Chapter 1: Foreward
Chanyeol stares at the cheese bread on the table. The last time Jongin had brought home the bread, Chanyeol had given his share to Sehun, who had asked for a second piece after devouring his share in the blink of an eye. He picks up the still-warm bread and takes a small, experimental bite.
“Hmmmm,” he hums subconsciously, eyes closed, as he chews on the fluffily bread. The flavor is so close to the ones Kyungsoo used to make. He opens his eyes and smiles as he watches both of his sons munching happily on their bread. He brings his own piece back to his mouth and take a bigger bite this time.
It is in that moment that he decides that he’s never, ever, going to give away another piece of Baekhyun’s cheese bread again.
Chapter 2: Chapter One
He loved him like he was the last man on earth. He gave him everything he had. But everything wasn’t enough. It couldn’t stop the calling hands of death from taking his beloved away from him. It couldn’t hold back the tears that streamed down his face as he held onto his sons. It couldn’t fill the hole left in his heart.
Chanyeol places the bouquet of flowers down in front of the grave as he wipes the tear creeping down his cheek. Three years. He couldn’t believe three years had already gone by. The hurt had eventually faded. He had learned to move on; learned to continue living for the sake of his two sons – the two remaining pieces of their love.
He’s brought back to reality when a small hand tugs on his jacket. “Daddy, I’m hungry!”
Chanyeol smiles down at his youngest son. “Okay, Sehun. Say goodbye to Papa, and then we’ll go get some food, okay?”
“Bye Papa!” the four-year-old boy says, waving at the smiling picture on the headstone.
“That’s a good boy. Now, where did your brother go?” Chanyeol asks, looking around for his oldest son. “Park Jongin!”
“Daddy!” Chanyeol turns towards the boy running towards him with a bundle of flowers in his hands. “Daddy! I picked these for Papa. Do you think he’ll like them?” The boy shoves the bundle of wild flowers into Chanyeol’s face with a satisfied smile on his face.
“I think Papa will love them, Jongin. Why don’t you give them to him?”
Jongin nods as he walks over to the grave, gingerly placing the flowers next to the bouquet his father had placed there earlier. “Here, Papa. I picked these for you. I hope you like them.” The young boy bites his lip and looks over his shoulder at Chanyeol and Sehun before leaning in closer to the grave. “Don’t worry about us,” Jongin whispers to the photo of his Papa, “because I’ll take care of Daddy and make sure he’s happy too, okay? I miss you…”
Chanyeol blinks away his tears as he listens to the words his seven-year-old son whispers to his deceased husband. “Alright, boys. Let’s go.” He picks Sehun up and grabs onto Jongin’s hand. As they walk away, Chanyeol turns towards the grave and one last time. ‘Goodbye, Kyungsoo. I miss you. I love you.’
“Daddy! I want cake!” Jongin whines from the back seat of the car.
Chanyeol glances at the young boy through the rearview mirror. Jongin is straining against his seatbelt, staring out the window with his finger pointed towards the small bakery they had just passed. ‘Weird, I’ve never noticed that there before….’ Chanyeol thinks as he stops at the red traffic light. ‘It must’ve just opened.’
“Okay, we’ll try out that bakery today,” Chanyeol replies as he turns the car around and drives towards the bakery. “Are you okay with that, Sehunnie?”
“Yeppers!” the toddler replies, giggling.
As soon as the car was parked, Jongin bolts out towards the bakery’s entrance. “Jongin, wait!” Chanyeol yells as he hurriedly grabs Sehun out of the back seat. The seven-year-old lets out a heavy sigh as he stops himself in front of the bakery’s door, waiting for his dad and brother to catch up. As soon as they’re close enough, Jongin pushes the door open with his entire body and enters the bakery, staring around in awe. His eyes reach the size of saucers as soon as he sees the cakes and various other pastries at the counter.
“Hello!” a cheerful voice greets them as soon as Chanyeol enters seconds later with Sehun in his arms. “Welcome to Byun’s Bakery!”
“I want cake!” Jongin exclaims before Chanyeol can return the man’s greeting.
The brown-haired man leans over the counter and smiles warmly at Jongin. “What kind of cake would you like? Our specials today are the triple-chocolate fudge cake, and the strawberries ’n creme cake.” The man points to each of the cakes, and then waits patiently for the child to make his decision.
Jongin furrows his brows in concentration. His tongue sticks out of the corner of his mouth as he carefully examines each and every cake on display. “I’ll have this one!” he exclaims after careful contemplation, pointing at the plain cheesecake at the very end. “And the chocolate cake too!”
“You’re going to eat both of them by yourself?” the brunet asks, amused.
“No silly! The chocolate cake is for my little brother!” Jongin replies, pointing at the toddler in Chanyeol’s arms. “Sehunnie looooooves chocolate.”
“Ahhh,” the brunet chuckles as he inputs the order. “And you, sir?”
Chanyeol startles when he realizes the man is speaking to him. He had been so caught up in the scene before him that he hadn’t realized the exchange between his son and the man behind the counter had ended. The way the man talked to his son, and the way Jongin teasingly replied….Chanyeol couldn’t help but think of Kyungsoo, and how the man before him reminded him so much of his late husband.
“Daddy!” Jongin’s voice breaks Chanyeol away from his thoughts. “Uncle is talking to you!”
Chanyeol feels the blush in his cheeks as he shushes his son. “Indoor voices, Jongin. You’ll disturb the other customers,” he whispers before turning his attention to the brunet at the counter. “Sorry,” he smiles apologetically, “I’ll have a mochaccino and two hot chocolates, please.”
The brunet nods as he inputs the rest of the order. “I’ll just need a name for this order,” he says, returning Chanyeol’s smile.
“P-Park Chanyeol,” the giant man stutters as he hands the total amount owed over.
“Thanks, Mr. Park!” the man smiles as he hands Chanyeol his change and receipt. “And will that order be for here or to go?”
“Alright. Sit anywhere you’d like, and we’ll bring your order over as soon as it’s ready!”
“Jongdae, can you make me a mochaccino and two hot chocolates, please?” Baekhyun asks his barista as he busies himself with the cakes.
“For that fine man that just came in?” his best friend asks, smirking as he starts making the requested drinks.
“No matter how fine he is, he’s married with children.”
“I don’t see a ring, and he was definitely checking you out as you were talking to his kid,” the barista teases as he pours the hot chocolate into two mugs. “And don’t even bother arguing the fact that you were also undressing him with your eyes,” Jongdae smirks.
“He…I-I was not,” Baekhyun stammers, avoiding his friend’s knowing gaze. He almost sighs in relief when another customer comes in, giving him the excuse to ignore his friend’s interrogation. “Bring the order over to them when you’re done with the mochaccino, will you?” he asks, sending Jongdae a warning glare before going over to greet the new customer.
Jongdae grins mischievously at his friend’s back before grabbing another plate and placing it on the tray. He pours the mochaccino into a mug and walks over to the family of three sitting by the window. “Your cake and drinks, sir,” Jongdae says as he places the chocolate cake and cheesecake in front of the two boys, who digs into them almost immediately. Jongdae places the drinks down next before grabbing the last plate on tray. “And this is a gift from Baekhyun,” he says, putting the strawberries ’n creme cake in front of Chanyeol.
Chanyeol raises a brow, looking up at the barista, confused. “Baekhyun?”
“Yeah, my boss,” Jongdae replie. “He was the one that took your order. He makes all of the cakes and pastries by himself. Enjoy!” Jongdae bows lightly before turning and heading back behind the counter.
Chanyeol glances over to the counter where the brunet – Baekhyun – is busy taking the order of a young couple. His lips curl upwards into a smile around the forkful of cake. “Hmmmm,” he hums in pleasure as a burst of flavor explodes in his mouth.
“Is it good, Daddy?” Jongin asks, looking at his Chanyeol’s cake with puppy-dog eyes.
“Would you like to try a piece?” Chanyeol asks his son, who nods enthusiastically before grabbing a large piece of cake with his fork.
“Hmmmm,” Jongin hums, mimicking his father. “Daddy, Uncle Bacon makes really good cakes.”
Chanyeol chuckles at his son’s mispronunciation of Baekhyun’s name. “What about our Sehunnie? Would you like to try a piece of Daddy’s cake?”
“Yep yep!” the toddler answers with a toothy, chocolate-covered grin. Chanyeol cuts a small piece off and feeds it to Sehun, wiping the chocolate off his face with a napkin as the toddler chews thoughtfully. “Hunnie like choco cake,” the small boy says after swallowing.
Chanyeol laughs as he ruffled Sehun’s hair, watching as his youngest stuffs more chocolate cake into his mouth. ‘Just like your Papa.’ He is so engrossed in his boys – his everything – that he doesn’t notice the owner of the bakery watching the family of three with a small smile on his face.
Chapter 3: Chapter Two
Baekhyun yawns widely as he makes the morning trudge to his bakery. It’s still dark out, and all he wants is to be in his bed, snuggled in the heat of his warm blankets fast asleep. Instead, he is making his way into work at an ungodly hour while Jongdae remains dreamland, not having to be at the bakery until the shop opens four hours from now.
He struggles with his keys as he tries to open the door, still half asleep. He had been doing the same routine for months now, yet he still can not get used to waking up so early every day. In a zombie-like trance, he closes and locks the door behind him before walking into the kitchen and switching on the lights. ‘Time to get to work, Byun Baekhyun!’ He mentally cheers himself on as he stretches his arms above his head, shaking the sleepiness away. ‘Fighting!’ With a quick clap of his hands, he gets to work to prepare for the day’s business.
Baekhyun stretches loudly after he puts the finishing touches on the day’s special – black forest cake. He smiles, content with his creation, before putting it into the display window along with the other cakes, breads, and pastries he had previously prepared. Stretching one last time, he glances at the clock on the wall. 8:45am. He walks out into the main shop, which is now flooded with sunlight, and unlocks the door just as Jongdae arrives with half-lidded eyes and cup of steaming coffee in each hand.
“Good morning,” Baekhyun greets, taking the cup the his still-sleepy friend hands to him. Jongdae grunts in reply as he collapses onto one of the chairs nearby.
“Baek, why do we have to open so early? Can’t we open a little later? Like say…noon?” the raven-haired man grumbles as he sips his coffee. “Ah! Hot!” he yells not a second later.
Baekhyun chuckles, shaking his head at his friend. “Be happy that I don’t make you come in when I do to help me.”
“UGH. I think I would die!” Jongdae groans, blowing on his hot drink before cautiously taking another sip.
“Don’t be so overdramatic,” Baekhyun says as he sits on the chair across from his friend.
“But that’s why you love me, Baekhyunnie!” Jongdae replies, reaching over to pinch the brunet’s cheek. “Honestly though, don’t you think it’s time we hire another baker? I mean, I know you like baking, and opening this shop was your dream, but you’re going to run yourself ragged if you keep working like this with no days off.”
Baekhyun sighs. This isn’t the first time his friend had brought up the subject of hiring someone else to help. “You know we can’t right now, Jongdae. We haven’t been open that long, and I don’t think I could afford to hire someone else right now… I’m not even paying you nearly enough for all of the help you’ve been giving me…”
Jongdae frowns at his friend’s response, but quickly smiles and punches Baekhyun lightly on the shoulder. “Ehh, you think I care about the money? What’s money between friends, right?”
“Thanks, Jongdae,” Baekhyun smiles. “You’re a good friend.”
The bell rings as the door opens. Baekhyun turns towards their first customer of the day, placing a big grin on his face. “Hello! Welcome to Byun’s Bakery!”
Chanyeol groans as he sits down on the couch with a freshly bathed Sehun next to him. It’s a Friday evening, and he had just spent a good part of the last hour wrestling his youngest into the bathtub. He looks down at his son when he hears a sniffle coming from the four-year-old boy.
“Sehun? What’s wrong?” Chanyeol asks, panic beginning to rise as he pulls the boy into his lap.
“Daddy, where is Nini hyung?” Sehun asks, lips trembling. “Hunnie miss hyung…”
Chanyeol sighs in relief before pulling Sehun into a hug. “Jongin will be home soon, Sehun. He’s still at his playdate with Taemin, but he will come home soon, alright?” Sehun nods and put his thumb into his mouth, snuggling up to Chanyeol. A knock at the door pulls the toddler’s attention away from his father. Sehun sits straight up in Chanyeol’s lap, mouth agape with thump still partially in his mouth, staring at the closed door. “That must be your hyung now,” Chanyeol said, getting up from the couch with Sehun in his arms. He walks over to the door and opens it, and is greeted with the smiling faces of his two good friends, Jonghyun and Kibum – or Key, as he likes to be called. Sehun starts wriggling in his arms, trying to get down to see Jongin, who was standing behind Key, giggling into his hands from something his friend had said. Chanyeol puts the small boy down before he falls, and Sehun immediately runs to Jongin, enveloping the other boy in a tight hug. “Hi!” Chanyeol greets, turning his attention to the two adults standing at the door. “Come in.” He moves aside as Key usheres the children into the house, followed by his husband.
“Sehunnie, let me go!” Jongin whines, trying to pry Sehun’s small arms off of his body. Jonghyun and Key’s son stands by and laughs at his friend’s failed attempt. After a while, Taemin seems to pity his friend and helps to untangle Sehun from his body. However, both boys don’t expect the youngest boy to start crying, and watch as the tears start to fall down his cheeks anxiously. “Aww, Sehunnie, don’t cry!” Jongin coos, rushing to pull his younger brother into a hug. “Hyung is sorry. Don’t cry, Sehunnie.”
Sehun wriggles out of his brother’s hug and runs to his Chanyeol, who scoops the toddler up and rubs his back. “It’s okay, Sehunnie. It’s okay…” Chanyeol whispers into the boy’s ear. Sehun’s crying quiets down, and Chanyeol looks down at Jongin, who is anxiously standing beside him looking up at his crying brother. He nods at the boy, letting him know that everything is going to be fine. Jongin breathes a sigh of relief before grabbing Taemin’s hand and going into the living room to play. Chanyeol looks at the two parents who give him a sympathetic look. “Sorry,” he whispers. “He’s a bit emotional today.”
Jonghyun smiles and Key nods at him in understanding. “Here, let me take him to his room,” Key offeres, taking the sniffling boy from Chanyeol’s arms.
“Thanks,” Chanyeol says, handing over his son to Key, who soothingly rubs the boy’s back and whispers in his ear softly as they make their way into the boys’ room. “And thanks for picking Jongin up today,” Chanyeol says to Jonghyun.
“It’s no problem. Plus, Taemin really wanted to hang out with Jongin today.”
Chanyeol nods. “He behaved?”
“As always,” Jonghyun replies, his smile growing when he sees Key reenter the room.
“He’s asleep,” Key says as he snakes his arm around Jonghyun’s waist.
Chanyeol smiles gratefully to the pair. “So, what did you guys do today?”
“The boys played at the playground for a bit,” Key responds, moving over the chairs at the dining room table to sit next to Jonghyun. “Then we went to that new bakery…what was it called?”
“Byun’s Bakery,” Jonghyun offers, grabbing onto Key’s hands.
“Right! Jongin insisted that we go there, actually. He said he wanted to have Uncle Bacon’s cake…”
“Who exactly is this Uncle Bacon, anyway?” Jonghyun asks, slightly amused. “His baking skills could rival my Kibummie’s,” he says, snuggling into his husband’s neck.
“That tickles!” Key laughs, playfully pushing Jonghyun away.
Chanyeol furrows his brows, trying to remember if he knows anyone by the name of Bacon. “OH!” he finally exclaims, clapping his hands together. “Baekhyun! He’s the owner of the bakery,” Chanyeol explains, a smile creeping onto his face without his knowledge.
The married couple exchange a knowing look before turning back to Chanyeol. “Just the owner of the bakery?” Key asks, brows raised.
Chanyeol nods, confused. “We stopped there…was it last month? No, a couple months ago, I think,” Chanyeol says, choosing to ignore Key’s pointed look. “I’m surprised Jongin remembers, to be honest. I completely forgot…”
“Well, he sure left quite the impression on your son,” Jonghyun says.
“Or his cake did,” Chanyeol replies. “You know I’m not the greatest cook. The boys were probably just happy to eat something that wasn’t stir-fried sausages for a change.” His comment makes both adults burst into laughter.
“Chanyeol, you should bring the boys over to our place more often. I’m starting to get concerned about your children’s health!” Key jokes. Chanyeol laughs along with them this time. His attention then gravitates towards his son when Jongin comes running into the room with his backpack, with Taemin following closely behind.
“Daddy!” the boy shouts excitedly, stopping in front of his father. “Guess what?”
“What?” Chanyeol asks, bending down and putting his arms on his knees so that he is at eye level with his son.
“Uncle Dino and Uncle Key brought us to Uncle Bacon’s bakery today!” the seven-year-old replies happily. “I got to order all by myself!”
“You’re such a big boy now!” Chanyeol says, ruffling his son’s hair.
The boy smiles in return. “Uncle Bacon even gave us some free cheese bread to bring home. Look!” Jongin pulls the bread out of his backpack and shoves them in his father’s face.
Chanyeol nods, taking the bread from his son. ‘It’s still warm…’ he thinks as the delicious smell of the bread, even through the wrapper, wafts to his nose.
Chanyeol bends over, embracing his husband in a back hug as the other stands by the counter in the kitchen. “Smells good,” he comments as he watches Kyungsoo transfer the freshly baked cheese bread from the baking tray to a cooling rack.
“Hey, Giant,” the smaller male smiles. “You always say everything smells good.”
“That’s because everything you make is good, Soo,” Chanyeol retorts, peppering his husband’s neck with kisses.
“Yah! Park Chanyeol! Not in front of our son!” Kyungsoo grumbles, pushing his husband off of him before glancing over to his three-year-old son sitting on the sofa, engrossed in the cartoon on the television.
“He’s not even paying attention to us, Kyungsoo,” Chanyeol smirks, pulling the other into another hug. He places his hands on Kyungsoo’s stomach, rubbing it gently. “Is our little one behaving today?”
“He’s been very active, as usual,” Kyungsoo sighs, wincing slightly when he feels a kick. “It’s like he never gets tired or something…” he says, looking down at his stomach lovingly.
“Just like his daddy,” Chanyeol smirks as he wriggles his eyebrows. “You know I can never get enough of–“ Chanyeol grins as his words are cut off by the cheese bread shoved into his mouth.
“Just eat your bread, you giant,” Kyungsoo says shyly before returning to his task.
Chanyeol chews happily on the warm bread, looking at his pregnant lover and his son. Everything was perfect; he couldn’t wish for anything more. He had everything he had ever wanted.
Chanyeol startles as he looks up, noticing Key waving his hand in front of his face. “Huh? What’d you say?”
“I asked if you were going to eat that, or just sit there and stare at it all night?” Key replies exasperatedly, pointing to the bread Chanyeol was still holding in his hand.
“It’s really good, Daddy!” Jongin adds. “It tastes just like the ones Papa used to make.”
“I’ll eat it later,” Chanyeol replies, putting the bread onto the table. Cheese bread used to be his favorite, but he hadn’t enjoyed it ever since Kyungsoo had left him. It reminded him too much of his husband; and no one could make it quite as good as Kyungsoo did.
“Well, we better get going,” Jonghyun says, standing up and straightening out his pants. “I’ve got to work early tomorrow.”
Key nods as he also gets up from his seat. “Time to go, Taemin!” he calls to his son, who pouts cutely.
“But Papa, I still want to play with Jongin…”
“You guys can have another playdate another time, Tae-baby,” Key answers, pinching his son’s cheek. “Daddy’s tired now, and we should go home and let Jongin and his Daddy rest as well.”
Taemin nods reluctantly, taking his father’s hand as he leads him towards the door. “Bye Nini!” he waves at his friend, who returns his wave enthusiastically. “See you at school!”
Chanyeol walks the family to the door. Before leaving, Key turns and pulls the taller man into a hug. As he pulls away, he looks up at his friend sadly.
“Chanyeol…Have you ever considered taking another step?” he asks, putting his hand on Chanyeol’s arm. “I know you’re a great dad to the boys, but don’t you think it would be easier on all of you if there was someone else in your lives?”
Chanyeol opens his mouth to answer, but finds he can’t find the right words. It’s something that he had thought about many times before; but every time, he shuts himself down. His friend is right, his boys deserved to have more than just a single, widowed father struggling to raise them. Alone.
It isn’t for a lack of trying that he is still alone raising two young boys by himself. He had tried to date; but there was always something wrong with the people he went out with. Whether they weren’t ready to settle into a serious relationship, or they didn’t get along well with his sons; Chanyeol always found a reason to break it off after one of two dates. He just couldn’t connect with anyone the same way he connected with Kyungsoo. So, he continued to live his life with his two sons, trying to forget the ache in his heart where Kyungsoo’s death had created a hole. He told himself that they could be happy, just the three of them. But he couldn’t help but notice the longing glances Jongin sent towards his friends every time he saw them with their parents. Nor could he soothe Sehun the same way Kyungsoo used to when the small boy got hurt or woke up in the middle of the night from a nightmare.
He tries, he truly does, but he is never going to be able to fill Kyungsoo’s spot in their lives.
Baekhyun double-checks the lock on the door before putting his keys into his pocket. “Let’s go,” he says to Jongdae, who nods as they makes their way towards their shared apartment.
It is already rather late by the time they finish everything and are ready to leave for the day – much later than they are used to. The streets are already dark, and Baekhyun is glad that Jongdae has the night off from his part-time job as they walk further away from his bakery, and by several dark alleys on their way home. Baekhyun is normally fine with walking alone, since it is always light out when he closes up shop; but a messed up cake order had set him back, making him stay several hours later to have the order done and ready for the requested pick-up time the following morning. Thankfully, Jongdae was there to keep him company, order dinner, and help clean up.
They had decided to take the shortcut home, as they were both tired and wanted to be home as soon as possible. Both are just about to turn the last corner towards their apartment building when a cry from the alley they had just passed caught Baekhyun’s attention. He looks at Jongdae as if to say, ‘What was that?’
Jongdae simply shrugs and urges his friend to keep going. This part of the city is known to be inhabited by drug dealers and addicts alike, and Jongdae definitely does not feel like hanging around to see which one of them comes out of the alley. Baekhyun turns around again when an undeniable cry for help is heard, and heads towards the alley. Jongdae, though reluctantly, follows closely behind his friend as he pulls his phone out and punches in the number for emergency services, just in case. His finger hovers over the call button, ready to press it if needed.
“HEY! What are you doing?!” Baekhyun yells when he sees four guys surrounding a blonde boy on the ground.
“Mind your own business,,” one of the men growls, glaring at the two friends before sending another kick to his victim’s abdomen. Baekhyun notices a scar running along the length of his cheek down to his chin.
“I’ve already called the police,” Jongdae warns them, waving his handphone. “You may want to get out of here before they come.”
“Fuck,” scar-face curses. “You’re lucky this time, kid,” he says to the boy in the ground before turning and leaving with the rest of his crew.
Baekhyun lets out the breath he didn’t realize he was holding as they leave, and runs over to the boy who is now struggling to sit up. “Are you okay?” he asks, eyes roaming across the boy’s body in search for any serious injuries.
“Yeah…” the boy whispers. “Thank you.”
Baekhyun lightly touches the boy’s cheek where a bruise is starting to form. “What are you doing out here so late? And by yourself too… your parents must be so worried.”
The blonde flinches as Baekhyun touches his cheek and looks to the ground. “I…I don’t have parents…” he says so softly that Baekhyun has to lean in to hear. A look of sympathy flashes across the brunet’s face. The boy doesn’t say so, but Baekhyun assumes that he means that he doesn’t have any family left. Baekhyun fully understands what it’s like to be alone, orphaned, and without family. He had grown up with a family friend, an older lady who didn’t have any family of her own. Unfortunately, she had passed away when he was still in high school, and he was left to fend for himself. He was lucky that he had made friends with Jongdae, whose family helped him out whenever they could.
Baekhyun had told Jongdae once that his dream was to open a bakery in the city. Jongdae had laughed at him when he told him, but his friend still cheered him on as they both worked multiple part-time jobs in order to save money. When Baekhyun finally had enough money saved up for him to fulfill his dream, he had left his small hometown behind to start a new life in the city. Jongdae had tagged along, claiming that he couldn’t leave his friend to fend for himself, and that he didn’t have anything better to do anyway. “You’d miss me too much,” Jongdae had joked when he told Baekhyun that he would be moving along with him.
“What’s your name, kid?” Jongdae asks, startling Baekhyun from his thoughts. “And how old are you?”
“Youngjae,” the boy answers, risking a glance up at Jongdae. “I’m nineteen.”
“Why were those guys beating you up, Youngjae? What’d you do?” Jongdae’s eyes are focused on the blonde boy on the ground with suspicion.
“Kim Jongdae, can’t you see he’s shaken up enough?” Baekhyun scolds his friend as he pulls the younger boy closer to him. “They were probably just looking to cause some trouble.”
Jongdae scoffs, but doesn’t pry any further. Baekhyun had always been too trusting for his own good. Ever since they met as kids, Jongdae had made it his job to protect his innocent friend from anyone and anything that would hurt him. His protective instincts only grew when Baekhyun’s caretaker – who Baekhyun lovingly called his grandmother – passed away some time during their high school years.
“Youngjae, my name is Baekhyun, and this is my friend, Jongdae,” Baekhyun introduces himself quietly to the teen. “Now, is there anywhere we can bring you? Do you know anyone in the city?”
The boy looks at Baekhyun, eyes brimming with tears, and shakes his head. “I don’t have anywhere to go.”
Baekhyun lets out a heavy sigh and looks up helplessly at his friend. Jongdae, as if understanding what his friend wants to say, shakes his head silently. His shoulder slump, however, when Baekhyun gives him the puppy-eyed look that he can never refuse. Grudgingly, he nods and goes to lean up agains the wall. Baekhyun smiles brightly before returning his attention to the younger boy. “Say, Youngjae, how about you come stay with Jongdae and I then?”
Youngjae raises his head in surprise at Baekhyun’s proposition. “Really?”
Baekhyun nods. “Of course! We can’t leave you on the streets, now can we?” He reaches up and pats the boy’s head.
“I don’t have any money though…” Youngjae whispers quietly, shoulder’s sagging in disappointment.
Baekhyun hums in understanding. “That’s alright. How about this? You can come help out at my bakery, and in exchange, I’ll let you stay at our place?”
Youngjae’s eyes light up. “Really? You mean it?”
“Can you cook, by any chance?” Baekhyun asks curiously.
“Yes! I can!”
“Well, then yes. I really mean it,” Baekhyun laughs.
A big smile spreads across Youngjae’s face. “Thank you, hyung! Really! Thank you so much!”
Baekhyun ruffles the boy’s hair as he helps him stand up. He takes Youngjae’s hand in his own and leads him out of the alley, with Jongdae following closely behind them. “Let’s go home, Youngjae.”
Chapter 4: Chapter Three
“Hyung! Wait for me!”
Baekhyun turns around sleepily as he tries to make out who is calling him so loudly in the morning. He squints his eyes and smiles as he makes out Youngjae running up to him, one arm still out of his jacket.
“Youngjae,” Baekhyun greets as soon as the younger boy catches up. “What are you doing up so early?”
“I wanted to come and help you,” Youngjae huffs, stuffing his remaining arm into his jackets and zipping it up all the way to his neck. “And maybe when I learn everything I can do it myself so you can get some rest.”
“You don’t have to do that,” Baekhyun chuckles, walking at a brisk pace with Youngjae right next to him.
“But I want to. I want to be able to help you so you can get some rest, too. You gave me a place to stay and bought me clothes. You gave me a place to call home…It’s the least I can do…”
Baekhyun turns and smiled at Youngjae. “Alright, but don’t complain to me when you’re dead tired at the end of the day.”
Chanyeol hums happily as he sips his morning coffee, contemplating what he would do with his boys on his day off. He is usually so used to waking up early most days, that sleeping in for him means being able to sleep until 9am at the latest. So, despite it only being 7:45am on a Saturday morning, Chanyeol is awake and patiently waiting for his sons to wake up as well so that they could start their day.
As if on cue, Jongin stumbles out of his room, cutely rubbing his eyes with one hand while the other holds onto a red-eyed Sehun. With a closer look, Chanyeol can see dried tear streaks on his youngest son’s cheeks. He waits until the boys stop in front of him before scooping Sehun up in his lap with one arm, while the other arm pulls Jongin into a one-arm hug. “Sehun?” the single father asks, curiously looking at his youngest son. Jongin yawns and climbs onto the chair next to his father, putting his head on his arms and looking up at his dad and brother lazily.
“Daddy,” Sehun sniffles, leaning into Chanyeol. “Why don’t I have an Papa?” Chanyeol’s breath catches in his throat. From the corner of his eye, he sees Jongin raise his head at his brother’s question. He maneuvers Sehun on his lap so that the toddler is facing him, and places his hands of the boy’s shoulders.
“Sehun,” he chokes, looking down at his son with renewed grief. “You do have a Papa…”
“Where?” the boy asks sadly, fresh tears forming in his eyes. “Everyone else has Papas that live with them. Why doesn’t Papa stay with Hunnie? Does Papa not love me?”
Chanyeol feels a tear escape his eye as he looks from his oldest son to his youngest. It had always been hard raising the kids by himself. He knew that he would eventually have to have this conversation with his boys, but he, selfishly, had always put it off to spare himself the pain and heartache. Jongin, luckily, seemed to understand that Kyungsoo would never be coming back into their lives. Yes, the boy had cried for his Kyungsoo countless nights on end, but he never once brought up the subject. Even at the tender age of four, Jongin was a bright boy; he had understood that Kyungsoo had left, and would only remain in their hearts and memories. He had taken in upon himself to care for his younger brother, and sometimes, Chanyeol felt like he leaned on his son than he should have. He should have been the one comforting Jongin, not the other way around. But Jongin never complained. Not even once. He simply hugged his father in his small arms and whispered the everything would be all right.
Sehun, on the other hand, had been too young to remember. Chanyeol was sure there were distant memories of a motherly figure that Sehun had, but he wasn’t positive how much of Kyungsoo the boy actually remembered. Sehun never seems to have a problem with living as a family of three…until today.
“Your Papa loved you and your brother very much, Sehun,” Chanyeol says, stroking his son’s hair.
“But where is he now? Why doesn’t Papa ever come home with us?”
“Papa is in Heaven, Sehun. He is in Heaven looking down on us.” Chanyeol pulls the toddler into a tight hug. He didn’t know if Sehun understood, but he stopped asking questions after that.
Jongin suddenly jumps off of his seat to stand in front of his dad and brother. “Daddy,” the seven-year-old says with a smile forming on his face. “Can we go to Uncle Bacon’s bakery today?”
It doesn’t take much convincing for Sehun to agree with his older brother’s request; and Chanyeol can’t deny that he is excited as well. Why? He can’t be sure. He had only met Baekhyun once, yet the idea of seeing the gentle shop owner again brings a big, goofy smile to his face.
He gets the boys ready in record speed – wrestling Sehun into his clothes only takes ten minutes rather than the usual thirty – and before they know it, they are all in the car on their way to their new favorite bakery.
“It looks like we’re a little early, boys…” Chanyeol sighs as he parks the car in front of the closed bakery. He glances at the clock in his car. ‘8:40am…’ The shop won’t be opening for another twenty minutes.
“Daddy! There’s someone in there!” Jongin points out, unbuckling his seatbelt and hopping out of the car before Chanyeol can even look in the direction his son had pointed. Chanyeol pulls himself out of the car and collects Sehun from the back seat before joining Jongin. When he gets there, the boy is knocking on the glass door enthusiastically, trying to get the attention of the blonde boy who was busily organizing baked goods in the display window at the counter. Chanyeol offers an apologetic smile as the blonde walks over and unlocks the door, bowing to the family of three politely in greeting.
“Was that Jongdae?” a familiar voice calls from the back of the bakery. Chanyeol looks away from the blonde and rests his eyes on the owner of the shop. Baekhyun has a cake in one hand and a tray of cupcakes in the other while he uses his back to push open the door that Chanyeol assumes led to the kitchen.
“Uncle Bacon!” Jongin hollers happily as he tries to squeeze past the shocked blonde at the door.
Started, Baekhyun turns towards the loud greeting. “Jongin?” A smile blossoms across the brunet’s face that almost makes Chanyeol’s heart stop. “It’s okay, Youngjae. They’re VIP.”
The blonde boy nods and steps aside, allowing Chanyeol and Sehun to follow Jongin into the bakery. He then runs over and frees Baekhyun of the baked goods, and busies himself behind the counter. Baekhyun bends down and pats Jongin’s head. “Good morning, Jongin.”
“Good morning!” Jongin greets back cheerfully. “I brought Daddy and Sehun with me today!” He points to his father, who is still standing awkwardly in the middle of the shop.
Baekhyun nods as he straightens up and offers a smile in greeting at the father of the adorable boy in front of him. “Good morning, Mr. Park.” He then waves excitedly at the toddler in Chanyeol’s arms. “And good morning, Sehun!”
The four-year-old waves back shyly before burying his face in his father’s shoulder. The bell on the door rings, bringing everyone’s attention to Jongdae. “Aren’t we usually still closed at this time?” he mumbles groggily, walking over to a vacant chair.
“We’re always open for our favorite customers!” Baekhyun replies, smiling widely at the children before offering a shy smile to their father.
“Uncle Bacon,” Jongin interrupts, sniffing the air with his eyes closed. “What’s the smell?”
“OH! I almost forgot!” the brunet exclaims, rushing towards the door to the kitchen.
“So, that’s one hot chocolate for Jongin, right?” Jongdae asks, startling Chanyeol. He hadn’t even noticed the barista walking towards them. “Can I get the two of you anything?”
“Oh, um, yes,” Chanyeol replies, calming his heart. “Another hot chocolate for Sehun, and a coffee for me, please.” Jongdae nods, pulling an apron over his and and adjusting his nametape.
“Isn’t Uncle Chen the best, Daddy? He knows what I want to drink before I even tell him,” Jongin says, earning a pat from the still-sleepy, raven-haired man. “I don’t know who that is though,” the child adds on, pointing to the unfamiliar blonde-haired boy who has taken his place at the register.
“Oh, that’s Youngjae,” Jongdae answers, starting on the drinks. “He just started last week. And this is our VIP customer, Jonginnie; and his brother and father.”
Youngjae bows at Chanyeol and smiles at the boys. “Hello.”
“Hi Uncle Jae!” Jongin waves.
“Oh, you’re making me feel old, Jongin,” Youngjae laughs. “You can call me hyung.”
Jongin contemplates for a while before nodding at the blonde. “Okie dokes! This is Sehunnie,” he points to his brother. “And this is Daddy.”
At that moment, Baekhyun comes through the kitchen door with a tray of bread in his hands. “Warm cheese bread, fresh from the oven. Who wants to try?”
“Me! Me! Me!” Jongin yells, jumping up and down with his arm in the air.
Even Sehun looks up from his father’s shoulder, giggling and waving his small arm in the air. “Hunnie too!”
Baekhyun chuckles and places three pieces of cheese bread onto a plate. He grabs the drinks Jongdae had just finished making and places them onto the tray as well. “Take a seat wherever you’d like,” he says to Chanyeol, following the taller man to the table by the window. The bell rings again, notifying them of another customer. Baekhyun places the bread and drinks on the table, telling them to enjoy, before walking off to greet his other customers.
Chanyeol stares at the cheese bread on the table. The last time Jongin had brought home the bread, Chanyeol had given his share to Sehun, who had asked for a second piece after devouring his share in the blink of an eye. He picks up the still-warm bread and takes a small, experimental bite.
“Hmmmm,” he hums subconsciously, eyes closed, as he chews on the fluffily bread. The flavor is so close to the ones Kyungsoo used to make. He opens his eyes and smiles as he watches both of his sons munching happily on their bread. He brings his own piece back to his mouth and take a bigger bite this time.
It is in that moment that he decides that he’s never, ever, going to give away another piece of Baekhyun’s cheese bread again.
It had become a ritual for the family of three to frequent Byun’s Bakery every Saturday morning. During the visits, Chanyeol and Jongin would try the day’s special, while Sehun sticks his chocolate treats. Jongdae, who Jongin had coined as “Uncle Chen”, would make each of them their preferred drinks; Youngjae would animate stories and tales of wild adventures to the boys; and Chanyeol would await anxiously for Baekhyun to bring out the steaming tray of cheese bread that only seemed to be enough for them.
It was the weekly visits to the bakery that Chanyeol looked forward to, and was what kept him going through the week as he counted down the days before he could see the beautiful baker again.
Which is the reason why Chanyeol huffs in aggravation when his boss breaks the news that they would all have to work overtime this coming Saturday to finish the big project in time for the annual meeting the following Monday. He can only imagine how disappointed his sons would be as he pulls out his cellphone and punches in Key’s number.
“Hey!” Key greets after the second ring.
“Hey…” Chanyeol replies half-heartedly.
“Uh-oh… What’s wrong?”
“Can you watch the boys for me tomorrow? I’m stuck doing overtime.”
“Oh, of course I wouldn’t mind taking the little munchkins for a day! Taemin has been asking for another playdate with Jongin, so I was going to call you about that anyway.”
Chanyeol hangs up after thanking Key and went back to work, much less enthusiastically than before.
Baekhyun sighs for the umpteenth time as he stares at the door of the bakery. Every time the door opens, he would perk up, only to sag in disappointment when the customer walking in wasn’t an adorably bright seven-year-old with his father and younger brother in tow.
“You’ll get wrinkles if you keep frowning like that,” Jongdae teases, elbowing his friend in the ribs.
Baekhyun sighs again.
Jongdae barks a laugh. “Man, you’ve got it bad, Baek.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” the brunet mumbles, angrily grabbing a rag and cleaning the pristine counters…again.
“Uh-huh. Sure you don’t. Don’t think I haven’t noticed you’ve only been making cheese bread on Saturday mornings. I’ve been telling your for ages that we should add it as a regular item because so many people love. But coincidentally, it’s only a special on the one day that Chanyeol and the boys come in.”
Baekhyun glares at his friend, silently daring him to say another word.
“Fine, fine. I got it,” Jongdae smirks, hands raised in surrender. He exhales dramatically. “Man, even Youngjae is starting to get affected by your bad mood…”
Baekhyun looks towards the teen, who does, indeed, look dejected as he absentmindedly wiped the tables clean. Sending Jongdae the nastiest look he can muster, Baekhyun walks over to the blonde boy, who now seems to be deep in thought.
“Youngjae?” Baekhyun says, startling the teen out of his thoughts. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine!” Youngjae replies immediately, smiling brightly. “Just tired, that’s all.”
Baekhyun nods slowly, not quite believing Youngjae’s excuse. “You know you can always talk to me, right?”
Youngjae nods and smiles. “I know, hyung. It’s really nothing. I’m just exhausted…honest!”
“Alright…” Baekhyun replies, deciding not to pry any further. Youngjae would come and talk to him if he really needed anything, Baekhyun convinces himself.
The bell rings once again, indicating that a new customer had entered. Baekhyun lets a smile grace his face as he glances in the direction of the door hopefully, only to sigh once again seconds later.
“Uncle Key?” Sehun asks, looking up at his blonde-haired uncle. “When is Daddy coming?”
Key picks the small boy up and places him on his lap. “Your Daddy had to work today, Sehunnie,” the blonde says, glancing over at his son and Jongin playing on the jungle gym.
“So…Hunnie won’t get choco cake today?”
“Hm, tell you what. If Sehunnie is a good boy, Uncle Key will make you some chocolate cake.”
“But Hunnie want Uncle Bacon’s cake…and cheese bread…” the toddler mumbles, sticking a thumb in his mouth.
Key sighs. “Okay, we’ll go to Baekhyun’s bakery later. But only if you’re is a good boy.”
“Yehet!” Sehun replies, smiling widely.
Key chuckles, patting the small boy on the back. He had stopped asking what most of the words coming out of the toddler’s mouth mean, simply because Sehun was constantly spewing words that didn’t have any meaning to the adult. However, Key had been around Sehun enough times to know that the younger boy only exclaimed that particular phrase when he was excited, happy, or thoroughly proud with himself. Another phrase that was frequently used was “ohorat,” which Key came to the conclusion meant something along the lines of “okay.”
Key looks up, noticing the skies changing from a clear blue to a storm gray. Chances are, rain would start falling soon. He jumps when his thigh starts vibrating unexpectedly, and pulls his cellphone from his pocket, answering the call from his husband. However, a scream from Taemin has Key frantic. “Jonghyun, I have to go!” he shouts, hanging up the phone as his Jonghyun’s concerned shouting calls through the line. “Sehun, stay right here, okay? Don’t move!” Key demands before sprinting over to his son, who is curled up on the ground grabbing hold of his leg. “Taemin!” Key coos, tears starting to fall down his cheeks when he sees his son in pain. “Where does it hurt, baby. What happened?”
“I-I didn’t mean to,” Jongin cries, his body shaking uncontrollably. “I t-tripped….it was an accident…”
Key sends a sympathetic look towards his son’s friend as he punches in the number for emergency services with one hand, the other hand cupping his son’s cheek in comfort. What happens next is a blur as Key tries to soothe Taemin and a sobbing Jongin. An ambulance comes shortly after, and Key grabs Jongin to get onto the ambulance that would bring Taemin to the hospital. It is only when he knows his son was going to be okay, and when he is sitting in the waiting room with a sniffling Jongin by his side does he notice…
Sehun is nowhere in sight.
Chapter 5: Chapter Four
Baekhyun grumbles when Jongdae pushes him out the door of the bakery, claiming that he had enough of the brunet moping around. “Go home,” his friend had said before shutting the door in his face.
“You can’t kick me out of my own bakery!” Baekhyun yells through the glass, earning him a shrug form Jongdae, who then turns and gives Baekhyun his back.
Baekhyun scowls as he turns and walks down the street towards his apartment. He curses, minutes later, when it starts to rain. He runs to the side to take shelter under a tree as he fishes through his bag for an umbrella, but ends up empty-handed as his scowl deepens. Glancing around, he silently debates whether or not to make a run for it back to the bakery, but the sight of a small boy sitting alone on one of the park’s benches catches his eyes, and diverts his attention. ‘That’s weird…’ he thinks, looking around at the chaos of parents gathering their children towards shelter from the rain. ‘Where are his parents?’ Baekhyun wonders as he hurries toward the young boy, whose head is titled down towards the ground.
“Hey…” Baekhyun says as he approaches the child. He gasps as familiar eyes look up and meet his own. “Sehun?” Baekhyun cries, hurrying towards the toddler, whose face is wet with what Baekhyun assumes is more than just rainwater.
“U-Uncle…” the toddler cries even harder when he sees Baekhyun. The four-year-old throws his arms around Baekhyun’s waist, his small hands gripping at Baekhyun’s drenched shirt. “Uncle Bacon!” Sehun cries, burying his face into Baekhyun’s stomach.
“It’s okay, Sehun,” Baekhyun soothes, eyes roaming the park in search of the toddler’s father. He hugs Sehun closer, trying to protect the small boy form the downpour. “Where’s your dad?”
“D-Daddy…Uncle Key s-said Hunnie could have cake if Hunnie is g-good. Stay…right here….Hunnie didn’t go anywhere.”
Baekhyun sighs, anger surging through him at the sight of the young boy, drenched, sitting on a park bench alone waiting for his father who is god-knows-where. “Alright,” Baekhyun says, gathering Sehun in his arms. “Let’s get out of this rain, okay?”
“B-But Hunnie supposed to stay right here,” the toddler pouts, eyes red.
“You’ll get sick if you stay out here, Sehun. We can go back to my bakery and wait for your dad, okay?” The four-year-old gives Baekhyun a skeptical look. “I’ll give you chocolate cake.”
Sehun eyes brighten at the mention of his favorite treat and he nods, allowing Baekhyun to scoop him up. He throws his arms around Baekhyun’s neck tightly as both make their way back to the bakery.
Chanyeol huffs as he runs into the hospital’s waiting room, looking around frantically.
“Daddy!” Jongin runs into his father with the force of a wrecking ball, momentarily robbing Chanyeol of his breath. The tall man bends down, pulling his son’s face away from his stomach. Sadness pulls at his heart when he sees Jongin’s eyes are red and puffy, and his face wet with tears. “Daddy, it’s all my fault!” Jongin cries, fresh tears streaming down the boy’s face. I hurt Taemin, and now I lost Sehunnie!”
“C-Chanyeol..” Key’s voice whispers from behind Jongin. Chanyeol hugs his son to his chest and exhales slowly, forcing calmness into himself before he explodes at Key in front of everyone in the waiting room. “I’m sorry, Chanyeol. Everything was so hectic, and Taemin was hurt and crying…I wasn’t thinking straight. I didn’t even notice Sehun was not by my side until…” Key gasps, and Chanyeol looks up to see the man covering his mouth with his hand as silent tears fall down his face.
“I don’t want to hear your excuses,” Chanyeol quips, causing the other man to wince. Chanyeol stands and grabs onto Jongin’s hand. “Come on, Jongin. Let’s go find your brother.”
“So, your dad is working overtime today? And your Uncle Key was watching you, but Taemin hyung got hurt so Uncle Key accidentally left you behind?” Baekhyun recounts, smiling as he watches Sehun stuff a too-large piece of cake into his tiny mouth. He had brought the toddler back to his shop, much to Jongdae and Youngjae’s surprise, and helped change the boy into a spare dry sweatshirt he had in his office, which covered Sehun to his ankles.
“Yep!” Sehun replies with his mouth full of cake. Baekhyun nods, reaching over to wipe away the chocolate on Sehun’s face. He shivers as he checks the time, still in his wet clothes. ‘5:20pm…’
“I think that’s it for the day, Baek,” Jongdae says, flipping the store’s sign from “Open” to “Closed”. Baekhyun nods gratefully as his friend and Youngjae set off closing up shop.
“Sorry I wasn’t any help today,” Baekhyun apologizes, smiling sheepishly at Jongdae. The other chuckles, but doesn’t reply as he heads into the kitchen to help Youngjae with the prep work for the following day.
“It’s hyung!” Sehun suddenly yells, startling Baekhyun. He glances over at Jongin standing at the door, pulling his father behind him. Baekhyun walks over to unlock the door and allow the two in, and as soon as the door swung open, the seven-year-old boy plows by him in a run towards his younger brother.
“Sehunnie!” Jongin cries, hugging his brother tightly as fresh tears fell down his cheeks. “Hyung is sorry, Sehunnie!”
Chanyeol follows his son, gathering both of them in his arms. “Thank Heavens you’re alright, Sehun.”
Baekhyun stands awkwardly at the door, not wanting to disturb the family reunion. He squirms as his sneakers squeak on the floor, causing Chanyeol to turn and look his way. Baekhyun sends the father an apologetic look as he takes a step towards the three.
“I found him sitting on one of the park’s benches… I didn’t want him getting sick out there so I brought him back here,” Baekhyun explains. Chanyeol nods as he straightens up, the corner of his eyes wet with unshed tears. Baekhyun is surprised, a moment later, when his sight is blocked and he is encompassed by the warmth of Chanyeol’s hug.
“Thank you, Baekhyun. Thank you so much.”
Baekhyun freezes as he feels Chanyeol’s arms wrap around his body. He awkwardly lifts his arm and pats Chanyeol on the back sympathetically as the single father continues to thank him over and over for finding and caring for his son.
“It’s what anyone would have done, Mr. Park,” Baekhyun replies, trying to get out of Chanyeol’s grasp. “You’re going to get your clothes wet…”
Chanyeol immediately lets go, taking a few steps back as his face heats up. “Sorry,” he mumbles, looking at the floor as he finally realizes what he had done. “I’m just so…I mean…thank you. For everything.”
“Achoo!” Sehun’s sneeze grabs the attention of both adults.
“You should get him home and into warmer clothes before he gets suck,” Baekhyun says, frowning as he walks over to the counter to grab the bag he had put Sehun’s wet clothes in.
Chanyeol nods and thanks the baker one last time before grabbing his sons’ hands and reluctantly leaves the bakery.
“So, what did you and Jongin do all afternoon?” Kyungsoo asks, taking a seat next to his husband on the couch.
Chanyeol sets his glass on the coffee table and pulls the smaller male into his embrace. He had told himself that it was a good idea to let Kyungsoo take the day trip to see his family, but the annoying part of him was still grumpy that he had to spend his afternoon off without his husband by his side.
“Play-doh. We colored too, and he made it clear that I didn’t have to stay inside the lines and that I could use any colors I wanted, because the pictures were for imagining.” He pauses for a moment, adjusting his position to allow Kyungsoo to lean against his chest comfortably. “We read. Jongin really can read. I thought he’d memorized his books, but I bought him a new one, and-“
“Wait, you bought him a new book?”
Chanyeol looks at Kyungsoo, confused, trying to read his expression. Had he screwed up? Kyungsoo must’ve noticed his distressed, because the man bursts into laughter not a moment later.
“I’m just surprised you went into a bookstore on your own accord,” Kyungsoo chuckles. “I’m sure Jongin loved. It. He’s been reading for a while now… He picked it up on his own, and he’d almost always got a book with him. It’s probably because I’m always reading…”
Reassured, Chanyeol lowers his head and nuzzles Kyungsoo behind the ear, moving his hands towards Kyungsoo’s ankles. He rubs his husband’s calf, digging his fingers into its firm muscles. “I missed you today…” he whispers against the other’s sensitive neck. When Kyungsoo’s eyes close, he moves up a little higher. Kyungsoo’s quiet moan of pleasure arouses him, and he shifts so that he is on top, propped over the smaller man. His hand snakes under Kyungsoo’s shirt, and Kyungsoo gasps as Chanyeol fingers his nipples into rigid peaks. Kyungsoo’s thigh presses against his erection as his lips kisses the hollow of the petite male’s collar.
“Upstairs,” Kyungsoo finally finds the strength to breath out. “I want to do this in bed.”
Chanyeol nods as he lifts Kyungsoo in his arms, carrying him up the stairs and into the master bedroom. In the dim glow of an outside streetlight, they cross to the bed, and Chanyeol gently places Kyungsoo down before sinking down beside him. Kyungsoo’s fingers scramble for Chanyeol’s belt, tugging at his shirt as Chanyeol reaches for the bottle of lube in the dresser drawer.
“You feel so good, Soo,” Chanyeol whispers, his fingers running along Kyungsoo’s jaw. He buries his face in the hollow of Kyungsoo’s neck, and then moves to nuzzle his earlobe, listening to his breathing grow ragged. He kisses a trail down his stomach, savoring his husband’s sweet scent, as he probes him with a single lubed digit. Kyungsoo’s hips tilt forward, and he writhes, straining against Chanyeol. The smaller man clutches at his lover’s back, pulling him closer as he parts his thighs. Chanyeol gradually adds a second finger, scissoring his fingers to ready Kyungsoo. Pulling his fingers out, he places the tip of his erection against Kyungsoo’s entry and starts inching forward.
“Wait,” Kyungsoo breaths, pushing Chanyeol down towards the bed so that he is now on top. He smiles as he lifts his hips, and then slowly lowers himself, taking delight in Chanyeol’s moan of pleasure. As he moves, all conscious thought leaves him until a flash of colors explodes behind his eyelids, giving him sensations that were instinctively familiar, and only Chanyeol’s mouth over his keeps him from screaming in pure bliss. Vaguely aware of Chanyeol’s hands on his waist, Kyungsoo gasps as he moves his hips in a series of frantic thrusts before collapsing onto Chanyeol’s sweat-coated chest.
Unable to move, Kyungsoo listens to his husband’s heartbeat. He must have dozed off, because when he opens his eyes again, he is lying on his side, cleaned, and curled into Chanyeol. He tries not to disturb his husband as he works his way out of Chanyeol’s embrace. Tossing on his robe, he tiptoes down the hall to check on Jongin.
His son sleeps, cuddling his favorite stuffed rabbit, just like Chanyeol had held Kyungsoo moments before. A warm hand on his shoulder makes him turn towards his husband, wrapping his arms around the taller man’s waist.
“He looks like an angel,” Chanyeol whispers, staring at his son lovingly. He kissed the top of Kyungsoo’s head, wrapping his arms tighter around him. “I love you, Soo.”
Chanyeol wakes up smiling as he reminisces about Kyungsoo. It’s a Sunday morning, and he is perfectly relaxed as he thinks about spending the whole day with his boys. He lunges out of bed and heads towards the bathroom to wash his face.
Rubbing at his eyes, he moves towards the kitchen. He opens the fridge and reaches for the eggs, but his hand comes back empty as he remembers that they had run out of eggs earlier that week. Mentally cursing himself for forgetting such a trivial thing, he makes his way into his son’s room, stopping at the doorway to admire the scene before him.
Jongin is snuggled against Sehun in the younger boy’s bed rather than his own, while his Sehun’s arms are spayed across the bed, one of them resting on his older brother’s face. Chanyeol walks over and gently places his hand on Sehun’s forehead to check for a temperature. He sighs in relief to find that his son is perfectly fine. Reaching an arm over to Jongin, he shakes the boy awake. “Jongin,” Chanyeol says, patting the boy’s leg. “Sehun, time to wake up.”
His youngest stirs and opens one eye, only to close it a second later. “Daddy,” he whines, snuggling closer to his brother, who in turn wraps his arms around Sehun.
Chanyeol smiles, and then puts on a straight face. “Well, I guess we won’t go see Uncle Bacon today, after all.”
“I’m up!” Sehun shouts, shooting up in bed. “Hyung, wake up!” he coos, shaking his brother. “NINI HYUNGGG!” Chanyeol laughs as he watches Jongin grudgingly sit up, rubbing at his eyes with a pout on his face. Sehun offers his brother a toothy grin. “Hunnie want choco cake.”
An hour later, the family of three enters the bakery with Chanyeol leading the way enthusiastically.
“Hello! Welcome to Byun’s Bakery!” a familiar voice greets, although not the voice Chanyeol had hoped to hear.
“Hi, Youngjae,” Chanyeol greets back, looking around the ship for the brunet.
“Oh, Chanyeol!” Jongdae greets from behind the counter. “Hey Jongin! Hey Sehun!”
“Uncle Chen!” Sehun says happily, skipping over to the counter. The boy stands on his tippy-toes, straining to look over the countertop.
“Are you looking for something, Sehun?” Jongdae asks, walking over to the boy and bending down to eye level.
The four-year-old nods as he continues his search. “Uncle Bacon.”
Jongdae laughs as he straightens up. “Baekhyun’s not here today, kiddo. He’s not feeling well.”
Chanyeol frowns at Jongdae’s words. Next to him, Jongin tenses. ‘Baekhyun isn’t feeling well?’ “It’s not because he was in the rain with Sehun yesterday, is it?”
“That might have something to do with it,” Jongdae nods in contemplation, “but honestly, he’s been really tired lately as well. I actually say his being too sick to come in is a good thing…it’ll give him some time to rest.”
Chanyeol’s frown deepens. ‘Too sick to come in?’
“Uncle Bacon is sick?” Jongin asks sadly.
“Daddy! Make porridge!” Sehun exclaims suddenly, running over to his father’s side. “Like Daddy does for Hunnie and hyung!”
“I should, right?” Chanyeol says to his son, happy that Sehun had given him an excuse to go see Baekhyun.
“Oh, don’t worry about it. I’ll be heading home soon anyway,” Jongdae replies.
Chanyeol shakes his head. “No, let me. Please. It’s partially my fault he’s sick in the first place. And you should stay here and help Youngjae out…it looks like it’s getting busy.”
“Hunnie want to see Uncle Bacon…” Sehun pouts, looking at Jongdae with puppy dog eyes.
The barista exhales, giving in. “Okay, fine,” he says, grabbing a pen and a piece of paper. “This is our address,” he hands Chanyeol the paper. “I put mine and Baekhyun’s number on there. Please call me if you need anything. Youngjae and I will be home as soon as we can.”
Chanyeol nods as he holds onto the precious piece of paper. He looks down at Jongin and Sehun. “Well, boys, let’s go see Uncle Bacon.”
Chapter 6: Chapter Five
“Daddy,” Sehun whines. “It’s not fair.”
“You can see uncle next time, Sehun,” Chanyeol goads his son, who is clinging onto his leg, refusing to let him leave. Chanyeol looks at Key and Jonghyun, sending them a “Help me” glance. Jonghyun had called him earlier, apologizing profusely for the incident with Sehun. He explained how upset Key was, and practically begged Chanyeol to let them babysit Sehun and Jongin when Chanyeol said he was going to visit Baekhyun. Truthfully, Chanyeol had already forgiven Key. When he had calmed down enough, he realized that he probably would have been a mess as well if it were Jongin or Sehun who had gotten hurt rather than Taemin. He had just been so worried for his youngest son’s wellbeing to think rationally at the time.
“Why can’t we go with you?” Jongin asks sadly.
“We don’t know how sick Baekhyun is, Jongin. We don’t want you or Sehun to possibly catch what he has,” Key answers. Chanyeol sends Key a grateful glance.
Sehun puts on his thinking face as he scrunches his eyebrows together and sticks his tongue out of the corner of his mouth. After a moment, he nods, albeit with a pout, and lets go of his father’s leg. “But next time we go too?”
“Of course,” Chanyeol replies, pinching the boy’s cheek. “Be good, okay boys?”
“Okie!” Sehun replies, running over to stand by Jonghyun and Key. “Give Uncle Bacon a big kiss for Hunnie, Daddy!”
Chanyeol feels his cheeks heat up as he quickly turns away.
He’s dying. There’s no other explanation for the way he felt. His head is pounding, and he feels sick to his stomach. Baekhyun pulls the blankets closer around himself, seeking out warmth that he can’t seem to get, and prays for death or unconsciousness, not really caring at the moment which is granted first.
Some time later, he wakes up feeling marginally better. However, the incessant banging on his front door does nothing to help his headache. ‘Go away!’ The banging stops – finally – and Baekhyun sighs in relief, which launches him into a coughing fit. He pulls himself up in bed, one arm on his chest as the other reaches out to grab the glass of water Jongdae had left for him earlier that morning. Lying back down, he curls into himself and covers his body with as much of the blanket as he can gather. He closes his eyes and allows his body to relax, willing himself to go back to sleep so he won’t have to think about the annoying throbbing in his head. Just as he is on the verge of sleep, the banging on the door returns.
Scowling, Baekhyun throws his legs over the side of the bed and gets up. ‘Too quick.’ Grabbing onto the bedside table, he waits for the room to stop spinning before hugging his oversized hoodie closer around himself and grudgingly walking out of his room towards the front door. “I swear to God, Kim Jongdae,” he mutters as he unlocks the door, “if you forgot your key again–“
“Baekhyun!” a familiar voice – ‘not Jongdae’ – breathes out. “Thank goodness. I thought something had happened to you! I was about to call Jongdae!” Baekhyun winces. Chanyeol’s voice is earsplitting. Chanyeol, noticing Baekhyun’s reaction, smiles sheepishly. “Sorry,” he whispers, “can I come in?” The tall man holds up a plastic bag.
Baekhyun frowns. “I didn’t order anything…”
“I sure hope not,” Chanyeol chuckles. “Then all of the efforts would go to waste. So…can I come in?”
“Huh? What for?” the brunet asks, confused. His head is still pounding, and all he wants is to be back in the warm comforts of his bed.
“To make you some porridge and nurse you back to health of course!” Chanyeol says as if it is the most obvious answer.
Baekhyun stares at the man standing in front of him blankly for a second, and then smiles politely. “There’s no need, Mr. Park. I don’t want to bother you, and I’m perfectly fine.” He moves to close the door and goes vertigo. Luckily, Chanyeol’s arm reaches out just in time to balance him before he face-plants on the floor.
“Uh-huh…you’re perfectly fine,” Chanyeol mutters, grabbing hold of Baekhyun’s arm to steady him as he enters the apartment and closes the door behind him. “You’re burning up!” Chanyeol exclaims, feeling the heat radiating off of Baekhyun’s body through his hoodie. “Just let me take care of you. It’s not even a bother, anyway. Now, which way is your room?” Baekhyun wants to argue, but frankly, he doesn’t have the energy, so he simply lifts his arm and shakily points in the direction of his bedroom. Chanyeol drops the bag he has in his hand on the ground near the door and uses both arms to help Baekhyun to his room. He pulls back the covers and helps the smaller man into bed before tucking the blankets tightly around him. “Have you eaten anything today?” he asks softly, brushing the hair away from Baekhyun’s damp face.
Baekhyun shakes his head as his eyes begin to droop.
“I bought some medicine for you, but it needs to be taken with food,” Chanyeol says to an almost-asleep Baekhyun. “Rest. I’ll go start on the porridge.” Baekhyun doesn’t need to be told twice as he feels his eyes close on their own accord. Chanyeol smiles at the sleeping man before him. ‘So beautiful…’ It was the first time since Kyungsoo’s death that such feelings stirred in his heart. He takes one last glance at Baekhyun before exiting the room in search for the kitchen.
“Baekhyun,” Chanyeol calls softly, gently shaking the sleeping man awake.
The brunet stirs and opens his eyes. He blinks a couple times and then looks at Chanyeol, briefly confused about the damp cloth on his forehead and why the giant man is in his room. “How long was I asleep?” Baekhyun asks, pushing himself up in bed. Chanyeol places the tray he’s holding in his hands on the bedside table to help Baekhyun rest comfortably against the headboard.
“Only an hour,” Chanyeol replies, taking a seat on the edge of the bed and grabbing the bowl of porridge. He picks up the spoon, scoops up some porridge, blows on it, and then offers it to his patient.
“I-I can eat by myself, Mr. Park…” Baekhyun says as a flush that wasn’t from his fever hitting his cheeks.
“Call me Chanyeol. Let’s talk comfortably with each other,” Chanyeol smiles as he once again tries to offer the food to Baekhyun. The sick man reluctantly opens his mouth, allowing Chanyeol to spoon feed him. Chanyeol offers a toothy grin as he scoops up some more porridge. “Does it taste okay?”
Baekhyun hesitates before answering. “Yes…”
The two sit in comfortable silence as Chanyeol continues to feed Baekhyun until there is nothing left in the bowl. He places the empty dish back onto the tray and grabs the medicine and water, handing them to Baekhyun. Baekhyun dutifully swallows the pills, thankful that Chanyeol doesn’t feel the need to personally feed those to him as well. He then reclines with the help of the other man, and is once again tucked into bed.
“Sleep,” Chanyeol demands.
Baekhyun finds himself smiling as he falls back into a peaceful sleep.
The next time Baekhyun wakes up, the first thing he notices is that there is significantly less sunlight streaming through his window. The second thing he notices is that Chanyeol has fallen asleep in a chair he had pulled up next to the bed, with one of his hands wrapped tightly around Baekhyun’s. Baekhyun tries to pull his hand out of the other man’s grasp, which only ends with him waking Chanyeol up.
“Oh, you’re awake,” Chanyeol says, reaching his free hand up to Baekhyun’s forehead. He frowns when he pulls his hand away. “Your temperature is a little better…but it’s still a little too high for my liking.”
Baekhyun doesn’t hear a word, as he was busy staring at their hands, still intertwined. He does notice, however, when Chanyeol tightens his grip on his hand. Baekhyun looks up to find the man staring at him with lustful eyes. “C-Chanyeol…”
Baekhyun’s eyes widens when he feels Chanyeol’s lips against his, and then he closes his eyes when he feels Chanyeol’s lips move softly and slowly. Unconsciously, Baekhyun lets out a soft moan when Chanyeol licks and nibbles at his bottom lip.
Then, everything stops. Chanyeol pulls away to look down as if ashamed. “I-I’m sorry… I don’t know what came over me.”
Baekhyun finds himself smiling as he looks at the bashful man sitting in front of him. He lifts his hand up to cup Chanyeol’s cheek, demanding attention. “It’s okay, Chanyeol. I trust you,” Baekhyun says, pulling Chanyeol in for another kiss. Chanyeol responds to Baekhyun’s initiative. His kiss becomes more needy as he gently pushes the smaller man to lie flat on his back. He smiles as he crawls onto the bed, positioning his body over Baekhyun’s, before leaning down to kiss him again, molding their bodies perfectly together.
“Are you sure about this?” he asks, stopping to look the brunet in the eyes.
Baekhyun nods shyly. “Yes.”
That’s all the permission Chanyeol needs as he works to untangle the smaller male from his clothing. He throws Baekhyun’s hoodie and shirt onto the floor, followed by the man’s sweatpants and boxers. Chanyeol takes a moment to admire the beauty lying beneath him. With fiery passion, he rids himself of his own clothes as fast as he can and then returns to the important task at hand. He slides his mouth down Baekhyun’s jaw, kissing a path down his neck towards his chest. He licks and sucks at the taut nipples, working the other into a frenzy, before he moves even lower over Baekhyun’s flat belly to his navel. Chanyeol toys with the sensitive area, enjoying the shivers that quake Baekhyun’s body as he tongues the shallow indentation. “Spread your legs a little for me.”
Trembling, Baekhyun parts his thighs.
Chanyeol licks his fingers eagerly, before bringing a single digit towards Baekhyun’s opening. His other hand reaches for the brunet’s cock, bringing it to attention with short, rapid pumps. Baekhyun gasps when Chanyeol breaches him, biting his bottom lip as the taller man pistons his finger in and out before gradually adding another finger. Chanyeol grabs ahold of his member, unable to wait any longer, and Baekhyun moans loudly as he starting adding more power to each pump of his hand. Chanyeol’s mouth moves back to Baekhyun’s neck, kissing, licking, and biting it, making Baekhyun squeal in a mixture of both pain and pleasure.
Baekhyun eyes widen when he feel Chanyeol’s cock at his opening.
“Relax,” Chanyeol whispers. Baekhyun lets out a whimper when he feels Chanyeol begin to push in. He bites his lip, trying to silence any further sounds of pain.
Closing his eyes, Chanyeol pushes forward. He grits his teeth, and sweat brakes out on his forehead. There is no way he can take this slow and easy; he was dying to get inside Baekhyun. He thrusts forward, powering into Baekhyun’s body in one fluid motion. Baekhyun cries out under him, making him freeze. He glances down at the man lying beneath him as several things register all at once. Baekhyun’s cry is not of pleasure, it is a sound of pain. He is exquisitely tight around him. ‘Too tight.’ His body is protesting Chanyeol’s entry with everything it had. Chanyeol stares down at Baekhyun in shock, taking in his expression – his startled eyes and fleeting look of pain.
Baekhyun had been a virgin, and Chanyeol had just plowed into him with all the finesse of a rutting bull.
Chanyeol startles awake.
He looks down at Baekhyun, who is still sleeping peacefully with the aid of the medicine. His gaze then wanders to the sick man’s soft and delicate hand, currently covered by his own, and then lowers to the uncomfortable tightness in his pants – a consequence of his dream.
He turns when he hears the sound of the door of the apartment opening, with Jongdae and Youngjae’s voices following. His hand shakes as he moves it from Baekhyun’s hand to his face, checking the man’s temperature, which had gone down significantly. Satisfied, and somewhat proud, Chanyeol stands up to face the other men in the house.
“Oh, Chanyeol hyung,” Youngjae greets when Chanyeol comes out of Baekhyun’s room. The tall man’s jacket is slung over his forearm, held suspiciously low over his front.
“How’s he doing?” Jongdae asks, trying to peer around Chanyeol into Baekhyun’s room.
“His temperature is down, and he’s sleeping right now,” Chanyeol replies as he inches his way over to the front door. “There’s some more porridge in the kitchen, and medicine on the counter.” He slips into his shoes. “I should get going now. Bye!”
Jongdae and Youngjae look at each other with a twin look of confusion as their front door closes before they even get the chance to thank the man for looking after their friend.
“You…” Jonghyun bursts into laughter, slapping his knee and pointing at Chanyeol.
Chanyeol scowls, ready to strangle his friend. “It’s not funny. I haven’t had those kinds of dreams since I was a teenager. And this one was just weird!”
Jonghyun gasps as he tries to breathe, failing miserably when a snort escapes and he doubles over in laughter.
“Kim Jonghyun! Be quiet, will you? The kids will hear!” Key scowls, slapping his husband’s arm. Chanyeol looks at Key with gratitude. “Don’t worry about it, Chanyeol,” Key reassures him. “You’ve been playing Super-Dad for three years now. You haven’t given yourself time for yourself. That dream was probably just your pent up sexual frustration making itself known.”
“I dreamt that I took his virginity,” Chanyeol deadpans.
“You’re interested in the guy,” Key shrugs. “Like, really interested. I haven’t seen you so smitten with someone since Kyungsoo died. Maybe it’s just your subconscious voicing out that you’re afraid to hurt him…or that you’re afraid of getting hurt yourself.”
He was going crazy, there was no doubt about it.
Chanyeol groans as he flips through another folder, desperately trying to make his brain focus on the words on the pages. He groans again when the small words jumbled together to form the face of a certain baker. “This isn’t working…” he mutters, pulling out his wallet where he had kept the small piece of paper with Baekhyun’s phone number. He dials the number, lets the phone ring once, and almost hangs up before a voice answers the call.
His heart skips a beat at the melodious voice on the other line, and he suddenly starts to panic. “Baekhyun…Hi! This is Park Chanyeol! You know…Jongin and Sehun’s dad?”
Baekhyun’s laugh plasters a stupid grin on his face. “I know who you are, Mr. Park. You were just here yesterday. Thank you, by the way. Jongdae said you left in a hurry before they could thank you properly last night.”
“Oh! Uh…I…I had to go pick up my sons.”
“Ah, I see.” There is a pause, and Chanyeol almost believes that Baekhyun had hung up. “Is there a reason you’re calling, Mr. Park?”
“I thought we went over this. Call me Chanyeol, please.”
“Okay…” the other replies hesitantly. “Chanyeol, is there a reason you’re calling?”
Chanyeol’s heartbeat skips again. He loves the way his name sounds coming from Baekhyun. “I just wanted to check to see how you were doing. Are you feeling better? Did you finish the porridge? How about the medicine? Does your head still hurt?”
Baekhyun chuckles. “Jongdae made me stay home again today because I’m still a little tired, but I’m feeling much better. Thank you.”
“Oh. Well, that’s good.”
“Is there anything else you needed, Chanyeol?”
Chanyeol is unnerved at the thought of ending the call with Baekhyun. “I…well…um… I wanted to ask if it was okay for me to come over again today? I mean… I promised the boys that they could see you, and they were really upset that I didn’t let them come with me yesterday. So, if you’re feeling better, I could bring them over when I get out of work today and make you some more porridge?”
“No!” Baekhyun replies quickly, making Chanyeol frown. “I mean…you guys can definitely come over. I would love to see the boys. You don’t have to make me anymore porridge though…I think I can manage to make some myself.”
“Are you sure?”
“Okay then! I get out of work at four o’clock today. I’ll go pick up the boys, and we can be by your place around five o’clock?”
“Sounds perfect. See you then.”
“See you then!” Chanyeol hangs up the phone and glances down at his papers, glad to notice that all of the words are staying in their designated place. He smiles and gets back to work, periodically looking down at his watch, wishing he could fast-forward time.
Baekhyun is in a frenzy as he tries a last minute attempt to tidy up the place. He periodically checks on the pot of chicken porridge on the stove before running around the living room, picking up various articles of clothing and throwing them into Jongdae’s room.
The front door opens and the brunet almost has a panic attack, before he remembers that Chanyeol doesn’t have the key or code to his place.
“Whoa, slow down, Baek,” Jongdae teases, toeing off his shoes.
“Yoo Youngjae!” Baekhyun hollers, making the younger man freeze in the doorway. “How can you be so messy, huh? Hurry up and help me clean this place up!”
“Sorry hyung,” Youngjae apologizes meekly, walking over to gather his clothes and stuffing them into a small duffel bag.
“What’s got you so worked up? You never cared about his clothes lying around before…” Jongdae ask, plopping down on the couch.
“Jongin and Sehun are coming over,” Baekhyun replies, heading into the kitchen to stir his porridge.
“Just Jongin and Sehun?” his friend asks as he trails behind him.
“And their father…”
“Ahh,” Jongdae replies knowingly. “Well, it’s a good thing Youngjae and I already have plans for the night then, huh?”
Baekhyun whips around, holding a ladle in his hand. “You do?”
“Yup.” The raven-haired man saunters out of the kitchen into the living room. “Youngjae, let’s go!”
Youngjae pops up from behind the couch with an armful of clothes. “Where hyung?”
Jongdae hushes the younger and grabs the clothes in his arms, throwing them into his own room. “We have plans, remember?” he says loud enough for Baekhyun to hear as he pushes Youngjae towards the door. “Later Baek!”
Baekhyun peeks his head out from the kitchen just in time to see the front door shut. He shakes his head, chuckling. “Those boys…” He then goes back to the stove and puts the finishing touches on his dish before turning it off. A knock on the door makes him freeze. Baekhyun practices inhaling and exhaling as he makes his way to the front door. ‘It’s okay. You can do this, Byun Baekhyun. No big deal.’ Taking another deep breath, he unlocks the door and swings it open.
Baekhyun is greeted with Sehun’s cheery voice. “Uncle Bacon!”
Baekhyun smiles and looks down at the small boy, then to his brother, and then…his father. “Hello,” Baekhyun greets, pleased with himself that he had managed to keep his voice steady. “Come in.”
“Your color is definitely better,” Chanyeol points out as he walks in. Baekhyun nods, unsure of what to say.
“I smell chicken!” Jongin suddenly exclaims, sniffing the air. Both Chanyeol and Baekhyun look down to see Sehun mimicking his older brother. Chanyeol chuckles, but Baekhyun lets out a loud laugh as he bends down and taps the seven-year-old on the nose.
“That’s quite a nose you’ve got there, Jongin,” he says. “I just made some chicken porridge. Would you guys like some?”
Jongin looks at his dad for approval before nodding shyly.
“Hunnie too!” Sehun calls out, raising his hand high in the air.
Baekhyun chuckles. “Why don’t you boys go with your father to wash your hands, and I’ll serve dinner. The bathroom is that way.” Chanyeol nods and herds his sons towards the bathroom as Baekhyun heads towards the kitchen. Moments later, all four are seated around the small table in the dining room. “Dig in!” Baekhyun says, watching the boys blow on their food and bring the porridge to their mouths. Jongin chews thoughtfully, and then swallows. A huge grin appears on his face as he turns to face his father.
“WAH! Daddy, Uncle Bacon’s porridge is so much better than yours!”
Chapter 7: Chapter Six
Kyungsoo smoothes a hand over his flat belly, a flutter of nervousness welling up inside of him, as he stares lovingly at his sleeping child. Excitement overwhelms him as he thinks about the possibilities of the future that could now be realized.
He and Chanyeol – after a long and careful deliberation – had decided to actively try for another pregnancy. Kyungsoo had been pregnant several times before, both before and after Jongin was born, but had always miscarried. Jongin was like their gift from the Heavens, and they adored him with every ounce of love they had. He knew there was no guarantee, and if they did manage to conceive again, there was always the possibility that he would miscarry again. But the small thread of hope was still there, alive and burning inside him. After observing Jongin play with all of his stuffed “younger siblings,” Kyungsoo was filled with a fierce yearning to give his baby a real younger sibling to coddle and love.
He takes one last glance at Jongin, cuddled in bed with his stuffed rabbit - Mr. Snuggles - in his arms, before closing the door gently and heading into the living room. He paces around the confines of the room, anxiously waiting for Key to return. Chanyeol was not supposed to be home for a while, but the last thing he wants is to build his husband’s hopes up only for it to be a false alarm.
His pulse jumps when he hears the sound of the door opening, and sags in relief when Key walks in with a plastic bag in his hand. “I bought three,” the blonde man says as he begins pulling one of the boxes out of the bag. “I figured it would be better to take the test ore than once…just to be sure.”
Kyungsoo nods and smiles as he hugs his friend tightly. “Thank you. I appreciate it.”
Key carefully pulls away, his eyes full of concern. “Is this a good this, Soo?”
“A very, very good thing.”
“Then I’ll cross my fingers and toes and hope all three tests are positive,” Key smiles. “Go on, I’ll guard the door,” the blonde says as he ushers Kyungsoo towards the bathroom.
Kyungsoo’s hands shake as he hastily tears into the first box. After reading the instructions, he makes sure to do everything accordingly as he forces himself to calm down and focus on the task at hand. He washes his hands, straightens out his clothing, and then checks his watch; all while avoiding the little indicator windows on the sticks placed across the bathroom counter.
Then he looks.
At first, he doesn’t respond.
“Kyungsoo, is everything alright in there?” The door opens, and Key sticks his head in to look at his friend, who stands staring at the counter before him.
“They’re all positive…” Kyungsoo mutters. He looks up at Key with a rush of excitement, and fear. Tears fill both men’s eyes as they stand in the bathroom. Key holds Kyungsoo tightly as the latter fights the wave of emotion engulfing him.
“Congratulations, Soo! I’m so happy for you.”
“Thank you, Kibum,” Kyungsoo replies, giving the blonde a watery smile as he pulls away.
“When are you going to tell Chanyeol?”
“I want to wait a little while longer… Until I’m a little further along,” Kyungsoo says. “Oh my God! I’m pregnant!” Kyungsoo exclaims, suppressing the urge to squeal and twirl around in circles. Key grabs Kyungsoo’s hands, pulling him into a hug as Kyungsoo breaks down in happiness.
It was typical for Kyungsoo to rise earlier than Chanyeol. While Chanyeol would go out on his morning run, Kyungsoo would make breakfast and brew a pot of coffee for Chanyeol, who liked to sip of the brew after downing a bottle of water after his workout. This morning, however, the smell of the coffee nearly did him in. Sweat beaded on his forehead as he grabs onto the counter, swallowing gulps of air to try and steady his rebelling stomach. Unfortunately, the usual fare he whipped up for breakfast wasn’t agree at all with his stomach today. The bacon made him want to hurl, the eggs nauseated him, and the cinnamon rolls were making him clench his teeth and breath through his nose. The only safe bet seemed to be the cheese bread that both Chanyeol and Jongin loved so much.
Chanyeol returns home from his run to find Kyungsoo leaning against the counter, inhaling deeply. “Soo?” the tall man says sharply when he catches sight on his husband. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine,” Kyungsoo replies, not wanting to worry his husband. “Certain foods just seem to set me off now. Especially breakfast foods… I’m rather queasy in the mornings. Bacon and eggs seem to trigger my symptoms in particular.”
Chanyeol frowns as he gently moves the smaller male away from the sizzling bacon on the stove. “What can you eat?”
“There’s some cheese bread in the oven.”
“What can you drink?”
“Mainly chocolate milk…but we don’t have anymore.”
Chanyeol’s frown deepens as he places two pieces of cheese bread onto a plate. “Are you sure you’re okay? This is worst than when you were pregnant with Jongin…”
“Speaking of that…” Kyungsoo smiles, “we did it, Yeol. We made another baby!”
Chanyeol’s brows go up as his mouth drops open. He studies Kyungsoo intently, in complete bewilderment, as he tries to collect his scattered wits. “We did what?” Kyungsoo’s smile grows even wider as tears shine in his eyes. Chanyeol walks over and raises his trembling hands to frame Kyungsoo’s face, and thumbs away the tears that are brimming. “We’re having another baby?”
Kyungsoo looks up and him and nods with his eyes shining like stars.
“Papa, sit!” Jongin demands with his hand on his hips and a scowl on his face.
Kyungsoo chuckles as he places the blocks back down and waddles over to the couch to sit. Jongin’s face transforms into a smile as he runs around the living room, tidying up his toys, and even attempts to fold the too-large blanket that lies across the couch. He then hurries off into the kitchen and returns a moment later with a glass of chocolate milk in his small hands.
“Here!” the little boy says, thrusting the glass into Kyungsoo’s face.
“But I’m not thirsty, Jongin.”
“It’s not for you, it’s for our baby!” Jongin pouts.
Kyungsoo smiles, taking the glass from his son and patting the seat next to him. Jongin climbs onto the couch and snuggles up to Kyungsoo’s round belly, pressing his ear to Kyungsoo’s navel.
“Drink Papa!” the boy urges. Kyungsoo nods and drinks. He looks down at Jongin’s head, now with his mouth where his ear used to be. “Is it good, baby? Drink up so you can grow and come out faster! I promise I’ll be a good hyung and take care of you and love you sooooo much! I can’t wait to meet you!”
“Baekhyun? It’s me, Chanyeol…Jongin and Sehun are going to spend some time with their grandparents for a couple days, and…well…I was wondering if you would be free tomorrow night? I have this recipe…it’s really good. I promise! I want you. ….Wait! No! I meant I want to cook it for you. Ahhhh man, can I delete this thing? Uh…okay. Bye!”
Baekhyun finds himself nodding along as he listens to Chanyeol’s voicemail, chuckling at the man’s franticness. Pulling the phone away from his ear, he scrolls through his contacts, and presses on the single-father’s name. Chanyeol picks up after the first ring.
“Hello Chanyeol,” Baekhyun greets. He can practically hear the goofy smile the giant man probably adorned on the other line. “I got your message.”
“Oh?” A pause. “Are you calling to say you’re busy? Because I totally understand if-“
“Chanyeol, I’m calling to tell you that I would love to have dinner with you tomorrow night.”
“Really?” Chanyeol asks, wondering if he had heard wrong. “That’s great! I’ll…umm…I’ll text you the address. Can you come around six o’clock tomorrow evening?”
“Yes, six works,” Baekhyun responds, urging his excitement to stay contained until he at least gets off the phone. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“What is it this time?” Key asks with aggravation. “This is the fourth time you’ve called in the last hour!”
Chanyeol winces. He hadn’t realized he had called so many times, but everything in his head seemed to have temporarily vanished as he stands in his disordered kitchen, chaotically trying to make the meal for Baekhyun and himself. Even the most basic thing – like how much water went into making rice – seemed to escape him.
“Sorry…” he apologizes sheepishly. “The rice is cooking…and the potatoes are in the oven. I think I finished the sauce, but I forgot what you said about the trout!”
“It’s salmon, Chanyeol.”
“Salmon! I meant salmon…”
“Mix the almonds, lemon peel, and parsley onto one plate, and put plain flour on another plate. Sprinkle salt and pepper onto the salmon, then dredge the salmon in the flour and shake off the excess. Brush one side of the salmon in egg wash and then press it into your almond mixture.”
“I’ve already done that part…”
“Then what are you calling me for? Just cook the freakin’ fish!”
“But what if I do it wrong?” Chanyeol whines, staring down at the fish dejectedly.
Key sighs exasperatedly, and Chanyeol can hear the diva’s son saying something to him in the background. “Hold on, Taemin. Your Uncle Chan is being, well…never mind. Papa will come play with you in just a moment, okay?” Chanyeol hears Key say to his son. “Melt one tablespoon of butter and one tablespoon of olive oil together over medium heat, and then add the salmon. Almond-coated side down. Cook for about five minutes, turn over, and cook for another five minutes. You can’t mess this up, Chanyeol.”
Chanyeol nods and tries to engrave every step Key had just said into his memory. “Okay…I think I got it. Thanks! Bye Key!”
Half an hour later, Chanyeol takes a step back, brushes his hands on his pants, and admires his work. He jumps when his doorbell rang. ‘He’s here? Already? But I’m not ready!’ His mind screams as he frantically runs around, tidying up the counters and bringing the two plates over to the table. “Coming!” he yells when the bell rings again.
Chanyeol’s breath catches in his throat a moment later when he opens the door. Baekhyun had traded in his usual, comfortable chef pants that Chanyeol was used to seeing him in for tight, black skinny jeans that hug him in all of the right places, coupled with a blue sweater and black overcoat. He had known Baekhyun was attractive, but he never realized how incredibly eye catching the man actually was.
“Hi!” Baekhyun greets with a wide smile. Chanyeol only stars ahead, still too dazed to realize Baekhyun was talking to him. “Chanyeol?”
Shaking out of his stupor, Chanyeol grins and waves to the brunet. “Oh, hi! Come in!” he says, moving aside to allow Baekhyun to step in.
“I know you said you were making dinner tonight,” Baekhyun says as he toed off his shoes and trades them for the pair of slippers Chanyeol offers him. “But I didn’t feel right coming over empty-handed…So, I brought dessert!” He holds up a small box Chanyeol hadn’t noticed before. “Mind if I toss it into the fridge for the time being?”
“I’ll take it. Make yourself at home,” Chanyeol says, relieving Baekhyun of the container. He comes back a minute later to find Baekhyun had taken off his coat, and is now staring at the pictures framed on the wall near the entry.
Baekhyun turns his head slightly. “Is this…” he begins, gesturing towards the family photo of four – Chanyeol and Kyungsoo stood on either side of Jongin, looking down at the toddler lovingly as the boy held a baby Sehun in his arms.
“My late husband,” Chanyeol replies sadly. Baekhyun’s mouth forms a small “o” as he glances at Chanyeol sympathetically.
“If you don’t mind my asking, how did he…”
“Brain tumor. We…didn’t find out until it was too late.”
“It’s okay. He’s not gone… Not really. He’s still alive in my heart, and in our memories. And I see him every day in our sons,” Chanyeol says, smiling gently. “Are you hungry?” he asks lightly, changing the topic.
“Starving,” Baekhyun replies as he follows Chanyeol into the dining room.
“I hope you like salmon,” Chanyeol says, pulling the chair out for Baekhyun before going around the table to his own seat. He grabs the bottle of wine sitting on the table and poured a healthy dose for both Baekhyun and himself. “Cheers,” he says, raising his glass.
Baekhyun takes a sip of the wine, allowing the liquid to bring his palate to life. “This looks great, Chanyeol,” he compliments as he picks up his fork and brings a small piece of salmon to his mouth. Chanyeol watches him intently as he thoughtfully chews.
“Well?” the tall man asks, not being able to handle the suspense any longer.
Baekhyun swallows and glances up at Chanyeol with a light smile on his face. “It’s very…sweet.”
Confused, Chanyeol picks up his own utensil and tries a piece of the fish. His face contorts in disgust as soon as the morsel hits his tongue. “I must’ve mistaken the sugar for the salt!” he groans, distressed. “Ah man….I’m sorry Baekhyun.”
The brunet shakes his head. “No, it’s still good,” he says encouragingly.
“You don’t have to lie to make me feel better. The sauce is ruined, and the salmon tastes burnt.”
“Well….the potatoes, asparagus, and rice still look okay,” Baekhyun offers, spearing a potato.
“No!” Chanyeol exclaims, putting his hand up to stop Baekhyun from trying the food. “It might taste bad…”
Baekhyun eats it anyway. He eats everything on his plate, all while praising Chanyeol on his efforts. For the next hour, the two men share stories, laugh, and relish in each other’s company. Chanyeol’s smile doesn’t leave his face the entire time. It’s something Baekhyun brings out on him, he realizes – happiness.
‘Is this your doing, Kyungsoo?’ he mentally wonders, staring at the picture of his late husband behind Baekhyun. ‘Did you bring Baekhyun to me to heal my broken heart?’
Chapter 8: Chapter Seven
“Sehun! Come back here!” Chanyeol yells, chasing the half-naked toddler around the living room with a shirt in his hands. “Park Sehun!”
“Daddy! I don’t like that shirt!” Chanyeol huffs and bends over at the waist, and glances over at the four-year-old boy currently peeking out from behind the couch. “It’s ugly!” Chanyeol inhales one last time, praying for patience, and readies himself to run around the room in circles for the third time that morning. The sound of the doorbell has him forgetting all about his shirtless son as a smile spreads across his face.
“It’s Uncle Bacon!” Jongin yells, running out from his room where he had been hiding safely away from the commotion his father and younger brother were causing. “I’ll get it!”
“No! Hunnie get it!” Sehun yells, taking a tentative glance at his father before making a run for it towards the front door. He collides into his brother’s back just as Jongin swings the door open. “UNCLE BACON!”
Baekhyun stares down at the two boys in shock, taking in Jongin’s one-piece cat pajamas, complete with tail and ears, and Sehun’s bare torso and dripping wet hair. “Uh…hello boys.” Jongin beams up at Baekhyun and takes the man’s hand in both of his, pulling him into the house with Sehun trailing behind them. “Good morning Chanyeol,” Baekhyun greets once he sees the father, still standing in the living room with a green and white striped shirt in hand. “Sorry I’m late. I had to wait for Jongdae to come and man the shop before leaving.”
“No, no! I’m sorry for calling you so suddenly with such a big favor!” Chanyeol replies. “Thanks so much for doing this. My boss called me in so suddenly, and Jonghyun and Key are away on vacation this week…”
“It’s no bother at all, really. I love spending time with your boys.”
“Just them?” Chanyeol questions under his breath. If Baekhyun heard him, he didn’t express it.
“Why isn’t Sehun wearing a shirt?” the brunet asks instead, sounding slightly reprimanding.
“He…doesn’t like it,” Chanyeol replies, holding up the shirt sheepishly.
“It’s uuuugly!” Sehun wails with an adorable pout on his face. Baekhyun chuckles, his mouth forming an “o” in understanding.
“Ah, I have to go,” Chanyeol says dejectedly when he looks down at his watch.
“Have you eaten yet? Do you want some food for the road?” Baekhyun asks, shaking Chanyeol out of his thoughts. “I brought some fresh cheese bread,” the smaller man says, holding up a small paper bag.
“I want some!” Jongin exclaimes, reaching up to try and grab the bag.
“Hunnie too!” Sehun adds, mimicking his older brother.
Chanyeol walks past both of his sons towards the front door. He smirks as he nears Baekhyun, and swipes the bag out of Baekhyun’s grasp. “Mine.”
“DADDYYYY!” Jongin and Sehun complain in unison. Baekhyun looks down at the boys, and then at their father’s receding back. He smiles and shakes his head.
“Come on boys, I’ll make some more for you,” Baekhyun coos, eying the abandoned shirt hanging across the sofa. “Say, Sehun, can I have your shirt?”
Sehun looks at his hideous top, and then back at Baekhyun. “Uncle Bacon…is your eyes okay?”
“It’s such a nice shirt, though!” Baekhyun exclaims, walking over to the couch and holding the shirt up to examine it. “Everybody will be so jealous of me if they see me wearing this!”
Jongin, seemingly catching on to what Baekhyun was doing, grins before running over to stand near the adult. “No, I want it! Sehunnie, can’t hyung have it? Pleeeease?”
The toddler pauses, tilts his head, and considers the two people in front of him fighting over his horrendous top. He then narrows his eyes, scrunches his brows together, and places both hands on his hips. “No one can have it. It’s Hunnie’s!” he says, stomping over and taking the shirt out of Baekhyun’s hands, much to the adult’s amusement. Baekhyun and Jongin share a look, and bite back laughter as Sehun’s head resurfaces from inside the shirt, grinning from ear to ear.
“And that’s Papa and me at the family picnic. I was three.”
Baekhyun smiles faintly at the picture Jongin shows him, and peeks over at Sehun, who is sitting at the dining room table assembling sandwiches. The toddler had boasted that his father once told him he made the best sandwiches in the whole wide world, and insisted that Baekhyun tried his delectable creation. Baekhyun returns his attention back to Jongin and the photo book when he feels a gentle tug on his sleeve.
Jongin had been an adorable little cherub at the age of three; and Kyungsoo had been a beauty with his charcoal hair, big eyes, and heart-shaped smile that lit up the space around him. It was like the man was an angel, the way the light seemed to emit from him. It was enough to depress the hell out of Baekhyun, because there was absolutely no way he would ever be able to measure up to Kyungsoo in the family’s eyes, and in their hearts. How could he compare with the perfection of Chanyeol’s deceased spouse; especially when that perfection was a ghost whose beauty would therefore never wither in their memories?
“I’m done!” Sehun announces, clapping his small hands together in satisfaction.
“That’s enough pictures for now, Jongin,” Baekhyun says, unfolding the child from his arms. “Let’s go eat.” Jongin looks warily at the sandwiches on the table, but nods anyway.
While Jongin hesitates in taking his first bite, Baekhyun has no queries about stuffing more than a quarter of the sandwich into his mouth. “Is it good?” Sehun asks, eyes hopeful as he leans forward on the table. Baekhyun freezes, and then forces his jaw to work to swallow the mouthful. “Well?” Sehun asks impatiently.
“I….it’s delicious.” Baekhyun doesn’t know how Kyungsoo fared in the cooking department, but it was obvious that Sehun had inherited Chanyeol’s skills in the kitchen. “The best sandwich I’ve ever had.” Jongin gapes in amazement at Baekhyun before turning his attention to his own sandwich. He cautiously takes a small bite and grabs for his water a second after.
“How is it, hyung?” Sehun asks, mouth agape and eyes wide.
“Yummy!” Jongin responds as he sends an accusing glance towards Baekhyun. Baekhyun offers an apologetic smile before readying himself for another bite.
He was definitely going to need more water to finish this sandwich.
Chanyeol opens the door quietly, glancing into the dark living room as he toes off his shoes. ‘Weird. It’s past the boys’ bedtime, so where’s Baekhyun?’ he wonders as he places his briefcase down near the couch and heads towards his sons’ room, pausing to smile happily when he peers into the room.
Baekhyun was in the middle of Jongin’s too-small bed, leaning up against the headboard in between Jongin and Sehun. One of his arms wrapped protectively around Sehun’s small frame, while the small boy was curled into a ball against his side. Jongin had Baekhyun’s other arm in a vice-like hug, one of his legs thrown over the adult’s thighs, and his head rested on Baekhyun’s stomach.
Chanyeol stands in the doorway, soaking in the sight for a moment before tiptoeing over to the three. As much as he enjoys the sight of Baekhyun snuggled in between his sons, he doubts Baekhyun would be very happy in the morning when he wakes up with a crick in his neck and a sore back.
Chanyeol starts with Sehun – removing the toddler would be much easier than prying Jongin’s limbs off of Baekhyun. Gently, as to not wake anyone, he removes Baekhyun’s arms from his son and scoops Sehun up, moving him to his own bed. Sehun whines at the sudden loss of heat, but is content in snuggling into his covers once Chanyeol places them over his body and tucks him in. Chanyeol turns and eyes the next obstacle in front of him. Walking back to Baekhyun and Jongin, he attempts to move Jongin’s legs off of Baekhyun. This, however, only results in the boy kicking his leg up in protest, and almost kicking Chanyeol in the face, before tightening his grip on Baekhyun’s arms. Chanyeol hears Baekhyun grunt when Jongin’s leg falls back down on his body.
“Chanyeol?” Baekhyun asks sleepily, his voice raspy. It takes all of Chanyeol’s will power not to groan out loud.
“Hey,” he whispers, sitting on the edge of the bed where Sehun used to be. “Sorry I’m home so late. There was more work than I expected.”
“It’s fine,” Baekhyun responds, attempting to get up, but failing miserably. He looks down at Jongin and chuckles. “He sleeps like a sloth.”
“He used to be like that with Kyungsoo, too,” Chanyeol explains. “Here, let me try again…” He walks over to the other side of the bed and puts him arms under Jongin to lift the boy up. Working in tandem with Baekhyun, they manage to pry Jongin off eventually. Baekhyun jumps off the bed before the boy got the chance to snake his arms around him once again, but frowns when he heard Jongin whimper and feel around the bed in search of the warm body that was there moments before. Baekhyun leans over the bed and grabs Jongin’s rabbit, placing it in the boy’s arm. Content, Jongin hugs the stuffed animal closer to himself and snuggles deeper into his blankets.
Baekhyun smiles, stroking Jongin’s cheek gently before glancing up. His breath hitches when he finds Chanyeol’s face inches from his own. Chanyeol stares at Baekhyun, locking his gaze. His hand goes up to cup the brunet’s cheek, sending a shiver down Baekhyun’s spine.
Chanyeol strokes Baekhyun’s cheek with his thumb. Then, he smiles and leans in, closing the gap between them.
Chapter 9: Chapter Eight
Baekhyun stiffens when Chanyeol’s lips connect with his. His breathing halts as his eyes expand in surprise.
The kiss is tender, at first, as if Chanyeol isn’t sure how Baekhyun would respond. When the brunet doesn’t pull back, Chanyeol’s lips fully explore the baker’s; his tongue switching between tracing Baekhyun’s lips to delving into his mouth, teasing him, testing his reaction. When Baekhyun finally parts his lips, letting the taller man in, Chanyeol takes his mouth with fiery hunger, as if he wants to kiss Baekhyun forever. His sharp intake of breath sends hot desire through the smaller man. Baekhyun is sure he has never been kissed like this before – so tenderly, yet so intensely at the same time. Chanyeol tastes of mint, and has the distinct, delicious scent of musk and soap. Baekhyun lets out a moan as Chanyeol inhales and pokes his tongue deep inside Baekhyun’s mouth, possessing him. Baekhyun is so lost in the kiss, so lost in the moment as the feeling of peace and serenity he had felt moments earlier from watching the children fall asleep is replaced by pure and shameless desire. He reaches his arm around Chanyeol’s neck to pull him closer, right before the shuffle of the child beneath them brings both men to their senses. Baekhyun glances down and watches as Jongin turns over in bed to grab the blankets closer around himself, and mutters something that sounds jarringly like “Papa”.
Baekhyun looks up as Chanyeol pulls away, panting slightly, his expression showing longing…and regret. It’s enough to sober Baekhyun as he takes a step away from the bed, hanging his head, inhaling deeply to calm his breathing.
“I-I’m sorry,” Chanyeol croaks, running a hand over his face. “I shouldn’t have done that.”
“It’s okay,” Baekhyun responds. ‘It’s not like I stopped you.’ His hand unconsciously moves up to touch his lips. There is no doubt in his mind that he feels something for the single father, and that Chanyeol was attracted to him. However, whether or not something would become of that attraction, Baekhyun was unsure. “I should go,” he says, taking a final glance towards the sleeping boys, and then their father, before exiting the room.
Chanyeol stands, frozen to the spot, as he watches the one person who had managed to wake his vacant heart walk out of the room, and possibly out of his life. He groans as he runs a hand through his hair, frowning at the picture of his late husband hanging on the wall. ‘What do I do now, Kyungsoo?’
“What are you saying?” Chanyeol asks, dumbfounded, as he holds onto Kyungsoo’s hand. “WHAT IS THIS NONSENSE?” His husband squeezes his hand beside him, sending him a look, before signaling for the doctor to continue his explanation.
The doctor sends the couple a sympathetic look before continuing. “The results of Mr. Do’s-“
“ Park ,” Chanyeol interrupts with a scowl.
“I apologize. The results of Mr. Park’s physical and neurological examinations suggested the possibility that he had a brain tumor. I spoke to him about this, and requested for a CT scan and a MRA, along with a biopsy to determine whether or not the tumor was cancerous. The results came back positive.”
“Why didn’t you say anything?” Chanyeol interrupts again, turning to Kyungsoo. “Why didn’t you call me home?” Kyungsoo shakes his head, shushing the taller man, and motions for the doctor to continue. Chanyeol exhales in aggravation before turning to the man in the white coat. “What can we do?”
“Unfortunately, because of the location of the tumor, I fear that operation may be more harm than help. Of course, it is the patient’s choice regarding whether or not they would like the operation to be performed, and I would gladly talk to you both about the details of the operation should you choose to do it. As a doctor, it is my responsibility to warn you, however, that choosing to operate would be risky. Because of where the tumor is located, and because tissue and fluid moves within the brain during surgery, it is difficult to ensure that all of the cancer cells will be removed; and even if we did manage to remove them, there is always a chance of them reappearing.”
“Do you think it’s worth trying?” Kyungsoo speaks for the first time since entering the office.
The doctor sighs. “It is not my place to make that decision for you. All I can offer to you is information. Brain tumors are generally graded from one to four. While grade one and some grade two tumors can be cured by surgery, treatment for some grade two tumors and higher-grade tumors is no longer about curing, but for prolonging life. You, Mr. Park, have a grade four – what we call GBM, or glioblastoma multiforme.”
“W-why haven’t I gotten any symptoms until now?” Kyungsoo chokes, trying hard to keep it together for the sake of his husband. “I’ve only recently started getting migraines…”
“Your functional neurological status at the moment is at a 90 according to the Karnofsky Performance Scale, meaning you are able to carry on with normal, day-to-day activities with minor symptoms. Unfortunately, for some people, symptoms do not surface until it’s too late.”
“And I’m one of those people?”
The doctor looks at the patient in front of him, and then to his husband. “Unfortunately, yes.”
“How long do I have?” Kyungsoo whispers, blinking back tears that are threatening to fall. “We just had a baby…”
“You’ll notice that your functional status will gradually begin to decrease as time goes on. I-“ the doctor pauses, glancing warily at Chanyeol before continuing. “I’m estimating you’ll have about a year left, maybe less.”
“A year…” Kyungsoo repeats softly, staring down at his hands. The tears are freely falling from his face now as the reality of his predicament hits him. “Sehunnie will just be a little over one-year-old…”
“Stop,” Chanyeol growls softly, although his voice is heard loud and clear in the quiet room. “You’re not dying. You’re not leaving us!”
The doctor promptly and quietly stands up and heads for the door. “I’ll give you two some time,” he says before exiting.
“Chanyeol,” Kyungsoo begins as soon as the door shut.
“No,” Chanyeol seethes, his shock quickly changing to anger. “This is not happening. We made a promise, Kyungsoo. You promise me!” the taller man yells as tears cascade down his face. “You promised it would be me and you…forever.”
“Our babies! What about Jongin and Sehun?” Chanyeol continues, crying in earnest now. “I can’t raise them by myself, Soo. I need you.”
“ Chanyeol ,” Kyungsoo emphasizes his name, grabbing hold of the man’s face in both of his hands. He brushes away the tears on his husband’s cheek, disregarding his own creeping out of his eyes. “I know you’re scared, baby. I am too.”
“Please, Soo…” Chanyeol sobs. “Please don’t leave me. I love you so much. I won’t be able to live without you.”
“But you have to, Chanyeol. For our babies. Think about Jongin and Sehun…they can’t lose both parents.” Chanyeol chokes on a sob at Kyungsoo’s words. Kyungsoo wraps the taller male into a hug, rubbing his hands up and down his back, allowing Chanyeol to lean on him as they both cried in the comfort of each other’s arms.
Kyungsoo winces as another shot of pain stabs through his head. He gently lies Sehun in his crib, admiring the angelic baby sleeping peacefully, completely innocent and unaware.
“Papa?” a quiet whisper comes from the doorway. Kyungsoo turns around and hides the grimace on his face as best as he can. “Is Papa sick?” Jongin asks, hesitantly stepping towards the adult. “Want Nini to get you some milk?”
Holding back tears, Kyungsoo smiles at his baby as he strides over towards the boy and picks him up, relishing in the loving way Jongin’s arms automatically wraps around his neck as the boy snuggles against him. “I’m fine, sweetie,” Kyungsoo lies as tears start escaping from his eyes. He feels Jongin shift in his arms, and then feels the boy’s small fingers wiping the tears away from his face.
“Don’t cry, Papa. Everything will be okay.”
Kyungsoo’s hand shakily reach up to touch his sleeping son’s cheek. “He’s growing up so fast,” he sighs, the effort of speaking exhausting him.
“Soo…” Chanyeol begins, choking on his words when his husband reaches to grab his hand.
“Papa…I drew you a picture,” Jongin says from the other side of the hospital bed, shyly holding out the family portrait he had drawn with the crayons the nurses gave him.
“It’s beautiful, baby,” Kyungsoo smiles, taking the drawing from his son. “My Jonginnie is such a wonderful artist.” Jongin beams at his papa’s compliment.
Kyungsoo looks over the three people in the room, silently thanking the Heavens for blessing him with such a wonderful family. He was torn more than anything that he would not live to see Sehun’s first day at school, or long enough to see his boys at their school graduation. He would miss all of the important milestones in their lives, but he was still thankful; because in that moment, when he knew that he was so close to death, he had all of the people he loved surrounding him. It was more than enough to satisfy him, because they were his strength; his hope; his everything.
Chanyeol was still in shock when the doctor exited the hospital room and offered him a sympathetic glance. “No…” he chants over and over, as if saying so would nullify the painful reality that his husband, the love of his life, had just left him and their children, forever. He’s crying again – it seemed like all he had been doing recently – as he looks down at his youngest son, and then over to his eldest. What was he going to do now? How was he going to manage to herculean task of raising two young boys on his own? He sinks down into one of the chairs lining the hallway, still mindful as to not jolt Sehun awake.
“Daddy…” Jongin whimpers to his left. He looks up, and regrets it instantly when he sees the boy’s dejected eyes. “Papa’s never waking up again, is he?” The words were like knives to Chanyeol’s heart. His tears are caught in his throat as he wraps an arm around Jongin, engulfing the boy in a hug.
“No, baby…” he says, trying to be strong for his son. “He’s in a better place now.”
To his surprise, Jongin does not begin crying, demanding for Kyungsoo like Chanyeol thought he would. Instead, the toddler wraps his small arm around his father’s waist. “It’s okay, Daddy. Don’t be sad anymore,” Jongin coos, smiling up at his father. “Papa is an angel in Heaven now, and he wouldn’t want to see us crying for him.”
“What’s got you in such a sour mood?” Jongdae asks, elbowing Baekhyun as he wipes the countertops.
“I don’t want to talk about it,” the brunet mumbles, focusing his attention on the one dirty spot in front of him.
“Doesn’t have anything to do with a certain tall, attractive widower…does it?” Jongdae pries again, teasing in his tone. “Come on, Baek. I’m not blind. You went from being on cloud nine after your date with him to being moody and quiet after coming home from his place the other night. What happened?”
“I said I don’t want to talk about it!” Baekhyun yells, throwing the rag down. He closes his eyes and breathes deeply, trying to find the strength he needed to not slaughter his friend.
“Okay, okay,” Jongdae says, holding up his hands in surrender. “But the children of the person you don’t want to talk about are here…” the raven-haired man points out, smirking at the door.
“Uncle Bacon!” Jongin greets, smiling from ear to ear as he ran towards Baekhyun. “Where have you been?” Why haven’t you come over?” the boy asks with a cute pout on his face.
Baekhyun smiles as he walks around the counter, kneeling down so that he is at eye level. “I’ve just been…busy, Jongin,” he replies, tousling the boy’s hair.
“Will you be busy tonight?” Sehun asks, coming up behind his brother to peer at Baekhyun. The brunet sighs before standing up and looking down at the brothers sadly. “Um, well…I–“
“He’s free,” Jongdae interrupts, grinning like the Cheshire Cat at his friend’s side. Baekhyun glares at the barista before sending what he hopes is a smile towards the boys.
“Great! Then we’ll see you at the party tonight!” Key says, walking up to the group, with Taemin trailing behind him.
“Party?” Baekhyun echoes, confusion apparent in his voice.
“It’s Daddy’s birthday tomorrow!” Jongin explains. “We’re gonna have a surprise party for him!”
“You have to come!” Sehun adds, clapping his hands and jumping up and down.
“The party starts at seven o’clock tonight. We’ll see you then!” Key says just as Baekhyun is about to decline. “Come on boys,” Key ushers the children towards the door, “we still have stuff to do before the party.”
“You have to come, Uncle Bacon!” Jongin yells over his shoulder as Key pushes him through the door. The boy turns around as the door closes and waves at Baekhyun, a gigantic grin on his face.
“So…” Jongdae says, throwing his arms around the brunet’s shoulders. “Guess that means I get your portion tonight, right?”
“We’re not friends anymore,” Baekhyun deadpans, glaring at the barista.
Jongdae’s only response is to teasingly shove the brunet while he walks away, laughing hysterically.
Chanyeol places the single rose atop the grave and smiles as he gets on his haunches in front of the smiling picture of his beloved. “How are you today, Soo?” Chanyeol asks, knowing well that he would not get a response. Regardless, he talks anyway, because pretending that there is even the slightest chance that he would get a response one day is easier than accepting that Kyungsoo was truly gone…forever.
“It’s been a while since it was just the two of us, huh?” Chanyeol continues, smiling at the gravestone. “The boys are with Key today. They’re throwing me a party…” He holds eye contact with the portrait before laughing sardonically. “I’m going to have to pretend, just like I always do, huh? Pretend that I’m surprised. Pretend that I’m happy. When am I going to be able to stop pretending, Soo?”
A gust of wind rattles the branches on the trees spread across the cemetery, scattering the leaves onto the ground and enveloping the large structure of the lone man sitting in reminiscence. Chanyeol shivers and rubs his hands together, creating friction as he allows the tears he had been holding in for so long to finally fall. Later on, he would claim that it was because the wind had caused him to tear up; but now, he allows himself to sob silently, finally able to let out his sorrow and frustration.
“I’m trying, Soo. I’m trying so hard to hold it together; to be a good dad and a good role model for our boys. But it’s not enough…they need more. As much as I do, as hard as I try, I can’t fill your shoes. I can’t be you.” Chanyeol rubs at his eyes, dragging his hands down his face. “They need more than me, I know that; but why is it that when I finally find someone who can be that person for them, someone who can make me happy, and make our boys happy, I’m reminded of you. You’re always on my mind. You’ve taken over every single moment of my life,” Chanyeol scoffs, “and you’re not even here anymore.”
A gentle breeze carries through the surrounding area, brushing across the tall man’s face, sweeping his hair across his forehead.
“WHY DID YOU HAVE TO DIE, DAMN IT?!” Chanyeol screams, his grief fluctuating to rage in seconds. “Why’d you have to leave me?” he sobs, burying his face in his hands. “I finally found someone, Soo… I found someone who actually makes me feel something, and I messed things up. Because I thought about you! Because I felt like I was betraying you…”
A stronger wind gusts by, shaking more leaves off of the almost-barren branches.
“What do I do, Soo? Please. Tell me what I’m supposed to so.”
“No! It’s not even!” Jongin pouts, pointing an accusatory finger at the incriminating “Happy Birthday” banner Jonghyun and Minho were currently holding up. Jonghyun sighs in relief when the doorbell rang, followed by an exclamation from the youngest Park child, which steals Jongin’s attention.
“Uncle Bacon!” Jongin greets, running up to the newcomer and snuggling in next to his brother to hug onto Baekhyun’s legs. “You came!”
Baekhyun laughs as he stops himself from toppling over with the help of the door behind him. “Of course I did,” he replies, bending down and pressing his brow to each boy’s forehead. “I could never turn down an invitation from my two favorite munchkins.”
“What’s that?” Sehun asks, pointing at the box Baekhyun is currently balancing on one arm.
“I made a cake,” the adult responds, smiling gratefully towards Key, who promptly relieves him of said dessert.
“Is it choco cake?” Sehun presses, eyebrows scrunched together, standing on his tippy toes as he tries to peer through the cardboard box the held the cake.
“No…” Baekhyun says, causing the toddler to frown, and then pout. “But I did make two very special chocolate cupcakes, just for my two favorite boys,” Baekhyun smiles, pulling a smaller box out from behind his back. The four-year-old gasps and claps his hands together excitedly as he jumps up and down in joy.
Jongin smiles at Baekhyun before throwing his small arms around the baker’s neck. He pulls back a moment later in endearing contemplation. “Sehunnie really likes chocolate, so it’s okay that you made chocolate cupcakes this time,” Jongin whispers softly. “But next time, can you make blue chicken?”
Baekhyun furrows his brows, flabbergasted. “B-blue…chicken?”
“Mm-hmm,” Jongin hums in response, grinning from ear to ear. “Uncle Key makes it sometimes, and it’s my favorite. Well…not really. I like yours and Appa’s cheese bread more…but blue chicken is really yummy!” Baekhyun turns when he hears Key laughing from behind him.
“Chicken Cordon Bleu,” Key offers, extending a hand to help Baekhyun up. Baekhyun nods in understanding, gratefully, as a yell rings out from the next room.
“PAPAAA!” Baekhyun and Key turn towards the living room moments before Taemin runs towards them. “Daddy and Uncle Minho keep stealing the air from the balloons. And their voices sound weird like girls!”
“B-but those balloons are for my Daddy!” Jongin exclaims angrily, grabbing onto his friend’s hand and stomping towards the living room like a man on a mission. Sehun trails behind his brother and Taemin hesitantly, peeking his head around the corner into the room. Baekhyun and Key both turn towards each other and burst into uncontrollable laughter as they listen to Jongin lecturing the two men in the other room about the responsibilities of being old people.
Chapter 10: Chapter Nine
Chanyeol takes a deep breath, pausing in front of the door, as he tries to gather himself and put on his happy face. After another series of inhales and exhales, he grabs onto the doorknob, making sure to be as loud as possible as to warn the others inside that he had arrived, and pushes the door open. Not a second later, a flashy exclamation of “SURPRISE!!!” greets him, and he is knocked back by his sons, who run at him at full speed to enwrap his legs in a tight hug. Chanyeol does his best to put on his surprised face as he kneels down to hug his boys.
“Were you surprised, Daddy?” Jongin asks excitedly.
“Surprised?” Sehun echoes, hopefulness in his innocent eyes.
Chanyeol makes a show of grabbing his chest and breathing heavily before responding to the children in front of him. “I was so surprised, I almost had a heart attack!”
Jongin and Sehun exchange triumphant glances before turning towards the kneeling giant. “HAPPY BIRTHDAY DADDY!!”
Chanyeol laughs and wraps an arm around each child, pulling them into a hug. “Thank you boys.”
“Happy birthday, Chanyeol,” Key says, smiling at the father and his sons.
“Yeah, Happy birthday, man!” Jonghyun – whose voice was slightly higher than normal – echoes.
Chanyeol pastes a smile on his face, showing gratitude towards his friends. He nods at Minho, who stands by the entrance to the living room with a shit-eating grin on his face.
“Happy birthday,” a softer, familiar voice says from somewhere behind Jonghyun. Chanyeol strains his neck, breath caught in his throat, as he searches for the owner of the voice. ‘It can’t be…’
“I…Baek…” Chanyeol stumbles with his words, unsure of what it is he actually wants to say. “Thank you.” Baekhyun smiles in response, blinding him, and effectively taking his breath away at the same time. ‘Beautiful…’ Chanyeol smiles. ‘So beautiful.’
“-YEOL!” Key’s voice brings him out of his stupor.
“I said, how about you stop staring at Baekhyun and come in.” Key smirks. “Or would you like for me to take a picture for you? It would definitely last longer.”
Chanyeol glares at his friend as he toes off his shoes, shooting an amused Baekhyun an apologetic look. Jongin stands next to his father, covering his soft giggles with one hand over his mouth, while Sehun stands in the middle on the room staring in confusion between Chanyeol, Baekhyun, and his giggling brother. “Old people are weird…” the toddler mumbles with his thumb sandwiched between his lips, causing all of the adult in the room to roar in laughter. Chanyeol ruffles Sehun’s hair as he herds the boy towards the living room. Out of the corner of his eye, he catches Jongin grabbing hold of Baekhyun’s hand, pulling the baker towards where the party is set up. He leads Baekhyun to the couch and gently pushes him to sit before turning to his dad.
“Daddy, you sit here!” the seven-year-old demands, pointing to the spot besides Baekhyun before hopping onto the adult’s lap. Chanyeol looked around the room and notices everyone else has already taken their seats, leaving only the seat next to Baekhyun open. Smiling internally, he cautiously walks over, climbing over the baker’s legs, and settles himself comfortably.
“Do you want to come sit on Daddy’s lap, Sehun?”
The toddler shakes his head vehemently and glances over at Baekhyun warily. “Hunnie has present for Daddy,” he mumbles, thumb still in his mouth. Chanyeol raises a brow, glancing over at Baekhyun, who looks at Sehun with a reassuring smile.
“You’ve got it, Sehun,” Baekhyun smiles, holding his right hand up in the form of a fist. “Just like we practiced.”
“Yeah! You can do it Sehunnie!” Jongin also cheers, pumping his small fists into the air.
Chanyeol turns towards his youngest son, sending an encouraging smile his way. The four-year-old pulls his thumb out of his mouth and takes a deep breath. With determination in his eyes, Sehun reaches over towards the coffee table and grabs the small microphone connected to a recorder. He then presses the red “RECORD” button, and then clears his throat and brings the microphone up to his mouth as he begins to sing.
“You’re my Honeybunch,
Y-you’re my Sweetie Pie.
You’re my Cuppycake,
You’re the Apple of my Eye.”
Sehun pauses, hesitantly looking over at Baekhyun. “I don’t ‘member the rest…” the toddler whispers, tears starting to form in his eyes. Baekhyun pats Jongin lightly and moves him from his lap, making his way over to the embarrassed boy standing in the middle of the living room.
“It’s okay, Sehun,” Baekhyun says, kneeling down next to the boy. “I’ll sing it with you, okay?”
Sehun nods, eyes lighting up, as he wraps his arms around Baekhyun as much as he could manage. Baekhyun returns the hug and rubs the boy’s back soothingly before taking hold of the microphone and bringing it towards the boy again.
Sehun nods and takes the microphone in one hand while his other hand grasps onto Baekhyun’s hand.
“And I love you so,” Baekhyun begins, nodding at Sehun.
“And I want you to know
That I’ll always be right here.
And I love to sing sweet songs to you
Because you are so dear!”
Everyone bursts into loud applause as Baekhyun and Sehun wraps up their song. Baekhyun leans over to stop the recording before flashing a thumbs up to the toddler.
“I knew you could do it. You were great, Sehunnie!” Beaming, Sehun throws himself onto Baekhyun, nearly knocking the brunet over with the force of his attack hug. Baekhyun laughs as he returns Sehun’s enthusiastic hug, squeezing the toddler tightly in his arms. He feels a warm pair of hands rest on his shoulders moments before he’s enfolded in a hug from behind.
“Thank you,” Chanyeol whispers from somewhere behind him, his hot breath tickling his ear. “And thank you, Sehunnie!” Chanyeol smiles, tapping Sehun’s nose with his finger. “That was the best birthday present I could ever ask for.” Baekhyun feels his face warm as he looks around the room at everyone’s smiling, knowing faces. Flushed, he moves to remove himself from the somewhat-awkward group hug, but feels something poking at his arm instead. Glancing down, Baekhyun finds Jongin squirming his way into the center of the group, using his head to lift Baekhyun’s arm out of the way so he could nestle himself snuggly in between Baekhyun and Sehun.
“I wanna be in the group hug too!” the seven-year-old exclaims, beaming up at Baekhyun and his father. Baekhyun finds himself laughing along with Chanyeol and the rest of the guests at the party as he relaxes back into the hug and wraps his arms around each child. He tilts his head to the side when he feels Chanyeol move forward to rest his chin on his shoulder.
“Of course, we can’t forget our Jonginnie,” Chanyeol says, ruffling the boy’s hair.
In that moment, Baekhyun truly feels happy; like he is a part of the family. The fact that Chanyeol was not his – that Jongin and Sehun were not his kids – did not matter. The only thing that mattered in that second, in that moment, was that he felt like he belonged.
“Thanks for everything, guys,” Chanyeol says, holding the door open for Jonghyun, who was cradling a sleeping Taemin in his arms. “I had a really good time today.”
“Of course you did,” Key replies with a smirk, pulling the taller male down into a hug. “But I doubt it was because of us.”
Chanyeol blushes as he pulls away. “I don’t know what you’re talking about…” he mumbles, rubbing the back of his neck sheepishly.
“Sure you don’t,” Key laughs as he eyes Baekhyun, who was still in the living room tidying up with Jongin and Sehun. “He’s good for you, Chanyeol. He’s good for all of you,” Key says as he steps out of the house. “Just don’t mess things up again, okay?”
Chanyeol stands staring at the closed door as it swings shut before his eyes drift to the portrait of Kyungsoo on the wall.
Don’t mess things up again.
“Sehun!” Chanyeol chases the toddler around the living room with a pair of pajama bottoms in his hands. “Come back here!”
Sehun giggles as he ducks behind the couch. “Too slow, Daddy.”
Baekhyun chuckles as he takes the plate from Jongin. “This happens a lot, doesn’t it?” he asks the child, who nods and grins widely. Shaking his head, Baekhyun places the last of the leftovers into the fridge. “Let’s go see if we can help your poor Daddy out, Jongin,” he says, wiping his hands on his pants. Jongin nods and takes Baekhyun’s hand as he follows the adult into the living room.
Chanyeol stands on one side of the room, hunched over and breathing heavily, while Sehun pokes his head up from behind the couch on the other side.
“He…I….I give up,” Chanyeol huffs, plopping down onto the ground. Baekhyun smiles as he walks over and takes the pajama bottoms from Chanyeol, while Jongin pats his father on the shoulder sympathetically.
Sighing dramatically, Baekhyun holds the pants up in front of his face. “What ever am I going to do, Chanyeol? I was going to offer little Sehunnie some dessert, but everyone knows that you can’t eat dessert without pants on…” Baekhyun smirks as he hears Jongin giggle, and sees Chanyeol’s jaw drop. Sehun gasps, throwing his hands over his mouth, as he runs out from behind the couch.
“Uncle Bacon!” he says, stopping in front of Baekhyun, “can you help Hunnie put pants on?”
Chanyeol softly closes the door to the boys’ bedroom.
“Thanks for staying and helping,” he says to Baekhyun as he walks towards the couch to join the baker. “You really didn’t have to…” He looks down at the brunet when he doesn’t get a response after a few moments. “Baekhyun?”
“Are you okay?”
“Oh…yeah,” Baekhyun says, putting down his phone. “Jongdae just called and said we had a situation at our apartment. I guess the pipes burst…”
“Oh.” Chanyeol sits down next to Baekhyun, making sure to leave some space in between them. “So…what are you guys going to do?”
“We’ll call someone to come and fix it, and then we’ll have to deal with the cost of the damages,” Baekhyun says, rubbing his hands over his face. “And I guess I have to find a hotel for the night.”
“What about Jongdae and Youngjae?”
“They’re staying at someone’s house. Someone Youngjae knows, I guess. But they only have room for two. Jongdae was just calling to tell me that.”
Chanyeol nods in contemplation as Baekhyun stands up. “Wait! Where are you going?” he asks, sounding slightly more panicked than he had intended.
“It’s late. I should probably get going if I’m going to find a bus to get me to a hotel,” Baekhyun responds, moving to grab his coat from the back of the couch. Chanyeol takes it in his hands before Baekhyun can even reach it. “Chanyeol?”
“Stay here,” Chanyeol offers quietly.
Chanyeol inhales deeply, gathering his nerves, and then looks up to meet Baekhyun’s eyes. “Stay here.”
“I couldn’t possibly–“
“I insist,” Chanyeol urges, standing up and tossing the coat onto the couch. He puts his hands on Baekhyun’s arms. “Please.”
“If you’re sure…” Baekhyun says hesitantly. “If you wouldn’t mind lending me an extra blanket, I–“
“Nonsense. You’ll get a sore back if you sleep on the couch all night. My bed is…it’s big enough.” Chanyeol looks at Baekhyun shyly. “We can…make a pillow barrier if you don’t trust me… Or I can sleep on the couch and you–“
Baekhyun barks a laugh and then covers his mouth to stifle the noise. “Chanyeol, you just told me I would get a sore back if I were to sleep on the couch. Do you really think I would want you to?” Baekhyun holds onto Chanyeol’s gaze, unblinking, and smiles lightly. “Okay…”
“Yeah…” Baekhyun repeats again, more to himself than to Chanyeol, as he looks down at his hands. Then, as if something hits him, his head lifts up and he glances at Chanyeol wide-eyed. “I-I have to use the bathroom…” Baekhyun suddenly says, brushing Chanyeol’s hands off of his arms and rushing to the restroom. Chanyeol smirks as he watches the brunet go, the telltale signs of a blush on his cheeks. He was about to head into his bedroom to grab Baekhyun a change of clothes when his phone rings. Frowning, Chanyeol fishes his mobile out of his pocket and brings it to his ear.
“Yo! Yoda!” Jongdae’s voice rings out on the other line.
“Yeah, man. Hasn’t anyone ever told you that you look like Yoda?” Jongdae laughs. “So, Baek’s staying at your place tonight, right? Dude, tell me you didn’t actually let him go to a hotel.”
“I–“ Chanyeol clears his throat. “Yes, he’s staying here. Are you and Youngjae going to be okay? You can have my couch if you need to.“
“Nah man,” Jongdae cuts Chanyeol off. “We’re home.”
“But…I thought…” Chanyeol furrows his brows in confusion. “Didn’t Baekhyun just say that your pipes burst?” He hears laughter on the other end.
“Yeah, I guess that’s what we’re going with,” Jongdae laughs again. “Look man, just…don’t hurt him, okay?”
“What?” Chanyeol asks, even more confused.
“Happy birthday, Yoda.”
“Hyung?” Youngjae asks, looking away from the TV as Jongdae hangs up the phone. “Do you really think this will work?”
Jongdae shrugs and buries himself deeper into the comforts of the couch. “If Chanyeol has any brain cells in that Yoda head of his, then maybe.”
“But…why are you helping him?” Youngjae asks, turning his body on the couch so that he faces the raven-haired man. “I thought that you –“
“Baekhyun likes him,” Jongdae responds, interrupting the younger boy. “Like, really likes him. If he can make Baek happy, then…then that’s all I could wish for.”
“Just drop it, Youngjae. That conversation we had, just forget that it ever happened.” Jongdae leans his head back on the couch, staring up at the ceiling. “I was drunk. I didn’t mean it anyway…”
Jongdae stares at the young boy on the opposite side of the playground. The way the boy’s dark brown hair bounces as he runs, the way his mouth transforms into a rectangle every time he laughs, and the innocence that seems to radiate from him has the eight-year-old in a trance, unable to look away. He smiles every time the other boy smiles, and laughs every time that melodious laughter rings through the air.
“Jongdae, sweetie?” his mother says, coming up from behind him,“are you ready to go?”
Jongdae nods and takes his mother’s hand, allowing her to lead him away. He turns his head around and watches as his angel swings on the swing set, laughing and yelling happily with the older woman who stands besides him. “Can we come back tomorrow?” Jongdae asks his mother, and jumps for joy when she agrees.
He had seen the boy in school before, and knew that he was in the classroom next to his. The boy was new, having only moved into town a month before. The first time they met, Jongdae had been playing ball with some of the other neighborhood kids before he tripped and fell, scraping his knee. He could almost feel himself beginning to cry before a soft hand brushed across his cheek. Jongdae had looked up to see the most beautiful boy he had ever set eyes on in his life. The boy’s head was bent as he placed a cartoon band-aid on Jongdae’s scrape. “Don’t cry,” the boy had said softly, before holding out his hand to help Jongdae up. He didn’t look up, but Jongdae caught the signs of the slightest smile as the boy walked away without saying another word, his head bent towards the ground. Jongdae had met an angel that day, he’d concluded. An angel in the disguise of a little boy.
Jongdae almost trips as he turns his head to look at the brunet boy again. His angel was always at the playground after school, and tomorrow, Jongdae would finally work up the guts to say hi to him.
Jongdae sits on the swing, pushing himself back and forth as he waits for the brown-haired angel to show up. He holds onto the cupcake his mother had bought for him, saving it to share with his new friend later. His face lights up when he spots said boy, tagging along behind a group of other kids. Anger surges through him as he sees the other kids walking away laughing, leaving his angel alone. Pushing himself off of the swing, Jongdae marches over to the brunet, stopping right in front of the crying boy.
“Are you okay?” he asks, fisting his hands at his side, almost squishing the cupcake in the process.
The boy looks up, teary-eyed, and lifts his hand to point at the group of kids who’d just left. “They won’t play with me.”
“Why?” Jongdae asks, unable to comprehend why anyone wouldn’t want to play with this angel.
“They said my parents didn’t…want me, so they didn’t want me either. That’s why I’m living with grandma.”
“I’ll play with you!” Jongdae exclaims happily.
The boy looks up at him. “Really?”
Jongdae nods, grinning widely. “Mmm-hmmm. I’m Jongdae! Kim Jongdae!” he introduces himself.
That day, Jongdae had promised Baekhyun, and himself, that he would take care of him. He wouldn’t ever let anyone else make his angel cry. That day, Jongdae promised to himself that he would do anything to keep Byun Baekhyun happy.
Baekhyun paces back and forth in front of the bathroom mirror with his hands clenched into fists. ‘You’re both adults, Baekhyun. It’s no big deal.’ He attempts to school his breathing as he pauses in front of the mirror and grips onto the sides of the sink. “It’s okay…” he whispers, doing his best to calm his nerves. “It’s just sleep.”
A knock at the door has Baekhyun jumping out of his skin. “Baekhyun?” Chanyeol’s muffled voice calls from the other side of the door. Baekhyun walks towards the door, carefully unlocking it before opening it up. “I brought some clothes for you,” Chanyeol says, smiling as he thrusts his arms out. Baekhyun mumbles a quick thanks and grabs the clothes from the taller man, then he closes the door once again. He leans up against the door with a hand over his heart, feeling the rapid beating of the organ.
Fifteen minutes later, Baekhyun creeps out of the bathroom and towards what he assumed was Chanyeol’s room. Chanyeol’s too-long sweatpants drag on the ground as he shuffles into the room, and the borrowed shirt swallows Baekhyun, making him seem much smaller than he actually is. He pauses in the doorway, chuckling softly when he sees Chanyeol arranging pills vertically down the center of the bed.
“Baekhyun!” Chanyeol say, turning around when he hears Baekhyun enter. His gulps as he stares at the brunet in front of him; seeing Baekhyun in his clothes brought out a sense of satisfaction that he couldn’t explain. “I-I made a barrier,” he states dumbly, pointing to the pillows. Baekhyun nods shyly as he approaches the bed. He stands by the side and stares down at the empty space in a daze. “Um…” Chanyeol clears his throat to bring Baekhyun’s attention back. “I’ll stay on my side, promise!”
Baekhyun nods again as he pulls the blankets back and climbs into the bed, lying down on his back stiffly on his side of the bed. He watches as Chanyeol follows suit before reaching over to turn off the lamp on the side table, covering the room in darkness. Then, he places his arms on his chest. Both men remained silent, listening to the breathing of the other, as the moon’s light shine through the slightly open window in the room.
“Baekhyun?” Chanyeol suddenly whispers, breaking the silence, “are you still awake?”
“Hmm?” Baekhyun replies, turning his head slightly in Chanyeol’s direction.
“I just wanted to say…thank you.”
Chanyeol exhales and then props himself up on an elbow, glancing at Baekhyun over the pillows. His outline in the dimly lit room casts a shadow over Baekhyun’s face. “For being here,” he replies, “it really meant a lot to me.”
Baekhyun pushes himself up and leans against the headboard. He nods, unsure of what to say..
“Baekhyun?” Chanyeol says again after a short moment of silence. Baekhyun lifts his head and looks at Chanyeol curiously. “About that time…”
“It’s okay,” Baekhyun interrupts him, not wanting to bring up the past.
“No,” Chanyeol urges, “I want to talk about it. I need to let you know that…” Chanyeol pauses, looking down at his hands. He breathes in deeply before raising his head to look at Baekhyun again. “It wasn’t because I don’t like you… I actually like you. A lot.” Baekhyun smiles at Chanyeol’s awkward confession. “I just…I was confused, and I suddenly thought about Kyungsoo and I–“
“Chanyeol,” Baekhyun jumps in, touching the taller man on the arm to shut him up. “It’s okay. I understand.” He feels Chanyeol sag in relief. “I-I like you too…” Baekhyun mumbles after a while as he stares down at his hands.
“What?” Baekhyun can feel Chanyeol lean over to fumble with the lamp switch, and a moment later, Baekhyun is blinded by the soft glow of the table lamp. “What did you say?” Chanyeol asks again, his eyes wide and hopeful.
“I said…” Baekhyun begins again, mentally cheering himself on. “I said that I like you too.” His heart swells as he watches Chanyeol’s face transform from shock to elation.
“You mean it? You’re not lying?” The giant man asks eagerly, leaning slightly forward. Baekhyun laughs, stealing Chanyeol of his breath.
“I mean it,” Baekhyun ensures him, moving his hand to cover Chanyeol’s.
Chanyeol beams and grasps onto Baekhyun’s hands. He looks down at their intertwined fingers, admiring the way Baekhyun’s hands fit so well in his. “Thank Heavens,” he mutters before yanking his arm back, pulling Baekhyun forward, and planting a kiss on the unsuspecting brunet. Baekhyun gasps as he feels Chanyeol tug on his arm before his lips are covered by the other’s. Stunned, his body tenses up, and all he could do in that moment is widen his eyes and stare back at the man kissing him. Chanyeol pulls back a moment later, feeling Baekhyun’s hesitation, with an expression of repentance.
“I-I’m sorry…” he whispers, looking down quickly to hide his wet eyes.
Shaking himself out of his stupor, Baekhyun lifts his hand to touch Chanyeol’s cheek. “Don’t be…” he whispers, bringing his other hand up to cup the other man’s face. “I’m sorry.”
Chanyeol looks up, wide-eyed. “Why?”
Baekhyun smiles softly before leaning forward and planting a kiss on Chanyeol’s nose, moving down to his mouth. “I’m sorry for not doing that,” Baekhyun replies with a shy smile. Chanyeol leans back, staring the smaller male in front of him, before reaching behind his head to pull Baekhyun’s head closer to him and engulfing him in another kiss. Baekhyun feels Chanyeol’s tongue tentatively smooth over his bottom lip and push forward; he parts his lips, granting him entrance, and moans as Chanyeol’s kiss became anxious and dire; their tongues dancing alongside each other in an intense oral wrestling match. When they finally pull apart, Baekhyun sports a pink flush while Chanyeol can’t help but grin goofily.
“Wow…” is all Chanyeol can to say as he studies the brunet. Baekhyun lifts his head to glance at Chanyeol and lets out a squeak as he then lifts the covers and throws them over his head. Chanyeol gapes at the lump underneath the covers, chuckling softly as he reaches over to turn off the lights and lie down. “Good night, Baekhyun,” he whispers to the bump next to him.
“Stay on your side!” he hears Baekhyun squeak faintly. Chanyeol grins widely and repositions the pillow barrier between them. He closes his eyes, and is almost asleep when he feels Baekhyun move to turn towards him. “Good night, Chanyeol…”
Chapter 11: Chapter Ten
Baekhyun pauses in front of his house and turns to look at his friend. “What are you doing?”
“What do you mean?”
“We passed your house already. You didn’t have to walk me home you know. It’s right down the street.”
“What’s wrong, Jongdae?”
Baekhyun reaches an arm up and places his hand on his friend’s shoulder. “Are they fighting again?” Jongdae nods, drawing patterns on the ground with his shoe. Baekhyun sighs. “Come on, you can stay here tonight.”
Jongdae looks up excitedly. “Really?”
“I’ll make you cheese bread,” Baekhyun says in form of response.
Jongdae whoops as he throws an arm over his friend’s shoulder. “Thanks, Baekhyunnie!”
Jongdae stands by the bed in borrowed clothing, clutching the pillow close to himself. He gulps and turns when he hears Baekhyun enter the room with his hair still wet from the shower.
“What are you doing?” Baekhyun asks, throwing Jongdae a look as he dries his hair with the towel hanging over his shoulders. “Why are you just standing there?”
Jongdae shrugs and turns towards the bed. “Where should I sleep?” He whips around to look at his friend again when he hears Baekhyun burst out in laughter.
“What do you mean?” Baekhyun asks, walking over and grabbing the pillow from Jongdae. He throws the pillow onto the bed before turning and smiling at the raven-haired boy. “You’re sleeping on the bed, silly.”
“What about you?”
“What about me?”
“Where are you going to sleep?”
“TOGETHER?!” Jongdae exclaims suddenly, causing the brunet to jump back slightly. “W-with me?”
“No, with the bogeyman. Of course with you, you doofus! Geez, what’s wrong with you today…” Baekhyun grumbles, walking around the bed to set the pillows in place, gathering one after another and placing them in a single, straight line down the middle of the bed. “There. Are you happy now?” Baekhyun sighs, straightening up, “you can just pretend you’re lying in your very own, very narrow bed.”
Jongdae laughs nervously as he looks down at the pillow barrier Baekhyun had built. He reaches down and grabs one of the pillows, hugging it once again. “No, it’s okay. We don’t need this.” He laughs again out of nervousness that only he seems to be feeling.
“You’re being so weird today…” Baekhyun mutters, raising his brow at his friend before pulling the covers back and climbing into bed. “We’re friends, Dae. I don’t understand why you’re so nervous about sleeping with your friend.”
“Friend…” Jongdae repeats under his breath as he walks over to his respective side of the bed. “Yeah….friends.” He lies down and rests his arms across his chest just as Baekhyun turns off the light.
“Night, Dae,” Baekhyun says as he snuggles into the blankets.
“Night Baek…” Jongdae whispers back, watching as his friend’s eyelids flutter shut. He raises his brow when moments later, he hears Baekhyun whine. “Baek?” Jongdae asks, leaning up on his elbow to get a closer look at the boy. Baekhyun is still asleep though, nestled snug in the covers, with the slightest upward curve on his mouth. Jongdae reaches over and traces the brunet’s lips ever so slightly, grinning as Baekhyun crinkles his nose from the soft touch. “Goodnight…Baekhyun.”
Baekhyun wrinkles his nose and licks his lips when he feels something tickle his bottom lip. He opens his eyes a second later when a soft giggle is heard to his left.
“Good morning Uncle Bacon!” Jongin greets happily with a broad smile on his face as he sits on his father’s lap. Baekhyun glances at Chanyeol, who also dons a dorky smile on his face as he sits up.
“Good morning, Jongin…” he mutters, rubbing his face with his hands. He glances around, noticing the pillows that had made up the barrier last night are scattered around the floor. “Were you….” He turns to the father-son duo, “were the two of you watching me sleep?”
“No,” Chanyeol is quick to reply as Jongin nods enthusiastically. Baekhyun raises a brow at the single father. “Yes…”
“You’re really cute in your sleep, Uncle Bacon,” Jongin informs him, leaning forward slightly. “Just like Sehunnie!” Baekhyun smiles at the boy and pats him on the head as Chanyeol hugs his son tighter. “But Uncle Bacon?”
“Why are you sleeping in Daddy’s room?”
Baekhyun opens his mouth to answer, but is unable to find the right words, so he sits on the bed staring at the inquisitive boy. “I-I…”
“There was a problem at Uncle Bacon’s house, so I asked him to stay with us until it’s fixed,” Chanyeol offers. Baekhyun exhales as he sends Chanyeol a grateful look.
“Like how Taemin and I have sleepovers sometimes?” Jongin asks, looking up at his dad. “Did you and Uncle Bacon have a sleepover?”
“Yes, exactly like that.”
“Um…how about some breakfast?” Baekhyun suggests, changing the topic of conversation. “I can make cheese bread.”
“Yay! Cheese bread!” Jongin yells, clapping his hands together with joy. “Can you make lots? Sehunnie and Daddy really like it too.”
Baekhyun nods. “Of course.”
“How about you go wake your brother up, Jongin?” Chanyeol says, helping the boy climb off of the bed. “Baekhyun and I will be right out.” Jongin nods and runs off, leaving the two adults in the room.
“Did you sleep well?” Chanyeol asks after a while of silence.
Baekhyun nods. “I did…thank you.” He glances over at Chanyeol shyly. “How about you?”
“Did you know you whine in your sleep?” Chanyeol asks abruptly instead of answering Baekhyun’s question. “Kinda like a puppy.”
“I-I do not!”
Chanyeol laughs as he moves closer to the brunet. “You do. It was rather cute. But of course, I couldn’t sleep because of the noise…so I had no choice but to stop you.”
Baekhyun swallows as Chanyeol gradually leans closer and closer towards him. “H-how?”
Chanyeol smirks, his face inches from Baekhyun’s. “I kissed you.”
Kyungsoo leans back against the counter and observes the scene of his boys playing together. Jongin had surrounded Sehun and himself with all of the toys from his toy chest – ranging from stuffed teddies, to rubber duckies, to toy trucks. The baby pays no heed to his older brother’s constant wish to play, however; his attention remaining solely on the light-up musical rattle sitting mere feet away from him. Kyungsoo chuckles lightly as he watches Sehun squirm on his tummy, trying to crawl over towards his beloved toy as Jongin continually places yellow ducks in his path.
“Look, Sehunnie! This is Daddy duck, and this is Papa duck!” the boy exclaims, searching around him. “Papa! I can’t find Nini and Hunnie ducks!”
Kyungsoo shakes his head as he walks over and picks up two of the smaller toy ducks hidden amongst the mountain of toys. “They’re here, Jongin.”
“Thanks Papa!” Jongin smiles, grabbing the toys from Kyungsoo. “Look Sehunnie,” Jongin says to the baby – who is still determined as ever to reach the musical rattle – “This can be Nini duck, and this one is Hunnie duck. That’s you,” Jongin says, pointing to the smallest duck, “because you’re the baby.”
Sehun, getting frustrated, starts crying, his lips trembling and face turning red. “Papa!” Jongin turns towards Kyungsoo in panic. “Do something!” Kyungsoo beds down to pick the baby up as Jongin reaches across the floor for the rattle. “Here Sehunnie!” Jongin says, standing on his tippy-toes to get the toy to Sehun’s eye level. “Here’s your rattle. Don’t cry!” Upon seeing his favorite toy, Sehun stops crying immediately and reaches out to grab the rattle in his small hands. Jongin sighs in relief as Kyungsoo walks towards the couch and sits Sehun on his lap. “Papa?” Jongin says, climbing onto the couch next to Kyungsoo, “When is Daddy going to be home?”
“He’ll be home soon. He probably had to stay a little late at work today.”
Jongin nods in understanding and leans against Kyungsoo, wrapping his legs around one of Kyungsoo’s thighs and linking his arms with Kyungsoo. “Papa, do you think Daddy will bring home cake today?”
Kyungsoo turns and looks down at the boy. “Did you want cake, Jonginnie? I can make one…”
“No Papa! You shouldn’t have to make your own birthday cake silly!”
Kyungsoo pauses, a smile forming on his face as he looks at his older son. Birthday. He had forgotten that today was his birthday, and was slightly impressed with the child for remembering. “Well…maybe that’s why Daddy’s late then.”
Jongin nods enthusiastically. “I hope Daddy brings home choco cake.”
“But you don’t like chocolate cake,” Kyungsoo says, rubbing the boy’s back.
“I know! But Papa and Sehunnie love choco cake,” Jongin responds with a wide smile. His eyes brighten when he heard the sound of the door opening. “Daddy’s home!”
Kyungsoo laughs as he watches Jongin jump off the couch and run towards Chanyeol, almost knocking the taller man over. He stands with Sehun in his arms and walks over to greet his husband. “You’re home late,” he says, leaning up to peck Chanyeol’s cheek as Chanyeol leans down.
“I had to pick up something really important,” Chanyeol responds with a grin.
“Is is choco cake, Daddy??” Jongin asks.
“It sure is, Jonginnie! You’re so smart!” Jongin beams at the compliment.
“Why don’t you and the boys go wash up for dinner,,” Kyungsoo says, handing Sehun over to Chanyeol. “I’ll get dinner ready.”
Chanyeol nods and takes baby as he watches Kyungsoo head into the kitchen, holding the cake box in his hands. A sad smile appears on his face as he thinks about that cake; the last birthday cake Kyungsoo would ever get.
Kyungsoo sighs softly as he lowers himself onto the nice, soft bed. “Tired?” he hears Chanyeol ask as his husband crawls into bed next to him and opens his arms. Kyungsoo moves towards Chanyeol, snuggling against the man’s chest as he allows himself to listen to the rhythmic beating of Chanyeol’s heart.
“No,” Kyungsoo lies. But he was always tired. These days, even the smallest, most minuscule task drains him of his energy. Of course, he would never admit this to Chanyeol. “Thank you for tonight.” He feels Chanyeol’s arms around him tighten, and looks up. “What’s wrong?”
Kyungsoo sits up, twisting his body around so that he can face his husband. “Why?” he whispers, even though he already knows the answer.
“You’re getting worse, Soo….” Chanyeol replies, looking down at his hands. “What if–“ Kyungsoo places a finger on Chanyeol’s lips, interrupting him.
“We both knew the day is going to come eventually, Chanyeol. We’ve known for months now.”
“That doesn’t make it any easier,” Chanyeol replies, his voice breaking. “Do you know how heartbreaking it is for me to see you wasting away every day? How hard it is for me to look at our sons, knowing that they’ll have to grow up without you?”
Kyungsoo reaches up to wipe away the stream of tears on Chanyeol’s cheek. Exhaling, he lifts Chanyeol’s face up, forcing the man to look him in the eyes. “Do you know how hard it is for me to know I won’t be around for them? For you?” Kyungsoo chokes. “I’m scared too, Chanyeol. But we can’t just be scared our entire lives.” Chanyeol sniffles as he pulls the smaller male towards him, wrapping his arms around Kyungsoo again. “I know you’re scared,” Kyungsoo continues, “but I need you to be strong, Yeol. Be strong for me; be strong for our babies. They’ll need you more than ever when I’m-“ Kyungsoo turns his head into Chanyeol’s chest. “When I’m gone…”
Chanyeol doens’t respond. Rather, he hugs Kyungsoo even tighter and allows the man to sob into his chest. Kyungsoo is right; he had to be strong. If not for Jongin and Sehun, he had to be strong for Kyungsoo. Because no matter how hard it was for him, Chanyeol knew it was harder tenfold for Kyungsoo. The two sit there in silence in each other’s embrace, crying. When Chanyeol finally feels that Kyungsoo had calmed, he pulls him away and wipes the tears from his eyes.
“I got you something…” he says, reaching over to the bedside table and opening the drawer. He pulls a out necklace with a shiny, red heart pendant hanging from the chain. “Because when you smile, your heart shows,” Chanyeol says, tapping Kyungsoo’s lips with his forefinger.
Kyungsoo laughs as he takes the necklace into his hand, examining the gift. He furrows his brows when he spots the inscription ‘N.F.A.’ on the back on the pendant. “What does that mean?” he asks, looking up at Chanyeol.
Chanyeol smiles as he takes the necklace from Kyungsoo and unhooks it, placing it around the smaller male’s neck. “Now. Forever. Always,” he says, closing the clasp on the necklace. “I love you now; and I’ll love you forever. Always.”
Kyungsoo smiles as new tears begin forming in his eyes. “Thank you,” he whispers, hugging his husband.
“Happy birthday, Soo.”
“Stay a little longer.”
“I can’t. It’s getting late, and the buses will stop running soon.”
“Just for a little while. Let’s cuddle,” Chanyeol says, leaning down to rest his chin on Baekhyun’s shoulder.
“It’s just cuddling, B.”
Baekhyun smiles at the nickname. Turning off the water and wiping his hands on his pants, he twists around to face the giant. “Just cuddling.”
Chanyeol whines from the sudden loss of heat. “What are you doing?” he mumbles, wiping the sleepiness from his eyes.
“It’s late, I have to go home.”
“Just spend the night,” Chanyeol replies, sitting up and taking ahold of the brunet’s arm.
“I can’t. Jongdae’s waiting up for me…”
“Just text him.”
“I–“ Baekhyun’s words die in his throat when Chanyeol tugs on his arm, pulling him back onto the bed.
“Stay…” Chanyeol whispers, curling himself around the smaller male.
Baekhyun smiles into his arm as he reaches over for his phone.
To: Baekkie~ ♡
Are you coming home for dinner tonight?
From: Baekkie~ ♡
Nope! I’m having dinner at Chanyeol’s place tonight ^^
Jongdae sighs, throwing the phone aside, frowning. He can’t even remember the last time he’d seen Baekhyun – save for the time they see each other at the bakery; but even then, Baekhyun was constantly on his phone texting with Chanyeol. Jongdae and Youngjae had been left to eat dinner in each other’s company while Baekhyun frequented the Park household every night after the shop closed. At first, Jongdae would lie in bed waiting for the sound of the door opening in the wee hours of the night, only able to fall asleep once he knew Baekhyun had made it home safe and sound. As the days passed, however, Baekhyun began coming home later and later, until one night he texted Jongdae telling him he wasn’t coming home at all.
It wasn’t that Jongdae wasn’t happy for Baekhyun; he was. He was glad that his friend now had someone that he liked; and someone who liked him back. He just missed Baekhyun. Jongdae had grown so accustomed to spending time with Baekhyun, that it felt weird going to sleep knowing the brunet was not curled up in his bed in the room adjacent.
“Hyung?” Youngjae says, popping his head into Jongdae’s room, “are we waiting for Baekhyun hyung tonight?”
“No,” Jongdae replies dejectedly, running a hand over his face. He hears Youngjae fidgeting in the doorway before he feels the dip in his bed.
“Let’s go out tonight,” Youngjae suggests, resting a hand on Jongdae’s knee. “On me!”
“I’m not in the mood.”
“Come on, hyung! Please??” Youngjae whines, shaking Jongdae’s arm. “We can go to that coffee shop you’ve been wanting to try!”
“Fine,” Jongdae exhales, knowing that Youngjae wouldn’t stop his whining until he agreed. “But you’re paying.”
“Whatchu doing Daddy?” Sehun asks, eyes wide as he stands on his tiptoes to try and see what Chanyeol was mixing.
“I’m making dinner,” Chanyeol replies, sticking his tongue out of the corner of his mouth in concentration. ‘Two teaspoons of salt. No…was it tablespoons? UGH! What was it?!’
“Whatchu making?” Sehun asks innocently, pushing a step-stool in front of the counter before climbing up and staring at the mess Chanyeol had made. “Doesn’t look like this when Uncle Bacon makes dinner…” the toddler mumbles, shaking his head. Chanyeol pouts as he mixes the ingredients, hoping the he’d remembered the details of the recipe correctly.
“Daddy, what’s that smell?”
Chanyeol drops the mixing bowl in his hands as he spins around, gaping at the pan on the stove. ‘Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!’ he yells at himself as he runs over to turn off the heat before grabbing the smoking pan and tossing it into the sink.
“Chanyeol?” The man in question peeks over his shoulder, smiling sheepishly at the brunet standing in the doorway. “What happened?”
“Daddy made a fire!” Sehun exclaims, jumping off of the stool to run over to his older brother. Jongin hugs Sehun as he stares in disbelief at his dad standing in front of the smoking sink.
“It wasn’t a fire…” Chanyeol mumbles, staring at the ground.
“Again, Daddy?” Jongin asks. Chanyeol pouts. “Daddy…you should just stick to sausages,” Jongin says nonchalantly before taking Sehun’s hand and leading the toddler out of the kitchen. If possible, Chanyeol’s pout deepened.
Baekhyun bites back a giggle as he walks over to the single father, placing a comforting hand on the man’s shoulder. “What were you making?” he asks, peeking into the sink.
“I was trying to make Carbonara…” Chanyeol mutters. “Youngjae said you liked it…”
“Ahh,” Baekhyun replies, a smile playing at his lips. “Well,” he says, turning off the faucet, “it’s the thought that counts.”
Chanyeol slumps onto the floor in frustration, leaning up against the cupboards. “I just wanted to do something for you for once!” the man whines miserably. “I just wanted to make you happy and–“
“Chanyeol,” Baekhyun interrupts him, sliding down to sit next to him, “you already make me happy.” Chanyeol turns to face Baekhyun, still pouting. “You don’t know how happy you and the boys have made me. So please, don’t be upset, okay?”
“But I just feel like you’ve done so much for us these past couple days. You pick the boys up for me when I have to work overtime, you cook us dinner, you even clean my house!” Chanyeol throws his hands in the air. “You’re doing too much…and I haven’t done anything for you.”
“You have,” Baekhyun replies softly, taking Chanyeol’s shoulders in his hands and turning the man to face him. “You have.”
“What have I done? Besides feed you inedible food and almost poison you to death?” Baekhyun winces at the memory. He’d had to take the day off from work, and had spent the entire day sitting by the toilet due to the undercooked chicken Chanyeol had tried to feed him one night when the boys were at Key and Jonghyun’s house. “I can’t believe you even ate it! It was disgusting.” Chanyeol buries his face in his hands.
“Okay, fine. You’re not the best cook.” Chanyeol scoffs. “But you try, and I find that to be very sweet.” Baekhyun pulls Chanyeol’s hands away from his face. “I never had a complete family growing up, Chanyeol. I didn’t have a mother and father I could spend time with, who I could eat dinner with. I didn’t have any siblings. The closest person I have to family now is Jongdae. So, please. Don’t think that you haven’t done anything for me…because you have. You’ve allowed me into your household. You’ve given me the chance to get to know your kids. You made me feel, even for a moment, that I had a family – that I belonged. I know I can never–“ Baekhyun takes a breathe, clutching his hands together in his lap. “I know that I can never replace Kyungsoo in your heart; in the boys’ heart. But thank you for giving me the chance to be in your lives. You’ve done more for me than you’ll ever know, Chanyeol.”
Chanyeol remains quiet as he stares at Baekhyun, who had made the entire speech looking down at his hands. ‘Is that what he thinks? That we won’t accept him?’ He reaches over and takes the brunet’s hands in his. “B…” Baekhyun looks up, blinking back tears that are threatening to fall. “You’re right,” Chanyeol says, looking Baekhyun in the eye. “You will never replace Kyungsoo…” He feels Baekhyun stiffen and try to pull his hands away; Chanyeol holds onto them even tighter. “Kyungsoo is the boys’ Papa; and he always will be. I love him, and I always will. But–“ he brings up one hand to cup Baekhyun’s face, wiping away the single tear that had managed to escape, “that doesn’t mean that we don’t care for you as well.” Baekhyun sniffles, bringing his hands up to wipe at his eyes. “You must know by now… You must see how much you mean to the boys.”
“And I thought you knew how much you mean to me…”
“Chanyeol,” Baekhyun breathes out, unsure of what to say in response to Chanyeol’s confession.
“I know it hasn’t been long since we’ve known each other, Baekhyun,” Chanyeol continues, afraid that if he stopped now, he would never get the courage to say it again. “But you give me these feelings that I never thought I would feel again. After Kyungsoo died…I tried to see other people. Really, I did!” Baekhyun laughs at Chanyeol adamance. “But no one made me feel even the slightest bit like you do. You made my dormant heart beat again…for you.”
“Chanyeol, I-I don’t know what to say…”
“Just say yes,” Chanyeol smirks. “Say you’ll be my boyfriend. Say that we’re official now.”
Baekhyun grins and takes Chanyeol’s face in his hands. “Yes.”
Chapter 12: Chapter Eleven
“Are the kids asleep?” Baekhyun asks, grabbing the pizza box and bringing it to the trash.
“No, they said they want you to tuck them in,” Chanyeol replies, picking up the paper plates on the table. “Go, I’ll finish the clean-up.”
Baekhyun nods and wipes his hands on his pants as he heads towards Jongin’s and Sehun’s room. “Boys?” he says, peeking into the room to find Sehun sitting on his brother’s bed, leaving an empty space between the two.
“Uncle Bacon!” Jongin smiles. “We saved you a spot!”
Baekhyun smiles back and crawls into the small space, allowing Jongin and Sehun to wrap their arms around his torso. “Why aren’t you boys sleeping?” Baekhyun asks with a scowl on his face, pretending to reprimand them.
“Uncle Bacon, are you and my Daddy boyfriends now?” Jongin asks instead.
Shocked, Baekhyun turns his body to gape at the boy. “W-Where did you hear that, Jongin?”
“Taemin said you and Daddy are boyfriends and that you’ll get married and me and Sehunnie will have a new Papa!” Jongin manages to say in one breath.
“That’s what Daddy called you,” Sehun supplies, scooting up to observe Baekhyun, thumb in his mouth, “in the kitchen…”
“Are you gonna be our Papa now?” Jongin interrupts again, peering up at Baekhyun wide-eyed.
“Uh…” Baekhyun looks from Jongin to Sehun, taking in their curious and anxious expressions.
“Because Sehunnie and I are okay with it,” Jongin cuts in again.
Sehun nods enthusiastically, climbing to sit on Baekhyun’s thighs. “Hunnie want Papa.”
Baekhyun feels tears stinging at his eyes as he looks between the two little boys in front of him. Jongin suddenly sits up as well, kneeling next to his brother. “Nini wants an Papa too!” he exclaims. Baekhyun tries to hold back his tears, but he ends up losing the battle. Letting out a sob, he envelopes the boys in his arms, hugging the two tightly to his chest as he looks up and sees Chanyeol standing in the doorway, smiling at the three of them.
“Where’s Baekhyun hyung?”
“Chanyeol has the morning off today,” Jongdae replies, grounding the coffee beans like he had some sort of vendetta against them. “He’ll be in later this afternoon.”
“Oh…” Youngjae replies, glancing over sadly at the barista. “Do you want me to make some cheese bread?” the boy asks, suddenly excited. “Baekhyun hyung showed me how!”
Jongdae sighs, guiltily looking at Youngjae’s retreating back. The boy looked like a kicked puppy as he trudges into the kitchen, head hung low and staring at the ground. Jongdae makes to go after him when the bell rings, indicating a new customer. Dejectedly, Jongdae slaps on a smile as he returns to his post. ‘I’ll just apologize to him later…’
“Hello, welcome to Byun’s Ba-“
Jongdae’s words die in his throat when his eyes land on the stunning stranger with the dazzling smile walking towards him.
Chanyeol hums as he shrugs off his coat, placing the bag on the kitchen counter. The house is quiet, indicating that a certain brunet was probably still asleep. The single father glances down at his watch as he ambles into his bedroom, beaming at the adorable ball curled up in the middle of his bed.
“Baekhyun,” Chanyeol whispers, pulling back the blankets to uncover the slumbering male’s face. Baekhyun whimpers softly, making the puppy noises that Chanyeol had grown to love so much. He gingerly sweeps the stray strands of hair away from the brunet’s face as he leans down, brushing his lips against Baekhyun’s ear. “B…it’s time to wake up.”
Baekhyun groans as he shifts away from Chanyeol, grabbing the blankets and pulling them over his head once again. “No…go away…” Chanyeol hears him mumble into the sheets. Laughing, Chanyeol tugs at the covers again, wrestling the petite male until Baekhyun let out a frustrated groan and reluctantly opens his eyes. “It’s too early,” he whines, and Chanyeol has to stop himself from squealing aloud.
“Baby, come on,” Chanyeol coaxes, pulling Baekhyun up by the arms, “we have to go to work soon.”
Baekhyun yawns and grudgingly allows Chanyeol to pull him out of bed and into the dining room. He compliantly sits down when the lankier male leads him to the chair, his head nodding and his eyes closing as he waited for Chanyeol to return.
“I grabbed some breakfast on the way home from dropping the boys off at school,” Chanyeol says, reaching into the paper bag and pulling out a danish. “You like berries, right?”
“Here, try a piece,” Chanyeol says, holding the strawberry danish out to Baekhyun. “They’re really good!”
Chanyeol chuckles and places the bag down on the table before tearing a piece of the pastry off, bringing it to Baekhyun’s lips. “Open up, Baek.” Eyes hooded, Baekhyun glances at the food in front of him as he opens his mouth, allowing Chanyeol to feed him. “Now chew.” Baekhyun chews. “Do you want something to drink?”
Chanyeol stands and heads for the kitchen, coming back moments later with two cups of juice in his hands. He shakes his head and smiles as he watches Baekhyun stare at the danish on the table, as if willing the danish to magically fly to his mouth. “Here,” Chanyeol says, sitting back down and handing a mug to Baekhyun, who surprisingly takes it without dropping it.
“I want more,” Baekhyun whines, staring at the pastry. Chanyeol shakes his head as he tears off another piece and feeds it to Baekhyun. He takes a few bites of his own before standing, taking the remaining half of danish and placing it into the brunet’s hand.
“Eat,” he says, holding Baekhyun’s hand until he was sure the man wouldn’t drop the food the moment he lets go. “I have to go change for work.” He sees Baekhyun nod as he leaves the room. Baekhyun seems to be much more awake when he comes back into the room; he had polished off his breakfast, and is searching in the bag for seconds. “Told you they were good,” Chanyeol chuckles, sitting back down and chugging his drink as his other hand goes up to cup Baekhyun’s cheek.
“Hm?” Baekhyun hums, peering at Chanyeol curiously as he chews.
Chanyeol reaches his thumb over to the corner of the brunet’s mouth, swiping away the trace of strawberry preserves before bringing it to his mouth. “You had something on your face,” he says, smirking at the pink tint in Baekhyun’s cheeks. Baekhyun swallows and wipes his mouth with the sleeve of his shirt.
“Is it gone now?”
Baekhyun gasps into Chanyeol’s mouth as the man suddenly smashes their lips together, his hand reaching behind to grasp onto Baekhyun’s nape, pulling him in closer. Chanyeol pulls back, leaving Baekhyun in a daze, and smirks.
“Now it is.”
Chapter 13: Chapter Twelve
“Thanks, Baekhyun. I don’t know what I would’ve done without you.”
“It’s no problem, Chanyeol. Really. I love spending time with the kids.” Baekhyun anchors the phone between his ear and shoulder as he helps Sehun into his jacket. “We just hired a new assistant as well, so Jongdae and Youngjae will be fine without me for a day. Now you just focus on work, and we’ll see you when you get home later, okay?”
“You’re the best, B. Honestly…I don’t know how I even got so lucky.”
“Oh, stop it, you big cheeseball,” Baekhyun teases, kneeling down to tie Sehun’s shoes; but he can’t stop the pink from tinting his cheeks. “Go back to work, Giant.” He hears Chanyeol’s sharp intake on the other end of the line, and pauses, his fingers freezing in the middle of pulling the bunny ears through the loops of Sehun’s laces. “Chanyeol?”
“Chanyeol, are you okay?” Baekhyun asks again, forgetting the laces altogether as he stands up.
“Y-yeah,” Chanyeol finally responds, his voice hoarse. “I’m fine.”
“Are you sure, because you–“
“I’ll see you later, Baekhyun.”
The line clicks and Baekhyun frowns as he looks down at the device in his hands. Worry tugs at his gut as he runs over everything he’d said during the five-minute conversation again, wondering what he could have possibly said to cause such a reaction in Chanyeol. He was still racking his brain for a reason when he feels a slight tug on his pant leg.
“Uncle Bacon?” Baekhyun’s eyes soften at the wide-eyed, open mouth look Sehun gives him from the ground. The toddler has the ends of the shoe laces in his small hands, each leading to loose knots hanging in the middle of his shoe. “Hunnie need help…” he child says, looking at the mess in his hands dejectedly.
Worry cast aside, Baekhyun chuckles as he kneels down once again, taking the shoe laces from Sehun’s hands. “You did good, Sehunnie. You almost got it!” Baekhyun cheers. “Here, I’ll teach you,” Baekhyun says, taking a lace in each hand. “It’s simple, really. Do you like bunnies, Sehun?”
Sehun nods, looking curiously at the adult as he wonders why Baekhyun was asking him about bunny rabbits at a time like this.
“Well, if you remember this little rhyme, you’ll be able to tie your own laces like a pro in no time!” Baekhyun exclaims. He begins by crossing the lace over each other as he recites the poem:
“Bunny ears, Bunny ears, playing by a tree.
Criss-crossed the tree, trying to catch me.
Bunny ears, Bunny ears, jumped into the hole,
Popped out the other side beautiful and bold!”
Sehun watches in awe as Baekhyun finishes up the rhyme and tightens the knot on his now perfectly tied laces. “Uncle Bacon….you’re so smart!”
Baekhyun smiles as he unties the laces once again. “Now your turn, Sehunnie. You try.”
Nervously, Sehun takes the white laces into his hands, sticking his tongue out of the side of his mouth as he begins the rhyme. “B-bunny ears, Bunny ears, playing by the tree… Crissy-crossy the tree trying to catch Hunnie!” Baekhyun laughs at Sehun’s rendition, watching Sehun carefully pokes the loop through the hole as he was taught. “Bunny ears jump into the hole, and POPPED OUT THE OTHER SIDE BEAUTIFUL AND BOLD!” Sehun screams the last line, grinning from ear to ear as he looks at his neatly tied shoes in astonishment. “I did it! Hunnie did it!” the toddler yells, jumping up. “Nini hyung! Hunnie knows how to tie his shoes now!” Sehun exclaims, clapping excitedly as Jongin walks over with his book in hand, peering at Sehun’s shoes.
“Wow! Sehunnie you’re so smart!” Jongin yells, holding his hand up for a high-five.
“Are you ready to go, Jongin?” Baekhyun asks, smiling fondly at the brotherly affection between the two.
“Yup yup!” Jongin responds, running back to put his book on the coffee table before coming back with one of his arms in his coat. “Watch me, Uncle Bacon! I can tie mine really good too!”
“What’s that for?” Jongin asks, resting his chin in his hand as he watches Baekhyun cover the chicken breasts with plastic wrap.
“This is a meat mallet,” Baekhyun says, showing the tool to Jongin and Sehun. “You use it to pound the chicken, to make it nice and thin.”
“Ohhhhh,” both brothers says in unison, watching as Baekhyun gently pounds one of the breasts until it was about a quarter inch in thickness.
“Do you want to try?” Baekhyun asks, handing the mallet to Sehun. The toddler nods enthusiastically as he took it into his hands. “Just do it like I did, okay?” He then moves down the kitchen counter to stand in front of Jongin. “Do you want to help me dip the strawberries, Jongin?” Baekhyun asks.
Jongin nods excitedly.
He sits the bowl of melted chocolate in front of Jongin and watches as Sehun glances over, staring at the chocolate with wide eyes. Picking up one of the strawberries they’d previously washed, he holds it by the stem and dips it three quarters of the way into the chocolate, then pulls it out and rolls it into one of the various toppings arranged on the counter. “Just like that, okay? You can just dip it and put it onto this tray, or you can dip it into any topping you like just like I did,” Baekhyun explains. Jongin nods, and Baekhyun stands by and watches as the boy dipped his first two strawberries before turning to the stove and checking on the potatoes.
Two hours later, every is done. The food had been cooked to perfection, the chocolate-covered strawberries sat chilling in the fridge, and the dining room table is decorate lavishly with rose petals that Jongin had insisted they buy at the market. Two wine glasses and a bottle of wine sit in the center of the table next to the handmade, heart-shaped center piece Jongin and Sehun had put together, along with two plastic wine glasses for Jongin and Sehun. Baekhyun exhales as he folds the blanket and looks around the room; everything’s perfect. Now the only thing left is to wait for Chanyeol to return home.
“Come on boys,” Baekhyun says, herding the boys into the bathroom. “Let’s take a bath and get changed before your Daddy comes home.”
“Wow…this is really nice, Chanyeol.” Kyungsoo gawks at the profligately decorated private dining area, mentally scolding his boyfriend for wasting so much money on one simple dinner. “You shouldn’t have.”
“Always the best for you, Soo,” Chanyeol replies, taking his seat and wiping his palms on the leg of his pants. The taller male seems to be unusually anxious and he fidgets in his seat, looking anywhere but at his petite boyfriend.
“Are you okay, sweetie?”
“Huh? Yeah, I’m fine! Haha…”
Kyungsoo eyes the man opposite him curiously, but chooses to not push the topic. Something is obviously bothering Chanyeol; but Kyungsoo knows the man would talk to him when he was ready.
Throughout the dinner, Chanyeol seems off. He would constantly space off, not listening to anything Kyungsoo would say; or he would randomly leave his seat to stand out in the hallway, before coming back into the room moments later even more anxious than before. The fifth time he got up and came back, Kyungsoo had had it.
“Chanyeol, either you tell me what’s wrong with you right now, or I’m leaving,” the smaller male demands, throwing his napkin down onto the table.
Panic passes across Chanyeol’s face as he stares at his boyfriend and starts to stutter. “Soo, I…uh…I-“
“You know what, never mind,” Kyungsoo says, interrupting him as he stands up. “I don’t know what’s wrong, but if it’s big enough for you to not even recognize my existence while I’m sitting right in front of you, then whatever. This was supposed to be a nice and romantic date, Chanyeol, and you ruined it.”
Chanyeol sputters but can’t seem to form any coherent sentences.
“Just call me when you’re over whatever it is you’re going through, that you can’t seem to care to tell me about,” Kyungsoo says, heading for the exit. “Oh,” he pauses, turning back to face Chanyeol to throw something at him before leaving, “and Happy Valentine’s Day.” A small, wrapped box lands in front of Chanyeol’s feet as the door to the private dining room slams shut. Chanyeol stares at the gift in amazement before picking it up and running to catch up with the smaller male.
The man continues walking, refusing to turn and let Chanyeol see the tears of frustration streaming down his face.
“Kyungsoo!” Chanyeol calls again, reaching his arm out to grab hold of Kyungsoo’s bicep. He pulls and turns the man around, forcing him to face him. Kyungsoo sniffs as he lowers his head, and stands staring at the ground quietly. “Please, just listen to me!” Chanyeol huffs, pleading as he leans down slightly to catch his breath.
Kyungsoo doesn’t respond, but neither does he try to pull away. He looks up slightly when Chanyeol lets go of his arm.
“I’m sorry. I was so-“ Chanyeol brings a hand to rest over his heart, “I’m just so nervous.”
Chanyeol takes a deep intake of breath as he reaches into his breast pocket, bringing out a small, velvet box.
The taller male looks around, wincing as he notices people beginning to pause and look their way. This was why he’d wanted a private room – Chanyeol had always hated this much attention put on his private life. Shaking his head, he kneels down until one knee touches the ground. ‘It’s now or never, Park Chanyeol,’ he mentally cheers himself on as he looks up at a wide-eyed Kyungsoo.
“Chanyeol…w-what are you doing?”
“Kyungsoo, will you marry me?”
The silence that follows is deafening. Chanyeol nervously glances around as people begin to gather, all while Kyungsoo remains silent. Was he about to be rejected in front of all these people. He closes his eyes, preparing himself for the inevitable, when he feels a soft touch on his shaking hands. Opening his eyes, Chanyeol is greeted with a teary Kyungsoo trying to lift him up to his feet.
“Get up, you big ol’ giant!” Kyungsoo cries, wiping his face with his sleeve.
“Is that a-“
“YES!” Kyungsoo cuts him off, jumping up to wrap his arms around Chanyeol, clinging onto him like a monkey. “Of course I’ll marry you, Park Chanyeol. Why the fuck did it take so long for you to ask?” Kyungsoo sobs into his shoulder.
Chanyeol chuckles as he lowers Kyungsoo back onto the ground, taking the ring out of the box, and sliding it onto Kyungsoo’s held out hand. He grins as he looks at the way the ring shines on Kyungsoo’s finger, before pecking the man on the lips. “I love you so much, Soo.”
“And I love you, Giant.”
Chanyeol sets the single red rose across the headstone, brushing his fingers over the smiling picture of his late husband.
“Happy Valentine’s Day, Soo.”
Chanyeol opens the door and is immediately attacked.
“Daddy’s home!” Sehun exclaims, crashing into Chanyeol has he wraps his father’s legs in his arms.
“Finally! Daddy I’m so hungry,” Jongin whines, rolling off the couch and walking over to Chanyeol for his own hug. He grins goofily at the matching outfits Jongin and Sehun both have on – black bottoms and a pink sweater with a red heart in the middle.
“You both look very handsome tonight,” he says. Sehun claps and giggles just as Baekhyun enters from the kitchen.
“Oh, you’re home,” he greets, a warm smile on his face as he watches the father-son trio hugging.
Chanyeol freezes when he sees Baekhyun sporting similar attire as his son. He swallows as the brunet approaches; where Jongin and Sehun’s outfits were cute, Baekhyun’s tight-fitting black denim jeans that hugged his curves in all of the right places, coupled with the loose, pale pink sweater made Chanyeol want to-
“I asked if you’re ready for dinner,” Baekhyun laughs, staring slyly at the single father’s dumbfounded expression.
“Huh? Oh…yeah,” Chanyeol replies, trying to collect himself, and definitely not trying to look at the way Baekhyun’s pants hugged his hips so seductively.
“We made blue chicken today, Daddy!” Jongin shouts, beaming.
“And choco strawberries!” Sehun adds in with a clap.
Chanyeol nods as he allows himself to be led into the dining room. He helps Jongin settle into his seat as Baekhyun helps Sehun, and then both adults returns to their own respective chairs.
“Can we do it now, Uncle Bacon??” Jongin asks, practically bouncing in his seat as he eyes the plastic wine glass in front of him.
Baekhyun chuckles as he grabs Sehun’s glass and hands it to him, before picking up his own. “Sure, Jongin. We can do a toast now.”
Chanyeol picks up his own wine glass, eying the drink in his sons’ glasses suspiciously.
“Grape juice,” Baekhyun supplies before Chanyeol can even ask.
“Now??” Jongin asks again, holding his glass out eagerly towards the center of the table.
“Now,” Baekhyun nods.
“HERE’S TO BLUE CHICKEN!”
“Here’s to being around people you enjoy spending time with the most,” Baekhyun adds, his eyes sparkling as he smiles at Chanyeol from across the table.
Jongin and Sehun turn to their dad, expectantly.
“Here’s to…” Chanyeol raises his glass as well, “here’s to never letting go of old love, but not letting it stop you from being happy again. Here’s to family… Here’s to new beginnings.”
“Then he rustled his feathers, curved his slender neck, and cried joyfully, from the depths of his heart, ‘I never dreamed of such happiness as this, while I was an ugly duckling.’”
Baekhyun closes the book, looking down at the sleeping boys on either side of him. Gingerly, he unwraps himself from their grasps, getting off of the bed as carefully as possible as to not wake them up. He scoops Sehun up in his arms, moving the small boy over to his own bed, and smirks at the small whine the boy emits from the sudden coolness in the sheets. “Sweet dreams, Sehunnie,” he whispers, tucking the child in before leaning down to place a peck on his forehead. He then turns back to Jongin, repeating the gesture of kissing his forehead like he’d done to his brother. “Goodnight, Jonginnie.”
As he straightens up to leave, he feels a soft tug on his fingers. Baekhyun looks down, surprised, at Jongin’s partially opened eyes. “G’night…Papa,” the boy mumbles sleepily, before turning over and going back to sleep.
“Are the boys asleep?” Chanyeol asks, drying his hair with the towel hanging around his shoulders.
“Baek, you okay?”
Baekhyun nods again.
Concerned, Chanyeol walks over and kneels in front of Baekhyun, taking the man’s hands in his own. “Baekhyun, what’s wrong?”
Baekhyun shakes his head, shaking himself from his stupor. “It’s nothing, Chanyeol. I was just lost in my thoughts.” Chanyeol nods, but continues to peer at the brunet reluctantly. He gets up and walks out of the room, leaving Baekhyun to stare after him in confusion. A moment later, Chanyeol walks back into the room a moment later with his messenger bag and a big smile.
“I know we both agreed on not exchanging gifts,” he says, taking a seat next to Baekhyun on the bed, “but this was the boys’ idea.” He pulls out a canvas and hands it to Baekhyun.
Tears sting at Baekhyun’s eyes as he looks down at the present in his hands – a painted portrait of the picture all four of them had taken together at Chanyeol’s birthday party. His fingers move on their own accord, softly brushing across the details of each face. “I love it,” he whispers, hugging the painting to his chest. “I love it so much.”
Chanyeol wipes Baekhyun’s tears with his hands before taking the painting from him, with Baekhyun reluctantly letting go and looking after his present wistfully even after it was placed onto the bedside table. “And here’s my gift for you,” Chanyeol says, demanding Baekhyun’s attention, as he gently places a kiss on his lips. “Happy Valentine’s Day, Baekhyun.”
Baekhyun smiles as Chanyeol pulls away. “Happy Valentine’s Day, Chanyeol,” he says, pushing the man down on the bed as he connects their lips once again.
Chapter 14: Chapter Thirteen
Chanyeol’s back connects with the mattress and the next moment, Baekhyun is on top of him, straddling his midsection with a shy smile on his face. He doesn’t even have the time to smile back before the petite man leans down to capture his lips again, gently pecking kiss after kiss along his mouth, tracing the shape of his lips with sweet kisses. He feels Baekhyun’s fingers at his collar, tickling his neck as they work to unbutton his pajama top. A groan escapes him when Baekhyun shifts, rubbing his thigh against his crotch.
“Baekhyun,” Chanyeol gasps, holding onto the man’s shoulders, finding the will in himself to stop the sweet loving the petite man was offering. Baekhyun pauses and looks at him, his bottom lip jutted out in a cute pout. “You don’t have to do this, baby,” Chanyeol says, mentally smacking himself from stopping this beautiful moment. “I don’t want to rush things. I don’t want you to do something you’re not ready to do.”
Baekhyun sits up, his hands sliding with him until they rest on Chanyeol’s chest. He remains silent as he studies the man beneath him. Was he ready for this? It hadn’t been that long since he and Chanyeol had been official. He should’ve been more wary; should’ve been more cautious and taken things slow. This. Taking control of the situation and making the first move…was something Baekhyun never imagined himself doing. What was it about the man in front of him – well, beneath him – that made Baekhyun want to throw all of his reservations out the window? Park Chanyeol was a conundrum; but he was a mystery Baekhyun was willing to dive head-first into.
Baekhyun glances down, taking in the man under him. Chanyeol works at his bottom lip, eyes staring up at him with worry. “I want to,” he whispers, curling his hands into the material of Chanyeol’s top. “I want this. I want you.”
Chanyeol sits up, resting one hand comfortably on Baekhyun’s waist while his other hand moves to cup the brunet’s face. “Are you sure?”
“I’m sure,” Baekhyun confirms, covering Chanyeol’s hand with his own.
Chanyeol smiles as he grabs Baekhyun’s shoulders, swinging him around, switching their positions. He chuckles when Baekhyun hits the mattress with a soft “oomph”, eyes wide and mouth agape in surprise. He reaches for Baekhyun’s pants, pulling them and his boxers down to his hips, taking in the man’s smooth skin. Baekhyun blushes as he lifts his hips up, allowing Chanyeol to fully undress his lower half before throwing his bottoms on the floor beside the bed. The pink in his cheeks only intensify when Chanyeol comes back into view, his eyes lustful, as his hands reach for Baekhyun’s top. “Sit up for me, baby,” Chanyeol whispers, helping to pull Baekhyun up into an upright position so he could remove the brunet’s shirt. Baekhyun lies back down once the shirt was over his head, completely bare, hands playing with the sheets beneath him. He frowns when Chanyeol’s lips finds their way to his neck, pecking at the delicate skin.
“Wait,” Baekhyun pouts, pushing the taller male away.
Chanyeol frowns, but stops as he sits up. “Do you want to stop?”
Baekhyun shakes his head. “It’s not fair,” he pouted, the blush returning to his face even with the determination in his eyes. “We need to even the playing field.”
Chanyeol looked down at Baekhyun, eyes wide, before barking a laugh, the sound reverberating around the room. Baekhyun gasps as he shoots up and places a hand over Chanyeol’s mouth, eyes wandering to the closed doors, praying that the sound hadn’t woken up the boys. After a few minutes, when the door still remained closed and there were no sounds of footsteps coming down the hall, Baekhyun removes his hand from an amused Chanyeol’s face. He fists one of his hands and hit the taller man’s chest, pout still present on his face. “Stop laughing at me, you big, mean giant!”
Chanyeol chuckles as he gently pushes the brunet back down, before pulling his own shirt over his head. “Is this better?” he asks, still amused at how cute he baker was. He furrows his brows when Baekhyun replies too soft for him to hear. “What was that baby?”
“Pants too,” he whispers, seemingly confident before pouting and covering his face with a pillow. Chanyeol fights the urge to yank the pillow from Baekhyun’s delicate fingers and ravage that cute little pout off his face as he stands to pull his bottoms off as well. He grabs the bottle of lube in the drawer and a condom before coming back to the bed.
“Am I being fair now?” Chanyeol asks as he climbs back onto the bed, gently pulling the pillow out of Baekhyun’s grasp. He watches, amused, as the brunet’s eyes travel from his face, down to his chest, and then further still down to his erection. “Baekhyun,” Chanyeol says, demanding the brunet’s attention again, “are you sure?”
Baekhyun nods, biting at his bottom lip. “I trust you.”
A sense of déjà vu hits Chanyeol, but he isn’t allowed much time to ponder as Baekhyun’s hands find their way to his erection. A groan escapes his throat as he stares, watching Baekhyun’s fingers curling around his manhood. “Wait, baby,” he croaks, stopping Baekhyun before he ends it before anything even starts. “Let me.” He opens the bottle of lube with one hand and parts Baekhyun’s thighs with the other. Kneeling in between the brunet’s parted legs, Chanyeol glances up, smiling when he sees Baekhyun staring at him in wonder. His forefinger traces the rim of Baekhyun’s opening as his other hand travels up Baekhyun’s smooth thighs to grope at his member. Baekhyun gasps when Chanyeol suddenly takes his cock into his mouth, squirming at the sudden warmness, and at the finger still teasing around his rim.
Chanyeol releases Baekhyun’s cock, pours the clear lube onto his fingers, and begins teasing around the squirming man’s opening again. “I’m going in, baby,” he says, pushing his lubed digit into the clenched hole, watching in fascination as Baekhyun swallows his finger. He looks up and frowns at the discomfort present on the brunet’s face. “Are you okay?”
Baekhyun bites his lip and nods. “I’m okay,” he says, wriggling around on the bed, grateful that Chanyeol was giving him time to accommodate to the intrusion. “You can keep going.”
Chanyeol studies Baekhyun’s face for a while before slowly moving his finger, pistoning it in a out. “I’m adding another one, baby,” he warns moments later, glancing up to see Baekhyun nod before pushing his second finger in alongside the first.
The feeling of initial discomfort gradually starts fading as Chanyeol begins pumping his fingers in and out, scissoring them in order to stretch him. Baekhyun finds himself moving along with Chanyeol, pushing down every time Chanyeol’s fingers push up. He jumps when he feels Chanyeol’s fingers curl inside him, rubbing against a particular sweet spot. “Ah! Ch-Chan…”
“Does that feel good, baby?”
“More!” Chanyeol’s fingers become ruthless as he pistons them even faster, making sure to reach Baekhyun’s prostate every time. Baekhyun loses it when his other hand reaches to grab Baekhyun’s cock, pumping it in rhythm with his fingers. “Chanyeol!” Baekhyun cries, releasing himself all over his chest and the bed. Chanyeol grins as he slows to a stop, watching Baekhyun become undone, before leaning up and taking Baekhyun’s lips in his mouth. His tongue delves deep into the hot cavern, exploring every inch of Baekhyun’s mouth. Baekhyun pushes back, his tongue snaking alongside Chanyeol’s, forcing it’s way into the other’s mouth. When Chanyeol finally pulls off, Baekhyun is a gasping mess beneath him.
“How are you feeling?” Chanyeol asks, hands traveling down Baekhyun’s body until they reach his nipples. His fingers play with the small buds, pinching them, making Baekhyun squeak. “Are you ready for round two?”
Baekhyun’s eyes widen as he nodded, watching Chanyeol rip open the condom’s packet. “Wait,” he says, holding his hand out to take the condom from Chanyeol. “Let me…” Baekhyun sits up as Chanyeol leans back on his haunches, and rolls the condom over Chanyeol’s erection.
“Lie back down, baby,” Chanyeol groans as Baekhyun pumps his hand up and down a few times, “let me take care of you.” Obediently, Baekhyun complies, lying back down as he watches Chanyeol once again part his thighs, then pours some more lube over the condom. “Ready?” the taller male asks, taking one of Baekhyun’s legs and resting it on his shoulders.
Baekhyun nods in confirmation. “I trust you, Chanyeol.”
Chanyeol leads the tip of his cock to Baekhyun’s entrance, slowly pushing in. Baekhyun gasps at the bigger, more painful intrusion, his hands fisting the dirtied sheets beneath him. “Breathe through it, Baek,” Chanyeol reminds him, slowly inching forward, “it’ll be better soon.” Baekhyun whines as Chanyeol thrusts in all at once, tears escaping the corner of his eyes as Chanyeol sheathes himself all the way in him. He feels Chanyeol’s hand touch his cheek, wiping away his tears. “I’m sorry, baby. I couldn’t help it. I couldn’t wait any more…” Chanyeol whispers, peppering his face with soft kisses and licking the tears away. “Just tell me when you’re ready for me to keep going, okay?”
Baekhyun lies there, allowing Chanyeol to kiss a trail down from his face to his jawline, and then to his collar. He gasps as the taller man starts sucking on a sensitive spot on his neck, his hands flying up to squeeze the man’s shoulders. “You can move now.”
Chanyeol doesn’t need to be told twice as he pulls back slightly before pushing forward again. He relishes in the way Baekhyun’s tightness clenches around him, squeezing him like a too-tight glove. “God, Baek…you’re so….tight,” he grunts as he fucks the man beneath him.
“AH!” Baekhyun screams as Chanyeol pushes back in, this time hitting his prostate, before throwing his arm over his mouth to muffle the noise. His vision blurs as Chanyeol continues to ram into him, hitting his sensitive bundle of cells every time. “C-Chanyeol!” he cries as he feels the man’s hand wrap around his erection. “I’m– hnngg!”
Chanyeol grunts as he feels his climax begin to build. Sweat beads on his forehead as he increases his speed, reaching down to grab Baekhyun’s other leg and bending the man in half in order to go deeper with each inward thrust.
“Ah….huh….hnng!” Baekhyun pants as the new position allows Chanyeol to pound into him, hitting his prostate at a new and more torturous angle. “Ah! Fuck!” he yells, clenching around the organ inside him.
“Baek, fuck,” Chanyeol groans, “I’m going to–” Chanyeol shouts as he explodes into the condom; and Baekhyun follows shortly after, spraying his and Chanyeol’s chest with his cum as Chanyeol never slows his speed, pumping into him until his seed is fully drained.
Chanyeol looks down at the completely wrecked man beneath him as he slides out of Baekhyun, pulling the condom off and tossing it in the trash bin nearby. He slumps down on the bed next to a panting Baekhyun, wrapping his arms around the smaller man’s waist and pulling him closer. His nose nudges itself into the crook of Baekhyun’s neck, breathing in the scent of sex, and the soft, powdery scent that was distinctly Baekhyun. He smiles into Baekhyun’s shoulder as the brunet male pushes back against him, molding himself to Chanyeol’s body.
“Baek?” Chanyeol asks after a few minutes. Baekhyun hums in response, turning his head to face the single father. “Can you–” Chanyeol makes a face, rising up to lean on his elbow, “can you pinch me?”
Confused, Baekhyun sits up, wincing from the pain in his bottom, and stares at Chanyeol in concern, but reaches over to pinch the man all the same. His brows furrow when Chanyeol yelps before wrapping Baekhyun in his arms once again and lying down. “Why did you just ask me to pinch you?” Baekhyun asks, looking up at Chanyeol, shifting so his head lie on Chanyeol’s bicep.
Chanyeol smiles as he kisses Baekhyun’s forehead. “I just wanted to make sure it wasn’t another dream.”
Chanyeol scrunches up his nose and opens his eyes to find the reason to his itchy nose being Baekhyun’s hair against his face. Smiling, he smooths away the flyaway hairs on the brunet’s head, before tilting Baekhyun’s face up, making the other man whine in his sleep. He smiles at the memory of last night as he fondly traces his finger along Baekhyun’s face. The petite male had definitely been tired out by their activities. Baekhyun had fallen asleep shortly after in Chanyeol’s arms and remained in a dead sleep when Chanyeol rolled him over to clean him up with a warm cloth; he didn’t even wake up when Chanyeol skillfully tugged the soiled sheets from the bed, throwing them into the washer before crawling back beside Baekhyun and throwing the comforter over the both of them.
“Baek…” Chanyeol whispers, brushing his lips across the brunet’s nose. Baekhyun wrinkles his nose and whines, arms snaking their way around Chanyeol’s waist as his face lowers to lean against Chanyeol’s chest.
“Ten more minutes…” the baker mumbles, voice muffled from the material of his lover’s shirt.
“I don’t have work today, so I’m fine with that,” Chanyeol chuckles, squeezing his arm around Baekhyun, tugging him closer, “but I’m not sure either one of us is ready to face Jongdae’s wrath if you show up late for work again.” He hears Baekhyun groan as he moves to sit up, only to yelp and clutch at his lower back seconds later. “What? What’s wrong?” Chanyeol asks, shooting up and looking at the brunet up and down with concern on his face.
“It hurts,” Baekhyun whines, pouting at the taller male. “This is all your fault!” he says, hitting Chanyeol with his fists when the single father starts laughing. All laughing ceases, however, when he sees Baekhyun try to move and wince again.
“Should I call Jongdae?” Chanyeol asks with concern as he helps to massage the brunet’s back. “I’m sorry, baby.”
“No…” Baekhyun responds, gingerly swinging his feet off the bed. “I’ll be fine.”
“I’ll run a hot bath for you,” the taller male offers, hopping off the bed and heading towards the bathroom. “You can soak while I prepare breakfast.”
“You’re going to prepare breakfast?”
Chanyeol pauses, turning around with a pout present. “I can put cereal into a bowl and toast bread.”
Ten minutes later, Baekhyun walks into the dining room and sits down next to Jongin, who’s in the process of ripping apart his bread and arranging it in the shape of a smiley face on his plate. “Good morning boys,” Baekhyun greets, reaching an arm over to pat Sehun’s head, chucking as the toddler pours chocolate milk into his bowl of Cocoa Puffs.
“Good morning!” Jongin smiles back, jumping down from his chair to wrap his arms around Baekhyun’s waist. “Are you all better now Uncle Bacon?”
Baekhyun freezes, his arm limply wrapped around Jongin’s back. “W-What do you mean?” he asks, staring wide-eyed at the boy,
“I heard you scream last night,” Jongin frowns. “Daddy said you were dreaming though…”
Baekhyun lets out the breath he didn’t know he was holding, and smiles down at the 7-year-old, wrapping his arm around him in a one-arm hug. “Yes, I’m okay now.”
“Next time you have a bad dream,” Jongin says, climbing up onto Baekhyun’s lap, “just ask Daddy to hug you. He makes all of mine and Sehunnie’s bad dreams go away, right?”
“Yeppers!” the toddler exclaims, mouth full of chocolate cereal.
Baekhyun chuckles, helping Jongin off his lap and back to his seat before glancing at towards the kitchen. “What’s that smell?” he asks, sniffing the air.
Jongin stuffs the eye of his smiley face into his mouth. “Daddy burnt the toast again.”
“Call me when you’re done, I’ll pick you up.” Baekhyun smiles, fingers lingering where they rest on Chanyeol’s hand, reluctant to let go. “I’ll miss you.”
“It’s not like I’ll be gone forever,” Baekhyun laughs, opening the car door. “I’ll see you later. Bye boys!” Jongin and Sehun wave in the back seat, both happily sucking on the strawberry lollies Baekhyun had given them. “Have fun at the park,” Baekhyun smiles, closing the door. He stands in front of the bakery, waiting until Chanyeol’s car drives away before heading inside.
“Well, look who finally decided to show up.”
Flinching at the accusing tone in his friend’s voice, Baekhyun smiles in greeting. “Sorry, Jongdae. I–“
“Whatever,” Jongdae cuts him off. “Just go help Youngjae. He’s been struggling trying to do your job.”
“Jongdae…” Baekhyun is interrupted, once again, this time by the bell of the door. Slapping on a smile – he would just have to talk to Jongdae later – Baekhyun turns to greet their customer. “Hello, welcome to–” his words are caught in his throat at the sight of the man standing by the door, hands in the pocket of his black slacks. “Kris?”
Chapter 15: Chapter Fourteen
“Hey, Baek,” the tall blonde standing at the entrance greets with a smile. Standing at six feet two, Kris Wu was a force to be reckoned with. The model demanded attention, even as he just stood there without saying a word. Baekhyun’s throat constricts as he finds himself subconsciously taking a step back, closer to Jongdae.
“K-Kris…” he croaks, looking at the man before him with wide eyes, his mouth slightly agape.
“What are you doing here?” Jongdae cuts in, taking a step forward and to the side to slightly hide Baekhyun behind him.
The blonde laughs and walks over to one of the tables, leaning onto the tabletop as he folds his arms across his chest. “It’s nice to see you again too, Jongdae. Still as grumpy as ever, I see.” The glint in his eyes give away that he’s messing around with the barista; but Jongdae wasn’t having any of the Chinese man’s jokes.
“I asked you what the fuck you’re doing here,” Jongdae demands again, balling his hands at his side.
“Geez man, calm down,” Kris says, the smug smile never leaving his face as he pushes himself off the table and holds both of his hands up in the universal sign on surrender. “I’m in town for a shoot, and I heard that there was a pretty good new bakery that recently opened. Imagine my surprise when I heard that the owner of the bakery was none other than the cute lovesick puppy that used to follow me around way back when.” Kris shoots a look towards Baekhyun, who’s still standing, frozen in his spot, behind his friend. “I just wanted to come try out some of the goods and catch up with old friends,” the blonde continues, taking a step forward towards the two.
“No one here is your friend,” Jongdae seethes. Baekhyun can tell he was doing his best to hold himself back; he takes a step forward and rests his hand gently on Jongdae’s shoulder. The brunet can feel Jongdae’s shoulders instantly sag as the tension leaves his body with Baekhyun’s touch. His hands, however, remains curled up into fists, and his eyes never leave the tall model.
“I’m hurt, Jongdae,” Kris chuckles as he walks forward, and both Jongdae and Baekhyun shuffle sideways as he walks pass them towards the display of baked goods. “And here I thought we were besties, right Baek?”
Baekhyun flushes and looked down at his feet. “I’m gonna go check on the bread,” he mumbles before making a beeline towards the kitchen; unaware of the mirrored pining expression on the faces of both men he left behind.
Kris clears his throat after a moment and points to a random pastry in the window. “I’ll have that one.”
“I thought you didn’t like sweets,” Jongdae raises his brow, walking behind the counter to box the raspberry filled chocolate cupcake with chocolate creme frosting.
Kris looks caught off guard for a moment before flashing his confident smile once again. “People change, Jongdae, and so do their tastes. I love chocolate now.” Jongdae shrugs and grabs the cash from the model’s hand, then gives him back his change with the boxed cupcake. “Thanks man. See you again.”
“I hope you choke on that…” Jongdae mumbles as he watches Kris exit the bakery. He turns and heads into the kitchen to find Baekhyun, and misses how Kris tosses the cupcake into the trash bin right outside the bakery before walking off.
Chanyeol holds Sehun in his arms propped against his waist as he stands leaning up against his car. A look down at his wristwatch tells him that the bell would soon ring and Jongin would be filing out with the rest of his classmates. The toddler in his arms is getting antsy when he lifts his head from his dad’s shoulder and looks around, and still did not see his brother.
“Daddy, when will Nini hyung come?” Sehun whines, squirming in Chanyeol’s hold.
“Any moment now.” Just as Chanyeol finishes his sentence, the school bell rings and the doors of the school open not a moment later. Chanyeol watches as the teachers from each class lead the younger students out, leading them towards the designated area to wait for their parents to pick them up. He notices Jongin towards the back of the line with Taemin, both laughing about something as they walk down the steps. When Jongin notices him and Sehun, he raises his hand and waves enthusiastically.
“Daddy, it’s hyung!” Sehun giggles, turning his body around as he reaches his arms out towards Jongin. Chanyeol laughs and pushes himself off of the car and makes his way towards Jongin’s teacher to sign his name for pick-up. “Daddy, put Hunnie down! Down!” Sehun cries, and as soon as Chanyeol lowers him to the ground, the boy toddles over towards his older brother and envelopes him in a hug.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Park,” Jongin’s teacher greets him, handing him the clipboard and pen, “you brought Sehun today.”
Chanyeol nods and chuckles as he scribbles his initials next to Jongin’s name. “Yeah, I had the day off today.”
“It’s always nice to see him,” the teacher smiles, taking the clipboard back from Chanyeol. “They’re so very close, it’s very heartwarming. You’re doing such a great job raising your kids, Mr. Park.”
“I’m trying,” Chanyeol smiles, turning to look at his two sons. Jongin is haunched over as Taemin helps Sehun climb onto his brother’s back, and once he was situated, Sehun clings onto his brother like a koala. He nods a goodbye to Jongin’s teacher and walks over to the three boys, ruffling Taemin’s head affectionately as he leans down and picks up Jongin’s backpack.
“Hi Uncle Yeol!” Taemin greets, smiling up at him.
“What’s up, kiddo? Your parents aren’t here yet?” Chanyeol asks, looking around.
The seven-year-old shakes his head. “Daddy said he’d be late this morning.”
“Do you want to come home with us?” Chanyeol asks, grabbing his phone from his back pocket when Taemin and Jongin start nodding eagerly. “I’ll give your dad a call.” Chanyeol watches as Jongin piggybacked Sehun and runs from Taemin, who runs after the brothers pretending to be a monster. He leaves a message for Jonghyun when the man doesn’t pick up, and sends a quick text to Key as well for good measure. Pocketing his phone again, he walks over to sign Taemin out as well. The teacher, who’s used to having the boys’ parents picking them up in the other’s place, simply nods and smiles when Chanyeol tells her that Taemin would also be going home him. Chanyeol bids goodbye to the teacher once again and calls the boys over, leading them towards the car. He buckles Sehun into his carseat and makes sure Jongin and Taemin are both safely buckled in as well before getting into the driver’s seat, “So, what do you boys want to do today?”
“Can we go to the park and swim, Daddy?” Jongin asks, leaning forward hopefully.
“I don’t see why not,” Chanyeol nods, “how does that sound boys?” he asks Taemin and Sehun, who both agree happily. “How does a picnic in the park sound?”
All three boys yell their approval as Chanyeol pulls out of the parking lot and drive home to prepare for their outing.
Once home, Chanyeol leave the boys to play on their own while he rummages through the fridge for things to take along with them on their picnic. He pulls out the remaining half of the watermelon in the fridge and a few apples and grapes to makes a fruit salad, and was washing the fruits when his phone vibrates in his pocket. A smile instantly spreads across his face when he sees whose name appears on his phone screen.
“Hey baby,” Chanyeol greets, anchoring the phone between his shoulder and chin.
“Hey you. How’s your day off going?”
“Good. Sehun and I just got back from picking up Jongin and Taemin. How’s work?”
“Taemin’s there? Work’s…fine.”
“Yeah, we’re going to head to the park for a picnic and a swim,” Chanyeol says as he began peeling the apples. “Work is fine? How come that doesn’t sound so convincing?”
“It’s nothing…” Chanyeol hears Baekhyun’s soft sigh on the other end of the line, and is about to ask what was wrong when Baekhyun continues. “I just miss you, that’s all.”
The single father smiles and pauses in his peeling. “I miss you too, B. Are you almost done with work?”
“I’m just waiting for the cheese bread to come out of the oven. We’re officially adding it to the menu. When are you going to the park?”
“In about an hour, think you can join us?”
“Yeah, I think I can make it work… Should I bring some sandwiches?”
“Bring anything you want, as long as you bring some cheese bread along as well.”
“Okay,” Baekhyun laughs. “Let me just go check to see if Jongdae and Youngjae need anything. Text me the address? I’ll meet you there.”
Chanyeol hangs up the phone after bidding goodbye to Baekhyun with his mood considerably brighter, and continues chopping the fruits into bite-sized pieces. He leaves the job of gathering the blanket and toys to the boys, and watches in amusement as Sehun dictates what they should and shouldn’t bring while Jongin and Taemin scramble to get said items. Chanyeol, in the meantime, goes to gather their clothes and towels, stuffing them into a backpack. He grabs two extra change of clothes as well – one for himself, and one for Baekhyun. He helps Sehun change into his Spongebob swim trunks and white loose tee; and when it’s time to leave, Chanyeol gathers each of the kids and give them small items to carry, while he swings the backpack over his shoulder and grabs the picnic basket to bring down to the car. Taemin follows along with floats, Sehun with his rubber duckies, and Jongin last with the balls and googles.
“Hyung, who was that earlier?”
“No one,” Jongdae replies shortly. He curses a moment later when the coffee beans he’d been filling the machine up with spills all over the ground. “Fuck!” Youngjae frowns and watches Jongdae kick the counter before tossing the hand towel onto the ground. “Why is nothing going right, damn it!”
The younger boy walks over and places a hand on the barista’s shoulder. “I’ll clean it, you go sit down.” He pushes Jongdae gently towards on the of the tables and kneels down to clear up the mess. Jongdae’s soft groan and the way he tiredly rubs his hands over his face doesn’t go unnoticed. “Are you hungry, hyung? Baekhyun hyung just made some cheese bread before he left… you like that a lot, don’t you?”
Jongdae nods, and Youngjae smiles widely before rushing into the kitchen to grab the plate of warm bread Baekhyun had put aside for them. He comes back and places the plate in front of Jongdae, followed by a cup of cold brew black coffee. “Don’t frown too much, hyung. It’ll give you premature wrinkles.” He pulls out the seat opposite Jongdae and sits down, grabbing a piece of the bread and offering it to the older boy.
Jongdae chews on the morsel carefully, letting the familiar taste bring him back to the small, quaint town where he and Baekhyun grew up. “Hey Youngjae…thanks.”
“For what?” the younger boy asks, cocking his head to the side.
“For always taking care of me and making sure I’m okay. I appreciate it.”
Youngjae shakes his head and smiles, making his eyes wrinkle at the side. “It’s the least I can do after you and Baekhyun hyung helped me. The two of you saved me, really, so don’t thank me.”
Jongdae reaches over and ruffles the blonde boy’s hair. “You’re a good kid, Youngjae.”
“I’m not a kid…” Youngjae mumbles under his breath; but he smiles and shakes his head when Jongdae asks him to repeat what he’d just said.
“Youngjae, that guy that came in earlier,” Jongdae says, suddenly looking serious, “if he comes again, make sure Baekhyun isn’t left alone with him, okay?”
Youngjae nods carefully, his eyes widening. “Why hyung?”
“Just do as I say.”
Baekhyun treads as carefully as he can up towards the spot where he spots Chanyeol sitting. The single father’s currently munching on an apple as he observes the children playing on the playground; Taemin and Sehun sit on the swings, while Jongin pushes his younger brother, causing him to laugh excitedly whenever his swing reaches higher than Taemin’s. Quietly, The brunet sneaks up behind Chanyeol and almost succeeds in surprising him if it weren’t for Chanyeol’s supersonic nose; the taller man had turned around moments before Baekhyun could pounce, and the baker was caught with both of his hands up, mid-attack.
Baekhyun takes his seat next to his boyfriend, who immediately grabs the paper bag from him and pulls out a still-warm piece of cheese bread. “Cheese bread over boyfriend, I see,” the smaller male pouts, feigning anger as he crosses his arms over his chest.
“Don’t pout,” Chanyeol laughs with his mouth full of the bread.
“Because,” the taller says, swallowing and then turning to face Baekhyun. He leans in and stops just before their lips meet, chuckling at Baekhyun’s surprised expression and his cute, soft gasp. “Because I’d have to kiss it off your face.” He feels Baekhyun’s lips curve upwards against his, and reluctantly pulls away when the sound of Sehun’s voice gets closer and clearer. “Stay over tonight,” Chanyeol whispers, leaning over so that only Baekhyun could hear, “we’ll continue this.”
Baekhyun flushes and hides his face behind his hands, and refuses to budge even when Chanyeol pulls at his hands playfully.
“Uncle Bacon!” Sehun’s voice chimes, forcing Baekhyun to look up. He hopes the redness in his face had at least faded a little as he offers a smile towards the toddler.
“I didn’t know you were coming,” Sehun says, climbing into Baekhyun’s lap like it was the most natural thing to do. The brunet wraps his arms around the boy and holds him close, and then grabs the paper bag from Chanyeol, who was trying to hide it behind his back. Sehun turns and smiles up at him; the hole in the front of his mouth resulting from his lost tooth making him even cuter. “Hunnie missed you.”
“I missed you too, Sehunnie,” Baekhyun says softly, leaning down to peck the top of Sehun’s head. “Look, I brought some cheese bread.”
Sehun claps happily, but then turns to his father as his smile drops and his expression morphs into one of betrayal. “Daddy, you hide the cheese bread!”
Chanyeol smiles sheepishly at his son and rubs at the back of his neck. “I was going to share…” He shrinks back at his youngest son’s accusing look, and turns his attention to the two older boys playing basketball on the court to the side. “Jongin, Taemin, come eat!”
At the mention of food, both boys abandon their game and come running, making it into a race. Jongin comes to a halting stop in front of Chanyeol and plops down next to his father. He waves enthusiastically at Baekhyun, “Hi Uncle Bacon!”
Baekhyun returns his greeting and smoothes out the hairs on his head, then he grabs the sandwiches and cheese bread he’d brought along with him and lays it out on the blanket in front of the boys. He scoots over, giving Taemin some room to join them. “I didn’t know what you’d eat, so I made a bit of everything,” the brunet says, pulling out a small container of potato salad as well.
“This all looks great,” Chanyeol compliments, eyes traveling across the wide spread of food. “When did you even have time to make all of this?”
“It wasn’t too hard,” Baekhyun smiles, handing out forks to each other boys, “they were easy to make.”
“Was Jongdae and Youngjae okay with you leaving?”
Baekhyun nods. “It wasn’t too busy today anyway, they’ve got everything covered.” He hands Chanyeol a roasted ham, egg and Swiss cheese sandwich, and pulls out a tuna sandwich for himself. Twenty minutes later, most of the food had been polished off; Jongin and Taemin rolls around joking about their “food babies” while Sehun laughs and imitates them.
“Daddy, can we go swimming now?” Jongin asks, pulling at the hem of his tee.
“Wait a few more minutes,” Chanyeol responds, pulling the sunscreen out of the backpack. “You don’t want to get a cramp.” Jongin pouts but nods all the same as he sits back down and entertains himself with Taemin and Sehun.
“Uncle Bacon go swimming with us?” Sehun asks with bright, hopeful eyes.
Baekhyun shoots him a guilty look and glances over at Chanyeol. “Um…no. Not today.”
“Is it because you didn’t bring your floaties?” Sehun asks as he leans in and lowers his voice. “Hunnie will let Uncle Bacon borrow my floaties!”
Baekhyun laughs and ruffles the boy’s head. “Thanks Sehunnie, but how about I sit by the side and watch you swim? Hm?”
“Daddy will swim with you, Sehunnie,” Chanyeol offers, calling the boy over to apply sunscreen. This seems to appease his son, and he gives Baekhyun a thumbs up sign before passing the bottle to the brunet, who works to spread the sunscreen onto Jongin and Taemin.
“Daddy, can we go now?” Jongin asks, bouncing on his feet.
Chanyeol nods. “Stay in the shallow end and where I can see you, we’ll be right over.” He watches as Taemin and Jongin race toward the pool with their noodles and floaties before turning to Baekhyun and smirking. “Get my back?”
Baekhyun motions for Sehun to come to him, and squirts some of the lotion onto the boy’s hands. “Want to help me?” The boy nods and giggles, and both baker and tot work to smear the sun protectant lotion all over Chanyeol’s back and shoulders. Baekhyun stands and grabs the towels when the job was finished, and Chanyeol helps Sehun to put his floaties on. They walk over towards the pool together, with each adult holding onto Sehun’s hands on either side. “I’ll be right here, okay?” Baekhyun says, taking a seat by the pool. He watches as Chanyeol lifts Sehun onto his shoulders and enter the pool, and laughs along with them when Jongin and Taemin come and attack the two by splashing water. At one point, Baekhyun migrates to the side of the pool to stick his feet into the cool water; he becomes the unsuspecting victim of the splash attack from all four, and ends up drenched from head to toe. Chanyeol comes up to him a while later, after having placed Sehun into the kid’s pool right beside the big pool, and lifts himself up to sit next to him.
“Are you having fun?” the taller man asks, threading his fingers with Baekhyun’s. Baekhyun nods and leans over to rest his head on Chanyeol’s shoulder. “I’m glad you could make it.”
Baekhyun smiles before leaning up, connecting their lips quickly and then pulling away. “I’m glad I came.”
Chapter 16: Chapter Fifteen
Baekhyun had gotten so accustomed to spending time with Chanyeol and his boys that it was like second nature for him to head to Chanyeol’s house instead of his own at the end of the work day. He had his clothes in Chanyeol’s closet, his own toothbrush – a yellow, duck-shaped one, chosen by Jongin and Sehun – in Chanyeol’s bathroom, and traces of himself and his belongings throughout the Park residence. His bakeware had found their way into Chanyeol’s kitchen, where he would whip up toothsome delights, which mouthwatering aroma would drift throughout the house and welcome Chanyeol every time he came home late from work. Jongin’s teacher and Sehun’s babysitter even knew Baekhyun, and welcomed him like he was the children’s second father every time he came to pick the boys up in place of Chanyeol. He had fused his way into their hearts and their family; and they into his. Baekhyun didn’t know when he’d start depending on the family of three, or when he’d started having such strong emotional connections towards them. What he did know, though, was that Chanyeol, Jongin, and Sehun had happily taken over
He peeks his head around the kitchen corner when he hears Sehun’s wailing from his room. “Chanyeol?” he calls, still stirring with the spatula in his hand, “do you need help?”
“Uncle Bacon!” Jongin runs from the children’s shared bedroom not a moment later, heading straight into the kitchen where he knew Baekhyun would be. “Come quick!”
Baekhyun puts the mixing bowl down onto the counter, washes his hands quickly, and then follows Jongin back into the room. He leans against the doorway as he watches Chanyeol trying to quiet the crying toddler; and Sehun using all of his might to make the job as hard as possible for his father, throwing punches and kicks blindly as he cries for his papa. One glance down at the seven-year-old beside him tells Baekhyun that this was a normal occurrence; and Baekhyun’s heart clenches when he sees Jongin’s trembling lips and the way the boy tries so hard to hold back his own tears. He finally pushes himself away from the door when Sehun gives a particularly strong kick, landing in Chanyeol’s gut, causing his father to groan in pain before pulling the covers over his head.
“Let me try,” Baekhyun whispers to Chanyeol, who moves away and gives the brunet room. Baekhyun sits on the edge of the bed and carefully reaches over to place his hand of Sehun’s shoulder. “Hey, Sehunnie… it’s me,” he whispers, slowly edging closer to the boy, “do you mind if I lie down with you?”
The boy carefully lifts the covers down just enough to be able to peek over them, and nods slightly before pulling them over his head again. Baekhyun sighs in relief as he positions himself sideways on the bed, propping his head on one hand as he uses his other to reach over and gently rubs circles onto the boy’s back. He notices Chanyeol back away quietly, grabbing Jongin’s hand at the door before both father and son leave the room, giving Baekhyun and Sehun their privacy. Baekhyun remains quiet as he continues to rub Sehun’s back, allowing the boy time to calm down on his own terms. After a few minutes, Sehun carefully pulls the covers down so that his eyes were showing, as if to make sure it were really Baekhyun who was lying with him, and then scoots his body over to cuddle against the adult. “Uncle Bacon…” the boy mutters against Baekhyun’s chest.
“I’m here, Sehunnie,” Baekhyun says softly, hugging the boy closer to him. The boy sniffles and releases his arms from the blanket’s hold to wrap around Baekhyun; and Baekhyun reaches over to continue rubbing calming circle on his back. “It’s okay, I’m here.”
Ten minutes later, Baekhyun comes out of the room with Sehun in his arms, clinging onto him like a koala. He sends a reassuring smile towards Chanyeol, who looks up from the dining table in worry, and helps Sehun into his seat. Chanyeol mouths a silent “thank you” as Baekhyun heads into the kitchen, and watches as Jongin hops off of his seat to stand by Sehun’s.
“Are you okie now Sehunnie?” the older boy asks, petting his brother’s head affectionately. Sehun nods and sticks his thumb into his mouth, accepting the hug from his older brother. Once reassured that his baby brother was well, Jongin returns back to his seat and digs into his cereal, making vrooming noises as he makes his marshmallow chase the cereal in the milk. Baekhyun comes back a few minutes later with two plates; one which he places in the middle of the table which were filled with pancakes, and one which he places in front of Sehun. Sehun’s pancake is decorated with banana slice eyes and a smile made from M&M’s, and even has whipped cream hair with chocolate drizzle. The boy’s eyes lighten up at his sugary breakfast; and his frown is replaced instantly with a smile as he waits anxiously for Baekhyun to cut his pancake for him.
“Nini hyung, look!” Sehun giggles, clapping his hands together when Baekhyun hands him his plastic, Rilakkuma fork. “Hunnie has special breakfast!”
Jongin flashes a thumbs up and urges Sehun to try his meal, pretending to lean over to steal the bite on Sehun’s fork, making the boy’s giggles intensify.
“You’re a miracle worker,” Chanyeol whispers when Baekhyun takes his seat next to him, holding a cup of hot tea in his hands. “Thank you, babe.”
“It was nothing,” Baekhyun smiles back, taking a pancake onto his plate and drenching it generously with maple syrup. He cuts a piece and brings it to Chanyeol’s mouth, humming in satisfaction when the taller male takes the morsel, before cutting himself a piece as well. The rest of the breakfast goes off without a hitch.
Baekhyun was sitting on the ground helping Sehun into his shoes, and was about to pull his own on as well when Chanyeol plops down beside him with a dejected look. Baekhyun raises his eyebrow as if to ask “what happened?” and congratulates Sehun when the boy shows off his successfully tied shoelaces.
“My mom just called,” Chanyeol says, leaning his head on Baekhyun’s shoulder. “I completely forgot that we had made plans to go see her this weekend.”
“It’s just a few days!” Chanyeol immediately says, lifting his head up and waving his hands.
Baekhyun laughs and grabs one of his hands, pulling it onto his lap. “I didn’t say anything.”
“I know you didn’t, but… Wait, are you saying you won’t miss me?”
“Park Chanyeol,” Baekhyun laughs again, playfully hitting the single father on the arm, “of course I’ll miss you.” He glances around, making sure the boys were efficiently distracted before leaning over and placing a soft peck on Chanyeol’s lips. “I’ll miss all of you, but it’s just the weekend. We’ll see each other again in no time.” He leans over again and kisses the pout off of Chanyeol’s face. “Plus, it’s been a while since I’ve spent the night at the apartment with Jongdae and Youngjae.”
“Stop pouting, you big baby,” Baekhyun teases, pecking his pouting boyfriend once again.
“If you’re going to keep kissing me like that,” Chanyeol smirks, “I’ll never stop.”
“More hyung! Put more in!”
“If I put in any more, this dish will be completely cheese and no pasta,” Baekhyun chuckles, tossing the bag of mozzarella cheese towards Youngjae and nodding towards the fridge.
“But Baekhyun hyung~” Youngjae whines as he stomps to the fridge, “cheese makes everything better.”
“You might as well just eat the cheese from the bag then,” Jongdae chuckles, walking into the kitchen and leaning up against the counter. “Stop bothering him, Baek knows what he’s doing.”
“Hyung, you always take Baekhyun’s side,” Youngjae pouts, folding his arms across his chest; but he smiles suddenly when he watches Jongdae walk over and try to sneak a bite of pasta from the pan. Baekhyun swats his friend’s hand away playfully, and all three of them laugh when Jongdae, never giving up, pokes Baekhyun in the side to make him squirm away before successfully sneaking a mouthful of pasta. It had been a while since Youngjae had seen Jongdae this relaxed and happy, and he was going to savor this moment, even if it came at the expense of his precious cheese.
“Ah! Hot!” Jongdae complains, jumping around with his mouth open, causing Youngjae to double over, and Baekhyun to shake his head.
“You deserved that, Kim Jongdae,” Baekhyun chuckles, moving back in front of the stove to give the pasta one last toss before turning off the heat. “How is it?”
“Do you even have to ask?” Jongdae smirks, handing Baekhyun a plate.
“We’ve been eating takeout almost every other day,” Youngjae adds, grabbing three glasses from the cupboard, ignoring the warning glare Jongdae sends his way, “anything homemade is good.”
Baekhyun sighs as he trades the full plate in his hands for the empty one in Jongdae’s. “You know that too much takeout isn’t good for you…”
“Well maybe if you didn’t abandon us to play house with your boyfriend…” Jongdae mumbles under his breath gloomily, walking out of the kitchen with his plate and fork. “I’ll get the movie started.”
Baekhyun watches Jongdae turn the corner with a questioning look, and glances over a Youngjae immediately after. The youngest of them simply shrugs and forces a smile before gathering the three cups and heading into the living room himself. Baekhyun finishes plating the pasta onto the remaining two plates, and grabs two forks on his way out of the kitchen. He snuggles himself on the sofa between Jongdae and Youngjae and hands the blonde his food.
“What are we watching?” he asks, grabbing his glass of water from the coffee table and taking a sip before folding his legs up towards his chest and balancing his plate onto his knees.
“How To Train Your Dragon, apparently,” Youngjae replies around a mouthful of cream spaghetti.
“Baek likes these kid shows,” Jongdae mumbles, pushing the “play” button and placing the remote onto the table beside him. “This is great, Baek. I’ve missed your cooking,” he compliments, humming as he takes a bite of his own pasta, his mouth naturally curving upwards when the taste of the food hits his tongue.
“Eat a lot then,” Baekhyun smiles, twirling the pasta on his fork, “there’s extra.” Jongdae turns and flashes a goofy grin towards him, with his fork still sticking out of his mouth, before the sound of the opening scene of the movie gets both of their attention back on the TV.
“Whatchu doin’ Baek?” Jongdae asks, peering into the bowl Baekhyun was currently throwing flour into.
“Making a cake!” Baekhyun replies enthusiastically. “I’m gonna be a baker!”
Jongdae licks his lips and flies over to Baekhyun’s side, looping his arm through the baker’s. “How long will it take?”
“Hmm…” Baekhyun hums, putting his forefinger to his chin and scrunching his brows in thought, “Twenty-five minutes? Maybe?”
“That’s too long,” Jongdae whines, swinging his best friend’s arm in desperation. “I’m hungry now, Baek.”
The fifteen-year-old laughs as he pulls his arm away from Jongdae in order to pour his batter into the cake pan. “Just wait, Dae. I’ll make you something!”
Jongdae nods eagerly and goes back around the counter island, pulling himself onto the tall bar stool and resting his chin in his hands as he watches Baekhyun even out the batter and place it into the oven. Baekhyun then turns and wipes off his hands, and then heads to the refrigerator where he begins pulling out various ingredients. “I just learned how to make this the other day…” the boy mumbles as he balances the ingredients in his arms. “Grandma taught me.”
Jongdae continues to watch as Baekhyun fills a pot with water and puts it onto the stove, tossing in a generous amount of salt into the water as well.
“Won’t that make it too salty?” Jongdae asks, his eyes wide.
“Trust me, it’s to flavor the noodles!” Baekhyun exclaims, smiling as his eyes crescent. Jongdae smiles back and resumes his observing; watching as Baekhyun skillfully chops up vegetables and cut the chicken. Twenty minutes later, a plate of chicken and tomato pesto pasta is slid in front of him. Jongdae can feel his mouth watering as he picks up his fork and brings the pasta to his mouth, and can feel Baekhyun’s eyes on him as the brunet walks over to the oven to check on his cake. “How is it?”
No words could give it justice, so Jongdae settles for throwing both of his thumbs up and smiling around a mouthful of pasta.
Baekhyun scribbles the last of the things he needed onto the list and handed it to Jongdae. “Remember, lemons this time. Not limes, okay? The yellow ones.”
“I know, I know,” Jongdae grumbles, pocketing the list. “It was a mistake, geez.”
Baekhyun shakes his head and waves goodbye to his friend, and then returns back behind the counter where he busies himself with rearranging the cakes in the display window. It was around two o’clock in the afternoon, and only a few customers remained in the bakery. Their Saturday lunch rush had just died down, giving Baekhyun and Youngjae time to tidy things up and check on things that needed to be restocked. Baekhyun nods when Youngjae told him he’d go tidy things up in the back, and to call for him if he needed help. He settles himself in the chair behind the counter, pouring himself a cup of hot water, to which he added honey and lemon to, and sips on the hot beverage contently. He places the mug onto the counter and stands up when the bell on the door rings, and straightens out the apron he’s wearing before looking up to greet his new customer.
“Hello! Welcome to Byun’s Baker–”
Baekhyun stares at the tall man standing at the door, unsure of what to do or say. He blinks as he watches Kris’ smile disappear the longer they stand in silence; and his breath catches in his throat when the taller male takes a step forward in his direction. “What are you doing here?”
“Don’t sound so anxious, Baek,” Kris says, crossing the length of the shop towards the baker. “I mean no harm.”
Baekhyun matches each of Kris’ forward steps with a step backwards. He inwardly groans when his back hits the wall, and is suddenly thankful for the counter separating the two of them. “That’s close enough,” he says quietly, eyeing Kris warily when the taller male nods and leans forward to rest his forearms on the counter.
“I never thought I’d see you again,” Kris says softly, looking around the shop and then back at Baekhyun. He smiles, and from all the Baekhyun knows about him, it appears to be a genuine smile. “You know, when you left I tried to look for you.”
Baekhyun raises his eyebrows in silent questioning.
“No one would tell me where you went though. They all said they didn’t know,” Kris laughs bitterly. “Of course, I knew that they all knew… They just didn’t want me to know.”
“Why?” Baekhyun asks, furrowing his eyebrows and crossing his arms across his chest. “Why would you even look for me?”
Kris sighs and turns to walk towards one of the tables in the corner. He pulls out a chair and sits, and smiles when he looks up to find Baekhyun taking tentative steps towards him. Baekhyun doesn’t sit across from him, but rather, stands leaning against the wall with his arms still folded. “We didn’t end things very well,” Kris says, looking down at his hands folded together atop the table. Baekhyun scoffs. “I just wanted to clear things up…get some closure, ya know? I just… I wanted to talk to you.”
“And I wouldn’t have wanted to talk to you,” Baekhyun replied blankly. “We didn’t have anything more to talk about. I’m not sure we still do.”
“Come on, Baek,” Kris all but begs, “please. If not for you, then for me. I really need the closure.”
Baekhyun sighs and pushes himself off of the wall, and then circles around the table and stands behind the chair. “If you’re looking for forgiveness, Kris… Then fine, you’re forgiven. You can leave now.”
“What do you want from me?” Baekhyun yells, feeling his self-restraint slipping. “What do you–”
“What the fuck are you doing here?”
Baekhyun turns around and widens his eyes when he sees his friend, seething, standing by the door. Jongdae’s hands are fisted into the plastic bags he’s holding at his side, and he’s shaking, radiating anger. Baekhyun’s sure that if this were a cartoon, Jongdae’s head would be enlarged and red, and there would be puffs of smoke coming from his head. “Jongdae…”
“I asked you,” Jongdae yells, tossing the bags onto the ground and storming towards Kris, “what the fuck are you doing here?”
“I just wanted to talk to Baekhyun.”
Jongdae grabs the Chinese man by the collar and pulls him up from the seat. “He has nothing to say to you,” Jongdae says, “Leave. Now.”
Kris stumbles back when he’s shoved by Jongdae, and holds a hand up, making to take a step towards Baekhyun when he catches Jongdae’s irate gaze. “Fine,” he says, holding his hands up, “I’ll go.” He walks towards the door, pausing to send a pleading look at Baekhyun, and then exhales as he pulls on the handle and exits.
Jongdae watches the taller male walk down the street, and only when he sees him turn the corner does he turn on Baekhyun. “What the fuck were you thinking?” he asks through gritted teeth.
“Jongdae, calm down,” Baekhyun replies dejectedly.
“Calm down?” Jongdae walks over and grabs Baekhyun’s shoulders, turning him to face him. “Calm down?”
“Yes!” Baekhyun shouts, pushing Jongdae away from him. “I’m fine, Jongdae! Nothing happened, okay?”
“This time!” Jongdae yells back, raising his voice, making Baekhyun flinch. “Nothing happened this time.”
“Jongdae,” Baekhyun sighs, sliding a hand over his face, “I’m tired, okay? I don’t want to talk about this anymore. Please… just let it go.”
Jongdae watches as Baekhyun turns and heads into the kitchen, where he knows the brunet will proceed to bake until he’s able to calm himself down. Jongdae, however, doesn’t have such an outlet. He turns and stares at the door as if Kris were still there, standing in their shop, and yells in anger as he grabs the closest thing he can get his hands on to toss across the room. His anger dissolves as the glass tip jar hits the opposite wall and breaks, and is replaced with fear. Jongdae feels the strength leave his legs as he slides down on the ground, choking back a sob. He glances over his shoulder, towards the closed doors leading to the kitchen. “I’ll protect you this time, Baekhyun,” he whispers as tears begin sliding down his face. “I won’t let anyone hurt you again.”
“I thought I’d find you out here.”
Chanyeol turns around and smiles at his sister, who stands leaning against the doorframe of the front door holding two glasses in her hands. “Where are the boys?”
“Mom’s giving them a bath,” Yoora replies, holding out a glass to him. “So, the boys tell me you’ve been seeing someone?”
Chanyeol accepts the glass of lemonade from his sister and scoots over, giving her room beside him on the porch steps. “They did, did they?”
“Well,” Yoora says, sitting down and stretching her legs out in front of her, “they didn’t say that you were seeing someone, exactly…but both Jongin and Sehun have been mentioning a certain Uncle Bacon a lot since you’ve all got here.” Yoora side-glances at Chanyeol and smirks around her glass. “So tell me about him.”
Chanyeol can barely contain his excitement as he turns himself to face his sister. “He’s great, Yoora. Even better than great! He’s kind and smart and beautiful, and he’s such an amazing cook. He’s so good with the boys and oh my God, Yoora, he makes amazing cheese bread. He’s just…he’s amazing.”
Yoora chuckles. “He sounds like a great guy.”
“He is,” Chanyeol nods.
“So…what’s stopping you?”
Chanyeol laughs dolefully and places the now-empty glass on the porch step by his feet. “I can’t hide anything from you, can I?”
“You’ve never been able to, no.”
“I just– what if it’s too soon? What if…what if the boys aren’t ready?”
Yoora remains silent for a while as she stares up at the sky. “What if the boys aren’t ready? Or what if you aren’t ready?” Chanyeol gapes at his sister, but finds himself without a comeback. “It’s been three years, Chanyeol… Don’t you think it’s time to move on?” Chanyeol opens his mouth to answer, but his words still fail him. “Kyungsoo wouldn’t have wanted this for you, and you know that. He would’ve wanted you to move on. He would’ve wanted you to be happy.”
“I know that…” Chanyeol whispers, finally able to form coherent words. “It’s just–”
“Chanyeol,” Yoora says as she places her hand on Chanyeol’s shoulder, squeezing gently, “are you happy? Does this man make happy?”
Chanyeol sighs and looks down at his hands. “I’ve been the happiest I’ve ever been since Kyungsoo died.”
“And do Jongin and Sehun like him?”
“Are you kidding me?” Chanyeol chuckles, turning his head when he hears sounds of laughter from inside the house. “They love him.”
“Then what’s the problem, Chanyeol. What’s holding you back?”
“I… I just–”
“You what?” Yoora presses again.
“I feel like I’m betraying him!” Chanyeol shouts as tears that he didn’t even know he’d been holding back begin to form. “We made promises to each other, Yoora. We vowed to love each other forever and now,” Chanyeol throws his hands up, “now it feels like I’m going back on my words. Like I’m giving up on him.”
Yoora sighs softly as she takes her brother’s hands in both of hers. “Chanyeol, moving on doesn’t mean forgetting. It doesn’t mean you’re giving up on your love for Kyungsoo.”
“Then why does it feel like I am?”
“Maybe the problem isn’t that you feel like you’re betraying Kyungsoo. Maybe the problem is that you’re not ready to move on; that you’re afraid to.” Chanyeol flashes a look of disbelief at his sister, but Yoora continues without giving him a chance to deny anything. “Chanyeol, just answer me this,” Yoora says, hands holding firmly onto Chanyeol’s as she searches his face. “Do you enjoy spending time with this man? Does he make you happy?”
“Can you see a future with him?”
“I– yeah… Yeah I can.”
“Then stop holding yourself back with these stupid excuses of betraying Kyungsoo, or whatever your brain is telling you to make it seem like being with him is wrong. You and I both know that this isn’t really because of Kyungsoo.”
“You’re afraid to move on, because you’re afraid of getting hurt again. But Chanyeol, how do you know you’ll even get hurt if you don’t even give the guy a chance to be with you? If you don’t even try?”
“I did give him a chance, Yoora. We’re together, remember?”
“Sure, you gave him a chance. You may have the title, and maybe you act like you’re in a relationship and all… but be honest with me here – have you really allowed him a chance or are you still so stubbornly holding up that impenetrable wall around your heart?”
“You know,” Chanyeol says after a moment of silence, “sometimes I really hate how well you know me.”
Yoora pulls Chanyeol into her arms, wrapping her arms around him as she rubs at his back. “I just want you to be happy again, Chanyeol. I just wish you’d be able to move on and give yourself another chance at happiness.”
“Thanks, sis,” Chanyeol says with a smile as he pulls back.
“Just promise me you’ll try, yeah?”
Chanyeol nods in agreement.
“Good,” Yoora smiles as she stands and collects the glasses, “now let’s get inside. I want to play with my nephews before I have to leave.”
Chanyeol stands and brushes off any dirt on his pants. “You should come visit us some time.”
“Hmm, maybe I will,” Yoora smirks, “and if I’m lucky, maybe I’ll meet this Uncle Bacon.”
“Yeah,” Chanyeol laughs, “maybe you will.” He pulls open the screen door and holds it open for Yoora to pass through.
“Chanyeol?” Yoora asks, stopping before entering the house and turning her head over her shoulder.
“His name isn’t really Bacon, is it?”
Chanyeol barks out a laugh as he shakes his head and urges his sister forward. “No,” he chuckles. “His name is Baekhyun.”
“Hyung! Your computer is ringing!” Youngjae calls from the hallway.
Baekhyun turns off the water and rushes to his room, wiping his wet hands on his pant legs as he runs. “Don’t hang up…don’t hang up!” he mumbles as he launches himself across his bed, sighing in relief when he clicks the green answer button on the Skype call window before it ended.
“UNCLE BACON!” the combined voices of Jongin and Sehun echo through his laptop’s speakers. “Uncle Bacon, can you see us?”
Baekhyun laughs as Sehun squeezes his way towards the front of the camera, sticking his face directly into the camera’s lens. “Can you see Hunnie?”
“Hey boys,” Baekhyun greets, smiling widely at the camera. He adjusts his position of the bed, grabbing the laptop to rest of his thighs as he rests his back against the wall. “How’s your trip going? Are you having fun?”
“Yep yep!” Sehun replies, silently fighting with Jongin for the space in front of the camera. “Lots of fun!”
“But we miss you!” Jongin adds, finally getting his face into the camera.
“Daddy,” Baekhyun hears Sehun whine in the background, “Nini hyung is hogging the camera. Hunnie can’t see Uncle Bacon!”
Baekhyun hears Chanyeol’s deep chuckle before he sees his boyfriend’s arms wrapping around each of his sons, bringing them back and towards him. Chanyeol places the boys onto his lap as he sits crossed-legged on the floor, resting his back against a beige linen couch. “Quiet down boys, we don’t want to wake up Grammy, now do we?” he whispers. “There, now we can all see him. Hey B.”
Baekhyun waves at the camera. “It’s late, why are you boys still awake?”
“They wanted to say goodnight to you before they went to sleep,” Chanyeol looks down at the boys sitting in his lap, “well?”
“Goodnight Uncle Bacon,” Jongin whispers to the camera, pouting his lips to blow kisses.
“Night night!” Sehun exclaims a moment after, crawling on his hands and knees away from Chanyeol towards the computer once again. Baekhyun watches as Sehun smiles and giggles, and then laughs when the boy leans closer to kiss what he assumes is the computer screen. The screen goes dark for a moment, where the only sounds are the soft giggles from Jongin and Chanyeol, and when Sehun pulls back and his face comes into focus again, the toddler has a proud smile on his face. “MUAH!” Sehun exclaims, kissing the palm of his right hand before blowing his kiss towards Baekhyun.
Baekhyun coos and tries to pinch at his computer screen where Sehun’s cheeks are. “Sweet dreams, Sehunnie,” he laughs, “and you too Jongin!” He places his fingers to his mouth and blows his own kiss for the boys.
“Okay, now time for bed,” Chanyeol says. He gives them a hug, wrapping the both of them in his arms, and then pats at both of their bottoms, urging them along. “Get into bed first, okay? Daddy will be right there.”
“Okie!” both children exclaim as they run out of the room.
Chanyeol watches his kids go, looking down the hallway to make sure that they make it into the room, before turning and smirking at the laptop’s screen. “What about me?”
“What about you?”
Chanyeol fakes a pout. “Where’s my kiss?”
“It’s waiting for you…” Baekhyun says teasingly, “for when you come back.” Chanyeol laughs and then looks down the hallway, where Jongin and Sehun’s voices can be heard. “You should probably go put them to sleep before they wake up your mother,” Baekhyun chuckles.
Chanyeol nods. “Yeah…” He sighs and stares at Baekhyun through the screen, smiling softly to himself. “I really do miss you, B.”
“I miss you, too.”
“Daddy!!” Sehun’s voice interrupts them not a second later. “Daddy, Pinku Pinku is hurt,” the toddler whines, pulling on Chanyeol’s sleeve. “Nini hyung has him hos…hos–”
“Hostage?” Baekhyun supplies.
“Yeah yeah!” Sehun nods enthusiastically, eyes wide.
“Go,” Baekhyun laughs, nodding his head at Chanyeol. “Go be Super Dad. I’ll see you when you get back.”
“Alright,” Chanyeol sighs. “Hey, Baek?”
“Hm?” Baekhyun hums, cocking his head to the left.
“I… nothing. I’ll see you soon.” Chanyeol waves goodbye and stares at the screen, waiting until Baekhyun’s image disappears before he closes the laptop and picks Sehun up in his arms. “Let’s go, Sehunnie. Let’s go save Pinku Pinku.”
surprise~ it's been a while but i'm back! \^o^/
for fans of it, i do have another domestic chanbaek story posted on my aff account. i'll leave the link to it here for anyone who's interested: https://www.asianfanfics.com/story/view/1194180/nepenthean-encounters-fluff-jonghun-domestic-sekai-baekyeol-chanbaek-hurtandcomfort
see you next time! c: