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Chapter Text

Yoo Joonghyuk leans in very close to the camera, eyes squinted and focused on the screen. “Alright, let’s do this,” he says firmly, and initiates the next attack sequence. “Up, down, left, left, right, up—”

He continues murmuring as clicks sound from his controller, dodging attack after attack. Eventually, the attack sequence ends and the music changes. A flash of victory lights his eyes, and he straightens up triumphantly.

“Finally,” he says with a knife-sharp grin. “These attacks are simpler once you get used to them, and there’s definitely an order to them. Still—” and he huffs a sharp laugh— “He really isn’t kind. I should—”

“Oh, hey, are you playing Undertale again?”

Yoo Joonghyuk jerks in surprise. The livestream chat livens up at the unexpected voice, messages flooding the screen as someone in a white sweater and tan slacks comes to stand behind Yoo Joonghyuk’s shoulder. They offer him a mug, then lean down and drop a kiss on his head.

The chat goes wild.

“You really are popular, huh. Should’ve given some of that skill to the kids.” The stranger’s voice sounds closer to mocking than teasing, but Yoo Joonghyuk is smiling unexpectedly softly. He slips one side of his headphones off his ear, then glances up and behind him, towards the stranger’s face.

“Thanks for the drink, but you shouldn’t be here right now,” he says dryly. “You got anything interesting to say?”

“Wow, so rude. Yes, actually, I do have something for you.” The stranger reaches out a bare forearm and taps somewhere on the screen gently, their touch reverberating as a soft thud on the mic. “You’re playing blind, aren’t you? Heard a rumor that sparing him here actually nets you an interesting easter egg.”

Yoo Joonghyuk stares doubtfully at the screen. “I’m pretty sure he’s just going to kill me.”

“No, he won’t. Yoo S— …you-know-who wouldn’t trick me like that.”

“Oh, it wasn’t her who told you?” Yoo Jopnghyuk’s shoulders relax minutely. “Alright, if you say so.” His eyes narrow again for a second, and he glances up suspiciously. “You’re sure this isn’t a trick.”

“Of course not. Eight years we’ve known each other and you still don’t trust me?” The stranger sounds jokingly offended. Probably. They sounded pretty strongly offended, actually.

“I do.” Despite his words, Yoo Joonghyuk watches them a second longer. His eyebrow twitches slightly, and he nods. “I’ll do it.”

“Let me know what happens,” the stranger says smoothly, patting him on the shoulder with a hand (is that a ring?) and sliding out of the camera’s view. “Anyway, I have to pick up some notes and head back to the office. You’ll pick up the kids after school’s out, right?”

Yoo Joonghyuk nods absently, tapping through the menus to heal and check the opponent. “Will do,” he says, “also, I swear if this is a joke—”

“No joke.”

“—Fine.” Yoo Joonghyuk takes a deep breath and hits Spare.

Nothing happens. A few lines of dialogue pass, and gradually Yoo Joonghyuk’s shoulders start to loosen. “Ah, so this is fine, then,” he says softly. “But what’s the—”

It happens.

Yoo Joonghyuk’s controller drops from his hand as he stares open-mouthed at the screen. Rapid high-pitched music plays as GAME OVER flashes across the screen, and in the background, the mic picks up a distant wheezing cackle.

“Holy shit you actually did it,” calls a faint, gleeful voice, and the dawning horror on Yoo Joonghyuk’s face abruptly transforms into incandescent rage. “I can’t believe it, you stupid bastard, you actually—”

“Dokja,” Yoo Joonghyuk grits out. He slides off his headphones and carefully, carefully places them down on his table. He rises to his feet, slow and careful like a tiger on the prowl. He turns to a point off camera, his eyes fixing on something. The laughter abruptly goes silent.

“Dokja,” Yoo Joonghyuk says again in a low, dangerous voice, “I am going to fucking kill you.”

He bolts offscreen, and the mic cuts out from the sheer volume of the screaming that fills the house in the next few minutes.

A day later, once the stream has long ended and the remainder of the game has been thoroughly thrashed, Yoo Joonghyuk uploads a single post on his linked blog. “I am never taking advice from my husband again,” the lone sentence in the post says, and that afternoon the Supreme King fan forums almost go down from the sheer amount of chaos-filled traffic they receive.

Chapter Text

Kids are notoriously bad at being quiet, especially at unreasonable hours of the morning. Joonghyuk is awake long before four small hands start tugging at the edge of his sleeve.

“Dad, wake up,” Gilyoung urges a little too loudly. Joonghyuk hears a soft slapping noise, a muffled yelp, and then Yoosung’s whispering directly into his ear.

“Dad, wake up, we need your help.”

He twists his head away in reflex, her breath tickling at his ear, and bites back a groan before it wakes Dokja. He turns and blinks, eyes bleary, at his kids. For some reason, both of them are already dressed in their uniforms, slightly crooked as they are.

“What is going on,” he grumbles, voice rough and low. “Why are you awake. It’s—” He squints at the clock across the room, proudly blinking 6:00 AM in eye-searing neon green. “—an hour before we get up, what are you…”

“We need to talk to you,” Gilyoung says, visibly running out of patience. He’s starting to pick at the skin around his nails again. Joonghyuk reflexively slaps at his hand until he stops.

“Fine. Go outside, I’ll be there in a minute.”

They follow obediently, tiptoeing outside in socked feet. Joonghyuk buries his head in Dokja’s hair and groans softly. His husband shifts under him, mumbling something soft and unintelligible, and he freezes.

“…J’hyuk?” Dokja tilts his head back and squints up at Joonghyuk. He’s scrunching his nose in that particular way of his, and Joonghyuk’s tempted to poke at its tip. “Wh… the kids…?”

“It’s nothing,” Joonghyuk reassures, reaching up and running a hand through Dokja’s hair. He dips his head and follows the motion, blinking muzzily. Joonghyuk bites back a small smile. “Go back to sleep, I’ll see what they want.”


“We don’t have to get up yet. I’ll wake you when it’s time, don’t worry about it. Sleep.”

“Mm.” Dokja blinks again, mutters something incoherent about factories and kings, then buries his face in his pillow. Joonghyuk shifts out from under the blankets and tucks them tightly around Dokja so he doesn’t lose warmth, then slides his feet into his slippers and walks soundlessly outside.

The kids are waiting in the kitchen. Joonghyuk takes a second to watch them. He still remembers that first night when they sat stiffly at the unfamiliar kitchen counter; now they buzz around like bees, pulling plates and bread busily from the cupboards and fridge without even paying attention to where they’re putting their hands. They’re arguing again, something about the answers to yesterday’s homework. Joonghyuk should probably stop them before they get any louder and wake Dokja up for real—or before Gilyoung puts his distracted hands on the very hot toaster.

…They’re very cute when they argue, though.

Oh well. Sometimes you have to sacrifice things for the greater good. Joonghyuk sneaks up behind them and nabs the just-done toast out from under Gilyoung’s grasping hands, cramming the entire slice directly into his mouth. Just because he has to sacrifice some things doesn’t mean he has to give up others.

Except he does because ow, ow, ow, that’s very overdone and it’s basically just rock-hard splinters in his mouth. He can’t lose face in front of the kids, though, so he forces himself to down the toast while keeping his face impassive.

Yoosung’s struggling to bite back a massive grin, and Gilyoung isn’t even bothering to hide his wheezing laughter, just muffling it into his sleeve. Clearly Joonghyuk has failed at keeping his face straight. Not like much of him is straight anyway, so what does it matter.

At the very least, the splinter-filled… ‘toast’… has helped wake him up. “Alright, buggy, move over,” he says, flicking Gilyoung’s forehead lightly. The kid obediently shifts, and Joonghyuk puts in new bread for toasting (and he makes sure to turn down the heat settings, why are they even on maximum in the first place, he swears to god if Dokja is pranking him again—). “You’re not supposed to be up this early. Did you sleep at all?”

“Not much,” Yoosung says readily. She’s so blunt, just like her father. “But we wanted to talk with you!”

He raises an eyebrow in response.

“Papa’s birthday is the day after tomorrow,” declares Gilyoung imperiously. “We wanted to do something for him.”

“We already ordered gifts.” He starts the coffee pot and reaches out expectantly towards his daughter. A moment later, Yoosung deposits milk and an egg carton into his hands, and he gets started on some hot chocolate and omelettes. “You chose them with me.”

“Yes, but we want to do, like, a party!”

Joonghyuk’s already put together plans for the big day, but. “What kind of party are you thinking of? Are we inviting his friends?”

Gilyoung and Yoosung screw up their faces in deep thought, just like Dokja did not five minutes ago. Joonghyuk’s a little disappointed neither of them got the eyebrow tick Dokja insists he has, but then again, the scrunchy noses are one of his favourite expressions on the rest of his family, so it’s not like he’s going to say anything.

“All his friends,” Gilyoung eventually decides. “Heewon noona and Hyunsung hyung.”

“And Sangah unni!”

“Yeah, obviously. And Uriel noona, and… uh.” They pause for a long second. The kids are sadly accurate in their reading that Dokja has only four friends. Joonghyuk reminds himself to bring it up with him at some point. It’ll be a good conversation starter.

“Do we want to invite Han Sooyoung?” There’s no point in asking, she’ll show up regardless just to make chaos and ridicule Dokja. The kids are well aware of this fact and level him with unimpressed glares. Joonghyuk snorts and juggles the kids’ omelettes off the stove, sliding them onto the plates Gilyoung offers him, then pours his own hot chocolate into a mug and sits with them at the table.

“Right. Jung Heewon, Lee Hyunsung, Yoo Sangah, Uriel, Han Sooyoung. Who else?”

“Jihye unni?” Yoosung asks dubiously.

Gilyoung snorts. “Papa doesn’t care about Jihye noona.”

Joonghyuk frowns at him. “Don’t be rude, Gilyoung,” he admonishes.

“It’s true, though! Papa doesn’t like her!”

Joonghyuk shoots his son a sharp look, watching him sink into his seat with a grumble. Then he sighs. “Be nice to your seniors.”

“You didn’t say I was wrong,” Gilyoung mutters petulantly, earning himself another glare.

“Anyway,” Joonghyuk continues pointedly, “we can ask Jihye if she’d be willing to come and see what she says. I’ve invited the others already. That’s the guests sorted. What do you want to do on the actual day?”

The kids brood for a while, conferring in heated whispers. Joonghyuk finishes his mug and stands, getting ready to prep Dokja’s breakfast and the kids’ snacks, when they call out from behind him.

“Dad, we got it! We should do—”

“A gaming marathon,” Dokja says flatly. He sounds annoyed, but the creases at the corners of his eyes give away his amusement. “This seems a little more catered to you than me, I think.”

“Not quite.” Joonghyuk’s been waiting to see Dokja’s expression ever since he managed to get this together. “Go sit on the couch, you’ll see in a second.”

“I’m absolutely thrilled.” Dokja drops down in between his kids, both of whom are practically vibrating in excitement. They slip under his arms as soon as they’re able and press against his sides; he looks down at them and chuckles. “You two having a good time?”

“Are you having a good time?” Yoosung interrogates. ”If you are, then I’m having a good time too!” Joonghyuk shares an amused smile with Yoo Sangah, both of them facing away from the couch as they work to set up the game. It’s almost funny how rapidly the kids learned to mimic the adults and check in with Dokja.

The man in question blinks down at Yoosung. “I… hm. I suppose so? Yes. It would probably be better if—ah, here she is.” Biyoo comes trotting over and drops onto his feet, letting her tongue loll out of her mouth. “You’re a good girl, aren’t you, Biyoo? Right on time.” She whuffs gently, and he leans down to pet her; just then, a pure-white cat leaps out from under the couch and swipes at his hand. Dokja draws back hurriedly, snickering as the cat meows primly and jumps up onto his lap. “Ah. Hello, Bihyung. Now I’m having a very good time.”

“You’ll be having an even better one in a few seconds,” Han Sooyoung declares smugly. Beside Joonghyuk, Yoo Sangah rolls her eyes, then turns to look sharply at her. Han Sooyoung wilts under the glare, curling into her seat; from across the room, Jung Heewon snickers.

“She’s right, I mean,” Jung Heewon reassures. “I’ve seen how much work Joonghyuk-ssi has put into getting this ready for you. It’s definitely gonna be good.”

Joonghyuk’s cheeks warm, and he twists around to glower at the unrepentant Heewon. “Right, if everyone’s here, we can get started,” he says, studiously ignoring the curious look Dokja’s giving him. “Where are Jihye and Lee Hyunsung?”

“Here,” Jihye calls out, emerging from the kitchen with a platter of snacks and Lee Hyunsung trailing behind her. She sets the platter down on the coffee table with a soft clack, then drops onto the floor next to Biyoo, dragging a protesting Gilyoung down to sit next to her. Lee Hyunsung follows suit, turning off the lights and seating himself beside Jung Heewon.

Joonghyuk takes the newly evacuated spot on the main couch and hands Dokja his favourite controller, squeezing his hand lightly. “Ready to go when you are.” His husband grins and trades him a wriggly Bihyung, settling in as Yoosung switches the TV to the video game setup.

A soft soundtrack begins to play, and Joonghyuk focuses on Dokja’s face rather than the TV, already intimately familiar with every visual cue about to come up on screen. Dokja looks beautiful here, he thinks idly, watching as his lashes catch the light from the screen, eyes narrowed in focus. The music flares; there’s words coming up now, Joonghyuk knows. He narrates them in his head, a smile stealing across his lips as he watches Dokja.

Three ways.

Dokja squints, hunched forward as he stares at the screen, trying to place the words.

There are three ways to survive in a ruined world.

His eyes widen and he jerks up, back ramrod straight. The music fades, and the rattling of train tracks replaces the soft piano.

Now, I have forgotten a few, but one thing is certain.

Dokja mouths along to the lines, his eyes going bright. The last words fade onto the screen, and he inhales sharply.

The fact that you who are reading this now…

“…will survive,” Dokja whispers along with the narration, his face flooding with the purest delight. He looks over to Joonghyuk, almost trembling with excitement. “The game? You—you got the game version? How, this isn’t even out for—for at least another few months—”

“Early access,” Joonghyuk replies. “Pro gamer benefits. Might be a little buggy, but. You know.” He shrugs and allows himself a satisfied smirk.

Dokja stares at him for another second, something like wonder battling with glee for dominance on his face. Joonghyuk starts to drop the smirk, wondering if something’s wrong, when Dokja drops the controller and hurls himself directly into Joonghyuk’s arms, crashing their lips together in a clumsy kiss. Ah, Joonghyuk thinks as they fall off the couch to a chorus of yells and alarmed barking, so this was okay to do, then.

He must have said something out loud, because Dokja is laughing above him, a brilliant smile on his lips. “You bastard,” he says fondly. “How much did you harass the developers for this?”

Some questions are better left unanswered. “Happy birthday,” Joonghyuk says instead, and kisses him again.