"We should go out for a drink to shed off some stress, guys. Drinks would be a good way to relive some of that stress," Benjamin, one of his colleagues, suggested as they sat around the table, each member of the team in various stages of tiredness and relief.
Their last project was done and handed over to the client. This project had been ten times more stressful and an actual pain in the ass since the client had complained how the Design Team had failed to design the software the way he needs it to be and that the Specification Team should've done better job.
But since the Specification team had a signed contract which stated that the client gave a green light to start with the designing of the software, he couldn't do much with it and had to bite down his complains and accept the software.
And this had, actually, benefited the company as he had to pay extra so that the company didn't drag him to the court, which they wouldn't have anyways. They've better things to do.
"Nah, sorry, dearest brother. I'll be heading home after my brain can think straight," Jonghyun slurred, wanting to spend time with his family after sleeping in the office for three weeks. After a beat he realized how random and weird he must have sounded and rolled his eyes. Huh, dearest brother, really Jonghyun?
"So, you won't be heading home?" Junhui, another member of the team, asked turning his head to look at Jonghyun. He's left cheek laid squashed on the glass table, making him look a little like fish. As he spoke, the glass under his mouth fogged a bit and the Chinese lazily drew a random shape on it, still looking at Jonghyun, waiting for his zombified brain to catch up with Junhui.
"What? I just said I'll head when my brain - "
"But you're not straight, how can you expect your brain to think straight?" Junhui asked, giggling at his own joke, Dongho letting out a loud snort.
Minghao groaned from next to Junhui and burrowed his face in his arms, "I can't deal with these. They're worse than you, Jun."
Junhui, without looking at Minghao, reached to slap his shoulder, "I'm still your hyung, even if we're foreigners," he grumbled good naturedly.
"Whatever you say, hyung," Minghao deadpanned, snickering when the older Chinese lifted his head to glare at the younger.
Benjamin shifted his attention from the two, back to Jonghyun "Dearest brother," he chimed, laughing loudly when Jonghyun huffed, "chill out a bit. It's not everyday that we get to go to pub and not worry about coming to work with a hangover. Plus how could going home would be more appealing than a pub?"
Members were quick to shake their head at the foreigner's question. Jonghyun let's out a little uncomfortable laugh, which was soon followed by Chan's monotonous are you serious, man. Minki was the only one who didn't stop himself from expressing what he felt over the matter.
"Honestly, Ben? I'd choose that any given day, without missing a beat. The amount of comfort and belongingness a home and family provides, can't be compared with the kind of short lived and fake belongingness booze provides."
Dongho, Junhui and Soonyoung were quick to add a few points of their own. Chan even saying how he rather come home to pets, instead of getting drunk at bars.
Jonghyun chuckled at Benjamin's clear annoyance and irritation towards his failed attempt at getting everyone drunk. But he still didn't back down, diverting his attention towards Minki, choosing his words carefully, knowing he was an important factor if he wanted to snatch the situation on his side.
"I get about you, Minki, Mr. Kwak cooks, pampers you and even comes to pick you up. And you guys have no kids, so there isn't the annoying crying or their demand for attention. But Jonghyun and Dongho? They've kids, so won't it be a little turn off?"
"As you said, I don't have kids, Ben. I wouldn't know why they want to go home, why don't we ask them?" Minki smartly twisted the entire situation, making it very clear he won't be getting involved in any kind of manipulation of plans.
"Were you by any chance neglected when you were a kid?" Junhui asked, biting his tongue immediately.
"S-sorry, I didn't mean it to come out this harsh, Ben," he apologized his eyes flickering between looking at Dongho and looking at Benjamin, who only sighed at the response.
"Na, it's fine. You guys have become my family, over these years. So me wanting to spend time with you guys is like you guys wanting to go home, I guess. I just - I don't know. I never got the whole excitement of adopting kids or starting a family. I'm sorry, I shouldn't have pressured you guys into anything," Benjamin softly let out, avoiding everyone's eyes.
"How about you and I, both of us head to my flat and have some wine with my husband? He is a social butterfly and wouldn't mind if you crashed over today," Junhui offered, smiling lightly when Benjamin nodded his head violently.
"I'm home guys!" Jonghyun exclaimed, expecting some sort of reply or someone (three loves of his life) smiling at him with stars in their eyes. But all he got was silence and no reply. He closed the door and took off his shoes, walking towards the living room where usually the twins and his big baby would be playing.
The living room was lit only by a table lamp, the room clean of all the toys and paper mess. He switched off the lamp and headed towards the study room across the living room. Switching on the lights, he dropped his bag and documents he was carrying on the table and looked around the room. He had stepped in the room after, maybe a month, but it was much cleaner and smelled better than the last time he was cooped in there. Hwang Minhyun and his magic.
After switching off the lights in the study room and closing the door softly, he made his way towards their room.
As he climbed the staircase he fondly looked at the photo frames that were put on the wall. Majority of the pictures were of him and Minhyun, a few of them with their college friends, families and none with their babies. Jonghyun made a mental note to surprise Minhyun with new photo frames.
At the end of the staircase, Jonghyun picked up a chewy toy, one of the twin must have dropped when Minhyun was carrying them. Suddenly whatever Benjamin said about the babies crying and wanting attention constantly, hit him hard.
Yes, he agreed with Benjamin and found it tiny bit upsetting that he stated it as a bad thing. But now that he thinks of it, he wasn't even home for the last month, only coming to find the twins sleeping and Minhyun waking up in the middle of the night to attend to them, not wanting to Jonghyun to get less hours of sleep - and honestly, he feels like a class A asshole, he didn't even think about Minhyun, the literal love of his life. In Jonghyun's absence, Minhyun had been the one attending to them. He was single handedly managing house chores and was keeping the little adorable, lovable monsters entertained.
God, he really has been a bad father and a very, very bad husband. He sighs, looking at the toy in his hand, deciding to apply for a week off, so that he can pamper Minhyun and treat him like he deserves to be treat, like a prince.
He opened the door to the twins room, only to find it cold and dark. Suddenly a fear gripped at his heart, making his heart beat hard and fast. He switched lights on and breathed a sigh of relief when he found that the toys and recently washed clothes of the boys present in the room. He breathed a sigh of relief, walking in to drop the toy in the small, mint green basket.
"Okay, calm down, Jonghyun. Minhyun didn't leave with the boys, he is here. Stop over thinking, yeah? Yeah," he talked to himself, trying to put the unreasonable fear at rest. Trying to reassure himself that yes, Minhyun is here and that no, he didn't leave with their boys.
He walked towards the wardrobe, opening it without a creaking sound. He'd be worried if it creaked, it's not even an year yet. Jackets were hanged neatly, arranged according to their colours, and the color scheme screamed Minhyun. There were baby pink, yellow, orange, baby blue, green, soft purple and warm colors. Not a single black or brown or any dark colours, all soft ones. Below the jackets were shirts, pants, underwear, and shorts. Socks were kept in four different sets. Bending down a little he spied a bunch of onesies. At the bottom was a big tub, all containing different toys. He spotted a red fire engine, a little too big and risky for his an year old babies.
It was Seongwoo who had got it, insisting that they'll love it. He chuckles, remembering how they had collectively decided to put it away after Jinyoung almost smashed Seungwoo's face with it.
Closing the wardrobe, he moves to their crib, covered in Tom & Jerry themed bedsheets and pillows, and soft toys.
After few more minutes if lingering in the room, he closes the door and lets the room flood back in darkness. Jonghyun walks towards his and Minhyun's room, after casting a last glance at the hallway.
A soft glow of blue light welcomed him when he opened the door. His heart filled with warm feelings, warmth spreading in his veins quickly. His brain kind of became a mess between short circuiting and melting in a puddle of goo.
Minhyun laid in their bed, looking all soft and ethereal, looking like his every inch belonged in that bed. And Jonghyun wouldn't argue or disagree with the last thought. He looked like he was sleeping in clouds, almost blending in with their plushy bed. Besides him laid Jinyoung, dressed in baby blue onesie. He was clutching onto Minhyun's pajama shirt, curled into his chest. Next to Jinyoung was Jihoon, whose back was facing Jinyoung. Minhyun had his palm under Jihoon's baby blue pajama shirt, pressed gently to his chest, preventing him from rolling far from them. Jonghyun's pillow was laid next to Jihoon, which he was clutching gently, like he was curling into it.
Jonghyun's heart swelled to a point it was ready to explode any moment. He closed the door softly, well aware that Minhyun was a light sleeper. But the fact that Jonghyun's yelling and shuffling hadn't woken him was enough of a proof that Minhyun hasn't been getting enough of sleep.
He walked towards Minhyun's side and dropped a feather light kiss on his head, bending a little further to drop one on Jinyoung's too. Before he could drop one on Jihoon, the baby shuffled, sniffing lightly. He turned around, face scrunched in a discomfort but only sniffed and didn't start crying when he saw Jonghyun.
Jonghyun picked the now awake baby, rubbing his back as soon as he held him against his chest. Jihoon leaned his head in the crook of Jonghyun's neck, sucking on his thumb. Making a content sound, he went still in Jonghyun's warm hold. The father walked the length of the room, humming under his breath, bouncing the baby lightly in his hold. The only sound he could hear was Jihoon sucking his thumb, ac's constant low hum and his own breathing.
"Da," Jihoon whispered after a few minutes of Jonghyun walking them. It sounded like Jihoon was confirming with Jonghyun that he wasn't dreaming about being held by the recently absent other parent figure in their life.
"Yes, cupcake," he asked softly not expecting any answers. But it warmed his heart that Jihoon recognized and even made an effort to call out to him. He looked towards to other two, still lost in dreamland.
Jihoon went back to sucking his thumb, sure that he wasn't dreaming. His tiny hand played with the hair at Jonghyun's nape. Jonghyun basked in the presence of a small body, warming his heart even further. After a quiet and peaceful few minutes, Jihoon lifted his head and removed his thumb, pressing the saliva coated hand on Jonghyun's face, feeling his 5 o'clock shadow.
"Pa," he muttered this time, loosing Jonghyun completely at this point. Jonghyun was confused, not knowing what the baby wanted him to do.
It distracted both the awake Kims away from their conversation when Minhyun's phone rang, Jonghyun recognizing the alarms soft melody filling the room.
Minhyun stirred in his sleep, reaching for the phone on the night stand to switch it off. He was yet to notice the fourth presence in the room, probably because his senses were sleep clouded. Yawning, he reached to where Jihoon was asleep a while ago, panicking shortly when he couldn't find Jihoon. He sat up straight, his attention instantly shifting onto the two Kims standing at the foot of the bed, both looking at Minhyun with different expressions. Jihoon squealed seeing his Papa awake. He instantly reached for Minhyun, pushing himself towards Minhyun, almost falling out of Jonghyun's grasp. Jonghyun caught him before he fell, chuckling at the baby's antics.
"Jonghyun?" Minhyun mumbled, surprise coating his face, just like Jihoon, wondering if he was dreaming.
"Muffin?" Jonghyun said back, not knowing what Minhyun and Jihoon were trying to achieve by calling out to him.
"Pa!" Jihoon exclaimed impatiently, not liking the fact that his father was giving his attention to someone who wasn't him.
"Yes, baby? Are you hungry yet?" Minhyun asked, snapping out from his initial shock.
"He is hungry? No wonder he looked offended that I didn't understand him," Jonghyun chuckled, nosing Jihoon's hairline. But the baby was interested being in Minhyun's arms, apparently done with being in his Dad's presence.
"Jju, look at Jinyoung, yeah? I'll heat up milk and be back," he said picking up Jihoon who practically threw himself in his arms. Jonghyun pressed a sweet and gentle kiss to the side of Minhyun's forehead when he took hold of Jihoon. Minhyun looked up at Jonghyun, smiling softly, eyes sparkling.
"I missed you... " he whispered, Jonghyun smiled at the love of his life, his sunshine, his honeybun, the tom to his Jerry, Apple of his eyes, peanut butter to his jelly and the only one he wants to marry. Oh wait. He's already married to him.
"I missed you a lot too, muffin," he pulled the younger into a hug, Minhyun wrapping himself around the shorter male. They stayed like that for a minute, before Jihoon decided enough was enough and that feeding him needs to be prioritized in their list.
"But dad! Hoon started it first -"
"Oh Naw, I didn't! Dad, he's lying!"
"I'll decide who's - "
"Hoon! Why are you lying -"
"I'm not, Jin, you know that - "
" Will you little pests let me talk - "
" Yeah, Jihoon, let Dad talk - "
" Stop cutting your own damn father off - "
" Yeah, Jinyoung, stop - "
" Will you two just shut up for a minute? I've been trying to ask who broke the window, but no, you've been talking over me, little monsters! Disrespectful brats, wait till your Papa hears it," Jonghyun yells at his 15 year old twins, both of them looking like they'd rather be anywhere than under Jonghyun's scrutinizing gaze.
Trio's head snaps up when they hear the front door open and Minhyun calling out to them. Jinyoung and Jihoon hightail inside, taking a seat on the dining table, sipping on the milk Jonghyun had placed.
"Jongh- Oh, hey, pumpkins," Minhyun greets, surprised to see the two up this early on a weekend. He plops the milk bottle on the counter and waddles up to ruffle the twins' hair.
"Hey, Papa," both chime in perfect unison, smiling like the angel descended down to earth. Jonghyun scoffs from where he stood outside the kitchen window, the left pane still broken and the football lying in the pile of broken glasses. The two good things are that 1) no one was hurt and 2) the window was open, so all the glass shreds have fallen outside and not on the counter.
Minhyun gasps as soon as he notices the broken window and Jonghyun just waves at the younger cheekily, chuckling when Minhyun glares at him.
"So, which one if you did this?" Minhyun asks, hips leaning on the counter, his eyes narrowing at the two boys.
Jonghyun's devils beat Jonghyun to it, "Dad did it!"
When Minhyun looks at them unimpressed, they insist it was Jonghyun that broke the glass when he tried to teach them a new tactic. Jonghyun huffs loudly when Minhyun turns looks at him, eyebrows raised.
"I was preparing for breakfast when my heart almost leaped out of my mouth - "
"Don't be dramatic, Dad," Jihoon says, Jinyoung shrugging his shoulders as if saying he said it, I didn't.
Minhyun's eyes widen at that and then he burst out into set of cute giggles, something completely different from his HaHaHas, catching the attention of all three, making them smile too.
"Why are you cutting me off brat? Wait and see if I buy y'all that game when I'm on my business trip, just you two wait. I'll give one I got to Kyla and Sungyeon instead," he threatens, feeling a little down that Jihoon was always against him, especially since Jihoon had always been his baby and Jinyoung Minhyun's.
He turns around to head towards the shed to collect dusting pan and a broom - and when was the last time Jonghyun had set his foot in that spider and other insect induced shed? Wowie, he can't wait to go in the shed!
Even before he stakes a step away from the broken window, he feels a set of tiny arms wrap themselves around his mid section, a face nuzzling in his back. "Games or not, I'll always love you. You're just cute to mess with and we both know Papa is an angel and we can't get ourselves to mess with him," Jihoon speaks.
"I love you too, Dad!" Jinyoung chimes from where he is nestled into his papa's embrace. Minhyun smiles at his husband and drops a kiss on Jinyoung's head.
"I love you too, little monsters," Jonghyun replies, turning around to hug Jihoon properly.
When he catches Minhyun's eyes, he months an I love you to him, Minhyun replying without a skipping a beat, going as far as blowing a kiss to him.
"When will you guys out grow me so that I can stop bending for you two to drop a kiss on the top of my head?" Minhyun grumbles from where he was stood cutting the fruits, when Jihoon tugs at his shirt, signalling his Papa to bend down so that he could drop a kiss on top of his head while walking past him, Jinyoung following the suit, giggling when Minhyun playfully glares at him. And Jonghyun can't hold himself back from dropping one of his own, of course forcing Minhyun to bend again, pressing his lips in a brief exchange of greeting, "Hey muffin." Minhyun only huffs grumpily in reply. "Stop sulking," Jonghyun says, washing his hands and wiping them dry on the towel.
"Lemme. You just sit down." Dropping a kiss on Minhyun's right cheek, Jonghyun takes over the kitchen duties. Minhyun takes a seat on the chair, Jihoon sliding next to him to rest his head on Minhyun's shoulder.
Jinyoung gets up to help Jonghyun, opening the drawer to pull out a large bowl. "No, not that one, the other one," Jonghyun instructs, smiling softly at how the boys still don't mind following their years old routine. It has been over twelve years since they made this their routine, Jonghyun picking the boys up from school and helping Minhyun in the kitchen; Minhyun reaching a little earlier than his husband. Minhyun used to pick up the duo in elementary, but after they joined clubs later on, Jonghyun had taken up on that task.
Minhyun lays his palm flat on Jihoon's forehead, tsking when his head still feels warm. "Baby, did you eat your soup, or caused trouble for Uncle Aron?"
Jihoon coughed a little, prompting Minhyun to rub his chest gently, "I ate every bit of it, Pa. Uncle Aron even made that special tea of his," he whispers, his throat still sore from all coughing he has been doing for past few days.
"Want some warm water, Hoonie?" Jinyoung asks, visibly worried for his brother. "Yes, please," he croaked out.
"So, what has been my sick little munchkin missing in school, Jinyoung?" Minhyun questions cutely, helping Jihoon drink up the warm water.
"Besides the fact that School will be shut down for a day due to pest control, nothing much. Kyla said they'll come over later to see Jihoon," Jinyoung supplied, washing the bowl and drying it.
"Plus the singing club chose Jihoon's replacement for the upcoming fest, and... I quit," he adds hurriedly. Jonghyun stops cutting, turning to look at Jinyoung. Minhyun and Jihoon looks a little surprised.
"What? Why would you do that dummy?" Jihoon forces out, coughing instantly. Minhyun hurriedly fills the glass and hands over to the poor boy. Minhyun rubs his back as he takes small sips.
"I can't stand there and sing while you're sick here, okay? Plus we can work on that science project and instead enroll in Science exhibition. You don't need your vocals there." Jinyoung mumbles, embarrassed. He knows for a fact that Jihoon is going to tease him for this, but whatever.
"Aww, what a softy," Jonghyun teases, bumping their shoulders together. Jihoon also chuckles lightly, going back to laying his head on Minhyun's shoulder.
"Should we see another doctor, Jju?" Minhyun wonders when Jihoon let's out another set of coughs, Minhyun seeming close to crying seeing his son in so much pain. As if sensing the despair, Jihoon pulls Minhyun in his embrace, rubbing his father's back like how he had done for him.
"They said it's viral, and it's all over the school. If he doesn't improve by this week, we'll see another doctor, okay?" Jonghyun concedes when he sees Jihoon comforting Minhyun instead.
Minhyun pulls himself out from the hug and pulls his sunshine into his own.
Dumping the cut fruits into bowl, Jonghyun comes over to plant a kiss on the sick boy, who doesn't even find it in him to stir. Minhyun gently tucks Jihoon's hair behind his ears, parting the bangs, and planting a kiss on his own. Then he tucks the smaller boy into him and sigh when it's a little hard to tuck am 18 year old into his thin body, "I forgot you are 18 years old now, and have stopped fitting into my small embrace."
Jihoon still nestled in his neck, chuckles lightly at his father's sulky tone, "but I'll always be your baby?" he asks, looking up at Papa with wide eyes.
"Oh, yes, you and Jin will always be my babies." Minhyun announces in the kitchen.
Jonghyun coughs behind him.
Jinyoung laughs at that, while Jonghyun cheekily come over to steal a kiss from Minhyun.