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Ice-Cream and Taxes

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An alarm beeps. It’s an irritating, blaring sound, one guaranteed to rouse you out of your sleep. It works well, on most days. Today, it has woken up the wrong parent.

“Goddamn fucking-”

“Language.”

“Fuck off.”

Taeyong huffs as dramatically as he can while he’s still nestled between slumber and wakedness. Jaehyun, on the other hand, is greatly annoyed and very much alert. He slams a fist down on the alarm, sending it to snooze.

“It’s your day,” He whines. “Why am I awake?”

“Not my fault you’re a light sleeper,” Taeyong says, shuffling and settling more comfortably in Jaehyun’s arms. He lets out a small yawn before burrowing deeper and closing his eyes shut. A few blissful seconds of silence pass.

“Hey, stop sleeping,” Jaehyun mutters in Taeyong’s neck. “You’re supposed to wake Jisoo up.”

“Don’t wanna.”

“Then I guess she won’t go to school today,” Jaehyun says simply. He exhales lightly and closes his eyes, inviting the warmth of sleep back in. Who, of course, politely declines and leaves him frustratedly awake.

Taeyong’s pretty satisfied, though. He has his arms sung around Jaehuyn’s waist and his face resting on Jaehyun’s chest; looking too carefree for his own good. Jaehyun doesn’t really have the heart to wake him, so he settles for pulling him closer.

It works for about four minutes. Then the alarm goes off again.

“Fuck you to hell.”

“You think the alarm clock will take offence?”

“Shut up, Taeyong. It’s your day.”

Taeyong groans exaggeratedly. He sits up, slipping away from Jaehyun, and turns the clock off. From his vantage point, Jaehyun looks unfairly enticing. His hair is tousled just the right amount, his t-shirt stretches to show just the right amount of collarbone, his arms open just enough for Taeyong to fall back in.

He can't, though. He has a child to wake up.

With a sigh, he steps onto the carpeted floor of their bedroom.

“Come back once you're done, okay?” Jaehyun calls.

“Of course,” Taeyong smiles. “Always.”

He picks off his robe from the rack by the door and leaves Jaehyun with a pleasant warmth in his chest.

-

Jisoo is blissfully in wonderland when she hears her bedroom door open. It's not fun, to be woken up when you're dreaming. First, there are footsteps, a weight beside her, then a hand through her hair.

“Jisoo, wake up.”

She bleary opens her eyes, finding it useless to combat sleep now.

“Good morning, baby.”

“Mmh,” She whines, settling back in her pillows for a second. The numerous plushies around her shift, and a couple fall to the floor. Taeyong reaches for them.

“Appa,” She starts, after a second of contemplation, “Can I stay at home today?”

“I’d let you, but I don't think your poor dad will be able to take it. You know how disciplined he is.” Taeyong tells her, resetting the plushies.

“And you know that's only a result of the environment he was brought up in.” She sits up. “Actually, you should be the more disciplined one, considering you’re the king and all.”

“Yeah, you're definitely going to school. Go get ready.” Taeyong stands up. He doesn't look pissed, per se, he just looks… affronted.

That’s a daily occurence, so Jisoo should be fine. She still doesn’t budge, though.

“Appa, I really don’t wanna go to school today.” She tries, with the wide eyes and pout and all. It works, weakening Taeyong's resolve tremendously.

“Let's convince your dad, okay?” He says, holding out his hand for her to take. She takes it, and they make their way to the biggest bedroom in the palace.

-

Jaehyun's almost done going through Doyoung's stream of drunk texts when the bedroom door opens. He's expecting Taeyong to come and fall back in bed with him, and he does, but he also brings an unexpected guest along.

“Good morning, Jisoo.”

“Morning, dad,” She yawns, before draping herself over him. Jaehyun looks to Taeyong, who just shrugs and reclaims his side of the bed.

“Jisoo…” Jaehyun tries. “Don't you have school today?”

“I do.”

“So why are you here?”

“Not going.”

When Jaehyun meets Taeyong's eyes, he sees guilt written all over him. Well, then.

Your highness-

“Shut up.”

“I didn't expect you to be persuaded-”

“Not. A. Word.”

Jaehyun laughs pleasantly, then remembers the lump resting on him.

“Jisoo, you can’t stay at home. Come on, get up.”

“No,” She declares, wrapping herself around Jaehyun.

“Are you both trying to suffocate me to death?” He groans, because now Taeyong’s piling on, too, with his legs tangled in Jaehyun’s.

“Come on, dad. Let me stay home for today,” She whines.

“Jisoo, you’re in tenth grade -”

“Appa, please make him shut up.” Jisoo deadpans, shuffling until she's comfortably settled on Jaehyun's chest.

“Gladly,” Taeyong says. “But now’s not the time.” He hastily adds after Jaehyun glares at him.

“Jisoo, is someone bothering you at school?” Jaehyun asks, stroking a hand through her hair.

Ah. He's close to succumbing, then.

“Don’t jump to the worst conclusions, dad. I just don't want to go.” She insists. “School gets tiring sometimes, you know.”

Lowering her voice at the end has its desired effect; Jaehyun softens greatly.

“Just today, okay?”

“You’re the best, dad!” Jisoo leans up and kisses his cheek.

“Yeah, thank Jaehyun for letting you stay at home, not me. It's not like I actively supported you or any-”

“You’re too dramatic for your own good, Yongie,” Jaehyun teases.

Taeyong glares again, pushing himself away from his husband and daughter. “No one appreciates me in this household,” He declares, with the likeness of a king. Which, well, he is. He’s also been with Jaehyun almost fifteen years now, so it’s too easy to get his way.

Jisoo watches the intense eye-contact. Then rolls off Jaehyun, because she knows exactly how this’ll play out.

Lee Taeyong’s guide to getting what he wants:-

Step one, identify the target. That’s easy; it's almost always Jaehyun. Step two, engage in conviction. There’s where the eye-contact comes into play. And step three, pout.

That’s it. And it works, miraculously.

“Yeah, yeah. Just ignore me, why don’t you- wow, I can’t believe this.” Jisoo deadpans, because really?

They’re back to the way they were; with Taeyong comfortably nestled in Jaehyun’s arms.

“Hello? Guys? I’m still here, you know.”

“You hear something, Jaehyunnie?”

“Hmm? No, love.”

In a last-ditch attempt, Jisoo forces herself between them. After a few seconds of shuffling limbs and adjusting positions, the family’s settled.

“I want ice-cream.” Jisoo says.

“Yeah, and I want to reform the tax system.” Taeyong responds, over her shoulder.

“Aren’t you doing that, though?”

“Yes, but it’s a labourious process. And fucking irritating when you have the ministers I do.”

“Ah, yeah, that makes sense. I don’t like that Ahn guy in particular.” She makes a sour face. Jaehyun watches fondly.

“He’s very… old-fashioned, isn’t he?” Taeyong tries.

“You mean archaic.”

“Well… essentially.”

Jaehyun laughs into Jisoo’s hair.

“But seriously, Appa. How are the reforms going?”

“I wouldn’t exactly call them reforms.” Taeyong tells her. “And they’re… going. Progressing. Slowly, but like I said, it’s a labourious process.”

“Yeah…” She sighs, shuffles, and continues. “And how about the judiciary shit you’re trying to change?”

“Still being drafted. Seungcheol thinks it’s too risky for me to propose it anytime soon.”

“He also told you not to marry me.” Jaehyun interrupts. ”Look where we are now.”

“I’ll admit, he worries too much.”

“Judging by your past actions, he’s got good reason.” Jisoo deadpans.

“Excuse me?”

“Weren’t you under house-arrest that one time?”

“With good reason!” Taeyong insists. At Jisso’s disbelieving look, he turns to Jaehyun.

“Well, it was for a good cause, so I guess it counts?” Jaehyun placates. Taeyong throws one of the many cushions on their bed at him. He takes it playfully, even if it hits his jaw with an unexpected momentum.

“Both of you.” Taeyong tutts. “So mean.”

Jisoo’s just recovered from a fit of laughter when the alarm blares again.

“Oh, what is it now,” Jaehyun groans. He turns over and picks the alarm clock up. His eyes widen.

“Fuck, shit-”

“What’s wrong, dad?”

“It’s almost seven, I have to go to work.” He says hurriedly. In his haste, he ends up falling of the bed; prompting Taeyong and Jisoo to crack up. It’s embarrassing, yes, but he can take it. It’s his family.