Disclaimer: This time, I'm only responsible for the words. People are people and the idea is inspired by read0write
Summary: Jongwoon has a surprise waiting for him when he comes home
Note: Inspired by 2 Years of Waiting by read0write
“Now don't make that face.”
Ryeowook shifted in Jongwoon's arms, that pout never leaving his lips. “If it keeps you here with me forever, I'll make all the faces I want.”
Jongwoon smiled, pulling his husband closer in another hug. “I know you don't want me to go, Wookie-ah. But you know I have to. It's my civic duty.”
Ryeowook pulled away just a little, enough for him to kick the ground as Jongwoon's words rumbled around in his head. “I know. But...but do you have to leave now? Couldn't you wait until...until after...”
Jongwoon laughed, his hand roaming gently over Ryeowook's stomach. “If I stay any longer, you'll never let me go.” He turned Ryeowook's chin up to meet his gaze. “The sooner I leave, the sooner I can come back. And then all of us can be family.”
“Appa! Appa!” Twin voices piped up, with little hands tugging on his pant leg. “Do you really have to go, Appa?”
Jongwoon smiled and laughed. He stepped away from Ryeowook and kneeled down to meet his sons', Kibum and Taemin, eyes. “Yes, I do. And one day, you'll have to, too. Now while I'm gone, you two have to take care of Umma for me. And when the day comes that you have a new brother or sister, you need to help them, too. Understood?” For whatever reason – maybe, in some way, shape, or form, they knew where their Appa was going – the two stood straight and saluted him. Jongwoon laughed. He opened up his arms and his boys ran into the hug.
“Soldiers, assemble!” The captain called and Jongwoon was forced to stand. He took one look at Ryeowook and pulled him close in a kiss, chaste though it was. They parted, just staring at each other.
“I love you.”
Jongwoon walked away, with a smile on his face. Kibum and Taemin clung to Ryeowook's legs as their Umma tried to hold the tears back.
The days passed by quickly and slowly at the same time. Ryeowook made himself busy about his house. He fixed up the house here and there and cooked and cleaned. Just like they promised, Kibum and Taemin did their best to help him, especially as the months rolled by and Ryeowook's stomach got bigger and bigger. Next-door-neighbors Jungsu and Sungmin stepped in when Ryeowook was sentenced to bed rest.
Nine months finished and Jungsu called his sister to watch over Kibum and Taemin next door while they helped Ryeowook deliver. Hours went on and on with lots of screaming and pain. Suddenly, there was a second scream to match Ryeowook's. A tiny boy wiggled in Jungsu's arms. Ryeowook gave a deep breath.
“Umma! Umma!” Kibum and Taemin charged into the room, and jumped onto the bed. “Umma! Umma! Do we have our new brother or sister?” Kibum whined.
Ryeowook smiled. He pointed to the bassinet in the corner. “He's right over there, Bummie. His name is Jinki.” His sons charged over, staring with bright eyes at their new brother.
Jungsu hugged them both. “Boys, why don't you take Jinki-ah and go with Sungmin-ah into the living room.” Sungmin nodded, pulling Jinki into his arms and walking out of the room. Jungsu turned to the exhausted Ryeowook. “Are you okay?”
Ryeowook nodded. “Yeah...I'm just...I'm gonna go to sleep now. I'm tired.”
Jungsu nodded. He walked out the door and closed the door behind him.
Jongwoon felt glee and joy rise higher and higher in his heart as he walked home. He couldn't wait to walk through the door and smell that familiar scent. To hold Kibum and Taemin in his arms. To finally see his brand new child.
To kiss Ryeowook breathless.
“Kibum-ah! Appa will be here soon – are you ready?” Jongwoon heard his neighbor's voice as he opened the door.
“Deh, Sungmin-samchon! Taemin is too!” Kibum marched down the stairs and stopped at the base. “Appa!” He ran into his father's arms, a wide smile on his face.
“Appa?” Taemin appeared on the steps, his face contorting into the widest smile. “Appa! Appa, you're home!”
“Jongwoon?” Sungmin stepped out of the kitchen. He froze as he saw that yes, Jongwoon was home.
“Sungmin-samchon, Appa's home!” Kibum squealed.
“I can see that...” Sungmin stepped closer. Jongwoon wondered why Sungmin didn't seem as happy to see him as his boys did. “Boys, why don't you go get Jungsu-samchon from the backyard? I'm sure he'd like to see Appa, too.”
“Okay.” Kibum took Taemin's hand and they ran through the house.
Slowly Jongwoon stood. “You just said Jungsu-hyung was here, so I know Ryeowook didn't cheat on me with you. So what's with the look on your face?”
Sungmin dried his hands on a dishcloth. “Maybe you should sit down.” He walked into the living room.
Jongwoon rose an eyebrow. “Where's Ryeowook?”
Sungmin cleared his throat. “Ryeowook died in childbirth.”
His backpack fell to the floor – as did his heart. “Wha...what?”
“It...it was an easy delivery – not any different from when he had Kibum or Taemin. But...but there was just so...so much blood.” Sungmin took a seat, clearing his throat. “By the end of it, he was just...so, so tired.”
Jongwoon breathed. That was all he could do...just breathe. His legs tangled in themselves and he fell on the steps. “He...he's gone?”
Jungsu entered the room on light footsteps. With a sigh, he sat beside his neighbor. A moment of heavy silence hung in the room, silence so thick you could cut it with a knife.
Jungsu turned and handed Jongwoon the squirming blue babe. “His name's Jinki.” He said simply.
Jongwoon gulped over the bundle in his throat, slowly taking the bundle. The babe was so heavy in his arms. It had never been like this before. When the nurse gave him Kibum the first time, it had been so natural to hold him. This...this was different.
Jinki, nearly immediately as he felt his father's hold, stopped moving and met Jongwoon's gaze.
He smiled. “A...A...ppa.”
Sungmin and Jungsu all looked at Jongwoon and Jinki.
Like with newfound energy, Jinki was squirming all over again. This time it was different – he was giggling and bubbling. “Appa! Appa! Appa!”
Sungmin forced himself to laugh. “Well, guess it was family he needed.” Sungmin walked over to them. “That's the first word he's ever said.”
Jongwoon's head looked up. “Really?” Sungmin, with tears in his eyes, nodded. Jongwoon, he didn't know why, laughed. He cleared his throat and smiled. “Hello, Jinki. I'm home.”
“Appa!” Kibum and Taemin walked into the room, standing at Jongwoon's feet. “Appa...are you crying?”
Jongwoon sniffed, wiping at his cheeks with one hand. “No. Appa's fine, Kibum. I'm alright.”
Instead of his hand, Kibum's tiny hand cupped his father's cheek. It made Jongwoon still. “Appa...Umma wouldn't want you to cry. Umma wants Appa to be happy.”
Jongwoon didn't know what to say. No time in the army had ever prepared him for this. His sons...when had they become so smart, so wise?
“So...have you been taking care of your little brother?” He forced himself to say.
“Deh!” Kibum said with determination. He squeezed himself between Jungsu and his father. “Taemin knows how to feed him and I've been changing his diaper. Taemin says it's icky.”
“I do not!” Taemin pouted. He took a seat on a lower step, looking at Jinki. “Kibum-hyung never lets me.”
“So you've been helping Jungsu and Sungmin-samchon?”
“Deh, just like we promised!” Kibum nodded. Jongwoon, for once, truly smiled.
Ryeowook wasn't there anymore physically, but his love was still there. In his children.
And he was going to love it even harder.