theme: o46. Stuffed Animals.
Kangin stuffed his fists into his pockets as a crisp wind greeted him and Eunhyuk as they made their way to the café.
“Explain to me again why I’m coming with you?” Kangin asked,
“Because Sora doesn’t trust me alone with SoJae,” Eunhyuk said simply as they neared it, immediately seeing Eunhyuk’s older sister sitting at one of the tables outside, a toddler in her lap.
“I wouldn’t blame her,” Kangin teased as they approached her. “Sora, how are you?”
“Ah, good - but busy. I was called into work, something about a button being pressed and the building going up in flames if I don’t go,” she shook her head with a roll of her eyes, “Anyway, her father’s at work too and I couldn’t get a hold of Mom or Dad,”
“So next is me,” Eunhyuk grinned,
“Only because our brother’s still in school,” Sora stated simply as she stood and handed her daughter over to Eunhyuk, “It shouldn’t take more than a few hours, if it starts getting late and I’m still at work I’ll give you a call.”
Eunhyuk nodded as he adjusted SoJae until she was sitting on his hip, “Don’t worry about it, I don’t get to see her too often, so it should be good - a whole day with Uncle HyukJae.”
Sora gave him a slanted look before looking at Kangin. She handed him a bag, “It has all of the things you’ll need to take care of her. Please don’t leave SoJae alone with Hyuk.”
Kangin grinned, his eyes smiling, “I would never endanger a child by doing so.”
“Thank you,” Sora breathed a sigh of relief as she turned to Eunhyuk and her daughter, “I’m being serious Hyuk - treat her better than you treat yourself. If anything happens to her-”
“Sora - I’m not a complete idiot,” Eunhyuk interjected, “I love SoJae, I won’t let anything happen to her.”
Sora sighed again and nodded, “I know. Thank you.” She gave her brother a tight hug and dropped a kiss on SoJae’s head before getting into her car parked at the curb and leaving.
Eunhyuk looked at SoJae who stared back at him with big, black eyes, “She has her uncle’s eyes.”
“She has Sora’s eyes,” Kangin argued,
“Yeah, and I have the same eyes as my sister - therefore, she has her uncle’s eyes,” Eunhyuk reasoned as he started back for the dorm.
Kangin rolled his eyes as he fell into step with Eunhyuk, “And so it begins…”
“I don’t know how to make her stop crying!” Eunhyuk cried as he held her to his shoulder and bounced her a bit,
Kangin, who stood by the dining table peering into the bag Sora had given, looked up, “We’ve tried food, she doesn’t need to be changed, and by the sound of it she’s far from being sleepy… What left is there?” Kangin let out a frustrated sigh,
“Play?” Eunhyuk suggested suddenly, “We haven’t tried giving her toys or playing with her.”
“Yeah, play! Ah- your sister didn’t pack any toys!” Kangin exclaimed,
“The bedroom! Sungmin’s stuff toy collection!” Eunhyuk declared and immediately the two dashed to one of the bedrooms with the crying SoJae.
Eunhyuk sat SoJae on one of the beds as Kangin lined up Sungmin’s various stuffed animals opposite her. Once the bright plush toys were before her, her tears and screams ceased. She blinked at the new companions with a new wonder and slowly crawled over to them. She then sat back down right in front of them and stared at them in turn, her wide eyes bright and dancing.
Then, SoJae leaned forward and picked up the pink bunny which - like all the other toys - were just half her size. She began to bounced the bunny as if it were hopping, “Min- Min!”
Kangin looked at Eunhyuk quizzically, “Min-Min? Does she mean… Sungmin-sshi?”
Eunhyuk nodded, “Sora told me that SoJae’s one of our biggest fans,” he laughed, “I guess she wasn’t just being nice.”
“Ah, SoJae, what about this lion?” Kangin picked it up and held it out for her. She dropped the bunny and took the lion from Kangin, “Is the lion like me?” He grinned at her.
As if understanding him, she looked from the lion to Kangin before bursting out into smiles and holding up the lion back to Kangin, “Won!”
“She speaks English?” Kangin blinked,
Eunhyuk laughed, “I don’t think she means ‘one’… I think she means ‘won’ like - Shiwon,”
Kangin furrowed his brow, “Are you sure SoJae? Aren’t I like a lion? Brave and big?”
SoJae tilted her head as she stared at Kangin with confusion. Finally, she looked back at Eunhyuk for - what he assumed was - help.
“SoJae,” Eunhyuk moved so he was lying on the bed beside her, “Which of these,” he pointed to the stuffed animals, “Is Kangin?” He pointed to his hyung.
Once again, as if she completely understood, the toddler looked from the animals to Kangin before she finally picked one up and held it up for him, “Kang-ie!”
Kangin blinked before giving her a slanted look, “You have got to be kidding me.” He glanced at Eunhyuk, “for a one-year-old she’s got one sense of humour.”
Then Eunhyuk was laughing and SoJae, seeing her uncle laugh, in turn burst out into giggles. Eunhyuk spoke between his fits of laughter, “She’s too young to have a sense of humour, hyung.”
Kangin narrowed his eyes as he gently took the toy from SoJae. He glared down at the animal, “Why am I always being likened to a raccoon?”
“I don’t know,” Eunhyuk said as he wiped away the tears forming in his eyes, “But if even a toddler is seeing it, it must definitely be true - she can’t lie.”
Kangin subtly dropped the raccoon to the floor and looked at SoJae who had stopped laughing when Eunhyuk did, “SoJae, which of these,” his hand gestured to the remaining toys, “is like me?” He placed his hand at his chest.
SoJae looked at the animals again before pointing to the ground, “Kang-ie! Kang-ie!” She stated.
Kangin sighed. He was sure under any other circumstance he would’ve been upset, but she was smiling so purely and brightly at him, he couldn’t help but smile. He picked up the abused toy and gave it to her outstretched hands, “That’s right… I’m a raccoon.”
As SoJae continued to play with the stuff toys, Kangin observed Eunhyuk quietly. He played with his niece, adapting his voice for each animal and she laughed along with him. When her eyes began to start closing, it was obvious the little one was getting sleepy. Eunhyuk stood from the bed and outstretched his arms for her to come to him. She gladly did so, rubbing her eyes with her tiny fists as he held her to his shoulder. She leaned her head on his shoulder and Eunhyuk began to hum a tune as he swayed back and forth.
“Hyuk-ie…” she murmured, sitting straight suddenly in his arms and pointing towards the forgotten toys again.
“Eh?” Eunhyuk replied,
Kangin looked at the toys and picked up one, “This one?” SoJae took the toy, hugged it to her body and then rested her head once more on Eunhyuk’s shoulder. Kangin grinned at Eunhyuk’s slight sour expression, “Hey, if she says I’m a raccoon, then it’s true. If she says you’re a monkey, then you’re a monkey.”
Eunhyuk rolled his eyes as he continued to hum and sway. Kangin smiled once before leaving, letting uncle and niece have some private time together. Ten minutes later, Eunhyuk came out to the living room where Kangin was watching the television on low volume.
He turned so SoJae’s face was in Kangin’s sight, “Is she sleeping?” He whispered as he continued to slightly sway.
Kangin nodded and moved over to make room on the couch. Slowly, very slowly, Eunhyuk sat down against one of the armrests with SoJae asleep on him. “I’ve never seen you this happy,” Kangin stated as he glanced at them before returning his attention to the television,
“I’ve been this happy before,” Eunhyuk stated,
Kangin shook his head, “It’s a different kind of happy.”
Eunhyuk turned his eyes to the television too, synchronizing his breathing with SoJae’s as he did so, “I guess it’s because I never see my family, let alone SoJae. I think that’s why I jumped at the chance to take her even if it’s only a few hours. With my schedule and all of our activities, SoJae’s been growing up not knowing her uncle.”
“Well, at least you know she’s your biggest fan,” Kangin offered,
That garnered a chuckle from Eunhyuk, “Yeah…that way I’m not a complete stranger when she sees me. I guess Sora feels bad about it, that’s why she has SoJae watch our shows and performances.”
“Don’t forget, she wanted the monkey when she was falling asleep,” Kangin reminded gently, “So you’re definitely a favourite.”
Eunhyuk just smiled, a slight flush touching his cheeks.
“Despite all her teasing of your ability with kids, Sora’s still your sister,” Kangin agreed,
“You know, SoJae’s named after both Sora and myself,” Eunhyuk confessed then, “When Sora told me this, I didn’t think I could have ever been happier. I was so touched, so honoured. I never understood how parents could say they loved their children even in the womb… but when Sora told me she was pregnant, I suddenly understood.”
Kangin turned to look at Eunhyuk and observed him a moment in silence. Feeling his eyes, Eunhyuk looked back, “Yes?”
Kangin gave him a sincere smile, “You’re going to be a good dad, Hyukjae.”
Eunhyuk blinked a moment before a smile of his own touched his lips, “Thanks hyung. For everything.”
It was an hour later when Sungmin and Yesung came home from their radio shows. Yesung immediate came to the living room,
“Oh- is this your niece?” Yesung said quietly, “she’s so cute.”
“AISH!” Sungmin exclaimed from his room. He stormed into the living room immediately, “Who touched my animals!?”
Kangin glared at him getting to his feet, raising a finger to his mouth and gesturing towards the sleeping toddler.
Sungmin gave Eunhyuk an apologetic smile before realization dawned upon him, “IS THAT MY MONKEY!?” He hissed quietly,
“It helped her sleep,” Eunhyuk explained, “sorry hyung.”
“Eh… ah…” Sungmin bit on his lower lip before muttering, “If it helped her sleep then it’s okay… Aiyah she’s drooling on it!” He moaned,
“I’ll pay for the dry-cleaning bill,” Eunhyuk insisted,
“Eh… ah…” Sungmin chewed on his lip more and then replied, “No… it’s okay.”
Suddenly, SoJae began to stir, rubbing her eyes against Eunhyuk’s shoulder. He stood up and began to sway slightly, rubbing her back, “It’s okay… it’s okay,” he murmured as he touched his lips to her temple,
Kangin nudged Sungmin, “You woke her up,”
“Sorry…” Sungmin pouted as Yesung slung an arm around his shoulders.
Eunhyuk continued to sway, but SoJae didn’t fall back asleep. Instead, she leaned her chin against Eunhyuk’s shoulder and just stared at the two new people before her.
“Hi there,” Yesung greeted quietly, a smile spreading on his face,
“Sorry for waking you up,” Sungmin stated, giving her his cutest face.
The sudden attention from the two members seemed to make SoJae happy as she gave them a sleepy smile, her big eyes dancing.
“She has such big eyes,” Yesung commented,
“Just like her mom's,” Eunhyuk agreed,
“No,” Kangin argued. As Yesung and Sungmin gave their full attention to the toddler, Kangin looked up at Eunhyuk, confused by his statement, “Just like her uncle's.”
Author's note: I don't know what age sora actually is, or anything about her. But, for the sake of this story, I had her married with a one-year-old daughter. I think I can be forgiven since I had devoted uncle!hyuk right? =)