‘Daddydaddydaddydaddydaddy' a huff and then,
Jin grumbles. Their building's waste management doesn't allow, and wouldn't take their hundred-year-old, termite-infested shoe cabinet, and Jin has been losing his mind over it for days now. He can't have his Soonie, his sweet baby Soonie, living in a termite-infested home. No, he can't and he won't allow it. Soonie is such a sweet, smart baby. She deserves everything in life. She deserves everything she could ever want.
Jin gets to work.
He crouches in front of the cabinet, working the screwdriver in the rough planes and divots of the wood surface. Logically, he knows that doesn't make any sense but he keeps on- prodding and poking through the crates and holes on the wood. Jin hears Soonie calling and whining for him in the distance but he ignores that, too. He needs to get rid of this cabinet first.
There's an echo in his head; a recurring should've done this, should've done this first, should've done this in the first place, should've taken the thing apart before leaving it out in the hallway for the maintenance to collect. Jin knows he did wrong. It was rude. It weighs heavy on him now that he thinks about it. Imagine coming in, to your early ass morning shift, still tired and sleepy from a job that probably doesn't pay as much as they should, and then you get to this big ass, termite-infested shoe cabinet, laid out by a lazy, entitled tenant…in the hallway.
Jin would be mad, too.
Jin isn't entitled, though. No, he's not. He's just been tired. More so than usual. A little scattered, here and there- worrying about the bills, and Soonie and then some more bills.
And then, the notice for the cabinet came in three days ago and Jin could feel himself slipping a little bit at that.
He really needs to get rid of that stupid cabinet.
The old thing comes apart eventually. Now, all Jin has to do is pack it up, wrap it and then bring it to the nearest junk shop he could find. Soonie calls for him again, much louder now but still distant. Jin turns around and-
Suddenly, Jin is not crouching anymore.
Jin is lying on his back, on his new firm mattress while Soonie stares down at him with the biggest pout on her face. Jin groans something painful as he slowly recognizes the whole weight of a small human child pressing down on him- Soonie's little but strong baby fingers pressing down on his tummy.
‘Daddy! Wake up! You have to wake up, Daddy. Chimchim is back. Please!’
Jin is tired, sleepy- as is the usual thing for him, or for single parents, or for all of the parents around the world. And since he doesn't know what on earth a chimchim is he decided that the chimchim can wait, and promptly went back to sleep. He drags his daughter down with him.
'Are you hungry?' he asks after a while, a little guilty now that he'd really rather sleep than attend to his daughter's every need. He smooches the side of her head lightly, a little apology. His traitorous mind tells him again that he could sleep in. Just a little more.
'Nooo. Daddy, you need to wake up!'
'You can't be that hungry' he mumbles, a little nonsensically. 'We just ate last night.' Jin hugs his daughter to him, tighter like his own teddy bear. 'Daddy will make you pancakes later, okay? Let's sleep a lil' more.'
Soonie can be a headstrong child. Not yet a bad thing but she knows what she wants and she knows how to get it. She stops squirming soon enough, though- protests dying to huffs and murmurs as Jin doesn't let go. He feels small hands tapping lightly on his face, remembers clearly how he once told his daughter that he really doesn't like being touched on his face. It ignites a small flare of annoyance in him but Soonie stops, wriggling away then fleeing, and Jin easily let it go.
Jin settles back down, snug in his day-old comforters and newly bought, mildly expensive mattress.
That is until he hears one of the front door locks turning.
Jin have never woken up as fast as he did at that moment. The general parent nightmare, of their child being taken from their own home flashes through him and, just as fast as he wakes up, is the way he bolts out of bed and down the corridor, muscles aching and head swimming from the head rush from standing too fast. He arrives just in time to see his little dumpling baby girl, trying, desperately, to reach for the door knob. He couldn't help the boom of his voice as he calls out to her.
He immediately regrets it as he sees his baby pout, cowering a little at the reprimand. Jin sighs, crouches tiredly in front of her.
'What do you think are you doing?'
'I told you chimchim is back' she whines 'You don' listen to me!'
'You know the rules, Soonie' he scolds 'You don't open the door on your own. You don't go near the door on your own. Did you forget?'
'But I told you' she mumbles sadly 'You don' listen.'
Jin just clicks his tongue, easing up on the sternest. 'I'm sorry about that, Soonie. Daddy is just a little tired.' He pulls his daughter towards him, hugging her tightly in his arms. 'But never ever do that again, you hear me? Never open the door for anyone, especially on your own. Understand?'
Namsoon doesn't say anything, just stands there, head bowed and squirming a little, wanting to get away and Jin knows it's because she's mad.
'Namsoon' he calls out again, desperate for her to understand.
Namsoon sighs, a drawn-out, long-suffering sigh that looks a little too advanced for a four-year-old like her. Jin could squeal over his own daughter's cuteness but Namsoon would never know the importance of following rules if he breaks character right now.
So, Jin keeps it up; the stern, quietly-loving father facade. Namsoon obviously hates it- as any kid would, because kids only care about play and crafts and eating spaghetti but Jin also just wants what's best for his daughter. Jin feels himself wavering a little as he watches the growing pout on his daughter's face. She's probably on the verge of tears, as she is wont to do whenever she gets reprimanded, but Jin keeps on.
Luckily, they were saved by another knock at the door.
'Chimchim!' Namsoon squeals, as if remembering something important, lashes still wet from her tears, and, as if she hasn't heard any of the things Jin just said, she quickly reaches for the door. Again.
Jin sighs, picking the toddler up and heaving her onto his hips. He's gonna have to schedule another in-depth lecture about the dangers of letting strangers in at their home. It would probably take a while before his lectures stick to Namsoon's little enthusiastic baby head, anyways. So, holding her and keeping his guard at all times is probably the best course of action right now.
Jin opens the door and is immediately embarrassed.
Jimin. Park Jimin, a twenty-three-year-old Libra, hailing from Geumsa-dong, Busan, South Korea is Jin's baby brother's best friend slash soulmate. Jimin is in his last year of University, taking Applied Mathematics just because, and Taehyung says that that should've warned him against befriending the guy. Jimin stands at 1.78 cm, and occasionally more because he likes wearing chunky boots that makes him tall. Jimin doesn't like mango. Jimin is a ballerina. Jimin's favorite food is tonkatsu and Jin has all these useless information about the man in lieu of a proper resume because Taehyung is a meddlesome liar who lies to people and his friends.
('Taehyung! Where are you?! Get your ass here!'
'Hyung, nice to hear from you. What's up?'
'What's up?' he hisses 'Your friend is here. What did you do?!'
'You said you needed a babysitter?'
'Yes, Taehyung, exactly! Not another kid!'
'I'll have you know that Jimin is a very strong, independent, sweet, capable man. Don't judge a book by its cover!'
'-And besides, his Libra matches well with Soonie's Virgo. They'll get along just fine!')
Jin had relented because honestly, he knows his brother loves his little niece to bits and he believes that Taehyung, however unpredictable he may be, will never knowingly put Soonie in any type of harm. It also helps that Park Jimin is actually really responsible.
Park Jimin is under a couple of scholarship grants; athletic, creative and apparently, he also serves as a student envoy for their University. If Jimin can manage all that while studying Math, of all things, then maybe Jimin can manage a four-year-old. Jimin also has a younger brother, has lots of baby cousins back home that he used to babysit. Jin had let Jimin babysit the first day but only with Taehyung around.
Jin hears his daughter squeal again, little pudgy arms reaching out for Jimin and Jimin- Jimin just smiles. Jimin smiles that sweet, brilliant smile of his- sweet cheeks, crooked front teeth, pretty eyes smiles, and all that cute shit. Jin wants to groan, kinda wanna throw a tantrum and stomp his foot around because out of all the things that Jin could have worried about Soonie's new sitter, Jin didn't think that Jimin being cute, as in actual, proper Cute, would be one of them.
'Hey, baby duck!' Jimin greets, scooping a squirming Namsoon out of her father's arms. Namsoon is brimming with enthusiasm, arms coming around Jimin's neck to squeeze tight. Jimin laughs, that boyish, high quiver of a laugh that makes Jin's chest squeeze. Jin could only stare, warmth rushing all over him as he watches the two of them interact. Jin both dreads and wishes for Jimin to look back at him, really wants Jimin to look back.
Jin watches as Jimin's grin stretches wide, cheeks bunching up cutely as he finally looks up at him. Jimin looks so sweet, so soft and open. Jin wants to rush head first into him.
'Yeah' he says, gulping dryly 'All good.' All better now that you're here, he catches himself thinking and he almost grimaced back. Jin covers it back up with a polite smile. His brother's traitorous words bounces steadily inside his head:
'Jimin's Libra actually also matches your Sagittarius, hyung! You lucky guy!'
'You sure? I heard noises?' Jimin asks again.
'Yeah, no, it's all good' he assures. Jimin must've heard Jin panicking through the door.'Namsoonie here was just being bad.'
Namsoon rises indignantly at that. 'M'not!' she complains, glaring at Jin. They can barely make out her complaints, words muffled as she snuggles close to Jimin's chest.
Jimin clicks his tongue, something light and playful.
'Namsoonie' he coaxes 'Soonie, baby, what did I tell you about being mean to your dad?'
Namsoon just whines in Jimin's arms, snuggling impossibly closer to his chest, probably never to resurface again in those warm, solid, hold. Jin kinda wishes he was in his daughter's place right now.
'But he's a meanie! He never plays with us!' Soonie replies, tone heavy and serious.
Jimin opens his mouth to say something but he quickly closes it, as if changing his mind; like there's nothing he can do and that's the absolute truth- that Jin never plays with them- and he can't contend with that. Jin frowns.
'I-It's fine' Jin forces a smile, hand rubbing lightly at Soonie's back, because the girl refuses to even look back at him. 'It's fine. She's just mad.'
'Daddy was really mean, huh?' Jin says, trying to appease the girl. 'It's fine, you can be mad at daddy. You can stay mad as long as you want.'
'But once you're done being mad, promise you'll tell me okay? So daddy can give you hugs and kisses again. Alright?'
Jimin looks worriedly up at Jin when Namsoon still didn't budge. Jimin gives him an apologetic smile, still clutching Namsoon to his chest like she belongs to him. It squeezes something inside of Jin, breath hitching at the dangerous thought.
'So, how was your break?' Jin tries to steer back. Steer, steer, paddle back to calm waters.
Jimin thankfully obliges.
'It was great!' he says cheerfully 'Ate lots of free food! Caught up with the family, lazed around mostly.'
Jimin is trying to remove his shoes. He's also still carrying Soonie because Soonie refuses to be let down. Jin catches Jimin, reaches out just in time as he starts to wobble on his feet. Jimin giggles.
'Someone's clingy' he teases, hefting Soonie higher to try and peer up at her sulking face.
'Yeah, she really missed you.'
'Awww, baby' Jimin coos 'I missed you, too. Missed you so so much!'
That, at least elicited soft giggles from the girl. She gives Jimin a tender kiss on the cheek.
'Oh, wow, she really missed me, huh?'
Jin chuckles at the dumbfounded look on Jimin's face. He feels only a little bit jealous with the two of them.
'Yeah' he says 'We really did.'
Jin catches himself too late, wincing at the amused grin playing on Jimin's lips.
'I missed you, too.'