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Fruits, Fights and Family

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Monday

Ten was mad. The sight in front of his apartment door was driving him wild with barely controlled rage. It was a scene right out of those stupid dramas on TV, a handsome and concerned Alpha stood in the corridor with a pretty and fragile-looking drunk Omega gathered in his arms, who he had to see home to safety, to protect her from other feral Alphas.

Ideally, such scenes would end with a passionate kiss and an ardent love confession. Like hell was Ten going to let that happen. He was so mad he could've thrown the red wine in his hand on the stupid Omega's face to wake her up (and stain her pretty white dress at the same time). And then proceed to stuff lemons in her mouth, which was currently occupied with pressing soft kisses to the Alpha's neck. To his Alpha's neck. Boy Ten was going to commit bloody murder tonight.

The poor Alpha kept trying to crane his neck away from her mouth to avoid what could qualify as sexual assault if their ranks were reversed. Kun gave Ten a pleading look, silently begging for help. But Ten had had enough of him too.
"Yuri-shi... uh... you should try and stand on your own now." Kun began, "Ten could you please grab her keys from under the doormat, I can't open her door myself, like this."

Like this being Kun holding their sleazy neighbour like she was a freaking Disney Princess. He never held Ten up Princess-style before. And he expected Ten to help him tuck in the bratty Yuri - who'd been trying to hit on Kun for the last month since the day they moved - to bed. Wow, he really was testing Ten's patience.

Ten gave him an affronted look, to which Kun responded with another constipated pleading expression. Then they were having this silent conversation in which Ten tried to convey how irritated he was with the other Omega and Kun through his scrunched up face, and Kun was trying to convince him to help by tilting his head and sagging his shoulders in exhaustion.
Suddenly Ten's eyes went to the crook of Kun's neck where the delirious Omega head was resting. And he saw her tongue sneak out and give a kittenish lick to Kun's exposed neck which had the Alpha yelping and almost dropping her. And Ten had had enough damn it! He wasn't just going to stand in his pyjamas with a wine glass in one hand, while some other Omega put her moves on his man.

He picked up Yuri's keys from beneath the doormat and threw open the door to her apartment. But before Kun could step inside to safely lay Yuri down - Ten basically snatched her out of his arms and half-dragged her inside to deposit her on the living room couch. She had whined a little when separated from the Alpha and huffed when she sat on the couch, but when Ten pushed her to lay down (not unkindly), she curled up and went out like a light.

XxxxxxX

Kun was still standing in the doorway as Ten passed him without any acknowledgement, and swiftly went to their apartment, and then straight to their bedroom. Kun followed him inside like a lost puppy, anxiously toeing off his shoes, before calling for his Mate.

"TenTen..." Kun tried to say with fake cheer in his voice.

"Where did you run off to? Don't you wanna know what mischief Hendery and YangYang got up to today?" Kun continued with more confidence than he felt. He looked into their bedroom with some hesitation, prepared to bolt in case Ten threw dirty socks at his face. It had happened before.

But all he saw was Ten curled up into himself on the far side of the bed, his back to the door. Kun took it as a good sign that his mate was not in combat mode, and approached the bed quietly. He went to lay down beside his mate and engulfed the petite Omega in a back hug.

Kun knew that something was wrong when the Omega didn't immediately melt into his embrace or turned around to face him. Instead, Kun felt Ten stiffen against him and then turn violently only to start smacking him in the face with a pillow.

"Ten! ... What" smack "are" smack
"you" smack "doing...Aaah!". With a series of pillowy blows landing on his face Kun was effectively pillow-fight out of his bed, landing on his backside with a thump.

Kun looked up to see Ten's eyes shine icy blue for a moment before he bites out "You stink of her" with a thoroughly disgusted expression before throwing the pillow in his hand at Kun's face, and turning around to sleep. Then he bolts upright again and with his face scrunched up starts pulling away from the bedsheets.

"Great now our bed smells like her too." Ten exclaims in disgust while gathering the bedsheet and pillow covers and going to the bathroom and throwing them in the laundry basket. Kun gets up to take a shower and wash off the scent of the other Omega, while Ten takes out fresh sheets and pillow covers.

When he comes out of the bathroom Ten's sprawled on the bed like a starfish, face still turned away from him. Kun sighs, Ten really was not going to let him off the hook easily, it seems that he was banished to the living room couch tonight. He goes up to the bed to properly cover up the Omega with the comforter, as he knew Ten got cold easily and would be even more uncomfortable without Kun's warmth beside him.

He took a moment to just gaze at his mate, whose eyelids were screwed shut just a bit too tight, giving away the fact that he was just pretending to be asleep. Kun let him be and took his pillow over to the living room. In the two years in which they had been Mates, Kun had learned it was best to leave Ten alone when his eyes shone blue. Even if he wanted nothing more than to cuddle and kiss him until the Omega cheered up, Kun had to give him space.

XxxxxxX

Ten was being unfair. He knew Kun was only being a good neighbour, but he still couldn't get the sticky-sweet scent of arousal coming from the girl out of his head. He knew Kun would never look at another Omega, hell Kun was so clueless he couldn't tell Ten wanted to kiss him until Ten straight out grabbed his shirt-collar to slam their lips together for the first time.

He knew Kun was just being his usual Protective-Alpha self, looking out for their only neighbour who lived away from her pack. He was always like this, abandoning their grocery shopping to take a lost pup back to his parents, getting home late cause he had stopped at the police station to complain against some rowdy Alphas cornering an Omega, forgetting to eat lunch cause he spent his break driving their younger pack-mates Renjun and Chenle around to their dance and art classes.

His Kun was a respectable Pack Leader, an angelic soul, the kindest wolf in the city. Everybody and their Mom's favourite. And Ten loved him for that, for his gentleness, his warmth and caring nature. Kun was good. He was the textbook definition of the perfect man. But sometimes Ten felt like Kun was too good for his own good.

This past month had his Mate's niceness get on his nerves more than a few times. Really Kun could be so clueless to the advances of admirers sometimes that Ten had to wonder whether the Alpha was purposefully being dense to not make things awkward. Or was Ten thinking too much? Getting unnecessarily jealous over his mate like those sad Omegas on TV.

His head hurt now, he already felt nauseous with Yuri's thick lily scent and the oily smell of Kun's discomfort at the lobby. Add the slight bitter tinge of guilt to Kun's usually comforting smell of Cocoa coming from the living room and Ten almost felt like throwing up. He had become more and more sensitive to scents around him ever since they moved into the new apartment which was supposed to be the Pack House, with all the members moving in gradually.

It makes Ten think if the house itself is jinxed. It had all started on the day they had moved in...

XxxxxxX

Moving Day, One Month Ago

"Oof!" came Hendery's pained cry.

"Hey! Watch it!" Kun cautioned.
Muffled laughter spilt out from inside the apartment.

"Hey! YangYang you brat! You aren't carrying anything, can't you at least open the door for me?" Hendery huffed out.

"But Hendery, the door's wide open, you just bumped into the wall."

Hendery craned his neck to the side, so he could look past the tower of cardboard boxes (Kun Ge's extensive collection of kitchen utensils no doubt), and saw that YangYang was right indeed. He had turned left just shy of the door and slammed into the wall.

In Hendery's defence, it was all Dejun's fault for walking in with a bouquet of orchids in hand, looking like a dream and throwing a soft smile his way before going inside. Of course, Hendery had smiled back like the lovesick puppy that he was and tried to walk in right beside him, without looking if he was even going through the door.

Before Hendery could further embarrass himself in front of the entire Pack, Kun came out and took the boxes from him to put them in the kitchen himself. Hendery went inside after him to join the rest of his pack. Kun was in the kitchen putting away his precious coffee maker before it could incur any more harm. In the living area, Sicheng and Yukhei were both holding one end of the couch each and kept moving it on Ten's command.

YangYang and Chenle were running around from one room to the other, with Renjun trailing after them to make sure neither of them tripped over the scattered boxes yet to be unpacked. He could hear their high-pitched screaming about claiming a room as theirs, while the Alpha reminded that neither of them was moving in before Graduation and it was Ten's call to allot the rooms anyway. Honestly, Renjun could be such a killjoy sometimes.

Dejun was arranging the Orchids he brought in a vase on the dining table. Hendery sidled up to him smoothly and was about to say something totally cool and charming when the shrill doorbell rang.

“Dery, could you see who it is?” Kun ge asked, from halfway inside the fridge.

“Suuuuure…”

The door opened to reveal a girl, who brushed past him and into the house saying,

“Oh, hi. You are the newcomers huh.”

Hendery did a 180 on the spot. She hadn't even taken her shoes off. Sacred Moonlight, Ten Ge was gonna be pissed when he saw that. She kept on walking in and stopped to look around the house, standing in the centre of the living area. Right into Kun Ge’s line of sight, whom she promptly noticed. And then just kept on… noticing…

Dejun, the angel that he was, walked up to her and said hello, but she just waved him aside. Leaving a dumbfounded Dejun in her wake as she moved towards the kitchen area, and settled on the kitchen counter with her elbows resting on it, and face in her hands. Looking at Kun Ge who had his back turned to her as he arranged his utensils in the cabinets.

Now, if Hendery hadn’t been offended by a complete stranger walking into their house with her shoes on, her flat out ignoring Dejun definitely did the job. How can anyone not look at him? Or not respond to his cute little hello? Look away from his bright eyes? His soft smile? Unacceptable. This girl was not normal. She was a total weirdo.

“Oh Moon, she’s posing…” Dejun’s disbelieving whisper came from somewhere on Hendery’s left. Hendery turned to look right into Dejun’s wide eyes. Oh wow, he was- he was standing really close. Apparently, by the time Hendery had been staring daggers at the girl, Dejun had moved next to him. Like, right next to him. They were almost touching.

“Wha- what do you mean?” Hendery stuttered after he finally found his voice. After Dejun had looked away of course.

“Posing, it’s a thing Omega’s do when-” Dejun turned his eyes back to him and must’ve seen his obvious confusion, because he said, “It’s just, uh, it’s like-”

Hendery raised his eyebrows as he could see Dejun getting flustered, but could not understand why.

“Ugh, she wants Kun ge to notice her.” He huffed at last.

Hendery gave him the human facial equivalent of ‘…’, because;
a) why would anyone want Kun ge to notice them. He only ever had his eyes on Hendery to force-feed him vegetables or make him drink his disgusting cold cure.
b) Kun ge was mated, and no person in their right mind would dare approach a mated Alpha.

Before he could vocalise any of those points, Dejun took hold of his elbow with both hands and pointed with his chin to make Hendery turn to look at the kitchen, where Kun ge had finally turned around and realised there was an outsider in their home.

“Oh, hello, may I ask who you are?” Kun ge recovered quickly from his surprise and politely shook hands with the girls, introducing himself as the head Alpha of the house.

“Choi Yuri, but you can just call me Yuri-yah. I live next door.” the intruder finally introduced herself like a normal person. No wait, Hendery has to take that back. She leaned in to hug Kun ge as she said that.

“What the fu-”

“Language YangYang.” Sicheng ge checked the Beta before he could complete it.

“But seriously, what is going on, who is she?” Yukhei asked in a forceful whisper.

The three of them were standing huddled in the hallway leading to the bedrooms, eyes went round and jaws dropped at the sight before them.

“Where’s Ten ge?” Dejun asked worriedly.

“He’s solving a fight between Renjun and Chenle.” Sicheng ge replied, pointing a thumb in the direction they came from.

“We better deal with this before Ten ge is done with them.” Dejun insisted.

Before anyone could respond to that, Kun ge called out at Sicheng ge to bring everyone to him. He then proceeded to introduce everyone to their new neighbour like the dad he was. Hendery did not want to shake hands with the weirdo. Just as Kun ge was about to get to him, Dejun reached for his right hand and gripped it tightly, and held onto Hendery’s arm with his other hand. Hendery was about ready to melt into a puddle on the spot, but he stood firm. Dejun was probably just as freaked out by the stranger as he was. Maybe even more so as Omegas were definitely more sensitive to scents than his Beta nose.

Yeah, that was it, Dejun was nervous and looking for comfort. Hendery just nodded at the girl and started counting the orchids in the vase Dejun had set up as Kun ge went on making small talk. One, two… that’s right, count the pretty flowers… four, five… focus on numbers not how Dejun’s scent was suddenly so strong… eight, nine… pretty flowers, but not as pretty as Dejun’s scent… which was like jasmine…

Hendery only realised he had started swaying when Yukhei put a steadying hand on the elbow which wasn’t held by Dejun. He felt kinda dizzy for some reason. Like he zoned out for a few minutes. But Kun ge was still engaged in conversation with the weird neighbour, and Ten ge was still nowhere to be seen. Hendery took a step back from the group, almost involuntarily.

“Woah Dejun, calm down dude. I think Hendery’s about to pass out.” Yukhei whispered in basically both their ears, because Dejun and Hendery were still next to each other. Linked firmly by their entwined hands.

Hendery was about to ask what he meant by that but Dejun just pulled him down to sit on the couch.

"Let's sit for a while, Dery. If you don't feel so well we could just go and lie down for a while." Dejun said, wrapping an arm around his shoulders and tucking Hendery's head on his shoulder and placing his cheek on the top of it.

Hendery tried not to think about it. About how Dejun said 'we' when he suggested lying down. About how if he turned his head the slightest bit, his nose would be pressed against Dejun 's scent gland-

NO, no-no-no. Those were dangerous thoughts. Even for a Beta like him. He was still a wolf and scents had a way of ensnaring the human mind into giving in to the lupine urges.

It was best he maintained his distance. Ten ge had entered the living room now, with Renjun and Chenle in tow. Kun ge was also moving towards them, to introduce his mate and cousins no doubt. Hendery thought he should sit up now. But every time he tried raising his head, Dejun would just push it back down until he just settled a hand on Hendery's cheek.

Renjun looked at them funny, nose scrunched up, and then smirked, for some reason. Hendery raised his eyebrows in question but got no response. He looked to Ten ge, whose eyes were fixated at their neighbour's feet. Her shoes to be more precise.

Oh, this was bad, Ten ge was a clean freak. Even more than Kun ge and that was saying a lot. The one-time Hendery had forgotten to put his dirty socks in the laundry before falling asleep. He had woken up to the said socks being thrown in his face. And no breakfast until he did his laundry on his own.

So shoes inside his brand new home. Hendery could practically see vein throbbing at Ten Ge's temple. Kun ge obviously noticed it too, as he used his special smile and rubbed Ten Ge's arm. He was urging Ten ge to let it go. It was their means of silent communication. The small gestures, light touches and quick glances between mates that were understood clearer than any spoken words.

Hendery wondered if he would ever have that with anyone. As he felt his eyes close and Dejun's hand moved from his cheek to his hair and began petting it softly...

XxxxxxX

Ten was not mad, but he was close. First, this omega came into his house uninvited. Did not take her shoes off. Did not bow in greeting when Ten was clearly older. Yet she had the audacity to keep posing at his Alpha. Ten decides he wanted this girl out of his house. Now.

She was making the boys uncomfortable in their own house. It takes wolves a lot of time to get accustomed to a new residence. He had thought involving the whole pack into moving in would ease up the whole process for them. But this omega brought in her foreign scent, even before they were halfway done with the work.

He could not outright ask her to get out. An Alpha could've been dealt in that way, by stating that he was making the pack's omegas nervous. But omegas had to be dealt with delicately. Ten knew his mate was not going to be of any help.

Kun looked at any wolf born after the year of '96 and babied them as if they were an actual pup. And this omega at 19, was definitely a pup to him. Ten had to get rid of her on his own.

He could see Hendery fall asleep on Dejun’s shoulder. Dejun’s angelic face distorted into a scowl, even as he kept petting the sleeping beta. The three alphas, Sicheng, Renjun and Chenle were oddly wary of the girl and kept standing behind the couch, using it as a barrier. The Betas, YangYang and Yukhei were both standing behind Ten.

Kun was the only one facing the outsider head-on. The pack was uneasy and that made Ten uneasy. He heaved a sigh and decided to just be over with it.

"Ge", that honorific was enough to get Kun over to his side. He had been standing in between Ten and the omega girl, and not that Ten was jealous or anything, but he was pleased as the distance between those two increased. Kun wrapped an arm around his waist and brought his ear close to Ten's lips. Ten should really not be as affected by it as he was. His Kun was still so soft for him. Wrapped around Ten's finger. Understanding exactly what he wanted. Swaying to his slightest move.

"The kids are tired." He continued, pointing at Hendery. He made no effort to keep his voice down, even if Kun was expecting a whisper. He wanted the Omega to hear it more than Kun. "Baekhyun hyung called, he wants Renjun to come back home before 7. Chenle and YangYang also have school tomorrow." He counted off.

The three youngest were still not officially a part of the pack and lived with their parents. But Kun was no less invested in their academics than their parents. And the statement had the desired effect on him. Kun checked the time, 6:15, then turned to the kids and gestured at them to grab their things.

"I'll drive them home honey. Don't worry." He said in Ten's ear, and went to grab his keys.

"I'll take your leave Yuri-ssi, it was nice meeting you." Kun gave her a parting bow and left with the three in a row.

The girl exited the apartment in his wake, not sparing the remaining pack any notice. Not like Ten really gave her a chance to. He shut the door the moment she stepped out. Shut it quickly, and not slammed it hard. New house, new door, he had no intentions oh incurring any damage.

Ten turned to face his pack. Hendery was still asleep. Dejun had eased up a bit, no longer looking like he was out to commit murder. Sicheng had come around to sit down on the couch with a sigh and Yukhei-

"Whew, what was that."

"That was our neighbour Yukhei." Sicheng answered.

"Yeah but, she was weird, like so weird. I don't know but, she kinda failed the vibe check for me. I really don't want to run into her in the corridor." Yukhei shrugged.

"What do you think Ten?" Sicheng turned his ever knowing eyes on him.

"I want to know who let her enter my house with her shoes still on. Who opened the door? Was it you Dejun? No, it was Hendery. It was him wasn't it?"

"How was it Dery's fault? She just came barging in! And shouldn't you be more concerned about how she was posing at your Alpha?" Dejun fired back with more heat than Ten's half-hearted reprimand warranted.

A second of silence. Very wide-eyed Yukhei and Sicheng turn to look at Dejun. Ten sees Hendery blinking his eyes open, shaken awake by Dejun's sudden outburst. But he makes no move to speak or sit up. Sicheng narrows his eyes at Dejun.

"Posing? Like how you were with the flowers when Hendery came in?"

This makes Dejun splutter and Hendery comically widen his previously sleepy eyes. Standing across the couch Ten is the only one who can see that Hendery is wide awake now. He could put a stop to this conversation and spare Dejun a lot of embarrassment...

Or, he could get it through his thick-headed cousin's head, that his crush on Dejun was not one-sided. Seriously, sometimes Ten thinks that he got all the clever genes in the family. Dery might be a straight-A student, but he could be painfully dumb too. At times. When Dejun was involved.

So Ten lets the conversation play out. Content in watching the rapid overlap of emotions on Hendery's face.

"What are you talking about?!?!"

"I'm talking about you sticking your ass out-"

Dejun gives a strangled shriek. Understandable. If it was Ten's older brother calling him out on his posing like this... He would be shrieking too. Or probably throwing hands.

"Oh, know you're embarrassed?" Sicheng looked like he'd back down now. But also gave Dejun a look that this conversation wasn't over. And Ten suddenly realised something.

He looked at Dejun, with his arms wrapped around Hendery. The doped-up look in Hendery's eyes, how they were abnormally dilated.

"Oh my god you were scenting Hendery weren't you!" Ten shouted, making Dejun jump, and Yukhei snapped his fingers.

"He was!"

"Was not!" Dejun denied in a high pitched voice.

"Hey! Don't lie! I could smell you when Kun ge was introducing us. And I was standing like two feet away. Not to mention I'm a Beta." Yukhei accused.

Yukhei was right of course. Dejun's scent was faint, and Ten could only ever make it out by virtue of being an omega and his packmate. It should not be possible for a Beta to pick it up unless they were touching. Or being purposefully scented. But Yukhei was not the one being scented...

"So what? SO WHAT??? That girl was making Dery uncomfortable. I was just trying to comfort him." Dejun Finally decides to own up.

"You call that comforting?" Yukhei questions, bewildered. "He nearly passed out, standing next to you!"

And the final puzzle piece clicks into place for Ten, and Sicheng it seems, at the same time.

"I can't believe it... Your calming pheromones literally put him to sleep?" Sicheng chastised.

"You scented him aggressively so he wouldn't notice the other omega's scent or posing." Ten concluded. "And went so over the board that Dery fainted!"

Dejun's face is about as red as an emergency light. Sicheng was still in shock and Yukhei slammed a hand over his face, sighing.

"Fa-fainted?" Now Dejun's eyes fill with worry and turn to Hendery's face. Thankfully, Hendery had the sense to close his eyes in time and keep pretending to be asleep.

It was more than Dejun's possessiveness that made him act like this. He's always been a shy and reserved person like Sicheng. No wonder the new house, the running up and down since morning and on top of all that, the outsider took a toll on him. Made him lose the hold on his emotions.

Ten decided it was enough. This day had been long enough.

"Hendery would be fine Dejun. Don't worry about him. He can just sleep on the couch tonight." Ten said. "Yukhei, do you also wanna crash here tonight or are you going back to the dorm?"

"We were all going to eat dinner together..." Dejun sulked.

Ten genuinely felt sad then. Kun had promised to cook something for the kids before sending them all back. But Ten had derailed their plan in his haste to get rid of their neighbour.

"I'll get you two dinners. Come on, let's go. What do you two wanna eat?" Sicheng offered.

"Sushi!" Yukhei yelled.

And with that, the trio left quietly. Mindful of a (fake) sleeping Hendery.

"You can open your eyes now, they're gone."

“I don’t know what you are talking about. I’m fast asleep.” To further accentuate his point, Hendery started fake snoring.

Ten let him be and messaged Kun to pick up food for the three of them on his way back.

Kun brought Pad Thai. At the sight of food, Hendery sat up so fast from the fake sleep that he scared the poor Alpha into dropping his chopsticks. Ten laughed at him and promised to explain Hendery’s predicament later.

XxxxxxX

Tuesday

Kun woke up with a crick in his neck. Sure he was the one to pick the couch, but it was still a couch. Not made to be slept on. He turned his head to the right, only to be met with YangYang’s face up close. Mischievous eyes narrowed, peering into Kun’s soul.

“I’d say good morning, but this morning does not look good for you ge.” the beta commented like an old sage predicting a gruesome fate.

Kun just flicked his forehead, sat up and stretched his arms above his head. His yawn was cut short but a loud clang. YangYang snickered as Kun turned around and looked towards the kitchen area.

It was a scene right out of one of idol variety shows Kun used to direct. One member (the fun, extroverted one) who could not cook to save his life, would be trying his hand at cooking. The rest of the group would be surrounding him, engaged in damage control. The maknae of course would be enjoying the chaos from a safe distance.

This morning, Kun was an aghast witness to this mess. Ten was standing in front of the stove, frankly throwing ingredients into the pot, with so much force that the water came splashing out. It was definitely hot as Hendery pulled his hand back, wincing when some wayward drops struck him. Kun wasn’t particularly worried about him as Dejun moved him away from the disaster and started fusing over him instantly.

Sicheng gestured to Yukhei, presumably to lift Ten up and run out of the kitchen and lock him into some other room. It had been done before. They had to resort to drastic measures at times. The last incidence being Ten getting a little too involved with the latest episode of a talent show. Slippers had flown towards their new T.V.
It had been intense.

Sicheng had Ten engaged in some conversation, so Yukhei could sneak in from behind. But before Yukhei could close his arms around Ten’s waist, a voice yelled out.

“LEE YONGQIN!”

Yukhei sprang back away from Ten, even Sicheng and Ten jumped apart slightly. As three pairs of startled eyes turned to him, Kun realised he was the one who shouted. A brief awkward silence ensued, during which Ten’s surprised eyes narrowed.

“I.. the- the stove! Turn off the stove!”, thankfully right at that moment, whatever concoction Ten was brewing up decided to boil over. In the ensuing panic as three people tried to turn off one stove all at once, Kun was spared from explaining his sudden outburst.

Kun himself couldn’t understand what made him shout like that. He wasn’t jealous or anything. There was no need to be. Yukhei and Sicheng were both packs. Yukhei was Ten’s giant baby. Still, seeing them crowding in Ten. Ten who was shorter than both of them built slighter, physiologically more vulnerable-

Kun shook his head, why was he thinking about Ten’s physiology? This had nothing to do with anyone’s physiology. It was just that Kun and Ten had a (rare) lovers’ quarrel. Which will be resolved today. Or by tonight at the latest. They had never gone beyond 24 hrs, without talking to each other. No matter how severe the argument.

Kun just had to get up, sweet talk Ten a safe distance away from the kitchen and cook up some breakfast. Some fluffy pancakes should do the job. They even had some ice cream in the fridge for Ten. It will all be okay.

As Kun got up and moved towards the kitchen, determined to win back the favour of his mate, Sicheng tugged Yukhei out of the kitchen.

Coming to a stop opposite to Ten on the kitchen counter, Kun beams at the love of his life, and says,

“TenTen, why don’t you let me handle breakfast? You can-”

“I can make my own breakfast.”

This gives Kun a pause. Ten does not cook. Not just ‘can’t’, he hates all cooking-related tasks, chopping vegetables, doing the dishes etc.

So naturally, this declaration draws the attention of the entire pack. The heads of all the boys lounging in the living area turn in sync towards them.

“You don’t need to Ten, I’m your Alpha, I should do this for you-”

“I don’t need an Alpha who comes home with another omega draped over him to cook me breakfast.”

The silence that followed was so acute Kun could tell apart the gasps of each member of his pack. All this time, Ten had been avoiding Kun’s eyes. Now that he looked into them, Kun could see that his anger had not faded away with the night.

Sicheng cleared his throat before the silence got too long.

“I was going to drop Dejun to University anyway, so I’ll buy you guys breakfast on the way. Come on, get your stuff.”

“I came because Ten ge called and said to come over for breakfast. I thought Kun ge was gonna make good on his promise of pancakes…” Yukhei broke off as the collective attention of the pack came back to the mates.

“Well, thanks for reminding me Yukhei, I should treat you guys, just give me-” Kun began.

“Actually ge, Hendery has a class at 10, we really should be leaving now.” Dejun said, standing up and picking up his bag.

“Why do you know what class Hendery has?” Sicheng questioned.

“We have the same class,” Dejun replied, with a panicky face.

“No you don’t,” Yukhei called him out instantly. “It’s an elective, we all chose different electives.”

“Well, we’re about to share that elective. Cause I’m gonna change mine today.” Xiojun huffed.

Kun had little to no idea what was going on there. He knew Dejun had a long-standing crush on Hendery, it was pretty obvious. He thought Sicheng must know that too, so his reactions made no sense to Kun.

Hendery who had been quiet the whole time suddenly spoke up, “Kun ge as much as I love your cooking, I will be late for class if I wait anymore. Don’t worry about us ge, make sure Ten ge eats though.”

“Ten ge.”
“What.”

“Let Kun ge cook, I don’t know what possessed you but you should really stay as far away from the kitchen as possible. You know it ge, cooking is not your strong suit.” Hendery reprimanded his cousin with surprising softness.

“Fine.”

“Good, now please step out of the kitchen, so we all can leave in peace and Kun ge won’t be left alone to deal with a kitchen on fire.”

Another tense silence. Kun felt like this was the moment in a drama where a melodramatic instrumental track would be played. From the look on Sicheng’s face, Kun realised he was not alone in thinking that Hendery might’ve gone a teeny tiny bit too far.

“Okay, I won’t try to cook anything.” Ten finally replied. Then with a fiercely determined face, “I don’t need to cook to eat breakfast. I’ll just eat cereal.” With that, he started rummaging the drawers. This alternative seemed to satisfy the rest of the pack, who finally stood up to leave.
But Kun knew better.

“Uh… Ten… honey, we’re out of cereal…” He said quietly. The glare he got in return would’ve made it seem like he had drowned a kitten. Kun did feel guilty, he was supposed to go grocery shopping on Friday, but his schedule has been so crazy with the new project…

“Fine, then I’ll just,” Ten shrugged, “guess I’ll just eat this apple.”

Kun felt like the world had come to a screeching halt. The planet had stopped revolving. There might as well be a thunderstorm raging outside. The declaration struck the rest of the pack like lightning for sure.

Hendery was halfway out the door when he froze, one foot still in the air. Sicheng came back in after he had left. Dejun’s eyebrows disappeared in his hairline, Yukhei dropped his bag. YangYang swore. Dejun covered his mouth before he could say anymore.

“You WHAT?” Sicheng finally vocalised the one incoherent thought in everyone’s head.

Ten just nonchalantly picked up an apple. It all happened in slow motion for Kun. Ten, who hates, loathes, abhors all kinds of fruits. Willingly, without any prompting, picked up and bit into an apple. Right in front of Kun’s eyes.

“You know what, it’s not actually that bad. I kinda like it. Dery, bring some more apples when on your way back.”

“HUH?” Hendery - who had finally planted both his feet on the ground - exclaimed.
Kun felt like the world had violently swung into motion again. He felt like he was about to faint.

XxxxxxX

Wednesday

The day following the apple debacle. Sicheng decided to do some research of his own. He paid his dear friends a visit. Leaving Dejun with Yukhei and Hendery. It was unfair on his part to leave Yukhei alone to deal with the two, but he was really tired of their oblivious tip-toeing. Yukhei should step up as the sensible one in their trio.

The role Sicheng played in Kun and Ten’s budding love story. It was not easy to get those two to confess. Back then, at least he could jokingly tell Ten to just go jump his bones. He can’t very well say that to his own younger brother.

Not like Ten’s not like a brother to him, but Ten is older than him and Sicheng was the first-hand witness to all his thirsty thoughts regarding Kun-

No, this matter is best left to Yukhei. Yukhei is smart, sensible, he can deal with it. Yukhei also tripped over his own feet in front of his crush in a crowded pastry shop last week. Upsetting more than a few patrons. But that’s one isolated event, usually he’s a reasonable guy.

So, Sicheng was here, on a lazy mid-week evening. Armed with a basket of fruits, to determine exactly what was up with Ten.

Getting out of the lift, he saw a timid Kun with a hand hovering over the keypad. Did he… did forget the passcode to his own apartment?

He does not notice Sicheng until he’s standing right behind him. Sicheng on his part, just to be a little shit, and for old times sake, whisper right in his ear.

“Did you forget the passcode ge?”

Kun jumps, lets out a curse and Sicheng gets an elbow in his tummy for all the mischief.

“Calm down man!” Sicheng winces.

“What are you doing!” Kun has the audacity to look accusingly at him. Back in college, he just used to catch Sicheng in a playful headlock and laugh. Marriage really changes people into old souls.

“Don’t give me that look. I come bearing gifts.” He lifts the basket of fruit up to Kun’s eyes.

Kun sighs and the look in his eyes changes from accusing to wary. Sicheng ignores that and moves around him to ring the bell. A disgruntled Ten opens the door. Sicheng greets him cheerfully and moves inside before he can be turned away.

It was clear the two had made no progress from the distance Kun maintained. Sicheng could read his childhood friend better than anyone else. Kun is not one to run after people. He’s not a go-getter. He’s the one who waits. Even if he is left behind he doesn’t leave. He waits till you come back looking for him. Affections and loyalty unchanged. He’s not one to pursue a person who seems like they are not interested in talking to him.

Good thing Ten is the exact opposite. He doesn’t give up easily, whether it’s people, relationships, or the last everything beagle in the cafe. That’s why Sicheng was more concerned with Ten’s behaviour than Kun’s. He had a hypothesis, and now he was going to put it to test.

“You are always welcome in Sicheng, but what brings you here today?” Ten asked.

“Oh, I remembered you asked Hendery to bring you some fruits. He couldn’t come by, so I brought some for you.” Sicheng smiled up at him.

He had been routinely told he was cute, by everyone he knew. Now was the time to put that cuteness to good use.

He picked up a peach from the variety of fruits and placed it on the dining table where the three of them had settled. Right in front of Ten. It did not get the desired reaction. No scrunched up eyebrows. No distasteful turn of the mouth. No recoiling away from the object.

Instead, Ten reached out to pick it up, and -to Kun and Sicheng’s horror- took a bite.

In the seven years, Sicheng had known Ten, never had he seen the guy touch a fruit of his own accord. Let alone actually eat, and finish the whole thing too. Years of Ten’s mom, Kun and occasionally Sicheng himself scolding him for not eating fruits and he had never relented. Sicheng thought the display yesterday had been put on just to spite Kun, he had fully expected Ten to drop the act today.

And with Ten swallowing the final bite of that peach and right away picking up another from the top of the basket, Sicheng’s hypothesis was blown out of the water. And with that Kun’s patience too it seems.

“Ten”, he spoke up hesitantly, “are you feeling okay honey?”

Kun raised a hand, as to touch Ten’s forehead, but one sharp look made him hastily pull it back.

Sicheng could make a guess who the omega Ten referred to yesterday was. But as to what Kun had done to deserve this treatment was beyond him. Sicheng had been with them every step of their relationship. A trusted confidant to both sides. Most (if not all) of their quarrels had consisted of Ten pushing too many of Kun’s buttons. Upsetting and then winning him back.

Sicheng decided to take his leave. He couldn’t think of anything else he could do, without intruding. When Kun came out to see him off, he decided to give a word of advice,

“Hey, did you think of taking Ten to see a doctor? Maybe all those years fruit deficiency have finally pushed him over the edge-”

“Sicheng! What are you saying? Ten’s totally fine, he’s just mad at me. We’ll sort it out, don’t worry.”

Kun’s dimples did not reassure Sicheng like they used to, but there was little else he could do. So he left the mates to themselves.

XxxxxxX

Thursday

Kun and Ten ge’s house (which will soon be his home too) had always been a refuge for YangYang. So on a late morning, - when there was a test-taking place in the chemistry class he absolutely did not want to face - YangYang decides to make a surprise appearance at his beloved gege’s residence.

Had he known what drama was about to go down, he would have simply gone home and faced his mom’s scolding for skipping school.

When he first showed up a very enthusiastic Ten ge opened the door and on realising it was the most savage member of their pack said,

“Oh, YangYang” with all the enthusiasm of a snail, “it's you.”

His face dropped so fast that YangYang was almost offended. Then he remembered that annoying his ge could be the most entertaining activity he could utilise his time for.

He gave his ge what he knew was a cute smile, no matter how many times Renjun had said it made him look like a little devil.

“What are you doing here anyway? Shouldn’t you be in school right now? I thought Seniors are busy with college applications and stuff.” Ten ge complained, but he did let YangYang in.

"There's a test in Chem class I didn't want to do so…"
"So you skipped school and decided to pass time here."

YangYang gave him a toothy smile and settled on the living room couch. Content to play video games on his phone.

"Ten ge, don't you have any snacks in the house? I'm hungry."
"I think we have some chips, I'll bring them. Do you want juice?"
"Nah, don't you have cola?"
"No, they're not healthy, you should drink juices more. Growing kids need the nutrients in fruit juices, not the extra sugar in soft drinks."

YangYang had finally become the Imposter after 5 tedious rounds of Among Us. and after waiting out the 20 seconds, he could finally make his first kill. But all these words of wisdom coming from his usually chill and rule-breaking ge made him look away from the screen.

Ten ge, talking about nutrients?

"Huh?"

"You know what, these chips aren't good either. I'll just bring out some carrots for you, they're good for your eyes. Kun always says carrots are a good healthier snacking option."

That statement made YangYang put his phone down. Game forgotten.

"Ge… are you feeling alright? Are you sick? Did something happen?" He asked worriedly.

Ten ge looked up from the kitchen counter, where he was pouring out some juice in YangYang’s favourite tumblr.

"Yeah," he replied, brows drawn together, "Why?'
"You just agreed with Kun ge. You don't like his healthy snacks too. We always used to eat junk food when he's not around. Remember?"

That made Ten ge put the carton of juice down, and gaped at YangYang. He was acting so weird today. Usually by this time he would’ve put on some disney movie and assembled all sorts of junk food for their consumption. Ten ge was always excited about their impromptu hangouts. But not today.

"You were disappointed when you opened the door. You don't like hanging out with the kids anymore I see. Maybe you're getting old ge. Just tell me you wanna hang out with the oldies, I'll go over to Renjun's place-"

As he was talking, Ten ge came around the counter and sat down next to him. After a moment of hesitation, grabbed him in a hug.

YangYang hadn't realised his eyes had started getting teary. He didn't know what was up with that. Ten ge was not someone who cries easily. Well, he never cried when they watched sappy romance movies. He had no idea how to deal with crying children, let alone an adult. Let alone this adult.

"Are you crying ge?"
"I'm not crying, I don't know what you're talking about."

YangYang started patting his back when Ten ge started to hiccup. He felt like he should ask what was wrong but he didn't know if he could say anything to fix it, so he just let ge cry it out.

"I wasn't disappointed to see you YangYang. I just- it's just that I was expecting it to be Kun. And, well, you remember the scene at breakfast, don't you?"

"Yeah," he mumbled, " are you and- are you and Kun ge going to di-divorce?" He asked hesitantly. Now that he had said it out loud, it sounded stupid even to himself. But he had to ask.

"What?" Ten ge exclaimed loudly and broke away from the hug.

YangYang gave him a look. Half confused, half sceptical. The thought of them not being together bothered YangYang more than he would admit.

"No! No YangYang, we're not getting a divorce. Why- okay I see why you would think that, but that's not what's going on. Promise."

"Then why did you say Kun ge was cheating on you!"
"That's not what I said!"
"You said something about another omega!"
"Yeah but, that's not what I meant!"
"Then what did you mean!"
"Okay, I might have overreacted a bit that day." Ten ge admitted.

YangYang tsked at him. And put on what he assumed to be his most disappointed expression. Something his mom did everytime she found him playing video games instead of studying.

"Listen, I don't know why but I felt so shitty that day for some reason. And I kinda took it all out on Kun without giving him a chance to explain."

"Yeah, you were super mean to him, poor ge looked like a kicked puppy."

"I know, that's why I wanted to properly talk and give him a chance to explain."

"Okay. But don't fight again. Never fight. You guys aren't allowed to stop being together. Ever." YangYang might spend 90% of his time teasing his Gege, but he loved them to bits. If any of them cried, he would cry with them. He could not imagine a future in which the both of them were not standing together.

"YangYang, just because we fight sometimes doesn't mean we don't want to be together. You and Renjun fight all the time, so do you not love him?"
"Eew no!"
"I mean, does Renjun stop being your best friend just because you guys fought over PUBG once."
"No… I get your point."
"Good. So don't worry about us again. Your Kun ge and I are not going to… give up on each other. Ever."
"Good."

After the heart to heart Ten ge put Netflix's latest rom-com on. YangYang had wanted to strongly object, but he decided to let it go today. His ge deserved to be indulgent for once.

"I can't believe you cried because Kun ge was a little late in getting home."
"I did no such thing."
" Sure ge, sure. Hey I have to leave after lunch, you sure you'll be okay on your own? If Kun isn't back till then?"
" Yeah of course. What kind of question is that?" Ten ge replied irritated.
" I just don't want you crying alone."

YangYang got a cushion in the face for that. After that the movie was forgotten in favour of laughing and pillow fighting. Ten ge had always been a refuge for YangYang. Maybe just for today YangYang could also be a refuge for him.

XxxxxxX

Friday

Yukhei had no idea he was walking into a warzone when he went to Kun and Ten ge’s house with a box of doughnuts.

It was friday night- well evening right now, but his friends had made plans for friday night. Plans that included a certain cute boy from his Literature class. He just had to make a quick delivery to his sweetest ge who had insisted that this was a doughnut emergency.

He’ll just hand over the box to Ten ge and be on his merry way. He was already dressed to kill, maybe he’ll ask Ten ge to put his pro skills to use and do his make up for tonight. Hey, if he was friends with one of the most in demand makeup artists in the industry, he should take advantage of that sometimes.

Kun ge welcomed him in. Ten ge was sprawled on the couch, watching some drama munching on popcorn. He perked up when he saw Yukhei. Or the box of treats he was holding.

“Xuxi my giant baby!” he said as he lunged for the box, “Thank you so much. I knew I could trust you.”

Yukhei just chuckled in response. Kun ge stopped on his way back from the kitchen, with tissues in hand. He just handed them to Yukhei and gestured at him to give them to Ten. Guess the fight wasn’t over yet.

“Ten ge, could you do my makeup today. I wanna look extra good today.” Yukhei said coming to block Ten’s view of the tv. Not that he was paying any attention to the show now, he was looking intently at the assortment of doughnuts in the box. Deciding which one to pick first. Fingers dancing all over, like that of an excited child’s.

“Hmm?” he looked up when Yukhei layed out some of his stuff in front of him. “Are you going out tonight?”

“Yeah! Mark planned it. Hendery went to pick up Dejun-”

“And Mark must’ve invited that tall Alpha best friend of his, what’s his name?” Ten ge, like always left no chance to tease him.

“Jungwoo” Kun ge replied from the hallway leading to their room.

The change in Ten ge’s expression was instantaneous. From mischievous to miffed. It was kinda funny. These two bickering was nothing uncommon. So Yukhei didn't think much of it. Even if it had been a whole week. They had probably made up and had a petty fight again in a week's time.

"Ge! Are you doing my makeup or are you gonna keep this up? Cause in that case I'm gonna leave." Yukhei feigned getting up and was immediately pulled back down by a hand on his arm.

"Of course I'll do it! Anything for my giant baby." Ten ge cooed, as one would at a child. Sometimes he took the parent of the pack analogy too seriously. Ten ge started at once and by the time he was applying the eye liner, Yukhei heard Kun ge come into the living room. Curiously there was another sound accompanying his footsteps. Yukhei wasn’t sure he was allowed to open his eyes yet, Ten ge wasn’t done with the eyeliner, but he had paused.

“So… I’ll be off now. Yukhei have fun tonight. Tenten,” Kun ge spoke from somewhere on Yukhei’s right, “take care. Call Dery for a sleepover if you- if you feel like.”

The following silence and the return of Ten ge’s hand to applying the eyeliner prompted Yukhei into speaking.

“Kun ge, where are you-”
“Waah, it must be fun to be young and in love Xuxi.”
“Uh…”
“Going out on weekends, dates, partying with friends, clubbing on friday nights. I used to do all that too, back in college.”

“Cool.” Yukhei replied quietly, confused.

“You should enjoy life while you are young Xuxi! And love too.” Ten ge went on, “it’s only fun when it's new. Once you grow out of the honeymoon phase it's all but over.”

Kun ge inhaled loudly. He definitely had his hand at his hips now, head tilted at an angle, face pinched in annoyance. Yukhei was free to open his eyes, but he was not too keen on doing that now. Ten ge started applying some lip tint, freeing him from having to respond. Effectively conveying that the words were meant for Kun ge.

And boy did Kun ge take the bait.

“Oh, is that so? How exactly have things changed for you Yongqin?”

Shit. He was using the official name now. This was escalating fast. Yukhei begrudgingly opened his eyes just as Ten ge replied.

“Well, when my mate and I were dating he used to take me out on dates every weekend.” He started counting off on his fingers, “ spent all his free time with me. Made breakfast for me every Sunday-”

“I still make breakfast. Everyday now. Drop the past tense.”

“He never stood me up Xuxi. He was never late. He never made me wait.” Ten ge kept counting, holding every finger right up in Yukhei’ face. He could do little but nod along with Ten ge.

“I said I’m sorry about yesterday! We had to go scout a new location-”

“And if he ever had to cancel our plans, he would always make it up to me-”

“When did I say I won’t make it up to you now-”

“When do you make any plans now.” Ten ge finally gave up on whatever game he was playing and turned to face Kun ge with a huff.

“You never make any plans now Kun. Remind me when was our last date?”

“Like two weeks ago? Ten you know I am busy with work right now-”

“You are not the only one who works Kun.”

“That’s not what I’m saying.”

“You have just started taking me for granted.”

“Ten I have never in my life taken you for granted. If there’s anyone who is taken for granted it’s me.”

“What do you mean?” Ten ge stood up at that. The mates were standing toe to toe now. Yukhei decided to slowly shift as far from the two as he could. Settling at the far edge of the couch, in case any cushions started flying.

“Me taking you for granted? Bitch your are the singular most beautiful thing in my life-”

Yukhei never understood how they can simultaneously call each other names and still subtly declare their undying love for each other.

“Have I ever complained about anything you planned? About any lame ass artsy movie you made me watch? Have I ever stopped you from stocking our fridge with that cursed choco-mint ice cream?”

Ten ge was on a roll. Jabbing a finger in Kun ge’s chest with every sentence.

“And now you are going to shoot with an all omega idol group!”

“What does that have to do with anything?”

Just when Yukhei thought they were finally gonna kiss (he held a cushion over his face, just in case he needed to cover his eyes) Ten ge swayed.

Swayed as in got dizzy, Kun ge’s hands shot out to steady him. Yukhei got up too and in the seconds it took him to reach them, Ten ge had regained his footing. He brushed off Kun ge after a moment and moved away.

“Ten are you okay?”
“Ten ge?”

Both their queries went unheard as Ten started collecting Yukhei’ makeup supplies from where they were spread. He handed them back to him saying,

“You should get going now Xuxi, or you’ll be late. Don’t keep your crush waiting.”

“Ge-” Yukhei was cut off by his own ringtone.

“Hey man where are you? Hendery is here already, what’s taking you so long?” Mark hollered from the other side.
“I was just about to leave.”
“Well leave quickly or you’ll miss Jungwoo! He only agreed to come for a short while.”
“Oh, okay, I just came to Ten ge’s place. I’ll be there soon.”
“Oh hey! Hendery is saying to ask Ten Hyung if he needs to come over tonight? Something about Kun ge texting him, I don’t know.”

Yukhei looked up at the mates at that. Ten ge just shrugged and said,

“Tell him not to bother. I can stay alone at night. I’m not a child scared of dark.”
(Which was a blatant lie. The whole pack was well aware of Ten ge’s fear of darkness.)

With that he went back to the drama he had paused, and the abandoned doughnuts that had brought Yukhei here tonight.

Yukhei turned to Kun ge for a definitive answer. Who heaved a sigh and shook his head. This was conveyed to Hendery, and at long last Yukhei was ready to leave for real.

“Aren’t you leaving ge?” Yukhei asked Kun while putting his shoes back on, eyeing the small suitcase near the door. Kun ge must’ve brought it out when his eyes were closed. So he wasn’t just going for an overnight shoot. He probably had a schedule for the whole weekend.

Kun ge spared the suitcase a weary look. Then took his phone out and started typing quickly.

“No Xuxi, I think I’ll stay the night. I can just leave early tomorrow morning.They’ll manage tonight. It’s not like we were going to start shooting tonight. The company just wanted to make sure their idols were well rested and fresh for the shoot tomorrow. It’ll be okay.”

With that reassurance, Yukhei left thinking maybe mated life was not that bad. Even if it was a tad bit dramatic.

XxxxxxX

Saturday

Renjun had told his Dad a thousand times that he did not need a babysitter. He was a high school senior dammit. He was almost an adult! Both his Dads needed to chill. But no, they both did not listen to him when he said he could manage staying home alone for two days.

Appa did those big puppy eyes he always did and said he would feel better if Renjun stayed with a responsible adult. Or else they’ll keep worrying he’ll forget to eat while studying. And what Appa wanted Appa got.

So Dad was now driving Renjun to Kun and Ten ge’s house, while Appa finished packing for their weekend getaway with the adults of the pack. The bad thing about this being pack business was that he could not just stay at Chenle at their Pack Alpha’s mansion. The good thing was, since Chenle’s father was the Pack Alpha, Chenle too would be accompanying him.

It wasn’t set in stone that the two would leave their parent’s pack but neither of their parents would oppose the idea. Considering Kun ge was Chenle’s cousin, being his other Dad’s nephew. Renjun’s Dad was already friends with Ten ge through work, so his parents also had no qualms about letting him spend time at his place.

Chenle was already there when Renjun arrived with his Dad. He was excitedly peeking from behind Ten ge when the door opened. Loudly greeting Renjun’s Dad and earning a hug in return.

“Ten just make sure that my only son does not break his neck reading Edgar Poe.”
“Edgar Allen Poe” Renjun corrected even though he knew his Dad only did that to tease him.
“Ah yes, Edgar Allen Poe, how could I forget his very important middle name.” he agreed in his typical exaggerated manner, making everyone laugh.

“Don’t worry Baekhyun Hyung, I’ll take good care of the kids.” Ten ge assured him.
“When will Kun come home by the way?” his Dad asked
“Ah, Kun won’t be home till Monday night.” Ten ge answered.
“Outdoor shoot?”
“Yeah.”
“Okay, I’ll see you tomorrow night. Be good Renjunnie, and eat whatever Ten cooks with gratitude. Though I will advise take out Ten-ah.”
“Hyung! I can make ramen and Yixing ge sent a lot of side dishes. You don’t need to worry.”

“I can cook rice.” Renjun piped in.
“And I can make a perfect poached egg.” Chenle felt the need to add.

Renjun’s Dad laughed at them, then hugged all three of them in turn before leaving.

XxxxxxX

It was at lunch time that the day went from pleasantly quiet to unbearably messy.

Ten ge had cooked ramen and Chenle made poached eggs for everyone. They all sat down to eat happily enough. Renjun’s Appa had also packed some kimchi for them so it was a wholesome enough meal. But one bite of the poached egg and Ten ge’s face contorted. He smoothed it out quickly cause Chenle was looking at their faces, waiting to be praised. Renjun didn’t find it inedible, so he gave Chenle a thumbs up and a smile for his efforts. It was enough to make him beam and turn his attention to Ten ge who-

Who got up and ran out of the room. To the bathroom apparently, if the sounds they were hearing were of him retching. One moment was wasted as both Renjun and Chenle just gaped at each other. In the next they got up and ran over to the bathroom.

Renjun’s assumptions were confirmed. Ten ge was indeed puking his guts out. It was a gruesome sight for the faint hearted. Chenle was already looking green. Renjun shooed him away and turned back to Ten ge. He had stopped for the moment. Renjun could not think of anything he could do other than patting and rubbing his back. So he did just that. When Ten ge looked like he was done vomiting, Renjun held onto his arm and helped him wash up.

Renjun helped him walk back to and sir down on the living room couch. But he couldn't sit for long and laid down. Chenle was properly freaked out by now.

"Renjun ge, what's wrong?"

"I don't know. It was probably your poached eggs. Ge didn't eat anything else before he puked." Renjun replied, only half jokingly.

"Hey!"

"It's not the eggs." Ten ge muttered.

Both boys came to kneel near him.

"Gege what's wrong?"

"Ten ge, were you sick?" Renjun asked, even though he knew Ten ge would not have agreed to look after them had he been sick. Moreover Kun ge wouldn't have left.

"No, I just," Ten ge had screwed his eyes shut, " I'm just feeling nauseous all of a sudden. I feel really weak too, like I can't stand. I don't know why."

" Did you have breakfast? Maybe if you eat something you'll feel better?" Renjun tried to reason.

" No, no. I can't eat anything. I'll just puke again."

Well, now Renjun had no idea what to do.

" Should I call Baba?" Chenle asked.

Chenle's dad was a doctor. But Chenle's Dad was also the Pack Alpha's mate, and currently very busy with pack matters.

"No don't worry Yixing ge." Ten ge stopped him. "Just call Hendery or Sicheng."

" I'll call Sicheng ge." Renjun took out his phone and did so.

It would take Sicheng ge half an hour to get there. He told Renjun to make Ten drink some water and keep him from moving too much.

Chenle brought a glass of water and even offered Ten ge some candy to chew on. The first he took a sip of, the second he refused.

After 5 minutes Renjun had to take him to the bathroom again, this time he vomited less but then he was ready to just lay down on the bathroom floor.

Renjun somehow managed to drag him out. But by this time whatever control Ten ge had on his scent was broken. His scent,now that Renjun thought about it, had been curiously faint since morning. Now it was torrid, acidic. It was getting hard to breathe near him.

Renjun knew grown ups could regulate their scents to a certain extent, but he had no control over his. He tried to put that to good use.

His Appa had told him young Alphas smelled like home and security. That was their default scent before it took a distinct character. Renjun hoped his proximity would offer some comfort to Ten ge.

From the looks of it, Renjun didn't think it helped. Chenle, despite being warned away, insisted on squatting down near Ten ge. He was getting worked up now, scent going haywire. Renjun wasn't sure his own scent was calm anymore. They needed to give Ten ge space.

The two managed to get Ten ge to his bed together. It was still a solid 15 minutes before they could expect Sicheng ge to show up. Both of them were too agitated to just sit and wait.

"Should I look for some medicines? Ask Kun ge at least?" Chenle whined.

"Sicheng ge is on his way he would've told Kun ge about it already, no need to call and worry him even more." Chenle was not pacified and opened his mouth to protest some more, " and I checked the medical cabinet, they don't have any meds that could help. At least I don't think so." Renjun insisted.

They just had to stay put and wait for the adults. That was the most rational thing to do. Chenle's Dad had taught all the Pack babies that. It was the thumb rule. But. But Renjun's Dad had told him to go with his instinct, always. His Appa had taught him to make use of any resources at hand.

So, Renjun left Chenle at Ten ge's bedside. One Alpha should be enough comfort, even if the said Alpha was a very nervous Chenle. He went over to the apartment next door. The door opening after three very forceful knocks revealed a pale girl. Renjun vaguely recalled seeing her the day Kun and Ten ge moved in.

"Uhm, hello, I'm Renjun from next door-"
"What do you want this early?"

Renjun paused and gave her a look. She looked like she was around his age, but he wasn't sure so it was best to remain polite.

"Uh" he forced a laugh out, "it's uh, it's almost 2:30?"

He got a blank stare in return. Then,

"Whaaaaat?"

With that she turned, presumably to look at the wall clock and determine that yes, it was indeed well into the afternoon.

As she turned back to face Renjun with a slightly sheepish expression, laughing a little, Renjun laughed with her.

"Yeah well..."
"I am actually in need of some help." Renjun could only spare so much time on niceties.
"Oh, okay, what do you need?"

Now that he was faced with that question, Renjun had no idea what he actually needed. Whatever would fix Ten ge's condition right now. He had no idea what that could be.

"Ten ge suddenly got ill. He feels nauseous and can't get up from the bed. Do you-"
" Oh, that's what this acidic smell was." She exclaimed.
" Yeah…"
" I'll come with you."
" Okay."

Renjun led her to Ten ge. He had his eyes closed and Chenle was holding one hand in both of his. Head bent as if in prayer. He got up when they came in.

The girl -Renjun couldn't recall her name- put the back of her hand on Ten ge's forehead, then his cheek. Opened up one eye after which Ten ge opened both his eyes.

"Hmmm..."
"What are you doing here?" Ten ge asked.
"Checking up on you." The girl replied, suddenly losing a bit of her previous confidence.

Ten ge turned away from her. The girl got up saying she had something that could help, and that she'll be back in a minute.

When she left Ten ge complained about nosy neighbours and Renjun informed him that he asked her for help. It didn't placate him but Ten ge didn't have the energy to argue further.

When the girl returned she gave Ten ge a tiny tablet and told him to put it beneath his tongue. Ten ge flat out refused, turning his back to her again. This exchange confused Renjun and from his furrowed brows, Chenle too.

"Ge, just take the medicine!" Chenle whined.

"No."

Renjun looked to the girl, as he could not divine anything from his ge's incoherent rambling. She was avoiding eye contact with all of them. Chenle, growing tired tapped her shoulder and raised questioning eyebrows. She finally sighed and spoke,

"Uh, Ten-ssi I'm- I'm sorry about um Monday? Monday night, if that's what you are mad about."

That made Ten ge peek over his shoulder and give her the stink eye.

"Kun-ssi told me he brought me up to my apartment and uh, I was really drunk. I mistook him for someone else-"
" What about the shoes?"
" Pardon?"
" What about that day when you came into my new house wearing shoes and started posing?"

The girl looked distinctly uncomfortable at the mention of that day. Chenle made weird faces to catch Renjun's eye silently asking what was going on. Renjun just shrugged. He has no idea what was up.

"Listen!" The girl replied loudly in a sudden burst, " I didn't know he was your Alpha okay! There was no mating mark visible."

Ten ge gaped at her, and she took that opportunity to slip the tablet into his mouth.

"Don't swallow it, you have to suck on it like candy. It will help with the nausea, but you will still need to go to a hospital."

With that she got up and left in a rush, stomping out of the house.

"Gege." Chenle spoke in the silence.
"Huh?"
"Close your mouth." He said.
Ten ge closed his mouth.

When Sicheng ge arrived a couple of minutes later Ten ge was already feeling better and could walk down to the car. The boys weren't allowed to accompany them to the hospital and stayed back with Dejun ge as their interim babysitter.

Sunday

By the time Kun had reached the hospital, Ten was fast asleep in his private ward. Sicheng had called him in the afternoon and told him Ten was sick and had told Kun not to worry as Sicheng was going to him. Then later in the afternoon he got another call from Sicheng, telling him that they had had to admit Ten at the hospital.

Kun was ready to drop everything and rush home, but Sicheng had told him to properly wrap up work before coming back. Ten might need to stay at the hospital for a couple of days. Kun might need to take a longer leave. Sicheng would stay at the hospital till Kun got here.

Not for the first time Kun wondered how he got a friend like him. Dong Sicheng was an angel among mortals, a heaven sent saviour.

He was sitting next to Ten as Kun rushed in. Calm and collected, waiting for him. He told Kun to catch his breath, made him sit down and drink some water. Then updated him on everything.

Ten had puked a couple of times after trying to eat lunch with Renjun and Chenle. The boys had called Sicheng who had brought Ten here. At the hospital they had put him on an IV drip and we're currently running various tests to determine what had caused him to get sick.

As for the rest of the pack, Dejun and Hendery were at their place with all the kids. Renjun had called YangYang over and they were currently having a sleepover. Or deciding which room went to whom by playing rock, paper, scissors. Kun laughed a little at the last bit.

"Thank you Sicheng. For looking after everyone, in my absence." Kun wished he could fill his simple words with all the gratitude he felt in his heart.

Sicheng scoffed at that.

"You don't need to thank me Kun. We're pack, it was my duty too."

People think it was age that decided the Alpha of their pack. Otherwise most found it impossible to decide which one of the two best friends would make a better leader. They were both level headed, smart, selfless.

At the end of the day it was cooking. An alpha must be able to prepare a meal for their pack and Sicheng refused to learn how to cook. Had no interest in it. That and mating too. Which according to Kun was a shame, he would've been a great father.

But Sicheng had always maintained that he was content in the pack as it was. Kun could see he was comfortable and happy, even if his quiet demeanor was hard to read at times.

"Did you eat?"
"Huh?"
"I'll send Dery over with some food." Sicheng said getting up.

" Hey Sicheng."
" Hmm?"
" You eat something too."
" I'm good." He smiled.

Hendery brought take out from Kun's favourite place, Sicheng's doing no doubt. He stayed the night and went out to get them breakfast.

Some time after Hendery left Ten woke up.

Kun almost cried with relief.

The animosity that had made home in Ten's eyes for the past week had finally left. Still, Kun made no move towards him till his mate opened his arms. They hugged tightly for a long moment. Not saying anything. It was funny how so many words were thrown around during their fights, but now just this hug was enough to erase them all.

Kun heard the door open and then close again. Hendery probably backing away. Not wanting to disturb the moment.

When Kun pulled away he saw he was not the only one who cried.

"Are you feeling okay now Tenten?" He asked, cupping Ten's face in his hands, wiping away the tears. He got a nod in answer.

"What happened, baby? What did the doctors say?" He wanted to ask more. Why hadn't Ten told him that he was feeling unwell? He had thought his mate might be ill on Friday night, but after their argument, there was no sign of any weakness. Kun chalked up Ten's scent to him being upset. He regretted being so careless now. He should have just stayed.

"Nothing yet, they said it's dehydration, and they'll run tests to see if there's any other reason for-" here Ten looked away.
" Hmm?"
" I've been feeling nauseous a lot these days. And I had to vomit a few days ago too."

Kun's disbelief must have been evident on his face cause Ten immediately hugged him and apologized.

"Baby no you don't have to apologise. It's- why didn't you tell me?" He wondered out loud, " No, no it's not your fault. I should've noticed. How could I not know you were so ill?"

Kun's rant was cut short by a knock on the door. Hendery peeked in and said,

"Hey Kun ge. Oh, Ten ge you're up? Good. So Kun ge the reports are here, I brought them and the doctor is here too. So… "

" You can come in Dery." Kun told him. Stepping back a little, but not letting go of Ten completely.

The doctor gave them a smile and asked Ten how he was feeling, checked his vitals and then took the reports from Hendery. After looking over them briefly he gave them a bright smile.

"Congratulations! Ten, right? You are going to be a father!"

Kun had often felt people describe feeling surprise as the world tilting, going out of focus. But for him, it felt like the world had stopped spinning. One moment in time frozen in his mind.

You are going to be a father.
Going to be a father.
A father.
Father.

They were having a baby.

"Huh?"

It took Ten's loud exclamation to bring him back to his senses. Kun immediately tightened his hold on Ten.

"You are pregnant." The doctor's smile was less bright and more amused now.

"What?"
"You are having a baby."
"How-"
"I am a doctor and I can, but I'm sure you don't need me to explain how."

Kun rubbed Ten's arms to get him to calm down. His mate was well and truly shaken. Eyes wide, lips parted, one finger raised in disbelief.

" You are seven weeks in and..."

Kun knew he should be paying attention to what the doctor was saying but now all of the past week suddenly made sense. Ten being unusually hostile. Unreasonably jealous. Eating fucking fruits. His body, his inner wolf was just preparing itself to be a good parent. Preparing itself to take care of a baby. A tiny tiny human who could not take care of themself and needed Ten and Kun both to take care of them.

A baby. Kun was so overwhelmed that he couldn't stop himself from pulling Ten into a hug. Silencing the doctor and probably making Hendery roll his eyes.

"We are gonna have a baby Tenten!" He whispered. "A mini you and me."

He could feel Ten's heart thundering, it belied his outward calm.

"Yes. Oh my god Kun we are going to have a baby."

Kun pulled back and kissed Ten's forehead and hugged him again.

"Uh, this is all very heartwarming but Sicheng ge called and he wants to know if he should also bring poached eggs for lunch? Chenle made them and he really wants you guys to eat them. Apparently his dad said they make you super powerful and will make Ten ge stronger quickly." Dery spoke as if reciting a dictation he was receiving from the other side. Chenle probably took the phone into his own hands.

Ten laughed and Kun had to laugh too. Then he looked at the doctor who nodded.

"Yes, he's right. Poached eggs are good, protein rich. You can eat them. You're vitals are good and the reports are okay too. So, Ten, you can go home by evening. Take care." With that he left for his remaining rounds.

"It's a go." Hendery said into the phone.

" Actually. Dery, tell Chenle to come along too. He can feed the super power eggs to Ten himself."

" Okay. You can come along- uh okay, okay wait- Kun ge, now YangYang wants to come too. And then Yukhei and Renjun refuse to be left alone at home."

" What about Dejun?"

" Oh he was already coming along with Sicheng ge."

" Oh just tell them all to come over we can leave together." Ten told him.

" You sure? This is a hospital ge and we're not exactly a quiet lot." Hendery said.

"Dery is right. That's not very smart. But it's a good idea." Kun said to their surprise.
" Dery, tell them they all can come if they stay quiet."

The message was relayed.

" They swear to maintain pin drop silence." A very amused Hendery told them.

" Doubt it."
" Not possible, but let them come." Kun said. Smiling down at Ten.

He had to call his mom. Tell his uncle Yixing too. There were so many things to do, to think about, to change. But right now, in this moment Kun wanted nothing more than to hold Ten in his arms. So he did. Then he hugged Hendery too. And when the rest of the pack arrived (not silently at all, probably annoying several nurses) they all did a group hug.

In the midst of all this affection and anticipation, Kun decided that he won't mind any tantrums Ten could throw. He'll still be right here in his life, with Ten by his side. He won't change a single thing.

And as for Ten. Well Ten was not mad anymore. Anxious? Thrilled? A little clueless? Yes, but not mad anymore. Madly in love with Kun? As always.