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Jaehyun doesn’t do romance. 

Correction-- Jaehyun doesn’t do romance anymore. 

He thought of himself as a person who’s totally incapable of love, until he had his ex girlfriend knock in his door with a bag of clothes and breastmilk substitute, shoving a month old Jaemin into his arms before waltzing off as if she didn’t just dump a lifelong responsibility at his doorstep. Jaehyun was confused and really scared, but holy shit, it was love at first sight, Jaehyun was sure of it.

 

Jaemin.

 

That was his son’s name.

It’s a horrible thing to other people, to be a person who doesn’t really like nor love anyone, and surprisingly enough in a world filled with lovesick people, Jaehyun just can’t find himself to involve himself in love. It wasn’t a big deal of his life, and he won’t plan on making it into one;

Even with his new roommate coming finally to move in.

“Hi, I’m Johnny!” He chirps happily, face contorting to confusion when he sees a big durabox filled with legos and toys and the TV playing PJ Masks. 

“Jaehyun, nice to meet you,” Jaehyun extends his hand to shake it, chuckling at his confusion. “Bub, come out, you gotta meet someone.”

Johnny still nods out his confusion, his eyes widening completely when he sees a toddler-- a kid wearing a penguin onesie, waddling out of a room, messily drinking juice from his sippy cup. The kid looks up to Johnny and smiles, his eyes disappearing, waving his hand out. He’s missing a tooth or so, but Johnny still finds himself melting.

“I forgot to mention I had a kid, I’m sorry,” Jaehyun lies. He didn’t want to mention he has a kid. “His name is Jaemin. You won’t have to babysit-”

“I don’t mind babysitting! Oh, he’s so cute!” Johnny crouches down and holds his hand out for a high five, which Jaemin smacks almost immediately. “Hi Jaemin! I’m Johnny, but you can call me hyung, hm?”

“Johnny hyung,” Jaemin parrots, and Johnny absolutely loses it. “Dad, we have a visitor?”

“Nuh-uh, he’ll be living with us for quite a while, like Taeyong hyung,” Jaehyun looks down at the both of them. Johnny’s enjoying Jaemin’s company more than he expected. “Hey uh, you hungry? Kinda cooked dinner for you, like, you know. Warm welcome or something. Plus, I got a couple of rules.”

“Sure thing!” Johnny chirps.

Even with his seemingly perfect roommate coming to finally move in.

 

━━━━━━༻❁༺━━━━━━

 

It was a couple of months ago when his old roommate, Taeyong, decided to move out and live with his boyfriend instead. With his rent raising crazy and his job paying barely to feed him and his son, he needs a roommate pronto. Taeyong tried helping him with his roommate conquest, but everything didn’t work out for Jaehyun, because he doesn’t want just anyone living with Jaemin, he needs a decent one. The one he can trust Jaemin with.

And as sad as it is, the only person Jaehyun trusts with Jaemin is Taeyong. And his boyfriend Doyoung.

But when this tall architecture major guy sat next to him in the cafeteria, asking with those big inquisitive eyes if he still needs a roommate, Jaehyun didn’t hesitate to come and show him. Jaemin was sound asleep in his room, and he didn’t bother to tell Johnny that he had a son- Johnny seemed pretty okay, so Jaehyun agreed at the set up.

He doesn’t regret that decision, now with Johnny being taught by Jaemin his old high-five pattern with Taeyong but slightly modified, because if there’s anything that Jaehyun likes, it’s Jaemin, or people loving Jaemin as much as he does.

Johnny absolutely fits the second one.

Jaehyun’s rules were pretty simple. It goes by:

 

  1. Never bring any woman (or a man) home for a hookup,
  2. Never change the TV channel when Jaemin’s watching OR watch TV when it’s around PJ Masks or Gumball,
  3. Don’t curse around Jaemin,
  4. And be quiet when it’s Jaemin’s sleep time.

 

Johnny finds it easy to do, especially when he’s not really the hookup type, nor does he watch TV or curse a lot. Between the two of them, it’s actually Jaehyun who struggles around the rules- especially with the don't curse around Jaemin. 

“Johnny hyung?” Jaemin squeaks out, wearing his favorite flannel matching sleepwear, holding his sippy cup for his dear life. Johnny can’t comprehend how a 7 year old can look this cute.

“Yes, Jaem?” Johnny responds with a smile. Jaehyun was out for his classes and although Jaehyun said that he doesn’t need to babysit because Jaemin can absolutely handle himself alone, Johnny still likes to keep Jaemin company. “What do we need?”

“I wanna go to Taeyongi-hyung,” Jaemin pouts, waddling closer to Johnny before attempting to sit on his lap. Johnny chuckles and finally carries up Jaemin, placing him on top of him. His plate doesn’t go unnoticed, Jaemin’s eyes sparkling over the neat piece of paper. “Whoa, hyung, what’s that?”

“Johnny hyung’s really nice drawing that can’t get dirty at all costs,” Johnny snickers. Jaemin gasps out, pulling his hands away from it. “You can’t touch, just stare.. Hm?”

“I wanna go to Taeyongi-hyung’s, hyung,” Jaemin pouts again, looking up at Johnny. “I miss hyung.”

Johnny would speed out and go to Taeyongi-hyung right now, only if he knew who the fuck was Taeyong and if he knew where does Taeyong live. Unfortunately, he knows nothing. So he pouts back.

“What if we wait for your dad to come back, and then we’ll ask him later if he can take you to your hyung, hm?” Johnny responds to him, Jaemin still pouting. He frowns instead. “What’s wrong?”

“But I want you to meet Taeyongi-hyung,” Jaemin continues to whine. 

 

Why the fuck--

 

“Okay, I’ll come, but we have to wait for your dad, okay?” Johnny reassures him, carding his fingers through Jaemin’s thick black hair. Jaemin smiles as a response before carefully placing his sippy cup on Johnny’s stack of books, then falling face flat on Johnny’s chest as he sits upright on his lap.

“Hyung, I’m gonna nap,” He murmurs into Johnny’s hoodie. “I’ll nap on you.”

“You don’t wanna nap on your bed, Jaem?” Johnny’s hands went from Jaemin’s hair to his back, soothingly running it up and back. The boy sighs, content, his chest becoming warmer every second. “Here-- this part, it will hurt.”

“No, I always nap on daddy like this,” Jaemin replies lazily, still not bothering to remove his head buried in Johnny’s chest. Johnny wanted to persuade Jaemin more, he was truly concerned about the boy’s back, but Jaemin’s tiny arms were already wrapped halfway onto Johnny’s waist, and he already seemed asleep.

So, defeatedly, Johnny just leaves him be as he continues on his plate.

Johnny doesn’t mind the weight on his lap, even if his legs go numb and he really needs to pee. Jaemin sleeps soundly on his chest, his soft breaths almost therapy to Johnny. It’s only been two months ever since he moved in to Jaehyun’s, but he feels like he’s known the boy forever, and he doesn’t want to ever let go of him.

Jaehyun, however.. He was a bit complicated.

Johnny finds him intimidating. He barely talks, and when he does, he’s addressing Jaemin or asking Johnny to either do the groceries or cook for them or tell him it’s dinner time. Johnny wants to blame it on living with his son for a long time, but Johnny doubts that he doesn’t have friends or didn’t have friends before he had a 7 year old. 

But Jaehyun was soft. Sometimes whenever Jaemin was asleep, he would put on some music as he studied standing up, twirling softly, because it helps him concentrate and it was a habit when Jaemin was a baby-- having to cradle him as he studies. He would notice how Jaehyun’s cheeks would become rounder as he smiles to Jaemin or Johnny’s stupid joke, or whenever Jaehyun would try to suppress that same smile whenever Johnny would entertain Jaemin.

Johnny doesn’t want to think about it, but he just knows Jaehyun is soft, under that cold, demeaning, intimidating persona he has on. Johnny knows that Jaehyun pretends that he’s sick of watching Powerpuff Girls, but in honesty, he’s just amazed to watch new episodes like Jaemin. Johnny notices how Jaehyun fixes up Johnny’s clothes if they fold the wrong way because he doesn’t want Johnny ironing them again, and he notices the way how delicately Jaehyun holds things. It’s as if everything were made of glass and gold. 

Johnny gulps, his free hand flying back to Jaemin to wrap around his tiny, tiny back.

“Hey, I’m home,” Jaehyun shouts, and Johnny could feel Jaemin snort and grunt, which sends shivers of panic down his spine. His head comes flying to the door, hoping that Jaehyun could hear his thoughts, screaming please don’t shout, Jaemin is sleeping. “Johnny? Jaemin?”

Johnny didn’t respond, but he bit his lip. Jaemin didn’t seem to be bothered by the noise anyway. A knock lands on his door, and it opens. He’s greeted by Jaehyun’s surprised face, borderline disbelief as he tries to formulate the right words.

“I really tried to make him sleep on the bed, but he won’t budge,” Johnny whisper-yelled, cracking his neck (feeling too stiff). 

“Oh my God, I’m sorry, I’ll go get him--”

“Jae, it’s no problem.”

Silence follows. Jaehyun and Johnny both gulp-- Jaehyun realizing that Johnny just called him by a nickname-- and Johnny realizing that he might have given him a nickname. 

Oh my God, we’re not even close, Johnny inhales, bringing Jaemin closer to his body. 

“You sure he’s not bothering you?” Jaehyun snaps back to reality, walking nearer to Johnny and crouching down to meet Jaemin’s level. “Oh, hey baby.”

“He said something about wanting to go to Taeyong-hyung, ” Johnny murmured, dropping his pencil. Jaehyun looks up at him. “I should get him to bed, don’t you think?”

“Ah, Taeyong, he must miss him,” Jaehyun chuckles, getting back up. “Taeyong was my old roommate. He just moved in with his boyfriend. And yeah, you should probably get Jaemin to bed. Did he eat dinner yet?”

“I fed him the leftover curry from yesterday,” Johnny yawned, rolling back his seat, supporting Jaemin under him as he stood up. “How about you? Dinner?”

“Nah. You want some cup noodles? I’ll cook some.”

“Sure thing.”

━━━━━━༻❁༺━━━━━━

 

Jaemin gets too comfortable with Johnny, and he really wishes he won’t get any more closer; but with the way that Jaemin just taps on Johnny’s knee when they eat dinner so that he’d spoon feed him instead of Jaehyun doing it, or the way that Jaemin crawls up to the sofa to ball himself on the curve of Johnny’s body, Jaehyun thinks it’s impossible to grant that wish.

Jaemin is loving, Jaehyun raised him to be like that. Even without a mother, Jaehyun wanted his son to feel that he was loved, and he loved him enough to suffice for his ex-girlfriend who left him at his doorstep. He wanted to make Jaemin feel that he wasn’t loved enough just because the person who gave birth to him didn’t want him-- he made sure he raised Jaemin in an environment where everyone loved him, and that’s why he moved out the moment he turned 18. Jaemin grows well, and he grows to love people around him. Johnny isn’t any exception.

Taeyong found it funny that Jaemin loves everyone, while Jaehyun finds that so hard to do.

He was alright with Jaemin growing to Taeyong-- when Taeyong literally stood up as Jaemin’s second father. Taeyong and Jaehyun were roommates for quite a while before, and neighbors even before college. When Doyoung came along, Taeyong’s boyfriend-- he seemed to be more excited than Jaehyun when he introduced Jaemin to him. And thus, the third father of Jaemin has been found.

He was alright with Jaemin growing to Taeyong because Taeyong won’t leave him. 

Jaehyun wasn’t alright with Jaemin growing to Johnny because inevitably, Johnny is temporary. 

No, his relationship with Johnny was absolutely nothing else but a roommate. He’d invite him to dinner, cook him and Jaemin the night before Wednesday because he had night classes on that day, and importantly, he was Jaemin’s hyung. Jaemin treasured Johnny like he treasured Taeyong. The only thing that’s connecting the both of them was Jaemin. He can’t even remember a proper conversation between the both of them.

Jaehyun sighs as he tucks in Jaemin to sleep. Exhaustion rings through his body, but it’s not the exhaustion he got used to. It was a different, scary exhaustion. Confusion.

Ah shit, he cracks his neck sideways, leaving his room where Jaemin sleeps on their shared bed. I haven’t had dinner yet. I guess I’ll just wait for breakfast. 

 

“Hey.”

Jaehyun almost sputters out the loudest fuck he could muster, but thank God he could stop himself from doing so. He’s greeted by Johnny holding up two cups of instant tteokbokki, wearing a soft smile. 

If there’s anything that they have in common, it’s that Johnny and Jaehyun love to stay up at night to do their schoolworks. Their eyes carry the darkest circles that the world has ever seen.

“You haven’t had your dinner yet,” Johnny yawns, placing the tteokbokki on Jaehyun’s place on the table. “Come on, let’s eat first. It’s late.”

Jaehyun doesn’t say no. He can’t bring himself to say no, anyways. So he sits, on his place, and he’s almost thankful that Jaemin isn’t at his annoying high baby seat where he has to collapse and build up everytime they have to eat because Johnny is too tall and big for him to fit through the slim gap the chair leaves. It was comfortable to get Johnny alone, too comfortable it scares him.

“You know what I find really interesting about you?” Jaehyun clears his throat, meeting Johnny’s eyes. They were dark, just like his. It feels like he was staring back at himself. “You never asked about Jaemin. I mean, you did, but never about his-”

“Mom? Dad?” Johnny chuckles. Jaehyun silently nods. “I figured it was none of my business, and if you didn’t want to tell me, then I guess I’ll never know. I’m curious, but I won’t die for it. Jaemin is there, that’s the end of discussion.”

“I was really high that time,” Jaehyun chuckled, remembering the 7 years ago where his life revolved around literally fucking around. “Her name was Yuri. Big round eyes. Fucked up one night, then it took me ten months again to see those big round eyes-- except now there were two. She came banging on my parents’ home shoving a baby in my arms with a bag of baby clothes and formula. Then I never saw her again.”

Johnny hums and nods. He doesn’t really know what to answer back. There wasn’t any appropriate response.

“I think there’s more to you than just Jaemin,” Johnny replied, picking on his artificial rice cakes. “I don’t see you just as Jaem’s dad, or my roommate. You’re Jaehyun… and I guess I don’t know that person that well yet. I know Jaem’s dad, but not Jaehyun.”

“Yeah, I kinda forgot about him, too,” Jaehyun chuckles. He was getting sleepy, his eyes were getting droopier-- his back was killing him, he wanted to get to bed but holy shit I can’t, I’ve got so much shit to do. “I’m just sorta.. Jaemin’s dad now.”

“You don’t have to lose yourself to fatherhood, you know,” Johnny says. “You’re doing such a great job.”

“I’m doing a great job?”

“The best.”

 

And that’s where Jaehyun absolutely loses it.

 

Not once he hears that, not even from Taeyong, who-- and he doesn’t exaggerate-- literally lived and grew up with, not even Doyoung who loved praising Jaehyun all the time and is positive adores Jaemin more than he does. Not even his own parents when he managed to raise a kid and graduate valedictorian from his high school.

So Jaehyun sobs.

“I’m sorry, I just--” Jaehyun laughs as he tries to stop the tears, but every time he blinks they just keep on coming down, rolling on his cheeks. Johnny’s lost, but he instinctively stands up to bring Jaehyun some water. “I just-- I never heard-- I’m--”


“You’re doing such a great job,” Johnny repeats as he hands Jaehyun the water which he receives with shaky hands. Jaehyun looks up at the taller, who responds with a soft smile. “I’m telling you that now, every single day.”

Jaehyun doesn’t respond, his silent crying was enough of an answer for Johnny. He doesn’t know what happens next, but he finds himself on Johnny’s lower chest, face pressed tightly, he feels the soft beating of his heart and that his arms were wrapped around his waist just like Johnny held Jaehyun’s head delicately.

 

━━━━━━༻❁༺━━━━━━

The morning after was dreadful.

Jaehyun hated skinship, if it gives any context; and yet he didn’t seem to mind when Johnny’s stupidly big hands held him last night. And Jaehyun never cried. Taeyong would endlessly tease him for being subhuman-- never feeling any emotions, always keeping it upright, never crying-- but honestly, it was more that Jaehyun didn’t have a choice. He had to be a father.

Right now, on a Friday morning, where every lump of rolled oats travelling down his throat feels like swallowing a roll of needles as he sat across Johnny who didn’t have any problems whatsoever happened last night, feeding Jaemin his bowl of mashed bananas mixed with honey. Jaehyun wanted to scream.

“I can eat on my own, hyung!” Jaemin furrows his brows, not-so-gently grabbing the spoon from Johnny’s hands, the mashed bananas splattering everywhere. While Johnny flinches with the mess, Jaehyun just exhaustedly stands up to get some tissue papers, already one step ahead. 

“But you’re so messy,” Johnny plays back, pinching Jaemin’s cheeks. The boy giggles in response, widening his eyes as he spoon feeds himself the bananas. “See, you have bananas on your cheeks. Come on, let hyung-”

“Jaemin, finish your breakfast,” Jaehyun spoke up so sternly, even Johnny gulped from his tone. “Daddy has to go to work at 10 before classes, remember?”

“I don’t want daddy to work,” Jaemin huffs out. “It’s so boring at the cafe.”

“You don’t have a choice. Finish the fuck out of your breakfast so you can shower and then we’ll go to school and I’ll go to work,” Jaehyun snapped back, his eyes darker than usual. Puffy from the tears, red from rubbing his eyes too much. Johnny furrows his brows. He could visibly see Jaemin scared.

“You’re not-- you said the bad word--” Jaemin blubbers out, eyes watering. Jaehyun’s fight or flight instinct should be kicking in right now, but he rolls his eyes and downs his coffee, standing up to put it on the counter.

“Finish your fucking food-”

“Jae?” Johnny squeaks out. Jaehyun’s dead eyes glare at him, and right now, Johnny couldn’t do anything but silently pray to God he won’t kill him. As if on cue, Jaemin cries; and Jaehyun finally snaps back to reality-- his eyes widening from all the shit he just realized he said. “Nana? Baby, hey, don’t cry-”

“Ah, shit,” Jaehyun croaks out, running to Jaemin to come pick him up. “Bub, hey, daddy didn’t mean it, okay? Daddy’s not mad at you, daddy’s just really tired..”

“No, daddy-- daddy said the bad word to me, and daddy hates me--”

“No, I don’t bub, daddy was just really t-”

“Jae,” Johnny squeaks out again, holding out his arms as if he was asking Jaehyun to pass Jaemin to him. “You gotta go to work. I’ll handle him, I can take him to the daycare.”

“No, I can’t ask you to do that-”

“You’re not asking me. I’m asking you to go to work and let me take Jaemin since you clearly need some time alone,” Johnny sternly says. “Nana? Hey? It’s Johnny hyung.”

Jaemin cries even more, and now Jaehyun finally gives up and passes Jaemin to Johnny who carries him without a struggle. He’s still reluctant, but Johnny’s persuasive eyes can only do so much-- so he heads straight to the shower, with a low towel drooping on his shoulder, trying his best to drown out the sounds of his wailing kid.


━━━━━━༻❁༺━━━━━━

“You are so fucked, I could almost excuse your shit behavior,” Doyoung whispers at him as Jaehyun swipes a thin layer of powder under his eyes. 

“I really want to impale you on a coffee machine right now,” Jaehyun snaps back, closing the compact mirror. 

“How come that Johnny dude saw you cry before I did?” Doyoung groans, leaning against the counter, watching Jaehyun try to cover up his eyebags because the manager told him to, or else he’ll scare away the customers.

“Because I don’t cry,” Jaehyun yawns. “Listen, I was really sensitive last night, okay? It was just the spur of the-”

“You’re thinking about kicking Johnny out, aren’t you?” Taeyong comes out from the back all of a sudden, making Doyoung and Jaehyun both flinch. “I swear to God, if you kick the perfect roommate out, I’ll cut your balls off, Yoonoh.”

“It’s really not a big deal if you cry or not,” Doyoung shrugs. “It’s a big deal that you don’t cry.”

“Can we not have this talk? It’s so early and I’m worried about Jaemin,” Jaehyun rolls his eyes. “And I am not thinking about kicking-”

“You’re definitely thinking of kicking Johnny out,” Taeyong wears his gloves as he delicately arranges the muffin on the display board, while Doyoung plays with the register. “You’re thinking of leaving him before he could leave you and Jaemin.”

“Oh, I am not having this conversation-”

“Not every person you meet is gonna be like Yuri, Jung Yoonoh,” Taeyong glares at him, Jaehyun effectively shutting up. “You’re scared he’s gonna leave you like she did, aren’t you? You don’t want Jaemin to get attached-- bullshit, you don’t wanna get attached so you’re thinking of kicking out a perfectly good friend because you think he’s gonna leave you.”

“Oh, would you look at that! Inventory!” Doyoung clears his throat uncomfortably, glancing at the back. “I have to go to the storage to do.. Storage things, in the storage, for the storage inventory.”

Jaehyun doesn’t respond. His silence screams loud enough.

“You’re so obsessed with the idea of doing shit alone, becoming the perfect alone individual father; you don’t cry, you don’t sleep, you still have perfect skin, you don’t eat, you forget that there’s people who are actually willing to help you.”

“I am not having this conversation with you again.”

“Whether you like it or not, Jaehyun, you really have big time abandonment issues.”

“Well it’s not my fault that Yuri decided to be one fuck up of a mother that I had to step up for some shit I never asked for!”

Jaehyun sighs. Taeyong sighs even deeper. Yuri, the forbidden name, the forbidden topic. 7 years passed and still Jaehyun can’t ease that hate he has in his heart for so long. 

“You were someone before Jaem’s dad,” Taeyong says softly, returning back to his godforsaken muffins. “You are someone more than Jaemin's dad. I think you forgot about that part of you, Jaehyun.”

“Well, someone had to die for Jaemin,” Jaehyun chuckles, taking Doyoung’s spot on the register. “Unlucky guy just had to be Jung Yoonoh.”


━━━━━━༻❁༺━━━━━━

Jaehyun really tries to ignore the stupid swell in his heart whenever he comes home to Jaemin on Johnny’s lap, or whenever Jaemin’s sleeping on Johnny’s chest sitting up while Johnny does his plates. And it works miraculously.

Ignoring shit has been Jaehyun’s biggest talent.

“Hey, what’s up?” Jaehyun strikes up a conversation, stretching as he throws his bag away and heads directly to Johnny’s study table. The taller looks up at him sleepily, plugging out his earphones and smiles at him. “Jaemin likes you a lot, huh?”

“I like him a lot, too,” Johnny chuckles. “Hey, you mind getting him to bed? He throws a mini tantrum every time I try to lift him off and I can’t feel my legs.”

“Of course,” Jaehyun chuckles as Johnny leans back, Jaemin slanting even more. Jaehyun could stare at this all day, but the problem is that he can’t.

 

A bigger problem is the fact that he wants to stare at it all day.

 

Jaehyun inhales deeply and picks Jaemin up effortlessly off Johnny’s lap and chest, Jaemin groaning but he already has that taken care of when he presses his son on his own chest.

“You get home too late,” Johnny jokes around, but Jaehyun doesn’t take it as such. Holy shit, I told him he won’t babysit, he thinks, but Johnny hears his thoughts and interjects-- “I miss your cooking and I’m sure Jaemin does too. He’s tired of oatmeal every dinner.”

“Oh my God, I should’ve made you order takeout, there’s spare money--” 

“Jae, it’s fine,” Johnny reassures again. “You’re tired too, you know? You should probably get some sleep. You ate dinner yet?”

“I’ll eat breakfast.”

“Oh hell nah. Put Jaem to bed and sit your ass down at the table,” Johnny puts his pencil down and raises a brow where Jaehyun feels obligated to follow his orders. And so he does, he tucks in Jaemin in their bed, and he sits in his position as Johnny cooks him cup noodles.

What a dinner.

“If you drag me to eat dinner when I don’t feel like it, I can, too,” Johnny smirks, letting the cup noodles cook. He leans back on the counter. “My turn to take care of you.”

“You really don’t have to, I do fine.”

“No offense, but you’re literally not fine. Do fine? Yeah. Are you fine? I think you’re fine, but like, internally, you aren’t.”

“I am fine, thank you very much.”

“You broke down the other night, Jae.”

 

Silence follows.

Dreadful silence. No one dares to talk about the forbidden topic of Jaehyun crying.

 

“I’m sorry about that, you shouldn’t have seen me in that position,” He hides his face in embarrassment, but Johnny wasn’t having any of it.

“It’s fine, Jae-- sometimes you just have to let it-”

“I don’t cry, Johnny.”

“Yes you do! We all cry-”

“The last time I cried was when my grandma died, and that was 8 years ago, even before Jaemin,” Jaehyun cuts him off. “I don’t feel shit for anyone. Taeyong never saw me cry. Doyoung never saw me cry. So God help me, and God help you understand why this is such a fucking big deal for me.”

Johnny stays silent, but his gulp resonates around the room.

“Eat your dinner,” Johnny sighs, placing the smoking hot styro-cup in front of Jaehyun before walking back to his study table.

Jaehyun shouldn’t feel anything. He’s been an absolute dickbag for the past 23 years of his life.

But he feels guilt.

━━━━━━༻❁༺━━━━━━

“How did you know that you liked Taeyong?” Jaehyun nudges Doyoung, whispering loudly, but not loud enough for everyone to hear. 

“What the hell are you talking about?” Doyoung furrows his brows and squints his eyes at Jaehyun, who only sighs at his question.

“What were the signs and symptoms? How did you figure out you were gay for him? You know, the shit!” Jaehyun groans, almost crushing the muffin in his hands. 

“Why are you asking this all of a sudden?” Doyoung’s burrows remain furrowed, but they relax once a customer comes in. “Hi, welcome, what can I get you?”

“Uh, just a strawberry muffin, please,” The student smiles shyly. Doyoung eyes Jaehyun who was working the pastries; hurriedly wrapping the muffin in parchment paper, handing it to him as he paid by the counter.

Doyoung looks back to Jaehyun when the student leaves the cafe.

“You have a crush on Johnny, don’t you?” 

“Please, Doyoung, shut up before I punch you,” Jaehyun begged, clasping his hands together. “I really don’t want to face Taeyong’s wrath. He has business math today.”

“Ooh, I’d love to see your balls kicked, but I value my face too much,” Doyoung snickers. “Listen, the mere fact you’re asking me what made me like Taeyong and asking for the signs and symptoms of having a crush implies enough. It’s Johnny, isn’t it?”

“No-”

“You’re a horrible liar. You should learn a thing or two from me,” Doyoung rolls his eyes. “I made Taeyong believe that I find The Office funny. I hate American humor.”

“Ugh, you should hear Johnny’s corny jokes,” Jaehyun groans again, and that makes Doyoung raise his brows. “Oh come on-- for shit-- ugh, no, Doyoung, I don’t like the Chicago dudebro. I just have.. Research.”

“Jesus Christ, you really should learn a thing or two from me,” Doyoung sighs comedically, returning back to the register. “Oh, hey there! What can I get for you?”

“Johnny?” Jaehyun’s eyes widen, mouth going slack.

Johnny mentioned hating the campus cafe. He said that their iced americano was shit. Jaehyun begged to differ, but after tasting Johnny’s brew, fresh from Chicago, he believed his coffee opinions like he was God.

“Oh, hey Jae,” Johnny waves, smiling cheekily. Doyoung widens his eyes, subtly giving Jaehyun what the fuck eyes, but Jaehyun just dismisses him. “I’ll get a blueberry danish and a tuna wrap, and oh-- what’s that thing that Jaemin really likes?”

“Turkey sandwich,” Doyoung and Jaehyun both say at the same time, and instead of Johnny being awkward, he smiles and mutters a that one too. Doyoung nods at the order, ringing it up the register while Jaehyun wraps it up in parchment paper, putting it in a paper bag and hands it to him.

“If you want to, I can pick Jaem up from the daycare,” Johnny says, getting the paper bag from the counter. Jaehyun nervously chuckles and shakes his head, no response coming out from him but a throaty hum. “Jae?”

“Uh, no, I’ll pick him up. You got that uh.. Skyscraper design due tomorrow, right?” Jaehyun snaps his fingers, but Johnny shrugs it off.

“It’s fine, I finished it yesterday. But alright, if you say so,” Johnny’s smile brightens the whole cafe, even Doyoung gets blinded from it. “I’ll see you later, Jae!”

And when Johnny lets the glass door slam behind him, Jaehyun holds up a finger even before Doyoung could speak-- but it doesn’t stop him.

“Oh my God, you let him call you Jae-”

“Jesus fuck, pass me the bleach.”


━━━━━━༻❁༺━━━━━━

Jaehyun doesn’t do romance.

No, he swore things off romance for a while now. His favorite turndown lines were “I have a kid” and “Oh, you should meet my kid sometime” . Effectively, it made him focus on college, and more importantly, Jaemin. 

But when he gets home from his classes and sees Jaemin on his favorite spot-- Johnny’s lap, face buried in his chest as Johnny types something furiously on his laptop, he gulps. 

“Hey,” Jaehyun yawns out, dropping his bag. “How long has he been asleep?”

“For about an hour. He groans every time I try putting him in bed,” Johnny replies, closing his laptop. “How’s your day been?”

“Shit,” Jaehyun giggles, walking slowly to approach Jaemin lying comfortably on Johnny’s chest. Johnny leans back to expose Jaemin more. Jaehyun just couldn’t resist the urge to stroke his back, his son shuddering in comfort. “Hey baby, come on, let’s get you to bed.”

Jaemin grunts, and grunts even louder when Jaehyun forcibly pulls him away from Johnny’s body and put to bed. He goes out of the room and is surprised when Johnny brings out some leftovers they stored in the fridge, shoving it in the microwave.

“You’re a terrible cook, do you know that?” Johnny cracks as the microwave hums, Jaehyun’s eyes widening. “You burn everything you fry.”

“Well, I’d love to see you cook sometimes!” Jaehyun claps back, taking his seat on the table. 

“You don’t let me work in the kitchen,” Johnny rolls his eyes. “You want something to drink?”

“We don’t have tea, and I don’t want to drink coffee,” Jaehyun interjects, but Johnny furrows his brows and his lips are curled up to a smile. “I want to sleep.”

“Oh, you poor dad. I meant getting wasted!” Johnny chuckles, waving him off. “Have you ever seen me drink tea?”

“I don’t store alcohol inside this house.”

“Did I say we’re gonna drink inside, though?”

Jaehyun knows it’s fucked. Jaehyun knows too much, Jaehyun’s smart enough to say no. 

“You’re paying.”


━━━━━━༻❁༺━━━━━━

 

The thing with parties is that this was Jaehyun’s life before. There just wasn’t a party without Jaehyun thrashing the house and tapping keg; simply because he was Jung Jaehyun and he was the life of the party. He loved the way the music thrums in his skin, and the way the bass bounces in his ears. It was just in Jaehyun’s bloodstream.

Jaehyun can’t count how many shots he’s had already, and most certainly he can’t remember if he counts or not. It doesn’t matter, but when Johnny’s beside him in a really crowded frat house with the familiar red cup in his hands, he forgets about Jaemin for a time and all in his mind was just how he missed this.

 

No, this wasn’t Jaemin’s dad.

This is Jaehyun.

 

And of course, Jaehyun is stupid, that’s why he’s hurling his guts out in a bush while Johnny pats his back softly. He can see his vision swimming and he could taste the acid all the way up to his nose, but it’s a feeling he’s missed so much-- the shivering cold of the midnight running up his heated skin, the way his throat burns from puking too much, his eyes swollen from the tears brimming. It makes him feel like a teenager again. It makes him feel normal.

He tries to walk away from the bush, but the sudden upright posture of his body makes his brain uncooperative, his legs wobbly, and so he falls. He scrapes his knees from the ripped jeans he wore, but he can barely feel the pain when he hit his chin on the rough asphalt and bit his tongue a little bit too hard, he could taste the blood mixing with the acid in his mouth.

“Jae!” Johnny almost screams, holding a tumbling out Jaehyun upright. He shakes out his head, blinks out to regain his consciousness and smiles at Johnny when he does. “Jesus Christ, you’re drunk.”

“Mhm, not yet,” Jaehyun holds up a finger. “I remember where I am, I know who you are, and I can still stand. Not drunk.”

“Drunk enough for me,” Johnny shrugs as he wraps around Jaehyun’s arm around his shoulder for support. Jaehyun realizes that Johnny was hailing a cab, so he frowns and squirms away, but Johnny was too sober and strong. “We’re going home. Stop it.”

“Do you know that I love it when you call me Jae?” Jaehyun gulps, staring off at Johnny.

Jaehyun was flushed. Heated. His skin was too red, and Taeyong always told Jaehyun that he would be red as a beet whenever he was drunk, or under the influence. There were a bit of scratches on his chin and blood stains on his lip, but under the moonlight and a really bad lamp post, Jaehyun looked so beautiful. It wasn’t the same Jaehyun who would laugh alongside Jaemin watching Powerpuff Girls nor the one who tries so hard not to curse when he burns himself on a pan, smiling uneasily as Jaemin laughs at his mishap. He seemed so natural.

“I don’t even-” He hiccups, and snorts before he starts talking again. “I don’t even let my friends call me shit! I don’t-- The moment they call me some sorta nickname, they’re dead.”

“Jae, Jae, Jae,” Jaehyun repeats. Johnny feels heavier, only realizing that Jaehyun now had his body leaning towards Johnny. “Jaehyun isn’t even my real name!”

Johnny frowns.

“I mean, it was my birth name.. But my grand-- my grandma, ooh, god bless her soul; she said that the name Jaehyun didn’t have any meaning, so she-- she changed it into Yoonoh! Jung Yoonoh.. What a horrible-- horrible name. Ugh. This is why I stuck with Jaehyun.”

“And you say you’re not drunk.”

“But I bet it sounds pretty when you say it.” 

Jaehyun stares at Johnny, a soft smile on his lips, his teeth showing a little bit. Jaehyun was six feet tall, but god damn, he felt so small underneath Johnny-- and maybe yes, he was just a little bit taller, but right now he feels shrivelled compared to the centimeters height difference they have.

“Say it,” Jaehyun coles, still smiling. “Say my name, Johnny.”

“Yoonoh, you’re drunk,” Johnny finally gives up, holding Jaehyun upright. Why weren’t there any cabs coming? Why is Uber unavailable? “You know, my Korean name is Youngho.”

“Youngho,” Jaehyun clicks his tongue, his eyes closing comfortably for a second. “Yoonoh.. And Youngho. Johnny and Jaehyun. Our names go hand by hand, don’t they?”

Johnny doesn’t respond anymore, but Jaehyun holds onto him tighter. 

“Youngho,” Jaehyun says again. “I think I wanna kiss you.”

“You’re drunk. Everyone wants to kiss someone when they’re drunk,” Johnny really pretends he’s not hurt. He likes Jaehyun, of course he likes Jaehyun, but the problem is no one means half the shit they say when they’re drunk.

“Ask me in the morning if I want eggs,” Jaehyun clears his throat. “If I answer with a yes or no, that means I don’t remember shit. If I say I want them sunny side up, I do remember shit. What do you say?”

“Okay, Yoonoh.”

“Can I kiss you?”

“Do you want eggs?”

“In the morning. Please let me kiss you, Youngho.”

Johnny sighs, forcing himself to look away from Jaehyun, who was basically begging for any sort of contact from Johnny aside from the arm that’s holding him up. Johnny prays for a cab, or someone he could hitchhike, but God’s making it real hard for him.

“Youngho-ah,” Jaehyun cries out again. Johnny wasn’t supposed to look, but he felt Jaehyun’s calloused fingers ghost over his jaw, bringing it to face him.

Jaehyun’s ethereal.

“Do you know how much I like you?” Jaehyun frowns, gently hitting Johnny’s arm. “I even wanted to kick you out! You know I don’t do romance-- but fuck, you’re so pretty, you’re so lovable.. You-- you handle baby Jaemin so good, you take-- you care, you take care of me.. You-- Ah, you’re so-- so pretty, pretty Youngho. Fuck. So please, please, let me kiss you.”

And so, Johnny does; because shit, let them face the consequences of their actions later, let it be damned when all they’ve done before was just talk about Jaemin or talk about the usual stuff with sometimes a bit of an actual talk with their interests, let it be damned if Jaehyun doesn’t remember this night or not. Jaehyun was begging. Johnny was dying to give whatever Jaehyun was begging for.

Jaehyun couldn’t be bothered if their teeth clash, not when Johnny’s hand cradles the back of his head and his other holding his jaw. He could only feel the warm lips against his insanely cold, bloodstained pair; the way Johnny’s tongue knew all the right spots to lick, the way he never wanted to separate from Johnny ever again. It’s such an exhilarating feeling. 

Jaehyun’s back. 

Johnny doesn’t expect it, but Jaehyun blacks out from kissing; and a cab finally comes.

 

━━━━━━༻❁༺━━━━━━

The first thing that Jaehyun thinks when he wakes up is the word fuck. 

 

His thought of fuck comes in three things:

 

Number one was that where the fuck was he;
Number two was that how the fuck did he get home;
Number three was that what the fuck happened.

Also, honorably mentioning his fuck number 4: Jaemin.

He tries to stand up and suddenly he doesn’t miss being Jaehyun anymore, because his throat is so dry it hurts to breathe, and his head feels like he was being hydraulically pressed. The panic subsides when he realizes he’s in his apartment, their apartment, the interior of the room too familiar.

Only to realize that this was Johnny’s room. Now the panic surges again.

He rushes out to the room, groaning in pain, his palm stuck onto his head and he walks heavily like a man on a quest. He kicks the door open and runs for the fridge, gulping down what felt like buckets of cold water, he doesn’t recognize that Johnny was standing in the kitchen, and that Jaemin was already eating his breakfast oatmeal.

He lets out a small smile as he reaches for the top of the fridge to get some Advil-- drinking it down again. When his throat recovers and his head is tolerable, he proceeds to wash his face and gargle some water before groggily sitting down on his breakfast spot.

“Daddy didn’t sleep beside me last night,” Jaemin points out, in which Jaehyun only laughs nervously. He had no energy for a Saturday morning. “And daddy missed out Powerpuff Girls this morning.”

“I know, daddy was tired,” Jaehyun yawns, keeping his head down. Why was everything so bright in Jaehyun’s eyes? “What’s that for your breakfast, bub?”

“Just oatmeal,” Jaemin replied, shoving the spoon in his mouth. He looks back to Johnny who was standing tensely, flipping some pancakes-- what a technical hangover breakfast. 

“G’morning, Jae,” Johnny greets, in which Jaehyun only hums in response. “Do you want eggs?”

“Yes.”

Jaehyun groans, everything was so bright, he felt so tired, his head was getting better but dear God it still hurts-- and Johnny really tries to mask the disappointment coming off, but he hears his heart break in his ears, and he curses himself for even hoping-

“But I want them sunny side up, Youngho.”

It doesn’t hurt enough to forget about what happened, though.

Maybe Jaehyun can do romance.