"No. Appa this tastes yucky" Mina pushed the spoon away, refusing to take a second spoonful of the ramen Namjoon was lovingly offering up.
"Bunny" Namjoon said, keeping careful not to let his frustration show. "This is the third flavor we are trying. And you like all of them, I know that"
"It tastes yucky"
"Ok, don't say that about food. You have to eat something" Namjoon muttered more to himself than the child. He fought with himself for a minute, a voice in his head telling him how Jin would kill him for this. He shushed the voice, deciding these were desperate times. "Ok how about cookies? But you have to promise to drink the big glass of milk" Mina chirped up at that, having been moody all day. Namjoon smiled and ruffled her hair. He noted, fleetingly, how she felt a little warm. He laid cookies out for her and watched her gulp them down. "Really Mina, you were hungry. Pick your tantrums better"
"This is yucky" Mina handed the milk back to Namjoon after one sip.
"Hey you promised!" Joon scolded her trying to shove the glass back to her.
"Appa, I'm feeling sick." Mina barely got the words out, her face starting to go a little pale. Namjoon grabbed her and held her over the sink just in time, before she barfed all her cookies up.
"Oh shit. You really are sick Bunny" Namjoon felt his kid's forehead which was properly burning now. She felt frail and limp in his arms, having eaten nothing all day. He carried her to her room and tried to put her into her bed. Mina absolutely refused to let go of him. He had expected nothing else. Mina was normally exceedingly clingy to him, trying to sweet talk them into sleeping with her parents at least once a week. Now that she was not feeling well, she was clinging onto him like a koala. He climbed back down the stairs and brought them into the living room. He lay Mina down in his lap, very, very aware of the fact that she was steadily getting warmer.
He hopelessly tried to call Jin again. But his cell went straight to voicemail, again. Catching a hold of Jin on one of the busiest nights of the year was hopeless.That was alright, Namjoon had this. Never mind this was his first child and this was her first fever. He got this. "Bunny, could you lay down here for a bit, I need to get some things from the kitchen" Joon asked Mina, using his best Mina voice.
"Please? You'll get wet" Mina did not respond, just turned around and buried her face in Namjoon's sweater. "Mina?"
"Appa I feel yucky" Joon sighed. He gently detached her from his sweater, the part her face was in burning hot already. He hoisted her up and set her head on his shoulder and got up. Joon walked over to the kitchen sink and filled up a bowl with cold water. He picked up a washcloth and the bowl, balancing everything in one hand and walked back to the couch.
"Appa I will not eat water" Mina said, side-eyeing the bowl. Joon burst out laughing. This was such a Jin joke for her to have made.
"You drink water Bunny. You eat ice. Which is also water. But I won't feed you water" Joon chuckled. He dipped the washcloth in the icy cold water and placed it on Mina's forehead.
"AAAH Appa, cold cold cold" Mina held his hand away.
"You're too warm right now Bunny, we have to bring it down. It won't sting after a while, promise" Joon continued to towel away at the baby's forehead, silently praying that her fever comes down. After a while Mina's tiny hand reached up (barely) to his own forehead. She was trying to smooth out the lines creased on there, but wasn't being very successful.
"Don't frown Appa. Papa says it gives you frinkles"
"Wrinkles" Joon corrected her gently " Why has Papa been talking to you about wrinkles is my question"
"Why're you frowning?"
"Mina feels yucky, so Appa feels yucky. Feeling yucky makes me frown"
"Am I frowning?" Mina feels her own forehead for creases.
"There's no space on this tiny forehead for frowning" Joon leans down and kisses the said forehead gently. He notices, with relief, that she feels almost normal now. He continued with his toweling until the water had turned warm and Mina had gotten normal temperatured. Joon then coaxed her into ingesting a banana, waiting with baited breath as she managed to keep it down. He then made her take some light anti nausea and baby paracetamol, now that she had some tiny thing in her stomach.
"Appa I feel not yucky now, stop frowning." Mina chirped, a little more happily than she had been all day. Relieved, Namjoon relieved himself of his frown.
They settled into the living room and decided to watch Mina's favorite movie of all time, Mulan, for the 100th time. Mina knew most of the lines by heart at this point. She spoke them along with the characters. Laughed at the same jokes she'd laughed at so many times before. Namjoon had long since abandoned the movie, opting to just look at his daughter instead. All through his life Namjoon had constantly been surprised by how much love his heart could actually hold. He'd been surprised how much he came to love his college roommate and best friend, Taehyung. Like a little brother he never had, even though he was only a year younger than him. Then he'd had to move to the States to make his career, and Joon was convinced he'd not find another friend. But he found more than a friend. He found love. He found Jin. Jin who cooked for a catering company and could talk about food for hours. Who made terrible jokes. Was an excellent short story proof-reader and idea sounding board. Jin who read his stories, heard his out of control thoughts, kissed his headaches away. It scared Namjoon how much he loved Jin, how he could hardly breathe without him at the beginning. He couldn't help but think Jin would be taken away from him and he would fall apart. But Jin didn't leave, Jin stayed. And Joon's heart didn't burst, it grew to accommodate all his love. When they decided to adopt Mina, a six month old bundle of cuteness, Joon wasn't scared like before. He had Jin. He knew the power love that. He could do it. What Namjoon could not have seen coming was just how much he would grow to love this child. He didn't expect to find contentment in staring at his daughter for hours. Didn't expect the warmth his heart would feel each time she called him Appa. Didn't expect he would just randomly start calling her Bunny when he noticed how she jumped from place to place more than she walked. Didn't see himself rocking her to sleep, waking up randomly in the night to check up on her, taking her everywhere with him. Namjoon had pretty much been a recluse when growing up. But he'd let these people into his heart. And now his heart was full.
Mina had fallen asleep before the movie even got to intermission partly due to how sick she was and partly because Joon was absentmindedly rubbing circles in her hair. Joon gently picked her up and made his way up. Mina stirred a little on the stairs.
"Sleep...Appa...room" she mumbled. Namjoon smiled as he lay her down in the center of his own bed. He wasn't even considering putting her into her own room tonight.