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sweet like candy in my veins

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"Mark! Hurry up! We're gonna be late!"

When his words were met with silence, Johnny got up with a groan and headed over to his son's room. Usually the pup would've had his bag ready the night before such a big trip like this but today seemed to be the exception.

Johnny took the stairs two at a time and hovered in front of the door to Mark's room for a moment, straining his ears for any suspicious noises. When all he could make out was the familiar sound of his son talking to himself he cracked the door open and peered inside.

"Mark? You good buddy?"

Mark was standing with his back to Johnny, little arms crossed and little legs in a wide stance as he surveyed the array of stuffed animals he had laid out on the floor. The young alpha was pacing up and down like a general surveying his troops and Johnny had to bite his lip to keep himself from laughing out loud at the adorable scene in front of him.

Johnny decided not to interrupt his son and instead made his way into the pup's bedroom. He sat down cross legged on the carpet next to Mark's race car bed and tried to replicate the intense stare his son was shooting his stuffies.

"There are five stuffed animals staring at him right now but only one can be Mark's next top travel companion." Johnny said in his best T.V announcer voice and Mark giggled, making Johnny's heart melt.

Unable to help himself he reached over and pulled his son into his lap, squeezing the toddler affectionately and making him cry out in protest. Mark's chubby little legs kicked wildly as he tried to escape his dad's strong arms and Johnny eventually let him go after thoroughly covering his head in kisses.

"What's the cutest kid in the world up to?" Johnny asked and Mark giggled again before pointing to his stuffed animals who were still sitting patiently in a line.

"Wanna choose who comes with us." Mark said and dragged over his backpack, peering inside of it sadly. "Can't take everyone."

Johnny was quick to try and turn his son's frown upside down and grabbed the closest stuffed animal to him, which just so happened to be Mark's favourite.

"Rawr! Why don't you take me Mark? I love the dentist!" Johnny waved the squishy stuffed lion around and placed him on Mark's head. The toddler took the toy into his hands and frowned down at it.

"Simba always comes." Mark pouted. "Others will feel left out!”

Johnny felt a pang in his chest at how sweet his son was and gently put Simba down before picking up another toy.

"How about ChickChick?" Johnny asked and held up the round little stuffed bird. "C'mon you love ChickChick!"

"I do." Mark said and reached out for the toy with his little hands, cradling it protectively in his hold. "But ChickChick's so small. Don't wanna lose him!"

"I guess that's true." Johnny frowned and put the toy back. As much as he loved sitting with his son and playing with the stuffed animals together they had to get moving or they'd be late for their appointment. Mark clearly wasn't ready to leave any of his stuffed friends behind but his backpack wasn't big enough for all of them.

With a snap of his fingers Johnny got up and hurried over to the hallway closet where he dug around for a moment before triumphantly emerging with a reusable bag they used for groceries. He returned to Mark's room and presented it to his son with a grin.

"Now everyone can come with us!" Johnny said and Mark cheered. They quickly filled the bag with everyone from Delphino the Dolphin to Puduchan the Pudu. (Mark had a soft spot for that last one. It had been a gift from his new best friend Donghyuck who had felt bad for sabotaging Mark's sand castles at the park and had offered him the pudu peace offering in return. It was safe to say the small act of kindness had his son smitten with the omega.)

"Are we ready to go?" Johnny asked and Mark looked around his room one last time, eyes landing on his bed with longing. He seemed hesitant to leave but before he could run and hide under his covers, Johnny ducked down so they were eye to eye and gave Mark's small hand a supportive squeeze.

"It's gonna be okay. I'll be right by your side the whole time." Johnny reassured him and Mark bit his lip and buried himself in his father's arms.

Johnny had sensed that Mark was nervous for his dentist appointment after he had spent so long stalling with his stuffed animals. The last few dentists they had gone to had all freaked Mark out with their scary tools and the way they made his mouth hurt and bleed. Instead of telling his son the truth, that dentist appointments were still scary and hurt even when you were an adult, Johnny chose to focus on making sure Mark's first trip to his new dentist went as smoothly as possible.

"I love you Daddy." Mark said, voice muffled as he shoved his face into Johnny's neck and wrapped his little arms around his father as best as he could.

"I love you too Mark." Johnny breathed in the familiar comforting smell of his son's watermelon shampoo before hoisting him up and balancing him on his hip. He made sure Mark had the sack of toys secured in his chubby fist before they took off down the stairs.

They had nearly made it out the door when Mark had stopped them with a dramatic gasp.

“Daddy I forgot to brush my teeth!” Mark cried out.

Johnny froze in the foyer, closed his eyes and slowly counted to 10 in his head, before heading back upstairs to help Mark brush his teeth.

And then he had to pretend to brush Simba the Lion’s teeth, just in case the dentist wanted to check his mouth too.


Johnny had successfully managed to distract Mark with songs from The Lion King (just not the one that was obviously about mating) on the drive there and had been stupidly optimistic as they pulled into the parking lot. All that stupid optimism was tossed out the window the moment he had tried to unbuckle Mark out of his booster seat.

As soon as he was free, the pup had taken one look at the cartoon tooth advertising the dentist's office and slipped out of his father’s grasp like a blob of jello.

Johnny had let out a panicked shout as Mark flopped out of his booster seat onto the floor and tried to crawl under the seat.

“You can’t make me go daddy!” Mark cried out and shoved himself further into the corner as Johnny tried to grab him.

“Mark you need to get your teeth checked! You don’t want to get a cavity do you?” Johnny tried to reason with his son. His back was starting to ache from where he was kneeling to fit inside the car and he didn’t feel comfortable with his ass just sticking out and wiggling for anyone walking by to see.

At the mention of a cavity, Mark hesitated. His friend Jaemin had had to have his cavity drilled and filled and the pup had relayed his experience to Mark in dramatic detail, effectively scaring him shitless.

“Don’t want a cavity.” Mark mumbled and shot his father his best puppy dog eyes.

Johnny’s heart melted and then, to his horror, his son took advantage of him letting his guard down. Mark scrambled out of the car and managed to escape between Johnny’s legs, shouting victoriously as he emerged into the parking lot as a free man- er, toddler.

“Go away daddy!” Mark shouted and ran off. Well, he tried to. He made it a few steps away before Johnny caught up with him and easily picked his son up and tossed Mark over his shoulder. He did his best to ignore the sharp jabs of pain Mark’s tiny feet were kicking into his back and the incessant screaming he was doing directly into his father’s ear as they walked into the dentist's office. “Stranger danger!”

Johnny resisted the urge to roll his eyes. Ever since he had taught Mark the aforementioned phrase, his son had decided to scream it whenever he was upset with his father which resulted in various colourful scenarios thanks to overbearing but ultimately well meaning bystanders.

“I’m not a stranger, you literally just said I was your dad.” Johnny pointed out and Mark went silent as he pondered over that. Johnny took advantage of the momentary blissful silence to greet the amused omega receptionist behind the desk.

“Sorry we’re late!” Johnny called out as they stumbled into the waiting room and Mark began shouting and thrashing once more.

Johnny blearily realized he must have been quite the sight, with a toddler throwing a tantrum casually slung over his shoulder and a sack of toys clenched in his hand. Like some sort of demented Santa Claus.

“You’re actually right on time!” The omega- Jungwoo his nametag helpfully read- said cheerfully.

“Wow.” Johnny said in disbelief. In that moment he felt like the greatest dad in the world, if he ignored the feral toddler in his arms. “I’m on time...wow…”

And then Mark promptly brought him back to reality with a swift chomp to his arm.

With that, Johnny had had enough and lowered himself and Mark to the ground so they could make eye contact.

“Hey.” Johnny said in his sternest voice, schooling his face into the strictest facial expression he could make. “You better behave or that man over there is gonna get very angry at you.”

Johnny pointed at Jungwoo who- bless his soul- turned to them with a wide grin and waved cheerfully at them.

Mark looked from Jungwoo then back to his father with a look of disbelief.

“Really?”

“Really.” Johnny repeated in a firm voice and scooped the pup into his arms before approaching the receptionist's desk.

“Hello sir!” Jungwoo greeted Johnny with a polite bow of his head which Johnny hastily returned. “And hello little sir!”

Jungwoo addressed Mark with a sweet smile and the pup turned as red as a tomato and hid his face in the crook of Johnny’s face as if he hadn’t just thrown a category 5 tantrum in front of the omega.

“I’m so sorry about him.” Johnny apologized. “He’s not normally like this, he’s just afraid of the dentist.”

“Awww, poor baby.” Jungwoo clucked his tongue sympathetically. “Well, I hope he knows he has nothing to worry about here. Our dentists are well loved by all their patients!”

“Speaking of, I’m actually friends with someone that works here. He told me to ask for a Dr. Kim?” Johnny recalled Doyoung’s instructions and Jungwoo’s eyes lit up with realization.

“Ah, so you’re Johnny! Doyoung told me about you, but he didn’t tell me you were so handsome.” Jungwoo said casually as he typed away on his keyboard and Johnny laughed nervously.

Mark turned his head to shoot Jungwoo a deeply unimpressed look and wrapped his arms around his father’s neck protectively.

“And you must be Minhyung!”

“My name is Mark.” Mark interrupted Jungwoo with a scowl and Johnny wanted to crawl into a hole and die. The sweetest omega in the world was trying to make Mark’s trip to the dentist as comfortable as he could but his son was actively trying to sabotage it.

Jungwoo was clearly an angel who had fallen from heaven and had conveniently crash landed behind the receptionists desk as he countered Mark’s sour face with an impossibly brighter smile.

“Oh, my mistake! I guess I’ll have to call you Mister Mark then.” Jungwoo corrected himself and Mark let out a little giggle, despite his monstrous self. “And what can I call you sir?”

“Johnny is fine.” Johnny replied, too nervous to make eye contact with Jungwoo. He had gone years without flirting and it had left him more then a little rusty and he definitely didn’t want to embarrass himself in front of his suddenly judgemental son. “Uh, is Doyoung- I mean Dr. Kim ready yet?”

“Oh, that’s right. I forgot to tell you, Dr. Kim isn’t in today. He said he had a family emergency to deal with.” Jungwoo said.

Johnny and Mark shared an alarmed look.

“Oh God, are the twins okay?” Johnny asked in a panicked voice and Jungwoo waved his concerns away,

“They’re fine! Doyoung’s just out running errands for their birthday party and told me to tell patients that.” Jungwoo explained with a chuckle.

On a normal day, Johnny would have found that amusing but seeing as he was counting on a familiar face being there to fix Mark’s fear of the dentist this was devastating news.

“What’s wrong daddy?” Mark asked, tugging at Johnny’s shirt and looking up at him with his sweet face twisted into worry.

“Nothing.” He quickly reassured his son and bounced Mark on his hip to draw a smile out of him. “We just won’t be seeing Dr. Kim today, sorry bud.”

Mark’s face fell and Johnny felt his heart sink at the sight.

“Is there any way we can reschedule?” Johnny asked Jungwoo, already dreading the idea of having to drag Mark back to the dentist's office once again. “We were really counting on seeing Dr. Kim.”

Jungwoo’s eyes darted to the left of Johnny and his smile grew bigger.

“I think you two will like his replacement just fine.” Jungwoo reassured the skeptical father and son. “Hi Dr. Lee!”

“Hi Jungwoo. And who might you be?” A sweet voice from behind greeted the receptionist and Johnny turned around.

A young man dressed in a pair of light blue scrubs was standing behind them. He had a matching surgical cap holding his shiny black hair back and his eyes were like two swimming pools of darkness you could just get lost in forever. Even in his plain uniform and bare face he was easily the most gorgeous omega Johnny had ever seen.

“I’m Johnny.” Johnny introduced himself, probably far too loudly but he couldn’t help himself. He felt starstruck in the beautiful omega’s presence and it seemed like he wasn’t the only one affected.

Mark was staring at the omega with a look of wonder in his eyes and let out a small squeak as the young man approached the receptionists desk.

“I’m Dr. Lee. But you can call me Taeyong.” The omega said. Under the strong clinical smell of disinfectants, Johnny could faintly make out Taeyong’s scent which smelled like vanilla and sugar and freshly baked goods and everything good and right in the world.

Taeyong tilted his head curiously at Mark who was outright gaping at him and smiled down at the toddler.

“And who might you be?” Taeyong asked kindly and Mark looked up at Johnny as if asking permission to speak in the omega’s presence.

Johnny bit back a smile and instead nodded encouragingly.

“I’m Mark.” Mark said and then proudly held out a hand with three fingers up. “I’m this many.”

“Well aren’t you the cutest.” Taeyong gushed and Johnny felt an honest to God pang of jealousy that he quickly pushed away. “Now tell me, are you ready for your check-up today Mark?”

Johnny expected Mark to start screaming at the top of his little lungs that no, he was in fact not ready for his check-up. But whatever spell Taeyong had cast over him seemed to work as Mark nodded excitedly and then glared at Johnny as if his father was somehow the one holding him back.

“Yes!” Mark declared and Taeyong smiled encouragingly at him taking a step towards the hallway.

“Well then, follow me!”

“Can I come?” Johnny blurted out, unsure what the rules were here. “He gets really nervous and I think it’d be better if I was in the room with him.”

Mark looked incredibly offended that his father just aired his dirty laundry out like that but thankfully Taeyong didn’t seem bothered by the question.

“Of course you can.” Taeyong reassured Johnny as they headed down the hallway.

“Good luck Mister Mark!” Jungwoo called out and waved to the toddler who waved back shyly as they headed into the dental suite.

The small brightly lit room looked identical to all the others Johnny had visited throughout his life but it seemed homier somehow, with a large poster of a cat baring its teeth covering one wall and a desk covered in little knick knacks and photos squeezed into a corner of the room.

“Nice place.” Johnny said, spotting a picture of Doyoung and Taeyong posing in graduation robes and smiled at the sight.

“It’s not much, but it’s home.” Taeyong said jokingly and busied himself with the computer.

Johnny took the time to help Mark into the large chair in the centre of the room all while one hand was still occupied with holding the bag of toys.

“I wanted to ask, what’s with the bag?” Taeyong asked as he gestured to the bag and Johnny and Mark shared a look.

“You wanna explain?” Johnny asked Mark teasingly and the pup glared at him, presumably for making him look bad in front of Taeyong. Johnny was definitely going to get bitten again.

“Couldn’t pick a friend to bring.” Mark admitted in a soft voice. “Wanted to bring them all.”

Taeyong pressed a hand to his heart and he smiled affectionately down at Mark.

“That’s the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard.” Taeyong said earnestly and kneeled down so he was at Mark’s height. “Wanna pick a friend to sit with you in the chair?”

Mark nodded excitedly and made grabby hands at his dad for the bag of toys. Johnny obediently brought it over for Mark to ruffle through, hoping his son wouldn’t repeat his lengthy choosing ceremony from earlier in the day.

Thankfully Mark quickly fished Simba out and hugged the stuffed lion to himself, waving Johnny away like he was a young Victorian gentleman dismissing his servant.

Johnny bit back a laugh and stashed the bag of toys against a nearly wall, taking a seat next to Mark.

“Ooh, good choice.” Taeyong told Mark who promptly shoved the toy in the omega’s face.

“Simba.” Mark said and Taeyong’s face turned serious as he pretended to shake the lion’s paw.

“Nice to meet you sir.” Taeyong said and then reached behind him to pull out a pair of sunglasses. “If you’re gonna sit in the chair, you’re gonna need these.”

Taeyong gently placed the sunglasses on Simba’s face and Mark let out a delighted laugh, kicking his feet out in happiness at the silly sight.

Johnny’s heart swelled at how happy his son looked and felt so unbelievably grateful that this dentist office employed not just one, but two absolute angels. Taeyong was a godsend.

Taeyong handed Mark a pair of his own sunglasses and Johnny just had to take a picture of his son and his stuffed animal in a matching pair of sunglasses sitting in an oversized dentist chair.

“You’ll need to wear this.” Taeyong said and passed Johnny a surgical mask. Their fingertips brushed as the alpha reached out to take it from him and he felt a bolt of electricity run through his entire body from the contact.

Johnny jerked his finger back and looked at Taeyong to see whether the omega had felt that or not but with his own mask on, all Taeyong was was a pair of big beautiful eyes.

“Ready to begin?” Taeyong asked Mark in a kind voice as he snapped his gloves on and the toddler pouted and looked over at his father.

Johnny reached over and took Mark’s hand in his, squeezing his pup’s small hand with encouragement.

“We can stop anytime you want. Just let me know and we can take a pause.” Taeyong reassured Mark and that seemed to be what helped him make up his mind.

“I’m ready.” Mark said and jutted his chin out and Johnny felt like his heart would explode at how cute his brave little son was.

“Then let’s get this show on the road.” Taeyong said with a wink.

Mark let out a giggle and Johnny was just glad his mask was hiding his crush induced blush.

Taeyong walked Mark and Johnny through every step of the checkup , explaining what every tool did and keeping a stream of casual conversation going throughout to keep Mark calm.

“Are you friends with Dr. Kim?” Taeyong asked Johnny as Mark took a much needed break from having his teeth scraped. He was handling it like a pro but a kid could only take so much and was busy swishing and gargling water to try and heal his sore mouth.

“Yeah we’re close with him and his family.” Johnny said, fondly recalling all their memories with the Jung-Kim family. “The twins are like Mark's best friends.”

“That’s so sweet.” Taeyong smiled and spun back and forth on his chair. “Doyoung talks about you guys a lot. It’s nice to finally put some faces to some names.”

“What does he say? Only good things I hope.” Johnny said, only half-joking. He wouldn’t put it past Doyoung to tell Taeyong the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

“He said you guys were really nice and great to hang out with.” Taeyong said and his eyes met Johnny’s in an act of intense eye contact, making the alpha’s heart beat speed up. “I just wish he mentioned you were so…”

Taeyong trailed off and hastily looked away.

“Anyway! Mark are you alright?”

Mark wiped the back of his mouth and nodded and the dentist got back to work, leaving Johnny to try and figure out what Taeyong could have possibly meant.

The rest of the appointment went by quickly and before he knew it, Johnny was helping Mark out of the chair and into the hallway, with Simba safely back into the sack of toys.

“I’m really proud of you Mark.” Taeyong said sincerely as he walked them back into the receptionist area. “You did great!”

“Thanks.” Mark said shyly and hid behind Johnny’s leg, peering out and making Taeyong coo.

The omega disappeared behind the desk and came back with a jar of stickers and a colourful toothbrush which he offered to a wide eyed Mark.

“This is for you.” Taeyong said and pried the lid off the jar. “You can take a sticker and this toothbrush because you were such a good boy today.”

Mark looked like Taeyong had just pulled the moon out of the sky and had offered it to him. He happily took the toothbrush and began rooting through the jar as he searched for the perfect sticker to take home with him.

“What do you say Mark?” Johnny reminded his son who cast a glance over his shoulder at his father.

“Thank you!” Mark shouted, far too loud for his inside voice, but it made Taeyong grin nonetheless.

“No problem.” Taeyong said and took the jar back after Mark chose a sticker with a rainbow on it and began fumbling with the wrapper.

“Daddy help.” Mark frowned and handed Johnny the sticker.

The alpha kneeled down to help his son and as he was peeling the sticker wrapper Mark decided now was the perfect time to pop the question.

“Daddy can I have Dr. Lee as my mom?” Mark asked, his big round eyes sparkling up at his father and Johnny’s heart dropped into his stomach at his sweet little son’s question.

Johnny wracked his brain trying to think of the nicest way to let his son down and looked up, only to realize Taeyong had overheard Mark’s question.

“I’m really sorry.” Taeyong said quickly and Johnny raised an eyebrow as he stood back up to his full height.

“Why are you sorry? I should be the one apologizing.” Johnny scratched the back of his neck and cast a sheepish look down at Mark who was busy trying to open his new toothbrush.

“I don’t want to offend Mark’s actual mom.” Taeyong wrung his hands nervously as he explained himself and Johnny felt touched at how considerate the omega was.

“Mark’s mom isn’t with us anymore.” Johnny said and when Taeyong made a distraught face, he quickly backtracked “He’s not dead or anything! We’re just seperated.”

“Oh.” Taeyong said and then his eyes widened. “Oh! Okay!”

There was a beat of silence and then;

“I still feel bad.” Taeyong admitted and Johnny waved off his worries.

“It’s fine, seriously!” Johnny said and felt a smile tug at his lips. “Out of all the omegas Mark’s gotten himself attached to over the past few months, I must say you’re the best.”

It was objectively true. Compared to the highschooler who volunteered to read at the library who Mark had fallen for and the other highschooler who bagged groceries at the grocery store who Mark had also fallen for, Taeyong was obviously the best in Johnny’s eyes.

Taeyong beamed at that and reached out as if to touch Johnny before pulling his hand back to his chest.

“Thank you Johnny. You two have definitely been two of my favourite clients.” Taeyong said sincerely and cast a glance down at Mark. “I’ll see you guys in six months then?”

“I actually need my own checkup soon.” Johnny recalled as casually as he could.

“Make sure to ask for me when you book it then.” Taeyong said with a cheeky grin which made Johnny feel a little lightheaded.

“I guess it’s a date then.” Johnny said without really thinking and before he could take it back, Taeyong just winked at him before heading back into the hallway.

“Bye Johnny!” Taeyong called out in a sing-song voice. “Bye Mark!”

“Bye Dr. Lee!” Mark shouted and turned to look Johnny dead in the eye. “I love him.”

Johnny let out a surprised laugh and tried to ignore the pointed look Jungwoo was sending him over the computer.

After Johnny had gotten Mark bucked into his car seat -with minimal kicking thankfully- he took a moment to relax in the driver’s seat and check his phone.

“Dr. Lee is so cool!” Mark declared and in the rearview mirror, Johnny could see that his son had stuck the rainbow sticker to his own forehead.

“He is.” Johnny agreed as he opened the last message Doyoung had sent. The omega had apologized for missing Mark’s appointment and promised to make it up to them in any way he could.

“Wanna see Dr. Lee again.” Mark said absentmindedly and Johnny’s fingers hovered over his phone’s keyboard before he typed out a reply to Doyoung with a grin.

Want to set me up with Taeyong?

Johnny sent off his text and then tossed the phone onto the passenger seat before turning to look back at Mark with a mischievous look.

“Let’s go get some burgers.” Johnny said and Mark let out an offended gasp.

“Daddy I can’t eat yet!” Mark shouted, remembering that Taeyong had told him to avoid food for at least an hour after his appointment and was clearly taking that to heart.

“Guess I’ll have to eat your burger too.” Johnny said with a shrug and let out a laugh as Mark began to yell his complaints. “Kidding! I’m just kidding!”

Mark grumbled to himself and Johnny let out another snicker and then checked his phone as it lit up with a message from Doyoung.

Yeah I can do that.

Followed by;

Wait I was kind of joking but I thought about it and you guys would actually be really cute together…

And then;

Okay I’m definitely in. Jaehyun’s in too. He thinks you guys would have cute babies.

Our babies would be cute, Johnny thought and then looked back at Mark who was already fast asleep and drooling all over his shirt and felt his heart melt at the sight. Too bad I already have the cutest baby in the world.

“C’mon kid.” Johnny said quietly and reached behind to give Mark’s foot a soft squeeze. “Let’s get you home.”