Disclaimer: As if it would change in 24 hours. That is so not my luck.

A/N: This story is dedicated to a very good mate of mine. Love ya lots. - sam1

Promises Kept

Several hours after Gordon and Alan had run from his room, Scott set his book down and sighed, "You'd think that they could assign something more interesting to read." He stood and stretched while looking at his alarm clock. "Better go see what the Terrible Two are up to. It's been kind of quiet for a bit too long for them."

He had just poked his head in the kitchen when Grandma looked up from where she was peeling some potatoes for the night's dinner. "Where have you been, young man?"

"I was in my room, Grandma, reading an assignment for school." He selected an apple from the basket of fruit Grandma always kept handy for her growing grandsons. "Grandma, have you seen Gordon or Alan? They weren't in the family room with Virgil or John when I checked."

"Now that you mention it, Scott, I've not seen or heard from either of them for awhile. Would you please check on them? Too much quiet from either is not a good thing." Her eyes sparkled as she thought of some of the mischief her two youngest grandsons managed.

"Okay, Grandma, I'll try to find out where they've hidden themselves." Retracing his steps, he went back to the family room. Virgil was sitting at his piano but watching John. Scott glanced over at his next youngest brother and shook his head. The quiet blond was reading one of his books but had started arguing with what he was reading. He'd set the book down and pick up an encyclopedia and look at the information listed.

Frustrated, he set the encyclopedia down, picked up the other book and threw it. "Stupid book is wrong."

Scott looked down at the book that John threw in his direction and read the title, "Scooby-Doo and the Vicious Viking".

"what's wrong with the book?" Scott asked. He was interested in what John would say.

"The Viking in my book is riding a roller coaster, Scotty. But the 'cyclopedia says that the Viking period was 750-1060 AD."

"And what is your point, little brother?" Nothing riled his little brother more than screwed up facts.

His face reddened in sudden realization his brother was winding him up, "THERE WERE NO ROLLER COASTERS BACK THEN, DUMMY!"

"John Glenn Tracy, apologize to your brother right now," Grandma demanded, brandishing her wooden spoon. "And Scott, aren't you looking for two little brothers?"

"Sorry, Scott." Crossing his arms over his chest, he glared up at his big brother.

"Yes, Grandma, I was going to ask Virgil and John if they'd seen them," Scott answered, trying to ignore the baleful glare that was directed at him.

"We haven't seen them, Grandma," Virgil said. "Not since they came downstairs after Gordy yelled at Scott."

"Why was he yelling at Scott?"

"Because I promised to take them to the park but my teacher assigned a book to read and I was reading it." Scott shifted his gaze to the floor, shame flooding through him for failing to follow through on his promise. "I'll find them, Grandma." Not meeting anyone's eyes, he walked through the door and searched the house. Every room, cabinet, and closet and he still didn't find his baby brothers. Quietly, he slipped out the front door and walked to the back fence that surrounded the backyard. Calling out, "Alan? Gordon, where are you?" Walking around the huge backyard, he paused at each of the known hiding spots of the Terrible Two. It wasn't until he got to the old doghouse that had long since been empty that he spotted a clue as to where his brothers were. He dropped down to his knees and picked up a sock of all things before glancing to the roof of the doghouse where a small sneaker lay. Crawling forward, he peered into the doghouse where the weak sunlight still showed two small boys curled up next to one another sound asleep.

"Scott, have you found them?" Grandma called from the back porch. She saw him point to the doghouse and walked out to see what Gordon and Alan were up to. Scott backed away from the door and Grandma leaned down enough to see her youngest grandsons, sleeping.

"I'll wake them, Grandma," Scott said, reaching in to grab Alan as he was closest. "Come on, Allie, time to wake up." Alan opened his eyes and smiled at his big brother.

"Gordy and me pway in the park," he said, pointing to the swing set. "It was fun, Scotty."

"That's great, Allie, why don't you go with Grandma and get cleaned up while I get Gordy, okay?" Scott asked.

Alan happily reached for his grandmother and giggled. "I tooked sock an' shoe off, Grandma. It was itching me."

Crawling back into the doghouse, Scott grabbed hold of Gordy and began to pull him out. He wasn't aware that someone watched him from the driveway. Nor did he hear that someone walk up to him until he spoke, "Why is your brother in the doghouse?"

Scott jumped, letting go of Gordon who fell to the ground with a small thud. "Ow, Scotty, you dropped me." Pushing his way past his older brother, he threw himself against Jeff. "Daddy, Scotty told a lie today. He promised to take us to the park and didn't."

Jeff looked over at his oldest son who immediately dropped his gaze to the ground. "I'm sure he had a good reason for not honoring his promise to you, Gordon."

"Nuh-uh, Daddy, he was looking at a dumb book," Gordon argued. By this time, Scott had stood up and wandered further back into the yard and out the rear gate. A small pond further to the back of the Tracy's property. Dropping down to the slightly sandy beach area, he stared out at nothing in particular. He drew his knees up to his chin and finally just stared at the calm water. Unsure of how much time had passed, he was surprised when his father sat down next to him. "Scott, you can't do everything for your brothers. And you can't always fix their problems." Pulling his son towards him, hugging him, "You can't always be there for all of them if you can't take care of yourself and do what you have to do."

Mumbling, Scott tried to pull away from his dad's hug.

"Please stop mumbling and repeat that," Jeff said.

Eyes focused on the tree line just beyond the pond, "I promised Mom, Dad. I promised her and I can't take it back. And when I should have been watching my baby brothers, I was doing something else."

Hugging his son tighter, Jeff replied, "Son, your mom knows that you're keeping your promise as well as anyone your age can." Kissing the top of Scott's head, he continued, "It is I who needs to own up to my promise to you and your brothers. I promised each of you when you were born that I'd always be there for you. I haven't been much of a parent if I'm letting you handle so much."

"Dad, I miss her and I promised her that I'd watch over and protect my brothers since she couldn't." A lone tear slid down his face. A face that had been pinched in worry for the last few months as he had tried to juggle school work and helping with his younger brothers.

"You've done a great job, Scotty. But it's time for you to stand back and be Scott and have fun with your childhood."

Standing on the back patio, Grandma could just make out the figures of her only son and grandson. "Lucy, I do believe he's got a handle on things now." A slight breeze that was scented with Lucy's favorite perfume lifted several tendrils of Grandma's hair. "Still looking after your boys, aren't you?"