"Uncle Jin." Jin cooed to the baby, "Say Uncle Jin. Can you say Uncle Jin?"
"Jin, he's only 6 months old! The most he can say right now is gah," His sister said, glancing over to Jin who was playing with her son on the floor.
"Gah-ncle Jin," Jin cooed in response, "Say Gah-ncle Jin."
"You're ridiculous," His sister mumbled, shaking her head fondly.
"When do you leave?" Jin said, dangling the toy in front of Jungkook who was on his tummy, laughing at the noises it made.
"Around 7 tonight? Depending on what time Hyunwook gets home from work," She replied, folding the baby onesie in front of her and putting it down neatly on the pile of clean laundry.
"You sure you don't want any help?" Jin asked.
"Don't you have exams soon?"
"Next week." Jin said with a sigh, looking back at Jungkook who was trying to roll on the soft mat, before cooing out, "And I'm not ready for it. Not one bit. No I'm not."
"Your baby voice is weird," She commented.
"And your baby is the cutest. Yes he is. Yes he is."
"You're giving me a headache."
Jin carried Jungkook onto his lap, the baby cooing and gurgling on him, "Mommy's mean isn't she?"
"Don't turn my sweet baby against me!" She said with a laugh, the laundry forgotten on the floor as she made her way to her brother and baby, "You love me don't you baby?"
"One of these days I'm going to take him home," Jin joked.
She tensed up visibly, arms frozen, outstretched to reach to Jungkook.
"What's wrong?" Jin asked her, eyebrows furrowed in concentration.
"Jin, Hyunwook and I wanted to talk to you," She said, reaching over and pulling Jungkook into her lap, who was suddenly fascinated by his mom's hair. He grabbed a fistful and started tugging on it.
"What's up? Everything okay?" Jin asked, suddenly worried.
"Not now," She said, shaking her head, a smile forcing its way back onto her face, "I'm sure we won't even need it, but we just made some changes to our will and all and Hyunwook and I wanted to tell you about it."
"It's nothing! Don't worry," She said quickly, to try and reassure Jin, "It's just that you know, Jungkook is growing up now and we wanted some contingency plans just in case something happened-"
"Something happens? What's happening? Is everything oka-"
"Hey, hey, look at me," She said, one hand holding her baby and the other, cupping her baby brother's cheek, "Nothing's going to happen to us. We're fine. This is just in case."
Jin had a frantic look in his eye, "I'm only 20, Ji Hye. I don't know anything about babies, about taking care of one! Hell I can barely take care of myself! I don't-"
"Jin, you're getting worked up over nothing," Ji Hye laughed, "Nothing's going to happen to me and nothing's going to happen to Hyunwook either."
Jin let out a staggered breath, panic still filled in him, "You're right. Yeah, you're right. I just..."
"I know," She said nodding in understanding. She understood him perfectly. She understood exactly how the panic built up slowly, almost like filling in a balloon. It enters you bit by bit, taking up in the space in your lungs until you feel like you can't breath. It consumes you, almost entirely and you don't even realise what's happening until it's too late and all you can think about are dark thoughts in this panic filled bubble. She understood it so well because she went through the exact same thing when she was doing up her will with her husband and the lawyer present.
She was holding Jungkook in her arms, bouncing him up and down on her knee as her lawyer explained what a Guardianship Clause was. All she could think about as the lawyer spoke, trying to make them understand, was about the little bundle of joy in her arms. If something happened to her the minute they walked out of this firm, she wouldn't be able to hug him anymore. She wouldn't be able to hear his first words, to see his first steps, to hear his little giggle through the baby monitors early in the morning. She wouldn't watch him go to school, she wouldn't see him grow up. She wouldn't be a part of his life anymore. How was a mother supposed to live knowing that at any day now, her entire future could be ripped from her hands? The worst part of her going wouldn't even be that she wouldn't get to watch Jungkook grow up, it would be that Jungkook wouldn't grow up with a mother. He would never feel a mother's love. He would never get to experience her cooking. He would never know what it means to have a mother's loving touch. And yeah, Ji Hye could admit that it was selfish to only think about her right now, but she couldn't help it. Here she was, with her beautiful baby boy who was looking at her with his wide doe brown bambi eyes, drooling on his favourite rattle on her knee. How could she not think about what this clause in her last will and testament actually meant. How could she not picture it?
"I know exactly what you're going through," Ji Hye said to Jin with a small smile on her face as she looked down at Jungkook who was looking at his rattle with amazement, shaking it and giggling to himself.
"Just in case..." Jin said, more so to himself, to try and console himself.
"If something does happen to us, God forbid," Ji Hye said, mumbling the last bit before she looked over at Jin, "You'll be the only family that Jungkook has."
"Ji Hye nothing-"
"No, Jin, please, let me talk," She said, knowing that as much as it physically hurt her to think about it, this was a very real possibility, and no matter what, she wanted Jungkook to be safe. She wanted him to grow up loved. She wanted Jungkook to be the best version of himself. Whether or not she would be there to witness it.
Jin just nodded, feeling his eyes prick with tears, mouth go dry, at the thought of losing his sister and his brother in law.
"If...If something were to happen to Hyunwook, or to me, you'll be the only family that Jungkook has." She said, "I've seen you with him, Jinnie. You're an amazing uncle, and if something were to happen to us, I know that you'll take care of him. And that you'll make sure that he grows up so, so loved."
She placed a kiss onto Jungkook's soft, smooth baby haired head.
"Promise me, Jin? Promise me that you'll look after him and make sure that he's loved." She said, looking up with glossy eyes.
"I promise," Jin said, eyes on Jungkook who was none the wiser, giggling to himself in his own world as he gurgled noises.
It had been a couple of days since Jin's conversation with his sister, and he still couldn't get it out of his head.
He was sitting in his dorm room, leaned back onto the cheap black chair, fidgeting around with his pencil and his notes laid down in front of him but was unable to concentrate. There was this part of him that kept thinking about the what if's of the situation.
What if something happened to his sister?
What if he was solely responsible for Jungkook?
What kind of life would Jin, a 20 year old, be able to provide for him? He was a college student halfway through his studies with huge plans. And a baby would not fit in his world. Not now at least.
Right now, he wanted to be a normal college student. He wanted to just get through his exams, to party the night away and get black out drunk after and then spend the next three days after that curing his hangover with empty promises never to touch alcohol again, only to repeat the cycle.
Sure, Jin had plans for himself, big plans in fact, and a kid was a part of that plan, but just not now. He wanted to graduate college, and then get a shitty job somewhere before quitting that and moving onto a better company. From there, he would rise in the ranks, maybe even meet someone and fall in love. Get married, and then only have a kid.
That's always been his plan for the longest time.
Jin shook his head, as if that would make all of these thoughts go away. He was overthinking. This was a 'just in case' clause. No one ever had to use it. He would be fine. Life would go according to his 10 year plan. He knew this.
Jin couldn't keep thinking about these situations that would never become a reality. He had to focus on the upcoming exams. God knows his sister would kill him if he didn't get good results. He wouldn't complain though. He knew that she just wanted the best for him. His sister had taken many roles, and worn many hats over the years. She wasn't just his sister. She was his mom, his best friend, his confidante and at time, his dad too. She was the only family Jin had.
Jin put his head down, rereading the notes that he had taken only a couple of hours ago.
His eyes scanned over the page, mumbling the notes out loud over and over again trying to commit it to memory.
Knock knock knock
Jin practically leaped out of his chair by the unexpected noise. He glanced down to his watch to look at the time - 10:54pm
He looked at the door with furrowed eyebrows. He wasn't expecting anyone so late at night. As far as he was concerned, there wasn't even a party today so he knew it couldn't be any of his friends.
Jin got out of his chair, walking towards the door. He unlocked it and pulled it open.
"Yes?" He answered, crossing his arms over his chest, the wind blowing cool and harsh on his skin and he wasn't dressed for the weather. All he was wearing was an oversized shirt and some boxers. No one dresses up to study.
The man at the door looked at him with sad eyes. Jin blinked a couple of times, letting his eyes get used to the lack of lighting outside.
"Of-Officer?" Jin stuttered out, taking in the blue official uniform of the man. Jin could feel a pit growing in his stomach. He knew that nothing about this visit was about to be nice.
"My name is Lee Jaehwan." The officer stated.
"Is..Is there a problem, officer?"
Jaehwan reached up and took his hat off, tucking it underneath his armpit.
The pit in Jin's stomach grew, and grew and only got bigger. It felt like all of the air was being snatched out of Jin's lungs. Jin prayed to every deity in existence from every religion he could think of at that very moment that the officer in front of him would say literally anything else other than what he was thinking about.
"Of-Officer?" Jin stuttered out, through the ever growing lump in his throat, mouth going dry.
"I am so sorry for your loss, Mr Kim."
"Of-Officer?" Was all Jin could get out, his eyes glossing up with tears, already knowing what was coming next.
"At 8.50pm, when your sister Ji Hye and her husband Hyunwook were travelling back, they got into an accident on the highway. Their son, Jungkook, was also in the car with them. The three of them were taken to the hospital."
Jin let a wrecked sob travel through his body, his knees growing weak, the only support he had was from holding onto the door. Tears streamed down his face, but he tried to keep a level head. He needed to listen to the officer. He was an adult. He could do this.
"Unfortunately, Mr Kim, both Ji Hye and Hyunwook succumbed to their injuries during the surgery and we...there was nothing we could do." The officer explained, his heart clenching at the sight of the boy in front of him.
"J-Jungkook?" Jin stuttered, head snapping up, eyes frantic and searching the police officers face for any further information he could find. Trying to decipher the information with just one look.
"Jungkook had minor cuts and bruises," The officer told him, "He survived and according to the last will and testament of both Ji Hye and Hyunwook-"
"I'm the legal guardian." Jin finished for the officer.
"My partner is bringing out Jungkook from the police car right now," The officer explained.
Another officer, with the same sympathetic look walked up with a car seat and a sleeping Jungkook. Jin felt his knees go weak, the reminder of his sister and her husband right in front of him.
"Again, we are so sorry for your loss, Mr Kim." The officer said, passing the car seat with the baby to Jin.
Jin signed a couple of papers and promised to be at the hospital in a few days to get the other paperwork done. He bid farewell to the officers and walked into his rented college house with a sleeping baby that was now legally his.
He stood in the middle of the room, completely overwhelmed. He didn't have time to mourn his sisters passing, nor did he even have time to mourn his brother in laws passing. All he had right now, was a sleeping baby, a car seat, and no supplies. He didn't know how to take care of a baby! He was meant to be studying for his exams.
His entire life had just been changed with three knocks, and a ding of a bell.