"Dokyeom-ah, your turn to shower," Jeonghan called as he exited the bathroom in his pj's, rubbing his head tiredly with a towel, his blonde hair cutely sticking out as he did so.
"I'll shower afterwards," Dokyeom said excitedly. "Hyung, manager-hyung let us take a look at some of the stuff our fans sent us. Everyone's in the living room now, I came to get you." He grabbed Jeonghan's arm and dragged him out their room. "Oooh, I wonder whether the fan who sent us that face-pack last time sent some more. I swear, it made me glow for a week!"
Jeonghan chuckled at Dokyeom's ranting as they walked, absently thinking that his dongsaeng was very childish. Well, all of them were. Even Seungcheol. It made him wonder how they would have been as actual kids. Quite a handful, it was easy to guess. Each of them must have been so hard for their moms to handle, it made him wonder how it would be if one mom had to handle all of them. A shiver went down his back at the thought. No, let's not think of scary things. Think packages, fans, Carats!
"YAAASSSS!!" Seungkan, loud as usual, could be heard even before they entered the room. He looked up at the newcomers from his spot on the floor amidst all the bags and peeled wrappers. "Dokyeom-hyung, the face pack! The face pack!" Dokyeom promptly left Jeonghan to celebrate with Seungkwan.
Jeonghan smiled and looked at the others perched on the sofa, on the floor, all calling out excitedly as they found cute, funny and thoughtful presents that the Carats had sent them. He wanted to go join them too, but the day had been tiring - he'd decided to use the day off to practice their latest dance choreo alone, like he always did since he was so slow to learn - and his sore limbs begged to hit the bed, so he leaned against the doorway and simply watched his members have fun.
"What's this?" Woozi picked a comparatively smaller bag from among the mess and pulled something out of it. A shiny rainbow-hued pebble lay in his hand. The rock caught the light in the room and sparkled brightly. There was no note attached.
"Let me see," Dino said, snatching it and observing it carefully. "What? What's the rock for? Is it a joke?"
"Give me that," Hoshi said, grandpa mode. "You just have to read in between the lines." He held it far away and squinted at it, appearing wise. "It is simply a container for Carat love! The rainbow colours of affection and well-wishes burst forth from the very inner-"
"Oh my gosh, can you really not hear it talking?" Seungkwan interrupted, in disbelief, making everyone else look at him in confusion as he promptly stole the rock from Hoshi, who was still frozen in pose. "Yes, mhmm, mhmm," he muttered, bringing it close to his ear. "Oh, the stupidity? Don't blame him, Hoshi-hyung was just born that way." Hoshi's pose cracked.
"Ooooh, shiinnyyyyy," Jun cooed and broke the silence that followed as everyone simply stared at Seungkwan, unamused. The8 touched the surface, feeling it quietly. He passed it to Mingyu.
"Can we cook it?" He asked. "Stone soup, hahahaha." Again, there was a silence as he laughed at his own joke. "Come on, you haven't heard that story?" he asked, thinking they were just ignorant. Wonwoo completely ignored his existence and grabbed the stone, then making as if to throw it. There was a collective, "No!" and Joshua promptly snatched the stone back to safety, passing it to Hansol.
"Its probably something important to a fan and they wanted us to have it?" he surmised. Dokyeom reached for it, and the rock passed hands. "It's pretty, that's for sure," he said childishly, his eyes sparkling as they reflected the pebble. Someone suddenly grabbed it, startling everyone.
"Alright, it's late, we need to turn in, no sleeping in tomorrow. Our days off are still workdays, everyone can work on training or making a new song for next season. This," he put the rock back in its bag and placed it back in the group of parcels, " can stay here. Goodnight, and Dokyeom, take a shower." He walked out the door, nodding at Jeonghan as he left. Jeonghan started ushering them out tiredly.
"Come on, guys, I'm tired, and I can only sleep once you're in your rooms," he yawned, and the others obediently filtered out, wishing him goodnight. He dragged his feet to his door and collapsed on his bed, vaguely registering it when Dokyeom closed the door behind him and not long after, the comforting sound of the shower in their bathroom lulled him to sleep.
The sun filtered in through the curtains, and the light fell on Jeonghan's face, waking him up. His body felt extremely heavy, and he groaned. "Maybe I should've taken it slow with the practice," he muttered sleepily, rubbing the back of his hand against his eyes, a habit that everyone told him was his cutest. He stretched and yawned before he threw the blanket off, slipping his feet into his slippers and shuffling over to Dokyeom's bed. "Wake up, sleepyhead," he cooed, tousling the mop of hair that peeked out of the blanket. He sleepily noted that Dokyeom's hair was softer. Was there hair oil among the packages? Conditioner? He sobered up when he felt that Dokyeom's head was a little smaller. No, a lot smaller.
"Dokyeom-ah?" He called worriedly, pulling the blankets down. His eyes widened and he fell to the floor in disbelief. A little kid lay under the blankets! His scream got caught in his throat as he inspected the boy carefully. That high nose, very Dokyeom-like. And that horribly loud snore. That was Dokyeom's signature. No way.
He shook his head and soundlessly opened the door, making his way out of the room. He reached the first door to the right. Mingyu and The8 shared this one. He hesitated, then made up his mind and silently opened the door, shedding light into it. Like clockwork, a figure sitting on The8's bed sat up sleepily, crossing his legs so he wouldn't fall back to the bed. The lump on Mingyu's simply turned over, and mumbling was heard. Very characteristic of the two of them. Jeonghan would've sworn there was nothing wrong if the two people weren't munchkin-sized.
Door after door was opened, and Jeonghan met the same fate as he did at the first door. Stumbling, he moved to the kitchen to pour himself a glass of water. Surely, this was all an illusion. He'd overworked himself yesterday, and now he was seeing things. But he was met with the sight of half a dozen kids sitting on various places throughout the corridor, fighting with each other or sleeping as they sat, some simply poking their noses as they stared at nothing. They all turned to him as he entered, cutting a sorry figure as he staggered and supported himself on the wall.
"One, two, three," he counted resignedly as he sobered up. "...ten, eleven.....wait, there's me so that's twelve,.......thirteen?" His eyes widened. "Who's thirteen? Who's missing?"
The oldest looking kid out of the lot that he correctly guessed was Seungcheol piped up, "Dino's still sleeping!"
"Dino?" Jeonghan repeated in disbelief as he stared at the little one at his feet who was entertaining himself by rolling on the floor. It was Seungkwan. A toddler Seungkwan, to be precise. The maknae of the group had to be younger than any of these kids. Wait, no. No way.
Jeonghan bolted to the door at the end of their quarters. His hand shook as he reached for the doorknob, but right before he touched it, a resounding wail shook the house. Jeonghan could barely believe his eyes as he approached the bed, and a tiny baby lay in the middle, protected by the surrounding blankets and pillows. The baby cried loudly and flung his fists about. Jeonghan smiled in disbelief as he carefully supported the baby's neck and took him into his own arms.
"Dino-yah," he cooed. "Lee Chan." The baby opened his eyes in response, and his cries quieted down as he stared back at Jeonghan through teary eyes. Little hiccups sounded as the baby stopped crying, and he slowly smiled back at Jeonghan, the room brightening up in seconds. Jeonghan bounced the baby up and down, touching his chubby cheeks and letting the baby hold his finger, his happiness taking over the confusion and making him laugh. He looked down when he felt a tug at his clothes.
"Eomma," little Hoshi called, tugging again. "Hungry."
"Me?" Jeonghan asked, surprised. Did he look that feminine? He'd cut his hair already, it shouldn't be that bad.
"Eomma." Hoshi said, firm. And then he strutted out the room, as if there was no room for discussion.
Jeonghan absently followed the little boy out, still trying to process the information as he held Chan against his shoulder. The kitchen was in the process of being remodeled as he walked in, water overflowing from the sink, the fridge open and it's contents spilled everywhere.
"Hey, hey," he called, his tone strict. Illusion or not, he wasn't going to have the place trashed. "What's going on here?"
"We were just trying to make breakfast," Mingyu said in a wronged voice, downcast from his spot on the stool in front of the stove.
"I told him not to," Joshua said righteously, throwing him under the bus even when he hid the stolen cookies behind his back.
"Eommaaaaaa!" Seungkwan wailed loudly from his spot on the floor, snot and tears everywhere. "Euuuaaaaaaghhhhhhh!" Jeonghan wondered who he was calling for. "Eommaaaaaahaaahaaaaa!" The little boy ran to him and hugged his leg, rubbing his snot on it. "Waaaaaaah!"
Me again? Jeonghan sighed exasperatedly, but the growing volume of the wails made him accept his current predicament as he grabbed a tissue from a nearby box and crouched down next to the boy, wiping his face and making him blow his nose. "I'm right here, I'm here," he sighed, patting the boy and readjusting Chan to a better position. His shoulder was cramping. The baby was heavier than he seemed.
"Can we have pancakes for breakfast?" Wonwoo asked intelligently, and Woozi next to him, whom Jeonghan noted had changed the least among all of them, nodded in agreement.
"Alright, we'll have pancakes. Can you give me a minute?" Jeonghan hurried into his room and grabbed his phone, dialling out a number and holding it between his shoulder and ear while he lay Dino down on his own bed. There was ringing and a click and his call was answered.
"Yes, this is Pledis Seventeen's manager. How may I help you?"