Title: Santa Clause Is Real
Pairing: OnKey, ninja!2min
Genre(s): fluff, romance, humor, crack
Summary: In which Kibum is a single dad, Jonghyun is four years old, and Jinki is the Santa Clause at the mall.
a/n: For SSS 2010 at shineesanta
. Written for pechakucha
Despite the sparkly lights and extravagant decorations, the holiday season was not
Kibum’s favorite time of year. It used to be, though. Just like every other child, come December 1st, he’d painstakingly count down the 24 days until Christmas and then lie awake on Christmas Eve night, finding himself restless and unable to sleep- his head full of, not sugar plums, but whatever new Barbie was at the top of his list that year. He remembered waking up at the same time as the sun the next day and bursting into his parents room, only to have them send him back to bed until it was at least 8 AM.
And then there was the excitement of finally climbing down the stairs to see piles of brightly colors presents stacked beneath the Christmas tree, just begging to be ripped open. Or at least carefully unwrapped. Kibum remembered vividly the joy of opening a gift to find the Rapunzel Barbie that he had so coveted smiling at him from the box. The day seemed so magical and euphoric back then.
It turned out, being a parent turned Christmas from a jolly experience to one of stress, stress, and more stress. The holiday season was the season during which his wallet was much lighter than it should be and all he heard for 24 straight days was Is it Christmas yet?
To which he would want to respond, Look at the calendar! Is the thirteenth Christmas? No? Alright then!
But of course he didn’t. He may be blunt, but he could never speak that way to his son, no matter how whiny the boy was being. Because the kid was adorable even when he was pouting.
Kibum was a single dad and had been for the past four years. Well, he’d been a dad for the past four years- he’d been a single
dad for the past three and a half.
Four and a half years ago, his partner and he had decided that they wanted to adopt, so they’d registered with an adoption agency and, within six months, they found themselves with a beautiful baby boy, whom they named Jonghyun.
However, as time went on, it became clear that Kibum’s partner didn’t seem to have the same dedication that he did when it came to taking care of their child. While he would get up in the night whenever he heard the baby’s cries, his partner would just roll over, mumbling something about how he was too tired to deal with it this time. But the next time would go just the same.
By the time Jonghyun was three months old, Kibum and his partner had, for the most part, stopped talking to one another aside from the most basic communication and it was obvious that his partner had barely a fondness for Jonghyun, who was legally his son
, while Kibum doted on the baby and took care of him to the best of his ability twenty four hours a day.
When Jonghyun was five months old, Kibum walked in on his partner cheating on him with another man. After that, he promptly kicked him out of the house and made arrangements for full-custody over Jonghyun, which his partner didn’t even object to- the bastard.
However, while it may have been rough, Kibum was extremely thankful every day for the way his life turned out- he had a steady job, supportive and loving family and friends, and most importantly, his son whom he loved more than anything in the world.
He just wished that Jonghyun wouldn’t throw a tantrum every time he tried to dress him in a pink article of clothing yelling I’m a boy! Boys wear blue! No! No! NO!
He also wished that he hadn’t promised Jonghyun that he’d take him to the mall to buy little Christmas presents for his friends after school. Because, no doubt, the mall would be crowded with angry holiday shoppers and screaming children. But he’d promised and it was better to go sooner rather than later because the mall would only get worse the closer to Christmas that it got.
Kibum pulled up to the elementary school, getting into the line of mini vans outside to wait for school to let out. Though he didn’t drive a minivan, thankyouverymuch. He waited, watching as hoards of chattering and happy children poured out the doors, all of them bundled in colorful, puffy coats.
Finally he saw Jonghyun emerge from the building, flanked by his two best friends. Jonghyun immediately scanned the line of cars, eyes lighting up when he spotted the one that belonged to him. Or his umma, really.
He’d taken to calling Kibum ‘Umma’ when, after watching too many television shows, he decided that Kibum acted more like an umma than an appa. Kibum didn’t mind the nickname, though it got him some weird looks when they were out in public. He’d gotten used to being stared at back in college when he went through his rainbow hair phase.
“Umma,” Jonghyun said as soon as he opened the door to the car, his chubby cheeks pink from the cold, “Can we give Minho and Taemin a ride home before we go to the mall?”
“Of course,” Kibum smiled, moving his bag from the backseat of the car into the passenger seat, making room, “Hi boys.”
“Hi Umma!” they chorused. Needless to say, the nickname had caught on with the Kindergarten crowd.
The three boys squeezed in the back, Taemin squished in the middle, as they continued to chat and giggle, obviously happy that school was out and that it was a Friday, meaning they had an entire weekend to play before they were forced into their uniforms and out the door again.
“Are you gonna get me a good present Jonghyunnie?” Taemin asked, eyes wide and hopeful.
“I’m gonna get you the best present ever,” Jonghyun gloated, “Umma is taking me to the mall to help me pick out something really good.”
“Hooray!” Taemin squealed with glee, glancing over at Minho to see if he shared the excitement, only to see Minho staring out the window at the snowman that stood in front of one of the houses that lined the residential street.
“Jonghyunnie?” Taemin turned to the other boy once again, “Are you gonna get Minho a good present too?”
“Obviously,” Jonghyun rolled his eyes as if it was an idiotic question.
“Kim Jonghyun,” Key barked, looking in the rearview mirror, “Don’t roll your eyes at Taemin!”
“Sorry Umma,” he mumbled, “Minho-yah, I’m gonna get you a good present too, okay?”
“Hm?” the tallest boy asked, turning his attention away from the Christmas decorations outside.
“Jonghyun said that he’s gonna get you a really good present too!” Taemin told him excitedly, small hands clasping around Minho’s forearm.
“Okay,” he shrugged.
“Aren’t you excited?” Taemin asked, brows furrowing in innocent confusion.
“Yeah,” Minho responded, calm as usual.
“You’re no fun,” Taemin pouted, “I’m gonna get you something so awesome that you’ll have to be excited,” he swore.
“Okay,” Minho cracked a smile, watching the smaller boy pout.
“But I’m gonna get the best presents for everybody!” Jonghyun announced as Kibum pulled into Minho’s driveway.
“Taemin-ah, want to come over?” Minho asked as he unbuckled his seatbelt and grabbed his bright blue backpack.
“Sure,” the other boy smiled, happy once again.
“I’m going to the mall,” Jonghyun boasted yet again as the two boys climbed out of the car.
“Taeminnie,” Kibum called, “Call your umma from Minho’s house to tell her where you are, okay?”
“Okay Umma,” Taemin smiled, waving as the car pulled back out onto the street.
“How long until we get to the mall?” Jonghyun asked as soon as they were on their way again, bouncing in his seat in excitement.
“About twenty minutes, baby,” Kibum replied, pulling onto the main road.
“I’ll die before then!” Jonghyun lamented, falling back in his seat dramatically.
“Well if you do then you won’t get to buy your friends anything when we get there…”
“Maybe I’ll live,” Jonghyun conceded, huffing and looking out the window.
“Why don’t you sing me some Christmas songs while I drive, okay?” Kibum suggested, happy to see that Jonghyun was grinning again in no time.
“Don’t let go of my hand,” Kibum warned as they entered the bustling shopping center. It was just as busy as he’d expected and every inch was covered in Christmas lights, garland, and tinsel making it impossible to forget what time of year it was. Jonghyun marveled at the decorations, big eyes wide with excitement.
“Let’s go to the toy store!” he exclaimed, pulling on Kibum’s hand in an attempt to get him moving in the right direction.
“Okay, stay close to me,” Kibum directed, starting off toward the toy store, “And afterwards you have to come with me to get your grandma’s and grandpa’s presents, okay?”
“Yes yes yes!” Jonghyun exclaimed, practically dragging Kibum through the swarms of people in his eagerness.
Unsurprisingly, the toy store was a drawn out experience. Jonghyun must have looked through every aisle, pointing out half the toys in the store to Kibum as something he wanted for Christmas. Plus, he hemmed and hawed over what to get Minho and Taemin.
By the time they exited the store with a soccer ball for Minho and a teddy bear for Taemin, and hour had passed and Kibum was starting to worry that he wouldn’t be able to get his own shopping done.
His hope of having time to run into the department store before it got too late was completely squelched when they walked by the makeshift Santa’s Village in the middle of the mall. As soon as he spotted it, Jonghyun was pulling on Kibum’s hand and begging to stand in line to sit on Santa’s lap.
Kibum had never liked these kinds of things as a child, having had the instinct that if there really was
a Santa, the person sitting in the middle of the mall wasn’t him. And he had had no urge to sit on some stranger’s lap. But he hated to let his own pessimism get in the way of Jonghyun’s excitement so he sighed, letting his son drag him into the extremely long line.
While Kibum tapped his toes impatiently, Jonghyun bounced up and down on the balls of his feet, grinning and rattling off all of the things he wanted for Christmas in preparation for the big moment.
Thirty minutes later, when they were finally near the front of the line, Jonghyun looked up at him, eyes big with worry.
“What if Santa doesn’t like me?” he asked, truly concerned that he wouldn’t be good enough for the father of Christmas. Kibum felt his heart melt as he knelt down so he was eye level with the young boy.
“Of course Santa will like you!” he reassured, hands cupping Jonghyun’s chubby cheeks, “You’ve been very good this year, so I’m sure Santa will love you.”
“Really?” Jonghyun’s eyes lit up, a grin stretching across his face. Kibum nodded, smiling.
“Next?” a bored sounding elf called out, glaring and the father and son holding up the line. Seeing that it was his turn next, Jonghyun pulled out of Kibum’s hold and dashed to the man in red, letting himself be picked up to sit on his knee. Kibum followed slowly, standing a few feet from the chair that Santa was sitting in and noticing that this Santa was young- far too young to make a realistic Santa. Were they even trying
when they hired him?
Jonghyun, however, didn’t seem to mind as he answered the questions that Santa asked him, stating his name and age, before he began to list off all of the things he wanted for Christmas.
“…and a new bike helmet and a toy gun!”
“Well Santa will do what he can to bring you all of the things that you want!” Santa said, his voice surprisingly melodic to Kibum’s ears.
“Jonghyun,” he interrupted, causing Santa to look up at him, surprised, “We already talked about this. You’re too young to have such a violent toy. Don’t you think Santa?” he asked, shooting a meaningful look at the man.
Santa looked a bit confused, obviously not used to being brought into issues like this. But Kibum was staring at him as if threatening that if he didn’t play along, he’d rip off his beard and let the line of children attack him for being a phony.
“Er…yes,” he said, looking at Jonghyun and hating to see the boy’s disappointed eyes, “You are still a bit young for things like that. How about I bring you that in a few years?” He glanced up, relieved to see Kibum mouthing thank you
“Okay Santa,” Jonghyun nodded, disappointed but agreeable. Just then, he thought of something. Leaning up, Jonghyun whispered something into Santa’s ear causing the man’s eyes to widen in surprise, glancing up at Kibum and watching as he looked at his watch anxiously.
“Are you sure?” he asked the four year-old as though he were some kind of authority. When he received an earnest nod, he smiled hesitantly. “Go get him and tell him I need to ask him something, okay?”
With that, Jonghyun hopped off of Santa’s lap and tugged on Kibum’s shirt, pointing at Santa and telling him to go over to him.
“Look, I’m sorry about the gun thing, but he’s too young for that kind of toy. He’s four
!” Kibum immediately said when he stood in front of Santa as Jonghyun waited a few feet away.
“No, it’s not about that,” Santa clarified, seeming a bit nervous, “Would you want to get coffee with me sometime?” Kibum was sure that his face was the perfect picture of surprise at that moment. He had never heard of Santa asking out the parent of a child before. Though at least that meant he probably wasn’t a pedophile…
“Um…okay…” he said hesitantly, realizing that he didn’t even know what the man looked like besides his sparkling eyes. He didn’t even know his name
“Jinki,” the man suddenly announced, as though reading his mind.
“C-can I have your number?”
“Oh! Yeah…” Kibum dug around in his bag until he found a scrap of paper and a pen, quickly scribbling his number down on it and handing it over. He hardly expected the other man to call him. It just seemed so random. And he really wasn’t sure if he wanted him to. Though he would be lying if he said he wasn’t curious.
A week went by and Kibum didn’t hear from Jinki. In fact, he’d nearly forgotten about giving his phone number to a guy dressed up as Santa. Nearly, because that was a pretty hard thing to forget.
So he was fairly surprised when he picked up the phone to hear that voice- crisp like an autumn day- on the other end, asking him when he was free for coffee. He stuttered through a response, blaming his lack of eloquence on the fact that he hadn’t gone in a date in ages.
Fortunately, the actual date went more smoothly because Kibum could tell that Jinki was nervous too. And he discovered that Jinki was quite handsome without the fake beard and red hat. He also found out why Jinki was working at the mall as a Santa.
“I’m actually a history professor,” he’d said, “But I found that, since I grew up and moved out of my parent’s house, I kind of lost track of the Christmas spirit.”
“I can understand that,” Kibum had laughed, earning a warm smile from Jinki.
“So I decided that I wanted to try and remember why I loved Christmas so much a little kid. So I figured, what better way to rekindle a child-like enthusiasm than to spend the holiday season around children?” he had explained.
It had made Kibum think about how Christmas would be for him if he didn’t have Jonghyun and he realized that, were it not for his son, he probably wouldn’t bother with Christmas except to send off a present to his parents.
Jinki had then spilled his coffee and had to spend the next ten minutes in the bathroom, mopping himself off, but Kibum was content to sit at the small table by himself, waiting for the seat across from him to be filled again. He had a good feeling about this.
The last week before Christmas passed and, unsurprisingly, Kibum was bustling around, trying to get everything done at the last minute. Of course he’d planned ahead and tried to stay on top of things, but there always seemed to be more to do than he thought. If it wasn’t decorating the tree, it was wrapping presents. If it wasn’t wrapping them, it was running out to buy last minute gifts for friends and co-workers who mentioned that they had something for him when he thought that they weren’t exchanging presents.
He hadn’t had a chance to see Jinki since they’d had coffee the one time, but sometimes the other man would call him up during the day and they would chat while Kibum puttered around the house, making sure it was clean enough to meet his standards. And even though Kibum wasn’t much of a phone person- he much preferred talking face to face- he enjoyed the daily chats with Jinki. Because through them, he found out that Jinki wrote music in his spare time, could cook, had an adorable laugh, and had an even more adorable embarrassed laugh. So when he called one day and asked Kibum if he could stop by after work on the twenty-third, he immediately agreed, eager to see the other man again.
The eve of Christmas Eve was hectic to say the least. He’d agreed to let Taemin and Minho stay the night so their parents could more easily get last minute preparations for Christmas done. Kibum wasn’t quite sure why they assumed he didn’t have anything to do or why he had agreed so readily, though the latter was probably because of Jonghyun’s irresistible puppy dog eyes. But regardless, the two boys showed up hand in hand at four o’clock, proceeding to exchange Christmas presents in the living room followed by a marathon of Christmas movies, along with lots of giggling, shouting, and a fair amount of running around.
Kibum knew that it sounded crazy, but Minho was very mature for his age (which he knew was four, but still
) and he felt better leaving the three boys alone in the living room so he could wrap presents upstairs knowing that Minho wouldn’t let things get too out of control. Or if they did, he’s come to get him. But, fortunately, nothing noteworthy happened and by eight o’clock, the boys were all exhausted, falling asleep on the couch as the movie played.
“Time to go upstairs and brush your teeth,” Kibum said softly, shaking Jonghyun’s shoulder lightly.
“But Umma,” he complained, eyes barely half open, “The movie isn’t over yet.”
“You can finish it in the morning,” Kibum promised, pausing the film and nudging Jonghyun up until he was in a sitting position. Jonghyun grudgingly got up and started padding his way to the staircase, Minho pulling Taemin by the hand in tow.
Kibum saw to it that the three boys got their pajamas on and were snugly tucked into the double bed in the guest room before he returned downstairs to read the book he had started months ago, but rarely got the opportunity to read. And clearly that wasn’t going to change any time soon because after he’d read a paragraph and a half, there was a knock on the door and he had to jump up to go answer it.
He wished that he could say that, with all the activity, he had forgotten that Jinki was coming over, but the fact remained curled in the back of his mind all day, sending butterflies to his stomach when the thought managed to make it to the forefront of his mind. And now he was here, standing on his front porch and smiling brightly…in his Santa costume. Sans the beard thank god.
“…why are you still wearing that?” he asked, fighting between laughing and crying. On the one hand, it was an extremely amusing (and endearing, who was he kidding?) sight, but Jinki in a Santa costume kind of ruined the romantic mood he’d imagined.
“I told you I was coming straight from work,” Jinki said simply, still smiling and walking inside when Kibum opened the door enough for him to pass, “It’s so festive in here,” he marveled, admiring the Christmas tree and garland that decorated the first floor, the only light coming from the reading lamp by the couch and the twinkly lights on the tree.
“You really don’t have a change of clothes?” Kibum asked, still staring incredulously at the man in the red velvet suit standing in the middle of his living room. Jinki shook his head, seeming a bit embarrassed. Kibum felt his heart melt a little at the other man fidgeting so he decided to let it go. He was here at least.
“Oh well,” he smiled, walking up to Jinki and letting his hand slide up his arm, feeling the velvet trailing against the grain over his palm, “At least it’s fitting to the holiday. If you were wearing an Easter bunny costume, then
we’d have problems.” Jinki grinned in relief.
“Santa is way better than the Easter bunny,” he said, seeming as though he truly meant it and Kibum had to laugh, eyes crinkling up as his head tipped back in mirth.
But when he was eye to eye with Jinki again, he felt his heart stutter at the way the other man was looking at him, like he was admiring him in the low light of the room, even as he smiled. And Kibum loved that feeling, embracing the warm but nervous swirling of his stomach as he stopped laughing to return the gaze.
Kibum knew that Jinki was going to kiss him so he let his eyes fall shut, wetting his lips and waiting, blood thrumming in his ears, until he felt a soft brush of lips against his own, just enough to send a shiver up his spine. Kibum reached out to grasp at Jinki’s arms, needing to ground himself, but before he could, a squeak on the stairs made him freeze. And the next sound made him jump back, cheeks flushed.
“Omo! Jonghyun! Your Umma is kissing Santa Clause!” Taemin squealed, delighted. Jonghyun was staring at the pair with wide eyes, his mouth hanging open in surprise.
“Why are you boys up?” Kibum asked, trying to sound stern even though his head was still spinning.
“We heard talking,” Minho shrugged, leaning on the banister leisurely.
“Come on, let’s go back to bed,” Kibum directed, herding them up the stairs and mouthing one second
Once the boys were tucked in again and assured that Santa had just been coming by to make sure he had the right address, Kibum descended the stairs once more, cheeks heating at the insane awkwardness that had been their first kiss.
“You didn’t think of possible repercussions to coming here dressed as Santa, huh?”
“Er…not really,” Jinki blushed, looking down at his feet sheepishly, “I guess I’ll be going then…”
“Are you crazy?” Kibum exclaimed, grabbing Jinki by the burgundy velvet covered arm, “You’re just going to kiss me and then leave
But then their lips were pressed together again and Jinki completely forgot what he was going to say anyway.
The next morning when Jonghyun led his friends down to the kitchen, he found his Umma cooking pancakes at the stove and a man sitting at the table drinking coffee.
“G’morning sweetheart,” Kibum cooed, turning around to smile at his son.
“Who’s that?” he asked, pointing to the man at the table. Kibum hesitated, glad that, at least, he’d been able to lend Jinki some normal clothes to wear so he wouldn’t have to explain why Santa was eating breakfast with them.
“That’s Jinki,” he finally said, “He’s my friend and he wanted pancakes.”
“Hi Jonghyun,” Jinki smiled, so thankful that the boy had asked Santa for someone to keep his Umma company.
Jonghyun smiled back tentatively, deciding after a moment that this man had a nice smile and his Umma seemed to be extra cheerful with him around that morning. Suddenly, the wish that he’d whispered to Santa came back to him and he gasped, grinning.
“See?” he turned to Minho, pointing a finger at the taller boy, “I told
you Santa was real!” With that, he grinned like he had proven that…well, Santa Clause was real.
Except that he and Jinki were the only two in the room who had any idea what he was talking about.