"I'll be back in a few hours, don't wreck the house." Nodding as he watched Mana leave, he turned to the couch, bouncing Allen in his arms as he looked to his friend and half-brother.
"I still don't understand how the three of us got stuck with babysitting. What are we even supposed to do with him?" Hearing the words from the red-head, he really wished he didn't see the smirk on Tiki's face.
"We can leave him to his own devices right? Let's bring him with us into town, I'm sure he won't mind." In hindsight, he knew the three of them were going to regret the decision, wether Allen tattled on them or Mana found out on his own.
"Come on Nea, you going to play or are you just going to stare at your cards." Blinking as he finally escaped his thoughts, he looked back at his hand and clicked his tongue. Setting the cards down again he shook his head. He was usually able to bluff when he played, but he could just say his reason for not was sitting on the floor coloring with a lollipop in his mouth.
"Fold." Resting his forehead on his palm he closed his eyes for only a moment before he felt a hand pulling on the bottom of his shirt. "Something wrong Allen? Need to use the bathroom again?" Raising an eyebrow as he watched his nephew shake his head, he glanced to where the pages were to find them put back into Allen's backpack with his coloring tools.
"Can I play Nee? Please?" Blinking once, then twice, he couldn't stop himself from chuckling at the question. Letting Allen climb onto his lap, he made sure to hold the whitette in place so he wouldn't fall as more cards were dealt out. Catching an odd look from Tiki, he only managed to shrug.
"You sure it's smart for him to be up here?"
"He's just watching, it's not like I'm giving him any cards." If only he knew how wrong he was saying that. After a few rounds of playing he had to get up to use the bathroom, not expecting it to be so crowded when he got there. Upon getting back to the table he found what had to be one of the cutest and most scary things he's seen in his life. Allen, who had stayed in the seat when he left the table, was now standing in the chair so he could see the whole table, holding his cards close to him. Apparently by the looks of everyone's chips a few rounds had already been played. Tapping on Tiki's shoulder, he watched as Allen bounced on his feet in the chair.
"Oh, Nea, you're back? What took you so long?" Giving an unamused expression to his half-brother, he gestured to the toddler standing in his seat.
"It was crowded. Please tell me why Allen is playing in my place." Glancing around the table, he could see that there were new players, apparently a few had come and gone while he was away.
"Well the hand was dealt and we waited a few minutes for you to come back, but it was taking too long and Allen picked up your cards. Don't worry, he's kicking our asses. Though you might need to just pull up another chair, I doubt he's going to give you yours back at this point." Sighing, he waited for the round to end before he stepped over to Allen, the toddler trying to stack his tokens apart from his uncle's. By the looks of the stacks of plastic coins, the toddler really was kicking everyone's asses at poker.
"Hey kiddo, can I have my seat back? I didn't mean for you to play for me, especially not for this long." Watching as Allen chose to visibly think, he could hear the giggling before he got his answer, hearing laughter from the rest of the table.
"No! I'm play, Nee! You play too?" Okay, he couldn't say no to that face. Grabbing a chair from another table, he moved so he was on the side of Allen that was opposite of Tiki. He would need to wait for the next round in order to be dealt in, but he couldn't help his blush in embarrassment at how much better his nephew was doing at the game after watching him play maybe ten rounds before he took over.
"Hey Allen, do you need help giving Nea his chips since you kept them neat and separate?" Blinking a few times at what Cross said, he looked to the whitette as the boy shook his head. Was Allen really that sorted, enough to know how many of the pieces had originally been his? Alright, who taught the three year-old to count?
"I go it, it otay. Here oo go Nee, I ove oo!" Feeling Allen kiss his cheek, he watched as the three year-old started moving stacks of game chips after setting his cards down face up. After a few more rounds it was only Allen still putting chips into the pot, everyone else too proud to stop even if it meant using their items as payment. That didn't stop Allen's win streak, it seemed like Allen only got winning hands.
"I never thought I'd be losing to a child at poker." Hearing the mumbling from the man to his right, he couldn't help his smirk, glancing over to Allen again. He was proud of his nephew, but at the same time he was dreading the end results of this game. As it was he was down to pants and socks as betting material, but he was doing better than some of the other players. Feeling his phone vibrate from his pocket, he tilted his cards close to his chest as he reached for it. Getting an odd look from Tiki and Cross, he felt the vibration cease, the call going to voicemail. Checking for who had called, he placed his hand down, hearing the laughing and clapping from his left. His heart nearly stopped in his chest at the caller ID, and how the door to the bar opened moments after the vibrating stopped scared him relentlessly.
"I'd have thought you would have rather kept your shoes than your phone, Nea. What's wrong?" He could tell that he had gone pale without the question from his friend, having seen the other brunette enter the bar from the corner of his eye. He wasn't the only one to see Mana, Allen jumping on the chair and laughing in excitement. He wished his nephew realized that he was the only one not about to be brutally murdered by his father.
"Mana! Mana!" Said man walked over at being directed by his son, and he could see the expressions of Tiki and Cross reflecting his own. Oh they were so dead. It didn't help that the other two were only in their briefs, it actually made the scene worse.
"Hey sweetheart, what are you doing?" Watching his brother lift up the three year-old, he watched the dealer start cleaning up, grabbing the exchange box from under the table for when he could get Mana's attention.
"Play with the gown ups! I win!" Tucking his phone into his pocket again, he could see as Tiki and Cross fidgeted in their seats.
"I can see that Allen." He felt the usually warm hazel eyes turn to him with such coldness before Mana had his attention pulled by the other players standing and getting ready to go. Watching one of the larger men move up to the two of them, he wasn't as surprised as he probably should have been by how the man was acting, left only in his pants.
"It was nice playing against you kid. I doubt I'll see you around but it was nice to not have everyone getting so full of themselves for once." Watching Mana's expression as the rest of the players moved to leave, all saying goodbye to Allen, he could tell his twin was in shock by everyone's reaction.
"Wait! Don't you want your stuff back? It's cold out there and most of you are half naked." The next words spoken he could see Mana freeze.
"Nah, we're fine. The kid won them fair and square." He could watch as Allen squirmed in Mana's arms, hopping into the floor before grabbing the much too large coats he and Tiki had hung from Allen's chair. It was a sight to see a smaller than average three year-old carrying the coats that could have easily hidden him.
"Waiiit! Please take back ur coats. Thank oo for play wif me." He could see as Allen made sure the grown men got their coats on from where he sat, able to hear as the dealer spoke with Mana about exchanging the chips for cash. After everything was sorted, most of the physical winnings being put into Allen's backpack and a second bag that the bar was more than happy to give them, Mana ushered the rest of them out only returning Cross' and Tiki's pants so the two wouldn't get in trouble for public indecency. His socks weren't much help against the cold of the concrete below him, but he couldn't pay much attention to that, dreading reaching home.
"Alright, while Allen is changing into his pajamas, who's bright idea was it to take him to a bar and let him gamble?" Within an instant he saw the other two point fingers, Cross at Tiki and Tiki towards himself. "Nea? You going to give an answer or are you just going to end up pointing at yourself?" Hearing the disdain in his brother's voice, he could hear Allen's giggling from the other room.
"Tiki said we should go out to the bar. Allen took my spot when I left for the bathroom and neither of these two stopped him." His answer didn't really help the situation the three of them were in, Mana grabbing some of his extra hair ribbons to tie their wrists behind their backs. That night his head felt half as light as he went to sleep, the backyard scattered with hair in both dark brown and red. At least he could pull off wearing a hat.