straightens to scoop the twins up in his arms. Laughing to himself as Yunho starts talking to the twins as he heads into the adjoining nursery.
“You two are going to be good little girls and sleep through the night, right? Mama and Daddy have uh… uh… things to do. So you two sleep ok?”
“Yunnie-ah! Kiss!” Jaejoong calls out from the bed just as his husband walks through the door, sitting up against the headboard, and smiling as Yunho jogs back in. The twins are giggling loudly as they are jostled around, before being deposited into their Mama’s lap.
Both girls immediately lean up, placing loud smacking kisses on his cheeks.
“Bedtime now, girls. What do you tell Mama?” Yunho coaxes.
“Love you, Mama.” Nana, the older twin starts, planting another kiss on her Mama’s cheek and then nuzzling into his chest. “Sleepy time.”
“Night night, Mama. Love you.” Mimi too kisses her Mama, but misses his cheek and plants one on the corner of his mouth instead making him laugh.
Yunho tries to scoop the twins back into his arms, but they are both clinging to his wife.
Mimi shakes her head at him. “Need, Mama.”
The twins use their own words for things. Itchy instead of scratchy, and need instead of want, but the sentiment behind their words are clear enough. And in this instant, it is the one thing their Mama needed to hear anyway.
Yunho simply smiles as both the girls nuzzle against his wife’s chest, holding hands, their foreheads together, moving gently with each breath his wife takes. This has happened often enough for him to know what to do as he leans down and scoops up his wife with the twins. It is getting a little harder now as he grunts from the effort, ignoring Jaejoong tsking him, as he carries all three into the nursery. He presses a kiss to Jaejoong’s temple, whispering softly as he walks down the short hallway to the nursery.
“We all need, Mama.”
Husband and wife are in bed, naked and sated and conversing quietly when the bedside phone rings. A quick glance at the clock indicates that it is 11:27pm. This is the line only their children know, which means it is either Jiyool or JJ.
Jaejoong picks up the phone on the third ring.
He is met with quiet sniffling, and he sits up immediately, Yunho sitting up with him, wrapping his arms around his wife as Jaejoong puts their daughter on speaker phone.
“What’s wrong, JJ?”
“Mama…” JJ starts and starts sniffling again.
“Baby you’re scaring me. Do you want me to come pick you up? Did Haneul and Kyunghee do something?”
“No…no they’re watching a movie. We’re watching a movie.”
“Then what’s the matter, sweetheart?”
“I miss you.”
Jaejoong stares at the phone. Both girls are having sleepovers over two nights, and he hadn’t heard a word from his second daughter the first night, though Jiyool had called home to check if the twins had missed her, the little brat.
“I miss you too. Don’t cry, I’m not going anywhere.”
“I had a bad dream last night. I dreamt that you disappeared and everyone could see you except me. I don’t know why I was the only one who couldn’t see you. I wanted to come home today, but Haneul had already planned the boat trip and I couldn’t ask her parents to send me home.”
“Why didn’t you call me?”
“I…I don’t know. I thought I could be a big girl. I’m 13 now aren’t I? 13 year old girls are not supposed to need their Mama after a bad dream.” JJ’s voice cracks and she starts sniffling again.
Yunho speaks up then as Jaejoong shifts nuzzling into his throat and sighing. He can feel his wife’s warm breath across his skin.
“It doesn’t matter how old you are, JJ. I’m 46 and I still need your Mama. Remember the bad dreams I used to have?”
“I was much older than you and I still needed you Mama to hug me better. It’s ok to need your Mama.”
“No guessing, JJ. I know. I can pick you up now if you want to come home?”
There is a long pause, and the parents can hear their daughter’s breathing evening out as she calms down.
“No, Daddy it’s ok. It’s late. I’ll be fine…I just needed to hear Mama’s voice. I’ll be ok. Thank you.”
After a few more quiet words, JJ hangs up.
Just after she hangs up though, their bedroom door bursts open. Both Yunho and Jaejoong exchange looks as Jaejoong murmurs under his breath, even as he pulls the covers up a little higher as their three sons tumble into the room. “You didn’t lock the door!”
“Daddy! When did you get home?” Changmin questions, bouncing in and jumping onto the bed, sitting cross-legged at the foot and blinking innocently at his father.
Yunho rolls his eyes, shaking his head at the boys. “I got home at about 9:30 or so. What did I say about knocking first?”
“Sorry!” Yoochun answers, his eyes darting back and forth between his parents.
“I’m hungry!” Changmin complains as he stretches out across the foot of the bed, scratching his belly as his twin brothers stand next to him.
“And?” Jaejoong asks, his tone is mild.
“And I want to be fed, Mama. My tummy is making funny noises.” Changmin pulls himself back into a sitting position, dark eyes huge in his face as he pouts at his Mama.
Jaejoong straightens, not the slightest bit sympathetic as he stares at his youngest son.
“I’m not going to serve you now when I called you to dinner four hours ago. You can sort yourselves out.”
Four mouths fall open in shock, and Jaejoong ignores them all though he does pinch Yunho for his own gaping mouth, as he pouts and sniffs, before sliding down underneath the covers. He turns over on his front, picking up a pillow and placing it over the back of his head.
Yunho is more than surprised at the pouty sulk his wife has just exhibited. His sons are all wide-eyed, staring at the lump in the bed next to him. Junsu speaks first.
No answer, and Yunho nudges his wife who rips the pillow from his head and glares somewhat belligerently up at him.
“Your son is talking to you.”
Jaejoong turns to look over his shoulder. “Why are all of you still here? It’s almost midnight. You know what that means.” And with that, he turns over again and pulls the pillow over his head.
Yunho stares at his petulant wife, who has apparently switched bodies with a snotty teenager. He gestures to Junsu to come forward, whispering quietly to his son.
“Did you boys do something to annoy him, today?”
Junsu pauses to think, his eyes are trained on the lump in the bed rather than his father as he whispers his reply.
“We were in the middle of an important race when Mama called us to dinner. I think we might have been a little rude…”
“Well…” he scratches his head, not bothering to look at his twin or younger brother. “I can’t really remember because we were really into the game, but I think we all yelled at him.”
“You yelled at your Mama? Because of a game?” Yunho’s countenance turns serious as he looks at his other two sons who are both staring at the lump in the bed. Changmin is no longer on the bed, standing next to his older brother instead. He watches as Yoochun pushes the youngest boy behind him. “Both of you come here and stand next to your brother.”
Yoochun and Changmin both shuffle, heads down, to stand next to Junsu who is still staring at the lump that is their Mama, and not at their father.
“Did all of you yell at your Mama today?”
One by one, they nod slowly, and Yunho shakes his head.
“No video games tomorrow. You will all do whatever chores I tell you to do, and all three of you will go to bed at nine, just like a school night for the next three days. I’m not pleased at your behaviour. We raised you to be respectful and caring, but yelling at your Mama? And because of a game? Think about it. Was the game worth being rude and disrespectful to the man who gave all of you life?”
The boys don’t move, all of them staring at their toes now as their father’s quiet yet stern words wash over them. Put that way, it is definitely not worth it. Not worth it at all. They know that being caught up in their game is nowhere near a good enough reason to shout rudely at their Mama.
“Go to the kitchen and find something to eat, and when I check your room in half an hour, I want all of you to be in bed. Understood? You can apologise to your Mama tomorrow.”
The boys nod, and Yoochun grabs both his brothers’ hands and tugs them out of the room. The subdued trio shut the door quietly behind them as they make their way down to the kitchen.
Yunho sighs as he slips down under the covers, removing the pillow from Jaejoong’s head and he is met by shining doe eyes, and a tiny smile playing about that gorgeous pout he loves so much.
“I think you were too hard on them.”
“You went into a sulk, Jae. I know you were upset. I can’t believe they yelled at you over a game.”
“I wasn’t upset about the yelling. They were a little rude, and I could have punished them at the time, but I didn’t because Changmin reminded me that they’re all big boys now. I was more upset about the fact that they don’t seem to need me anymore than anything else.”
Yunho remains silent, stroking his hand up and down his wife’s bare back, and with each pass, they skim lower and lower till he is including Jaejoong’s bare ass in the stroking, making his wife giggle as he turns and curls into his husband’s side.
He presses a kiss to Jaejoong’s nose. “We all need you. They may think they don’t need you but you know they do. I think you’re missing the girls which is why you might have been over sensitive. We all need you, Jae. But you also need to let them go a little. They’re all growing up.”
“Even Nana and Mimi? I have to let them go too?”
“Brat! Not them. Not for another ten years probably. Aren’t you lucky? We have five grown children and two babies for you to dote on till they turn into little monsters that no one wants to marry.”
Jaejoong laughs then. “Fancy you talking about marriage. I still remember the horrified face you gave me when I mentioned feeling sorry for whoever marries Jiyool.”
“She was two!”
“The twins are one and a half!”
“Can we drop the subject?” Yunho whines. “They’re all never going to get married. No one is going to touch my baby girls. Never!”
“Who knows…Jiyool is just like me isn’t she? Everyone says so. And I got married at nineteen to this ahjussi who just can’t keep his hands off me so much so that we now have seven children. Seven! She’s fifteen now…”
The younger man laughs merrily as he rolls out of bed, out of reach of his now pouting husband.
Three boys are staring disconsolately at the contents of the fridge. The freezer section is completely full, but the fridge side is rather barren. They have no idea what to do with the stacks of frozen containers, knowing full well if they mess up their Mama’s kitchen, they will be in far far far more trouble than they’re already in.
“There’s kimchi,” Junsu points out as he reaches in to pick up the covered bowl.
Changmin sniffs immediately, shaking his head. “I don’t want kimchi. I want rice.”
“I’m sure there’s rice somewhere,” Yoochun adds, rubbing his baby brother’s arm as he starts opening and closing doors.
Junsu investigates the meagre contents of the fridge, while Yoochun goes through the pantry, as their baby brother sits at the breakfast table chewing mournfully on a banana.
“I found rice…but it’s not cooked.”
“There’s some of Nana’s and Mimi’s food. It smells like sweet potato mashed with rice.”
Changmin peels another banana that he’s pilfered from the fruit bowl in the centre of the table, chewing despondently as his tummy growls, not happy with whatever sustenance he is providing it. He is definitely regretting not coming down to dinner now.
“Mama would be even madder if we eat their food, Su-ah.”
Junsu slams the fridge door, walking to the breakfast table to deposit what he’s found.
Kimchi, a cucumber and three tomatoes.
“It’s Saturday tomorrow. Mama goes grocery shopping then. There’s nothing else.”
Yoochun too comes by the table, depositing what he’s found.
Some dried seaweed in an opened packet and a tray of eggs.
“Eggs? What are we going to do with eggs?”
“I don’t know… we can make magic eggs. Remember that thing Daddy bought that poaches the eggs in the microwave? We can do that.”
“There’s no ramyun?” Changmin asks his oldest brother, expression hopeful.
“We finished it all for lunch remember?”
The three boys sit in silence, the twins each reaching for a banana too, Changmin for his third banana, as they stare at the meagre offerings from their Mama’s kitchen.
“How does Mama make such amazing food with nothing?”
“Mama knows where everything is. I’m sure there is food somewhere. We just don’t know where…”
“What did he do with our dinner?”
“In the freezer. I saw a container with today’s date on it. He made dak galbi.”
Changmin groans as if in pain, bending over and banging his head on the table.
“We are so stupid.”
The twins mirror him, sighing unhappily as they chew sadly on their bananas.
The banging of a pot, jerks them all upright, and they stare in disbelief at their Mama’s back, naked from waist up, but wearing a black apron that he is fastening around his waist. The muted sound of a television being turned on has them whipping their heads to the family sitting are, where their father is lounging on the couch, topless as well, flicking through the channels. Neither of the adults acknowledge them, and the trio sit in silence, watching their parents.
Their Mama comes over to the table, collecting all the meagre offerings the boys had found. Within five minutes, the smell of frying rice permeates the room. There had been rice in the rice cooker that the boys hadn’t found.
In another five minutes, three plates are laid out in front of the starving boys, heaped with kimchi fried rice, but fashioned after omurice. A large omelette covers each pile of rice, with cucumbers, tomatoes and seaweed garnishing it and finishing the simple meal.
The boys don’t forget their manners this time, thanking their Mama profusely as they dig in. Changmin in particular, makes happy sounds with each bite. The twins are more subdued, though they are both shoveling food into their mouths as if they haven’t eaten in ages. They watch as their Mama pulls off the apron and joins their Daddy on the couch, snuggling as they watch whatever it is on the television.
“Mama is magic,” Changmin declares halfway through his meal.
The twins nod, as they whisper. “He took whatever we found and made us the best meal ever.”
“Better than dak galbi.”
The boys polish off their heaped plates, slipping quietly from their seats to place their dishes in the dishwasher. Not a grain of rice is left behind, as they practically lick their plates clean. They each take turns sharing a glass of water from the fridge, refilling it five times between them, before they head back to their parents who are wrapped around each other and watching an international news channel.
Yunho and Jaejoong move apart far enough for a Changmin size gap to appear between them. They don’t look at their sons, but they both open their arms.
Changmin moves first, slipping into the gap between their parents. Yoochun moves to sit next to his Mama while Junsu sits with his Daddy.
Both Jaejoong and Yunho wrap their arms around their sons, kissing their foreheads. The boys, now full and satisfied, and content in their parents arms, slowly nod off one by one. Their parents follow not long after, the five of them asleep on the couch completely entwined in each other.
AN: Wrote this in its entirety with a bad headache bordering on migraine… I just didn’t feel right just lying in bed and staring at the ceiling with a million things going through my head so I had to write it out OTL I needed some fluff! And well, I think I’ve forgotten how to write true fluff……. >>__________>> #emoshinki