there’s a calloused hand carding through his hair, handling him with uttermost care- brushing his pink locks that are tangled with sticky clumps of food from his sweaty, wet forehead. a hand rests on his hip, as a quiet voice coos.
“jaehyun. hop up, honey”.
his bleary eyes wander around the dark room, hands finding purchase on the lithe hand that rests on his hip. there's a bitter taste in his mouth, a warm, acidic feeling resting at the base of his throat.
“yongie?” he mumbles, bringing a hand to wipe at his weeping eyes, “s’ so early”.
his throat flares up at the action, and a fresh wave of tears spill from his honey eyes as a whimper slips from his puffy lips.
there’s a hand that rests tenderly on his cheek, rubbing featherlight patterns across the flushed and warm skin. “i know, baby. but you have a fever. you studied so hard you wore yourself out, ate some bad food too. c’mon, let's go get you to take a quick shower to wash off this sick, then we can wrap you up in some cozy clothes, give you some medicine, and get you back to bed”.
jaehyun sniffles, head still somewhere in dreamland. “s’ ‘kay, yongie, hyunnie can do that all by himself”, jaehyun retorts, before he tenses beneath taeyongs touch and begins to scramble for an excuse.
“w-what i meant was that i could take care of myself, hyung”.
even in the dark, taeyong can sense the fear and worry in jaehyuns expression- his voice not masking the insecurity that plastered itself in the youngers gut.
taeyong chuckles, not patronizing in the slightest. “i’m sure you can, sweetheart. but you’re unwell and hyung wants to help. c’mon”. taeyong pats at his hip, hand leaving jaehyuns cheek in lieu of taking ahold of his clammy palm. “let’s get you wrapped in some fluffy pyjamas and dosed up- how does that sound little prince?”.
blabbering, jaehyun takes taeyongs hand in both of his and uses what little strength is left in his body to lift himself from his damp, black covers. the second he stands, his legs turn to jelly; a sharp, unpleasant pain searing through his spine. waves of heat and pressure lapse through his skull, a pounding feeling resonating in his chest. the pressure and pain spikes, a dizzying sensation washing through his chest. a pained whine falls from his mouth, as he goes limp in taeyongs arms.
“my poor angel. lay here for a moment while i fetch youngho from next door, i’m certain he will be able to carry you to the bathroom”.
jaehyun trembles as he is placed delicately onto his covers, hiccups bubbling out of his throat. “no, mama. don’ leave hyunnie. hurts so bad”.
lacing his fingers with the elders, jaehyun guides taeyongs hand to his tummy. taeyong understands, pressing a gentle kiss to the crown of his peachy head before rubbing at the youngers tummy. tugging his phone from his pocket, he dials younghos number.
“hey. hyunnies not feeling too well. tummy bug and a bad fever. are you three willing to pop over and take care of him with me, please?”.
minutes later, there’s a gentle rapping at the door. the motion of tummy rubbing stops, causing jaehyun to squirm. pressing a kiss to the littles flush dusted nose, taeyong whispers.
“mommy’s just gonna go answer the door and let youngho, taeilie, and tennie in, okay sweetpea? you stay here and be a good boy for me, it will take less than a minute”.
“pinky promise?”, jaehyun asks, bringing his hand to the one that rests on his stomach.
taeyong hums, bending to press a final kiss to jaehyuns sticky cheek before linking his pinky with jaehyuns and replying, “pinky promise”.
in the darkness of the room, taeyong stumbles for the door. rushing out the room, eyes stinging from the harsh intrusion of light, he opens the door, opting for a quiet greeting. his plans are ruined, as ten pushed through the taller of the two neighbours and demands, “where is my baby?”.
taeyong snorts, “in his bed, though i doubt you could carry him to the bathroom, honey”.
ten scrunches his nose, hands on his hips, “wanna bet?”. he looks harmless- with his scruffy three am hair, hands hidden by sweater paws, his small yet curvy figure practically drowning in one of taeils hoodies, specs resting low on his nose.
youngho giggles, before gently nudging ten out his way and bee-lining for jaehyuns room. “was it a tummy bug you said, yong?”.
taeyong follows him, their voices fading as they enter the darkness of jaehyuns room.
ten stands in the doorway, a pout set on his cherry lips. taeil laughs, pressing a tender kiss to his cheek and pushing the boy inside. “get inside, lovebug. it’s freezing out there”.
with a quiet sigh, ten chews on the inside of his cheek. “you reckon i’m weak, baby?”, he asks, turning to tail with a fragile look in his eyes.
taeil simply grins, “of course not, darling”.
the withering look on tens face melts into a sly grin, gaze pointed and fox-like as he replies, “good, just checking”.
ten thinks he hears a muttered ‘asshat’ from taeil as he walks to jaehyuns room.
“hyunnie doesn’t wanna have a bath”, jaehyun whines, lips pouty and eyes shining. the brown vomit was combed out of his hair by ten, who kept cooing to the younger sympathetically.
he’s now seated on the toilet seat, still clad in his boxers and a loose shirt, hands linked against his calves and legs drawn to his chest. he looked so small, so delicate and fragile- but taeyong had managed to build up an exterior to that sugary voice.
“jaehyun. you’re taking a bath, honey”, he says sternly, hand reaching out for the boy.
“hmph! hyunnie doesn’t want to have a bath, hyunnie wants to go cuddles now!”.
with a raised brow, taeyong speaks, voice edging on reprimanding. “what was that?”.
“mommy being s’ mean”, jaehyun blubbers, gaze averted to the tiles of the bathroom wall.
“excuse me? what was that, jung jaehyun? it looks like someone wants to go to bed without cuddles and kisses”.
at that, jaehyun squeaks, scrambling from the toilet lid into taeyongs arms- eyes wide and watery.
“n-no, take dat back, yongie. you love me… no no no please i wan’ kisses ‘nd cuddles ‘m sorry”, jaehyuns voice begins in waver, becoming wet and chopping as tears fill his eyes, face scrunching up in sadness. he snuggles into taeyongs chest, seeking warmth and safety, trying to escape the bitter cold that bites at his core. “don’ leave me, please. please, ‘m so sorry. hyunnie was being dumb ‘nd bratty and he didn’t mean a word of it. y-you know i love you, mama. you know dat”.
taeyong sighs, while the three crowded in the doorway mouth to taeyong, jabbing angry remarks at him and silently screaming. taeyong makes a spitting action at all of them, laughing when they all shut up.
“you’re not dumb or stupid or bratty, baby. just and little tired, a little sick, a little lonely, huh? it was mean of mommy to even say that. i’m sorry, angel. do you forgive mommy?”, taeyong speaks, holding jaehyuns face tenderly in his palms, peeking up at him.
jaehyun stares down at him with wet, clumpy lashes, lips wet with spit as he speaks. “i forgive you, mama. does mama forgive hyunnie for calling him m-mean?”, jaehyunn gulps a little, rubbing at his eyes, hiccups still bubbling from his throat.
"of course i do, sugar", taeyong laughs, pressing a kiss to his jaw. "now let's get you in a bath with tennie alright.
jaehyun perks up, shimmying about.
ten grins, watching tenderly as jaehyun plays with the small, toy yet. he waves the toy in the air, before slamming it beneath the pink bathwater. jaehyun had insisted on using food colouring to make his bathwater and bubbles pink, telling ten that “it gives me special fairy powers, also makes my tongue pink”.
ten, though morally opposed to the idea of drinking bath water and enabling that sort of behaviour- had fallen captive to jaehyuns charms when the boy giggled, rushing to the bathroom cabinet bare, whining and struggling with the child safety cap. with puppy eyes and a pout on display, jaehyun has handed the bottle to ten, mumbling a gentle, “please, mama. it will look pretty with your red nails”.
that had caught tens heart, a warmth spreading in his chest as jaehyun continued to compliment his nails. “they look like liddol mini coffins! like dracula’s bed. red like apples. do you know dracula, mama?”, jaehyun rambled, clambering into the bathtub with weak limbs, watching as ten dropped dye into the tub.
“of course i know dracula, sweetheart. and yes, my nails are red like little apples. and tomatoes”.
that seems to get a rial out of jaehyun, who makes a gagging noise. “icky”.
twenty minutes later, ten mouthfuls of bathwater later, and five scolding’s from ten later- jaehyun is rested against tens bare chest, dipping his toys beneath the pink bubbles and watching in amusement as they float to the surface. ten runs his fingers through his hair, shampoo making his pink locks foamy, as he sets a damp hello kitty wash cloth over jaehyuns eyes and tips the boys head back.
“who turned da lights off?”, jaehyun jokes accusingly, giggles wringing out before ten pours the pale of warm water over his hair, careful to avoid his eyes as the soap suds join those in the tub.
all washed up, the two hop out of the tub, ten wrapping jaehyun in a fluffy pink towel, drying his hair with a hand towel. jaehyun grins, towel snug around his shoulders and hands bunched up before his mouth. letting out a little yawn, he mumbles.
“can mama fetch yongie s-so i can get dressed, please?”.
ten hums, pressing a kiss to hyunnies head, wrapping a towel around his hips before leaving the room, calling for taeyong. ‘
jaehyun thinks that ten is the best at bubble planes.
taeyong quirks a brow. "hyunnie, could you take your hands away from your mouth for me?”.
jaehyun whimpers, “bu if i do, you will get angry with me”.
taeyong frowns, “i could never be angry with you, buttercup. c’mon, show me your pretty mouth baby”.
whining, jaehyun removes his hands, revealing his pink stained tongue.
taeyong chuckles, “i guess ten let you use the dye, huh”, he says, bringing a tender hand to jaehyuns cheek, getting on his tippy toes to kiss the younger.
“yeah. he played bubble planes wif me. we had races and he washed my hair ‘nd gave me cuddles”, jaehyun recounts, cheeks dimpling as a smile spreads across his lips.
“that’s amazing, sweetcakes. i hope you and tennie had the best time ever”, he coos, taking ahold of one of his own pink sweaters, “arms up, pumpkin”.
jaehyun lifts his arms above his head, wiggling as taeyong pulls the sweater over his broad shoulders, giggling when it catches on his nose.
“okay, now lift you legs up one by one”.
lifting his worn legs, taeyong clothes him in cotton shorts, letting the band rest against the pink-stained skin of the younger’s hips. snuggling into the sweater, jaehyun sighs, head stuffy.
“thank you for taking care of me, mommy”.
taeyong bats his lashes, giggling at the littles pink tongue.
“wouldn’t change it for the world, my dear”.
jaehyun is sat at the kitchen island, curled up on a small stool as he screws his face up at the pills on the counter.
“can’t swallow dem”, he mumbles, tummy churning and nose running. he wipes a sweater-clad hand across his nose, and youngho just sighs.
“want me to crush in up and mix it with some strawberry milk for you, peaches?”, he asks, playing with jaehyuns loose ringlets.
jaehyun squeals in glee, eyes turning into small crescents and cheeks bunching into flushed apples as he sings, “yes please, dada! you’re the best dada eva!”.
taeil, from across the counter gasps in false hurt. “what about me, hyunnie?”.
with wide eyes, jaehyun grips taeils hand with his snotty sleeve, mumbling very seriously, “you and dada bof share first place, okay pretty taeilie?”.
with a grin, taeil links hands with jaehyun, pressing a kiss to the boys clean and bang-hidden forehead. “that’s enough reconciliation, my dear. you got yourself a deal”.
giggling, jaehyun takes taeils hand in a mimic handshake, confused yet amused by the whole debacle. youngho watches from the bench, mixing up his homemade concoction of anti-biotics, ibuprofen, and strawberry milk.
“bon appétit”, he jokes, handing jaehyun a small sippy cup, decorated in purple flowers and yellow honeybees.
the smaller takes it graciously, grabby hands, gummy smile, and a small mutter of thankfulness before he begins drinking the pink fluid. it mustn’t taste too bad- as he gulps it down like pink lemonade. though neither of the elders are too surprised, especially after discovering jaehyuns unhealthy and strange obsession with swallowing entire tubs of pink bathwater.
jaehyun placed his empty sippy cup on the bench, tummy rumbling. he smiled, gaze flitting from youngho to taeil. “thank you, dada ‘nd papa”. bringing his hands to his mouth, he chews, mumbling, “where is mama ‘nd tennie hyung?”.
johnny and taeil exchange glances grinning.
“you’ll find out in a bit, hyunnie. but first, let’s go get those pretty fangs cleaned”.
“open”, taeil instructs, smiling as jaehyun opens his mouth, letting out an ‘ahhh’ sound.
gliding the toothbrush across jaehyuns teeth, taeil hums a gentle lullaby, one that makes jaehyuns lashes flutter a little, a yawn bubbling out his throat.
“looks like the little peach is sleepy, huh?”, taeil whispers, “spit it out in the cup princess, don’t swallow it”.
jaehyun nods, spitting out the bubblegum flavoured foam into the plastic cup. he sits on the basic sink, lips ruddy and wet as taeil brings the brush back into his mouth- a fresh clump of toothpaste applied to the brush.
“open your mouth a little more, honey. gotta keep those back teeth nice and healthy”.
jaehyun opens his mouth, sticking out his pink tongue, laughter bubbling up in his throat as he watches taeils focused face.
“dada wooks sow sewiouws”, he giggles, though it’s distorted by the brush in his mouth.
taeil breaks out his trans, laughing as he finishes off jaehyuns teeth, getting him to spit in the cup once more before rinsing it, filling it with new water for the younger to gargle.
“rinse your mouth out with this, sweetheart”.
jaehyun follows, tilting his head back and gargling, the noise making him erupt in a fit of hiccupy giggles. spitting the water into the cup, jaehyun continues in his tired, delirious giggle fit.
following taeil to his bedroom, jaehyuns eyes wander around the darkness of the house, before settling on the faint, pink glow that peeked out from under his bedroom door.
taeil smiled, holding jaehyuns hand lightly as he nudged open the door.
“the princess has arrived”, he announced, in a playful, thick, manly tone of voice. jaehyun chuckled as youngho sprinted across the room, bathrobe, toy tiara, and his fairy wand in hand.
“here you are, your majesty. your royal robes, your staff, and your jewelled crown”, he settles the clothing on jaehyuns shoulders, before lowering the tiara onto his fluffy hair, handing him the wand.
taeyong and ten chuckle from the centre of the room, where jaehyuns eyes fall upon a pillow fortress. sheets had been tied to the broken light fixture in the centre of his ceiling, draping down over the sides of his king bed, illuminated by a torch that made the room glow pink. the space is decorated with throw rugs, pillows, and his favourite stuffies. jaehyun stares in awe, ridding of the princess gear and launching himself into bed, snuggling into taeyongs chest.
“thank you, mama, thank you, tennie, thank you, papa, thank, you dada. you guys made dis da best nini eva! i love you so so muchies”, he gasps, gripping excitedly at taeyongs shirt.
the four males grin, crowding onto the bed, all snuggled close, bathing in the rose light, staring lovingly at a sleepy jaehyun. they mutter their i love yous, hands stroking his spine, twirling his curls, messaging his tense shoulders.
taeyong presses a tender kiss to the youngers pouty lips, draping him in blankets and thin arms.
“anything for you, hyunnie. anything”.