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 married here :P
Summary: Feared and revered in the business world, Jung Yunho has one weakness, and that is his family. Look a little deeper, and you will find that the man’s ultimate weakness was his ultimate salvation.
AN1: Btw, whoever sent me this photo…just…just…whoever you are I FUCKING LOVE YOU OK? I saved the photo and then I somehow managed to accidentally delete your message on ask.fm so I’m super really fucking sorry about that!!! Just, yeah, you have all my love in the world OTL
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
Everyone is trying their damnedest to keep a straight face, because this has occurred enough times for it to be considered normal, but each time it is so different that it is virtually impossible to think that just because you’ve seen it once or twice before, you’ll be prepared to see it this time.
Jung Yunho, one of the most powerful men in Asia, is listening intently to one of his staff explaining about something or other. His countenance is serious, and whatever the executive is telling him appears to annoy the man as he rubs his thumb across his chin, a tiny frown playing about his features as he listens.
This isn’t a strange sight by any stretch of the imagination. Jung Yunho doesn’t even have to speak for his displeasure to be felt by one and all in a room. Everyone milling around the very expansive boardroom of a newly opened resort on Jeju Island, is trying very hard not to stare.
His tailoring is impeccable as always, his entire outfit so well thought out and put together that the vision is perfectly seamless. There is absolutely nothing out of place, from his shiny brown Italian leather shoes, to the accessories he is wearing. The familiar ear studs in his ear may seem a strange adornment for a CEO to have, but it is such a part of him that no one bats an eyelid any longer. One of the youngest and most successful moguls around, the Asian Wall Street Journal had once described him as “a rock star amongst the run-of-the-mill pop stars in the business world”. He inspires awe and respect from his presence alone, older men and women automatically deferring to him even if they have no idea who he is. In a room of his peers, Jung Yunho stands out, and not just because of his height and age, but because of the inborn quality he has to command. Some people just have a presence about them, a quality, a colour even, that seems to hug their physical being.
Jung Yunho’s aura is the red of power.
This is not a man who takes orders from anyone.
And he has always had this quality, despite the dark years of his early time as a young executive in his company that at the time still belonged to his parents.
This colour holds strong and true even in the face of days like today.
Eyes are drawn to his strong hands. Hands that signify his true age and experience, for he looks far younger than he really is. Long pianist fingers seem a little out of place, but the large hands are perfect on the man who by all accounts of those who meet him, is larger than life anyway.
His fingers are without adornment, not a single ring to be found.
But everyone in the large room, male and female alike knows better.
For The Jung, as he is reverently referred to by many of his subordinates, has one weakness.
He does not need a wedding ring to tell the world that he is extremely happily married, and even less so on this cool summer’s day in the tastefully appointed board room of his newest resort on Jeju Island.
For as The Jung listens to his executive, his expression flattening out to one of empty indifference, his other hand is working.
Wrapped around hard plastic as he pushes and pulls idly back and forth.
The man is a breathtaking sight to behold, and despite the fear or nervousness that many in the room feel in his presence, none of them feel that way that day.
For The Jung has brought with him two very beautiful accessories that remind everyone that he is just as human as they are.
Asleep in a double stroller that their father is moving back and forth to keep them soothed, are two gorgeous twin baby girls.
It had started about twelve years ago with his oldest child, Jiyool. The precocious little miss had presided over a board meeting in her father’s lap, messily feeding him kimbap as he discussed the new line of luxury cruise ships he wants launched sooner rather than later. The beautiful little girl hadn’t batted an eyelid as business goes on as usual around her, content in her daddy’s lap as she listens quietly.
JJ, child number two, has also been seen coming to work with her father.
As have the man’s three sons.
There was even one occasion when he had all five of his older children in the office, seated in a row on his couch while he conducted a teleconference with Dubai.
Only his secretary and wife were privy to that particular incident, but his secretary is there with him that day on Jeju, and she relates the incident to a couple of other people.
”It was the most heart warming sight ever. He was not happy with how the teleconference was going, and he let it show on his face for it wasn’t a video conference. I think he might have forgotten about the kids though, because when I walked in with his wife, we found all five children making weird faces, trying to imitate the scowl on their father’s face. The twins were the most comical, Yoochun almost getting the expression right but he kept giggling because Junsu was pulling all manner of wrong faces. The girls were busy whispering and rearranging each other’s faces to get the right look while little Minnie was just wrinkling and wrinkling and wrinkling his nose as if that would be enough to replicate the frown on his father’s face. Little Minnie’s face was at one point, just one ferociously determined wrinkle.”
Jung Yunho is unaware of the little tidbit his secretary just shared about him. He is on Jeju Island for a week on business, and that is the third day he has spent attending business meetings and functions with his six month old twins.
Much too young by most observers’ reckoning to be away from their Mama, but the twins are more than content to be with their father. Twins being twins, they entertain each other easily enough, their happy gurgles echoing around a silent boardroom on more than one occasion.
It is during these times that if anyone happens to be looking at the head of Jung Conglomerate, that they’d be able to catch a tiny smile playing about his lips as he continues with his work.
The meeting starts soon, everyone taking their seats just as one of the twins wakes up.
The man chairing the meeting doesn’t miss a step, leaning over to scoop up the whimpering infant, taking the warmed bottle of milk from his secretary and popping the teat in his daughter’s mouth, never even losing his place in the conversation he is having with the CFO of one of his subsidiaries.
The baby girl holds onto her bottle herself, content to stare up at her handsome daddy as she feeds, feeling happy and safe. This is her first trip away from her mama, but she sees the man every two to three hours when her daddy takes a break to make a video conference call back home. She is in her daddy’s arms, and it is just as good as being with her mama, and so she doesn’t fret.
Halfway through her bottle, a loud whimper comes from the stroller as the second twin wakes.
Mi-Young, the older twin immediately pulls her mouth from her milk, a cry of her own coming from her throat as she stares up at her daddy, eyes identical to his, wide and imploring as her eyebrows knit hearing the distressed sounds of her sister. The only reason her father knows he is holding her is because of the pretty mole on her cheek, just like her mama’s.
The Jung magnate’s attention is finally diverted as he lifts the infant he is holding high against his chest, kissing her brow and whispering soothingly to her even as his secretary moves to pick up his youngest child.
Mi-Young, or Mimi as she is known by everyone refuses to be soothed though. She can hear her twin, and Na-Young is upset and if Nana is upset, then she is upset too.
She is about to launch into full voice, when a commotion distracts her. The cries die in her throat, twisting into a happy gurgle instead as she sees her disheveled twin being placed in the crook of her father’s arm, opposite her. Poor little Nana’s hair is standing on end, as if she’s been electrocuted, and she looks a real sight, but the younger twin cares nothing about all that as she starts to coo at her older sister.
His title as CEO is forgotten for a minute as Jung Yunho struggles briefly to settle his twins comfortably in his lap. Their legs meet, and they are rubbing their feet against each other’s in greeting, a strange habit to be sure, but they always do it. Unlike Yoochun and Junsu who used to kick at each other when in the same position in either his or his wife’s laps, Mimi and Nana intertwine their little limbs instead, seeking to get as close to each other as they can.
The secretary hands her boss another bottle, and he expertly tilts it quickly into Nana’s mouth. The crook of his elbow supports her head while the rest of her body rests comfortably on his thigh. Unlike Mimi, Nana is still unable to hold her bottle by herself just yet, which makes things a little tricky sometimes but he manages. He makes sure she is elevated enough to be able to see Mimi, before he resumes where he left off.
Mimi, seeing her twin is happy, starts to feed again. Her little foot strokes up and down her twin’s calf, and it is returned in kind as Nana rubs and pushes at her other foot with her own foot.
After a few minutes, he chances a look down at his daughters, and has to suppress a laugh.
Somehow, Mimi has managed to prop her foot on the lower half of Nana’s diaper, wiggling her toes as she feeds, while the younger twin grabs playfully at the toes waving in her direction.
He recalls the way Yoochun and Junsu are able to play on their own, but while he used to marvel at their ability to amuse themselves, it is almost nothing compared to the way his identical twin girls are able to amuse themselves. Sometimes, both he and his wife wonder if the girls are really just one tiny little person who happens to have been split into two perfect little creatures.
Despite Mimi starting her bottle first, both twins finish at the same time, and the bottles are taken by his secretary. Due to the way Nana was fed, milk has run down one side of her mouth, wetting the sleeve of his very expensive suit.
Jung Yunho pays no mind though as he maneuvers his babies, his large hands coming in handy right then as he slowly slips them behind the shoulders and neck of both girls. He lifts the tiny infants easily, propping each on a shoulder as he stands up.
He continues talking, as if he doesn’t have two pretty little babies gurgling at each other as he rubs their backs to burp them.
How anyone in the room manages to concentrate is beyond them, but no one makes The Jung repeat himself for it is utterly uncalled for unless they have suddenly gone deaf, so one and all somehow manage to pay attention to his words, while gaping at the same time at the handsome man pacing around the table.
A loud burp echoes around the room, and everyone smiles because Jung Yunho smiles, and exclaims.
“Good girl, Mimi.”
Not to be outdone, Nana follows suit too. Unfortunately though, she gulps her milk down too quickly, and with the burp comes some vomit.
Several muffled exclamations resound around the room as they catch sight of the mouthful of milky vomit going down the back of the man’s three thousand dollar suit.
The imposing man shakes his head at his secretary as she tries to take his daughters from him. Nana has started to fret, and he turns his shoulder, asking the woman to clean her mouth, but not to take her. His secretary complies quickly, and the man continues on his circumambulation of the boardroom table.
Apparently one burp isn’t enough.
Two burps (each), and one ruined jacket later, the tall man finally comes to a halt in front of the stroller. He drops both into it, buckling them up quickly, before he shrugs out of his jacket, draping the soiled piece of clothing over the back of his chair. He doesn’t sit down though, continuing to pace the room as he talks.
There are several more muffled exclamations, mostly from the women in the group as they are treated to the very virile Jung Yunho in a white shirt that hugs his broad frame much much too well for their sanity.
The shirt is tucked into his pants, and his V frame is noticeable, his back muscles rippling with every step as he flexes his body, loosening his arms up from being cramped in the same position for a little too long while holding the twins. The fact that they can see the shadowy outline of the large tattoo on his back is making some of the younger females resolutely avert their gaze as they try to concentrate on what the man is saying.
“No wonder he has seven kids,” someone mutters under her breath.
“I’m surprised he doesn’t have a football team,” another retorts.
“If he married a woman, he probably could have had a football team.”
“What was that?” Yunho’s voice is ice cold, having heard that unfortunate observation from the customer service manager of one of his other resorts on Jeju.
The woman turns bright red, staring at the papers in front of her and refusing to look up, because what can she say to defend herself? This man’s love for his wife is legend, and for anyone to even hint at anything else, or to even suggest that The Jung be with anyone but Jung Jaejoong, would be asking for a whole lot of trouble.
Jung Yunho has been known to lose his cool when it comes to his wife.
That legendary control of the mogul can snap in an instance when it comes to the stunning man he calls wife.
Joke all you want about anything, but joking about Jung Jaejoong within the hearing of his husband is really, well, some might question if you had a death wish.
The twins squawk in unison just then, and the man’s attention is diverted as he hurries to the stroller to check on his girls.
Perfect little mini Jiyools stare back up at him, and he remembers a time almost two thirds of a lifetime ago when a barely three year old baby Joongie had told a teenaged Yunho that he wanted a baby girl that looked like him.
Jung Yunho gave his wife three baby girls that look like him.
Anything that Jung Jaejoong wants, Jung Yunho will move heaven and earth to give him.
For the young child psychologist has given Yunho more than he has ever imagined possible, and even if he lived a thousand lifetimes over, he will never be able to repay him for being the beautiful blond teenager who pulled him out of the darkness.
Yunho is really happy to be home.
So happy that he almost swore at how happy he is.
He could have flown back and forth daily of course, between Seoul and Jeju, but Jaejoong had pointed out about the waste of time and energy, offering their twin girls as company instead, promising Yunho that it will be alright.
Jaejoong is always right.
Or at least, the universe tries to ensure that his wife is always right. It’s almost disturbing how infallible the man’s instincts are, and Yunho has on more than one occasion, deferred to it, to glorious outcomes.
He has gotten more done in one week on Jeju than he would have done flying back and forth for a month, and he is more than pleased at the small amount of free time he now has to spend with his family.
Speaking of family, he takes the twins up to the nursery first, for they both spent most of the flight being upset at the pressure in their ears, and had cried themselves to sleep on the way home.
Perhaps it was a portend of things to come, and Yunho might have exercised more caution if he had taken his perfectly behaved little angels’ tantrums on the plane, as a sign of such.
But it is Jaejoong and not Yunho who is inclined to flights of fancy such as these, so the CEO of Jung Conglomerate blissfully whistles his way up the stairs to put his poor little infant daughters in their crib in the nursery, before he goes in search of his wife and other children.
“Jung Jaeyong, I am disappointed in you. You lied straight to my face. How am I supposed to trust you anymore?”
JJ sits at the counter, arms folded, mouth in a mutinous pout as she glares at her mama. The recently turned twelve year old is behaving uncharacteristically, as is her older sister.
“Jiyool, what have you got to say for yourself? You should have known better. I trusted you to look after your sister, and this is what you do?”
Jiyool is also at the counter, angry tears filling her eyes. Why is she always the one to be blamed? The whole thing was JJ’s idea not hers but of course she’s the one who cops all the flak.
“Awwww, Mama it’s no big deal. It’s just a 15+ event. They’re almost old enough anyway.”
“Be quiet, Jung Yoochun. I’m not happy with you either.”
“If daddy were here, they wouldn’t have done this.” Changmin observes almost nonchalantly as he sits at the breakfast bar, swinging his legs from the bar stool. He’s never seen his sisters getting into any real trouble, but their timing is really way off this time for him to gloat even a teeny tiny bit. It’s always the boys who get into trouble, so this is a rare opportunity to gloat indeed. But he really has other more important matters on his mind. “Can you scold them later, mama? I need you to buy me the new model race car. Su and I were looking at the catalog and I want the blue Ferrari. My old one is a little small now and I can’t really fit into it properly without feeling squashed. Su said he’d be happy to have mine. Can we go to the shop and get fitted? They said there’s only one blue Ferrari model available and I have to have it, please mama?“ He finishes it all with huge puppy dog eyes and a little pout just for added emphasis.
Jaejoong stares at his youngest son in disbelief, his brain not even accepting that his son has just spoken thus. Changmin had come home yesterday with one of the worst report cards he has ever seen for his first month at an elective summer school that he had wanted to attend so he can graduate at the same time as his brothers, and he has the cheek to ask him for a new toy?
Not just any new toy.
A full scale, working Ferrari model car.
Those things cost tens of millions of won.
Yes, each boy has one, but that’s beside the point.
The fact that his youngest son doesn’t seem to appreciate the fact that his abysmal report card has an effect on his parents’ endless purchasing power on his behalf makes Jaejoong want to bang his head on the table.
When questioned about the report card yesterday, the nine year old had been flippant. Cranky and rude, he’d told Jaejoong he just doesn’t feel like school when everyone else is enjoying summer, and had proceeded to jump into the deep end of the pool and stay there.
Jaejoong is under strict instructions not to go anywhere near the deep end of the pool without Yunho around, and thus helpless, he can only glare at his nine year old water baby doing the back stroke so nonchalantly, even waving at him at one point, the little brat.
He could have hauled the kid up later that night of course, or even withheld dinner or something similar, but Jaejoong is just about at his wits end that week with work being insane, and all of his children suddenly swapped with their evil doppelgangers or something. He had no more energy by dinner time to deal with a smirking Changmin who appeared to have forgotten about his ridiculous report card as he played racing games with his brothers. In order to punish Changmin, it would likely inadvertently lead to punishing the innocent (or so he thought) twins, and so Jaejoong had left it. Of all the kids, Changmin is the one most capable of carrying on like some wronged death row prisoner or something and drag every single sibling into his mess, and Jaejoong has too much on his plate to want to face it.
And in all honesty, he is glad he delayed punishing Changmin for the next day brings forth the true culprit in this.
The ten year old had teased the youngest endlessly about all the fun he and Junsu were having without him.
Junsu isn’t entirely blameless in the mess either, for he was the one who told Changmin that a bad report card was alright since he’s had them before too. In fact, it was also Junsu who pointed out that once, when he’d gotten a bad report card, their parents had bought him a new soccer ball and taken all the kids to the zoo because that was what Junsu had wanted.
What the boy had forgotten to include is the fact that Junsu is mildly dyslexic and therefore, always has problems with his schoolwork. He usually manages to get by thanks to his excellent memory, but the higher he moves up in the school, the harder it is to memorise something you don’t quite understand.
His bad report card was not his fault, but rather his new teacher’s for flatly disbelieving that Junsu has trouble reading the exercises, even calling the boy a liar and holding him back during each and every break time to do his work. This, despite the parent-teacher conversation Jaejoong had with the teacher at the start of the school year! Junsu is a little slow, and the tears of frustrated anger he had shed over his schoolwork had been compounded by the unfair punishment, and he had grown to hate it all. Every single subject suffered because of it.
Jaejoong had caught on it about a month from the start of school, upset he hadn’t noticed it sooner. He knew his son was being held back during recess, but he had assumed it’s because the twins were being naughty for they have been held back before for disrupting the class.
The teacher is, as they say, history, but Jaejoong is still smarting from his own oversight. Till now, Junsu’s aversion to studying hasn’t completely gone away, but at least Jaejoong knows he tries very hard to do well despite that dislike.
Which is not something he can say for Changmin since the boy is well ahead of all his peers, including Yoochun in some aspects.
“Mama?” Changmin wheedles. “Junsu thinks it’s a good idea too,” he adds hopefully, feeling his brother nodding next to him. Junsu wants his car, and he wants a new one. It all works out to him. He purposefully avoids mentioning Yoochun for he knows his brother is already in trouble over something or other and his “support” won’t really be useful.
Changmin’s smile slides right off his face as his mama shakes his head at him. No? No? When has his mama ever said no to him?
“Not the precious child anymore are you, Minnie?” Jiyool remarks cruelly. She smirks as JJ laughs along with her.
“Well, now you’re learning that you’re just like all of us,” JJ adds. She, along with all her other siblings know exactly why Changmin appears to be the favoured child, but in trouble herself now, she is too young not to take some satisfaction from another sibling getting into trouble.
“But mama never says no to me…” Changmin stares bewildered at his older sisters. The snide tones are lost on him, as he turns towards the stone-faced man he calls mama. A man who has never failed him yet, but appears to be failing him now.
“Mama always says no. He said no to me so much, my first word was no.” Jiyool’s voice is a little bitter. “And everything is always my fault. I’m sure this whole mess today is going to be my fault somehow. You get into trouble? It’s my fault. The twins get into trouble? It’s my fault. JJ decides to be a little shit? It’s my fault.”
“Hey!” JJ protests, but her sister is too angry to mind her words.
“It’s always my fault because he isn’t my mama! It’s not fair!”
Yunho is humming to himself, loosening his tie when Jiyool’s impassioned yell hits him.
His steps quicken, and he gets to the doorway, just in time for all hell to break loose.
Jiyool and JJ are crying and screaming at each other and at their mama.
The twins are holding hands and looking upset, while Changmin has started to wail about how his mama is being evil.
“What is going on here?” Yunho’s voice is quiet, but the silence after his question is absolute.
There are subdued sniffles here and there, but all are determinedly muffled.
Jaejoong pivots on his heel, his eyes dead as he walks out from behind the kitchen counter, heading towards his husband. He is much to exhausted to cry, feeling a little dead inside. All five children have been acting up the whole week.
Jiyool and JJ pushing the boundaries of that set by their parents, pushing harder because Yunho isn’t around. Earlier that evening, Jaejoong received a call from one of the clubs, the bouncers having caught the two girls in a 15+ pre-show party for a j-rock concert. He had given permission to them to meet with Krystal to watch a movie, and JJ had blatantly lied to his face about it for Krystal had not known anything about any movie plans. Jiyool, who is almost fourteen, should have known better, but instead, went along with her younger sister’s deception.
He isn’t really equipped to deal with teenagers, angsty teenagers no less for Jaejoong never really ever went through any angsty phase in his entire life. He was always a happy child, and he really thought his children were too. (Un)luckily for him, both girls decided to enter their angsty pre-teen and teenaged phases while their father is away.
The twins and to a certain extent, Changmin, have all decided to pretend to be deaf to his calls. He has practically lost his voice from calling to the boys for every meal time, for every chore, for anything really. He knows they are doing it on purpose, and they think it’s some kind of game, but coupled with the stress he is facing at work due to dealing with the fallout of a school bus accident where a bus load of children witnessed the death of their bus driver, he is just running on empty.
Jaejoong pauses, tiptoeing to whisper into his husband’s ears, giving him a brief summary of the whole week.
Five pairs of eyes stare apprehensively as they watch their father’s eyes widen, and then narrow, and then go back to normal.
Normal is not good.
His face is blank, expressionless, something none of them are used to.
This is their father’s work face, not his home face.
Jiyool starts crying again, JJ starting up along with her.
“If you are crying from remorse at being unforgivably rude to your mama, you may continue. But if you are crying because you’re feeling sorry for yourself, stop, before I make sure you two actually have something to cry about.”
Their tears die a hiccuping death, the two girls staring at the counter top. They don’t see their mama sending them a sad look, as he turns to go up to the nursery to find the baby girls he’s missed the whole week.
Yunho leans against the doorway, deceptively casually as he pulls his tie apart and unbuttons the top three buttons of his shirt. His movements are slow and purposeful as he waits for one of the five to explain themselves. Inside he is fuming. Is this what Jaejoong has to deal with when he has to go away on extended periods? His wife assures him this is the first time, but Yunho doesn’t put it past the beautiful man with the huge heart to embellish it and underplay how hard it is sometimes for him, just so Yunho won’t worry. He is feeling guilty as hell.
All five heads jerk at the sound, but not a single one dares to look up to meet their father’s eyes. They all know they have gone too far. Their father’s presence has just reminded them of it. It is easy to steamroll their mama sometimes, for the man loves them too much, and allows them to get away with tiny things. Things he, as a child psychologist, decides too trivial to take issue over.
The twins and Changmin’s lack of hearing for instance.
And the occasional snippiness from Jiyool and JJ.
Their father on the other hand, does not consider any issue trivial.
“Jiyool, go up to my study and wait for me there. The rest of you, on the couch.”
Yunho eyes his beautiful daughter. He can see the tears shining in her eyes and even as he looks, a drop spills out as she blinks.
“You claim everything is your fault since Jaejoong isn’t your mama, right? So I’m dealing with you separately. Since JJ, Yoochun, Junsu and Changmin have the same mama, I’m dealing with them together.”
“Daddy, no!” JJ speaks up instantly, shaking her head, her own eyes filling with tears. “Yoolie didn’t mean it like that. She didn’t, Daddy, I promise.”
“What good is your promise to me, JJ? I know you can lie without blinking.”
“Daddy…” Yoochun and Junsu whisper in unison, their hearts clogged in their throats as they watch their sisters biting their lips, tears pouring down their cheeks but not a sound is heard.
Yunho ignores them, even though he hears them, eyes still on his daughters. His heart aches, but all his children have gone too far this day.
“Well? What will it be, Jiyool?”
“Do you want a new mama?”
“No!” Five voices shout together, and Jiyool starts sobbing again, shaking her head.
“Daddy, I’m s-s-sorry. I d-didn’t m-m-mean it l-l-like that. I j-just felt l-like everything is alwa-wa-ways m-my f-fault.”
“Tell me about this everything that is your fault. People consider me fair at work, and I cannot be as successful as I am without being a fair man so tell me what you feel has been unjustly claimed as your fault, and I will make sure everything works out fairly.”
Yunho pulls out his phone, dials a number from memory and puts it on speaker phone.
“Hello, oppa!” A cheerful voice answers.
All the children recognise the voice, and Changmin has to bite his tongue from shouting a greeting back.
“Chaerin-ah. Can you do me a favour?”
“Anything, oppa. Do you need me to babysit?”
“Not today, thank you. I just wanted to ask you a question.”
Yunho almost smiles at that. She’s thirty now, and yet she still relapses into her old way of talking.
“Did Jihyo noona, your mum, always blame you when Jessica and Krystal got into trouble?”
Chaerin hums as she thinks, before answering quickly enough for all the listening children to know she is not dissembling. “Pretty much. I’m the oldest so if I’m around, and they land into trouble, it is invariably my fault. Of course when I was younger it was difficult to understand why it was my fault that Krystal tore her new dress or Jessica spilled paint over umma’s work desk, but as I grew older, I realised that as the oldest, I’m responsible for the younger ones. Krystal tore her dress because she went climbing after me up a tree. Jessica spilled paint because she saw me sitting at umma’s desk when I shouldn’t have been. Those are pretty basic examples, but even now, when I think back on it, every single time I got into trouble because of them, it really was somehow connected to me. Even now, when Krystal makes an excuse not to come to Sunday lunch, it’s because of me cos she knows I’ve made up excuses before and gotten away with it.”
Yunho clicks his tongue disapprovingly at that little piece of information, and his niece laughs over the phone. “Oh, oppa, you’re such a stickler. Not all of us are married to sunshines like Jaejoongie. My husband gets grumpy around too many children and he needs a break every now and then.”
He chuckles, and nods. “Send my regards to Jiyong. I’ll see you tomorrow, yes?”
She huffs and sighs. “Fine! But if Jiyong gets grumpy, you can entertain him.”
“No, problem. Thank you, Chaerin.”
He hangs up, before looking at his oldest daughter again.
“Do you understand now, Jiyool?”
Silence, but there is a small nod from the girl.
“I’m sorry for my part in giving you too many siblings that you’ve gotten overwhelmed by it all.”
Jiyool’s smile is watery, but it is a smile nonetheless as she shakes her head. “I love them all.”
“Do you love your mama?”
Jiyool tears instantly, nodding hard as tears escape her eyes once again. “I’m so sorry, daddy…”
“I’m not the one you hurt, baby girl.”
At the old endearment, Jiyool starts sobbing in earnest, getting up from her seat and running straight into her waiting father’s arms.
Her siblings watch as their sister cries against her father’s chest, all of them feeling a little lighter as the man kisses her forehead.
“Go find your mama, baby. He’s with the twins.”
“What if he hates me?”
“Jiyool, he fell in love with you the day he met you. He tried to protect you from me, did I tell you? He cried when he thought he would never see you again, and he’d only known you for two days. He would do anything for you, and the very last thing he will ever be able to do is hate you, baby. He is your mama. Go find him.”
The girl rubs her eyes, smiling slightly as her father kisses her on the forehead again. “Ok, daddy.”
“You’re also grounded for a month.”
Jiyool nods, accepting her rather mild punishment, sending a backward glance at her siblings, before turning to run up the stairs to the master suite.
Yunho turns back to the remaining children
“Why do you think your mama is disappointed with you, JJ?”
Yunho crosses his ankles, his gaze unwavering at his second daughter. “I can stand here all night, JJ.”
“For sneaking into the party.”
Her brow furrows. “For…for wanting to go to the concert instead of a movie?”
“For getting Jiyool into trouble with me?”
“Think, JJ. Think about your behaviour. Think about what exactly it is about your behaviour that could have upset your mama, and then try again. You’re not even close.”
The beautiful girl, the very image of her mama stares down at her hands. At her pretty purple manicure her mama had allowed her to have. It even has little diamante studs in it, and every time she looks at her hands, she thinks of the smiling man, and how happy she feels at being allowed to finally get her first proper manicure in a shop.
Today had also been the first time her mama had allowed her to go to the movies alone with Jiyool without confirming that they were indeed meeting Krystal. She had gotten permission for the movie date even before her father had left for his week long trip to Jeju. She cannot blame her behaviour on his lack of presence.
“Mama trusted me…”
Yunho leans away from the doorway, walking into the kitchen to pour himself a drink. He keeps silent, letting JJ think about her words.
“Neither your mama nor I care about anything else you did, JJ. Even if you had stolen a car, though please don’t steal any cars, but even if you had, and then lied to us about it, we wouldn’t have cared about the car. We care about the fact that you lied. You’re not one to lie, JJ. Why did you start?”
“I don’t know…”
“Trust and respect, JJ. We trust you to tell us the truth, and we hope you respect us enough not to lie. Have we ever punished you for telling the truth, even when the truth would have normally gotten you into trouble?”
“You lost something today, love, and it’s going to take awhile to get it back.”
JJ starts to cry, her tears blurring her view of her pretty purple nails.
“Why are you crying?”
“Please don’t stop trusting me. Please, Daddy. I promise I won’t do it again.”
“There is no love without respect, JJ. And with the respect comes the trust. You are my daughter and I love you very much, but I cannot trust you right now no matter how much I want to. The next time you want to go to a movie, I’ll have to ring the movie theatre to make sure you actually bought the tickets and entered the cinema. You’re only twelve, JJ. Can you see what you lost?”
Like her sister earlier, JJ runs to her father, sobbing against his shirt as she shakes her head, moaning pitifully, realising she has lost far more than she thought she had gained from one tiny little lie.
“Hush, love. It’s not the end of the world. You can get it back, but it will take time.”
“I’m sorry, daddy…”
“Apology accepted, sweetheart, though you’re also grounded for a month. Now go find your mama and apologise to him too.”
She nods tearfully, and again like her Yoolie, turns to look at her remaining siblings one last time before dashing off up to the master suite.
“We’re sorry too, daddy.” Two voices chorus, pre-empting their father.
Yunho cocks an eyebrow, but he doesn’t say a word. He ignores the twins as he moves to the pantry to find something to eat. He isn’t really hungry, but he wants to give himself something to do while his twins sit and think about their behaviour.
“Daddy?” Yoochun calls out.
“Daddy?” Junsu calls out a little louder.
Yunho comes out of the pantry, armed with a jar of home made cookies, heading towards the couch as he turns the television on. He keeps it on mute, but he flicks through the channels, ostensibly finding something to watch.
“Daddy…” the twins call out again, shuffling together as one, practically siamese twins, towards their father on the couch.
Yunho continues to ignore them, biting into a delicious cookie, chewing on it slowly, eyes fixed on the screen.
His sons move to flank him, both conversing with each other, before they both sit on either side of him.
Yunho pops another cookie in his mouth, leaning back on the couch and laughing aloud when he comes across the Comedy Central channel, and they’d just done a funny body gag.
“Daddy, can you hear me?” Changmin asks, plonking himself on the coffee table dead ahead of his father.
“Off the table.” Yunho’s voice cracks out like a whip, and the nine year old practically falls off in his hurry to get off it.
Yoochun and Junsu exchange glances. And then they look at their baby brother who is sitting on the floor, eyes wide.
“Daddy?” All three chorus together, hands reaching out to tug at the man.
Changmin tugging at his pants leg, and Yoochun and Junsu each taking a sleeve gently.
Yunho finally turns his attention to the three boys, his expression grave as he looks into each one of their eyes.
Yoochun gets it first, sniffling as he casts his eyes down towards the floor. “I’m sorry, daddy.”
“What are you sorry for?”
“For pretending not to hear when mama calls,” the oldest boy whispers, tears suffocating his voice.
“I’m sorry too, daddy,” Junsu whispers in an equally suffocated little voice.
His twins sound three, not ten years old, and Yunho wonders what the heck made them regress so much to playing such a childish game.
“Is your hearing perfect now?” Yunho asks quietly.
All three boys nod.
“I don’t want your mama to have to raise his voice beyond that of his normal speaking voice. If he calls out to you from another room, you drop everything and you run to him is that understood?”
Three heads nod.
Yunho stares into the soulful eyes of his woebegone children. Yoochun and Junsu look properly chastised but there’s still a little defiance in Changmin yet.
“Both of you are grounded for one week. Come here and give me a hug.” Both boys fall into their father’s waiting arms, hugging him tightly, whispering quietly that they missed him, and Yunho returns the sentiment, before kissing them both on the temple. “I think I hear your mama calling you two.”
Both twins step back, eyes widenening as they stare stricken at each other, before dashing out of the kitchen like little bats out of hell.
“Mama wasn’t calling, was he?”
“Explain to me how you’re this smart, and yet you practically failed every single subject at the summer school you insisted on attending.”
Changmin pouts, pulling his knees up as he props his chin on them and stares up at his father. “I don’t want to be left behind.”
“That doesn’t explain your failed grades.”
“Chunnie and Suie are having so much fun playing games and stuff, and I’m stuck in school.”
“And if you don’t attend this school, they will leave you behind in the new school term in the fall, moving up a class in an entirely new building on a different part of your rather large school campus while you still have to remain for one more semester. Is that what you want?”
“Maybe.” Changmin answers morosely.
“So you’re telling me, you’re willing to enjoy their company for less than two months, but will be alright with being without them for four months. Am I understanding this right?”
Changmin’s jaw juts out stubbornly. It sounds so silly when pointed out that way.
“Fine, forget about school for one moment. Why did you call your mama evil?”
“Cos he said he won’t get me the blue Ferrari I want.”
“And that justifies being rude to your mama?”
“Daddy, it’s the only blue model Ferrari they are ever going to produce in the whole of Asia!”
“So, I want it!”
“That’s too bad for you, isn’t it? You can’t always get what you want.”
“But, daddy! You always buy me whatever I want.”
“Then perhaps I should stop so you’ll learn to appreciate what you have.”
“I don’t have anything.” Changmin shoots back angrily, sulking as his dreams of his blue Ferrari die a miserable death. “Nothing! I have nothing!”
“I guess I can give away all those owner-less toys lying around then. The red Ferrari in the garage, and the scooter, and the Segway, and the bicycles, the wave board, and the skate board, not to mention all the Lego sitting around lying unused. I’ll give them to the orphanage your mama is attached to.”
“No! Daddy, no, no, no!”
“What is it to you? You don’t have anything right? We have plenty of toys in this house, and I know those items don’t belong to the twins and the girls are not interested in that stuff. I’m sure there are nice and polite nine year old boys at the orphanage who wouldn’t mind some used toys.”
“They’re mine, daddy,” Changmin starts to sniffle, shaking his head. “They’re mine. I want my toys. Don’t give away my toys. Everything’s mine.”
“I thought you said you have nothing? Which is it, Jung Changmin? Do you have nothing or everything?” Yunho’s tone is hard. His son is a brat, and it is by his own doing. His and Jaejoong’s.
“So a boy who has everything called his mama evil because he wanted more than the everything he already has?”
“I don’t want more, daddy. I want mama.” Changmin starts to cry. “I want mama,” he wails loudly.
“Your wailing isn’t going to get him to come running to you this time, Minnie. Save the theatrics.”
Jung Changmin turns off the faucet instantly, pouting once again.
Father and son stare at each other.
“Pick three toys, Changmin. Pick from your Ferrari, your two bicycles, your motorized scooter, your push scooter, your Segway, your wave board and your skate board. Pick three of them to give away.”
“If you don’t pick, I will pick for you.”
“I’m not deaf, Changmin.”
“But daddy…that’s not fair…”
“And calling your mama evil is fair? The man who fed you for ten months from his body is evil? The man who will drop everything and run to you when you cry is evil? Calling him evil is what isn’t fair, Changmin. You don’t seem to appreciate what you have, so you will give away your toys. Pick three, now.”
“The green bicycle, push scooter and skate board.” Changmin answers reluctantly, finally feeling the tendrils of remorse curling around him at his father’s words. He is mad though.
“How do you feel?”
“Who are you angry with?”
“I think I’m smart but I’m not smart enough to outsmart you.”
Yunho has to resist the urge to roll his eyes. Seriously, this precociousness can only come from Jaejoong. He is sure these genes are not from his side.
“And what are you going to do about school?”
“I don’t want to be left behind.”
Yunho quirks an eyebrow.
“I want to move up with hyungs when school starts. I’ll do well in summer school, daddy.”
“So I won’t be hearing about anymore Fs?”
“Not unless they’re on my music score for composition.”
“You’re even worse than your mama.”
“What do you mean?”
“This cheekiness. This is all your mama.”
Changmin gains his feet, eyes solemn as he stares at his father. “I have to apologise to mama, don’t I?”
“Do you know why you’re apologising?”
“For being an ungrateful brat.”
Yunho does indeed roll his eyes this time as he reaches out to tug his lanky son into his arms. The boy allows himself to be hugged, and like the twins earlier, he tells his daddy he misses him. Unlike them though, he squirms out of Yunho’s lap before the man gets a chance to kiss him.
“Am I grounded too?”
Yunho shakes his head. “Your punishment was the toys. I think going to summer school is already difficult enough for you. I won’t take what little free time you have away from you.”
“Thank you, daddy.” Changmin sinks into a mocking little bow, before he turns and dashes off up the same stairs all his older siblings have traipsed before him.
“Such a brat,” Yunho shakes his head ruefully as he gets up to make some hot chocolate. He has a feeling his wife is going to be in need of a drink.
Jaejoong watches as Yunho enters the bedroom, carrying two steaming mugs on a tray. He drops off the tray on the corner counter, taking the mugs and heading towards the bed.
“Yunnie-ah… Did you have to go all Jung Yunho on them? They’re just kids.”
“Jaejoong-ah… If I really went all Jung Yunho on them, they’d be more likely to be trying to call one of their aunts to find refuge right now rather than be sleeping soundly in our bed.”
Jaejoong clicks his tongue and shakes his head, accepting the mug of hot chocolate and the warm kiss. “Jiyool couldn’t stop crying. I knew she’d pull the you’re not my mama card one day so I was prepared for it. Did you have to make her feel so guilty she made me cry too?”
“I’m sorry, love. Making you cry was never my intention.” Yunho’s tone is regretful as he sits in the arm chair by the bed.
“And making our daughter cry, was?”
“Her behaviour was uncalled for. I am not going to allow our daughter to behave in such a manner. I honestly don’t care if she’s been bitten by the teenage monster bug, because that is insufficient excuse when she’s been brought up with nothing but love by you for thirteen years.”
Yunho’s tone brooks no opposition, and Jaejoong knows when to pick his fights and he lets this one slide.
“JJ then? It was one little lie, Yun-ah.”
“Little lies can snowball into big lies. I know we all tell little white lies, but her lie could have had huge repercussions. She needed to learn.”
“You really are in a bit of a snit aren’t you?”
“I think our children take you for granted. I know I do, and I’m really sorry for it Jae. They’d have been in even more trouble if I wasn’t already feeling a little guilty for leaving you alone. No one hurts you and gets away with it. Not even our children.” Yunho pauses as Jaejoong reaches over to trace the scars on his face. He tries to hide his reaction to the gentle touch, injecting a little pretend seriousness in his voice. “You’re in trouble too, by the way.”
“Oh?” Jaejoong lifts a eyebrow, trying to hide a smile.
“I spoke to you at least five times a day, and you didn’t tell me the kids were giving you shit. Why didn’t you say anything?”
“What would you have done if I did?”
“Fly home of course.”
“I know, Jae. I know the answer, but really, you can’t do this on your own.”
“When it becomes too much, you know I will tell you. I was just too tired today and I knew you were going to be home so I left it to you. I’m sorry for making you the bad guy.”
“Bad guy huh?” Yunho’s mouth quirks into a smirk.
Jaejoong shoots a quelling look at the older man before he extricates himself carefully from the embrace of his oldest daughter. Jiyool whimpers in her sleep but she doesn’t wake, turning instead, automatically curling around the twin girls sleeping on her other side. He lifts the padded barrier on that side of the bed, feeling Yunho stand up behind him as they both gaze over their large bed.
Jiyool, Nana, Mimi, JJ, Changmin, Junsu and Yoochun at the other end, all sound asleep in a row. Limbs overlap and bodies curl against each other as the children breathe each other in under the watchful gaze of their parents.
Yunho nuzzles against Jaejoong’s ear, kissing his earlobe and smiling when he feels the shudder coursing through the younger man’s body.
Jaejoong steps back, leaning against the broad, unyielding frame of his husband as he finishes the last of his hot chocolate.
“So many rooms in the house…” Yunho whispers as he noses his way down the pale column of his wife’s neck, kissing along his shoulder.
Jaejoong smirks, placing his mug carefully on the bedside table before he grabs the ever present baby monitor. “I choose the jacuzzi outside.”
“Are you planning on marking me again, baby?”
“Well…it depends if you’re going to go all Jung Yunho on my ass.”
Yunho’s reply is muffled as he hurries his naughty wife out of the bedroom, out of the earshot of their seven sleeping beauties.
AN: I think this was a little choppy cos I was writing it in pieces all day. It wouldn’t let me go though. I actually gave up writing LITI after about 2,000 words because this muse was too fucking noisy. I know they can beat Anyang Hall in a fight any day but the Jung brats can even beat real life Jaejoong being all deliciously smirky and hot… I have no defence against these kids.
AN2: This is over 9,000 words… what the ever loving fuck? OTL