The first thing Baekhyun does when he sees her is bite her cheek.
“Baek!” Jongdae whines, tugging Baekhyun’s arms ineffectively. He doesn’t want the asshole to drop his baby girl, after all.
“She is so cute!” Baekhyun cooes, already far gone, hearts in his eyes as he noses all along the soft baby skin and hair. She’s just three months old but she’s already a healthy chubby baby. “Look, she has your little lips!”
“She barely looks like anything except baby.” Jongdae rolls his eyes, though secretly he is preening.
Baekhyun laughs, knowingly. “So why do I keep hearing you call her your spring flower?”
Jongdae blushes. “Don’t make fun of me or you lose babysitting privileges!”
Baekhyun dodges away, swaying the baby perfectly in his arms. “Pft, like you can keep me away. I am going to be her favourite uncle!” He proceeds to start talking in baby gibberish at Jongdae’s little flower bundle.
Jongdae sighs, tiredly dropping down to his sofa and letting Baekhyun do what he wants. Baekhyun seems to make it his mission to try and get the nonverbal twelve week old to say his name.
“Try something easier,” Jongdae says sarcastically, pouting as he drinks from the bubble tea Baekhyun had brought as payment.
“Say Uncle Baekhyun! Come on sweetheart! Baek-Hyun-nie!”
She sneezes, right over Baekhyun’s face. Jongdae laughs, loud and hard at the look of betrayal on Baekhyun’s face.
Then his daughter smiles - more like a twitch of her lips - and Baekhyun instantly melts. It makes something tug in Jongdae’s heart too, settling back into watch Baekhyun coo.
Chanyeol is in a staring competition with his daughter, why is Jongdae even surprised?
Of course she blinks first, she doesn’t even know the rules. Jongdae suppresses his slight upset at her loss, and takes her from Chanyeol’s arms.
“Hey!” Chanyeol protests, whining. “Gimme baby!”
Jongdae snorts, tucking his daughter into the safety of his arms. Her eyes are watering but she is still staring at Chanyeol.
“I don’t want her accidentally catching the contagious fire in your eye,” Jongdae reasons, stepping away.
It’s his turn to whine when Chanyeol steps behind him, wrapping his arms around them both. “Jongdae-ya! I want to hold her! If you don’t give her back, I’ll just hold you both.”
Jongdae hisses, baring his teeth, but it’s too late. With a dramatic battle cry, Chanyeol lifts - carefully - Jongdae up and into his lap, sitting back down with a smug smile.
A sound interrupts his rant about proper baby protection.
His baby girl just let out a roar.
It’s rarer for him not to see Jongin these days. Jongdae doesn’t even flinch when the door to his apartment opens. It’s nearly 4 a.m., it can only be one person.
“What were you going to do if I was asleep?” Jongdae grumbles, dragging a free hand over his face. His other arm is busy cradling his precious bundle who is determined to become South Korea’s next champion vocalist. She hasn’t stopped crying in nearly an hour.
Jongin doesn’t bother to answer him, makes a beeline for her. Jongdae doesn’t bother fighting, hands her over and tries not to feel a sting of betrayal when her cries warble before tapering off.
“Honeybear!” Jongin cooes, voice low and soft as he peppers kisses all over her face. She’s distracted, and Jongdae is so thankful.
Exhausted, Jongdae falls back on the rocking chair.
Jongin immediately notices. “You doing alright, hyung?”
“I never thought I would be thankful for our crazy schedules, but I think that training is the only reason I am on my feet despite the lack of sleep,” Jongdae admits truthfully. What he wouldn’t give to be his wife right now who is currently passed out in bed, snoring away.
Jongin giggles and Jongdae’s daughter immediately seems to hone in on the sound. Her chubby hand reaches for Jongdae’s face. Jongdae instantly feels the small irritation melt away. Gods, he loves her so much.
“I think she’s thanking you, hyung,” Jongin whispers, crouching down to be at closer level with Jongdae.
Jongdae reaches his finger out, feeling as if his smile can split his face when her hand wraps around it. “She never needs to,” Jongdae says softly. “I’ll do anything for her. Forever.”
“You know, she can’t eat any solid foods yet,” Jongdae mutters under his breath, looking woefully at his daughter. She blinks up at him and then throws her binkie at his face.
“You can never start to early,” is Kyungsoo’s no-nonsense response. He flips the page of the nutrition book and points to a new recipe, “now remember the benefits of avocados for babies - ”
“Soo-ya,” Jongdae whines, brightening when his daughter echoes the sound.
Kyungsoo’s face twists as he tries to hide his amusement but fails. Sensing weakness, Jongdae acts. He picks up his world and holds her in front of Kyungsoo.
“Jongdae - ”
As if on cue, she starts babbling. She is going to be a variety queen.
Jongdae smirks triumphant as Kyungsoo gives in, face going completely soft as his heart shaped smile over takes his face. He gladly takes her into his arms, alreading cooing over her.
Jongdae is temporarily forgotten, but that is okay. It’s nice to just watch, see how much joy his daughter can bring to someone else.
Later on, Kyungsoo will pass out on the couch, his schedule finally getting to him. Jongdae will carefully take his daughter out of the circle of his arms and thank her for a job well done. She’ll blink up at him sleepily before nuzzling into his neck and falling asleep immediately.
And Jongdae will fall just that bit further in love.
Sehun and Junmyeon
“She doesn’t need Louis Vuitton!” Jongdae groans, already feeling like he’s at the end of his day. It’s barely 9am.
“Don’t be silly, hyung,” Sehun chides, picking up a pair of soft booties that cost over 7,000,000 won. She’s going to out grow them in four weeks. “She is an EXO. EXOs are expensive. Therefore, she is expensive. Besides, Junmyeon hyung is paying.”
“What?” Junmyeon doubletakes, momentarily distracted from playing with the baby. “Why am I paying? You’re the one with the contract!”
Sehun sniffs. “Just because she is a baby doesn’t mean you can forget I am your baby. Why should I pay?”
Jongdae laughs in amusement as Junmyeon’s face twists into this awkward ugly thing of anger, resignation and amusement.
Jongdae’s daughter makes a ‘gah’ sound and immediately all three men look to her. Her fingers rest on the booties, pushing them back and forth.
It’s almost a bit too predictable to see the moment Junmyeon gives in. “Fine,” he pouts. “But I want to take a picture with her against that wall. We match!”
Jongdae sighs, watching as Junmyeon shuffles away, throwing his camera at Sehun and demanding he get the best shot. The employee on the far side looks on nervously as Junmyeon displays Jongdae’s daughter next a beautiful LV vase that matches the tiny bear outfit that Jongin bought her.
It’s nice to see somethings never change.
There is something right, calming, watching Minseok hold Jongdae’s daughter. He looks relaxed and at ease, more so than any of their other members. It makes Jongdae feel settled, normal. His hyung is here.
“How are you doing?” Minseok asks, not looking away from the precious bundle in his arms.
Jongdae swallows, emotion welling in his throat. “Fine.”
Minseok does look up, giving him a flat, unimpressed look. It makes Jongdae shrink into himself.
“I love her so much,” Jongdae whispers. “I don’t want to be away from her. I don’t want to set her in a world where I can’t protect her.”
Minseok walks over to him, sitting down on the sofa and pressing their thighs together in comfort.
“It’ll be hard,” Minseok admits, quietly. “Different. Frustrating. Lonely. But I know you’ll be fine. You’re the strongest person I know, after all.”
Jongdae forces back the tears in his eyes. “Don’t tell Baekhyun that,” he jokes, weakly.
Minseok elbows him. “No evading. You don’t have to worry about a thing. Kim Jongdae. We’re here. We’ve had your back for almost ten years, we won’t be giving up on you now. We’ll take care of your wife and your baby. You just come back safe to us.”
Jongdae loses the battle, a few stray tears escaping before he hurriedly wipes them away.
Minseok’s smile is healing, supportive. “You’ve got us. You have your friends and family. You have fans around the world who will spoil her for you and make sure she doesn’t miss any minute of knowing who you are. So be strong, Jongdae. We’re here.”
Jongdae cries softly, one hand clutching Minseok’s arm, the other softly placed on his sleeping baby’s stomach.
It hurts, it does, but he trusts in Minseok’s words. He knows that his family will be well taken care of. And that is all that matters.
“Thank you, hyung.”
Jongdae can’t stop laughing at Chanyeol’s head. The short hair makes his ears look huge and Jongdae’s daughter is absolutely loving it, grabbing onto the ears and tugging, giggling at Chanyeol’s wails.
Jongin is laughing right beside her, helpfully propping her up so she can get at Chanyeol as best as she can. Kyungsoo gently goads her, helping the near two year old pinch Chanyeol’s lobe between her fingers.
“Stop using her as a weapon of war!” Chanyeol whines, hand flapping around behind him but not actually trying to get out of her grip. His hand finds Sehun and he drags the maknae forward. “Look! Another baby for you to play with!”
She doesn’t take the bait.
Baekhyun cackles, arm slung around Jongdae’s shoulder. “Once she is grown up, I’m going to teach her all the video game tactics. I can already tell she is one that is going to be out for blood.”
Jongdae rolls his eyes, stepping away from his best friend and collecting his daughter from Jongin’s arms.
Junmyeon makes pleading eyes with Jongdae, making grabby hands. But Jongdae is ruthless, bringing his daughter up to eye level and peppering her face in kisses until she is screeching loudly with laughter, crying, “Appa!”
Behind them, Jongdae can hear the shutter of fan cameras going off, but he doesn’t bother with that.
Minseok steps in behind him and ruffles his hair gently. “Welcome back.”
Jongdae pouts, stepping away from the teasing rub considering most of his hair is gone.
“They’re being mean,” he whines, turning to face his wife. She laughs, phone out and already probably has an entire camera reel of pictures.
“That’s okay, my dear,” she says, leaning in to place one hand on their baby, the other on his cheek. “They make you smile, Jongdae-ya.”
Jongdae leans into her touch, kissing her palm gently before he moves back, staring at his members, his other family. They look perfect, all staring at him in various stages of amusement. Baekhyun is teasing Chanyeol, Jongin is laughing at them. Sehun is draped over Junmyeon who is quietly talking to Minseok. Yixing had already called him over the phone, alongside many of Jongdae’s close friends and family. Behind them all, as a background, Jongdae can see fans, all waving supportive banners. It’s more than he could have ever hoped for, the day he stepped into the audition hall over ten years ago, a lifetime ago.
“They do,” Jongdae whispers softly, feeling like the luckiest man alive.
Yixing, in an interview in the U.S. after the interviewer asks after Jongdae’s daughter.
“Sorry, I just call her baby. In Chinese, Bǎobǎo. Because she will always be our first baby.”