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love, nana

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Jaehyun is Taeyong’s boyfriend, but Jaemin’s whole family is a bit in love with him. Honestly, it was hard to say who loved him most. Before he was Taeyong’s boyfriend, he was just Jaehyun, the boy who lived next door to them. It feels like he was always there, but Jaemin guesses he shouldn’t use that word because Jaehyn wasn’t always there. He’d only moved next door to them 5 years ago. Jaemin’s father loves him because he’s an alpha and his father was always surrounded by omega’s. His father is an ob-gyn, basically a doctor for the omgean reproductive systems, so he was constantly surrounded by omega’s. Jaemin thinks Jaehyun is a bit of fresh air. He also likes Jaehyun because he likes comics and movies and fishing. Once, Jaemin’s dad tried to take them fishing, and he cried because he got mud on his shoes, Taeyong cried because his book got wet from the gross lake water, and Chenle cried because Chenle was still practically a baby. Chenle loves Jaehyun because he will play games with him and not get bored, or pretend to not be bored. They make deals with each other, and it’s usually Chenle saying that if he wins this round, Jaehyun needs to make him a peanut butter and banana sandwich, and Jaehyun usually scrunches his nose and asks for something else. Inevitably, there won’t be bananas and Jaehyun will tell him to pick something else, but Chenle pulls his puppy eyes, and Jaehyun runs to the store for bananas. If he had to say why Taeyong loves him, it’s because they all do. They’re sitting in the living room and Chenle is taping pictures of different dogs to a giant piece of cardboard while Taeyong and Jaehyun cuddle on the couch above Jaeimn’s head, watching tv.

 

“When dad asks what I want for Christmas,” Chenle hums, a glint in his eyes, “I’ll just tell him to pick which one.” Jaehyun had popped a giant bag of popcorn and Jaemin had snatched it from his lap as soon as he lowered himself to the ground, shovelling handfuls into his mouth. A commercial set in South Korea comes on for perfume. A girl, probably an omega with a really fruity smell is running around Seoul, in a really thin dark purple dress. Jaemin sits up quickly, choking on a popcorn kernel.

 

“Yongie!” He gasps in between coughs, “Let’s meet in Seoul for my spring break!” He’s already picturing himself with macaroons. Taeyong’s eyes widen, lighting up.

 

“Do you think dad will let you?”

 

“It’s culture,” Jaemin says, flipping his bangs, “He’ll have to let me.” It’s true that he hasn’t flown anywhere on his own before, but that can’t stop him from asking. Then, he wonders if Taeyong would meet him at the airport or if he’d have to find his way to the hostel alone. Jaehyun must have seen the sudden worry that crossed Jaemin’s face.

 

“Don’t worry,” He says, “Your dad will definitely let you if I go.” Jaemin brightens considerably, bouncing on the floor.

 

“Yeah!” He squeals, “We can just eat barbecue for every meal!” Jaehyun laughs at his enthusiasm

 

“We can go see the cherry blossoms.” Jaehyun throws in.

 

“We can go to a parfumerie and get our own scents!” Jaemin cheers. Jaehyun snorts.

 

“I’m pretty sure getting our scents done will cost more than a hostell Nana,” He says, nudging his boyfriend, “Your brother suffers from delusions of grandeur.” Taeyong laughs.

 

“He is the fanciest.”

 

“What about me?” Chenle asks, pouting.

 

“You?” Jaemin scoffs, “You’re the least fancy out of all of us. I have to beg you to take a shower at night.” Chenle waves him away.

 

“I have more important things to do than shower,” He says, then his face gets red, “Plus I wasn’t talking about that, I was talking about Seoul.” Jaemin waves him away.

 

“You’re too young to stay in a hostel.” Chenle pouts, crawling over to Taeyong and curling up in his lap. Chenle 16, much too young to be in laps.

 

“Taeyong, you’ll let me go, right?” He asks, head pillowed back on Jaehyun’s shoulder. Taeyong kisses Chenle’s cheek.

 

“We can make it a family vacation. You, dad and Jaemin can all come.” Jaemin frowns, not liking how the Seoul trip was sounding right now. This isn’t what he imagined. Over Chenle’s head, Jaehyun mouths that they would talk later, and Jaemin nods at him, appeased. Dinner goes by without a hitch, save for Jaehyun surprising Taeyong with tickets to Seoul, already pre bought and ready to go, for fall break. He says it’s because he thought he would visit Taeyong when he’s off in college. Taeyong doesn’t take it that well, and Jaemin only finds out the reason for this when Jaehyun is long gone and their dad and Chenle are sleeping. Jaemin sits at the kitchen table next to Taeyong, rolling cookie dough into balls and dropping it into cinnamon sugar in an attempt to appease Chenle. Earlier, when he went in to say good night, Chenle rolled over and wouldn’t talk to him, convinced Jaemin still didn’t want him on the Seoul trip. His plan was to put a plate of cookies next to his bed in the morning so Chenle can wake up to freshly baked cookies. Taeyong’s being extra silent, but then starts talking.

 

“I broke up with Jae tonight,” He says, looking up from his laptop, “After dinner.” Jaemin’s ball of dough drops out of his hand and onto his pajama pants.

 

“I mean,” Taeyong says, eyes not red. He hasn’t been crying, “It was time.”

 

“I don’t see why you had to break up,” Jaemin says, picking up his dough ball, “Just because you’re going to college doesn’t mean you had to break up.”

 

“Nana, I’m going to Seoul, not a University in the State,” He rolls his eyes, “Seoul University is almost 7 thousand miles away. What would be the point?” Jaemin can’t believe what he’s hearing.

 

“The point is, it’s Jaehyun. Jae loves you more than any alpha has ever loved an omega!” Taeyong rolls his eyes. Jaemin knows he thinks he’s being dramatic, but he’s not. It’s true, how much Jaehyun loves Taeyong. He’d never even look at another omega.

 

“Do you know what mom told me once?” Taeyong says, suddenly.

 

“What?” Jaemin asks, intrigued at the sudden mention of their mother. For a moment, he forgets all about Jaehyun. No matter what happens, if he and Taeyong are in a fight, if he’s about to get run over, he would always stop and listen to a story about their mother. Any detail, anything of their mom that Taeyong can remember and hasn’t shared with him yet, Jaemin wants it. He’s better off than Chenle, though, who doesn’t have a single memory of their mother that wasn’t given to him, but he still wants all the memories.

 

“She told me not to go to college with a boyfriend,” Taeyong says, sniffing, “She said she didn’t want me to be the omega crying over the phone with his boyfriend and saying no to things I could be saying yes to.” Jaemin guesses that Seoul is Taeyong’s yes. He scoops up some dough and pops it in his mouth.

 

“You shouldn’t eat raw cookie dough.” Taeyong chastises instantly. Jaemin shrugs.

 

“Jaehyun would never hold you back from anything. He’s not like that,” He says, “Remember that one time you wanted to run for student body and he was your campaign manager? He’s your biggest fan!” Taeyong’s lips turn down at the memory, bottom lip wobbling slightly. Jaemin stands and throws his arms around him.

 

“I’m okay.” Taeyong says, looking up at him. Jaemin knows that he isn’t.

 

“It’s not too late,” Jaemin declares, “You can go over there right now and say you’ve changed your mind.” Taeyong shakes his head.

 

“It’s done, Nana,” He closes his laptop, “When will the first batch be done? I’m hungry.” Jaemin checks the timer shaped like a cupcake on the fridge.

 

“FIve minutes,” He says, sitting back down, “I don’t care what you say Yong. You guys aren’t done. You love him too much.” Taeyong shakes his head.

 

“Jaemin.” He begins in his mother tone. Jaemin waves a ball of sugary dough under Taeyong’s nose, interrupting him. Taeyong hesitates, opening his mouth after a moment. Jaemin feeds him like a baby.

 

“Wait and see, you and Jaehyun will be back together in a day, maybe two.” Jaemin knows that it’s not true as soon as he says it. Once Taeyong decides something, there was no stopping him. If he decides that he’s done with his relationship with Jaehyun, then he was done, and he wasn’t going to come back to it. Jaemin wishes, (even though he’s done this thousands of times and it never works), that he was more like Taeyong. Sometimes it seems like he’ll never be done. He goes up to his room after washing up and plating the cookies and placing them on Chenle’s bedside table, but doesn’t go to his bed. He walks to his window to look out at the night sky and finds his eyes drifting towards Jaehyun’s room. His light is still on.

Chapter Text

Jaemin heads down to the kitchen the next morning, following the smell of coffee, and begins pouring Chenle's favorite and very sugary cereal into bowls while Taeyong presses buttons on the coffee machine, and Jaemin says the thing he's been thinking about since the night before.

 

"You know," He says, heading to the fridge for milk, "Dad and Lele are going to be really upset." When he and Chenle were brushing their teeth, he had been tempted to spill, but Chenle was still mad at him about yesterday, so he held it in. He didn't even so much as acknowledge the cookies, but Jaemin knows he ate them because all that was left on the plate were crumbs. Taeyong lets out a heavy sigh, slumping on the counter next to a fresh bottle of suppressants.

 

"So I'm supposed to stay with Jaehyun because of you dad and Chenle?"

 

"No," Jaemin says, pouring milk in the bowls, "I'm just saying."

 

"It's not like he would come over here that much once I left." Jaemin frowns. It didn't occur to him that Jaehyun would stop coming. He was coming over way longer than they had been a couple, so Jaemin doesn't see why he should stop.

 

"He might," Jaemin says, "He loves Chenle." Taeyong just starts the coffee machine and Jaemin watches him carefully, trying to learn how to turn on the coffee maker. Taeyong has always been the one to start the coffee, and since he's leaving in 6 days, Jaemin figures he should start learning.

 

"Maybe I won't even mention it to them," Taeyong says, sliding over a mug of coffee to Jaemin, "Four shots of espresso." Jaemin smiles, gratefully and takes a sip. He already feels more alive. Taeyong grimaces at him.

 

"I think they'll figure it out when were at the airport, Yongie," He sighs, pushing a bowl of Taeyong's wheat cereal over to him and tucking into some of Chenle's, "How many cups of water did you put in there? How much coffee beans? How do I get extra shots of espresso in my coffee?" Taeyong chuckles, pouring cream into his coffee.

 

"I'll write it all down for you," Taeyong assures, "In the notebook." The notebook referred to the house notebook by the fridge. It was Taeyong's idea, but Jaemin got to pick out the color, and Chenle got to decorate it. As it was, the house notebook was a hot pink college ruled notebook with sparkly unicorn and puppy stickers all over it. The notebook has all the important numbers for their dad's job and Chenle's important carpool information with another one of their neighbors, Park Jisung. They's known Jisung since he was a baby, and he and Chenle had been best friends since then. Jisung was practically family. Their father had freaked out the day Jisung presented as an alpha, but Jisung was shy and very protective over Chenle, who was very popular, so he eventually got over it. It also helped that Jisung was the tallest and had the lowest voice in their grade, making him tower behind Chenle and intimidate other alphas into staying away. Chenle, in turn, was very clingy and he and Jisung cuddled in his room most of the time.

 

"Make sure you put in the number for the new dry cleaners." Jaemin says, spooning slightly soggy cereal in his mouth. The doorbell rings as Taeyong answers him.

 

"Already done." Jisung's hand is raised to knock when Jaemin pulls open the door, and he points upstairs with his elbow.

 

"Lele's in bed. He brushed his teeth and fell asleep." Jisung nods at him, and heads up the stairs. Taeyong's cutting a banana for his cereal when Jaemin comes back, each slice thin and perfect.

 

"Also, Jaehyun wouldn't have come with us to the airport anyway," He turns to fix Jaemin with a long stare, "You know how I feel about sad goodbyes." Jaemin does know. When Taeyong decided to go to college in South Korea, it felt a bit like a betrayal, even though they all knew it was coming. Of course Taeyong was going to go to college somwhere far away. And of course, he was going to South Korea to study music production, because he's Taeyong, the boy with the plans and notes and lyrics written on napkins. Of course he would leave them one day. Jaemin's still just a little bit mad at him. Obviously he knows that it's not Taeyon's fault, wanting to go to a college so far, but they all promised that they'd be the Na brothers together. Taeyong first, Jaemin in the middle, and Chenle last. They are the three Na brothers, three Na omega's. There was a time where it used to be four, when his mother was still alive. His mom, beautiful and glowing, that Jaemin tried to compare himself to every day, just to see if he could ever measure up to such a perfect mother. Their last name is Carr, but their mother always said she was a Na omega for life, and Taeyong said they should be as well. They all have Na as their middle name, and they all look more Na than Carr anyway. Chenle looks the most like their dad, sharing most of the same facial features. People say that Jaemin looks the most like his mother, although he would say it was Taeyong. Taeyong looks the most feminine and omega like, with his high cheek bones and unblemished skin. It's been 6 years now and sometimes it feels like just yesterday she was here, singing to herself as she cleans the floor, and sometimes it feels like she was never there at all. She had mopped the floors that morning, and everything smelled like lemon and everything clean. She came running to answer the ringing phone, slipped and fell. She hit her head on the flooring and was knocked unconscious, but then she woke up and was fine. That was her lucid interval. That's what they called it. A couple hours later, she had a headache and went to take a nap on the couch. She never woke up. Taeyong was the one who found her. He was twelve. He, like a true oldest sibling, took care of everything. He called 911, he called their father, and he instructed Jaemin to watch over Chenle, who was a small three years old at the time. All he did was turn on the TV to Chenle's favorite cartoons in the playroom for him and sit there. He doesn't know what he would do without Taeyong, and even though Taeyong is only two years older than him, he wouldn't look up to anyone else as much as he looks up to his brother. When other mated couples find out that their father is a single father of three omega's they shake their head in awe, wondering how his children turned out so well, and how their father does it. The answer would be Taeyong. He's always been the organizer, drafting up chores charts and lists for different work related things and friend's phone numbers. Taeyong is a good omega, and Jaemin guesses that he and Chenle have followed his lead. Jaemin's never smoked or done drugs, and he's certainly never had a boyfriend before. They like to tease their father and say that he's the reason they all turned out so good, but they were really the lucky ones. He's a really good father. He tries so hard, and tries to understand each of them for who they are. He doesn't always understand them, but he tries and that's important thing. They have an unspoken rule: to make things as easy for their father as possible, and Jaemin can't count the amount of times Taeyong has told them to be quiet because dad was sleeping, or that they should make dinner so he doesn't have to. Jaemin's asked Taeyong what he thinks life would have been like if their mom hadn't died. He wonders if they'd spend more time with their korean side of the family, or more time with the American side. Taeyong doesn't see the point in wondering, which Jaemin thinks is admirable. Taeyong says that this is their life and there's no point in asking what if. Jaemin tries, he really does, but it is hard for him to accept this form of thinking. He always wonders about the what ifs. Their father and JIsung come down the stairs at the same time, only Chenle is cuddled against Jisung's back as the alpha carries him down the stairs. Jaemin decides that Chenle is still mad at him and pours his milk when Jisung enters the kitchen. Their father watches Jisung hike Chenle on his back, making him hold himself up as he balances two bowls of cereal in his hands and heads towards the couch. He comes back a moment later, Chenle free, and grabs a few yogurts out of the fridge.

 

"I'm going to the store later," Their father says, taking a swig of coffee, "So you all make a list of what you need," He pours more creamer into his coffee, "I think I'm going to get korean beef for dinner. Should I get one for Jaehyun?" Jaemin tries to make his head whipping in Taeyong's direction as subtle as he can. He opens and closes his mouth like a fish for a moment.

 

"No dad," He says, finally, "Just enough for the four of us." Jaemin gives him a look, which Taeyong ignores. Jaemin's never known Taeyong to chicken out before, but he guesses that if it's matters of the heart, no one can tell what someone will or will not do.

Chapter Text

It was the last few days of summer, and their last few days with Taeyong before he left for college. Jaemin thinks that maybe it wasn't such a bad thing that Taeyong broke up with Jaehyun, because they can spend more time than they ever had as siblings before Taeyong has to go. Jaemin is sure Taeyong must have thought of that, that this was part of the plan. They're driving out of the neighborhood when they see Jaehyun run past. He had joined cross country last year, so now he was always running. Chenle yells his name, but the windows are up, and it's no use anyways, he pretends not to hear him.

 

"Turn around," Chenle whines at Taeyong from the back seat, "Maybe he wants to come with us." Taeyong shakes his head, looking in the rearview mirror.

 

"This is a Na omega's day only." Jaemin says from the passenger seat, handing Chenle his bag of chocolate covered blueberries.

 

"Aww," He pouts, slouching in his seat, "Does that mean Jisungie can't come?" Jaemin nods solemnly. Jisung waves at them from his yard. They spend the rest of the morning at Target picking up last minute items for the plane like Chex Mix, deodorant and suppressants. They let Chenle push the cart so he can play Mario Cart down the isles, something that will hopefully get his mind off of Jaehyun, but Taeyong makes him stop after a while so they don't annoy other customers. They go back home and make a lunch of some chicken salad with grapes and when Jisung comes over, it's nearly time for Chenle's swim meet. Jaemin packs a lunch of some ham sandwiches and fruit while Taeyong ushers Chenle upstairs to change and gets some drinks and his laptop to watch movies on. Jisung sneaks some chips and desserts into the bag. Taeyong nags at him, but lets Jisung get away with it. Jaemin runs to his room to get the glittery sign they made that says 'Go Lele Go!' in obnoxious glitter. He thinks that Chenle would love it, and they all head into the car. Chenle's head falls on Jisung's shoulder naturally as Taeyong pulls out of their driveway. Their dad ends up missing the meet because he's delivering a baby, and Jaemin guesses that as far as excuses go, that's a pretty good one. It was a girl, and they named her Mina Rose after her two grandmothers. Jaemin's father always finds out the first and middle names for him because Jaemin always asks. Chenle's so excited about his first place and second place medals that he forgets to ask where Jaehyun was until they're going home. Jisung didn't ask so it seems that he forgot as well.

 

"Hey," He says, towel slipping off his shoulder, "Why didn't Jaehyun come to my meet?" Taeyong's eyes flicker over to Jaemin as he slows the car at a red light. Jaemin can see the hesitation so he answers. He thinks that maybe the only thing he's better than Taeyong at is lying.

 

"He had to work at the bookstore tonight," Jaemin thinks on the spot as Taeyong begins driving again, "He really wanted to make it tonight though." Jisung squeezes Chenle's shoulder to provide the comfort Jaemin couldn't provide. Chenle slumps on Jisung's chest. Taeyong reaches over the console to give Jaemin's hand a thankful squeeze.

 

"But he promised he'd come watch me swim!" Chenle cries still against Jisung's chest, "It was the last regular meet and he promised he'd come!"

 

"He had to work last minute Lele," Jaemin says, "One of his coworkers had an emergency and he couldn't call off." Chenle nods sadly.

 

"Let's get frozen custards." Taeyong suggests suddenly. Chenle's eyes light up.

 

"Oh oh, please!" Chenle cries, lifting himself off his best friends chest. Jisung seems sad to see him go, "I want a waffle cone! Taeyong can I get a waffle cone with two scoops? I want mint chip and double chocolate! No," He cries, thinking of the best combinations of frozen custard, "Rainbow sherbet and peanut butter. No wait." Jaemin interrupts him, twisting around in his seat.

 

"You can't finish two scoops in a waffle cone Lele bear," Jaemin tells him, "Maybe in a cup but not a waffle cone."

 

"Yes I can!" Chenle says determined, "Tonight I can. I'm starving."

 

"Fine, but you better finish the whole thing," Jaemin wags his finger in Chenle's direction. His younger brother pretends to eat it, rolling his eyes. Jisung laughs at them, "As for me, I'm getting dark chocolate cherry in a waffle cone." Taeyong pulls in the drive thru.

 

"I bet they don't have frozen custard in South Korea." Jaemin says while they wait their turn to order. Chenle and Jisung are whispering about the best frozen custard combinations in the back seat, in a world of their own.

 

"Probably not." Taeyong agrees.

 

"You'll have to wait until Thanksgiving to have another one of these." Taeyong looks straight ahead, picking at his nail.

 

"Christmas," He says, "Thanksgiving is to short to fly all the way back for remember?"

 

"Thanksgiving's gonna suck." Chenle pouts, apparently hearing that part of the conversation. Jaemin is silent. They'd never had a thanksgiving without Taeyong before. He always cooks the meat and the brussel sprouts and creamed onions. Jaemin does the pies and the mashed potatoes. Chenle is the taste tester and the table setter, and even though they will have Jisung's family over as they always do, it won't be the same without Taeyong. Both of their grandmother's were coming as well and Jaemin doesn't know how to cook meat. Their dad's mother likes Taeyong the best. She says Chenle wears her down and Jaemin is to dreamy eyed. They'd tried to call her Nana for a while before Jaemin got his nickname, Nana, and they had all decided to call her grandma to make it easier. All of a sudden Jaemin feels panicky and short of breath and he couldn't care less about dark chocolate cherry custard. He can't picture Thanksgiving without Taeyong. He can't even picture next monday without Taeyong. He knows most siblings don't get along, but he's closer to Taeyong than he is to anyone else. How can they be the Na brothers without Taeyong?

Chapter Text

Jaemin's oldest friend Renjun smokes. He has sex with alpha's he barley knows and has been suspended twice. One time, Jaemin remembers, he had to go to court for truancy because he skipped school so much. He never knew what truancy was before he met Renjun. He's pretty sure that if he and Renjun had met each other now they would not be friends at all. They're completely different, but they weren't always like that. Back in 6th grade, Renjun liked letters and gushing about cute alpha's and sleepovers and staying up all night watching romance movies. But by 8th grade, he was sneaking out after Jaemin's dad went to bed to meet with boys he met online or at the mall. They'd drop him off before the sun went up, but Jaemin would stay awake all night, terrified Renjun wouldn't make it back before his dad woke up. Renjun always made it. Renjun isn't the kind of friend that Jaemin would call every night or have lunch with, he's more the type to have one good line of advice and nothing else, and he comes and goes as he pleases. He can't be tied down to one place or person. Sometimes, Jaemin won't see him for days, then wake up to a knock on his window and find Renjun crouched in the tree right outside of Jaemin's window. Jaemin keeps his window unlocked in case of times like these. Renjun and Taeyong can't stand each other. Renjun thinks Taeyong is uptight, and Taeyong thinks that Renjun is bipolar. Renjun thinks Taeyong controls him and Taeyong thinks that Renjun uses him. Jaemin thinks that both of them are right in their own way. But, the real, most important thing, is that Renjun and Jaemin understand each other, which he thinks counts for a lot more than some realize. Jaemin's phone rings with a call from Renjun, who yells as soon as the call connects.

 

"Hey bitch!" He screams into the phone. Jaemin pulls it away from his ear, "My moms being an ass so I'm coming over," Jaemin rolls his eyes as Renjun screams at someone on the road, "Please tell me you have cake." Jaemin giggles.

 

"We always do Junnie."

 

"Your dad is the reason that I'm still alive right now god," Renjun says, "Move you fucker!" He screams a moment later. Jaemin laughs at him. They are sharing cake on the couch when Taeyong comes back from dropping Chenle off at his swim team's end of season barbeque.

 

"Oh hey," He snarks when he sees Renjun perched on their couch. His eyes narrow in on Renjun's glass of lemonade with no coaster, "At least use a fucking coaster." Then, he heads up the stairs.

 

"God," Renjun complains towards the ceiling, "Why is your brother such a bitch?"

 

"You think everyone is a bitch." Jaemin points out, helpfully sliding a coaster under Renjun's glass.

 

"And no one has proven me wrong," Renjun rolls his eyes, "He needs to pull that stick out of his ass."

 

"I heard that!" Taeyong retaliates from his room.

 

"I meant for you to!" Renjun screams back, taking the last bite of cake.

 

"He's leaving so soon." Jaemin sighs, pulling a pillow to his chest. Renjun snickers.

 

"What is Jaehyunnie going to do like light a candle for every night Taeyon's gone?" Jaemin hesitates. He isn't sure if it's supposed to be a secret, he is sure Taeyong wouldn't want Renjun knowing his business.

 

"I'm not sure." Jaemin says, after coming up with nothing else.

 

"Wait," Renjun gasps, "Did he dump him?" Jaemin nods.

 

"Don't say anything though," Jaemin warns, "He's still really sad about it."

 

"Taeyong? Sad?" Renjun inspects his nails, "Taeyong doesn't have normal human emotions."

 

"Well not everyone can be like you." Jaemin says. Renjun smiles, sharp incisors coming out. Renjun is pure emotion. He runs on what his emotions. He screams at the drop of a pin, and says that you have to scream out emotions sometimes because if you don't, they'll fester. Jaemin remembers the one time he screamed at a beta women for accidently stepping on his heel and getting mud on his new doc martins. Jaemin doesn't think he's in any danger of letting his emotions fester.

 

"I just can't believe that in a few days he'll be gone." Jaemin says, sniffing. Renjun rolls his eyes again.

 

"This is nothing to get sad over Nana," He says, patting Jaemin's bare thigh. Jaemin squirms for a moment, trying to pull down his black cotton shorts, "He's not dying," Renjun pulls at a loose thread on his navy blue shorts, which have ridden up to show some of his underwear, which are the same navy color as his shorts, "In fact, I think this is good for you," He pauses to take a sip of his lemonade, which he sets back on the coaster, "It's about time you stopped listening to queen bitch Taeyong and started living. It's junior year nana," He sounds exasperated, "This is when it's supposed to get good. Kiss some alphas, or hell even betas, just kiss someone, live a little, you know."

 

"I live plenty." Renjun snickers again, pulling his legs up to his chest.

 

"At the nursing home, sure." Jaemin glares at him. Taeyong started volunteering at Candlelight retirement community when he got his license, and it was his job to help host cocktail hour for the residents. Jaemin would come with to help him sometimes. They'd set out peanuts and drinks and Taeyong would take up his spot at the piano, but usually Joy hogged it. Joy was the Candlelight diva, and rules the roost. Jaemin likes listening to her stories. And Seungwan, she might not be good at conversation because of her dementia, but she taught Jaemin how to knit. They have a new volunteer there, but Jaemin knows that at Candlelight the more the merrier because the residents hardly got visitors, and he misses going there, and he doesn't appreciate Renjun making fun of it.

 

"The people at Candlelight have lived more of a life than everyone we know combined," Jaemin defends, "There's one omega there, Joy, she was a USO girl back in the war! She used to get hundreds of letters from alpha's that were in love with her," Jaemin sighs dreamily, "And there was even one veteran who lost a leg that was so in love with her that he sent her a diamond ring." Renjun's eyebrows raise, suddenly interested.

 

"Did she keep it?" Jaemin nods. He thinks it was wrong of her to keep it because she didn't marry him, but she showed it to him and it was beautiful. It was a light blue diamond, very rare. He thinks it would be worth a lot of money now.

 

"I guess Joy sounds like kind of a badass." Renjun admits.

 

"Maybe you could come with me to Candlelight sometime," Jaemin suggests, "We could go to their cocktail hour. Heechul loves teach the new omegas how to dance. He can teach you how to square dance." Renjun's nose scrunches like Jaemin suggested they watch paint dry.

 

"Nope," He takes another sip of lemonade, "How about I take you dancing?" He nudges his chin towards the stairs, "Now that your brother's leaving, we can have some real fun," He fixes Jaemin with a hard stare, "You know I always have fun." It's true, Jaemin thinks, Renjun always has fun. Sometimes he thinks it's a bit too much fun, but it's still fun.

Chapter Text

The night before Taeyong leaves, they are all in Taeyong's room, helping him finish packing. Chenle is organizing Taeyong's bath things, making them all nice and pretty and packing them away in a shower caddy. Taeyong is stooped over his bed, two coats laid out before him, trying to decide what to bring.

 

"Should I pack my puffy coat and my peacoat or just my peacoat?" Taeyong asks, looking up at Jaemin.

 

"The peacoat," Jaemin says, "You can dress it up or down." Jaemin's laid on the bed, directing the packing process.

 

"Chenle," He calls, "Make sure the lotion cap is on tight."

 

"It's a new bottle," Chenle growls, holding up the lotion, "Of course it's on tight." He checks the bottle again.

 

"It gets cold in Seoul quicker than it does here," Taeyong meticulously folds the puffy coat, "I think I'll bring both."

 

"Why did you ask if you already knew what you were going to do?" Jaemin complains, watching Taeyong stuff his suitcase, "Also, I thought you were coming home for Christmas," He pauses, looking up at his older brother, "You are coming home for Christmas right?" Taeyong flicks Jaemin's forehead, zipping his bag closed.

 

"Of course I am," He says, tickling Jaemin's stomach, "Stop being a brat." Taeyong isn't even packing that much. If Jaemin was leaving, he would have packed his whole room, but not Taeyong. His room looks pretty much the same. Taeyong flops down next to Jaemin and Chenle climbs on the bed, flopping in between both of them. Taeyong wraps an arm around Chenle and Jaemin so they're all cuddling.

 

"Everything's changing." Jaemin sighs, voice muffled by the top of Chenle's head. Taeyong makes a face at him as Chenle looks up.

 

"Nothing's changing," Taeyong says, tightening his arm, "Not really. We're the Na brothers forever, remember?" Taeyong sits up when their father stands in the open doorway, knocking lightly.

 

"I'm going to start packing the car," He announces, lugging one of the suitcases down the stairs. They watch from Taeyong's bed, "Please don't bother getting up." He says dryly when he comes back up for another.

 

"We won't!" Chenle sings from his spot in between them. Their father has been in spring cleaning mode the last week, even though it's summer. He's getting rid of everything. The bread machine they never use but Jaemin swears he wants to learn how to use, their mom's old typewriter, CD's, old blankets. It's all being donated. Jaemin thinks it's because Taeyong was leaving for college, but he can't explain the exact significance of it. Whatever it is, he thinks, it's annoying. He had to shoo him away from his record collection twice. Jaemin lays across Chenle and puts his head on Taeyong's thighs.

 

"So you're coming home for Christmas right?" Taeyong nods, petting a hand through Jaemin's hair.

 

"I wish I could come with you," Chenle pouts, "You're nicer than Nana." Jaemin scoffs, pinching Chenle's side. Chenle thrashes, giggling.

 

"My point stands." Chenle drops his head on Taeyong's shoulder.

 

"Jaemie will be nice," Taeyong promises, "As long as you behave," He pinches Chenle's cheek, causing him to pout even further, "You two need to take care of dad. Make sure he doesn't work too many Saturday's. And make sure he gets the car in for an inspection next month. And make sure to buy coffee filters," He fixes Jaemin with a look, "You're always forgetting to buy coffee filters."

 

"Yes, mom!" Chenle and Jaemin mock salute their oldest brother. Taeyong rolls his eyes, but wraps his arms tighter around both of them. Jaemin searches Taeyong's face for any sadness, fear or worry, for some sign that he's scared to be going so far away, that he will miss them as much as they will miss him, but he doesn't. They all decide to have a sleepover it Taeyong's room that night, all huddled together. Chenle falls asleep first, cuddled between Jaemin and Taeyong. Jaemin lays beside him in the dark, wide awake. He can't sleep. Chenle's phone is still on, tucked under his hand on his chest, his conversation with Jisung still open. Jaemin reaches over and turns it off. The thought that tomorrow, Taeyong won't be in this room anymore makes him so sad he can't sleep. He hates change more than anything. He almost decides to text Renjun when he hears some rustling.

 

"Jaemie?" Taeyong asks, "Do you think you've ever been in love before? Like real love?" Jaemin is caught off guard and doesn't have an answer. Chenle's phone slides down to his leg. He's thinking of an answer, but Taeyong keeps talking, "I wish I'd been in love more than once," Taeyong sighs, always the romantic, "I think you should fall in love at least twice in high school." Moments later, Taeyong is asleep, the smile he had when he was talking still on his face. Jaemin falls asleep listening to Chenle's loud breathing right next to his ear, and Taeyong is gone when he wakes up a few hours later. Chenle's phone is on the ground. He crawls out of the bed, careful not to wake up Chenle and lifts up the curtains of the window. His breath hitches. There they are, Taeyong and Jaehyun, standing in the driveway. Taeyong's face is turned towards the moon, and Jaehyun is crying. There's enough space between them for Jaemin to know Taeyong hasn't changed his mind. He drops the curtain and makes his way back to bed, where Chenle has rolled more into his section of space. Jaemin rolls him over and climbs under the covers, staring at the ceiling wistfully. He wishes he hadn't seen that. It seemed personal. He closes his eyes, rolling to bury his face in Chenle's back. He wonders what it must be like to have an alpha like you so much that he cries over you. And not just any alpha, Jaemin's brain supplies helpfully, Jaehyun, their Jaehyun. To answer Taeyong's question from earlier, yes, he has been in real love before. Just once. With Jaehyun.

Chapter Text

This is the story of how Jaehyun and Taeyong got together. In the way that Jaemin heard from Jaehyun. It was two years ago, and Jaemin and Jaehyun were sitting in the library during their free period. Jaemin was doing his math homework and Jaehyun was helping, heads pressed together over Jaemin's paper. Jaemin could faintly smell Jaehyun's scent, emitting from his scent gland. He smelled like vanilla, warmth and slight sweat.

 

"I need your advice on something," Jaehyun says, completely out of the blue, "I like someone." Jaemin thinks it was him for a moment. He thought, he hoped that Jaehyun was going to say it was him. It was the start of the school year and they'd hung out almost everyday. Sometimes with Taeyong, but mostly by themselves because Taeyong and his best friend Ten were going to a dance class three times a week. Jaemin had a great tan from all the swimming they had done. He thought Jaehyun was going to say his name, but he saw the way Jaehyun blushed, the way he looked off into space, and Jaemin knew it wasn't for him. He mentally runs through the list of possible people it could be. Jaehyun didn't hang out with a lot of omega's, he had his best friend, Johnny, who had moved from New York in middle school, and his other best friend Yuta, both alpha's, and that was it. It could have been Doyoung, a junior on student council. He'd once pointed him out as the cutest of all the student council members. Jaemin remembers being jealous, but remembers that he had asked Jaehyun to pick out the cutest omega in each year. For Jaemin's year, he said Donghyuck. Not that he was surprised, but it still gave his heart a lurch. It could have been Taeil, the college omega from the bookstore. Jaehyun often talked about how cultured he was because he studied abroad in Thailand. Jaemin was the one who was half Korean, even though he was sure Taeil was also Korean, and his older brother's best friend was from Thailand. Jaehyun had Thai food for the first time at Jaemin's house. Ten insisted on having Thai food for his annual birthday party at Jaemin's house, since his parents didn't move to the US and he had to live with what he called alpha trash. Ten lived with Yuta's family, and complained about the amount of gay panics Sicheng sends Yuta into whenever he comes over to practice dancing. Taeyong suggested he spend his birthday at their house, and he has ever since. Jaemin was about to ask Jaehyun who it was when the librarian came over and shushed them. They went back to work and since Jaehyun didn't bring it up again, Jaemin didn't ask. He didn't think for one second that the omega Jaehyun liked was Taeyong. It wasn't like Jaemin didn't see his brother as someone who could be liked. He'd been asked out before, but all by the same kind of alpha. Smart ones that would partner up with him in chemistry, and run against him in student council. In retrospect, Jaemin thinks, it wasn't so surprising, Jaehyun liking Taeyong, because he was that kind of alpha too. Jaemin thinks that if anyone was to ask what Jaehyun looks like, he would say ordinary, for Asian boy standards. Jaehyun was tall, broad, but not so broad that he looked intimidating like Johnny, with a cute nose, cute eyes, and the brightest smile. Jaemin knows he's strong because he once sprained his ankle playing soccer with Jaehyun and Yuta, and Jaehyun piggybacked him all the way home. He has dimples set in the middle of both of his cheeks, which make him look younger when he smiles, and Jaemin wishes he would smile all the time. He loves Jaehyun's dimples. What was surprising, Jaemin thinks, what was shocking, was that Taeyong liked Jaehyun back. Not because of who Jaehyun was, or who Taeyong was, but because Jaemin had never heard Taeyong talk about liking an alpha before. He was the flighty one out of the three of them. Chenle and Jisung have liked each other for their entire lives, but neither of them have made a move. Jisung was to nervous to talk to Chenle about that, and Chenle wanted Jisung to make the first move. Jaemin thought they were a lost cause. But Taeyong wa above all that. He existed on some higher plane where alpha's, makeup, clothing, didn't matter. The way it happened was sudden. Taeyong was out late working on a project. Jaemin was stirring the sauce for dinner, Chenle was practically sitting in Jisung's lap as they did their homework together, and their father was on his way home, when Taeyong came back, cheeks and nose pink. He came into the kitchen, stripping off his coat.

 

"I have something to tell you." He announced, gathering the attention in the room. Jaemin remembers that Taeyong's eyes were gleaming.

 

"What?" Jaemin and Chenle asked in unison. Chenle plays with Jisung's hand while they wait.

 

"Jaehyun likes me." Jaemin drops the spoon he was using in the sauce. Taeyong shrugs, pleased. Jaemin went completely still.

 

"Jaehyun?" He asks, "LIke our Jaehyun?" Jaemin doesn't look up at him. He's afraid of what Taeyong would see.

 

"Yes!" Taeyong practically sings, "He waited for me after school today so he could tell me. He said," Taeyong sighs dreamily, staring off into space. He grins, "He said I'm his dream omega. Can you believe that?'

 

"Wow." Jaemin says, trying to convey happiness into his words. All he felt as despair, and envy. Thick black envy so heavy Jaemin feels like he's being crushed.

 

"Wow," Chenle echoes, head pillowed on Jisung's shoulder, "So are you dating now?' Jaemin unconsciously holds his breath, waiting for the answer. Taeyong takes a pinch of cheese and eats it.

 

"Yeah," He sighs, "I think so." Then he smiled, eyes going soft and liquidly. Jaemin understood then that Taeyong liked Jaehyun to, so much. That night, he writes his letter to Jaehyun. He cried a lot, and the next morning, when the letter had been addressed and sealed away, it was over. It was over before Jaemin even had a chance. He cried his eyes out, wrote his letter and put the whole thing to rest. The important thing wasn't that Jaehyun had chosen Taeyong, it was that Taeyong had chosen Jaehyun. Jaemin hadn't thought of him that way since. Jaehyun and Taeyong were meant to be. Jaemin's still awake when Taeyong comes back to bed after talking to Jaehyun in the driveway, but he quickly shuts his eyes and pretends to be asleep. Chenle is still cuddled into his shoulder. He hears a sniffling noise and peeks over at Taeyong, who is on his side, facing away from them. His shoulders are shaking and his arms are bent to cover his face. He's crying. Taeyong never cries. Now that Jaemin's seen Taeyong cry over Jaehyun, he knows now more than ever that they're not over.

Chapter Text

The next day, they drive Taeyong to the airport, and they unload all of his luggage onto a luggage cart outside. Chenle tries to climb ontop of the luggage and sit, but their father pulls him off immediately, throwing Chenle over his shoulder. Chenle cackles when they all start walking, gripping onto their father's shirt. Taeyong insists on going by himself when Chenle is safely on the ground, just like he said he would.

 

"At least let us come get your bags checked," Their father says, trying to maneuver the cart around him, "I want to see you go through security."

 

"I'll be okay," Taeyong insists, "I've flown by myself," Jaemin is taken back to the time when Taeyong went with Jaehyun's family for vacation two summers ago and had to meet them separately, "I know how to check a bag," Taeyong stretches up and throws his arms around their father, squeezing him tightly. Chenle sniffs, loudly, "I'll call as soon as I get there, I promise."

 

"You better call everyday." Jaemin whispers, fighting past the lump rising in his throat. He promised himself he wouldn't cry, for the sake of his makeup, even though he can feel a few tears leaking out.

 

"Don't you ever forget about us." Chenle snarks, tears sliding down his cheeks. Taeyong smiles, pulling Chenle into his arms.

 

"I could never," Taeyong says inhaling into Chenle's head one last time, "Lele you smell like the ocean," Taeyong sniffs again, probably trying to remember Chenle's smell, "And kinda like Jisungie." Chenle giggles wetly, kissing Taeyong's cheek before he steps away. Taeyong steps over to Jaemin last.

 

"Take care of dad and Lele," Taeyong inhales his scent, "You're in charge now," Jaemin sighs, holding onto him tighter. He doesn't want to let go. Jaemin gives up on not crying when Taeyong starts talking again.

 

"I'm going to miss smelling artificial strawberry all over the house." Jaemin holds onto him, waiting for some sign that Taeyong will miss them, miss Jaehyun, then, Taeyong starts laughing and Jaemin releases him, dabbing at his eyes.

 

"Bye, Yongie." They all watch, wrapped around their father as Taeyong heads for the check in counter. Chenle sniffs again, wiping his eyes aggressively.

 

"We'll wait until he goes into security." He says, squeezing them tighter. Taeyong turns around once he's done checking in, lifting one hand at them from behind the glass. They don't have time to wave back before Taeyong goes into the security line, not looking back. Jaemin doesn't think he'll be as strong as Taeyong when it's his time to go, and cries all the way home. Chenle tells him that he's an even bigger baby than he is, not even looking up from texting Jisung. Chenle does hold Jaemin's hand from the backseat, texting Jisung with one hand. The house feels empty when they get back, even though Taeyong isn't a loud person, and Jaemin wonders what it would be like when he leaves. He wonders what Chenle and their father would do then. Jaemin hates the thought of them coming home to a dark, empty house with no Jaemin and no Taeyong. Maybe, he thinks, he won't go so far away, and he might even live at home for the first semester. He thinks that would be the right thing to do.