Taeyong loved birthday parties.
Buying presents was fun, cooking and decorations were a delight, and organizing was a gift of his. So long story short, celebrations of life that included silly hats and candy? Taeyong loved them.
But what he loved even more than usual birthday parties, were his son's birthday parties. And call him cheesy, but for Taeyong, being able to put a priceless smile on the chubby face of his five- soon to be six- year old son, was one of the most beautiful things in life.
And so, when he woke up with the first rays of sunshine, on the morning of June 6, he was more excited about his son's birthday than anyone else.
He ignored Taeil's words, kissed his face a few times in different places, and got up, quickly and gracefully, with the excuse that everything had to be perfect.
His husband didn't say anything other than a sigh, but when Taeyong accidentally tripped on a slipper and fell on the ground, not so elegantly, he did hear a snicker from the bed. Whatever, Taeil didn't possess the birthday spirit.
Luckily for him, Yuta did. He sighed happily, his best friend would've been totally supportive of the heart and soul he put into these days.
He tiptoed into the hallway, closing the door behind him, and sending imaginary kisses to the sleeping boy that was on the room across the hall.
This was going to be a special day.
He was flipping his last pancake when he heard the giggles coming from upstairs, followed by doors closing and opening, rushing footsteps going around.
Taeyong smiled fondly. Both his babies were awake.
"Taeyong... help... there's a bear clinging to me."
As expected, Taeil showed up at the kitchen door soon after, hunched over in feigned tiredness, a happy Donghyuck hanging onto his back.
"Uncle Johnny says bears are cute."
His son had his face reddened from grabbing Taeil's shirt so tightly, and it was too early in the morning for the two of them to be already playing around, but the bright smile Donghyuck had was too perfect to ever be corrupted.
Taeyong turned the stove off, placed his spatula on the counter, and went to grab his son, gently pulling him from Taeil's back, smiling as the older exhaled in relief.
His husband was clearly putting in an effort to not drag himself around like he usually did in the mornings, and the younger dad felt his heart melt.
"Come on you little monkey, you gotta have breakfast, before Chenle arrives." Donghyuck pouted, but still clung to Taeyong as the older went to kiss his nose. "Happy birthday, baby."
His son giggled happily as Taeyong put him on the ground again. Taeil then imitated a bear, in a very poor roar that resembled more of a wild bird, but Donghyuck still screamed and ran away to the living room.
"Are you going to help me set the table or keep playing with our son?"
His husband laughed, moving closer to kiss him good morning, which was good because Taeyong had been about to complain.
It was a gentle, soft kiss, and all Taeil did was rest his hands tiredly on his husband's hips, his head later falling into the younger's shoulder tiredly. No one told him to start carrying Donghyuck around like he weighed nothing, when they knew that little kid ate like an adult.
"Keep playing with our son."
Taeyong smiled fondly. Taeil was one step away from falling asleep again.
"Then get out of my kitchen, and don't take my pancakes with you."
Taeil whined like a wounded cat, but moved his feet regardless, and they heard the unmistakable sound of their son approaching them again in rapid footsteps.
"Daaaad, I thought you weren't using the blue napkins!"
For a moment, Taeyong's heart almost stopped. However, the devilish glint in the six year old's eyes, matched with a poorly hidden smile, told him that his son was just dying for some more attention, and mischief.
"I found it weird too, they don't match the hats."
And so, with Taeil's contribution, they began the small play they had, where Taeyong pretended to be completely fooled by Donghyuck's schemes, his husband played along, and his son laughed with all his heart, because it mostly ended in a tickle punishment.
He started a rant about why he had specifically chosen the pink napkins, who were cuter and more in the theme, and marched into their living room, straight to the bag of contents they had bought for Donghyuck's party.
He wasn't surprised when there weren't any blue napkins, even though he gasped and started to point fingers.
It was worth Donghyuck's delighted laugh and Taeil's endeared smile.
Taeyong eyed unimpressed the man in front of him, smiling one last time at Jaehyun and Johnny as they went inside, before turning back to his enemy standing at the door.
"You look fucking ridiculous with that hat."
He took his hands to the pink party hat he had on his head, protecting it from Doyoung's scrutinizing gaze, and glaring at him.
"Jokes on you, if you want to get in the party you'll have to wear one."
Doyoung snorted, his hands going to his hips, and Taeyong suddenly wanted to call Johnny to collect his little beast so that he didn't have to deal with it.
"Not gonna happen. I'm more of a blue guy."
The younger's challenging look made Taeyong step forward, as intimidating as he could be, speaking in a low voice.
"I'll make you fucking purple-"
Taeil's stern voice ruined his fun, and he felt himself being pulled back by his husband, who shook his head disapprovingly at him.
"Taeil! Oh my god that's a magnificent hat where can I get one?"
Doyoung was smiling brightly all of a sudden, his hand going to the newcomer's shoulder, and was greeted with a warm smile.
"Yongie picked them, go get one from Yuta."
Doyoung smiled sweetly, turned around one last time to poke his tongue out at Taeyong, and then went in happy steps to give Donghyuck a happy birthday kiss.
Taeil hit his arm, shaking his head again as he went to close the door.
"Stop saying bad words. There are children around."
Taeyong rolled his eyes with a huff, crossing his arms in his chest, wondering if Doyoung ever got scolded too. Jaehyun always seemed too soft.
"Yeah, Doyoung's one of them."
"And you too."
Taeil brushed past him exasperated, and Taeyong sighed, because now he had to go give him an apologetic peck on the lips before returning to his busy schedule of finishing his little sandwiches, decorating the chocolate cake, and also check the other cake he was baking for the ones who didn't like chocolate. And it would be all Doyoung's fault if he got late. He'd be sure to put salt on his drink.
Things were going well.
Yuta was currently trying to wear the highest number of hats on his head that was possible, and the children were all around him, some laughing, others trying to beat him.
Kun was drinking his tea by Ten's side, watching attentively for any signs of discomfort or sadness in one of his five kids, ready to spring into action if needed. Counting with Ten he had basically six children to watch for, and Taeyong admired him for that.
Doyoung was watching the scene with two different expressions. The fond one was reserved for Jeno and Jaemin, the first being busy playing with Renjun, the other annoying Mark, and the other, the icy glare with so much anger thar could destroy anyone who crossed him, was directed at Yuta, who was the center of attention, and at Taeyong, because he was Taeyong.
God, he loved Doyoung.
Taeil was also sitting on the table, between Johnny and Sicheng, but his eyes were unfocused sometimes, and Taeyong knew exactly what he was thinking about. His lover was feeling as nostalgic as he was.
Too bad he didn't have time for negativity, he had to go get the cake for them to sing happy birthday to the little angel that happened to be stealing Yuta's hats without the older noticing.
He passed by the table to drop a kiss on his husband's head, he'd know exactly why, and made his way over to the kitchen.
The birthday boy turned around, his hands dropping once he saw Yukhei standing there, shyly looking up at him.
He left Yangyang to finish the braids they were making in Yuta's hair, and stepped a bit closer.
"Hi Xuxi! Are you having fun?"
Said boy nodded, a bit more confident now, still blushed, his hands behind his back.
"Yes... I wanted to give you something..."
Donghyuck's cheeks matched the other's now, but he still raised an eyebrow, because everyone had left their gifts at the entrance.
The taller boy then retreated his hands, a nervous laugh leaving him, and slowly uncovered a small, pink flower, whose petals were a bit wrinkled already from Yukhei's nervous grasp.
The younger thought he heard gasps from the other side of the room, but simply smiled as he very gently, as gentle as a six year old knows how to be, took the flower into his hands.
"Oh Xuxi... that's the sweetest thing ever..."
Yukhei looked sadly at the small flower, half destroyed already, but smiled at Donghyuck nevertheless.
"It's a little messed up Haechannie, I'm sorry..."
Donghyuck looked up at the puppy eyed boy, and in a rush of confidence, he took the older's hand in his.
They both smiled, wondering if 6 years of living were enough to choose their one true love.
"Xuxi, did you eat your snack?" Neitheir boy had time to react before Kun arrived, kneeling worriedly besides them as Yukhei shook his head. "Baby, you know you feel unwell if you spend too much time without food in your tummy. I'm sorry Hyuckie he'll be right back."
And so Donghyuck watched in a mix of disappointment and fondness as Kun dragged his son to the table, still gripping the flower tightly in his hands.
"We have a problem."
His cake was perfect, as expected, and so Taeyong finished placing the last sunflower made out of sugar, before looking up. Yuta was watching him worriedly, random braids on his hair, that in any other occasion would've made the older laugh.
"What is it?"
He set the cake aside, going to wash his hands, and Yuta followed him, speaking very lowly and close to his ear.
"The small giraffe is with the baby bear."
Taeyong froze in shock.
It was impossible, they had worked too hard for this things to keep happening. He sighed, closed the tap, but didn't dry his hands yet, instead answering in a whisper.
"What about the cute dolphin?"
Yuta shrugged apologetically, before beginning to pull on Taeyong's sleeve, and the older followed him out of the kitchen, leaving a trail of water droplets behind him from his wet hands.
"He got tired and went to his dad."
They were in the hallway, and both poked their heads in the living room just to see Chenle sitting on Kun's leg, the latter rocking them slowly as the younger's head rested between his shoulder and neck.
His eyes scanned the rest of the room, Johnny pretending to make a phone call on Jaemin's foot, Taeil staring at them with a raised eyebrow, Doyoung with a glare, and- Oh. There they were. Donghyuck and Yukhei, at the farthest point from them, both giggly and red, completely oblivious to everything around them.
"And that's not all." Yuta pulled him into the hallway again, whispering. "He also called him Haechannie."
Taeyong covered his mouth in horror.
"Chenle invented that name."
Yuta seemed as affected as him, shaking his head in disbelief.
Now you could call Taeyong completely insane for obsessing over his six year old son's relationships, and Yuta even worse for helping, but really, the first just took an interest in Donghyuck's happiness, like any normal parent would, and the latter was simply the best friend ever. Also, Chenle was a little angel and Kun a model parent who often had tea with him and Taeil, there was no one better for his son to have a crush on. And no one cared if Yukhei was also Kun's son.
Both of them poked their heads inside again, just in time to see Yukhei shyly give Donghyuck a flower, in a soft pink that even matched their decorations. They both gasped louder than intended, and retreated their heads again to avoid looks.
"Freaking hell Taeyong, that's kinda cute."
Taeyong rubbed his head, shook it, hoping the image would fall off his brain. No, they needed to focus. They had a mission after all.
He cupped his best friend's face, turning it to the door.
"That's cuter though."
He pointed at Kun kissing his son's head lovingly, his finger stroking the other's back gently, and both boys melted at the sight, before turning to each other again.
"We might have to take him out."
Yuta's face was serious, and Taeyong hated to agree, but they did have to take some desperate measures... like telling Kun that his son didn't eat his snack, that would definitely make him leave Chenle with Sicheng's cuddles and go get Yukhei.
His eyes shone devilishly, that was actually a pretty solid plan. He didn't have the time to say it out loud though, because suddenly Taeil was in front of them, hands on his hips and an exasperated look on his face.
"You two are impossible."
They looked at the ground shamefully.
"... Happy birthday to you!"
Donghyuck was on Taeil's lap, blowing the candles as cheers erupted from all around him, most of his uncles going to give him a kiss, Johnny six because he said it was one for each year of cuteness he had blessed them with.
He would have gone over to kiss his son too, but he was finally free of chores, with the exception of the cleaning he'd have to do later, and all the feelings had suddenly downed on him, that his son was growing up and becoming a small, cute, in love with someone that wasn't Chenle, man, and it made him emotional.
He didn't notice a tear had fallen until Doyoung showed up in front of him, with dispair on his face and a pack of tissues on his hand.
He ignored the other, took the pack of tissues and blew his nose. He gave the pack back once he saw Doyoung's own teary eyes.
Donghyuck sat contently with his father's arms around his waist, the older's legs bouncing up and down from time to time to make him laugh.
He looked around him at everyone at the table, at Chenle's loud laugh, at Yangyang who was still trying to make him eat the candle "so that the wish would really come true", at Yukhei, who was... also looking back at him? He blushed, turning his head to Taeil's chest.
"What is it, sweetheart?" Donghyuck shook his head instead of answering, and he felt his father's soft chuckles. Maybe Yukhei liked him back, he did give him a flower just an hour ago. "Is it your Xuxi?"
Donghyuck's eyes widened, and, in a rush, he used his little hands to cover Taeil's mouth the best he could, all the while his father laughed wholeheartedly.
It was no secret that he had a crush on Yukhei, not that he knew what that meant, he simply smiled whenever he saw or though of the other boy, and once heard his uncle Doyoung saying that was a crush. And so he used that term when describing it to Chenle and complaining about it to Mark. He also ended up going to Jaemin because the older had talked to him about his own feelings for Mark, so it was only fair he did the same. And then Jeno and Renjun for the same reasons (he liked to think he had been the one to set them up). And then Jisung because he didn't want him to be left out. He had no idea how Yangyang and Hendery had found out though, Chenle swore he hadn't told them, but they had sort of promised they wouldn't tell their brother, thus he could live with it. So, yeah, it was no secret. But Yukhei still couldn't find out.
Taeil tickled him on the sides, going to whisper in his ear.
"I'll keep your secret."
He smiled at his father just as Taeyong came over demanding kisses from his husband and son, his eyes weirdly red, but maybe Chenle had told him again he was his favourite uncle after Sicheng.
It didn't matter, he just let himself be coddled and the center of attention, smiling at all his friends.
Taeyong was finally, after the longest day of the year, resting. His head was laying on Taeil's lap while his husband used one hand to choose the tv channel, the other to run his fingers through the younger's hair soothingly.
He had a lot of work with cleaning up everything, but luckily Kun stayed a little longer to help, which was nice seeing as Chenle also had a hard time leaving Donghyuck. His friend hadn't been able to stay for too long though, because Ten couldn't control their kids and everything they cleaned Yangyang managed to destroy within less than two minutes. He managed to get Yuta to stay even later though, and this time it wasn't a problem because Renjun was calmer anyway.
In Taeil's case he didn't help at all, falling asleep on the couch right after Jungwoo left, and only waking up after everything was clean. Hadn't they been married for almost a decade now, Taeyong would've though he'd done it on purpose.
Either way, he was now getting cuddles as both an apology and reward.
He barely lifted his head before Donghyuck was already in front of them, pajamas on, stained with toothpaste because his son didn't heir his delicacy.
Taeil immediately dropped the tv remote, smiling gently at their son.
Taeyong got up lazily, plopping his head on his husband's shoulder instead and opening his arms for Donghyuck to dive in.
The younger did just that, setting himself comfortable with his head on Taeyong's chest and his feet on Taeil's lap.
He looked at them both with big, adoring eyes, the look he had everytime they told him a bedtime story, or sung him to sleep.
"I just wanted to say thank you for giving me the best birthday ever."
Taeyong felt his eyes stinging as his son burrowed close to them, because he loved him so much it couldn't be possible, and he just knew they'd take this little bundle of joy to their bed tonight, to sleep in their warmth and safety.
He lifted his head and crossed eyes with Taeil, and he simply knew they were thinking the same thing.
He loved these two boys so much he'd let a thousand Doyoung's come to his birthday party.
He rested his head against his husband's shoulder again, and the three of them fell silent, Taeil and Donghyuck both asleep after a while, and he would be soon too, after he finished thanking every little star for how lucky he'd gotten.
Taeyong loved birthday parties, but he loved his family even more.