Chapter 1: A Lumpy Bed
A Lumpy Bed
“Where did Patton go...”
Dee entered his bedroom and smiled softly to himself as he noticed the sizable lump in his bed. “Wow, did I mess up in making the bed?” He mused aloud. “Or is something wrong with my mattress.”
He gave a loud “Hmmm” as he approached and he couldn’t help but smile at the giggle he earned. “Maybe I should push it?”
He paused before he began to push down on the lump, “No that didn’t work.”
The sound of footsteps drew his ear and he looked up to see as Logan entered, “Hey Lo, do you have any ideas on how to get lumps out of mattresses?”
The preteen considered him for a moment before he crossed his arms, “Even you should know this Dad?”
“You just need to lay on top of it.”
Dee nodded and did so, “Like this?”
“Exactly, the giggles are how you know it’s working. But might I suggest rolling on it? Or who knows even tickling could work.”
“Truly brilliant Logan.”
It didn’t take long until Patton emerged from under the blanket glasses askew and giggling loudly.
“Patton! What are you doing? Are you gonna help me get out the lum- oh it’s gone.”
“I was the lump Daddy!” Patton proclaimed.
Dee gave him a surprised look, “You’re not a lump, you’re a Patton!”
Dee could only hug and smile at his son in response.
Chapter 2: Guess!
Logan looked up from his iPad to see Roman and Remus standing in front of their father. The twins stood there with identical smiles on their faces and knit beanies on their heads.
Dad turned from where he was doing the dishes and paused considering the both of them, “You both know you don’t need to wear winter hats in August right?”
“Guess!” They urged in unison.
He pointed to the twin on the left, “Roman.” He pointed to the right, “Remus.”
“How’d you know?”
“We covered our hair!”
Logan rolled his eyes and went back to what he was doing.
Logan held back an eye roll as the twins returned. “I’m talking to Dad.”
Dad only smiled as he looked at them both and Logan watched as his eyes went to the small hole which a tuft of Remus’ white hair stuck out. Dad’s eyes didn’t linger long enough for either eight year old to notice. “Remus. Roman.”
“Roman’s on the left.”
“Remus is on the right.”
“Roman you’re closer to the napkins can you hand me one?”
“How does he always know?” Remus groaned climbing up the ladder to invade Roman’s bed. Roman didn’t protest rather he moved over.
Logan ignored the two of them as he went back to his book, but it wasn’t long before he could feel two pairs of eyes on him. He gave a sigh and looked over, “What?”
“How does he tell?” Remus asked him.
Logan rolled his eyes, “One of those hats has a hole, he can see your hair.”
“That’s cheating,” Roman frowned.
Logan shrugged, “Find some different hats.”
Dad sighed, “Can we just have dinner?”
Logan watched as Dad’s eyes scanned the two- taking note of different hats they wore- before he spoke. “Roman is closer to me.”
“We changed our hats!” Remus protested. “How did you know?”
Dad shrugged, “I’ve always been able to tell you two apart.”
“It’s a fifty fifty guess,” Logan put in.
“I’m not guessing,” Dad insisted. “I have always been able to tell you apart since the day I first met you two. The hair makes it easier, yes. But you’re both different. You both walk and talk differently. Just like you both are different from Patton, Logan, and Virgil, you’re different from each other. It’s not just looks that makes a person different, after all. Make sense?”
The twins nodded and pulled the hats off their heads, mumbling words but Logan rolled his eyes.
“It’s still a fifty fifty guess.”
Dad gave a sigh, “Eat your spaghetti Logan.”
Chapter 3: The Beach
“Can we get back in the water?”
Dee shook his head, “You need to wait after eating. But you can put sunscreen back on.”
“It’s so slimy,” Roman complained.
“I know, but you’re gonna put it on anyway.”
“But it’s slimy .”
“So’s Remus,” Logan muttered.
“Logan,” Dee warned.
“Fine... I’ll put some more on Virgil.”
“Thank you, but that doesn’t mean you’re getting out of sunscreen.”
“Roman! Remus! That’s strike one! You both are not allowed to go further out than that! I told you up to your stomachs!”
“We’re better swimmers than last year!” Roman complained.
“We went out further with you!” Remus added.
“I’m not out there!” He called back. His eyes went back to Patton who was very focused on the crab in the little bucket he had. Apparently he had given up on the sandcastle.
“What did Dad just say!” Logan’s voice yelled.
Dee quickly looked back to see that naturally in the thirty seconds he had looked away the twins had tried to go further out, he held in a sigh. “Strike number two!”
His attention was redirected once more as Virgil began to squirm in his arms as the wave came in to cover his little legs. It was kind of amusing, how the nine month old seemed to be confused by the concept of the beach and how it could be fun, but Dee supposed he couldn’t blame him.
“Daddy! Daddy! Can I name the crab?”
Dee paused for a second before he shrugged, “Go ‘head Patt, just know that we can’t take the crab home with us, okay?”
“We can’t put it in the fish tank?”
“The fish tank has a different kind of water, and it would miss it’s family,” Dee explained.
As Patton went back to staring in the bucket mesmerized Logan walked out of the waves, “They’re driving me insane,” He stated bluntly. “I’ll watch these two.”
Dee sighed and stood up and handed over the baby. Logan had been supervising the twins without Dee asking him since they had arrived, he wouldn’t protest.
“Yes! Dad’s gonna swim with us!”
“Can we go out farther?”
“Not much more,” Dee told them.
The two seemed to hear a simple “yes” as they moved further away.
Dee watched as the two played in the breaking waves for a bit before he gave a smile and moved to pick up Remus. The boy gave him a confused look but didn’t protest- or well he didn’t until Dee had picked him up and was motioning to throw him.
“Dad! Dad !” He shouted and flailed through his laughter before Dee tossed him a foot or so away.
Remus had barely touched the water before Roman was beside Dee. “My turn! My turn!”
Dee gave him a smile as he scooped the boy up, “Ready to go overboard?” He asked in terrible pirate accent.
“Aye aye matey!”
“But I don’t wanna go!”
“I didn’t finish my sandcastle!”
“I think I burned a little.”
All comments came in at once, but Dee didn’t reply as he strapped Virgil to his chest, silently happy he was such a quiet baby.
“I need you all to carry your stuff back to the car. Make sure you have everything,” he said instead.
He ignored the protests that came as he watched the boys pack up before they headed for the car.
The silence of the car ride as they slept was something Dee enjoyed. He silently took a mental picture of all their adorable and sleeping faces in the rear view mirror as he drove.
Or well, all of them but Logan who frowned both at Dee and at his sunburn, “Why are you smiling so much?”
“‘Cause I love you guys.”
The boy rolled his eyes as he looked back out the window, but Dee could see the blush on his face- and it only made him smile more.
”What could be so impor- why do you look upset Patt?”
”My friends say Dad is weird. He’s not though... right?”
Logan paused the papers in his hands crumpling slightly as every scenario of what children could be saying about his Father. It had to be words their parents had said. Something about his sexuality? Something about the amount of children? The pending divorce? No he couldn’t afford this negative thinking right now.
He took a deep breath before he spoke, “Dad’s not weird. Why would anyone think he is?”
”Because his eyes are different colors.”
”...Well I overreacted.”
”Nothing. Dad’s eyes are completely normal. It’s just rare, it means Dad’s more special than everyone else.”
”Really?” Patton asked his smile and the sparkle in his eyes returning.
There’s gonna be shorter ones in this too (sorry)!
Also if you have any suggestions feel free to share!
Chapter 5: The Birthday Present
The Birthday Present
“I have gathered you all here today to talk about an issue of grave importance,” Logan announced shutting the room door.
His brothers looked at him blankly before Patton finally asked, “What?”
“Dad’s birthday is next week and we don’t have a present.”
“I’m gonna make him a card at school.”
Roman nodded in agreement, “Me too. That’s what we do every year and he likes it.”
“He likes anything we do really,” Remus shrugged. “If we gift wrap Virgil he’d be happy.”
“He already has a Virgil,” Patton frowned.
“That’s one of the problems with that,” Logan sighed. “But think about it this way, what did Dad get you for your birthdays? More than just a card, right?”
The twins gave a groan, “Right.”
“So we should do something special. And get him something nice.”
“Like what?” Patton asked him. “What does Daddy like?”
“Us,” Remus answered easily. “That’s why we need to gift wrap Virgil!”
Logan gave a sigh and adjusted his glasses, “Do I really need to list all the reasons you can’t gift wrap a baby?”
“...Yes? Ooh! What if we wrap Patton instead? He’s not a baby.”
“I wanna be gift wrapped!” Patton smiled raising his hand.
Logan gave another groan, “No, no one is being gift wrapped. Any ideas that don’t involve using ourselves as presents?”
“What else does Dad like?” Remus asked.
“He likes cooking,” Roman suggested.
“I think he more cooks ‘cause he has to. Not cause he likes it,” Logan told him.
“We can’t buy him anything that expensive.”
“Stuffed animals?” Patton threw in.
Logan held back an eye roll, “Why should we get a grown man a stuffed animal?”
“He always gets us stuffed animals! For every birthday, and every Christmas, and Easter! He’s gotta like them right? And it’s something he does for us.”
Logan opened his mouth to retort before he paused in thought, it was true it would be symbolic and inexpensive... “Alright, what kind of stuffed animal should we get him?”
“Let’s make Remy take us!” Roman suggested. “We can look at all of them and pick the best.”
“Alright, that works. The next issue is that we should pool our allowance to spend on it, it’s more fair that way.”
“We spent ours,” Remus shrugged.
“On candy,” Roman added unhelpfully.
“I didn’t!” Patton put in.
Logan sighed, a five year olds allowance wouldn’t be enough. Looks like he’d be paying alone. At least stuffed animals weren’t expensive.
“Why should I bring you to the toy store?” Remy asked with a frown.
“We’re buying Dad a present,” Roman told him.
Logan nodded, “And the store is on the way home from here. So all you need to do is wait for us.”
The babysitter gave an eye roll, “This is why you guys wanted to come to this playground and not the one around the corner isn’t it?”
“What gives you that idea?”
“Fine. I guess we’ll leave a bit early so you guys can go? And you better not be tricking me. I’m not losing this gig ‘cause you guys decided to steal your dad’s credit card and buy whatever you want.”
“Oh we should try that next time!” Remus put in.
“What did I just say about not wanting to get fired?”
“You can just wait outside for us,” Logan told Remy when they reached the small toy store.
Remy gave a look inside the building and taking in the lack of people he nodded and pulled out his phone, “You want me to hold Virgil?”
“I’ve got him.”
“Then hurry up.”
With that the boys hurried into the store and headed towards the back where they knew the stuffed animals were.
“There’s so many,” Patton commented staring up at the shelves. “Oh look at the one on the top!”
Logan followed his gaze to a blue teddy bear sitting on a shelf, a “D” embroidered on its chest.
“I think that’s too straight forward,” Roman frowned.
“I think it’s good! Logan pick me up!”
Logan chose not to argue and handed Virgil to Remus before picking up Patton and positioning his brother on his shoulders.
“This one’s better,” Roman said picking up a dragon toy as Patton grabbed the teddy bear.
“Why a dragon?” Logan asked him setting Patton down.
“Dragons are cool, Dad’s cool. Why not?”
“I think a dog would be good. He does like animals.”
“Teddy bear,” Patton said crossing his arms.
“Dragon,” Roman told him.
“How about we just get him a sword?” Remus interjected showing off a toy sword.
“Yes! A sword to slay a dragon!”
“We said we were getting a stuffed animal ,” Logan told him. “And we can only get one thing. Put it back.”
“How come you get to make the rules?” Remus frowned.
“I’m the oldest.”
“So? That doesn’t make you better than us.”
“I’m the one paying!”
“This is super unfair,” Roman put in.
“Remus?” Patton interrupted.
“What?” Remus asked turning to him.
“Where’d you put Virgil?”
Logan paused and looked about them his panic rising. A moment later he was hurrying down the next aisle of the store.
It was a tiny store, where would he be? He couldn’t crawl that fast... could he?
He hurried around another corner, before Roman’s voice sounded.
Logan hurried towards his voice and he remembered how to breathe as he found the man working the store holding his baby brother.
“He was headed towards the back,” The man informed them as he handed Logan the baby.
“Thank you so so so much, sir!”
“It’s alright. Oh, I found him playing with this,” he continued holding up a stuffed toy.
A cartoonish yellow snake with a top hat.
“We should get that one for Daddy!” Patton declared. “He’ll like that Virgil picked it out himself.”
Logan couldn’t argue there.
With that he paid and headed out of the store.
“Find something?” Remy asked when they came outside.
“Yup!” Patton told him excitedly. “Virgil picked it himself!”
Remy look amused, “Oh? Did he babble at it constantly until you guys decided you’d take it?”
“No he went and got it.”
“He went and-”
“Remus why don’t you be in charge of wrapping it?” Logan interrupted.
Remus nodded, “Will do! I know where dad puts the wrapping paper!”
“Okay keep your eyes closed,” Logan told Dad leading the man to his room. He paused momentarily at the door hoping that Roman and Remus had set up the cards everything as they had promised.
Finally he opened the door and at the shout of surprise Dad opened his eyes and his mouth dropped open as he stared at the large box in the room the cards sitting on top.
“Happy birthday!” Patton shouted.
“You guys are the best,” Dad smiled pulling all of them in for a hug.
“Look at my card first!” Roman told him squirming out of the hug to hand Dad a homemade card. Dad took it and sat down to read it, and then after was Patton’s, Remus’, and finally Logan’s. Dad responded as expected smiling widely and commenting on the parts he loved of each.
“Present time!” Remus cheered. “We got it for you ourselves!”
Dad raised an eyebrow in surprise as he turned to the large box- and Logan found himself silently wondering why Remus had chosen such a large one- and began to pull off its wrapping paper.
Dad ripped it off and opened the box flaps and stared blankly inside for a moment before a smile split his face as he reached in and pulled out-
“Remus I told you not to wrap Virgil!” Logan shouted to his brother.
Remus kicked the box so it turned so Logan could see the otherside, “Its fine! I put holes in it!”
“That’s not the point! You don’t wrap babies!”
“Patton wouldn’t fit in the box.”
“I wanted to,” Patton frowned.
Logan gave a groan and looked back to Dad who was smiling at Virgil who hugged the snake toy and smiled back despite the obnoxious bow stuck to his head. “We bought you the toy he’s holding. Cause you always get us stuffed animals,” Logan explained.
“You guys bought me a present?” Dad asked in surprise. “As in with money? You guys went and got something without me knowing? As a surprise?”
The other three boys continued talking about how they chose the present while Logan tried not to roll his eyes at they way Dad’s eyes began to get misty as they spoke.
“Happy birthday!” Remus and Roman cheered after a moment.
“Happy birthday Daddy!” Patton cheered after him.
“Happy birthday, Dad” Logan nodded.
Dad smiled, “Thanks so much-”
Silence was sudden as all eyes turned to Virgil. The baby meanwhile stared back at them with a smile as he babbled again before one word stuck out, “Dada.”
That’s all it took for Dad to start actually crying as he pulled the baby close. Logan wasn’t surprised by the reaction. In fact he was surprised by Virgil.
It wasn’t a secret that Virgil’s small frame and his “delay” had him months behind other babies his age, so no wonder dad was crying. He had the gift of a first word for his birthday?
“This is the best birthday ever,” Dad smiled nuzzling Virgil. “Thanks boys. All of you.”
Patton moves forward to join in the hug, and moments later, Logan found himself in a family hug.
He held in an eyeroll, “Happy Birthday Dad.”
Chapter 6: The Play
“Dad is this really necessary?”
“I understand the school play is important and all, but I don’t think I need to wear a tie... Though I’ll admit that it completes the look.”
“It’s completely necessary Logan.”
Dee turned so Logan could see the full view of Patton. “Because look how cute he is with his bow tie! And I haven’t even put Virgil in his outfit yet.”
“But no one looks better than I! Captain James Hook!” Roman announced hoisting his sword.
“I beg to differ you old codfish!” Remus replied drawing his.
Dee pulled out his phone to take a picture, “Truly dashing my Broadway stars!”
He heard as Logan gave a groan, “Don't feed their egos.”
Dee had managed a good seat, Roman and Remus were backstage, Logan held Virgil (who was adorably chewing on his tie), Patton had already used the bathroom, and his camera arm was ready.
He was ready.
Now if only the curtain would open already.
“Well that was a disaster,” Logan muttered as the curtain closed and the children gave a bow.
He gave his son a warning look as he clapped along with the other parents and cheered for his sons. But he couldn’t deny the fact that his oldest was right.
The show was a mess.
Wendy seemed to have a knack for knocking over the small amount of set that there was. And when John has gotten mad at her, the two kids had gotten into a war of shoving each other until Remus-Peter Pan got in the middle of each of them.
On top of that Dee wasn’t sure why they had let Mary-Lee take the part on Wendy anyway. The girl was bad to put it very lightly. Even for the standards of a child she couldn’t sing, act, and she could barely do the awkward dances assigned.
But at least Roman and Remus has done well.
Remus had remembered all the lines they had gone over a million times and Roman had finally found a way to hold his hook so it wouldn’t fall out during “battle”. So Dee may have felt a bit bad for some of the other kids performances, but at least his had done well.
Did he sound too conceited? Did that make him sound like a bad person?
His musings on parental etiquette were interrupted as Roman and Remus charged from the backstage and launched themselves onto him. Dee smiled as he hugged them both back tightly.
“You both were great!”
“Really?” Roman asked his eyes wide.
“Mhmm. You guys did awesome.”
“Yes!” Remus cheered. “I was worried ‘cause Mary-Lee is a bad Wendy.”
Dee gave a cringe as he glanced at the other people around him. “Remus that’s not a nice thing to say,” he chided.
Dee resisted a nod of agreement, “Not acceptable. But come on Mister Peter Pan, for I decree that this good job shall be celebrated with...” he paused so he could watch their eyes light up as they got excited. “Ice cream!”
The two gave a cheer.
“Your boys did great.”
Dee looked up enough to smile at Mary-Lee’s parents. As always, the two were dressed as if they were on a red carpet as opposed to an elementary school gym. The girl herself stood beside them looking more smug than a ten year old should be able to. “They all did,” he replied.
“Well yes,” Her mother smiled back. “But clearly Mary-Lee did a great job, don't you think?”
“Course! I really felt it when you were arguing with Tiger Lily.”
The girl’s eyes narrowed, “That wasn’t part of the play. She was just being mean.”
“Oh, um well-” Shit what was her mom’s name? Dee’s eyes instantly flickered to Logan (who was holding back Remus from speaking) who mouthed to him. “Well Loren, Daniel, we are off to grab some celebratory ice cream. Care to join us?”
Loren shook her head as if she had been insulted, “No, I must pass Damien. Sugar would absolutely ruin both my and Mary-Lee’s diet.”
She put her skinny ten year old on a diet?
“Right,” Dee nodded. “Well um, enjoy your evening.”
“She was terrible!” Remus complained once they were in the car and far from earshot.
Roman nodded in agreement. “She only got the part ‘cause her parents yelled at Mr. Sanders so much they gave it to her.”
Dee didn’t doubt that. “Well what’s more important is how you two stole the show.”
“Everyone else was terrible, so you both were good by default,” Logan chimed in.
“No, Remus is a great Peter Pan!” Patton disagreed. “And Roman’s a good Hook!”
“Someone likes us,” Roman replied sticking out his tongue toward Logan.
“At least it’s over right?” Dee asked trying to change the subject.
“Yup!” Roman nodded. “Now we gotta prepare for the Spring Concert! And to start karate!”
He gave a content sigh as he started the car, “It never ends, does it?”
Chapter 7: Too Old For Nightmares
Too Old For Nightmares
Dee had forgotten the time of year, and what it meant. No- he hadn’t forgotten, but with Logan trying so hard to pretend things were okay he had almost believed his son.
He had let Logan be, giving him space and time to process on his own. But then again, processing was a difficult thing.
Dee could still remember the first time Logan had crawled into his bed his eyes red from crying. He and his husband had held the boy tightly ensuring him that they weren’t going anywhere, but the small boy never truly seemed to believe the words.
“That’s what mommy and daddy used to say,” was his defense. And it wasn’t one Dee could ever dispute.
No one planned a car crash after all.
He wasn’t sure when Logan had stopped coming to him when he had nightmares, but he never thought much of it as Patton soon began waking him in his older brother’s place.
Dee opened his eyes as he felt weight shift next to him in his bed. He blinked tiredly, “You’re not Patton.”
“I’m not,” Logan’s voice replied softly. And Dee could hear the way he tried not to let it waver.
Dee gave a yawn and reached out to pull his son closer to him, despite Logan protest. But he won the small battle and hugged his eldest as he moved to make them both comfortable. He heard as Logan gave in with a content sigh and Dee found himself closing his eyes with a slight victory smile he was glad couldn’t be seen in the dark. “You don’t have to say anything.”
He heard as Logan gave a sniffle, “I wasn’t going to.”
Dee opened his eyes to watch his son in the dark, “Why would you be?”
“I’m too old for nightmares, and too old to climb in your bed.”
“You’re twelve Logan.”
Dee ran a hand through Logan’s hair thinking before he spoke, “Do you think that I don’t have nightmares?”
“You deal with them by yourself. You don’t go running to other people.”
“Are you sure about that?”
“Then you’re wrong my little astronaut.”
“I told you I’m too old for that name.”
“Do you know what I do when I have nightmares?” Dee questioned. “I go to you boys. I go and check on you all and make sure you’re okay. And once I see that all of you are safe and sound I feel so much better. But even still I sometimes I find myself sitting and watching in that rocking chair in Virgil and Patton’s room until I fall asleep. Or other times I find myself sitting there all night wide awake in fear... either way, I run to a safe place too.”
“And what if you didn’t have us?”
“Well before you came along, your Papa helped me. And when he wasn’t around I would call... and that’s okay.”
Logan made a noncommittal noise but didn’t say anything more.
“I don’t care how old you get,” Dee continued. “You can be in your twenties if fifties. If you need me, feel free to call me even at three in the morning. Because I’m always right here for you, okay?”
There was a pause before arms finally hugged him back, “Okay.”
”I love you Logan.”
“I love you too. Good night.”
“...And thank you.”
Dee closed his eyes and gave a small nod, “Anything for you my little astronaut.”
Chapter 8: Foolproof Family
This one is the "most direct" sequel to to Forms of Family given a lot of talks about of the family situation, but it's not necessary to read that first if you haven't.
Logan wasn’t sure how much time passed between when he had screamed for Dad and when Dad had come over and picked up the bawling Roman. But he knew it was less than a minute, maybe even less than thirty seconds. But in that short period of time, lots of things can happen.
In thirty seconds someone could order a coffee, change some batteries, fall off a swing.
And in thirty seconds someone could take his brother.
Roman falling. Roman crying. His shouting. Dad running. Dad holding Roman. Dad looking around. Dad shouting. Dad screaming. Dad running. All shouting. All crying. Police. Papa. Yelling. Nothing. Waiting. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.
They were the only way Logan seemed to be able to make sense of the past few hours. No make sense wasn’t the right wording. Grasp? Not quite. Understand? No. Process? No. Explain? No. Accept? Hell no.
No words worked.
He supposed nothing should “make sense” when Patton was gone.
And the day had been going so well, it seemed almost laughable that it could plummet like this. Almost.
The park thankfully wasn’t too crowded, something the whole family was thankful for. It was made better by the niceness of the afternoon air and the fact that Dad had gotten out of working today so was able to spend time with them.
While park’s were nice enough, Logan always found it a bit boring, by this point he was a bit too big for most of the play structures but being the good big brother he was he would always follow Patton dutifully when asked. Things improved however when Henry had come bringing with him his little sister, Hazel. At their appearance Logan was grateful to have someone his own age to talk to and Dad had even agreed to watch her and Patton while the two boys hung out.
“Hey Logan?” Henry asked randomly.
“Why doesn’t your brother walk or talk? Isn’t he like one?”
Logan followed his new friend’s gaze to where Patton and Hazel sat rolling a ball with Virgil, “He’s ten months.”
“Virgil was born really early,” Remus answered for him as he came over. “So now he’s behind other babies.”
“Babies typically begin to speak around six months,” Logan put in. “But the word typically means that it’s not always . It’s an average, Virgil simply falls further from it.”
His friend’s eyes watched him, but Logan focused on his baby brother as he hit the ball which rolled in Patton’s general direction. Patton reached forward and grabbed it before sending it rolling back to hit the baby’s leg causing him to laugh.
If Virgil could understand this game, how could anything possibly wrong with him?
“People just need to stop comparing him, and instead simply accept him for him,” he finished.
“I guess I’ve never thought about it that way,” Henry shrugged. “Hazel took a long time to talk according to Mom.”
“Can you come now?” Remus whined.
Logan looked back to him and gave an annoyed sigh, “You come over here every few minutes, what do you want?”
“We’re competing to see who can jump the highest off the swing! And we need a judge.”
Henry convinced him to be a judge, and after two rounds it looked like Remus would win. He had won the first easily, and then here on the second he had gotten even higher.
“If I don’t get it we’re doing three out of five!” Roman called as he swung.
“That’s not fair!” Remus called back. “If you lose, you lose!”
“Just jump Roman!” Logan told him.
“Not yet!” Roman yelled back.
He went back and forth a few more times before he launched himself off.
But Roman stumbled as he landed.
Rather than landing perfectly as he had before his foot slipped and he came crashing down falling flat. Logan stood for a moment as Remus asked if he had won before Logan heard Roman began to cry. Logan held back a comment (about how if Roman didn’t want to fall he shouldn’t have jumped in the first place) as he moved towards his brother. He sat Roman up and he shrunk back at the sight of his brother’s arm.
Logan was no doctor, but he was positive it shouldn’t bend the way it was.
“Dad!” He shouted loudly over Roman’s cries.
His tone of voice must’ve made it clear that something was wrong because it was then that Dad looked up, grabbed Virgil, said something to the two kids before running over. When he reached them he cringed at Roman before he handed Virgil to Logan and took Roman in his arms.
“That looks like it hurts,” Hazel commented unhelpfully from behind Henry.
“We need to go to a doctor for this,” Dad said quickly. “Logan can you get Virgil in the stroller? And Remus can you-”
“Dad?” Remus interrupted. “Where’s Patton?”
The phone wouldn’t ring.
The police had said that if whomever had taken Patton wanted money, they would call. The police had left hours ago, and the phone hadn’t rang.
And at this point Logan doubted it ever would.
“You should put them to bed.”
The words caused Logan to look up from the book he wasn’t actually reading to Papa’s face. When Dad didn’t acknowledge him however he spoke again, “Put them to bed.”
Dad looked to where the twins had fallen asleep cuddled together on the couch, “They’re fine. I-I... I want them around right now.”
“Aren’t you selfish?”
Dad didn’t seem to have the heart to reply.
Papa gave a groan as he moved towards the twins and shook them awake, “Go to bed.”
Remus shook his head, “I wanna be awake when Patton comes home.”
Roman nodded in agreement.
“Go to bed,” He said again.
Neither moved and Logan watched as their eyes shifted to Dad, but Dad’s gaze had gone back to the ceiling above him. Finally they both stood and moved to the stairs and headed up.
“Logan put Virgil to bed,” Papa told him.
“I’m holding Virgil,” Dad interrupted.
“You don’t need to.”
“So you can protect him? Like you protected Patton?”
Dad’s gaze lowered long enough to give his future ex-husband a glare, “I might hit you if I don’t hold him.”
Papa gave a smirk, “Try it. I’d love to tell the Judge how you hit me. Maybe then he’ll give me custody.”
Logan reached for the remote and turned up the volume on TV as Dad responded, hoping the twins were already asleep.
A lot of things can happen in eight years, and even more could change.
Logan could still remember the day he had first walked into the house which would become his home. The place was large and almost daunting as he climbed the stairs following after Dad. On the floor below he could hear Papa called to get them a dinner reservation to celebrate.
Dad had opened the door to the room- his room and Logan had stepped inside his mouth dropping open as he did. He had been four then, and the room had seemed huge, or maybe it was without the Twins’ bunk beds. It had been covered in a galaxy theme, and it was in that moment he knew how much the two of them cared for him because he had never mentioned wanting to be an astronaut, but somehow they had figured it out along the way.
“Do you like it?” Dad had asked, worry in his voice.
Logan had looked back at him with big eyes, “This is really my room?”
Dad had given him a look which Logan now could recognize the same one he gave when ever Patton or Virgil had done something cute. “It’s all yours Lo.”
Logan had launched himself forward to hug him, his small arms not reaching very far. Dad had laughed and picked him up holding him tight- welcoming him home.
“Excuse me,” Papa stated with mock offense coming in the room. “I want a Logan hug!”
He had been smiling- all three of them were smiling as they had a family hug. The first of many to follow over the years.
Before they would stop altogether.
When had been the last time Papa had hugged him? Had told him that he loved him- and meant it? The day he left? No, if he meant it then he would’ve come back.
He wouldn’t have left Dad alone with five kids and no support.
He would’ve called to tell them goodnight like he used to.
He would’ve called when Patton was sick.
He would’ve shown up when Virgil was in the hospital.
And he’d care when CPS or a Judge wasn’t around.
If he loved them... then maybe he would still be Logan’s role model...
The sound of breaking glass, followed by a shout jolted Logan awake.
He rubbed at his eyes and squinted at his clock, close to 6 am.
“Logan?” A tired voice asked.
“Go back to sleep Remus,” Logan replied grabbing his glasses.
He made his way out of his room and moved toward the stairs listening, but below he could only hear the soft TV chatter and angered whispers.
When he reached the bottom of the stairs and made his way to the kitchen. They must’ve heard him coming because all whispers had stopped. When he entered the room Dad looked up from where he was sitting trying to dry up a mess of broken liquid amongst broken glass- the coffee pot?
“Sorry, did I wake you up?” He asked.
Logan nodded, “The twins are still asleep.”
The man looked like he hadn’t slept, Logan would’ve been more surprised if he had.
“Are you gonna clean up your mess or leave it there?”
Papa stood in the corner of the kitchen, holding a mug of coffee as he watched the morning news... Patton’s story was on again. Logan stared at his brother’s smiling face on the screen until Dad stood to block his view. He moved passed Logan going out into the hall most likely to grab the broom.
“You’re not going to go back to sleep?” Papa asked him.
Logan shook his head as he sat down at the table, “I don't think I could.”
He nodded slowly, “I guess that’s fair.”
“I dreamt about you,” Logan said quietly. He turned his gaze to the table, unsure why he was even telling him this. “About the day you both brought me home... and things that happened recently.”
“Why did you come?” Logan asked him.
Papa looked away from the TV, but his eyes didn’t meet Logan’s as he watched as Dad walked back in the room and began to sweep up the broken glass. “He’s my son too.”
“He’s your son when you want him to be,” Logan corrected. “You’re only here when you want to be. Not when you’re needed, so why are you here now? Or are you just here because the police would suspect you otherwise?”
He gave a sigh as he came closer and sat down in the chair beside Logan, “There are things a middle schooler like you can’t understand yet.”
Logan found the courage to look him in the eye, “I think I understand more about family than you.”
“That’s enough,” Dad interrupted.
Papa rolled his eyes and looked back to the screen. The news had moved on to another story, so he changed the channel.
The house had filled.
First it had been the news who asked for multiple statements from his parents and from the police. When they had finally died down, Dad’s concerned friends and other parents all came to comfort him and calls from family kept coming in.
But still there was no word on Patton.
Logan tried to keep his thoughts on what he would do when Patton finally came home. Hug him tightly for sure. Give him all his favorite snacks, do everything the five year old wanted, and tell him how much he loved him. But as much as he tried to focus on what would happen when his brother came back, Logan’s mind inevitably went to the same picture.
A small and skinny little boy, his glasses askew and broken, his legs tucked tightly in his chest as he stared up at a dark space in fear of something. Sometimes the image would progress playing out different scenarios each one worse than the last.
Patton had to be okay. He needed to be okay.
Because if he wasn’t... He had lost his birth parents, and he had more or less lost one of his fathers... he couldn’t lose his brother too.
The gentle tone pulled Logan out of his mind and he looked up to see a man before him. He was the husband of one of Dad’s friends, Logan recalled though he couldn’t remember which.
“Your Dad wants you in the other room.”
When he went to the other room he paused to see Dad with Roman sitting on his lap, with Virgil on Roman’s. It’s something Papa would used to take a picture of. Instead however he sat his eyes glued on the TV which played some kids show as Remus watched beside him. The rest of the room was occupied by guests who moved to let him by as he made his way to his Dad.
“You wanted me?”
Dad looked up as he approached. “I need you to eat something.”
Dad gave him a slight smile, “I need you to eat something today.”
Logan crossed his arms with a huff, “I’m not hungry.”
“And that’s exactly why you need to eat something. But how about instead of nothing or a full meal we compromise and you eat a piece of fruit- and I don’t mean a single grape.”
“How about an apple or banana? Better yet, how about both?”
“Fine,” Logan sighed, he supposed he walked into that.
CPS came later in the day.
And when they did all their guests filed out. The house which had been loud yet solemn now seemed as empty and hollow as it truly was without Patton. Their distracting presence had allowed him to distance himself ever so slightly, but he wasn’t allowed that luxury anymore.
They came with the detective and an officer and once again the same questions were asked to the family.
“Do you like it here Logan?”
Logan gave the woman a frown, “Yeah. And what does that have to do with finding my brother?”
She gave him a practiced smile, “I’m just trying to ensure that the rest of you boys are okay. So do you mind if I ask a few other questions?”
She nodded and glanced down to the notebook in her lap, “Can you tell me how things are with your dads?”
Logan gave a shrug as if it would push off everything uncomfortable he was feeling. “Things are good when it’s just Dad. But whenever Papa is around he yells at him for doing nothing wrong.”
“And how does that make you feel?”
“Annoyed? Papa left us, a while ago but suddenly he’s here all the time to mess things up. I think it should be one or the other, stay or go. But Dad wants him gone, so go.”
“Do they ever argue in front of you guys?”
“Sometimes. Dad tries not to, though.”
“How do you think your brothers feel about it?”
“No one likes it.”
She opened her mouth to speak again when a soft knock sounded on the bedroom door before one of the officers stepped in. He made his way over to her and moved to say something in her ear when a crackle came over the radio at his hip.
“A lead is currently being followed up with over on-”
The rest had been cut off as he hit something, but Logan had heard enough.
Logan didn’t know two words could spark so much hope and joy into a single person- much less himself.
“You know where he is?” Logan asked the man.
“Something’s being looked into... it’s not positive yet,” was the awkward reply.
Positive or not, Logan’s heart swelled with a bit of hope and he couldn’t stop the smile growing on his face.
Patton would come home.
It was whispers between adults which deflated that bit of hope he had.
It was always their whispers wasn’t it? They never wanted to tell Logan anything straight out, they didn’t want to hurt him. But it was those whispers which seemed to hurt even more.
He didn’t look away from the iPad screen he had been staring at, Dad had let him have it to play music but despite the earbuds in his ears he had been so lost in thought that he had forgotten to put anything on. Until Patton’s name had pierced his subconscious... and with it the bad news. The lead had been nothing more than wasted efforts and time placed in the wrong path.
When the whispers stopped he had glanced up long enough to watch as Dad receded to staring back up at the ceiling with Virgil in his arms. Logan felt the need to say something, but no words formed on his tongue. Instead his eyes fell to the iPad which he unlocked, and forced himself to hit play.
But it didn’t really block out the sound of Dad’s sobs.
Logan had stood at the front door for a few minutes watching him before he found himself able to speak, “Why do you hate Dad?”
The man looked up from his beer to glance at Logan before he looked back out at seemingly nothing in particular, “Why aren’t you-”
“Answer me,” Logan insisted sitting beside him on the porch stair. “Why do you hate Dad? And why did you leave us?”
“Damien and I weren’t getting along anymore,” Papa said with a simple shrug. “I want to live my life my way and he didn’t agree with my way.”
“You couldn’t meet in the middle?”
There was a pause and Logan wrapped his arms around himself silently wishing he had on a jacket while he watched his Papa. Logan allowed him another long swig before speaking. “You didn’t answer my second question.”
“Why did you leave us?”
“I told you, Damien and I don’t get along. He’s just so fu- freaking-”
“There’s a difference between leaving Dad and leaving me !” Logan shouted sharply. There was a short pause before he looked away, his fingers digging into the thin fabric of his shirt.
“Don’t worry Mr. Astronaut, I’ll be back from my trip in a week.”
“I promise. And I’ll call you everyday, okay?”
“And can you do me a favor while I’m gone? Take care of your Dad for me?”
“You ready to meet your little brother?”
“You look a little nervous to me.”
“What if Patton doesn’t like me?”
“Well I’m pretty sure Patton likes everyone, but I’m positive he’ll think you’re awesome.”
“Really. And hey, I think you’re awesome.”
“You’re have to say that, you’re my Papa.”
“And I always will be... but regardless, I wouldn’t lie to you Logan.”
“You never even called us,” Logan continued quietly. “We had to call you and you barely answered... we-we thought you were coming home.”
“I needed some space from Damien.”
“You still could’ve picked us up from school or something Dropped us off then left again. Something!”
“...I didn’t think he’d appreciate my presence.”
Logan watched his Papa in disbelief, “And when Virgil was in the hospital?”
He gave a sigh, “It’s more complicated than you can understand.”
“Go get ready for bed Logan.”
“I have one more question.”
“What does your boyfriend think about all this?”
The man’s eyes narrowed on Logan’s face, and Logan didn’t miss as the beer can bent slightly in his grip. “Go get ready for bed.”
Logan didn’t protest.
“Logan can you do something for me?”
Logan looked up at his Dad in surprise, but his father’s gaze was focused on the sandwiches he was making. “What?”
“I understand you're mad at him... but can you stop questioning him?”
“Why?” Logan asked slowly. “I’ve never had a chance to ask him before.”
“I know, I know, but I don’t think the timing is right. Everyone is scared, worried, stressed, tired... I don’t know if this is the best idea right now.”
“I’ll stop when he answers me,” Logan replied crossing his arms. “I just want to know why he doesn’t want to be my Papa anymore.”
Dad gave a sigh as he set down a sandwich, “He does Logan. He just doesn’t want me around. And I’m sorry to put you and your brothers in the middle, but we’re gonna figure it out.”
“It’s not your fault, it's his . All he needed to do was call. To call and to come to when we’re sick, to go the twins soccer games, or the school play. To do the things he used to! ...If he cares why did he stop?”
Another sigh, “I don’t know. But I know he cares.”
Dad didn’t say anything more.
Shaking woke Logan.
He cracked open his eyes to find his glasses had been removed from his face, but he could see the blurry form his brothers and fathers before him.
“Get up Logan!” came Remus’ voice as he continued to shake him. “We’re meeting Patton at the hospital!”
Patton was asleep when they got there.
The twins wanted to wake him, but Dad wouldn’t let them. Quite frankly Logan was sure Dad wanted to do the same, he wanted to after all.
They hadn’t been there long before a detective entered with a man Logan didn’t recognize.
“I’m sorry!” the man said quickly. “I’m so sorry, I didn’t realize she was that sick. I’m sorry.”
At confused looks the detective began to explain, “This is Mr. Hart. He and his wife are your son’s biological parents... And she was the one who took him.”
“I’m sorry,” Mr. Hart said again and as he did, Logan found himself unnerved by the way he could the similarities to his brother in the man’s hair and eye shape. “I just got home from work after a few days and found Marie with him. She said she saw him in the park and just knew it was him... I-I convinced her to go shopping and once she left I brought him to the police station. I’m so sorry.”
Dad stood slowly a small smile on his lips, and he grabbed the man’s hands in his. “Thank you so much.”
He shook his head, “I don’t deserve that. But... he’s okay right?”
“Yes, the doctor said he just hadn’t really eaten. He’s okay.”
“He won’t be mentally,” Papa put in not looking away from Patton’s sleeping form.
“I’m sorry,” Mr. Hart said again taking back his hands and shoving them in his pockets.
“She had him for days,” Papa continued standing. “Why would you be gone that long?”
“I drive a truck,” He explained awkwardly. “I’m gone a few days at a time. I wish I had a different job, but this is the only thing I’m decent at... If I could do something else maybe we wouldn’t have lost him to the system in the first place...” He gave an awkward cough, and stepped back toward the door. “I shouldn’t be here. But I am really sorry.”
“Sorry doesn’t change anything.”
The man nodded grimly, “I know.”
“That wasn’t needed,” Dad chided when Mr. Hart had left.
Papa didn’t seem apologetic, “They lost him because of negligence in the first place, right?”
Dad shook his head as he took back his seat at Patton’s bedside. He ran a hand through Patton’s hair gently, “The past doesn’t matter. The fact that he’s right here does.”
Patton had barely woken before Logan found himself squeezing his brother tightly.
“Move Logan!” Roman shouted climbing onto the bed to join in the hug.
“Both of you move!” Remus put in.
None of them had, but Dad and Papa had grabbed all four of them tightly between the two of them.
“I’m sorry,” Patton cried form in between them. “My mom looked just like the picture! I didn’t want to go with her though!”
“It’s okay,” Dad told him. “It’s okay.”
It wasn’t the family hug Logan had been craving, but he supposed it would have to do. Patton was back, and that was more than good enough.
Papa looked up, probably surprised that Logan had followed him out to his car. “More questions?” He sighed.
Logan shook his head.
“Then go back in the house, you’ll catch a cold.”
“Bye,” Logan told him again.
Papa raised an eyebrow, but nodded once, “I’ll call.”
Logan doubted that he would, but he nodded back. Quite frankly even if he did call, Logan wasn’t sure he’d want to answer. If the past few days had taught him anything (besides emphasizing the whole stranger danger thing) was that his family meant everything to him, and that if his Papa didn’t want to be apart of it then he wasn’t going to force him- it only made them both more upset than they already were.
“Bye,” he said again as the car pulled away.
“Logan! Come get a coat!” Dad called from inside.
“I’m fine!” he called back.
“I’m not going back to the hospital!”
Logan shook his head as he gave a chuckle as he turned back to his house, looking back only once. “Bye.”
If so much could happen in a minute, an hour, a day, a week, a month, a year... It only made sense that eight years had been a long time, so it was susceptible to so many changes. Those good and bad and those moments like this one in the middle of the spectrum. Logan knew it wasn’t good for his heart to completely cast away one of the men who had raised him, but he knew it would be more painful to be hurt further down the road.
So, goodbye to the man, and goodbye to that relationship.
Logan took a deep breath, feeling oh so relaxed at the simple word.
Chapter 9: Jesus Take The Wheel
The boys are older
(It’s a short one)
Jesus Take The Wheel
Logan looked away from the TV as front door opened and the twins came in excitedly. The two hurried upstairs to their room and after a moment Dad came in looking tired. He closed the door with an audible sigh and maneuvered his way into the kitchen. Logan could hear him moving around before the man emerged and joined Logan in the living room, a bottle of beer in his hands.
“Dinner is left overs, yell at your brothers to eat in like an hour,” he stated. “I need time.”
“Are you gonna tell me what happened?” Logan asked him.
“Near death experience.”
“What? How? What-”
“I took the twins driving for the first time.”
Logan gave a sigh, “Sleep, I’ve got them.”
Logan has assumed Dad had been overreacting. The same way he had when Logan got his permit.
But then he actually drove with the twins.
“Roman slow down!”
“Remus! Signs are not suggestions!”
“You have to take turns slower!”
“Damnit! I’m not doing this again! Dad I know you wanted to save money but send them to driving school!”
“We can’t really be that bad can we?” Roman asked.
Logan looked his brother in the eye, “Virgil is eight and he could do a better job.”
Chapter 10: Brotherly Perfection
Dad’s contained anger and/or surprise was always something which Logan found interesting to watch (when it wasn’t directed at him). He had stopped mid word, eyes zeroing in on something past Logan as his lips tugged into a frown.
“ Remus! ” he said loudly and firmly.
Logan turned to follow his line of sight to where both the Twins moved awkwardly into the bedroom (they most likely had tried to get by the open door without being noticed) saying nothing as they did so Logan’s eyes flickered to Dad.
He set down his glass of water- with more than than necessary- on the side table as he drummed his fingers. Finally he looked back at the duo saying nothing as he waited for the two to speak first. When neither did however, he climbed off the bed and moved closer the two.
Logan watched in interest and confusion as he moved closer watching the two- but their eyes wouldn’t meet his.
“Remus,” he said finally. “What did you do to your hair?”
The two locked eyes, and it wasn’t until that moment that Logan noticed that the familiar white tuft of Remus’s hair was missing... and given both were standing there, they both couldn’t be Roman.
Dad slowly reached out and touched what must be Remus’ head and ran his hand through it with a frown, “What did you put in your hair, and why?”
Remus’ gaze fell to the floor so Roman piped up, “We wanted to trick people at school! It would be funny.”
Dad didn’t look convinced, “Remus?”
“There’s a new kid,” Remus started slowly. “He said I looked stupid... and that white hair was for old people... So I made Roman help me make my hair match his...”
Dad gave a sigh and pulled Remus in for a hug, “You’re not weird, and certainly not old. You’re perfect just the way you are Remus.”
Logan watched as Remus shook his head in Dad’s arms, “You have to say that.”
“I don’t,” Logan tossed in. “And I wouldn’t necessarily call you perfect , but for a little brother you’re definitely pretty cool.”
Remus maneuvered our of Dad’s hold to stand closer to Logan, his eyes wide in a way that made Logan resist the urge to smile. “ Really ?”
“Really. I mean, you’re no Virgil, but you’re still a great brother.”
“Virgil doesn’t do anything.”
“Why aren’t I above Remus?” Roman frowned.
Logan opened his mouth to argue that both were actually tied for last behind Patton, but Dad covered his mouth.
Chapter 11: Halloween Hijinks
It’s mostly snippets
“Let's go already,” Roman groaned moving to lay on the floor.
“We’re waiting for Henry and his little sister to get here,” Dee reminded him.
“Daddy!” Patton called coming in the room, his eyes on the brink of tears. “I made Virgil cry!”
Dee gave a slight shrug as he listened to the sound of Virgil’s cries from upstairs, “He didn’t get a nap. I’m sure he’s just upset about you and Logan trying to put his costume on.”
Patton shook his head furiously, “I don’t think he likes zombies! I made him cry!”
“Duh!” Remus chimed in. “Roman and I did awesome, so you look like a real zombie! Everyone should be super scared!”
“I don’t wanna scare Virgil...”
“Don’t cry!” Roman shouted getting up. “You’ll mess up your makeup!”
“I don’t wanna be a scary zombie!”
Dee gave a sigh and glanced at the clock. They had fifteen minutes.
“How about a uh- uh mummy?”
“But then who’s gonna give out candy?”
“Ms. Miranda is gonna stay here and watch the house and give out candy while I take Ashley with us trick or treating.”
“But then who's gonna give out candy at her house?”
“So she won’t get to go trick or treating?”
Dee glanced over to where the woman had made herself comfortable in front of his TV, wine and candy in hand. “I think she’ll be fine.”
“I thought you said your costumes matched?” Remus asked Logan and Henry. “You’re both not Frankenstein.”
“I’m Frankenstein’s monster , and he’s Dr. Frankenstein . They’re different,” Logan explained.
Remus didn’t look convinced, “Is this a trick?”
“No! Look it up!”
Dee looked over the large mass of children in front of him and did a quick headcount. Three that weren’t his, and five that were. He gave a nod, “Alright everyone, let’s head out!”
“Wait Dad, Where’s your costume?” Roman asked.
Dee paused, “How many jump ropes do we own?”
~~(And now for some snippets)~~
“Dad! Patton’s toilet paper got caught on a bush again!”
Dee gave a sigh as he stopped to go untangle Patton who gave him a wide smile back, “Did you bring the extras?”
Dee nodded and grabbed the extra toilet paper from the stroller, “Alright Pat, give me a spin.”
“I think people only get my costume ‘cause we’re a pair,” Henry commented.
“Is that a bad thing?” Logan asked in return.
Henry shook his head, “Nope. But you’re being the harder to guess one next year.”
“And what’s your costume?” Another parent asked amused.
Dee held up his number of jump ropes- tugging the kids slightly as he did so- “I’m a dog walker.”
“Oh my what a dashing Prince! Do you slay dragons to save kingdoms too?”
Roman shook his head, “I tame dragons.” He reached over to poke Virgil’s nose. “He even knows tricks watch! Virgil, say Dada!”
Virgil clapped his hands and repeated the word happily, “Dada!”
“Remus, stop stealing Ashley’s candy.”
“But I’m a pirate! I have to steal candy!”
“At least he’s not robbing banks yet,” Logan shrugged.
“Logan you- yet?”
“It’s gonna happen one day Dad. Don’t be surprised when it does.”
Thanks For The Family
“Is there a reason you’ve been staring at that card Dad?”
Dee blinked and set the card down before he looked toward Roman who had spoken. “Um, your Nana invited us to Thanksgiving... it’s weird...”
“Why? We go every year.”
Dee nodded, “That’s true.” It was true, it was a fact, but it that was before he had divorced the woman’s son.
I know things are a bit strange with you and my son at the moment. But despite your relationship with him, I still want to be close to my grandchildren. It’s been way too long since I held that baby of yours.
I understand if it’s too awkward for you to come, but all of us would love it if you do (I can lock my son in his room don’t worry).
Also if you do come it would be wonderful if you made those famous brownies of yours.
It should feel nice to still be wanted by Tina and that family. But it would be more than awkward. So awkward.
But it’s not like he had other options for the holiday. He had no family other than the boys, and he didn’t want to impose on his friends. He had been putting off the thought of it as long as possible. But if Tina was inviting them... wouldn’t it be rude to not go?
“He’s not here,” was the greeting his ex sister in -law gave when she opened the door.
Dee let out a sigh of relief he didn’t know he was holding as she hugged her nephews who had rushed forward.
“Is he coming at all?”
“I’m not sure. And no, he doesn’t know you’re here.”
Inside the rest of the family had gathered and each gave him a smile and a hug and thanked him for coming despite everything. It was nice. It was uplifting.
And it reminded him that in terms of his relationship, he had one hundred percent been in the right.
Dee looked up from where he had been admiring a plate of appetizers as Tina rounded the corner.
“You brought the babies and brownies!” She cheered as she plucked Virgil out of Logan’s arms.
“It’s good to see you, Tina,” he chuckled.
“T!” She corrected quickly. “I’m T.”
“Tina,” he insisted. “If you’re calling me Damien then I’m calling you Tina.”
She pursed her lips, “I’ll win one day. But for now... I need my group hug!”
“Where the fuck do you get off going to my mom’s?”
Dee grimaced as he maneuvered himself outside onto the porch. “I thought you were calling to say hi to the boys.”
“Don’t avoid the question. What the fuck are you doing at my mom’s? My cousin texted me asking why you’re there and I’m not.”
“Tina invited me,” Dee said simply. “She wanted to see the boys.”
“They are my family, not yours. You should’ve said no. You shouldn't have gone!”
Dee took a deep breath to steel himself, “They’re the boy’s family.”
“Jesus Christ... I should’ve picked up the boys and brought them myself...”
“We can talk about this when you get here, like adults.”
He gave a scoff, “You think I’d fucking come after you dare show up there?”
“The boys want to-”
“You just fucking ruin everything you know that? I was going to introduce everyone to him tonight...”
“To your boyfriend?” Dee asked slowly the words hurting more than they should.
“Who else?” He snapped. “Why can’t you just keep your ugly ass out of everything?”
“That’s uncalled for,” Dee stated quietly, but his words were ignored.
“Your family already threw you out so don’t go latching onto mine.”
“I just wanted to have a nice holiday with the boys. Please just come and give them a bit of happiness? We don’t have to talk. Just for the boys?”
“Or you can leave them there and head home and sit by yourself and I’ll take them.”
“Can you just be reasonable for once in your life?”
“Damien?” Tina’s voice asked softly jerking Dee from the conversation. He turned and stared at the woman in surprise listening to the screaming in his ear. The pitiful look on her face caused him to swallow and hang up the phone.
“He’s not coming,” He told her softly.
“He’s not worth crying over,” Tina told him quietly stepping out to join him on the porch. She gave him a slight smile and wiped away tears he didn’t know were forming. “You remember what I told you on your wedding day?”
“Don’t let him drink himself under a table?” Dee laughed.
“I guess I did say that, but I what I remember saying is that you were my son now. And an asshole and some paperwork aren’t going to change that. If he’s petty enough that he’s going to miss out on so much? Then he’s not worth crying over.”
Dee smiled as she pulled him into a hug, “Thank you Tina.”
“T, and of course Damien... And I’m sorry, I don’t know where I went wrong with that one. The others are fine... I think.”
Dee chuckled, “I don’t think you did anything wrong.”
She pulled back from the hug to give him a smile. “Then I didn’t make a mistake inviting you. Now, come back inside with me. I need more baby time. I’m trying to get a Nana out of him by the end of the night.”
“I wish you luck.”
“He’s got Dada right? Nana shouldn’t be too much harder.”
“Nana can you come play sometime?” Patton asked as they got ready to leave.
Tina glanced at Dee before she smiled, “Of course! Your Dad here is going to teach me how to bake like that.”
“Glad you agree.”
Dee gave the woman a hug. “Thanks again, T... For everything.”
“Of course Damien,” she smiled.
“Oh come on, if I make an effort you need to.”
“I got my Nana from Virgil, I don’t need anything else.”
Dee gave a laugh as they headed outside. Feeling oh so much better than when he had arrived.
Every family has their own Christmas traditions.
Dee and his boys were no different.
Their tradition involved three main steps.
1) Baking cookies to leave out on Christmas Eve
(This almost always leads to a throwing of flour and eating raw cookie dough, but hey the cookies get made regardless)
2) Making hot chocolate to drink while opening presents
(This is often occupied by eating the leftover cookies before breakfast)
3) Spend the rest of the day hanging out in pajamas all day to play with gifts while watching Christmas movies
But it seemed this year Dee had accidentally added onto the tradition.
The boys had been chattering about playing, while The Grinch played in the background. Dee wasn’t sure what exactly it about the scene, maybe it was Patton trying to teach Virgil how to say Santa, Remus and Roman firing nerf guns across the room at each other, or Logan smiling as he worked diligently to put together his mini telescope, but something about it just made him so happy.
Dee looked to Patton who was watching him with big worried eyes, “Hm?”
“Why are you crying? You can’t cry on Christmas.”
Dee blinked in confusion before he became aware of the tears on his face. He wiped them away, “I’m alright, Patt. Just thinking about how much I love all of you.”
“Dada lub!” Virgil declared and God... as if Dee wasn’t crying already. He moved forward to give his youngest a kiss on the forehead. But as he did, he felt multiple pairs of small arms encircle him. He smiled and turned to pull all of his boys in a tight hug.
So much had happened is such a short amount of time.
But despite it all his boys were happy, so he was happy.
So happy he couldn’t help but cry as he pulled them tighter.
“You’re gonna crush us!” Remus shouted laughing.
“You’re too cheesy,” Logan complained.
Dee could only laugh, “Merry Christmas boys.”
“MERRY CHRISTMAS DAD!”
Chapter 14: RoRo
“Roman can you go get Dad for me?”
“Make Remus do it!” He shouted back focusing on the videogame.
“You just want me to do it ‘cause I’m winning,” Remus smiled and Roman felt an elbow jab into his stomach.
“One of you just get him!” Logan called.
“You do it!” Roman and Remus shouted back. Roman Refused to look away from the screen, but he frowned as his character lost more and more HP.
“No!” Roman groaned throwing down his controller. “I want a rematch!”
Remus smiled widely. “Rematch number four coming up mister buttwipe!”
“Roman!” Logan yelled again.
Roman pulled himself up and gave a glare to his older brother. He wasn’t entirely sure what Logan was doing, or why he had to be the one to get Dad, but he headed upstairs.
The sound of Dad laughing drew Roman’s attention and he followed it to Patton and Virgil’s room. How come Patton couldn’t have gotten Dad?
Inside the room Dad was kneeling on the floor, his phone in hand as he smiled widely at Virgil.
His baby brother sat on the floor Dad’s hat in tiny hands as he put it on his head. He it sunk over his face instantly and he kicked his little legs in glee.
“Dada at!” The toddler giggled.
“It’s Virgie’s hat now,” Dad laughed as he took a video.
Roman smiled and moved forward and plucked the hat off Virgil causing him to shriek in laughter. He placed it on his own head and struck a small pose before taking it off. “You want it back Vee?”
Roman leaned forward and allowed his brother to take the hat off of him. “Dank oo.”
“Roman I asked you to get Dad!” Logan complained coming in the room.
“Is something wrong?” Dad asked in confusion.
“Can it wait until Virgil is done being cute?”
“Okay, okay. Roman watch Virgil for me?”
Roman nodded and watched as the two left the room. Virgil’s giggle drew his attention so he took the hat and plopped it back over Virgil’s head, “Come on Vee, you wanna play with me?”
“Okay what should we play..?”
“RoRo?” Roman asked in surprise before a smile lit up his face. He grabbed his brother and hurried out of the room and down the stairs (not too fast thought because he couldn’t run with Virgil). “Dad! Dad!”
Dad jolted and looked up worried, “What?”
“He called me RoRo!”
“And you made me stop filming!” Dad complained fumbling for his phone he plucked the hat off Virgil’s face to ensure he got a good shot. “Virgil wanna say it again?”
Roman gave a huge grin, “You wanna play with me?”
“RoRo pay,” Virgil agreed.
“That’s not fair,” Remus complained coming over.
Roman gave a shrug, “I win.”
“Unfair! Come on Virgieboo! Say Remus! Ree-mus!”
Chapter 15: Logan Time
“Where are we going?”
Dad gave a slight smile, “It’s a surprise.”
Logan frowned. He wasn’t exactly an avid fan of surprises. Perhaps that came with the territory of having younger brothers, but regardless he wasn’t happy with the idea.
Especially because his younger brothers weren’t there. Dad had left the twins at their friends house and the final two were with a babysitter for the day. Something rare in itself.
And then on top of all that he had dragged Logan into the car and here they were headed to who knows where.
“It’s a good surprise,” Dad promised.
Somehow Logan doubted that.
“Well?” Dad asked a large smile on his face. “Is it a good surprise?”
Logan stared up at the Space Museum in awe, “But- but why?”
“Because you like space?” Dad answered easily. “Does there need to be another reason?”
“Then let’s go.”
The moment they entered Logan eagerly opened a map and a schedule of the special events.
“You making us a plan?” Dad asked and Logan could sense the smile in his voice.
“Any requests?” Logan asked ignoring him.
“I say we round out the day at the planetarium.”
The day was well to put it simply, perfect.
They got to look at the history of venturing into space, he got to climb into a model shuttle cockpit, and see pieces of real space crafts. And then he got to go to the planetarium and see all the stars. And then on top of all of that, Dad had bought him a constellation atlas.
But even so, something felt... off?
“Is something wrong?” Dad asked as they made their way to the car.
“Why didn’t you bring everyone else?” Logan asked him awkwardly. “I liked having it be just us, but they would have enjoyed too.”
“They would,” Dad agreed with a nod. “But I wanted it to be just us.”
“But why ?” Logan urged.
Dad paused before he squatted slightly to be at Logan’s height. “Because I love you and I wanted to thank you.”
“Thank me?” Logan echoed in confusion.
“You’ve been my mini me for a long while, helping me out with your brothers. But it’s been unfair of me to have you doing that. You’re a twelve year old, and you need time to act like one. So-”
“I don’t mind helping!” Logan put in quickly. “And you do everything for us! I just want you to have a break!”
Dad blinked surprised before a smile split his face and Logan felt himself pulled into a tight hug. “What did I do to deserve such a great kid?”
“I can’t breathe,” Logan complained.
“You’re fine,” Dad disagreed. “...And just like you think I should get breaks I think you should have some too. Don’t be afraid to have some Logan time, okay?”
Logan nodded into his Dad’s chest as he hugged him back. “Okay... Now let go so I can breathe.”
“Nah, I think I’ll enjoy this a little while longer.”
Dad just laughed, “Love you too!”
Love In Different Forms
Dee blinked and turned to see as Roman rushed in his bedroom. “Something wrong?”
“Let’s watch movies tonight!”
Dee gave a chuckle, “Sure Ro. But we can talk about that after you get home from school, okay?”
“But do you promise that we can watch?”
“So what movie should we watch?”
“Up to you boys,” Dee replied as he made them each a plate.
“Can we build a fort to watch in?” Patton asked.
“You always love forts,” Remus added rolling his eyes. “...I wanna design it this time.”
“They always fall when you make them.”
“Because he doesn’t think about how things balance,” Logan said sitting down.
“I wanna watch Incredibles,” Roman went on.
“We’ll have a vote at movie time,” Dee promised. “For now let’s eat dinner.”
As the movie ended Dee reached for the remote trying not to wake any of the sleeping boys which had collapsed on top of him. He looked to the awake ones- only Logan and Virgil, before he couldn’t help but smile.
“Do you want help detaching them?” Logan whispered.
Dee shook his head with a smile, “I’ve got it.”
Logan rolled his eyes and picked up Virgil, “I’m going to my room.”
“You’re taking Virgil with?”
Logan looked at him as if he was stupid, “I like Virgil.”
Dee didn’t argue and let him go as he laid back and allowed his Roman and Patton blankets to stay put while he debated the pros and cons of actually waking them to go to bed.
He had ended up laying there for another half hour before he finally began to shuttle his boys upstairs. He had started with Patton, and by the time he had come back apparently the sound had woken Remus to be awake to walk. Remus started heading up the stairs while Dee picked up Roman and followed after him.
The two blearily changed into pajamas, and it wasn’t until he had tucked them in and was about to leave that Roman spoke.
“Did you like the movies?”
Dee gave a smile, “Yeah I did. It was a good idea.”
Roman gave a nod, “I wanted you to have a nice Valentine’s Day and not be sad.”
Dee’s heart skipped a beat as he looked down at his son’s tired smile, “What?”
“I know you miss Papa,” he continued giving a yawn. “So I wanted you to be happy. Cause I love you at least.”
Dee blinked back tears as he pulled his son into a hug, “And I love you too. So so much .”
“Happy Valentine’s Day Dad.”
“Thank you Roman.”