Because of their jobs, Kibum and Jinki do basically live in a college town. It’s inevitable, mainly because they both hate commuting more than twenty minutes and so it was just the best option, really. Besides, there are good schools in the area to send the boys, and the neighborhoods around the university are all pretty safe, even if more than a few houses do often get rented out to students. They were college kids once too, they generally don’t mind house parties a block away so long as they don’t get too wild and disturb the boys while they try to sleep.
But it also means that they run into students pretty often, especially while doing mundane things. Like standing in the 7-11 that’s just down the road from home.
Like right now, while Jinki is in his pajamas and a sweatshirt and slippers in the middle of the night, carrying a sick and clingy toddler who desperately needs cough medicine while Kibum stays home with Minho, the both of them still sick as well.
And two of his upper-division students are there buying an overabudance of pre-packaged donuts and snacks, staring at him like two deer caught in headlights.
He really doesn’t care why they’re here or what they’re doing, he really just cares that they’re blocking the children’s cold medicine and that Taemin has started crying.
“Excuse me,” he says, using one hand to wave at the shelves of medication.
They’re at least quick to get out of the way, and Jinki grabs a couple different kinds of cold medicine before going to get as many pedialyte bottles as he can carry.
“Papa,” Taemin cries while they’re waiting in line, and Jinki is soft and gentle as he tries to calm him down.
“Shh, shh,” he shushes him. “It’s okay, Papa’s right here.”
Why there are so many people inside a 7-11 on a Thursday night is beyond him, but they’re all in front of him in line and he swears if this guy ordering one of their damn pizzas doesn’t hurry up, Jinki’s just gonna throw cash at the counter and leave.
“I don’t feel good,” Taemin cries, coughing into Jinki’s neck and then crying harder.
“I know baby, I know,” he coos, and he dips his chin to press kisses to the top of Taemin’s head. “Papa will make it better real soon. It will be okay.”
He rocks him as best he can while also juggling a three medicine boxes and five pedialytes, but it seems to help. Taemin is still crying, but it’s not as desperate sounding as it was even just a minute ago.
When the guy three people in front of him gives him an annoyed look, as if it’s a personal offense that his sick three-year-old is crying because he doesn’t feel good, Jinki has to work to control his breathing. He’s stressed and tired and yeah, he gets that a crying kid at the store is frustrating, but get over it. It’s midnight at a 7-11, you can’t really expect much.
Taemin starts whining more, so Jinki keeps bouncing him and starts humming a lullaby to try and calm him down.
“It’s okay, baby,” Jinki says softly. The humming helps more so than the bouncing, so Jinki tries swaying a bit instead.
When the lullabies stop working, he tries a pop song Taemin’s been obsessed with instead. It makes Taemin pause, because Jinki never hums anything other than lullabies after bedtime, and he giggles a bit when he realizes it’s his current favorite song.
“You like that one, huh?” Jinki teases him.
Taemin just squishes his cheek into Jinki’s shoulder and nods his head. Jinki laughs a bit, and he keeps humming the song even though he can see from the corner of his eye that his students, who are in front of him in line, are staring at him again. It keeps Taemin distracted enough to keep him from crying, and all he cares about is making sure Taemin is okay. He moves forward when the line does, even though he’s paying more attention to making silly faces to make Taemin smile.
“Professor Lee?” the students ask. And when he turns his head from where he was pressing another kiss to the crown of Taemin’s head, they continue with, “You can go before us.”
Jinki opens and closes his mouth a couple times, wanting to say no, but then Taemin really starts crying again and scrubbing a hand over his eyes, and Jinki nods his head and goes up to the counter.
“Thank you,” he says to them, and he puts everything down on the counter and moves to hold Taemin with his other arm so he can reach his wallet in his back pocket. He’s quick about paying and grabbing his bagged items, and he thanks the students again before heading out to the car.
Getting Taemin to unlatch himself from Jinki is tough, and it takes twice as long to wrangle him into his car seat than usual.
“Here, here,” Jinki says quickly, grabbing an abandoned sippy cup from the floor of the car and twisting off the lid, then filling it with one of the pedialytes he just bought. “Drink this. You’ll feel better.”
“No!” Taemin screams, and Jinki’s heart breaks when he starts coughing even more than before. “Hold me!”
“I can’t, baby, I need to drive us home,” Jinki says softly, still holding the sippy cup towards him. “Don’t you want to go back home and get back in bed with Daddy and brother?”
“Hold me, hold me,” Taemin cries, holding his arms out to Jinki, his entire face red. Then he cries in a desperate voice, “Papa.”
Jinki lets out a long, exhausted sigh just as his students walk by. At least they’re quick about scurrying to their car two parking places over.
“If Papa drinks some, will Taeminnie drink some?” Jinki bargains.
Taemin sniffles and nods his head and stops crying as he watches Jinki take a sip from the sippy cup. Then he moves his hands to grip st the cup, and he holds it to his mouth and slumps in his car seat.
“See? Isn’t that better?” Jinki says gently. “Let’s go home now, and we can play Taeminnie’s favorite song all the way home.”
When they get home, it’s an entirely different battle to get Taemin to drink the medicine. He spits it up twice before he finally swallows it down after following it with a sippy cup of apple juice. He also refuses to be put down by Jinki the entire time, so he’s got grape flavored cough medicine all over his shirt, he’s exhausted, he’s probably also catching whatever nasty cold the other three have, and he has to hold Taemin in the shower with him before they can go back to bed. The steam helps Taemin’s cough anyway, and the medicine he took starts to kick in and make him drowsy by the time they’re in new pajamas.
To say Jinki is exhausted as he teaches not only his lectures but also covers Kibum’s is an understatement. But he gets through it, and the two students he ran into seem to be amazed that he’s even there.
Jinki’s teaching style apparently becomes more like Kibum’s when he’s tired, because each class that day manages to get him to tell them how it’s been a long week of dealing with two sick little boys and also a sick husband.
“But soon enough they’ll all be well enough to take care of me when I inevitably catch whatever they’ve all got,” he jokes, a small smirk on his face.
He really doesn’t mind taking care of them though. He loves being a husband, and he loves being a dad, and that’s just part of the territory. He wouldn’t change it for anything, even if Taemin is a clingy little monster when he’s sick. Jinki was half-afraid he was going to have to carry around a sniffling toddler to all his lectures that day, but Kibum managed to calm Taemin down enough that morning to get him to latch onto Kibum instead.
But of course, Taemin attaches himself to Jinki the moment he gets home, and when Jinki finally catches their cold three days later, Taemin pouts at him as he sits next to him on the bed and gently pats Jinki’s cheek.
“I’ll take care of you, Papa,” Taemin tells him.
“I know you will,” Jinki laughs.
“I’ll stay with you all the time,” Taemin promises, and he leans down to kiss Jinki’s cheek.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Jinki says, and he hugs Taemin close as he puts on a movie. When Minho comes with Kibum a few minutes later, bringing with them a bowl of soup and a cup of a tea, Jinki feels perfectly content.
bro move was covered 3 times in popular korean television in the last few days LITERALLY THE IMPACT
Top 9 Played Aesthetic: January 24, 2021
the four horsemen of the apocalypse
watching a taemin mv
and i’m just here like
this is not for cishet consumption