Out Of The Past

Chapter 4

Once we picked ourselves off of the floor, we staggered out to the cars, one great big giggling mass of kids, and two adults that were not exactly acting our ages. 

What the hell, it's no fun if you do all the time.

The terrors said goodbye to their dad, giving and receiving a lot of hugs and kisses, which are the most important things in the world to a child, before heading back over to me. I should mention that Sammy was over there giving and getting plenty of both from Eric before returning to my side. Even Peter went and gave Eric a shy little hug. Of course with Eric, that turned into a gigantic bear hug that lifted the little boy from his feet, and turned him into a mass of giggles.

I finally got them rounded up and loaded into the car, saying goodbye to Eric on my way back around to my side of the vehicle. Now, if I could just make it into the truck before one of them decided to get out for something, we might actually get home tonight.

With final waves by everyone, we pulled out of the parking lot and headed out to the freeway and westbound towards the house. 

Since we lived near each other we both exited at the same place and drove the short distance to the turnoff, where Eric left us for his house, and I continued on to mine. It had gotten quiet, believe it or not, as it was well after 11, and the kids were winding down, although not by choice, of course.

It was just as I was pulling into my driveway, that Eric had his final word for the night, as I heard come over our simplex channel, "have fun." 

"Oh we'll try, thanks." I responded and you could hear him laughing in the background before he released the button.

I pulled up in front of the house, and shut off the truck, then took stock of what was going on.

Peter was sound asleep, as was Kevin, while Danny looked not too far behind. Sammy and Randy were awake, but I could tell they were both tired out.

"Ok guys, lets get on in, and head to bed. Sammy and Randy, you help Danny in, and I'll carry Peter, and then come back and get Kevin, ok?" I said to them.

This got mumbled "oks" from the both of them, and I got out and went around to the passenger side rear door, where I reached in and picked up Peter, hoisting him in my arms, and heading towards the house.

Sammy had opened the door and gone in with Danny already, and I could see them going upstairs, helping a very tired Danny, make it in one piece.

I called up to them, "hey guys, make sure he goes to the bathroom, and you guys too, ok?" 

"Yea dad we will" Sammy replied.

I got up to the top of the stairs, and took Peter towards a spare bedroom, when Sammy came out and said, "put him in my bed dad"

I looked at him and asked "you sure?"

Which got one of those patented 'duh' looks from him, followed by a smile and him saying softly, "yea dad, I'm sure" as he walked up to us. 

I turned and walked over to Sammy's room and placed Peter on the bed telling Sammy "I'm going to go and get Kevin, and I'll be right back up to get him ready for bed, ok?"

"Sure dad, I'll stay with him until then. Randy is helping Danny get ready."

"Ok, thanks honey" I told him and headed back down to the truck.

It was a repeat performance with Kev, only I got him into the trinity's room where they all shared a king size bed, when not in with Sammy, rather than Sammy's room this time. 

I then proceeded to get him undressed down to his underwear, which is easier said then done, with a sleeping 9 year old, but not once, did he stir, throughout. 

The next chore was picking him up and heading towards the bathroom, just as Randy came in with a 90% asleep Danny, guiding his staggering little body towards the bed, both of them naked as the day they were born, which was the usual for them, rather than the exception. 

"I'll be right back to tuck you guys in" I told them as I left the room, and proceeded to the bathroom with my sleeping terror.

Now this is actually a lot easier to do than it sounds, if you have never done it before. The biggest thing is to get the child to stand somewhat on his own. Once that is accomplished, the rest is extremely easy. Believe it or not they will sort of stand, even when they are asleep, if you try a bit.

I had been doing it for years and Eric had done the same with his, before that. The key was getting him standing, even if only sort of. There was just something about bare feet on tile, along with a draft being all that was needed. 

The biggest thing was moving rapidly once the feet hit the ground, because even unconscious like this, somewhere they seemed to know and if you didn't move fast enough, well you would have a bit of a mess on your hands.

Sure enough, I just put him down in front of the toilet, holding him with one arm, as I pushed his underwear down with the other, and before I could even get his foreskin fully retracted, he was going. Fortunately for me, I had learned a long time ago that the very first thing I needed to do was have it pointing in the right direction, as I had found out the hard way, before this. 

With that finished, I shook and drained it, then pulled the underwear back up, and took him back to his bed.

Danny was obviously asleep when I got back, but Randy was hanging in there, and I set Kevin down on the bed, kissing him on his forehead and telling him I loved him, then doing the same to Danny.

Then I held out my arms and Randy came into them, as I hugged him to me, kissing his head and telling him, "I love you so much, little one, and I'm so proud of you and your brothers for how you were with Peter tonight." 

He let me go slightly, and looked up at me and said,

"Thanks uncle Mike, I love you too, but Peter's family now" and shrugged his shoulders. 

It was that simple to him, and the boys. No conditions, no exceptions, no reservations, just pure acceptance and love. 

Where did we lose that, when we grow up?

If anyone ever tells you that there is no such thing as unconditional love, then they either don't have a child, or don't notice the one they do have, because children are the perfect example of it, and my boys were no exception.

I just smiled down at him and then pulled him back into me for another hug as I said "and he's got the best family in the world with you guys."

"Sleep tight little one." I told him as I let him slowly down onto the bed kissing him one last time.

"Night uncle Mike." he told me softly as he turned onto his side and snuggled up to his brother. 

Danny had already done so making Kevin into a sandwich between them. 

This was something, I just smiled fondly at, since, for all the time I had known them, they always slept the same way tangled together in a big pile. 

Eric had told me once that they always had, even back in the crib. As soon as they were able to do so, they had tangled themselves together, with them holding onto one another, even before they could turn over. 

Eric had also told me once, that he and Melissa, his late wife, had tried to give them separate bedrooms once, and it was a disaster. First with the crying and begging, and finally just waking up to find them all tangled together each morning, so after about a month, they had given up, and it has stayed this way ever since.

Usually, when they were over, Sammy was included in that tangle, and I didn't mind one bit. 

It was a beautiful sight to see them together, like this. 

I went out, and back to Sammy's room, to find Peter undressed down to his underwear, and sound asleep still.

"Hey dad I took him to the bathroom already." he said to me.

"thanks SamSam." 

I bent down and gave Peter a kiss on the forehead, and said "I love you little one," as I pulled the covers up and turned back to Sammy.

"Dad, can I sleep with you tonight?" he asked me shyly.

I guess he was worried that I might still be mad about earlier, but I quickly pulled him into a hug, saying "Of course you can, sweetheart." which got one of his patented grins, which made my life complete, as I kissed the top of his head, and headed down to my room, with him tucked lovingly under my arm, and him pressing into my side all the way.

Sammy was one of those kids who loved physical contact, and would soak up as much as he could get. It was absolutely wonderful, and I hoped he would never grow out of it, as so many kids tended to do. Then again, I was one of those adults, that love giving it as much as he loved the getting.

We got to my room, and began undressing for bed, and I headed into the bathroom to do what I had admonished the kids to do, a little while ago, and was soon joined by Sammy, giving me an angel look while saying, "you did say to go before bed," with that big grin on his face.

When we were finished, we both headed back to the bedroom, and pulled the covers back from the bed, crawling in, together. 

As I got settled in, I very soon had an eleven year old cuddle puppy wrapping himself around me, with his head on my chest. 

If you have never experienced it, I strongly urge you to find yourself one, as soon as you can. There is nothing like it in the world, except maybe their hugs and hearing, 'I love you' come from their lips, while they are looking at you, with adoration in their eyes. 

I had wrapped my arms around him when he cuddled up on me, and now squeezed him to me, kissing the top of his head while saying, "I love you sooooo much." 

Which got a giggle out of him, and caused him to raise his head and say, "you say that all the time."

I know I had a silly grin on my face, as I answered "that's because I do love you, all the time."

Which got some more boy giggles out of my cuddle puppy, before he said, in all seriousness,

"I love you too, dad," while looking at me with those eyes, that even a real puppy couldn't hold a candle to.

"I love you too."he repeated softly, as he squeezed me tightly, and placed his head back down upon my chest, to sleep. 

All was right with the world at the moment, as I drifted off to sleep, with my angel held snugly in my arms.


The piercing scream broke me out of a wonderful sleep, and brought me wide awake, in an instant, pushing Sammy away, and getting up, even before the next one came, "MOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMYYYYYYYYY!!!!!"

I was already half way to Sammy's room, and before the next one, could even start, I had him in my arms, holding him to me, crooning softly, as he stared at memories, that only he could see. 

Whatever they were, they were definitely traumatic, because his breathing was extremely rapid, and he was soaked with sweat, from the fear which was coursing through him.

"It's ok, it's ok, everything's going to be ok," I told him, as he started breaking down, and dissolving into tears, while sobs shook his body, and he became fully awake. 

I couldn't say how long I sat there holding him, before I became aware of 4 sets of eyes, watching us, but at some point I looked up, and they were all there and all of them had sad caring looks, on their faces.

I mouthed "its ok" and Sammy nodded, herding the others out of the room, leaving us to our privacy, for the moment.

As the boy calmed down, he began talking in a broken voice interspersed with hiccups, 

"I was in my room playing and mommy and daddy were fighting again." he said unsteadily. 

I knew not to push, and just let him get it out, in his own way, and in his own time, so I just waited patiently for him to continue, which he eventually did.

"They always fight."he sniffed, and continued. "Then I heard mommy scream 'No, don't!!' but I was real scared, and…and…" He stopped and looked into my eyes.

I just kept holding him, and stroking his back softly, up and down, up and down, till finally I said, softly,

"It's ok to be scared, son, we all get scared at times," which seemed to give him some comfort, as he went on,

"He is so mean, he hits me all the time, and he hits mommy too. I'm always scared!"

I wasn't sure if he would understand or not, but I decided to try. 

"Peter, fear is something that God put into us, so we would know when to be scared. If it is something that shouldn't frighten you, then it's important to not let your fear control you, but to control it instead. On the other hand, if there is something to be scared of, then fear is there to let you know it, so you can keep safe from harm, and it sounds like you had a good reason to be scared all the time, I would be scared too." 

That caused him to look up at me searchingly, before putting his head back down against my chest, and slowly continuing. I didn't know if he understood what I had just said or not, but I hoped that he had at least gotten some of it.

"They fight all the time, and he hits her, and I try to hide. Mommy told me to hide." Then the poor guy went silent, for a minute, before he dragged the rest of it out.

"She screamed, and I got really scared, but I didn't go and help her." all of that came out in a rush, before he lapsed into silence again. 

I knew he stood no chance against his father, in helping his mother, but I had to try to put it in a way that he might actually believe, otherwise he would live the rest of his life, thinking he could have done something. I knew that was what he meant by what he had told me.

"Peter, answer me something, please, did you ever try to help your mommy before, when he was hurting her?"

I felt his head nod up and down, so I asked, "and what happened?"

"He…he hurt me, he hit me and hit me and afterward, that was when my mommy said to hide, when he was being mean, and for me not to come out."

"Do you know why she told you to hide, little one?" I gently asked him

He didn't answer for a minute or two, and I didn't push. I had a feeling that his mom had addressed this issue, and it was vitally important that he recall her words, and not mine at this point. He had to face this issue to get beyond blaming himself for her death.

Finally, "yea," and I could tell he didn't want to say it. There was something heart wrenching about seeing a young child, trying to take responsibility for something, which any sane person would know immediately, that they had nothing to do with, yet I saw it again and again. 

I think one of the absolutely hardest things I have ever had to deal with, is going into a place, and seeing an abused child, who will firmly and with complete conviction, tell you that it's their fault that they are being abused, either because they asked for it, or they were being bad. More than once, Eric has had to stop me from literally strangling the abuser, after seeing what they had convinced these children to believe. It only got worse when the child would end up saying "if only I hadn't been bad," then dad wouldn't have put him in ICU, in critical condition. There were times when I wasn't sure my having a gun at my side was such a good idea, then again, if I could actually use it…

As I knew he would, Peter finally spoke again, barely above a whisper, but speaking none the less. 

"She said to hide when he got mean, because I couldn't do nothing to stop him, and he would just hurt me more."

"She was right you know." I told him. "You couldn't have stopped him, honey, and he just would have hurt you for trying."

"But she screamed, so loud, and I still didn't come," he said more loudly looking at me now, terror in his eyes, as he relived it.

"You did what you were supposed to do, Peter, you kept yourself safe." I told him.

"But…she screamed again and when I did come out she was lying there and bleed…there was blood and…she was just lying there…" and the poor guy just couldn't finish, as he started crying, horribly again. 

I pulled him to me, hugging him tightly, and just letting him get it out this time. I knew there would be other crying bouts, and other nightmares, but for now, I was concerned with this one, which was the first step he had to take, in healing for him. There wasn't much left to go, I didn't think, but I would wait. 

The wait wasn't too long this time, before the crying subsided once again, and through the hiccups he began the final part of the story of the evening before.

"She…there was…she was just lying there and…" he stopped for a bit "she was just lying there and there was all this blood and…she was lying there and she didn't… wasn't moving." He paused to collect his breath. "Mommy had blood everywhere, and she was just lying in it. Mommy didn't like it, if you were messy," he added "but she was just lying there," and I could see the fresh tears as he went on. "HE just stood there yelling at her," and then in a whisper, as if HE could hear, "HE was calling her bad names," then continuing in a more normal tone "but she didn't answer him, and he was so mad," he said as he stopped once again.

"HE told her to get up, but she didn't, and then I called her, but she didn't answer me, either. She just kept sleeping. He saw me, then, and grabbed my arm, and we went to the car, and then he just kept driving and talking, and stuff, but I don't think he was talking to me. I had to go to the bathroom real bad, and he wouldn't stop. I thought I was going to pee myself, but he stopped and that's when Sammy ran into me and well you know the rest."

"I know, baby," I told him as he put his head back down. He had been almost in a daze as he recounted that, staring off into the distance as if seeing the whole thing once again, in his mind, which he probably had been. 

"I want you to remember two very, very important things, son, no matter what, can you do that for me?" I asked him gently.

He looked up at me and into my eyes for a moment, before saying "yes."

"Nothing, and I do mean nothing, that happened or ever happened, when your dad hurt you or your mom, was, or is, your fault, and there is, and was, absolutely nothing you could have done about any of this." Do you understand that?" I finished. 

"Yes." he told me, very seriously, before flooring me with his next statement and question. "I know my mommy's dead now, so will you be my new daddy?" 

I had to take a deep breath, because he had raised his head and was looking into my eyes, searching them like someone else had done, and I found that not only didn't I want to, but that I couldn't break my gaze away from his, as I sank into their depths.

"I would be honored to be your new daddy, little one, if that is truly what you want." I told him as we continued looking at one another, and I could feel a tear running down my check. 

"Forever and ever?" he asked

"Forever and ever and then a million years past that." I told him, while he still looked into my eyes.

That got a small giggle, and a shy smile from him, as he continued to stare at me. I felt such love flow through my being, as he looked at me, and I knew that the bond we were forming at that moment was as strong as that which Sammy had formed with me before. 

I felt my heart swell with it, and it seemed as if it would burst, as this little boy put all of his hope and faith into me, in those moments. 

Unlike with Sammy, a kiss was not what sealed the bond, but a gentle caress, filled with a sense of wonder, as Peter slowly brought his hand up to my cheek, and touched it softly. I brought mine to his and repeated the action, feeling the jolt that passed through our bodies, as the connection was finalized, transforming this little boy into my son, for all time. 

Not once did his eyes break contact with mine, until the seal was made, and our lives became intertwined. As the feeling sweeping through us subsided to a more bearable level, Peter softly said, "I love you, dad" as he let out a contented sigh, and brought his head back to rest upon my chest, with me stroking his hair softly.

"I love you too, son" I responded and let out my own sigh of contentment, at this remarkable development. I had another son. As strange as it may sound, and as quickly as it had happened, I had another boy. I always thought those stories I had read where someone meets someone and falls completely in love with them instantly were pretty much a joke. I felt you had to build a relationship, and let love develop if it were to do so, over the course of time, yet not once but twice now, I had met a child who completely captivated my heart, within hours of meeting them. 

I knew that Peter and I would build our relationship over time, strengthening the bond which had formed moments ago, as the years went by, but the love part was there, already complete, and without any reservation what so ever, right now, and that would be the foundation as it had been for Sam before him. 

I was brought out of my thoughts by a small voice saying, hesitantly, "dad?"

"Yea sweetie," I replied

"Wwho's room is this?" he asked me

"its Sammy's room, honey, he wanted you to sleep in it."

I watched as he hung his head and I felt tears dripping on my chest.

"Hey, what's wrong?" I asked. What was going on?

He didn't answer me, so I asked again.

"Come on little one, what is it?"

Then in the most embarrassed voice imaginable, filled with shame, in an almost whisper he told me.

"He's gonna hate me now."

"What? No Petey, he's not going to hate you, what would make you think that?" I asked him, thinking it had something to do with his belief in not saving his mother. 

I was wrong, as he finally said in the same voice,

"He will, I went pee pee in his bed"

"Oh honey," I told him while I lifted up his head to look him in the eyes, "he isn't going to hate you, it was an accident is all, and we have lots of sheets and stuff." I tried to reassure him.

I hadn't even noticed the bed being wet, until he said something, but once he had, I then noticed, I was sitting in wet bed and his underwear were soaked as well.

"He will, I know he will." he said firmly.

"Peter, listen to me for a minute, please. Sammy is not going to hate you for peeing in his bed, I promise you that."

"He will," was the response in such a dejected tone of voice that it almost made my heart break. 

"No I won't" a voice said clearly which caused Peter's head to shoot up and look over to where Sammy stood with the others in a semi circle behind him.

I could clearly feel the sudden tension which had entered his body when Sammy spoke.

"Neither will we," the rest chimed in.

Peter was looking from one to the other of them, before finally saying

"But I…"

"It doesn't matter, you are my brother now, and nothing you could ever do would make me hate you." Sammy told him in a dead serious tone. 

Like before, their eyes were locked on each other.

"Neither would we" Kevin added, with "yeas" thrown in by the other two, which caused Peter's head to swivel, looking at each of them.

I felt some of the tension dissolve from his body, but not all of it

"Feel the bed Peter, feel it real good" Sammy said to him.

I could see the puzzlement on Peter's face, as he wiggled around to where he could get his hand down to the sheet and feel around it.

"Its wet, real wet." he said dejectedly. 

"Feel it better, feel what's under the sheet" Sammy instructed him.

I moved over a bit as Peter slid off of me standing up, and turning all his attention to the bed, feeling it carefully, and getting an odd look on his face, before pulling the sheet up and then the bed pad, then just looking at what was revealed to be there.

Sammy and the others had walked up behind Peter, and as he turned around, there was a startled look on his face, which quickly dissipated as Sammy began to speak.

"Everyone has accidents sometimes Peter. Dad says I sleep too soundly, which means sometimes I don't wake up when I have to go."

The look on Peter's face was priceless, as at first, he didn't get it, but then he did, but still couldn't quite believe it.

"You…you mean that you…I mean…" but Sammy saved him.

"Yea, I do" with a big grin on his face. 

Peter was shaking his head and I could just tell what was going through his head at that point. 

Someone else like him.

But then a sad look came over his face and he said "but it doesn't happen sometimes for me"

"That's ok too, it happens most every night for me" Kevin spoke up once again causing shock, and happy surprise, to appear on Peter's face.

"Really?" he asked

"Yea really."

"So no one is going to be mad or hate you for that or we would all hate each other by now," Sammy said with a little giggle.

"Yea and sometimes when they pee and all, if one of us has to go real bad, it causes us to go too." Randy added, "and sometimes we have accidents too," Danny chimed in. 

"We all do, I've even peed myself before" Sammy admitted, which got "me toos" from the others.

"See little one, you don't have anything to worry about." I told him.

"Yea, we love you Peter, and no one is going to ever hurt you again," Sammy said, back to all seriousness, as he scooped up the boy in his arms, giving him a big hug, and we all knew he meant far more than about the bed wetting, as the others all chimed in with reassurances to the same effect.

Peter let go and said "its just that anyone who ever found out about it always teased me and stuff."

"Well that won't happen here, little one, I promise you" I told him as the others all agreed. 

For a child who wets the bed past 4 or 5, the stigma attached to him is astronomical, and his life becomes pure hell, if anyone finds out about it. I was glad my bunch were so understanding. It had never been an issue since Kev had wet the bed from infancy, and the only sticking point had been when Sammy came into the picture. He had been so afraid of them finding out. Ironically Kevin had been just as worried about Sammy discovering his secret. Kevin hadn't been through anything really bad, but Sammy had been. He had a friend stay over one time, before I met him, and when Sammy had wet the bed, the friend had been down right cruel, and then went back and told everyone at Sammy's school. With the support of his brothers and Eric, Kevin had a much easier time of it, and most importantly, was accepted completely, regardless of it. Sammy was very ashamed of it and it took a while to get over that, even though he and I had gone through the issue shortly after we met, in a repeat of tonight's events. 

Then Sammy surprised me with what he had to say next.

"I know what you mean Peter. When I was 7 I invited a friend from school to stay over. I was so scared of anyone finding out, but I really, really wanted to have friends over like the other kids did, so I invited him. I didn't drink anything all night even though I was really thirsty, and I went potty too, just before going to bed, but I still peed the bed, during the night. He slept on the floor and I tried to sneak out of bed the next morning while he was asleep and change the sheets and stuff before he could see it, but he woke up. He called me a bunch of names, and was really mean to me. I was so embarrassed. My grandma heard what he said, and came in and told him to get out, and that he wasn't welcomed back, in our house, and he left, but not before telling me he was going to tell." 

"I was so scared but grandma insisted I go to school on Monday anyway. When I got there, everyone was laughing at me, and calling me names, and stuff, they even asked where my diaper was. I was so embarrassed and ashamed, that I ran out of school, and ran all the way home crying. Grandma just held me for a long time, and told me it was ok, but I knew it wasn't. I didn't believe her. Nothing could make it alright. I didn't know what happened next until later, but I finally cried myself to sleep and when I woke up it was dinner time." 

"We didn't talk about it anymore, but the next day, I went to school even though I didn't want to, but grandma made me anyway. I couldn't look at anyone, and everyone kept saying mean things to me. About ten o'clock the teacher told us we were going to an assembly which we weren't supposed to have, and we all went down to the auditorium. When we got there, and got seated, some people came out on stage. One of them was a movie star, who everyone liked, and had a TV series while the other was a baseball player that everyone knew." 

"The principal was there too, and she got up and started talking, but I got so embarrassed, I wanted to die. She started talking about kids who wet the bed. Everyone knew it was me but then it got worse, and she said that there was a boy here who everyone was teasing, because he wet the bed. Everyone looked at me and I started crying. She went on to say that my grandma had made some calls, and the two people up on the stage wanted to talk to us."

"The guy who stars on TV got up first and he started talking about wetting the bed. It was so embarrassing, but then I like died, when he said he did it until he was 14. Everyone had been laughing kind of meanly, until then, but it got like super quiet, all of a sudden, when he said that. He went on to talk about what it had been like, and how hard it had been for him and stuff."

"Then the baseball player got up and told us that he wet the bed too, until he was over 12, and talked about stuff when he was a kid, and how he felt too. I never knew anyone else had it happen to them until then. They both talked about some of the reasons why it happens, and then told us about other famous people who had wet the bed, and that there was a good chance that there were a bunch of kids here who did but were afraid to tell anyone." 

"I felt a lot better after that, and most people didn't bother me anymore, except for the bullies, but they were jerks before anyway. A few even came and said sorry to me and just before I left that friend came and told me he was sorry too."

I was still scared that dad would be mad and hate me, when he found out but he didn't" he finished.

"I was worried that Sammy wouldn't like me if he found out too," Kevin added.

"Yea and dufus here was scared that we wouldn't like him if we found out that he did" Randy threw in.

"Hey, who you calling a dufus?" Sammy asked as he tackled Randy and they fell to the floor wrestling. 

"Guys…guys…HEY GUYS" I ended up shouting which got cute little boy giggles from Peter that broke out in full laughter as the two in question both said, "what, you talking to us?" 

"No, I'm talking to your dad behind you" I said which caused Randy to quickly jump up and look around guiltily for Eric, while Sammy actually turned around too, before he caught on and quickly turned back to me with a scowl on his face. 

"Thats not funny," they said in unison, but it was spoiled, because all of us were laughing by now. 

"You're outvoted." I said to them while trying to catch my breath.

If looks could kill…

As they settled down, Peter said softly, "this is so cool, I never knew others that, you know, did that."

"Yea its kind of cool when you don't have to worry about it" Sammy told him seriously, then, "and you never have to worry about it bro," which got an adorable smile from Peter, and I knew, if I had any doubts somewhere, they were gone now.

"So how about if you and I go jump in the shower and get cleaned up little one?" I asked him, which got another shy smile and an "ok" as I picked him up once again, and headed out to the bathroom, but I couldn't resist a parting shot, "we'll be back in a little while so don't destroy the place."

Which of course got groans and a "Daaaaaaaad" from the gang.

I loved hearing that almost as much as I loved the soft giggle coming from the little bundle in my arms.

I carried him into the bathroom, and sat him down on the edge of the toilet, while I turned the water on; adjusting the temperature to a comfortable setting before turning back to Peter. 

I could tell that the night was definitely catching up with him as he looked at me with that kind of glassy stare which indicates exhaustion. 

"Ready, little one?"

"Uh huh," was the mumbled reply from him, accompanied by a nod of his head. 

"Well, son, let's get you up then," I said as I stepped over to him and pulled him gently to his feet. 

Yup, definitely tired. 

I caught him as he swayed slightly.

"Don't fall over now" I said but he didn't really respond. I think that he had just plain had it. It was almost three in the morning and if he wasn't physically exhausted, I was sure that emotionally he was.

I picked him up and carried him into the shower, and watched as the water seemed to revive him a bit, before letting him down to stand on his own.

"Sorry, Dad, I'm just sleepy." he said to me with a small smile as I quickly reassured him. 

"its ok, sweetheart, it is kind of late you know," which got a little giggle from him as I took the soap and got my hands all covered with lather. 

I began lathering him up, starting on his shoulders and working my way down. It felt so good to slowly and methodically run my hands all over his small body, and I could tell that he was enjoying the ministrations, as well, as occasionally, I would hear small mmmms and groans of pleasure come from him.

Nothing quite like a bath, either giving or getting one.

I finally finished most of him, ending at his feet, as I looked up at his closed eyes and said, "you want to get the rest little one?" wanting to let him take care of his private spaces.

"Mmmm mmmm, you do it, please," he said opening his eyes and looking at me with complete trust and contentment.

"Ok, son, what ever you want," I replied moving my soapy hand up, and gently washing between his cheeks, and his butt, quickly, before moving back to his front.

Saving his front for last, I grasped his penis, and soaped it up, then pulled the foreskin back, soaping what had been concealed and then releasing it. 

I smiled as he giggled a bit at the touch there, but he was too tired to really respond that much. 

I stood up and found him looking at me once again, with love in his eyes, as I bent over a bit and planted a gentle loving kiss on his little button nose, causing another giggle to escape his lips, I found them quite precious.

I quickly soaped myself and then turned to take care of his hair which got the J&J baby shampoo treatment, as that was all that Sammy would allow near his head. 

After rinsing his head, I then started rinsing him off, finally using an old trick I had learned with Sammy. I went behind him and picked him up, bringing his lower regions directly up into the spray where they could get it cleaned with a minimum amount of effort, not to mention that it makes them giggle, and Peter didn't disappoint me one bit, as his cute giggles broke out when I lifted him up, and only increased as I lifted him higher, and told him to lift his legs up letting the spray wash his butt.

As I set him down, he had a big smile on his face, while I finished rinsing myself and he told me "that was fun"

I got out of the shower and reached back grabbing him which got some more giggles out of him. He was a ticklish one that was for sure. 

I knew I was going to have fun with that, another time.

I got him dried off, and then myself, as he stood there. I could tell the little guy was really tired as he tried so valiantly to keep his eyes open.

After we were both dry, I picked him up and walked with him back to the bedroom, telling him "lets see if we can find you something to wear."

He only mumbled, and I realized that he was pretty much asleep.

I was surprised but really shouldn't have been, to find the bed completely remade, and the UT sound asleep in it. 

Sammy was the only one who was up, and barely, at that. 

"Hi dad." 

"Hi little one, he's totally out." I told him, as I came over and placed his new brother down between Sam and the others, he would have to go native tonight. 

"I'm gonna stay here with him, ok, dad?"

"Of course its ok, honey, sweet dreams." I said, as I bent over and kissed him gently, then followed that, by softly kissing Peter as well.

"I love you, son, and thank you for making the bed and everything tonight." I said softly to him.

"He's my brother now," Sam said, simply, as he smiled up at me.

"Yes he is."

"Goodnight, little one," I said, as I pulled the covers up over them.

"night dad, I love you," was the final comment from him, as he turned over, and took his brother in his arms; cuddling up to him.

I stopped as I reached the door, and moved my hand to the light switch pausing as I looked back at the tangle of boys that met my eyes. 

It was a sight that would forever be imprinted on my memory, looking at them lying there together like that. 

A true Kodak moment.

My life had changed tonight, once again, and I didn't know what the future held for us, but I did know it was now going to be faced, with two little boys, while only a short few hours ago, it had been one. 

I smiled softly as I watched for a moment longer, before whispering into the room,

"I love you too…all of you," as I slowly pressed the knob in, turning off the light and headed towards my bed.