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The Love We Reach For

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Warmth. That was the sensation of slowly waking up, feeling the heat of arms around him, a broad torso against his back. Jungkook blearily opened his eyes, a line of light across his vision. It was the artificial horizon-line, the gap between the cloth tacked to the underside of the table like a curtain and the cold tiled kitchen floor. Jungkook sighed, shifting his feet a little underneath the blankets, wriggling his toes. A soft foot brushed up against his ankle, and then the sharp side of a toenail.

 

Jungkook fumbled blindly above his shoulder, flailing around until his hand found the cell phone plugged into its charger. He checked the time. He groaned. He needed to get up soon.

 

Gently, he started to shift onto his side, and instantly felt the arms around his waist tighten in, clutching him forcefully. A mouth pressed to his neck, hot morning breath against his skin.

 

“Don’t go,” came the muffled little mumble. Jungkook smirked.

 

“I have work, dummy.”

 

“Shut up, twerp.”

 

“Fuck you,” Jungkook teased back quietly. The Omega wriggled around in Seokjin’s hold, pressing a pluckish peck against the round little nose. “I can't be late again.”

 

“Five more minutes. Your alarm hasn't even gone off.” Seokjin whined, leaning in to bury his face underneath Jungkook’s chin, nuzzling in at his collar and periodically giving a kiss to his Scent mark. The raised patch of skin would eternally smell like a mix of their two Scents: soap, leather and saltwater. “And you're warm.”

“And you're spoiled. Let me go, Jin.” Jungkook batted at Seokjin’s arm, making the Alpha pout.

 

“That's the pot calling the kettle black.”

 

“Oh, shut up, you.” Jungkook chuckled. He really didn't want to get up either, though, so he took the excuse and let them fall into silence, his arms tucking around Seokjin’s trim waist. His eyes closed and he let out a sigh, enjoying the comfort of their little makeshift hideaway underneath the dining room table. Photographs of them and their pack made up their “ceiling,” scenes of days at their hunting grounds, scenes of large homemade meals, of birthdays they’d had in the last year. The two of them were curled together on a little futon mattress, thin and small and just a little too big to fit within the perimeter of the table, so two of the edges were folded up and squished between the wooden legs. Piles of pillows and blankets were arranged around them in a domestic little nest. This was home.

 

Jungkook was mere seconds away from dozing off again in Seokjin’s embrace, when suddenly there was a tiny, chubby hand pulling the curtain aside, and a round face appeared with a delicate and pure gasp that was unparalleled.

 

“Uncle Jinnie! Uncle Kookie!?” Naiara asked, her eyes wide. Jungkook opened one eye as Seokjin groaned at his side. The two year old was nothing if not impetuous. “Wake up!”

 

“Nai, we're trying to sleep,” Seokjin moaned sleepily, his voice straining for patience. “So please be quiet.”

 

Naiara stared at her uncles for a moment, considering, and then pouted. Jungkook knew it was only a matter of time. True to form, a second later the tiny girl had leapt underneath the table, throwing herself across the two of them and making them grunt, her dark curls bouncing across her forehead.

 

“Gah!” she exclaimed.

 

“Ah, jeez,” Seokjin rolled his eyes, his hand falling to drape across her tiny back. Jungkook laughed. The toddler giggled, wriggling her little bottom around and kicking her feet. Tiny toes with surprisingly sharp toenails dug into Jungkook’s thigh as she clambered until she was laying on top of Jungkook’s stomach and chest, her head just below his chin. She smiled up at him, the bright green eyes she had inherited from her mother sparkling with mirth and playfulness. She was fresh-faced and chubby-cheeked, soft lips and an indignant and spoiled determination rested on her intelligent brow. Naiara was the pack’s little princess, and she was more than well aware of it. The endearing Scent of coconut wafted down, wrapping around Jungkook and tinged with the aura of a happy child.

 

“Uncle Kookie,” she said, leaning in and kissing him, sloppy child drool smearing across his lips and the side of his cheek. “Let’s play.”

 

Jungkook rolled his eyes, taking on a deep, accented voice in that bossy, film noir detective imitation that he knew she liked.

 

“Yer cute, kid,” he said, talking as if he had a cigar in one corner of his mouth. Naiara started to giggle, her eyes crinkling  as she grinned. “But not that cute, see?”

 

“Kookie!”

 

“Yeah, kiddo?”

 

She reached out, sticking her finger into the empty corner of his mouth where the invisible cigar should go, and giggled when he licked at her fingertip, laughing and reaching up to tickle her sides.

 

Meanwhile, they were joined by another tiny person, this time, little Kwangie, with his small, angular eyes and his seemingly constant expression of surprise and concern. He wasn't wearing pants, his dimpled knees and rounded legs laid bare as he wore only a stained and crooked yellow T-shirt and a diaper. He was only a few months younger than Naiara, but Kwangie seemed much more timid, much more careful about his movements. He hadn't started to talk as much as Naiara had at his age, which had caused them some concern. But, as Jimin had reassured them from his research, it was common for young boys to learn to speak slower than girls, so they had collectively decided to let him talk in his own time.

 

“Hey, buddy,” Seokjin said, his hand reaching out and automatically wrapping around the boy’s waist, tugging him a little closer. Kwangie stared at Seokjin, then looked over at Naiara as she wriggled and screamed at being teased by Jungkook. “Did you come to play, too?”

 

Kwangie, in lieu of any nod or verbal affirmation, just stumbled a little closer to Seokjin, quiet. He had a runny nose again, and he sniffed hard as he contemplated the playing wolves on the other side of the nest area.

 

Then, suddenly, he seemed to tire of being left out, and abruptly cried out with a loud and nasal, “NAI-NAI!”

 

Naiara, still giggling from being tickled, ignored him. Kwangie frowned, stomping his foot and calling her again. Seokjin was left feeling the now-too-familiar warmth of a mix between concern and humor. Kwangie was a little bit possessive of his playmate, always getting jealous of any time she paid attention to someone else and left him feeling neglected. Naiara was typically the leader of their adventures, the younger boy content to follow her around and do as she wished, with very little complaint, all things considered for their age and the accompanying petulance that comes with infantile egoism. But every once in awhile, Kwangie wanted his way, and he would let anyone within earshot know quite clearly his demands.

 

“Kwangie, she's playing with Uncle Kookie right now,” Seokjin reassured, massaging at the tiny back in hopes of garnering a little extra patience. “So just wait a minute, or you can come in to play with them?”

 

“No!” Kwangie shouted, his bottom lip protruding, brow becoming furrowed. It was an expression that brought out the unique little blend in his face of Yoongi and Hoseok’s features, and made Seokjin smile a little. “Nai-nai!”

 

“What?!” she snapped back, looking up from her play with Jungkook. Kwangie, not sure what words he needed to convey his strength of feeling, just stomped his foot twice more.

 

“Someone’s jealous,” Seokjin chuckled, reaching over and scooping Kwangie in his arms, plopping the child down on his chest. The tiny, dimpled, and chubby legs dangled off the sides of his stomach, the boy’s hair brushing up against the underside of the table. Kwangie was kind of fussy in the mornings, but he would definitely get tired by the afternoon and would awake from a nap quite refreshed and playful. Seokjin reached up, nudging his fingers into Kwangie’s armpits and tickling through the stained and sticky yellow fabric of the T-shirt. Kwangie squealed, tilting his head to the side and coiling up his arms against his chest in a weak attempt at defense, tiny mouth agape as he shrieked with laughter. Seokjin liked Kwangie a lot. They seemed to get along, and Seokjin had been one of the ones who could get him to calm down the most, when he had been a fussy newborn.

 

“Give me kisses?” Seokjin encouraged, puffing up his lips. The baby was distracted, trying to wriggle away and over toward Naiara. “Kwangie, can you give me kisses?”

 

The boy smiled, eyes crinkled with mirth as he flopped down and mostly fell onto Seokjin’s mouth, rather than properly kissing him. But it was appreciated, just the same. Seokjin chuckled, and Kwangie sat up, waving his arms a little. Seokjin tugged the boy back down so that he could embrace him against his chest, the lovely Scent of new books hovering around the child.

 

“Thank you, Kwangie.”

 

“Kwangie!” Naiara called out, her best attempt at saying his name sounding a lot closer to Wann’ie than Kwangie .

 

“Naiara, stop picking on your uncles when they’re trying to sleep.” Kiara’s voice rang down soft and warm from where she paced across the kitchen floor, bending down to peer underneath the table. Instinctively, Naiara rolled over, attempting to hide on the far side of Jungkook and use him as a shield from her mother’s eyes. “Nai-nai…” came the gently chiding tone. “Come on. Come help me cook breakfast for daddy.”

 

Naiara’s curly head popped up abruptly, her eyes wide as she dropped open her mouth in surprise and anticipation. “Bre’fas’!”

 

“Yes, breakfast for daddy. Now come on out and help me.”

 

Without remorse, Naiara clambered roughly over Jungkook’s stomach and then Seokjin’s legs, making them grunt as her small feet dug painfully into soft flesh. Kwangie stared after Naiara for a moment as she disappeared beyond the little playhouse of the nest, and then he rolled out of his own accord, silently following after her. Seokjin let him go, chuckling a little as the two energetic toddlers quickly became Kiara’s problem to keep an eye on.

 

Seokjin groaned and rolled over onto his side to face Jungkook, both of them still nursing the temporary bruises on their body that came with having pups in the house. The feeling drifted in again, the worry that settled into Jungkook’s bones as he watched Seokjin close his eyes, lips still curled into a smile as he half-heartedly attempted to reclaim the former tranquility they had been enjoying before the interruption.

 

Jungkook’s hand went to his stomach, resting low there for a moment.

 

“I don’t wanna get up,” Seokjin moaned, his eyes still shut, and therefore not seeing the forlorn and worried look Jungkook was sending his way. The Omega took in a shallow breath, leaning in to cup Seokjin’s cheek, fingertips curled around the jaw as he leaned in, pressing a lingering and delicate kiss to Seokjin’s mouth. Seokjin hummed into the gesture quite happily, letting Jungkook set the lazy and familiar pace. By the time he drew away and the beautiful eyes opened, sparkling with amusement, Jungkook had recovered enough to wipe away the mournful expression.

 

“Okay, you’ve convinced me, you tease,” laughed Seokjin. He pushed at Jungkook’s shoulder roughly, as if in impatience. “God, get up , you’re gonna be late again! Why are you still lazing around for?”

 

Jungkook huffed, letting himself roll over Seokjin, even planting in an elbow in the Alpha’s stomach just to make sure he knew he was a pain in the ass, and then Jungkook was clambering out from underneath the table. The smell of eggs and bacon wafted towards him, and Kiara smiled at him from over by the stove.

 

“Morning, sunshine,” she said. “You have time to eat before you go?”

“Probably,” Jungkook said. The answer was ‘probably’ because Jungkook was ravenous, and he could go a bit faster on his bike in exchange for nourishment before beginning his day. He swept up behind her, hugging her from behind and burying his nose in her red curly hair, her Scent of fresh coffee encompassing him. She giggled, reaching up to pat him on the head affectionately.

 

“I need you to pick up more milk,” Kiara said, in that tone that was so gentle and yet firm, a voice of Omega authority and self-assuredness. “Also you might want to get Taehyung a treat of some kind. He’s been having a real time of it.”

 

“Well, having pups is tough,” Jungkook said, his voice low and his lips laid against the fabric on her shoulder, the movement of his jaw jolting his head in little jerking movements as he spoke. He barely withheld a sigh of impatience and - he would admit it to himself but not aloud - jealousy. “But he seems happy. You know, overall.”

“Of course he’s happy. Tae always wanted pups,” Kiara said. Behind them, Seokjin was crawling out from beneath the table, his posture weird as he rubbed at his sore back, one arm behind him and out of Jungkook’s sight.

 

“Jeez, that floor never gets more comfortable,” Seokjin complained. Jungkook rolled his eyes at him, still hugging onto Kiara. When Jungkook turned back to watch Kiara scrambling the eggs, Seokjin smirked, slipping out quietly with the small package hidden behind his back.

 

Meanwhile, Naiara was wriggling and weaving around her mother’s legs, hiding behind and tugging on them as if she was running through a very limited forest. Kwangie was following behind her, on shakier legs but very determined to play with Naiara and keep up with the older pup.

 

Kiara laid out a plate of eggs and bacon for Jungkook, who took it and slid over to the table. Instantly, Kwangie was throwing himself into Jungkook’s knee, tiny hands wrapped around the thigh and looking hopefully up at the source of the delicious smells.

 

“Gugu!” Kwangie shouted. “Gugu!” He tried his best to say his uncle’s name, but that was as close as he could manage. Jungkook chuckled.

 

“Yes?” he asked. Kwangie frowned, tugging on Jungkook’s pants and shrieking in impatience. Still laughing, Jungkook gave him a bite of eggs, the little boy reaching up and taking a clumsy hold of the fork, his thin and angular, pink little lips spreading wide to wrap around the prongs as Jungkook held it carefully.

 

Kiara was setting Naiara up in her special seat at the table, the toddler being very clean and particular about how the dishes were set in front of her. As Kwangie hummed happily at the snack, Kiara glanced over.

 

“Are you doing alright, Kookie?”

 

“Hmm?” Jungkook asked, looking over at the Omega with a bit of confusion.

 

“With you and Seokjin. And the pups,” she said gently. “You've been trying for a while.”

 

Jungkook averted his eyes, watching Kwangie  toddle across the kitchen, screaming for his NaiNai already. “Yeah. I’m starting to get a little worried, too. But there should have been signs, right? If something was...you know. Wrong, or something?”

 

In response, Kiara just gave a bit if a shrug. “You never know. But I’m sure it must be frustrating for you, especially surrounded by the babies all the time.” She reached down, her hand brushing through Naiara’s curls.

 

“No, I love the pups,” Jungkook spoke in a gentle sort of murmur. “I’m glad I get to help take care of them.” He knelt down to Kwangie’s level, the boy pup looking up at him with pretty, angular eyes like his Omega father. Jungkook smiled, a little sadly, and leaned in to kiss Kwangie’s forehead as the toddler stumbled past.

 

Would their pups have his eyes, or Seokjin’s? Would they inherit his own guffawing laughter or the wheezing, high-pitched giggles of his Alpha? He had no way to know, and a dark, nauseated pit in the depths of his stomach whispered to him with increasing frequency that it was possible, quite possible, that he would never know.

 

Jungkook felt sick. And just wanted to go back to bed.

 

“I gotta go to work,” Jungkook said.

 

“Gugu!” Kwangie called out, flopping his little hand back and forth in some semblance of a wave.”Bye-bye.”

 

“Bye-bye, Kwangie, bye-bye Nai-nai,” Jungkook said with a smile, waving at the two of them before dropping his dishes in the sink and leaving.

 

Meanwhile, in the garage, Hoseok was getting an earful from one Park Jimin.

 

The elder of the two Alphas was knelt down next to Yoongi’s new car - an old blue 1969 Pontiac Firebird that they had found for a good price and that Yoongi had fallen absolutely in love with. Naturally, he had used his cute smile and perhaps a few sexual favors, and gotten his Mate to promise to fix it up for him. Just a few tune-ups, he had said. Hoseok scoffed at that notion now. The car had not been taken care of nearly as well as he had hoped, and it was costing almost as much in new parts as it had cost for the whole vehicle when they’d bought it from Kihyun’s grandparents.

 

Jimin, meanwhile, was hovering as Hoseok replaced the brake pads on the Firebird, and was venting about his Beta Mate being difficult that morning.

 

“He just does what he likes, he’s impossible!” Jimin seethed, pacing back and forth across the littered garage floor, narrowly avoiding the very specific assortment of wrenches, rags, and brake parts scattered. “It’s not like I always want my own way, but seriously, he needs to be a little more self-aware!”

 

“I can see how that would be frustrating,” Hoseok said, listening but more focused on the brake pads, in all honesty. “But you’ve got to communicate that with him . I also think we have to give Tae a little bit of extra room. The pups have been taking it out of him lately, you know.”

“I know,” Jimin sighed. “What with the stuff with Joonhee, and him having to stop breastfeeding… it’s all been kind of crazy lately.”

 

“Yeah, and Tae really wanted to breastfeed,” Hoseok hummed, thinking back. Taehyung, being a Beta who had adjusted hormonally to be Jimin’s Omega, had specifically plumped himself up as much as possible during the pregnancy. Even still, as soon as they came home from the hospital, Taehyung’s weight had dropped significantly. Only a couple of months in, and he was skinnier than when Jimin had met him, gaunt and exhausted from the midnight feedings where his body just didn’t have enough in him to provide. The decision had been a serious, and sad one.

 

“I understand that. But getting angry at me because of it doesn’t get us anywhere, you know? I just think he needs to remember sometimes that I’m his Mate, too.”

 

“Well, it’s been awhile since you two had some time alone together, what with being new parents,” Hoseok commented. “Maybe you could ask Jungkook to babysit for a night and take Taehyung out to dinner or something, reconnect?”

 

“Yeah…” Jimin’s shoulders dropped, as he considered. “Maybe...maybe that’s what we need.”

 

“Pregnant Omegas don’t get their heats, but they can still get lonely and hormonal.” Hoseok laughed. “Ask me how I know.”

 

“I don’t remember Yoongi being so grumpy when he was pregnant with Kwangie,” Jimin frowned.

 

“Or you just didn’t notice it.” Hoseok chuckled, shaking his head. The door to the garage opened, and Taehyung was standing there, eyes wide and a frown deeply present on his face. He was, somehow, just as beautiful as when Jimin had first met him, with minor differences. The pregnancy had given him a glow but also drained his body. At least now his cheeks had gotten round and supple again, his warm golden skin seeming to glow, now that his body was taking less of a strain. In his arms, he held their infant daughter, Taeyeon. At first, Jimin had laughed at the notion of naming their child after her father, but Taehyung had been quite set on it. Girl or not, he said, Alpha, Omega, or Beta, their child would bear his name, his legacy. As dramatic as Taehyung had been (as per usual), he had Jimin’s unfailing adoration, so he had agreed.

 

“Hey,” Taehyung said quietly, holding onto the baby and clutching her closely to his chest. She had round cheeks and Jimin’s eyes. Just recently she had started smiling more, so they could see the way her eyes crinkled up into an adorable and innocent eyes smile. But right now, she was sleeping soundly. “Are you busy right now? I need some help, since my hands are full.”

 

“Absolutely,” Jimin said, stepping back up into the house. He followed Taehyung, and Hoseok smiled, returning to his very infuriating car tune-up.

 

“What’s wrong?” Jimin asked, as Taehyung led them back into their shared room. Taehyung had very quickly moved in with Jimin, once things had settled in at home into a normal pace, but it was difficult enough to fit two adults in a tiny room meant for one person, much less a family unit. There were piles of baby bottles, notes tacked to the walls with specifications on the amount of formula to use, what temperature to warm it to. Pacifiers and burping blankets and onesies on the bed, amidst their messy flurry of sheets and blankets.

 

And taking up a huge portion of the far wall, were two cribs.

 

“Joonhee needs her diaper changed,” Taehyung sighed, still cradling one daughter in his arms while he leaned over the second’s crib walls. “But Taeyeon has been fussy all night, so I don’t want to wake her.”

 

“Yeah, I’ve got it.” Jimin spoke the words with an air of timidity, not wanting to set off Taehyung’s impatience by accident again. He leaned into the crib and lifted little Joonhee out, the baby’s face moist from crying earlier, and baby drool dripping off to one side.

 

They hadn’t expected Joonhee. She had been a surprise when her presence had first been detected during the ultrasound. She had almost been lost once, and they had been told that she might not survive the birth. Joonhee, Jimin had named, choosing his top baby girl name from his list, since Taehyung had named Taeyeon. Instead of naming her after himself, though, he had been inspired by their lead Alpha, Namjoon.

 

The way he saw it, if any baby could come out of dire situations and inspire others to live better, then Joon could. So she had been named Joonhee.

 

She wriggled her limbs and fussed a little, and he smiled up into her sparkling eyes, his gaze flicking over to see the little stub that was the remainder of her left arm, ending right at the wrist in a fleshy and soft little round. She had been born with only one hand. Joonhee had always been destined to be a little special.

 

“What is it, babygirl?” Jimin cooed quietly, his voice dipping into a low tone, a smidgen of a rough edge to it that Joonhee immediately recognized, and felt comforted by. She stopped crying, just giving little hiccups and continuing to flail her limbs in quiet protest. Jimin laid her across the bed, unbuttoning the white onesie with its cartoon giraffes.

 

“It’s okay, baby,” Jimin said, smiling down at her, hoping to keep her mood up. “I’m gonna get you cleaned up, okay? Just hold on one minute while daddy gets this off of you.” Joonhee stared up at him, her legs kicking up and down...up and down. She was so active, and when Jimin beamed, chuckling a bit at her fervor, she cooed, trying her best to hold up both arms toward him. He leaned down, letting her lightly thwack one hand and one wrist against his cheeks, her motor skills still far from full of finesse.

 

“That’s right, I’mma clean you right up,” Jimin laughed. “Just hold on, we’ll get the stinky off.”

 

While Jimin took care of Joonhee’s diaper, Taehyung had sat down in the rocking chair in the corner, resting his elbows against the arms of the chair so he could rest the majority of Taeyeon’s weight there. He watched Jimin bending over the younger of the twin pups, smiling down at her and speaking softly, and lovingly. Finally, a slow and tired smile came to Taehyung’s lips.

 

“Jimin,” said Taehyung, calling his Mate’s attention. The Alpha turned, looking worried that he had done something. “Thank you. For being patient with me.”

 

“With all three of you, you mean?” Jimin chuckled, folding over the tape on the disposable diaper and gently tugging the bottom of the onesie back down over Joonhee. “I don’t want to add to the stress, Tae. It’s just… a lot right now.”

 

“Yeah…” Taehyung looked down at the baby. “I feel like I never sleep anymore. I don’t know if I should have gone back to work so soon… but I want to start that investigation into Jungkook’s brother.”

 

“I know, but.” Jimin worked his mouth, head tilting to the side a little. Joonhee sneezed, and Jimin melted, laughing and reaching over with a burping towel to wipe at her tiny mouth. “We’re new parents. I think Jungkook understands that.”

 

“But it’s part of Jungkook’s family. If I have the ability to find him, then I want to try. Family is important.” Taehyung sighed. “Besides, we could use the money right now. It’s hard for you to carry the load of our share of the rent.”

“Don’t worry about that. I’ve got it covered.”

“But I would rather you be here, with us, sometimes. And if you’re pulling overtime every week to pay the bills--”

“TaeTae,” Jimin chuckled, picking up Joonhee, letting her rest against his chest. He leaned down, carefully balancing her, so he could lay a kiss on Taehyung’s nose. “Just breathe. It’s gonna be okay.”

 

In response, Taehyung just crumpled his face, scrunching his nose and mouth up in an expression of doubt. Jimin knew that Taehyung wanted to be able to just agree with him, and believe that things would just get better. But worries, fears..they tended to seep in and intoxicate anything they could touch. To the rest of the household, it often seemed like Taehyung was just petulant and demanding of Jimin and his time. But Jimin knew better. Taehyung carried on his shoulders exactly half of their burden, although he bore it with more transparency behind their closed door.

 

“Hoseok says we should have a little date night,” he said, bouncing Joonhee slightly, his hand on the back of her head. “Jungkook could babysit the twins.”

 

“I dunno… we haven’t both really left them since they were born.”

“It could be good for us, Tae,” said Jimin. Taeyeon suddenly shifted in her father’s arms, letting out a big yawn in her sleep that seemed to stretch on for ages. Taehyung and Jimin stared down at her, transfixed and warmed, every instinct in their bodies filled with peace as they watched her. Jimin reached out one hand, running it through Taehyung’s hair even as the Beta continued to watch his child sleep. “They’ll still be here. We won’t miss anything huge in just one night, TaeTae. And you’re so tense these days, I’m sure the babies can smell it on you.”

 

“Do you think?” Taehyung suddenly looked up, worry evident in his features. “I don’t want them to be worried all the time.”

 

“Then let’s go out. We’ll see a movie together, have a cheap dinner. Just you and me for a night, okay?” Jimin tilted his head to the side. “I miss you, you know.”

 

“I know, and I’m sorry for yelling at you this morning.” The words were spoken with that trace of awkwardness that always seemed to accompany Taehyung’s most sincere apologies.

 

“I’m sorry, too.” Jimin moved to pull his hand away, but Taehyung closed his eyes, turning his head so that his face became cupped in Jimin’s hand, his skin so warm to the touch. His lips brushed into the softest places of Jimin’s palms, and he exhaled pure heat into it. Jimin sighed, feeling that rise of goosebumps in his skin when he could feel Taehyung appreciating his Alpha Scent, the smell of peppermint, always with little traces of Taehyung’s citrus smell threaded through it.

 

~~~

 

Kiara sighed in contentment, looking around her freshly cleaned kitchen. After making breakfast for Jungkook and Seokjin, she needed to get Namjoon up. Naiara and Kwangie, still playing, had rushed off into the living room and were racing around, throwing toys and whooping, as children tended to do. Kiara wiped her hands dry and walked into the living room. She smiled, happy to see that Naiara had pulled one of her favorite books from the family bookshelf. It was a big yellow children’s dictionary, mostly filled with colorful drawings with a short description of things like ‘apple’ and ‘homework.’ Nai carried the book with quite the effort in her small hands and tossed it out onto the floor, laying on her stomach as she pretended to read out of it like her parents often did.

 

“Kitty!” she declared, pointing to the drawing of a family of cats, “Kitty runs….around and--- and--- and licks! Meow meow meow, she says!” Nai tilted her head to the side, her high-pitched imitation of the feline’s sound making Kiara giggle. Kwangie wasn’t paying much attention to Nai at the time, just laying near her as he collected things. While any child’s favorite activity was throwing toys into any available corner and space (and Kwangie was no exception to this) he also tended to like to pile things up. Sometimes he did it in the middle of the room. Sometimes he piled up right behind Naiara, as he was doing now. Sometimes, he even piled up his food into haphazard semi-clean piles, taking great care despite his lack of dexterity. Most of the time, if Yoongi was home, his feet propped up in one of the nearby recliners, Kwangie liked to collect any toys and blankets and sippy cups and stack them around Yoongi’s feet, as if creating a little shrine out of him. Yoongi was always careful not to shift, when Kwangie started his piling.

 

Yoongi and Kiara had discussed in passing that this might be Kwangie’s form of nesting, suggesting that he might one day Present as an Omega. Yoongi said he honestly wouldn’t be surprised, but that it was far too soon to tell if it was just a child’s curious tendency or a sign of a Presenting type. So they left it be for now, and let Kwangie pile up his toys without hindrance or question.

 

Right now he was stacking up soft plastic blocks near Naiara’s idly kicking feet, setting down cars and then dragging over a blanket Jungkook kept on the couch for cuddling with during gaming sessions. He tried to wad up the blanket as best as he could, then patted the lump gently and making an incoherent noise that sounded to Kiara like reassurance, directed at the blanket itself.

 

Naiara kept loudly narrating her story, and Kiara shook her head.

 

“Nai, Kwangie,” she said, “Do you want to help me wake up Namjoonie?”

“Yes!” Naiara cried out, abandoning her book and clambering to her feet. She raced to her mother, her socks padding lightly against the living room carpet. Quietly, Kwangie toddled behind, reaching up for Kiara to pick him up and carry him up the stairs. Naiara crawled up one step at a time, then barrelled down the hallway to her parents’ room.

 

“Daddy! Daddy, wake up!” she cried. She flopped forward, flapping her arms down onto the bed and slapping down as hard as she could, barely making a sound on the mattress. Namjoon had one foot jutted out from underneath the king-sized sheets, most of him buried under a very tangled pile of comforters. His Omega and his tiny daughter were both very particular about sleeping with their own blankets, but usually whoever was left alone in the bed in the morning tended to curl up with all three anyways, mixing their Scents together and making the bed one of Naiara’s favorite places in the world. “Daddy!”

 

Kiara helped lift Nai’s little bottom up, aiding her in crawling up onto the mattress so she could tackle her father, who didn’t react at all. Kiara smiled, sitting on the edge of the bed as Kwangie tumbled from her arms and across Namjoon’s ankles.

 

“Daddy, wake up ! Mommy made brea’fas’!” Naiara leaned in, putting her face very close to her father’s, and planted her miniature palm against his cheek, pushing back and forth and causing his lax visage to morph in a plethora of hilarious shapes, lips pouted as she squished both cheeks into the pillow as best she could. “ Daddyyyyy !”

 

One of Namjoon’s eyes opened, and a smile blossomed across his face, even as he groaned in sleepiness. “Nai-Nai, what do you want? Lemme sleep.”

“Daddy, wake up, or else!” Naiara declared, imitating her mother’s reprimanding tone. Kiara laughed, reaching out and rubbing circles into Namjoon’s arm, her own part in helping to rouse her husband.

 

“She’s right, you know. You better wake up, or else.” Kiara patted him roughly.

 

“Or else what?” Namjoon grunted.

 

“Or else your breakfast will get cold. Also, you and Yoongi need to do the shopping today for the repairs. The weekend is day after tomorrow.”

 

“Right, right…” Namjoon ran a hand over his eyes, sighing. Naiara, not to be deterred from her father’s attention, leaned in and pressed a soggy kiss to his forehead, and brushed back his bangs, as another habit she had seen her mother do.

 

“Daddy, you need to wake up. Because I love you.”

 

Namjoon forced his puffy, sleep-reddened eyes open and looked at her in surprise, mock-gasping. “What?! You love me? Because you love me?!”

Naiara squealed with laughter as Namjoon reached out and suddenly grasped her tightly, yanking her over onto his chest and tickling beneath her arms. While she laughed, he nuzzled into her neck, gently Scenting her with his smell of woodfire smoke, a comforting and familiar smell to her. Naiara tried to wriggle her body away as he continued, one of her hands pushing up against his nose in an attempt to free herself.

 

“Stop, daddy, sto-o-o-op!”

 

“You c’mere,” Namjoon slid his broad, dependable hands underneath her, lifting her up above him on the bed and doing ‘the airplane.’ “Lookit, my princess can fly! She’s flying! How can she do that?!”

 

“From daddy’s love!” Naiara recited, as always. Her laughter bubbling in between the words.

 

“Yes, from daddy’s love.”

 

“Me! Me!” Kwangie called out, and still hugging onto Namjoon’s ankles with both hands, he reached out one grabbing hand, determined to not be left out.

 

“You next, Prince Kwangie,” Namjoon called out, letting Nai down to lay against his chest and reaching out for the little boy. It took four more ‘airplane’ rides, Namjoon’s face red from exertion as he held them up and loudly made his best airplane engine sounds, before they finally called it the end of the game and went downstairs and fed the lead Alpha his breakfast.

 

~~~

 

Seokjin liked to surprise others. He kind of hated getting surprises himself, if he was quite honest, but giving others surprises...especially good ones, was his forte. He hummed as he went about his work, smiling as he did his rounds. Being an endocrinologist, he tended to see the same patients quite regularly, and he was good at creating a rapport with them.

 

Today, though, rather than lingering behind to chat with patients at the end of their appointments, or to exchange pleasantries with the nurses, Seokjin spent his free moments hunched in the corner, a piece of purple fabric in his hands, as he very carefully stitched the hem together by hand. In the corner of the tiny cotton blanket, he had hand-stitched the word Baby .

 

Jungkook hadn’t noticed it yet, the slight change in his smell. He hadn’t noticed himself being more moody and distant, more huggy to everyone - just as he had with Kiara that morning - and he hadn’t pieced together the random mornings of nausea. But Seokjin, who specialized in hormones, who had obsessively studied pre-natal care and signs, and who knew Jungkook best… he knew that news was coming their way, and the excitement and nervousness made him buzz with unhindered joy.