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Empty Stomach on a Full Heart

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“Dad?”

 

Jimin glanced up, hands pausing on the cutting board. 

 

“Yes, baby?”

 

Jungkook wasn’t looking at him. Instead, the seven year old was moving his fork aimlessly around his plate of scrambled eggs, frowning.

 

“Can I bring some toast to school? I’m not that hungry right now.”

 

Jimin glanced at his son’s plate, unable to tell exactly how much he’d eaten.

 

“Sure, baby,” he agreed easily. He set down the knife in his hand, wiping his hands on a washcloth, and moved towards the bread basket. “Go brush your teeth if you’re all done eating, though.”

 

Jungkook nodded obediently, slipping out of his chair and padding down the hall. 

 

As Jimin returned to the cutting board, a pair of arms snaked around his waist, and he hummed in response. 

 

“Morning.”

 

Yoongi kissed the corner of his mouth. “Morning, sunshine. Where’s Kook?”

 

“Brushing his teeth.” Jimin turned around in his arms and ran his fingers through his husband’s hair, unable to stop himself from smiling. “Maybe you should go join him. Rub a comb through that bird’s nest while you’re there.”

 

Yoongi made a face. “I thought you liked my hair messy.”

 

“I do.” Jimin kissed him, giggling, before pulling back with a smile. “Your boss, on the other hand—”

 

“Please don’t mention him to me before eight am,” Yoongi sighed. He sat down at the counter, coffee mug in hand, and glanced at the plate of half eaten food next to him. “Hey, Kook barely touched his breakfast.”

 

“He said he wasn’t hungry, so I’m giving him some extra food to take with him,” Jimin replied, packing the younger’s lunchbox as he spoke. 

 

“I’m ready!”

 

They both turned to see the seven year old in question standing in the doorway. He already had his backpack on, doe eyes wide as he stared up at them. 

 

Jimin and Yoongi exchanged a glance. 

 

“Kookie, the bus doesn’t come for another fifteen minutes,” Jimin said slowly. 

 

Jungkook seemed to deflate. “Huh? But I have to be early!”

 

“Why?” Jimin asked. He could feel his eyebrows furrow in confusion. The younger had never been one to be eager to get to school.

 

But Jungkook was pouting at the prospect of having to wait any longer. “Cause I just have to. Please?”

 

Jimin opened his mouth to answer, but Yoongi cut him off. 

 

“I’ll drive him,” he said, putting his mug down on the table and standing. 

 

Jimin frowned. “You haven’t eaten yet.”

 

“I’ll grab something on the way, mom,” his husband teased. He pulled him in for a quick kiss before grabbing his laptop bag off the floor, slinging it over his shoulder. “Ready to go, kiddo?”

 

Jungkook nodded, reaching his hand out. Yoongi accepted it before turning to smile at Jimin, who smiled back. 

 

“Don’t forget your lunchbox, bun.”

 

He zipped it into the seven year old’s backpack, pausing and waiting for him to turn around once he was done. 

 

Jungkook kissed his cheek. “Bye, Dad.”

 

“Bye, sweetheart.” Jimin returned the action, gaze soft and smile gentle. “Have a good day at school, okay?”

 

They left without much fanfare, and returned later in the day in a similar fashion. 

 

Jimin noticed right away, however, that something seemed off. 

 

Jungkook didn’t usually eat right after coming home from school. Jimin always packed him a big lunch and plenty of snacks, enough to keep the younger full until dinner time. Sometimes he asked for another snack, but even that wouldn’t be until a few hours had passed after coming home. 

 

That day, however, Jungkook whined that he was hungry the minute he stepped into the house. Jimin found it odd, but he cut up some fruit for him nonetheless. 

 

They watched tv for less than half an hour before Jungkook was pouting again. 

 

“Dad, I’m hungryyy,” he whined, tugging on Jimin’s sleeve. 

 

Jimin frowned. “Did you not finish your lunch at school, Jungkookie?”

 

His son’s cheeks flushed, but his pout only deepened in response. “I’m just hungry.”

 

It wasn’t much of an answer, but Jimin didn’t really know how he was expected to respond to it anyway. So he made the younger a small sandwich, which seemed to satisfy him until dinner time. 

 

The next day was similar, if not identical. Jungkook asked if he could bring an extra breakfast to school, and then returned home only to complain that he was starving. 

 

Jimin pursed his lips and fed him, but he couldn’t stop himself from worrying.

 

He brought it up to Yoongi before bed. 

 

“I just think it’s weird,” he muttered, lifting the sheets to slip beside his husband. “His lunchbox is empty every day, yet he’s still hungry?”

 

“He’s a growing kid, Jimin,” Yoongi muttered tiredly, eyes already half-closed. “Try giving him some more food. Maybe he just needs a bigger lunch.”

 

Jimin frowned, not satisfied with the response, but nodded. 

 

The next day, he packed Jungkook what would be the equivalent of two lunches. Two sandwiches, two little snack bags full of fruits and vegetables, two bags of chips, and two bottles of juice. 

 

If his son came home that day and told him he was still hungry, something was wrong, Jimin decided. 

 

He waited with somewhat bated breath that afternoon when Jungkook returned. The seven year old didn’t say anything other than greet him normally, however, and he played video games for a short time before starting on his homework. 

 

Jimin felt like he was walking on glass the rest of the afternoon. He sat on the couch somewhat stiffly, laptop out, and kept waiting for the younger to call out for him and ask for something to eat. 

 

“Dad?”

 

He stiffened. “Yeah?”

 

“Can you help me? I don’t get this question.”

 

Jimin relaxed. “Oh. Yeah, sweetheart, of course.”

 

When Yoongi stepped out of the shower that night, he let his husband know of his success. The elder only snorted as he pulled a shirt over his head, shaking his damp hair out. 

 

“Wasn’t it my idea to give him more food?”

 

“Um, yes, but I packed it,” Jimin scoffed. “Ergo, I get credit.”

 

Yoongi rolled his eyes, but he looked amused. “Sure. I’m just glad he’s eating normally again.”

 

“Me, too,” Jimin said, sighing. “You have no idea.”

 

*

 

It was after one week of packing lunch for two that Jungkook asked him if he could invite one of his friends over. He didn’t have classmates over often, so to say Jimin was excited was an understatement. 

 

The two of them were playing video games in the living room, laughing and shrieking enough that it was bordering the line between adorable and annoying, when one of the seven year olds padded into the kitchen. 

 

“Um, hyungnim?”

 

Jimin glanced down to see Jungkook’s friend, Taehyung, holding out the tray of food he’d given them a little while ago, now empty. 

 

“Oh, Taehyung, thank you.” He accepted it with a smile. “You didn’t have to do that. I would’ve come in and gotten it from you.”

 

Taehyung smiled brightly at him. He had the most adorable box-shaped smile, one Jimin like to think complimented Jungkook’s bunny-toothed grin perfectly. “It’s okay! Thank you for the food. It was delicious.”

 

“Anytime,” Jimin laughed, pleased at the child’s manners. “Let me know if you two need anything else, okay?”

 

The seven year old nodded, but he seemed as if he wasn’t quite ready to leave yet. He hesitated for a moment before adding, “Thank you for giving Jungkook food to bring me, too.”

 

Jimin paused, one hand on the refrigerator door. 

 

“I’m sorry,” he said slowly. “What was that, sweetheart?”

 

“The food Jungkook brings,” Taehyung said earnestly, eyes wide and grateful. “Um. For me. ‘Cause my dads lost their jobs and I didn’t bring food anymore to school. And then he started bringing me breakfast and lunch. Um, yeah. So thank you!”

 

Something deep inside of Jimin bloomed, and he wanted to run outside and gather Jungkook in his arms and press a thousand kisses into his face. 

 

But he didn’t. He only smiled, somehow managing to keep the sadness out of it, and ruffled Taehyung’s hair. 

 

“Of course,” he said softly. “And you know you’re welcome here anytime, right, Taehyungie?”

 

The younger boy brightened, nodding enthusiastically.

 

He returned to the living room a little later, leaving Jimin to lean back against the counter and let out a long, heavy breath. 

 

When Taehyung left and Jungkook climbed into bed a few hours later, Jimin slid into the covers beside him. 

 

His son turned to face him with confusion written across his features, and Jimin smoothed out the small wrinkle in his forehead with his thumb. 

 

“So,” he said gently, “when were you going to tell me all the extra food I’ve been giving to you is going to Taehyung?”

 

Panic flashed across the child’s features, and Jimin shushed him immediately, clicking his tongue in disapproval as the younger began stuttering his way through an explanation.

 

“I’m not mad,” he said firmly. 

 

Jungkook hesitated. “You’re not?”

 

“No.” Jimin smiled a little, searching his expression. “It was a very sweet thing of you to do, Jungkookie.”

 

His son shrugged, suddenly looking uncomfortable. “Well. He didn’t have any, and I have a lot. So.”

 

“Mm.” Jimin smiled at the simple explanation, leaning forward to kiss the younger’s forehead. “You have such a good heart, baby.”

 

Jungkook groaned, shifting away from him on the bed. “Daddd, stop!”

 

Jimin laughed. “Fine, fine. I’m leaving. Just tell me one thing before I go, though.”

 

The younger made a face, not looking like he trusted him. “What?”

 

“Why are you so cute?”

 

“Daddd, get out!”

 

“I haven’t even kissed you goodnight!”

 

“Goooo!”