Na Jaemin: The Prelude
Renjun is tired in the way you only get when you’ve stayed up until three in the morning more nights for far longer than your body should be forced to, and when the silent cries of his bad grades beckon him to finish his work. He’s exhausted, but his body can’t give into fatigue at this moment. In a couple more hours his heart can stop beating and fail him, but not right before he needs to turn in his extra credit assignment.
Listen, it’s not that Renjun is an irresponsible student that hasn’t thought his courses through.
Hear him out! And it’s not that he’s completely a straight C-student either. He has the occasional A and B grade somewhere on his transcript and perhaps he gets lost in a tuition-free world where he is no longer subjugated to student loans, but it’s not that Renjun wants to flunk out and retire to fast-food work all of his sad life.
It’s just that Renjun’s sex life had caught up to him far too early in his first year of university. When he looked at Yuqi Song at a party, with long wavy hair and bright brown eyes, Renjun thinks far too deep in his head. Yuqi Song has a pretty face, cupid-shaped lips, and a soft voice that’s lyrical enough at night to result in poor choices that night. Renjun loses his virginity that night and forgive his poor horny heart, ends up with a baby at his first-year dorm doorstep nine months later with a note saying that Chenle was his to raise.
When Chenle looks at him the first time, Renjun cries, his heart falling in love the moment Chenle’s hand reaches out and claims a tight grasp of Renjun’s hand.
The timeline of when he slept with Yuqi and when she dated a couple of other boys after Renjun doesn’t really matter at this point, but Renjun’s heart just easily falls in love with the possibility of raising someone that is a part of him, his heart building up so much love it bleeds pink and red, that it escapes reason.
Mostly, it’s because Renjun grows up a romantic that he easily falls in love with Chenle and their future, that he picks up extra hours at his work-study job and writes himself on the university waitlist for the student daycare, so he doesn’t have to worry about Chenle’s childcare.
The first week, Renjun is somehow able to manage to rear Chenle. And in a way, it teaches him that romantic fantasies, as rose-tinted and pretty they are in theory, should not be pursued with earnest—but Renjun learns the hard way.
What really happens is this:
Renjun sneaks in Chenle to all of his lectures that week and most of his work-study pay goes into Chenle being clad in the latest university apparel for babies. The reasons why Renjun didn’t go shopping elsewhere to get Chenle his necessities mostly consist of time restraints and the nearest shopping center being a good bus ride away from his campus and the fact that Chenle was dropped off to him during midterms week. He’d go shopping for more clothes and baby supplies later (and hopefully with a lesser offense to his wallet).
It sucks. It really does, but Renjun has to make do with the limited resources at his disposal, especially if he wants to keep Chenle.
Luckily Renjun’s professors are accommodating to his instant fatherhood and they’re fine with Chenle being in the classroom as long as both of them sit in the back of the lecture hall and Chenle’s taken out of the lecture if he cries. Of course, Renjun understands these are reasonable limitations, but his heart can’t help but feel tired of how hard it is to become a dad at this age.
Eighteen, an adult by all legal standards and laws, but with no real knowledge of the world. Renjun can’t balance checks on his own and he doesn’t have a cent to his name that isn’t from the student loan he took out. Housing doesn’t know that he has a baby and doesn’t know about the small crib he has is underneath the loft bed. And with luck, Jeno is always elsewhere, probably having the best time of his life getting drunk at parties and never having to return to the reality that his room had become a makeshift nursery with no space for one-night stands.
Initially, Renjun had been looking forward to being close with his roommate, holding onto the hope that they would be the cliché college buddies that would be each other’s best man, but this dream had been reduced to nothing as he realized that he had to grow up and very quickly too.
So now, Renjun’s dream consists of getting off the family housing waitlist next week and raising his GPA up to a 3.3, and become an adult able to sustain himself and his son.
The only thing in Renjun’s way is his filler class. The general education requirement he’s put off until the perfect professor had come by.
With a Rate My Professor Score of 1.0 on easy, Professor Kim had come into Renjun’s life like a godsend.
A guaranteed A+ grade if you turned in all of the extra credit assignments and today would bring in heaven’s angels and choirs. Today would mean that Renjun would have a guaranteed A+ and the final grade he needed to get his dream GPA.
But there’s an obstacle in his way.
An obstacle named Na Jaemin.
Jaemin Na: The Villain Origin Story
Now, while Renjun isn’t one to be holding onto grudges (the closest feeling he has to hatred is the way he doesn’t like the color green), but there’s someone else who has a malevolent agenda against Renjun Huang, dilf in training and number one dad in the world.
Every time, Mark the daycare worker is subjected to Renjun’s rants about Jaemin Na, he simply pretends to nod in agreement with the occasional:
“Man, I think you two should just fuck and get your feelings sorted.”
(Of course, Mark’s not allowed to swear in front of the kids, so Renjun makes do with providing whatever translation is needed to convey what Mark wanted to express.)
Admittedly, Renjun has to admit that he had done something that would be against bro-code, it may have something to do with the fact that Renjun knocked up Jaemin’s ex-girlfriend from high school a week after she broke up with Jaemin. But at the time, Renjun didn’t know that the two were high school sweethearts and he was ignorant to a rule that their shared dorm floor had.
A rule that had gone long forgotten in the abandoned history textbooks (the bookstore never failed to rip anyone off) but a rule that nonetheless shouldn’t go completely forgotten.
One should not sleep with their neighbor’s ex-girlfriend.
A simple rule. A rule to keep the peace. But a rule that Renjun had accidentally broken and Chenle (bless his heart) would remain a constant reminder of their first year together.
(Should Renjun had requested a dorm change. Yeah, but there was no way for him to find someone willing to be roommates with a newborn child without Renjun having to put out most of the rent money and first years weren’t allowed to move off-campus anyways.)
Half an hour later, Renjun meets Jaemin’s eyes in the elevator and the rest becomes hell.
Jaemin Na: The Petty
Renjun learns that when Jaemin is mad, he’s a petty creature. With sharp teeth that made him wonder if Jaemin was secretly a vampire, Jaemin proved himself a capable man to create his own villain origin story.
With three major instances:
- The first weekend Renjun takes care of Chenle, Jaemin throws a dorm party. Now Renjun wouldn’t have minded. It’s the typical college experience to get piss drunk, but when the party goes beyond 4:00 am and Chenle isn’t able to get enough sleep, Sundays are no longer a homework catch-up day. That Monday, Renjun sleeps through his first-class and ends up failing a pop quiz.
- A random day during the spring quarter, Renjun finds himself waking up bright and early in the morning to finish his laundry. And it appeared that everyone else had the same idea. Now what breaks the proverbial camel’s back is that there’s one washing machine left in use. One last one that would become Renjun’s saving grace and end the tyranny of Sunday laundry days. It’s the perfect one. It’s the washing machine that doesn’t eat up Renjun’s money. But before he can get to it, Jaemin Na dumps two weeks-worth of dirty clothes and sends a smirk in Renjun’s direction. Jaemin Na the petty indeed.
- Now there’s a shameful part of Renjun’s past. One that includes rushing for frat parties for groups and people he doesn’t even remember now. He gets drunk that night. Really drunk. Almost as drunk as the night he slept with Yuqi, but not quite. But the result is still the same. Kind of. He fucks Jaemin Na that night instead of the hot big he set his eyes on the moment he stepped into Zeta Delta Alpha and well—actually he’s not completely sure how this contributes to Jaemin’s villain origin story, but clearly Renjun made a big mistake here.
Oh, Renjun makes plenty of more mistakes.
Enrolling in the same art history section as Jaemin Na is one of them.
He can’t win.
Jaemin Na: The Devil
Now, before Renjun decided to move all across the golden state of California and way before he had Chenle, there’s the advice he’s given by his older brother.
Sicheng tells him a couple of tips, the first one to not sleep with his RA. That’s a given. Certainly. And the second one is to not buy his textbooks from the bookstore. But he doesn’t tell Renjun how to deal with a seatmate that doesn’t like him.
(Yes, Renjun knows that Jaemin isn’t ever going to do anything to him while they’re physically in the same section together and school policies would certainly get them both expelled, but he can’t help but to feel wary. Wary of the potential danger that is Jaemin Na.)
People tell Renjun that Jaemin is the sweetest person on campus, an education major that is excellent with children. The first few times they’ve met, Renjun would have been inclined to believe so. After all, Jaemin did help Renjun tend to Chenle’s needs the second night.
Renjun couldn’t figure out what to do. Chenle had refused his formula and he didn’t need to have his diapers changed either. He kept crying and what hurt Renjun the most about that night was the fact he didn’t know what to do. It shouldn’t have been this hard to soothe someone he loved so much, but the shock and fatigue of trying to figure out what had upset Chenle so much stuck with him.
Love isn’t competitive, it shouldn’t be really. Without a doubt, the feeling of love is something that Renjun had never come close to understanding until Chenle had come into his life and he feels really fucking stupid right now that his heart is bleeding. His heart is twisting and turning back and forth because he doesn’t want to regret taking care of Chenle and becoming a dad, but he regrets his inability to properly care for Chenle’s needs.
Renjun’s stomach drops at the sight of Jaemin slamming the door of his dorm open, taking Chenle out of Renjun’s hands and cradling Chenle ever so gently, singing soft nursery rhymes that he must have learned from his education classes. It’s as if ambrosia was slipping off of Jaemin’s tongue because once the last syllable is sung, Chenle looks up at Jaemin with a smile that breaks Renjun’s heart for the first time in his eighteen years of life.
It’s not fair.
It’s not fair at all the way Jaemin makes Chenle smile in a way that Renjun is never able to his first year of parenthood.
A devil, a devil, a devil. Jaemin certainly must be a devil in disguise.
Jaemin Na: The Enigma
In the fall quarter of Renjun’s third year of university, he learns that Jaemin as a seatmate isn’t as bad as he predicts.
Surprisingly, it’s a much more pleasant of an experience than when he was roommates with Jeno.
Jaemin isn’t an unusual classmate by any means. He isn’t the type of person to sit at the edge of the lecture hall despite the fact he arrives fifteen minutes early every time they meet and is given the opportunity to be completely evil to his classmates. Hell should be given to the jerks who don’t make room for people who can’t come to class early.
But Jaemin is considerate and on the occasion, Renjun comes late to lecture because there was an emergency at the campus daycare, he offers to email Renjun his notes so that the latter didn’t miss anything. Jaemin’s definitely saved Renjun’s grade and Renjun can’t he’s indebted to his sworn enemy because of this unfair fact of life.
“I thought that you didn’t like Jaemin,” Donghyuck comments, taking a sip of his morning coffee. A daily ritual accompanied by the chocolate-filled croissant that never failed to be on his left.
Renjun opens his mouth, and it hangs there for a bit, useless. He doesn’t have a good enough rebuttal to Donghyuck’s observation. He instead holds onto Chenle in his lap and continues reviewing the lecture notes he typed earlier that day.
Now Renjun’s a bit too petty to admit this out loud, but he’s grateful for all of the help Jaemin’s given him these past three years.
Even if he’s sometimes hesitant to accept it.
Na Jaemin: The Lover Boy
Now, there’s a moment that Renjun remembers today of all days.
Just right before Renjun enters the art building, he sees a flash of dyed red hair and the bright hue is just enough to remind him of the pretty boy that makes his heart seethe whenever they cross paths outside of the classroom.
Na Jaemin: The Enigma Part II
“Why did you help me?” Renjun asks, still confused by what had just occurred. His enemy had just saved his grade seconds ago without any hesitation.
Renjun, despite all of the work he’s done the past weekend, had accidentally brought Chenle's art project with him instead of his assignment.
Jaemin had saved him, Renjun Huang, who slept and got Jaemin’s ex-girlfriend pregnant.
Jaemin sinks his chin in his palm, humming in a pensive manner. Renjun doesn’t know how Jaemin will respond to his question, but he hopes it isn’t as bad as he imagines it to be.
Over hundreds of scenarios run through his mind of varying degrees
“Because it seems like you needed the help.”
“But shouldn’t you like…”
“But shouldn’t I what?”
Jaemin simply gives Renjun a surprised face before answering, “Why would I hate you?”
“Well, I got your ex-girlfriend pregnant right after you broke up,” Renjun points out the obvious.
“Okay, I can see why you think that now,” Jaemin raises a white flag of defeat. “I was jealous, but not because of the way you think.”
“I’m not really sure if there’s another explanation.”
Renjun doubts it, he really does. There can’t be another reason why Jaemin tortured him throughout his first year. Unless one counted for the fact Renjun ruined the curve on their chemistry final their first year together—but that was an unavoidable fact of life that could have happened to anyone.
“I was jealous of Yuqi sleeping with you, okay?” Jaemin quietly confesses and it’s the answer that shatters Renjun’s world.
“What? You liked me back then?”
“I broke up with Yuqi because I developed a tiny crush on you during move-in weekend,” Jaemin explains, and his face reddens with what Renjun sees as a mixture of guilt and embarrassment. “And I uh figured you would come to my one of my parties one day and—"
“You were trying to romance me like some sort of broke knock-off Gatsby?”
Renjun sighs, “You’re lucky that Chenle likes you.”
“What do you mean?” Jaemin blinks in confusion.
“God, I need to spell this out for you, don’t I?” Renjun leans in.
Na Jaemin: The Boyfriend
Renjun certainly likes Jaemin better as a boyfriend.
He’s kind and attentive. He takes care of Chenle when Renjun has to go to class to keep up his poor excuse of a GPA until it gets good enough for a decent job right out of graduation.
But most important of all, Jaemin is a good kisser.