Disclaimer: Nope, still don't own those Tracy boys!
Back again with a quick one shot for you all! Hope that you enjoy it!
Huge thanks to Silver Bee for reading this and helping me out with it!
Switching off the engine, Jeff sighed as he rolled his neck, glad to be home. The lights were blazing out of the house, making it look warm and welcoming, and without wasting another second, Jeff snatched his briefcase up from the seat beside him and climbed out of the SUV. Almost casually aiming the keys at the vehicle over his shoulder, Jeff waited until he heard the telltale beep before letting himself into the house.
The second he did so, a warm smile blossomed over his face. There was a sense of contentment, of peace, in the Tracy household.
"Honey, I'm home!" Jeff called softly out, not knowing who was awake and who was asleep. His smile slipped into a smirk as he kicked off his shoes, letting them fall in with the range of different sizes littered by the door. How he loved saying those words, despite the corny irony. It just made him feel like he was truly home, and he knew that his wife found it as amusing as him.
"Daddy!" Any sense of calm was immediately shattered as a five year old boy hurtled out of the lounge and flung himself at his father. Luckily, being used to Scott's crazy need to run everywhere, Jeff was more than prepared, crouching down and opening his arms just in time to catch his flying son. Immediately straightening up, he spun around with Scott in his arms, making the delighted boy giggle at the sensation of flying.
"Jeff, you'll make him sick." A light voice softly scolded from the doorway to the lounge, making Jeff grin as he pulled Scott in and hugged his son. Lucille was leaning casually against the door frame, their second born nestled in her arms. One arm loosely wrapped around his mother's neck, the other letting his thumb rest in his mouth, John leant his head against his mother's shoulder, watching his father and brother sleepily.
Placing Scott back on the floor and ruffling his hair fondly, Jeff moved across, running his hand gently through John's blond locks.
"Hey, Johnny," Jeff murmured softly, placing a light kiss on the top of his two year olds' head. He couldn't believe that John was coming up fast to three. Then again, he still couldn't believe that John wasn't the youngest anymore. John mumbled something unintelligible back at his father, his words lost behind his thumb, but Jeff just smiled anyway. Leaning around, he pecked his wife on the cheek, being mindful of their son in between.
"Hey, yourself, space man."
"See what I have to put up with, Johnny? Your mommy is calling me names." Unable to stop his heart feeling like it was going to burst with love, Jeff smiled fondly down at the smile that had made its way past John's thumb, big blue eyes blinking up at his father, heavy with sleep.
"Is it a little man's bedtime?"
"Nearly," Lucy responded, tightening her grip on her middle son and cuddling him even closer.
"Need a hand?"
"Stop Scott from thinking he can fly?" Laughing softly, Jeff grinned. Now that was a challenge. His eldest son had had a fascination with flying through the air almost before he could walk. Nothing had made the baby giggle more than when he was being tossed upwards. A sudden thud from within the lounge made Jeff glanced towards his wife in alarm, but the exasperated smile on her face gave Jeff all the clues he needed.
"You mean literally?"
"Oh boy, this again. The sooner that kid learns about gravity, the better."
"I'll let you explain it then."
"Aww, honey, I thought you loved me?" Jeff whined, his eyes dancing in amusement as he let one hand rest against John's back, his thumb rubbing soothingly over the little boy.
"Of course, baby. So you can be a star and go and stop your son from jumping off the furniture." With a wry smile, it didn't escape Jeff's notice that Scott was suddenly just his son when it came to causing destruction. Although if he was honest, the boy did certainly take after his father more than his mother in that respect.
"Star." All of a sudden, John's thumb was out of his mouth, twisting round to reach out to his father, all traces of sleepiness gone from his eyes as they began to sparkle with excitement. Taking the hand gently between his thumb and forefinger, Jeff wriggled it back and forth.
"That's right, Johnny. Are you going to be a star for your mom?"
"Star." John repeated, switching his gaze back to his mother, who smiled down at him.
"Come on then, my little star. Shall we put you to bed?" To Jeff's surprise, John nodded contently, his thumb once more finding his mouth. Although if he was honest, he should have known. It was Scott that was the troublesome one when it came to bedtimes, and it looked like Virgil was heading that way as well. John, on the other hand, was the complete opposite. Watching as Lucy began to carry John up the stairs, a sudden thought hit Jeff.
"You think Scotty's bad? Wait till John's older. At least Scott doesn't want to leave the atmosphere." Chuckling as his wife rolled her eyes with a groan, Jeff decided to try and find his little troublemaker. He really didn't want the house destroyed before bedtime. Striding into the lounge, thoughts of finding his eldest son were momentarily put aside as he caught sight of his youngest.
Lying on his play mat, surrounded by various toys, Virgil was in the process of trying to fit – what appeared to Jeff – his whole foot in his mouth. On catching sight of his father, he instead just grabbed onto it, practically folding himself in half as he gurgled happily. Pausing for a moment just to drink in the sight with loving eyes, Jeff soon snapped out of it, crossing the room and crouching down next to his son. Resting one hand lightly on Virgil's chest, his heart swelled once more as the baby stretched out his arms to his father, the meaning more than clear.
"Oh you demanding thing, you." Jeff teased lightly, but obliged all the same. Slipping one hand under his son, he soon had Virgil resting comfortably in the crook of his arm. He couldn't believe that it felt like only yesterday he had been able to hold Scott the same way.
"Where's your big brother got too then, Virgie?" Virgil, for his part, gurgled something rather seriously back at his father, his head twisting round. Following his son's gaze, Jeff smirked. He was sure that his five month old son had a built in sensor as to where Scott was. Crossing the lounge, Jeff followed Virgil's directions, and did indeed find his eldest child. Standing on the very edge of the sofa, Scott had his arms spread open, and catching sight of his father, grinned as he launched himself off the edge, landing with a slightly muffled thud on the cushions he had piled below. Shaking his head fondly, Jeff raised his eyebrows in amusement.
"Hi, Daddy. Did you see what I can do, Daddy, did you? Look, Daddy, look!" And so saying, Scott made to climb back onto the sofa.
"Scotty, come here a sec, kiddo." Resting himself against the top of the couch, Jeff felt something tug around his neck. It didn't take him long to realise what it was. Virgil had found the end of his father's tie, and holding on with both hands, was now in the process of sucking the end. At his father's look, he gazed back at Jeff, eyes wide and innocent, a hint of a smile making its way past the tie. By the time he looked back up, Scott had reached him, resting one hand on his father's knee as he watched his baby brother intently.
"Scotty?" Waiting until he knew that it was him, rather than Virgil, that had Scott's attention, Jeff fixed Scott with a rather stern look.
"What did your mom say about jumping off the furniture?" Instantly, Scott's face fell as he glanced between his father and the pile of cushions on the floor. As his son began to chew on his lip, a clear sign Scott knew he had done something wrong, Jeff had to force himself not to instantly pull him into a hug. That expression all but broke his heart every time he saw it, something he was sure his son knew.
"But Daddy, I..."
"What are the rules, Scott?"
"Exactly. No jumping. What if you had hurt yourself?"
"That's why the cushions there, Daddy. Means I won't get an owie." Gently trying to untangle his tie from his youngest troublemaker, Jeff had to give his son credit. Scott had thought it through. And if he was completely honest, Jeff didn't see what the problem was, it looked fun. Nevertheless, he knew that it was his responsibility to stop Scott. Not to mention Lucy might kill him if he didn't. Shaking his head with the realisation that he was still just as bad as his son, Jeff shifted Virgil over slightly, ignoring how it almost strangled him in the process, and bent down so he was eye level with Scott.
"And what about your brothers, Scotty?" As Scott's brow crumpled in confusion as he glanced towards Virgil, Jeff sighed.
"Scotty, Virgil was on his mat. What if you had misjudged something? And you know Johnny likes to copy you. What if he had tried it? He's too little to understand, Scott."
"But... but..." To Jeff's dismay, Scott's eyes instantly filled with tears as his lip trembled slightly. His father should have guessed that was coming, Scott was always so careful when he was around his brothers.
"Ner!" Virgil suddenly whined, making his father and brother look down on him. A frown had made its way onto his face, and he let go of Jeff's tie with one hand, reaching out to Scott. As Scott sniffed slightly, Virgil made another sound of protest, his frown deepening and causing Jeff to gently rock him, not wanting another upset son. He should have known, Virgil always managed to kick up a fuss when Scott was upset. Reacting quickly, Jeff set about calming not one son, but two.
"Hey, hey, hey, don't cry, kiddo. No harm was done. But you must understand that when your mommy or I tell you not to do something, it's for a reason. You understand that, don't you, champ?"
"'Kay, Daddy. I'll be good, pwomise!" Jeff smiled softly at Scott's slip in his words as the child wiped his sleeve across his eyes. Glancing down at Virgil, Jeff felt his smile widen. Whilst he no longer looked like he wanted to scream, a somewhat moody pout had settled on his face.
"Think he wants his brother. What do you say, Scotty? Want a cuddle with Virg?"
"Can I, Daddy? Really?"As Scott's eyes began to shine with excitement, Jeff reached out with his free hand, ruffling his son's hair.
"Go on, champ, sit down." Standing up from where he had been perching on the edge of the couch, Jeff smiled as Scott all but sprinted round, throwing himself down before wriggling to make sure he was sitting up properly.
"You ready, kiddo?" At Scott's energetic nod, Jeff moved around himself. "Remember how mommy showed you?" As Scott nodded again, Jeff smoothly lowered himself onto the sofa, sliding up next to his son. Gently, he untangled the end of his tie from Virgil, and slipping his arm out from under his youngest, he carefully passed his baby over. Almost instantly, the pout vanished from Virgil's face, and watching as Scott almost held his breath, Jeff knew that any upset the boy may have had was gone.
"Scotty, relax, baby." Resting one hand against Scott's back, Jeff gently moved his hand round in circles in-between his son's shoulder blades, trying to coax the boy into relaxing. As he appeared to do so, Jeff leant forward, smiling at the content look on both of his sons' faces. As Virgil suddenly yawned, Jeff reached over, running one finger down the side of his son's face and causing a sleepy smile to appear, before Virgil reached up and latched onto his father's finger.
"Why does Johnny go to bed before Virgie?" Wondering how he was going to explain this, Jeff was thankful at the small cough that drew his attention. Glancing up, he saw Lucy standing in the door way, a wide smile on her face at the sight of three of her boys together.
"Why don't you ask your mom?" Grinning innocently up at his wife, Jeff smirked at the look she sent him. More than once she had left it to Jeff to explain something to Scott, often landing him in a sticky situation in the process. One thing was for sure; his eldest son had an inquisitive mind.
"Mommy?" Turning towards his mother, Scott's eyes were wide and innocent, his baby brother slowly drifting off to sleep in his arms. Stepping across the room, Lucy smiled gently down at him.
"It's because Virgie has to have his dinner later. And you know how he likes to sleep during the day, don't you, Scotty?"
"He always eats and sleeps." Scott moaned somewhat pathetically, sparing Virgil another glance. As if knowing he was being talked about, Virgil opened one eye again, and on seeing Scott looking at him, smiled. Immediately melting, Scott grinned back, missing the adoring looks shooting between his parents.
"Among other things," Jeff muttered under his breath, causing Lucy to send him a look that was scarily similar to one when one of the boys were doing something they shouldn't.
"Talking about eating and sleeping..." She commented lightly, bending down and scooping her youngest out of the arms of her oldest and causing Virgil to protest slightly as his position was changed.
"It's a certain person's bedtime, is it not, Scotty?"
"But Mommy, I'm not sleepy!"
"Scott." Jeff broke in, the merest hint of a warning in his voice. "You know what we said about rules and what you promised me?"
"I'll be good, Daddy!"
"I know you will, buddy. So go on, upstairs and put your pyjamas on, I'll be up in a minute."
"'Kay, Daddy." And so saying, Scott wriggled his way off the sofa, pausing for a moment to land a kiss on the top of Virgil's head.
"'Night, Virgie." And with that, Scott scampered for the stairs, his energy seemingly returning. Trading amused looks, his parents lasted all of about a minute before bursting out laughing.
"Is he ever going to slow down?"
"I hope not. Someone has to give you a run for your money, Jeff. So, which son do you want?"
Looking longingly at Virgil for a moment, Jeff sighed and glanced towards the stairs. By the time he looked back again, Virgil had once more closed his eyes, and smirking, Jeff stood up.
"I'll take Scott. I promised I'd be up. Besides, you know what a fuss Virg kicks up when we have to wake him up to feed him." As his wife glanced down with a sigh at their now snoozing son, Jeff all but sprinted from the lounge with a laugh, mirroring his son's speed.
"Coward!" Pausing with one foot on the stair, Jeff turned, flashing Lucy a cheeky grin.
"Yep." And with that, he bounded up the stairs. If he was honest, he thought he had just as much of a challenging job, although with any luck, Scott would have worn himself out. Deciding to give Scott a few more minutes to settle, Jeff crept along the dimly lit corridor, silently pushing John's door open further. A soft glow lit up the whole room from the rocket shaped nightlight plugged into the wall, giving Jeff just enough light to see that his toddler was sitting up.
"Johnny? What are you doing, buddy?" Keeping his voice low and soft, Jeff padded quietly into the room, perching on the edge of the bed as John crawled towards him, his eyes wide and awake.
"Star." John stated simply, climbing onto his father's lap and turning back around to face the way he had been looking. With a groan, Jeff caught sight of the gap in the curtains, and sure enough, a few stars were just visible in the night sky. Scooping John up, Jeff stood up, moving forward and depositing his son in the right place in the bed, tucking the covers around him.
"It is time for my little star gazer to get some sleep." He whispered softly, gently pressing John's nose with his forefinger. Turning around, he gave the curtains a quick flick, making sure the gap was covered. Facing the bed once more, he sighed when he saw John had sat up again. And he thought it was the two year olds' brothers that were the troublesome ones.
"Star." John demanded, a pout making its way onto his face. Wondering if his son had said anything else all evening, Jeff lay him back down again, sitting down next to him, using one hand to tenderly push John's hair away from his eyes.
"You will see them another day, Johnny. One day, you can go to the moon, just like your daddy did. And you never know, maybe one day you can live among the stars, watch them out of a window of your very own room up in space. But right now, my little one, you need to go to sleep."
"'kay," John yawned, his eyes drifting shut even as he spoke. Glad to have finally got him to say something else, Jeff stayed where he was for a few moments, making sure John had properly relaxed before he stood back up again. Making his way out of the room, Jeff paused in the doorway, one hand resting on the doorframe.
"Sleep well, my little star gazer." Only a soft snore greeted Jeff's words, and smiling, the father turned away, knowing it was time to sort out his older troublemaker. Setting off down the hallway, he grinned at the slight wail that made its way up the stairs. No doubt his wife was going to make him pay later for dumping her with a slightly grouchy son. One thing was for sure, Virgil did not like to be woken up.
Entering Scott's room, Jeff couldn't help but feel relieved at seeing that his son had climbed into bed. He had been half expecting another battle. Automatically climbing over a toy plane sitting in the middle of the floor, Jeff made a mental note to pick it up in the morning, but for now, he only had eyes for the yawn Scott had failed to stifle in time.
"Have you brushed you teeth, kiddo?" At Scott's nod, Jeff smiled down on him. Tugging the edge of the covers around his boy, he mirrored his actions with John and sat on the edge of the bed, watching as Scott snuggled into the warmth.
"Why's Virgie crying?" Thankful for the dim light, Jeff just about managed to cover up the eye roll that accompanied his son's words. If Scott was being this protective over his little brothers now, what on earth was he going to be like in a few years time?
"Because he wants his dinner. You know how Johnny gets when he is hungry? Virgil is just the same."
"Oh. So he isn't really sad?"
"No, champ, he is just fine. But there is something you can do."
"You can show him how grown up you are and snuggle down and go to sleep. Unlike John." Adding the last part on under his breath, Jeff smiled as Scott nodded, yawning again. His father wasn't surprised; the kid had been energetic enough just since Jeff had been home. Who knew what he had been up too all day? Unable to believe it had gone so smoothly, Jeff watched in amazement as Scott snuggled down even further, the covers almost coming up to his nose.
"Goodnight, Scotty." Dropping a kiss onto the small part of Scott's head that was still accessible, Jeff smiled fondly as he ruffled his son's hair. "Sleep well, my little flying man."
"Love you, Daddy," Scott mumbled. Despite his protests to his mother, he was exhausted. Who knew flying took that much effort? Before his father had even left the room, Scott Tracy was fast asleep.
Switching off the light on his way past, Jeff quickly made his way back down the stairs, more than happy to gloat that he had managed to get the easy son for once. He couldn't quite believe it, John had been kicking up a fuss and Scott had gone to bed without one. Something wasn't quite right with the world!
Hearing a grizzling noise coming from the kitchen almost as soon as he set foot on the bottom of the stairs, Jeff smirked. Virgil was still obviously being the same troublesome son.
Scott didn't know what had awoken him. He had been so tired when he went to bed, although no one could ever know that, because five year olds simply did not get tired. He wasn't a baby like Virgie or Johnny any more; it wouldn't do for anyone to find out. Rubbing his eye sleepily, Scott yawned widely, contemplating simply snuggling back down. But he still couldn't shake this feeling that something had awoken him for a reason. The last time it had happened, a ferocious storm had hit Kansas. There was no way that Scott had been scared, he merely want to check that his mommy and daddy weren't frightened. Grownups were weird like that. And considering how tightly his daddy had cuddled him that night, Scott was sure that he must have been scared. And if he was honest, Scott had found that the reassuring breathing of his parents had quickly driven away any of the fear that he did not have.
Pushing back his covers with both hands, Scott swung his legs over the side of the bed, dropping lightly to the floor. Tiptoeing across his room, the young boy automatically skirted around the plane that had almost tripped his father up, knowing precisely where he had left it. It was there for a reason. Not that Scott could actually think of that reason at this given moment in time, but he was certain that he had placed it there as a very important military tactic. If nothing else, it would stop anyone trying to sneak into his room, for if even his father – the cleverest man Scott knew – had almost fallen over it, what chance did anyone else have?
Stopping just short of his door, Scott held his breath. He knew the rules, once he had gone to bed, he was expected to stay there unless he had a very good reason to have gotten up again. This time, Scott was sure that he did have a very good reason, only what was annoying him was that he had still not figured out what the reason was. The light was still on in the hallway, something Scott knew meant that his parents were still downstairs. Maybe he could just have a quick explore of the upstairs, and then go back to bed and they would never know? Although he was not sure he would be able to get away with that, his mommy seemed to know everything. Whether he wanted her too or not. And in Scott's mind, that simply wasn't fair. Reaching out for the handle, Scott paused, his fingers just brushing the wood. He could hear his father's deep laugh from downstairs, a clear reassurance that everything was alright. So why was a strange feeling in his tummy telling him otherwise?
Taking a deep breath, Scott pushed the door open. He never had it properly shut, but somehow, he had to have it partly closed. If not, the light from the hallway simply spilled into his room and kept the boy awake. Tonight, however, Scott was glad. It meant that he was able to carefully poke his head round the door, making sure the hall was clear and that his father wasn't about to catch him out before edging carefully onto the landing. Once there, however, Scott stopped again. He still had no idea what he was supposed to be doing, why he was even up.
Deciding that now he was up and out of the comfort of his own room, Scott set off towards Virgil's room. He was sure that his parents would have put his youngest brother to bed by now, and as he gently tiptoed in, Scott knew instantly that he was right. A small nightlight was in one corner, the shape not distinctive to the five year old, but he was still grateful for the soft glow that it was emitting. Creeping his way over to the cot, Scott found that he was just able to reach over the top if he stood on tiptoes. Peering in, he smiled at the sight of his little brother. Virgil was lying in the centre of the cot, but was still quite clearly awake. Scott knew that happened often, but when he tried to ask his mother about it, she had just said that he would understand one day. His feet clutched in his hands, Virgil was practically folded in half once more, but on catching sight of his biggest brother, he quickly let go. Reaching up to Scott, Virgil gurgled something happily, quite clearly telling the older boy something important. Bending over, Scott reached one of his own hands in, grasping Virgil's smaller ones in his own and gently wriggled them back and forth and causing Virgil to giggle, blowing bubbles at the same time.
"Virgie, that's icky." Scott said softly, letting go and rocking back. He simply wasn't tall enough to be able to keep holding on. Virgil, for his part, merely frowned slightly, looking for the entire world like he was poking his tongue out at his big brother. Biting his lip, Scott frowned in contemplation as he watched Virgil grab onto his foot again. It wasn't his brother that he was frowning at, more the fact that the feeling settled in his stomach hadn't moved. Whatever it was that was keeping him awake, it clearly wasn't to do with the youngest member of the family.
"'Night Virgie," Scott said for the second time that night, suddenly turning on his heel and creeping from the room again, feeling guilty at the annoyed whimper that followed him out. If he could, he would have stayed with his youngest brother, but something was telling him that it was the other younger sibling that was in need of his attention.
Once more tiptoeing down the corridor, Scott reckoned that he should be praised for his stealth. He had managed this quite well so far. At least, that is what he believed, not realising the baby monitor had been switched on in Virgil's room, and even now his parents were looking at each other in confusion at hearing their oldest son's voice come floating through rather than the normal babble that came from the baby.
Pushing John's door open, Scott squinted into the darkness. As the strange feeling gave an almost throbbing sensation, Scott knew he was in the right place. Before he had taken even a step further in the room, a small whimper drew his attention.
"Johnny?" There was no answer to Scott's query, however, but another whimper. Moving further into the room, Scott cursed as he caught his toe on something, but still carried on going until he bumped into the bed. Climbing on, he then continued the rest of the way by crawling along the bed, not trusting the floor. His little brother was certainly taking after him with leaving his toys out. Finally reaching the lump hidden under the bed clothes, Scott reached out a hand, freezing when he felt the slight trembles wracking the toddler's frame.
"Johnny? Johnny, what's wrong?"
"Dark, 'Cotty," The end of his sentence breaking off into more of a sob, Scott quickly scurried the rest of the way, almost throwing himself on top of his little brother in his haste. Pulling back the covers, he caught sight of the tear strained face before John threw himself on his brother, burying his face in Scott's pyjama top.
"What's so dark, Johnny?"
"Dark." Clutching Scott even tighter, the older boy simply wrapped his arms around his younger brother, hugging him tightly. It was only after a moment that he suddenly realised what was so different about the room. It was never this dark, the rocket plugged into the wall normally provided the comforting light that John was used too. Peering across the room, Scott sighed in the way he had heard his father do when something went wrong. The rocket was well and truly dark. If he was honest, Scott wasn't sure that John had ever slept in a completely dark room before. It certainly explained the sudden terror. Hit by a sudden burst of inspiration, Scott tightened his grip.
"It has to be dark, Johnny. Otherwise the stars can't come out."
"Look out the window. It has to be dark for the stars to come out. You like stars, don't you Johnny?"
"Yeah, but... but... ' Cotty, it's dark!"
Wriggling into the corner of the bed, Scott pulled John up with him, resting his brother's head against his chest. Thankfully, the gap that Jeff had been trying to hide earlier that evening could still be seen from the strange angle the two boys were sitting at.
"Look out the win'ow, Johnny. See, it's dark out there, and yet you can see the stars."
"So dark not scary?"
"No, Johnny. The dark is good."
"Oh." Suddenly yawning, John felt his eyes drifting shut of their own accord. The problem didn't seem to matter anymore. Scotty was always right about these things; it was what big brothers were for. And with the fright disappearing, John was acutely aware that it was way past his bed time. Within a matter of seconds, John was asleep again, resting on his brother. Glancing down at the top of the blond head resting against his chest, Scott smiled as the feeling that had been resting in the pit of his stomach since he had woken up finally disappeared. Yawning himself, Scott snuggled down as far as he could move without disturbing his brother. Knowing that there was nothing he could do to get out from his corner now, Scott rested his head atop of Johnny's and closed his eyes himself.
Hearing the soft murmur of Scott's voice, Jeff frowned over at his wife. She too had glanced towards the monitor, a frown on her own face. She had checked on Scott only a few moments ago after putting Virgil to bed. Both he and John had both been fast asleep, and yet Scott was clearly up now.
"I'm on it," Jeff sighed, hauling himself to his feet. Rubbing his hand across the back of his neck, the father couldn't help but yawn. How Lucy managed to put up with their three terrors all day, Jeff had no idea. He was exhausted just from the evening alone.
Climbing the stairs, Jeff headed automatically for the last place he had heard his son. Virgil was still chatting away to himself when his father entered, and smiling fondly, Jeff found that he was unable to resist the smile his son was sending him, and quickly scooped his baby into his arms.
"What's Scotty up too, Virg?" Rocking him gently, Jeff let his eyes roam the room. He had already known the second he entered that Scott was no longer in the room, but knowing how devious his son could be, thought it was better to actually look. Virgil reached up one hand, pouting as he realised that his father had taken off his tie and just ended up clutching at thin air.
"Bluh," He mumbled, an almost sullen tone entering his voice in protest.
"Let's go find him, shall we?" Walking out of the room, Jeff took Virgil with him as he made his way down the hallway towards Scott's room. He hadn't yet reached it when something caught his eye. There was complete darkness coming out from John's room, making Jeff frown. There was always a glow from the nightlight visible in John's room, it was the only reason why his son had been comfortable to go to sleep when he had first moved into his own room. Now, however, there was just darkness.
"Uh oh," Jeff muttered, crossing the hall and nudging the door open with his foot. Squinting into the darkness, Jeff moved away from the doorframe, letting the light from the hall infiltrate the room. The sight in front of him made his heart blossom with love for his boys at seeing Scott curled up on the bed with his little brother, John resting back on his brother's chest, one hand still entangled in his brother's top.
Shifting Virgil over to one arm, Jeff crept forward, and somehow managed to tug the covers up to give the warmth to both of his boys. He hadn't the heart to wake them again, being disturbed once would have been enough to make them slightly grouchy in the morning, twice would have just been spelling trouble. Stepping back from the bed, Jeff made to change his grip on his baby again, only to find that his youngest son had also drifted off to sleep, the presence of his brothers clearly doing something that Jeff could not.
Leaving the room as silently as he had entered, Jeff gently put Virgil back to bed, thankful that his son didn't wake up again. Little did he know that Scott would go onto save his brothers time and time again. And that they, in return, would save him.
"Jeff?" Turning at the sound of Lucy's soft call, Jeff quickly left the room before Virgil stirred again. Joining his wife in the hallway, he wrapped his arms around her as she rested her head on his shoulder.
"What's going on?" She murmured, sounding as tired as Jeff felt.
"Come see." Taking her by the hand, Jeff quietly led her down the hall, nudging her in the direction of John's door. For a moment, Lucy peered into the darkness, knowing there was something different about the room, yet unable to put her finger on what the problem was. As her eyes adjusted, she let out a small gasp at seeing the elder two of her three sons curled up, fast asleep together.
"Oh, Jeff," backing out of the room again, Lucy smiled at her husband.
"Nothing is going to tear those two apart, is it?"
"Those three," Jeff muttered fondly, pulling her into him once more. "Virgil is just as bad. What do you reckon, think a fourth would make it a stronger bond?"
"Jeff!" Lucy exclaimed, playfully batting her husband. "Another one?"
"Well, whoever comes next can't be as bad as those three, can they?"
"Famous last words," Lucy muttered, moving past Jeff and moving towards the bedroom. Never mind her sons being asleep, their mother was just as exhausted. Grinning at the fact she hadn't said no to a fourth child, Jeff followed her, a feeling of satisfaction radiating out from the man.