(A/N: THIS STORY KILLED ME TO WRITE. This was for my Creative Writing class, but I didn't end up turning this in. I used another story, but this was too cute to leave alone. Based off of "Oh My Baby" with Kai and Tae Oh, except not. I can't bring myself to watch it. I'm afraid I'll cry. Let me know what you think!)
Kai laid on his stomach, his elbows holding him up as he stared at the thumb- anomaly in front of him. The young boy in front of him was no older than 18 months, which Kai always argued was ‘year and a half old’ but Ellie insisted in saying he was ‘18 months’. Perhaps it was so his doctors knew what to do next, but Kai still insisted on saying ‘a year and a half old’. Even though he knew Ellie would always correct him he was never going to stop.
Kai had never been alone with the baby for this long, but there he was. Alone in the house with a tiny being that could only communicate through burbles and wails. It was all Ellie’s fault for mentioning the trip to him in the first place. Well, perhaps it was his fault because he wasn’t paying attention to what she was saying and absentmindedly agreed. “It’s only for two days and one night, you can handle that, right?” She’d asked, a pleading grin on her face. When he saw that, of course he had to say yes. There was very little he would say no to when it came to Ellie.
Ellie had been gone less than thirty minutes and she’d already called Kai three times to ask if everything was okay, to which Kai had to promise her for five minutes each time that the baby was just fine and he would handle everything. Damn Ellie for having an acting retreat with the cast of her drama. Damn Ellie for leaving him with Chansoo like this. This weekend would be the longest Kai had ever been alone with Chansoo, other than the time Ellie had gotten sick and was in bed most of the week. However, Kai didn’t count that because Chansoo was 6 months old and Ellie was just in the next room the whole time.
“Yah, Chansoo.” Kai called and the boy looked up at him with wide, hazel eyes, the color he got from his mother. The boy only gurgled and stuck his thumb back in his mouth. “Chansoo-yah,” Kai continued, “What are we going to do now that Mommy is gone? Do you miss her?” the baby gurgled and Kai sighed, “I do. I always miss Mommy.”
Then, something terrifying happened. Chansoo sniffled. His face scrunched up and his eyes watered and Kai’s eyes widened. No, no, no. Don’t cry. Kai silently begged the baby, but it didn’t help. A horrifying, painful wail came from Chansoo that honestly kind of impressed Kai. How did a sound that loud and deadly come from something so small and adorable. Kai jumped to his feet and picked up the tiny human he was caring for. The crying didn’t stop even after a good twenty minutes of bouncing.
Ellie would know what to do, Kai decided. Ellie was good at this sort of thing. All Chansoo had to do was whimper and his mother knew exactly what he wanted. After almost thirteen months of watching Ellie deciphering the cries of her child, Kai thought he would develop a knack for it. However, as Chansoo wailed in his arms, Kai found himself helpless. The young man dug in his sweater pocket for the list that Ellie had left with him and he scanned the crinkles page for the “What to do if Chansoo is crying” section.
“If Chansoo is crying and you don’t know what to do, you have a few options,” Ellie wrote in her pristine handwriting, “1-Chansoo is hungry. There are jars of his favorite applesauce, carrots and strawberries in the refrigerator. 2-Chansoo is thirsty and would like his bottle of milk or water. 3-Chansoo needs his diaper changed. I think you know how to do that. 4-Chansoo is tired and needs to be put down for a nap. 5-Chansoo wants to go to the park down the street to see the ducks in the pond. Good luck!”
Kai scanned the list and went to work. Chansoo didn’t need a new diaper yet, which was a silent relief to Kai. He wasn’t sure if he had the stomach to change a diaper yet. Kai put the still-horrifically-crying Chansoo into his high chair and raided the refrigerator for a cold sippy cup of milk before finding the applesauce. Surely he wanted one of these, but hadn’t Ellie fed him before she left?
“Are you hungry, Channie?” Kai offered the milk and the applesauce to the child, hoping he would reach for what he wanted, but he didn’t so Kai set the items on the highchair table but Chansoo didn’t take them, “No? Water?” Kai offered him water next, again with no result, “Ah, he must be tired!”
The young man lifted the baby out of the high chair and moved him over to the couch. The crying child wailed and wriggled in Kai’s arms until he set the baby down on the cushions. Chansoo obviously had too much energy to take a nap, so Kai checked the list once more. The baby stopped crying when Kai made his next offer.
“Do you want to go to the park?” Kai cooed and Chansoo’s eyes widened, “Do you want to take bread to feed the ducks?”
To Kai’s relief, the wailing stopped and the red in the baby’s face subsided. Kai supposed he would have to stick to his promise, so he lifted Chansoo into his arms once more all while cooing about the park and ducks and going outside. The young man pulled on a sweater with one hand, stuck his keys, wallet, and phone into his pockets and pushed out the door but not before grabbing a pair of Chansoo’s tiny shoes. If it wasn’t for Chansoo’s warning cries, Kai would have forgotten the bread.
Chansoo was still trying to decide if he should keep crying or not, he kept threatening to with his scrunched up face, heavy breathing and breathy whimpers that worked their way up his throat. As he walked, Kai cooed and smiled at the baby in his arms to make sure he wouldn’t cry again. By the time the pair had reached the park, Chansoo was giggly and happy again. He pulled on Kai’s sweater, on his hair and at his cheeks which brought a smile onto Kai’s lips. How could this baby be this cute?
“Ellie did a good job with you,” Kai sat Chansoo on a park bench to put on his shoes, “You’re a pretty one, aren’t you? You’re lucky to have Ellie as a mom, you got her looks.”
“Aww,” a high pitched voice cut through Kai and Chansoo’s one-sided exchange, “He’s so cute!” Kai looked up to see two girls about his age grinning at the baby and wiggling their fingers at him.
“Is he yours?” the second girl inquired, turning her flirty gaze onto Kai, who shifted uncomfortably as they looked at him like they wanted to devour him whole.
“Yeah,” Kai decided as he finished putting on Chansoo’s shoes and lifted him into his arms, “He’s mine.”
“That’s so cute.” the girls squealed, which made Chansoo squirm in Kai’s arms, “Can we hold him?”
“I, uh...” Kai looked down at the boy who was almost begging him with his eyes to say now, “It’s best not to. He’s not used to women who aren’t his mom.”
“She is so lucky,” Girl One gushed, “to have such a pretty baby and husband.”
“Chansoo-yah,” Kai addressed his son, “Are you ready to see the ducks?”
Almost feeling Kai’s desperation, Chansoo nodded and Kai mumbled about getting something to eat and hurried away from the girls who were still cooing. Kai knew somehow that women found men with children a million times more attractive, but he never expected that. The exchange made Kai shiver, the nervous tingling in his spine refusing to let up. He was glad when they reached the duck pond where a few of the brightly colored ducks were swimming about. Kai set the baby down and held his hand as he ventured forwards toward the water.
When he was sure Chansoo wouldn’t wander off too far, Kai dropped his hand and found a place in the grass to sit and watch the baby run, jump and scream at the ducks. Chansoo was happy to throw wads of bread in the water for almost an hour, only pausing occasionally to put some in his mouth before offering it to Kai. Kai was always happy to open his mouth wide for the wad of bread and baby fingers that were shoved in every so often. While bread crumbs weren’t that filling, Kai stuck through it even though the emptiness in his stomach was almost unavoidable. It was worth it to ignore, just to watch Chansoo jump up and down in excitement.
When that grew boring and the toddler began to sniffle, Kai suggested that they head to the playground to see if there was something to do there. The young boy’s smile came back immediately and he reached up for Kai’s hand. The bread forgotten, Chansoo dragged Kai by the finger to the playground. Chansoo ran up and down the stairs on his unstable little legs which prompted Kai to stand behind him at all times, only leaving his side to head to the bottom of the slides so Chansoo could go down.
“Having fun, Chansoo-yah?” Kai asked the toddler when they paused to eat ice cream and the young boy nodded and offered Kai a bite of his ice cream.
As soon as Chansoo was finished with his ice cream he was back to running around the playground and shrieking. Kai was content just sitting back and watching the child run until he tripped over his own feet. For a long minute, Chansoo sat there with his face changing between ‘about to cry’ and ‘about to laugh’ as if he wasn’t sure if he was hurting or not. Kai’s instincts told him not to leave Chansoo there on the ground with a possibly skinned knee. However, as soon as Kai was standing to see if Chansoo was alright, the child shook off the confusion and was running again. Kai sat back down on the bench and watched in utter bewilderment as the young boy continued to run and jump around the playground.
About fifteen minutes later, Chansoo waddled up to Kai and grabbed his fingers and tugged. Kai couldn’t help but to laugh as the enthusiastic toddler led him over to the swingset and threw his hand at one of them.
“What?” Kai asked, lowering himself to be level with the boy, “What do you want?” Once again, Chansoo took Kai’s hand and tossed it at the swings. “Ah, you want to swing? Do you want your own swing?” Kai lifted Chansoo into a swing but the boy wiggled and whimpered, “No? Do you want to swing with me?”
Kai set Chansoo next to one of the big-kid swings and sat down on it himself. Once he was settled on the swing, Chansoo made quick on climbing up onto Kai’s lap. Kai started to swing, but wasn’t comfortable in the way the baby was sitting. He kept leaning forwards and threatening to fall off and that worried Kai more than it probably should have. So, Kai slowed to a stop on the swing and told Chansoo they were going to change the way they were sitting. The young man lifted Chansoo up and turned him around so they were facing each other. As if Chansoo had done this a million times, he settled his small legs on either side of Kai and gripped onto his sweater.
“There.” Kai cooed, “Isn’t that better?” Chansoo nodded, resting his head on Kai’s chest.
When Kai started swinging, he couldn’t help but to wish that Ellie would have been there to see this. Kai, swinging at a steady pace with her son hugging the life out of him. Kai started to hum one of Chansoo’s favorite songs and a smile appeared on his lips when Chansoo sighed heavily. Even if Kai didn’t know Chansoo all that well, he knew when Chansoo was starting to fall asleep. The young boy’s eyes couldn’t stay open and his trip was tightening on Kai. Kai took that as a sign that it was time to go home.
“Let’s go, buddy. Let’s get you home and into bed, okay?” Kai expected Chansoo to pop awake and protest sleep, but instead he climbed farther up Kai to get a better place to set his head. Chansoo fell fast asleep during the walk home and Kai thought it was the cutest thing in the world.
Once back in the safety of their apartment, Kai fed and changed Chansoo to get ready for bed. Chansoo was sleepy, but awake enough to refuse every single bite of carrot offered to him. Kai eventually switched from carrots to strawberries, which Chansoo ate without protest. When it was time to change into PJ’s, Kai brought some into the living room to change him but Chansoo clung onto Kai and Kai had to give him a piggyback ride to the bedroom so Chansoo would even consider changing for bed.
Of course, since Chansoo had teeth, Kai had to brush both of their teeth before they could go to bed. Chansoo cried while Kai brushed, which Kai expected, but as soon as they had settled down in Ellie’s large bed (Kai didn’t have the heart to sleep without him), he stopped wailing. Kai wondered if it was because the pillows and blankets smelled like her, which was secretly a huge comfort to Kai as well. Either way, Chansoo had fallen asleep hard before Kai could count to ten.
Kai hadn’t expected to sleep all through the night, or to wake up with an 18-month-old asleep on his chest, but that’s what he awoke to at about 9am. He had no idea how he had worn out Chansoo so much that he slept all night, but he was glad he did. Obviously he must have woken up sometime during the night if he had found his next bed on top of Kai but there had been no tears. The older boy chuckled and put his hands on the baby’s back so he wouldn’t lose his balance and closed his eyes once more.
“Well,” a near-musical voice floated from the door not a moment later and Kai’s eyes shot open to look at Ellie, who was moving into the room and pulling off her jacket, “What a welcome sight.”
“Ellie-yah,” Kai whispered as the woman he most adored climbed into bed next to him and held both of them close, “You’re home early.”
“Of course. I couldn’t stand to be away a minute longer.” Ellie gently caressed Chansoo’s head, smiling softly at the baby.
“I like him, Ellie.” Kai’s grip on the boy tightened slightly and Ellie grinned.
“He seems to like you, too,” Ellie’s index finger moved to run along Chansoo’s smooth cheek, “Which was the whole point of me leaving. I wanted him to get to know his father.”
“Ellie-yah...” Kai trailed off for a moment before looking over at his beloved wife, “Do you want to have another one?”