Lee Xiaojun felt nervous as he walked up to the summer camp his Busan District school had partnered up with a Seoul district school. Ever since he had transferred from Japan three years ago, he had been a subject to bullying because first of all, he is a Japanese with a Korean surname and a Chinese first name. He had whined and asked his father about it but he just got told that he had a Korean father and his godfather named him. Second, he had to stay a grade behind to study Korean Langage so instead of getting into college, he is now 19 and stuck in high school, last but not the least, since he came from a family with separated parents, people look at him like he is a rank below them.
“Hi Welcome to Neo Culture Summer Camp!” A happy greeting welcomed him and he smiled as he bowed at the person. “What school are you from?” The staff asked and Xiaojun handed his school ID who took it and then searched the names for his summer kit.
“Lee Xiaojun, are you Chinese?” The staff asked and the boy shook his head.
“Oh, I’m Japanese actually.” He answered and the staff apologized for her blunder. ‘It’s okay, I get that a lot of times.” He said with a smile.
“Well, we thought you were Chinese so we roomed you with a bunch of Korean Chinese kids. There are four per room, 2 bunk beds with an ensuite; yours is Cabin 3 room 2. Your roommates arrived earlier so you would be meeting them. There is one Korean-Japanese kid attending, maybe you’ll feel more at home when you meet him. The opening ceremony will start at 1pm so you have time to settle down and gather for lunch before that. I hope you’ll enjoy your stay here.” She said and Xiaojun thanked her and went on his way.
Cabin 3 is near the lake so he trotted off and went inside, searching for his room. It was the first right door in the hallway, and being reminded that his roommates already arrived, he knocked before he entered. What greeted him was a handsome land who smiled and welcomed him inside. Xiaojun looked at the other two roommates who instantly approached him and shook hands with him then called him bro, in English.
“Hello I am Xiaojun.” He bowed and greeted them.
“Oh are you Chinese?” The tallest asked and the shorter one next to him sighed and rolled his eyes.
“Uhm, Japanese actually.” Xiaojun replied and the tall one looked perplexed and confused at the same time.
“I’m Hendery. My Chinese name is Kunhang.” The handsome boy extended a hand and Xiaojun shook it.
“Mark, Minhyung’s my Korean name and I am Hendery’s twin.” Mark, the shortest of the three extended a hand.
“I’m Lucas, Yukhei or you can call me Xuxi.” The tallest greeted and Xiaojun smiled and nodded.
“What bed should I get?” Xiaojun asked and Lucas pointed to the top bunk.
“The twins share the other bunk.” Lucas kind of sounded a little sad.
“Xuxi.” Mark sighed. ‘How many times do we have to tell you that we are triplets?” Mark asked and Lucas shrugged his shoulders.
“Are you all brothers?” Xiaojun asked Hendery who laughed.
“Yeah, Mark and I are twins, we have the same birth father. Lucas has a different birthfather but we share the same dad.” Hendery explained.
“Are you all adopted by your dad?” Xiaojun asked curiously then quickly apologized, that was a sensitive topic but Hendery laughed and took one of Xiaojun’s bags to help him unpack.
“No, our fathers are polyamorous. Our dad married two husbands, Lucas’ dad and our dad. Lucas was born a few months earlier than us but were all 99 liners, so we’re like triplets.” Hendery explained.
“Oh, that explains a lot.” Xiaojun smiled and thanked Hendery for helping him.
‘What’s your story?” Xiaojun froze at the question. “it’s okay if it’s a sensitive topic.” Hendery smiled a little.
“Oh, it’s okay.” Xiaojun assured him. ‘My birthfather is Japanese and we lived in Japan till we got back here three years ago. My other dad is actually Korean and my name, apparently,was given by my godfather who happened to be Chinese.” Xiaojun explained and Lucas, being the loud, boisterous boy that he was, clapped and laughed.
“Woah, that must be really hard for you. I mean dude, you okay with it?” Lucas asked, face changing from a laughing hyena to a serious lion.
“Ah, well, I don’t have a choice though.” Xiaojun shrugged. “And well, my fathers separated when I was two so uhm, I just live with my birth father.” Xiaojun added and Lucas patted his back. “Oh, I am a 99liner too!” Xiaojun added and at that, Lucas hugged him and Mark gave him a high five.
“Wow, so I guess you got to stay a grade behind for language studies too?” Xiaojun nodded.
“Wait, you too?” Xiaojun asked and all three nodded.
“We came from Chicago and got back around five years ago when Dad got a job transfer. Besides, Korea is closer to Thailand and China, we could visit our grandparents more often.” Hendery explained.
“Oh my god, your bloodline is complicated.” Xiaojun exclaimed and it made the brothers laugh at him.
“At least our names aren’t” Mark teased and Hendery threw a pillow on his face.
Na Jaemin is a loveable person with a lot of friends and admirers. He was actually born a 99 liner in Japan but when his parents separated when he was two, his father registered his Korean birthday a year later but he still retained his Japanese surname which was odd. When he asked his dad about it, he just told Jaemin that he was grateful for his birthfather for having given birth to him. He had been using his Japanese Surname until he was twelve but when he turned thirteen, he asked his father if he could use a shorter surname and they compromised with him using “Na” for the sake of it.
His inner circle is rather small group of four with two of them are twins and the other is his godbrother. Jaemin entered cabin 3 room 1, they had been going to the summer camp so often that they were practically entitled by the staffs to room together. Jaemin was the first to arrive then Renjun, his godbrother who is half Chinese and half Korean. They share the bunk as their tradition and caught up over the short separation because Renjun had to go back to China with his father and brother for their ancestral rites. The room became loud when the Jung twins entered and both Jaemin and Renjun grinned as they tackled them and the playful banter continued.
Jaemin really liked the three boys, two more than the other, and they have been the quartet since they were in primary school. Jaemin had confessed to both Renjun and Jeno on valentine’s day and both had accepted him just as quickly which left Donghyuck gagging at them but was happy for his brother and friends.
“So I saw Mark hyung and his siblings are in Cabin 3 as well.” Jaemin said to Donghyuck who almost tripped as he unpacked.
“You still haven’t confessed to Mark hyung?” Renjun asked and Donghyuck sighed.
“He’s just not easy to approach.” Donghyuck replied and the three of them understood that.
“I could ask Xuxi ge to help you.” Renjun offered.
“No thanks, I am sure Mark hyung would just reject me.” Donghyuck was adamant but would he really settle for assumptions over fear of rejection?
“You’re impossible, Hyuck. Mark hyung is not going to reject you and if he does Doyoung appa would have his friendship with uncle Ten over in a minute.” Jeno tried to console his brother and Donghyuck thanked him, they are really twins for a reason.
“That wasn’t funny Jeno.” Donghyuck replied.
‘Hey, you’re in charge of the atmosphere, I am just in charge to nod and agre with you all the time.” Jeno replied and that made Donghyuck, Renjun and Jaemin laugh.
“Okay off to lunch we go!” Jaemin chirped and then they were all out of the room.
But when Jaemin opened the door, his eyes locked with a handsome young man who looked utterly familiar.
“Why do you look like Appa?” Jaemin shouted.
It was nearly noon so they decided to grab some lunch, Lucas was whining already and Mark could not deal with his brother acting like a baby. Xiaojun nonnded and since he was closest to the door, he was the first out. But when he stepped out of their room, he did not expect to lock eyes with someone that looked utterly familiar.
“Why do you look like Touchan?” Xiaojun blurted out and soon enough, Hendery, Mark and Lucas were on his sides while three others did the same to the other guy.
“Oh Jaemin!” Mark greeted them, You know Xiaojun?” Mark asked and all four of them shook their heads.
“Are you Chinese?” Renjun asked but Xiaojun shook his head.
“He’s Japanese.” Lucas answered and Jaemin narrowed his eyes.
“Hello I am Nakamoto Jaemin. And you are?” Jaemin extended a hand and Xiaojun froze but shook his hand nervously.
“I’m Lee Xiaojun.” This time Jaemin gasped.
“I have a sense that this would end up like some cheesy drama.” Hendery remarked.
“I think we need to talk to our dads.” Jaemin said and Xiaojun nodded, of course there aren’t too many Nakamoto’s in Korea, and his father did not mention any relatives in Seoul.