As members joined and debuted, Taeyong invited them into his pack whole-heartedly, and they all said yes, even if it took a couple days of consideration. Taeyong would always allow them time to weigh their options, but all of them knew that they could never have a better pack than to be with Taeyong and safe in his leadership. Even the other alphas knew how lucky they were to be with such a gentle yet strong leader. There was never any need to try and be pack leader when they saw how burdensome it could be, and how much it wore at Taeyong, especially when scandals happened, and group members took a leave of absence to help their mental health. Taeyong was steadfast in his love for his members though. He was their biggest advocate.
It was 2018 now. Three new members had debuted with them, and two were able to accept the pack bond. Their pack now had ten members. It was a pack that offered love, support, and encouragement. Taeyong had created an environment that harbored respect for each individual member. No one was above anyone else based on their sub-gender. The only Taeyong asked was for their to be proper respect when it came to honorifics being used, as it was custom in their culture and society.
Present Day, at Dorm 127
Deep down he knew the members loved and adored each other. He knew their bond was strong. It had to be. They were constantly being criticized, teased, and ridiculed for their decision to be such a large pack. They didn’t want to separate, but if the younger members decided to form their own pack, then obviously that would be okay. The current members though joined the pack knowing it would be large. They made their decision based on their own free will.
He was happy to be home at the dorm today, on a much needed day off with his members. It would be a good time rejuvenate and hopefully allow the pack to bond a bit while the Dream babies were away on schedules. Lucas had school and lessons, so he wouldn’t be left out while the rest of them did bond.
He sat up in his bed, wiping away the sleep from the corner of his eyes, and ran his fingers through his hair. He was a bit surprised that he woke up alone, usually one of the boys liked to sneak in for some morning cuddles.
He got up, pulling a hoodie on and leaving his room. He could smell someone’s cooking, and the soft laughter and gentle words exchanged. He padded down the hallway to be met with quite an endearing sight. Kun was in the kitchen diligently cooking while talking with SiCheng. Johnny, Taeil, Jaehyun, and Ten were in what could only be called a cuddle pile. Yuta, Doyoung, and Jungwoo were playing a card game on the floor, laughing and talking happily. All of his boys were in comfortable clothing and the room smelled sweet because of their happiness and joy of being so close to one another.
“Morning hyung,” SiCheng says sweetly.
Taeyong smiled at him, noticing that the others were aware of his presence now.
A chorus of greetings welcomed him, and Taeyong could roll in this warmth if he was allowed too. “Morning everyone,” he said. “Kun, do you need some help?” He asks, not wanting to intrude if the boy has it under control.
“I got it, go sit with the others, they’ve been missing you,” Kun said softly.
“You haven’t?” Taeyong teases.
Kun smirks, “No reason for me too.”
Taeyong laughs at his playful Beta. He presses a kiss to WinWIn’s cheek, before moving into the living room. Jungwoo immediately abandons the game he was playing and attaches himself to Taeyong’s side, scenting his neck. “Hi baby,” Taeyong says softly.
Jungwoo was their newest packmate, and definitely the most tactile since the packbond formed. He also happened to be the sweetest member with so much love to give to everyone. He was definitely a favored member amongst pack and group members. His presence was comforting, and his sweet nature melted everybody’s heart. Jungwoo easily had the entire pack wrapped around his little finger. Including Taeyong. It helped that he was also the pack maknae, the youngest within their packbond, so he was often spoiled with attention and affection.
“Sleep well?” Johnny asks from the couch.
Taeyong nods, “Yeah, although it was a bit weird waking up alone.”
“You can blame me for that. I know how late you got in last night and I told the pups to let you sleep and not disturb you,” Johnny says, an apologetic tone to his voice, “Sorry.”
“It’s okay, I appreciate you lookin’ out for me,” Taeyong says kindly. “Lucas get to his lessons okay?”
“Yes, he texted me when manager-nim picked him up and dropped him off,” Johnny said.
“I assume he took a lunchbox with him?”
“Yeah, Kun made him one. Kun’s been in the kitchen practically all morning, and won’t let any of us help him,” Johnny says.
“Probably because the last time we helped, Haechan almost set the building on fire,” Taeil says.
All of them snicker at the memory.
“Kun loves cooking and he seems to be fine, but that means we are on dish and clean-up duty,” Taeyong says, “Kun’s been working hard all morning, so he gets to relax after.”
“What’s the plan for today, hyung?” Jaehyun asks.
“I’m thinking a day in? We can all relax and prepare for our upcoming schedules, you know it’s just going to get busier and more hectic. Plus, it’s a good day for some pack bonding while Lucas is at his lessons, and the Dream babies are at their schedules.” Taeyong shares, moving to sit down, which was difficult considering Jungwoo protested being moved. Taeyong had to quiet him down and promised the younger could sit on his lap and cuddle him.
“Can we get delivery for lunch then?” Yuta asks.
Taeyong laughs, “Yeah, that would be fine, but lets have breakfast first before we make lunch plans.”
“Breakfast is ready,” Kun calls, “Come get it.”
Taeyong watches as the boys scramble up from the floor and untangle themselves on the couch to be fed. Jungwoo stayed still, refusing to leave Taeyong’s side.
“Are you not hungry, baby?” Taeyong asks.
“A little, but I missed you hyung,” Jungwoo says, looking up at him with a pout on his lips.
“I missed you too baby.” Taeyong says, concerned at the clinginess of his youngest omega. “Did something happen yesterday? You can tell hyung.”
Jungwoo frowns a little, “I don’t want anyone to get in trouble.”
Taeyong’s warning bells start to go off, but continues to urge Jungwoo to talk. “They’ll only get in trouble if they did something really bad. Did someone do something that made you upset?”
“I know I’m new to the pack, and group, and everyone has certain people they’re closest with, but I still feel like I don’t have that. I’m close with Lucas, but Lucas is close with everyone and he bounces around to everyone to get their attention. And the older hyungs are really close that I don’t wanna interrupt them. I guess I’m just... a bit unsure about my place in the pack,” Jungwoo confesses softly.
Taeyong frowns, “You’re feeling a bit out of place? Maye a bit lonely?”
“Yeah, and like I don’t really belong,” Jungwoo clarifies.
Taeyong could feel his heart breaking. “Oh, baby. I’m so sorry you’ve been feeling like that. I know it must be difficult for you, being the last one to join, and being a new member as well, but we all love you. I know the other boys adore you, and you are welcome to join anyone of us at any minute. You were playing with Doyoung and Yuta earlier? They included you.”
“Yeah, but, playing games is different. It’s hard for me to bond with others by myself,” Jungwoo whines.
“Okay, hyung will talk to them, should we go eat now?” Taeyong asks.
“I’m not really hungry anymore,” Jungwoo admits.
“Okay, Johnny?” Taeyong calls.
“Yeah!” Johnny says back.
“Can you bring me some? Jungwoo is reluctant to move,” Taeyong says.
Johnny chuckles, “Yeah, I’ll bring you some. Give me a minute.”
Taeyong wasn’t super concerned about Jungwoo’s inability to bond with his packmates on his own, mainly because the omega was painfully shy. His boys were really good about giving each other space, so he could see how this misunderstanding occurred. It seemed much more likely that the others were waiting for Jungwoo to approach them, and Jungwoo misunderstood their intentions.
Johnny appeared, a bowl in each hand, offering one to Taeyong. Taeong took it, and watched as Johnny bent down to kiss Jungwoo’s forehead, “You okay pup?” He asks softly.
Jungwoo smiled sweetly at Johnny, “Yes hyung.”
Johnny brushed his hand through Jungwoo’s hair, “Okay, be sure Tae eats all of that. He’s looking far too thin with how hard he’s been working.”
Taeyong is about to protest when he’s cut off by Johnny kissing his lips in a sweet peck, before moving to the couch to sit next to Taeil. Taeyong glares at him, but also feels incredibly smitten by the affection.
Breakfast passes quickly, they all praise Kun for his cooking genius, and they all help clean up. Taeyong manages to give Jungwoo a few bites so he’s not going through the day on a completely empty stomach. Taeyong is able to settle Jungwoo in Johnny’s lap. Johnny is the softest alpha he knows. Johnny is warm and kind, and incredibly sweet to the younger members. Jungwoo warms up to Johnny easily. Johnny dotes on him with as much affection as he can, and Taeyong turns to focus on the other members he knows have been wanting his attention all morning.
The member he’s arguably closest with is Ten. Ten can manage to get attention from anyone, but it’s not a pack secret that Ten does prefer being with Taeyong. So when Taeyong sits back down, Ten eagerly claims him. The others are watching an action movie, and Taeyong takes this time to snuggle with his packmate.
“Is Jungwoo okay?” He asks.
Taeyong smiles at him, “Yes, he’ll be fine. Just a little misunderstanding that I’ll address with all of you in private.”
“I missed you yesterday,” Ten sighs, nuzzling into Taeyong’s neck.
Ten smells like citrus and mint, a sweet and fresh scent that Taeyong has always been addicted too. “Missed you too. Everyone behaved yesterday?”
“Yeah, they were all good with Johnny.”
“I’m not surprised, Johnny’s good with all of you,” Taeyong says.
“I know they’re not pack, but I miss the Dream kids. Feels weird without them,” Ten confesses.
Taeyong laughs, “I feel the same. I miss their cute antics.”
“When do you think Mark and Lucas will make a decision?” Ten asks.
Taeyong sighs at that. He’s not sure when the two boys will make a decision. Mark hasn’t made a decision and he technically won’t been legal for six months now. Lucas just joined, but he’s been legal for a couple months. Mark hasn’t shied away from the pack, while Lucas has just been happy with everyone in NCT. Taeyong would be happy to have the gentle alpha as a packmate, but he knows that the younger has gone through a lot of change recently and might be feeling a bit overwhelmed.
“I’m not sure. I trust that they’ll make the right decision when they’re ready to make it. They both know that they’re more than welcome to join, but they also might want to be in another pack with members closer to their age, you know?” Taeyong says.
Ten frowns at that, “I’m not sure that settles right with me.”
“I know, but they need to make the choice they’re most comfortable with. You want them happy right?” Taeyong asks.
“Yeah, all I want is for them to both be happy. Regardless of what they choose,” Ten says.
He knew a lot of the younger members worried about whether or not their pack would have all eighteen members, or if the younger ones would branch off into their own pack. Taeyong was okay with either decision. As long as his entire group was happy and comfortable, he wouldn’t ask for more. He was prepared to take on the burden of having everyone be in his pack, but he’d also support them if they wanted to be in a pack with closer ages. That decision wouldn’t be made for quite some time though.
They both drifted off into a nap after exchanging a few sleepy kisses. Taeyong woke up to Ten getting up from his lap and moving to lay next to Yuta on the floor.
“Traitor,” Taeyong whispers.
Johnny snorts from the couch, cuddled up with both Taeil and Jungwoo. He looks at the others, Jaehyun and SiCheng are wrapped in each other’s arms on the ground as well. Doyoung and Kun are on the opposite couch laying together as well.
“Poor leader,” Johnny teases, “lonely leader.”
Taeyong throws a pillow at him.
Once everyone wakes up from the impromptu nap does Taeyong call and order food for them. He gets enough food for their to be left-overs for days. Yuta Jaehyun, Doyoung, and Kun are playing a card game. Taeil had gone into his room for some privacy and peace. Taeil sometimes needed time to decompress when they had pack bonding, and no one ever made him feel guilty for it. Jungwoo was, of course, still attached to Johnny’s hip, which the alpha seemed more than happy with. SiCheng was on his phone texting his mom. Lucas would be coming home any minute now, and would definitely be barging into their dorm. Lucas hated being alone.
Taeyong looked up when he heard their door slam open, “Hyungs!”
He can’t help but laugh, Lucas always brings joy and chaos to the dorm. “Hi Lucas,” Taeyong greets.
Lucas gives him a boyish smile, “Hi hyung.”
“How were your lessons?” Taeyong asks.
“Long, and I’m still struggling with my Korean, but my teacher says that I am doing well,” Lucas reports proudly.
“Good job, kiddo,” Taeyong says. “We just ordered lunch, it should be here soon.”
“Great, I’m starving,” Lucas shares, moving to sit next to the boys on the floor and joining in on the card game.
Jungwoo ventures off of the couch to sit beside Lucas. Lucas welcomes him warmly and gives him a side hug, before including him in the game. Johnny smiles at them. Taeyong decides this is the best moment for him to get some attention from his fellow alpha, since the rest are preoccupied. Johnny is always willing to cuddle. Taeyong curls into his side, as they watch the pups play their card game and smile when they cheer or get frustrated. Johnny is playing with his hair, as he teases the younger members.
Taeyong looks up when he sees Taeil shuffle back into the room. “Hi hyung,” Taeyong says kindly.
“Hi Tae,” Taeil says warmly, sitting on Johnny’s lap and holding Taeyong’s hand.
Taeyong knew that their eldest member struggled with being both oldest and an omega. It wasn’t always easy, and he knew the age gap between him and some the members made things awkward, but both Johnny and Taeyong made sure he was never neglected when it came to affection.
All ten packmates, and one groupmate, were crammed into the living room and it had never been a more warm and gentle environment. Taeyong loved his boys, all of them, and he knew they still had some things to figure out, but he knew they’d be okay. They had defied all odds up until now, and that wasn’t going to change anytime soon.