junmyeon’s day takes a weird turn the moment zitao grabs onto his sleeve and drags him to where baekhyun is supposedly sleeping. not that he would expect things to be normal— things are never normal when you’re a cat hybrid dealing with other cat hybrids. he’s handled almost anything that life could throw at their little cat pack, though it’s not so little now, with the twelve of them.
“why are we bothering baekhyun, taozi?” he asks softly, reaching over to stop the younger in his tracks.
“he doesn’t feel good again,” tao shrugs, still holding onto junmyeon’s sleeve. “he needs comfort. motherly comfort.”
junmyeon is aware that he has a comforting presence, but he’s never considered himself to be motherly. zitao seems so worried, though, so he simply nods, letting his arm fall to his side again so the younger can lead him into the room baekhyun usually sleeps in. the mentioned kitten— well, he’s not even a kitten anymore, but all of the younger ones are kittens to junmyeon— is curled up on one of the beds, covered with thick blankets. the poor thing looks like he’s in pain, but at least it doesn’t seem like he’s too hot under all the blankets. at least he’s sleeping. with a sigh, junmyeon peels them back, settling down next to baekhyun.
“baekhyunnie,” he murmurs, running a gentle hand through baekhyun’s hair, “time to wake up, sweetie.” the smaller of the three whines, but his eyes open and his mouth moves like he’s going to speak, but he pouts instead.
“tell myeonnie what hurts,” tao demands, leaving no room for personal spaces as he stretches out and latches onto baekhyun, who whines again, a soft, angry sound.
“hush, taozi,” junmyeon replies, keeping his attention on baekhyun. “tell me what’s wrong, baekhyun. i won’t tell anyone.”
“...my tummy hurts, myeon,” baekhyun mumbles, sighing. “it hurts a lot. i keep getting really sick...”
junmyeon frowns, sighing loudly before glancing over at tao. he hates to be the bad guy, but..
“tao, why don’t you go see if minseok and yixing need any help with the groceries? they should be back by now,” he smiles slightly, trying to encourage the younger hybrid that it’s okay to leave now. “please? i’d like to talk to baekhyunnie in private.”
“fine,” zitao pouts for a second, but then he’s up and scampering out of the room. with a sigh, junmyeon returns his attention to baekhyun.
“alright, you,” he says, “tell me when this started, and don’t lie. i’m only here to help.”
“maybe.. maybe a few weeks ago?” baekhyun’s voice is small and quiet. “but.. not every single day. it comes and goes. and it makes me feel like i’m dying!”
“baekhyun, i’m not trying to be evasive or anything—” junmyeon mumbles, “but when was your last heat?”
“two months ago? maybe three.” the younger shrugs, rolling over so that he’s on his back. “can’t remember.”
“i do hope you were cautious,” he mutters, sighing deeply. “chanyeol helped you, didn’t he?”
“yes...” baekhyun whines, pouting again. his pointed ears flatten against his head, like he’s surrendering to something.
“i’m no doctor, but i have my suspicions.” junmyeon ruffles baekhyun’s hair. “is it alright if i touch your tummy?”
baekhyun nods once, so junmyeon slips his hand under the younger’s shirt, resting it gently on baekhyun’s belly. he’s not surprised to find that it’s slightly rounded, not after all that baekhyun had told him about his heat and the sudden sickness. he removes his hand, but not before giving baekhyun’s slightly swollen tummy a gentle pat. he’s wondering how he’s supposed to tell baekhyun what’s wrong.
“like i said, i’m not a doctor..” he murmurs, clasping and unclasping his hands. “but... you’re not dying, baekhyunnie. it’s just.. kittens.”
“kittens?” baekhyun asks, disbelief evident in his voice.
“mhm,” junmyeon nods. “we’ll have to take you to a doctor to make sure, but the only thing that should cause those symptoms is pregnancy.”
“...kittens?” baekhyun repeats, finally sitting up.
junmyeon feels a little bad— he doesn’t know much about baekhyun’s relationship with chanyeol, nor does he know how baekhyun feels about the idea of having kittens of his own. not knowing what else to do, he pulls the younger into a gentle hug, directing baekhyun’s head to the space between his neck and shoulder.
“i know it probably seems scary,” he begins, “but there are eleven of us to help you out. we’ll make sure you’re taken care of.”
“i’m not scared,” baekhyun mumbles, but he sniffles and then junmyeon can feel tears soaking into his shirt. “i’m not scared of this, myeon, i swear—”
“hush, baekhyunnie. it’s okay. even if you’re not scared, it’s okay— just let out whatever it is that needs to be let out.”
so baekhyun cries into junmyeon’s shoulder for a good part of an hour. at some point, tao creeps back in, quietly letting junmyeon know that mostly everyone’s aware that something is wrong with baekhyun, but the older is quick to assure him that things are fine with baekhyun. they’ll be celebrating soon enough.
“but he’s sick. that’s no reason for celebrating,” tao mutters, a scowl gracing his features.
“no, taozi, trust me— he’s fine.” he bites his lip, glancing down at baekhyun. “you tell him, baekhyunnie.”
“kittens, tao,” baekhyun answers, sniffling. “i’m gonna have kittens.”
“real kittens?” it’s such a stupid question; junmyeon can’t stop the laugh that escapes him.
“yes, tao, real kittens!” baekhyun whines, snuggling himself closer to junmyeon, resting his cheek against the warm collarbone. “i wouldn’t be sick if there weren’t kittens.”
“you have to tell chanyeol,” tao mutters. “you have to tell him and then he’ll have no choice but to man up and do what we’ve all been waiting for him to do.”
junmyeon sighs. it’s true that they’ve all been waiting for chanyeol to finally ask baekhyun to actually be his mate, but since they spent baekhyun’s heat together, all they’ve seen him do is gaze lovingly at baekhyun. it’s a bit frustrating, but they can’t just interfere.
“i hope he doesn’t feel pressured,” baekhyun murmurs, letting his eyes fall closed. “i can take care of kittens all by myself.”
“and you’d have us,” junmyeon says. “yixing will be very happy about the whole thing. he’s always talking about how cute kittens are.”
“if yixing thinks kittens are cute,” zitao replies, “then he should hurry up and find himself a mate. he’s all talk, no action.”
“anyways..” junmyeon mumbles, gently pushing baekhyun back down. “tao and i are gonna leave now so you can sleep again. you’ll probably feel a little better if you take another nap.”
he all but drags tao from baekhyun’s little room. the younger doesn’t want to leave his friend alone, even though he knows that baekhyun needs more rest now.
“so,” junmyeon starts quietly, “should we say anything?”
“yes! we should! he isn’t gonna tell chanyeol,” tao whines. “we should tell him.”
“hm..” the older sighs. “you can tell him, then. and don’t you dare say i had anything to do with it.”
baekhyun is, to put it mildly, furious. junmyeon suspected he would be, but he doesn’t let on that he knew that tao was going to tell chanyeol. he simply lets baekhyun yell about it until the younger is all out of anger. his poor sensitive ears, though. baekhyun is loud and now they hurt.
“don’t you think you should apologize to chanyeol?” he asks, all quiet and cautious, once baekhyun has quieted down.
“why? it’s not my fault he got me pregnant,” baekhyun hisses, making a face. “i shouldn’t have to apologize for that.”
“i meant for yelling at him when he asked about it,” junmyeon points out. “he didn’t do anything. it’s not his fault taozi told him. he shouldn’t have, but he did and chanyeol had nothing to do with it.”
“do you think..” baekhyun starts, calm and quiet again, then he stops. “never mind.”
“wait, wait. tell me, i’ll see if i can help,” he replies, waiting for the younger to speak again.
“do you think yeol will still like me the same way?” he asks softly. “things.. are changing. they won’t be the same. what if he doesn’t want me to be his mate anymore?”
“i think.. you’re being silly,” junmyeon replies. “chanyeol loves you more than anyone else has ever loved anything. trust me on that. he’ll love you the same, and he’ll love those kittens, too.”
“i just.. i don’t want things to change! i was happy with the way things were,” baekhyun laments. “things were good.”
“they’ll still be good, trust me. maybe they’ll be better.” he shrugs, getting up. baekhyun still looks uneasy, so junmyeon pats the younger’s head, ruffling his soft hair and petting his ears. “go talk to chanyeol.”
“yes, mama, whatever you say,” baekhyun rolls his eyes, but he scampers off in search of his mate-to-be. well, that’s what junmyeon hopes chanyeol is to baekhyun. he wants them both to be happy— he wants everyone to be happy.
at dinner, baekhyun tells everyone about the kittens, and chanyeol tells them all that he and baekhyun are going to be mates. spirits are high, junmyeon is glad. zitao looks a little guilty, but no one says anything. yixing and jongin are arguing about who gets to be the godfather of chanyeol and baekhyun’s kittens, but it’s not hostile enough to bring out any claws. junmyeon sighs softly, smiling as he squeezes sehun’s hand gently. who knows, maybe they’ll be next. a small part of him hopes they are.