by Rusty

"Gavin, I'm not going to tell you again. You need to turn off the Playstation and get ready for bed," Jack called from the stairs. Not waiting to see if Gavin did as he was told, he climbed the stairs, heading for the shower.

They'd been up late every night for the past few weeks and Jack was determined they be in bed by eleven tonight. Between Jack's new position with the District Attorney's office and Gavin working on two large marketing presentations for potential clients, they had been like ships passing in the night. 

Gavin was always a bear to get up in the mornings after too little sleep. With their schedules being what they were these past weeks, their mornings were becoming more and more like a battle zone. 

Gavin had finished his presentations and Jack was feeling confident in his new position. There was no reason for them continue killing themselves. Jack figured it was past time for things to get back to normal..... before they both forgot what 'normal' was.

Drying himself off from his shower, Jack called out to Gavin thinking he had done what he was told and was already in the bedroom.

"Gav, if you want to take a quick shower, I'm finished."

When Gavin didn't answer, Jack peered his head around the door of the master bath, looking into their bedroom.

"I swear, he has a death wish," Jack muttered under his breath, after slipping on his boxers, he headed for the stairs with one purpose.

Hauling the Video Game King to bed.

When he reached the family room on the first floor he found Gavin, still huddled on the couch wearing only his boxers, with the Playstation controls locked in his hands. His eyes had a pointed, glazed look in them, so enthralled with his game that he didn't even hear Jack walk up beside him.

Taking the Playstation controls out of his hand, Jack fixed Gavin with a Look.
"I've told you at least four times to turn this off and get ready for bed. Which part of that didn't you understand?"

"Give that back.." Gavin squawked, as he made an unsuccessful grab for the controls. "I'm almost on level nine. I've never been that far in this game before."

"Gavin, I'm not going to argue with you about this. We’re both tired and we're both going to bed. Come on.” Jack ordered, as he carried the controls to the entertainment center and put them in the drawer. He switched off the game and the television, then shut the doors to the cabinet.

"Jack, I've not had any time for anything fun in forever! I was relaxing for the first time in weeks." Gavin complained, as he pushed himself up from the couch and headed for the entertainment center. "You just *lost* me that game! I'll probably never get that far again."

Jack held his hand up, stopping Gavin's tirade. "You don't relax when you play those games. You keep going and going, getting more wound up by the minute."

"Fine! Be that way!" Gavin huffed, sticking his nose in the air. "I'll just get something to eat and watch a movie then."

"You're pushing, Gav." Jack said calmly, but the steel was there. Gavin wasn't normally defiant, it just wasn't in his nature.

And knowing him the way he did, Jack also knew that this unusual rebellion wasn't because Gavin had forgotten what 'normal' was around here either.... but only that life in general hadn't  been 'normal' for either of them lately and he was fighting to get things back under control......

"I'm not pushing!" Gavin pushed; he felt edgey, things just felt....untidy around here!

......or more to the point, Gavin needed to know that things were back to 'normal' and  that Jack was back in control.

'Gavin, forget the game. Forget the movie. Forget the food." Jack's voice was firm, hoping that would be all it would take to stop this from escalating.  "We're going  to bed. We both need sleep."

"No!" Gavin snapped, pushing for control.  "I'm a grown man, Jack! I *think* I can decide if I need sleep or not!"

Jack raised both eyebrows and cocked his head to the side. "Would you like to rephrase that?"

"No....o..?" Gavin changed his mind, when Jack, apparently giving up on any hope of this being resolved by voice command, took charge of the situation by tugging him by the arm towards the couch

..wait....wait..I didn't mean...!

After leading him to the couch, Jack sat down, pulled Gavin over his knees and pushed his boxers down over his cheeks, then proceded to dust the untidiness from Gavin's life with the palm of his hand

"Noooo...I mean ...stop..I'm sorry!" Gavin yelped between swats, wiggling and squirming, and Very ready to acknowledge just exactly who had Always been in charge around here.

After one final swat, Jack lifted Gavin to his feet to stand in front of him.

"Are we going to bed now. Without any arguments."

Jack made it sound as if he were asking, but Gavin knew that there weren't any periods at the end of those supposed questions.

Not one question mark in sight!

The comfort he felt in knowing that seemed kind of at odds with his slightly pink and still stinging behind.

"Yeah, okay." Gavin sniffed. "I'm ready for bed."

"Right answer."

Jack pushed himself up from the couch, kissed Gavin's forehead, then hung an arm over his shoulder as they walked towards the stairs together.


"Gav, we can't thank you enough for doing this," Lori Ryan said, as she placed Katie in Gavin's arms. "We tried calling Mary and Big John, but we couldn't find a single person at home that we could have left them with."

Gavin rested Katie on his hip, trying not to trip over the the red-headed twins who were hanging on, like monkeys, to each one of his legs.  He rubbed his nose in Katie's silky, blonde hair; it was so soft and she always smelled so sweet. "Hey, you know I love hanging out with the kids, we always have a great time."

Patrick gave Gavin a wry smile. "We know you love hanging out with them, Gav, but... are you sure you can handle all three of them without my brother being here?"

"You don't think I can handle them without the Neanderthal?" Gavin asked, biting the inside of his cheek; he stuck his nose in the air in mock insult. "What's he got that I ain't got?"

Lori and Patrick smiled and exchanged looks between them. Out of all the Ryan uncles, Gavin was the favorite, the kids loved him. What kid wouldn't? He did whatever they wanted, he couldn't deny them anything.

"Okay, don't answer that." Gavin laughed, knowing he was considered the pushover of the Ryan family. "Jack's just playing racquetball, he'll be home around three o'clock at the latest. It's almost two now. We'll only be *alone* an hour.  You guys are gonna give me a complex, for crying out loud!”

"Are you sure?"  Lori asked, chewing on her lip, not worried in the least that the kids wouldn't be in the very best care, Gavin loved them. But he was a little bit naive about them, and she was worried that *he* might not survive it.

"We’ll be fine, honest."  Gavin gave Lori a one armed hug. "I know you'll feel better after seeing your grandmother, Lor. Just go, and don't give anything else a thought."

Gavin was worried about Lori's grandmother. He loved all of the Ryans and since Lori was a Ryan,  that made her grandmother one, too. And he loved hanging out with the kids, he adored them. He would drop anything that he was doing in order to help any one of the Ryan's and he was happy to help Lori and Patrick today.  But.......

.....the sooner he could get them to leave, the sooner they would be back. This was the first Saturday in weeks that he and Jack could relax and do whatever they wanted. And Gavin had big plans for this afternoon.

He wanted to play "Do the Prosecutor", and he wanted to start playing it as soon as Jack got home.

"My mom said they were taking her up to cardiac care. I just want to check in and make sure everything is stable. We shouldn't be gone more than a few hours. They have some books and crayons in their bags." Lori leaned over to give Katie a kiss, bent down to kiss the boys, then stood up, planting kiss on Gavin's cheek. "Thank you."

"I know that you and Jack have both been swamped lately, you were probably looking forward to relaxing today." Patrick said, as he kissed his three angels goodbye. "This can't be what you had in mind. Are you sure you'll be okay?

"We'll have a great time, won't we guys?" Gavin smiled down at the little angels, .....completely oblivious to the fact that hiding underneath their flaming red and blonde curls....were three sets of horns.

"What could go wrong?"


Thirty minutes later Gavin was beginning to realize that he might be just a *little* bit over his head. Three kids in a house that wasn't exactly childproof meant you couldn't let your guard down even for one second! He wished it weren't raining. They could've gone to the park or something.

He and Jack had watched the kids plenty of times, but he just couldn'tremember it being this ....hard? There must be some sort of secret trick to this babysitting business that he hadn’t been aware of before.

The twins had already knocked over one lamp in the front sitting room and broke it. Nathan, the oldest twin, had nearly fallen down the stairs when he tried to slide down the banister from the top of the long staircase.

After saving Nathan from certain death, Gavin had heard yet another crash and ran towards the dinning room; just in time to save Jason, the second twin, from stepping in yet another piece of broken crockery. He had apparently tried to climb up the hutch, by opening the drawers at the bottom and using them for a ladder.. The crockery sitting on top of the hutch had fallen from its perch. It's a wonder the thing hadn't landed on the little guy’s head, or the whole hutch hadn't been pulled down on top of him. 

He and Jack should have thought about that being a possibility before placing it there.  It was dangerous!

Gavin had helped them set up a tent in the family room with blankets and chairs. That hadn't held their interest very long.

He'd made the mistake of letting them talk him into coloring with the markers they'd found in a drawer. The markers had bled through the paper and on to the coffee table.

He wondered if the 'Permenant' in the markers would live up to its promise?

Gavin thought there should be a law about selling markers like that! They really should make those red warning labels a little bigger, so a guy could read them!

After all of that, the kids had worked up a thirst and they had convinced him that the  red punch just *had* to be served in the family room in front of the TV. During a scuffle over the remote, all three glasses of red punch had been knocked over, adding a red glue-like glaze, over the Permanent Red Marker Art already there, probably permanently staining the antique coffee table......along with the once-wheat-colored carpet beneath it.

He and Jack had  planned on refinishing the wood floor in there, at some point, anyway. Well, maybe a nice area rug would cover the spots?

While taking a bathroom break, Gavin had lost track of the little dev-angels for a few minutes. Apparently, when people starting having kids, it stopped them from *having* the need to  *GO* to the bathroom!

When would they *ever* find the time to *do* it, for crying out loud?

He finally caught up with them in the den, where Jack's computer and his case files were neatly stacked on the desk....or had been, anyway.

"Hey guys, maybe we shouldn't play in here, okay?" Gavin asked the boys, as he picked Nathan up off of the desk. He stacked the papers back in a neat pile and tried diverting Jason from the keyboard. "You know how Uncle Jack is about his computer and all of his work stuff is in here, see?"

"We were jist playin'. We won't hurt nothin' Uncle Gavin," Jason scrunched up his little freckled nose, his big green eyes had that sweet, pleading look in them. "Pleeease!"

Gavin could barely look in those eyes, he hated disappointing them.. He figured that he and Jack should look into buying another computer, one that the kids could play with when they came to visit. It was never too early for the little angels to have access to one.

He’d read about stuff like that.

He had to think of something quick, before those sweet little eyes had him giving in.

"Hey, I have a great idea!  Why don't we make some brownies?"

That was something fun and safe, right?
Jason and Nathan were stitting on the barstools, knees tucked under them, playing a game of tug of war with a spoon. Katie sat on top of the bar, her little arms crossed over her chest, glaring at her brothers.

"We have to take turns stirring the brownies, Jason.  It's Nathan's turn now, okay?" Gavin asked gently, hoping it would stop yet another argument from erupting between the two. 

"I wanna stiwr now, Unca Gabin." Katie pleaded, her bottom lip pushed out in a pout, her big blue eyes blinking up at Gavin. She grabbed for the egg carton, but Gavin slid the box out of her reach.

"I wanna brweak a egg, Unca Gabin!" Katie whined, her little lip pushed out even further.

"I don't think we need anymore eggs, sweetie?" Gavin explained, but he made the mistake of Looking at her as he spoke, and after seeing her sweet little elf-like face and   ..oh God! ... the *disappointment*.... written all over it, he decided one more egg couldn't hurt. He let her crack another egg into the bowl. Two wouldn’t hurt anything, surely.

She smiled at him, but she still wasn't satisfied. "I stiwr now, pwease."

"You can stir after Jason, okay?" Gavin sighed, God, she sounded so cute when she said 'pwease' They should've made three separate batches of brownies. They could've each had their own bowl that way.  He should have thought of that before.

"She can stir now. I gotta go to the bafroom," Jason announced, his hands covered in chocolate, he gave the spoon to Katie, jumped off his barstool and made a mad dash out of the kitchen....his chocolate covered hands leaving a trail as he palmed every surface on his way out.

"Me too!" Nathan jumped off his stool and followed his brother's chocolate covered trail, leaving his own trail as he went.

"Wait guys -uhhh -why don't you use the..?" Gavin called after them, wincing at the mess they had made of his beautiful yellow walls.  He looked down at Katie, who was busy stirring the brownies. "They could've used the bathroom right here. We probably should follow them, uh?"

"I stwir now!" Katie protested, from practically inside the bowl.

"Well, you sit here on the stool though, okay? I don't want you to fall." Gavin lifted Katie off the bar and sat her down on the stool. "I'll be back in just a second."

Gavin looked back once to make sure Katie was safely sitting on the stool and then went in search of the boys. He walked upstairs, checked the bathroom in the hallway, and after not finding them there, headed for the master bath off his and Jack's bedroom.. They weren't in there either.

"Don't panic," Gavin muttered to himself. "....they have to be in the house.... somewhere.” 

How people did DO this everyday? He was exhausted!

He rushed down the stairs, frantically searching the rooms on the first floor. They weren't in the family room, dining room or *good* sitting room - although there was chocolate evidence of them everywhere! The den door was still closed, just the way he'd left it, so he headed back to the kitchen, heart starting to pound a little and stopped just inside the doorway and........groaned.

He'd only been gone a few minutes. Seconds really.

Katie was perched on top of the bar again, chocolate from head to toe, a white film of *something*....although Gavin couldn't imagine what....covered the chocolate.  She was surrounded by what looked like a million eggshells, but since there had only been ten left in the box, that was probably a slight exaggeration. The cannisters used for storing the flour and sugar were lying on their sides - their contents had spilled out and all over the counter.

Well, that explained the white film that covered the already-chocolatey-covered Katie.

After spotting Gavin out of the corner of her eye, Katie smiled at him, her baby teeth were glowing white against the brown-chunk-like smears covering her tiny elf-shaped face.

She squealed, "I make bwrownies, Unca Gabin!"

"I.....can see that?" Gavin squeaked, not wanting to hurt her feelings; but he was a fussbudget about his kitchen, so.... *squeaking* was about all he could manage. She might be a budding chef and he didn't want to discourage her by saying anything negative. One negative word could scar her for life or something. 

He’d read about stuff like that. 

His head jerked up when he heard another crash.  He groaned.

How did people DO this every day? 

It was exhausting! There HAD to be a SECRET to this, there just HAD to be! Or no one in their right mind would EVER have any kids! The world as they knew it would cease to exist!

He picked Katie up, holding her far out in front him and sat her on the floor. "Just stay there a minute and don't touch anything, okay? I've gotta go check on your brothers."

Gavin rushed through the doorway in the direction of the crash. The door to the den was still closed, but it was the only place he hadn't looked. The door wouldn't open, so he figured it had to be locked from the other side.

"Boys, are you in there? Are you alright?" Gavin wiggled the door knob again, then knocked on the door. "Are you guys okay? If you're in there, please, open the door?"

He heard another crash.

"Boys, are you alright? Please open the door, okay?" He waited a few seconds, wondering if he should call the fire department or something.

After a few more minutes of pleading, Gavin decided he needed to take a different course of action.

"Hey guys, why don't you let me in - so I can play too?"  Gavin leaned his head against the door, silently hoping this would work before anything else was demolished. He wasn't so much worried about the boys any longer, they seemed to be resilient sorts.

The Devil protected his own apparently!

The door handle wiggled some and Gavin, almost afraid to see what was on the other side of it, very slowly pushed it open and peeked inside..

He was right in being afraid.

The papers files that once lay on Jack's desk, so neatly stacked, were now strung out all over the floor. And he could very plainly see, even from where he was standing, the little chocolate handprints smudges that covered each and every one of them.

The lamp from Jack's desk was lying broken on the floor, and the computer monitor that once sat on top of the desk, was keeping it company there.

The keyboard was still sitting on the desk though, little chocolate fingerprints covered it. Gavin recognized those fingerprints. They seemed to be EVERYwhere!

Gavin closed his eyes and rubbed his hand over his face, hoping this was all just a really bad dream, a *nightmare* even and muttered under his breath.  "Things couldn't possibly get any worse!

When opened his eyes, he realized he may have spoken to soon?

Standing in the doorway, holding a chocolate covered and flour coated Katie in his outstretched arms and looking a little shell-shocked, to say the least, was Jack Ryan.

Gavin couldn't say a word. He just couldn't. He was *way* past 'shell-shocked' himself!

The boys had no trouble speaking though.

"It was Jason's fault the 'puter fell," Nathan said, pointing an accusing chocolatey-covered finger at his brother.

Jason pointed a chocolatey finger of his own. "Was not! It was Nathan's fault, he wouldn't let me have a turn!"

Gavin started to explain, although he didn't quite know where to begin. Hell, he *still* didn't know how all of this happened himself!

"Don't say anything." Jack said, holding Katie out in front of him. "Just take her upstairs and clean her up. I'll start cleaning up in here."

Gavin collected the chocolatey-covered Katie from Jack.  "Jack...."

"Just do it." Jack ordered, crouching down to gather his papers from the floor, he looked up at the twins.  "You boys go to the downstairs bathroom and wash your hands. Then come straight back in here and help clean this mess up."

Eyes wide, the boys inched their way slowly towards the doorway.


Not knowing who that *Move* was directed at, Jason, Nathan and Gavin, still holding Katie out in front of him, scrambled for door.

"Uh oh." Katie whispered to Gavin as they headed for the stairs.

"Uh oh is right, sweetie,” Gavin agreed, this whole day had been one HUGE 'uh oh!' Jack didn't even know the *half* of it!

Hell, Gavin didn't even know the half of it and he'd been here the whole time!

It had taken Gavin a good half hour to get Katie cleaned up, he had to stick her in the shower, clothes and all. Fortunately, Lori had packed an extra set of clothes for all three of the kids in their bags. She was probably used to this sort of thing and didn't go anywhere without being prepared for.... ANYthing!

God, how did people DO this every day?

After Katie was presentable, Gavin scooped her up in his arms and headed down the stairs. He hoped Jack was in a better mood. He spotted the boys lying on the floor in the family room with their crayons and coloring books. Katie squirmed to be let down, went straight for her bag and dug out her own books and crayons. She plopped down on her belly beside her brothers.

Nathan peered up at Gavin and said in a stage whisper, "Uncle Jack's pretty mad. You might wanna color with us."

"Yeah... I'd stay away from him." Jason nodded his head, in total agreement with his brother.

Gavin gave them a little smile, wishing he could just color rather than try to explain all of this to Jack. He didn't know where to begin. He didn't understand it himself!

These things NEVER happened when Jack was here for some reason. There just HAD to be some sort of SECRET to this! 

People just couldn’t DO this every day! 

And still be SANE, for crying out loud!

Gavin entered the kithen, pausing in the doorway.  Jack was cleaning off the bar, he held the trashcan up to the edge, then dumped all the contents of Katie's creation into it.

"Want me to finish cleaning up in here?" Gavin asked, nose scrunched, trying to gauge Jack's mood.

"What I really want,  is to know..." Jack looked up at Gavin, eyes wide, "...exactly what *did* happen in here?"

"To be honest, Jack...." Gavin shrugged his shoulders, held his hand in front of him, palms up, "....I don't *know*!"

"I've already cleaned up the den and sorted out the papers. I haven't quite figured out  how I'm going explain to the judge, why there are ...chocolate handprint smears... imbedded on each and every one. Do you think he'll beleive that they're the  new 'Ohio State Seal?"

Jack walked towards the cabinet under the sink.

"The computer moniter is a total bust...." Jack leaned over and opened the cabinet door under the sink. " is the lamp that once sat on my desk."

Reaching into the cupboard, Jack pulled out a trash bag and handed it to Gavin. "You can clean up what remains of the lamp in the sitting room and the crock in the dining room."

"Then when you're done with that....." Jack reached into the cupboard again, pulled out a bottle of fabric cleaner and sat it on the counter. ".... there seems to be several chocolate handprints on ...just about every piece of furniture we own."

"Then when you're finished with that...." Jack continued, reaching under the cupboard again, pulling out a spray bottle.  " can check out every wall in the house.  You'll find chocolate handprints there, too. Just look - oh - about three feet up - just about *anywhere* you look. You really can't miss them."

He reached inside the cabinet once again, pulled out a bottle of wood soap and sat it next to the other supplies.

"Then when you're finished with that, there is some sort of... red concoction.... I can't even imagine what?.....on the coffee table in the family room." Jack reached inside the cabinet one last time, pulled out the carpet cleaner and placed it on the counter with the others.  "You'll need this to clean the carpet under the table. Whatever it is that's on the  table - seems to be on the floor as well."

"You're mad, uh?" Gavin asked, cringing a little at Jack's look.

Jack looked at Gavin, his eyes wide with wonder.

"I don't know if "mad" is really the right word, Gav." He looked up towards the ceiling, as if searching for just the *right* word to describe what he was.

"I'm just......amazed."

By the time Patrick and Lori had returned from the hospital the house was pretty much  back to normal. The kids were lying quietly on the floor, coloring in their books, looking like perfect angels..... and nothing at all like the demolition experts they were! They hadn't stayed very long; the kids seemed tired and they thought they could probably use a nap.

Gavin could use nap himself! It didn't surprise him in the least that the little dev-angels needed one!

"I don't know why you're mad a me over this, Jack." Gavin complained from his end of the couch, a totally perplexed look on his face. "I didn't do all that stuff. *They* did!"

He hated being a tattletale, but Gavin figured a guy had to do - what a guy had to do.  There was NO such thing as age discrimination when you were trying to save your own ass.

"Gavin, *you*  are the adult. You're supposed to be the responsible one." Jack still couldn't believe what he'd walked in on. "You've been around those kids from the day they were born. They've been here with us more times than we can count and there's never been any problems."

"For some reason they didn't want to do anything I said. I tried diverting them.  I didn't tell them they could do all that stuff, Jack; they just *did* it!" Gavin still couldn't believe it, they had always been so sweet before! "I just don't know *how* people DO that every day?"

Jack looked confused. "Do.. what?"

"*Live* in the same house with kids, Jack! There *has* to be some sort of secret to it!  The human race would have become extinct a million *years* ago if there wasn't!"

"There isn't a 'secret', Gav." Jack chuckled a little; he knew how much Gavin loved those kids, how much he looked forward to their having a few of their own one day.  "I know you.  You didn't tell them they *couldn't* do anything. Every time you say something to those kids there's a question mark at the end of every sentence."

Gavin blinked.  "I don't do that?"

"'Maybe we shouldn't do that, okay?' or 'Let's not play with the computer, okay?'" Jack repeated the famous-Gavin-like phrasings that made him everybody's favorite uncle.....

"I'm not that ....bad?"

"....or... *maybe* we shouldn't play in the den, *okay?*'" Jack continued, knowing exactly what had happened. He could read the writing on the wall, or in this case....the chocolate handprints!  "It boggles my mind that someone with your IQ didn't think to lock the door,  but that two little boys under three feet tall, figured out how to lock *you* out of that same room."

At Gavin's surprised look Jack added, "I got *that* information from Nathan."

"Oh..?" Gavin blushed. Little tattletale!

"They never heard 'no'. They only heard  'maybe and 'okay?'  Jack explained. "I know that you love them, Gav, and you'd never let anything happen to them. But *you* are the adult, they were in *your* care, and it's not going to scar them for life if you tell them  'no' once in while."

Gavin started to speak, but apparently Jack wasn't finished with his dissertation on Devilsitting 101.

"It's all in the presentation." Jack continued, explaining the 'secret' to how proceation had survived for a million years.. "You don't give them choices. You don't *ask* them for permission *not* to do something. You *tell* them they are *not*going to do it. That way there aren't any mixed messages. God Gavin, they weren't even here an hour before I got home. What would have happened if I hadn't come home when I did?"

"You know, speaking of mixed messages, just two nights ago I remember you telling me, very specifically, that saying *no* was *not* a good thing," Gavin mumbled, giving Jack an ...I'm SO confused.. look.

Jack wasn't buying it. "Gavin, you are an adult. You can't tell me that you don't see the difference. You own your own business, you deal with the people in charge of large companies every day in your job and you never seem to have any trouble getting your point across. What is it about anyone under three feet tall that turns your brain to mush?"

Easy for you to say, Gavin thought.....  You didn't see their faces!

Jack could see, from the look on Gavin's face, that he would need a whole lot more practice before he'd ever be able to say 'no' to an tiny elf-shaped face or a pair of baby blue eyes.  He pushed himself off the couch, went over to the desk in the corner and opened the drawer.

Gavin heard the drawer open, his eyes widened in disbelief. That damned little paddle was in that drawer. He'd just practice saying *NO* right now, because there was NO way that he deserved to be paddled for this! Of course he never liked admitting he *ever* deserved it, but he didn't believe for one second that even Jack would think so this time.

OKAY, so he wasn't used to being alone with the kids. But no one had ever told him about The SECRET before!  He just wouldn't be alone with them until he learned to be a little more assertive with the little dev-angels.

Gavin sighed a little in relief when Jack returned with only a legal pad in his hand. He really hadn't believed that Jack would paddle him over this. But that paddle Stung and
just the *thought* of it had him screaming *NO* ......
......with a HUGE exclamation point after it

Hearing the sigh, Jack rolled his eyes. "No, I'm not going to paddle you! Although, if I come home to something like this again, I may strangle you."

Jack tossed the paper and a pen in Gavin's lap, "I want you to write, 200 times,
'No, you are not going to do that.' Just as practice so you'll get used to saying it. And then you can write 'I am an adult and I will act accordingly with anyone under three feet tall' another 200 times.

"Jack, that'll take me all night to write all that!" Gavin complained, glaring down at the tablet. He had BIG plans for tonight. Plans that included a bed and a very willing and pleasant Jack Ryan.  

They’d never get to play
'Do the Prosecutor' if he had to write ALL that!

"If you'd rather, I can get the paddle."
"NO!" Gavin picked up the pen and started writing. "I'm writing. I'm writing!

Jack chuckled. “I thought you’d see it that way.”


"Are you finished?" Jack asked, when Gavin entered the kitchen and laid the tablet on the counter.

"Yeah, all done. It took forever." Gavin was pouting a little as he opened the fridge and pulled out a coke.

"If I would have thought about it, I would've added a line that said, "I will *never* devilsit alone as long as I live." Jack took a drink of his coffee.

Gavin turned around from the fridge and gave Jack a wide-eyed stare. "I'll *never* babysit alone again. I don't need to write it down to remember it, believe me. The day is completely over and we didn't do anything we'd planned."

"It's only seven o'clock." Jack got up from his stool and put his coffee cup in the sink. "Do you wanna go out and grab something to eat?"

Gavin shrugged, popping the tab on his coke, and sat down on a barstool.

"We could rent a movie, grab some take-out, then come back here?" Jack leaned against the edge of the counter. "How does that sound?"

Gavin shrugged again, taking a drink of coke.

"Which one do you want to do, Gav?" Jack asked, wondering if Gavin was pouting.

Sliding off his stool, Gavin starting walking out of the kitchen and stopped in the doorway. He looked back at Jack, mischief in his eyes.

"How do you want me to answer, Jack?  Is this one of those times that I should say *no*, I don't want to do that' or,  is this one of those times when I can say, 'I really don't want to do that, *okay?'" Gavin grinned, that crooked grin; the one he saved only for Jack. "You know, Jack, you can be so confusing sometimes."

Jack saw the grin, he bit the inside of his cheek to keep from laughing.

Gavin backed out of the kitchen towards the stairs. "You really need to make up your mind about which words are supposed to be in my vocabulary."

Jack started around the counter after him.

"Or maybe this is one of those times where I can make a suggestion of my own?" Gavin took off for the stairs and called out over his shoulder. "Forget the food. Forget the movie. Let's just go to........"
!" Gavin laughed when he heard Jack growl and ran up the stairs towards their bedroom.

Jack wasn't getting *any* mixed messages and.... this sounded like a really good suggestion to him. He took off after Gavin, laughing as he went.

.......fade to black.   ;)