Luke & Liam: Winter Concert (2024)

"Do you see our house, Luke?" Liam asked. Luke nodded, though even that was tough in his restrictive outfit. Ever since fall had turned to winter, Luke had been dressed in a green and blue snowsuit every single time they went outside. Liam insisted it was to help him stay warm and it certainly accomplished that. Luke felt warm each and every morning standing at his locker while Liam unzipped him and extracted him from it, blushing as everyone around pretended not to notice the adorable scene. The end of the day was only slightly better since Liam brought the snowsuit to the kindergarten classroom where Luke spent his afternoons. "Bet you're excited to get home." Luke nodded again. Pointing out how unfair it was that Liam got to wear a light jacket and a stocking cap while he was so bundled, only his face showed had gotten him told that pouting babies are the cutest. “Besides,” Liam had said. “It's much more appropriate than running outside in your tighty whities.”

Liam clearly loved that he had basically won and Luke was permanently stuck in a second babyhood. Even when report cards came, Luke had sat on Liam's lap like a toddler as he was given a good job sticker for getting an A in Biology. He had hoped it would translate into being allowed to grow up, but all he had gotten was time on the floor in his comfy clothes, playing with his farm set as Teddy and Liam looked on. He almost felt relieved that he was still in kindergarten, terrified that Liam might push him down in preschool or daycare!

"Whatcha thinking about?" Liam asked, having taken advantage of Luke's quiet contemplation to get him stripped down to his kindergarten uniform.

"Nothing."

"Oh, alright." Liam paused as he spied a recent addition to the entryway: their school photos. Liam did not really like his. His hair looked bad. Compared to the one next to it, though, Liam could not deny that at least he exuded maturity. Whereas Liam sat in front of a boring background, Luke stood in front of a chalkboard that read one word: kindergarten. Liam scooped Luke up and held him next to the photo. "Hmm, did I bring home the right kindergartener?"

"Liam!"

"Well, you know my name, but..." he looked from the annoyed boy in his hands to the smiling one in the photo. "I'm just not sure if you're my Lukey." Luke squirmed, but it was no use. He gave in and tried to smile just like in the photo. The photographer had not accepted his normal, slightly shy smile, cajoling him into an enormous, toothy smile that made Luke's face hurt. Liam smiled and put his brother down.

"Perfect! That's my Lukey." He chuckled at Luke's muttering, one of the few signs of defiance he seemed to show anymore. "Let's go to our room so you can get out of your school clothes and tell Teddy your exciting news!" He smiled as Luke took the opportunity to get ahead of him, though he stopped at the stairs. "What's wrong, Lukey?"

"Um" Liam waited patiently, nodding approvingly as Luke sat down on the first step and raised his feet up. "Can you please take my socks off so I don't slip on the stairs?"

"Very polite!" Liam praised. "And I need to do it because?"

"I'm a baby." Luke mumbled.

"Can you show me how baby Lukey goes up the stairs?" Luke nodded and began to use his arms to pull himself up each step, his bottom landing on each one before moving on to the next. Liam had had to stop Luke from crawling up the stairs once he realized Luke was making a game out of seeing how fast he could do it. That was not very safe, so this slow, deliberate process became the new rule.

"Alright, here we are!" LIam grabbed the pacifier sitting right by the door and pushed it into Luke's mouth. Had it just been his imagination, or had Luke had his mouth open and waiting? "Did you miss your paci?" Luke was unsure what the right answer was, so he nodded. "Well, maybe we can ask if you can start using it at school." He walked into the room, sitting down on his bed and gesturing for Luke to come over. "Oh, actually, do you want Teddy to come help you get undressed?" Luke knew the answer to that. "Where's Teddy?"

"In my..."

"Where's Teddy?" Liam asked once again. He could see the stuffed bear, but it was important to get Luke used to saying the word.

"He's in my crib, ok?" Luke managed to keep the pacifier in his mouth even with his outburst, a hand flying up to hold it in place.

"Oh, Lukey. There's no need to be ashamed of your crib. You told me yourself that you're too big to sleep with me, so we got you your very own crib to keep you safe, right?" Both of them knew that was not entirely how it happened, but Luke also knew that there was little point in fighting. He walked over to his crib and grabbed Teddy, feeling better as he went through the ritual of hugging the bear and touching his pacifier to his sewn smile. One of the family's favorite photos was a candid shot of Luke's cherubic smile as he gave Teddy a baby kiss. "Tell Teddy all about your day."

"Today in kindergarten," Luke began, trying his best to mention everything that had happened as Liam undressed him all the way down to his green and black briefs with Buzz Lightyear and the Little Green Men floating through space. Liam smiled as Luke beat around the bush before finally getting to the biggest news of the day. "And our holiday concert is coming up."

"And guess who the star's gonna be, Teddy?" Liam said excitedly. "That's right! Our very own Lukey!"

"No, I'm not." Luke protested.

"Well, how about me and Teddy decide that?" Liam took the bear from Luke and sat down on the edge of his crib. "Sing us one of the songs!" Luke knew better than to argue.

"Um, which one?"

"What's the one your friend Jonny was singing when I came to pick you up?" He could tell by Luke's face that he had hoped he would not pick that one. All the same, he put his thumbs against the sides of his head to make his hands into antlers.

"You put your antlers in, you put your antlers out." He sang. "You put your antlers in and you shake 'em all about. You do the reindeer pokey and you turn yourself around. That's what it's all about!" The second verse involved sticking his 'hooves' out, which seemed to be both his hands and feet. Then came the reindeer's red nose and finally, Luke shook his 'fluffy tail' all about, much to Liam's delight.

"Are you really getting to shake your tushie at the audience like that?" Liam asked after he had applauded and pulled Luke into his lap. "I bet you and Jonny giggle about that, huh?" Luke meekly nodded. "He's such a good little boy and a great role model for you, isn't he?" Luke made a noise. "Oh, you don't think he's a good little boy?" He teased.

"He's a good boy." Luke allowed. Liam chuckled.

"So, I was thinking in Mr. Ladd's boring class – you're so lucky that Kindergarten is always fun – that you should make tickets for Mom and Dad for your concert. Isn't that fun?"

"Uh"

"It will be! I'll get you some slips of paper and you can make a ticket for Mommy, a ticket for Daddy, and who are we forgetting?"

"You." Luke said as Liam shifted him off his lap and onto the mattress of his crib.

"And who am I?" He walked over to the dresser to grab Luke's comfy clothes.

"Big brother Liam."

"And how much do you love big brother Liam?" Luke's arms were already spreading out.

“This much!” He said.

“Now do you want to wear pajama comfy clothes or a nightie?” Liam held up a pair of Hot Wheels pajamas in one hand and one of his old shirts with a faded Spider-Man on the chest.

“Um… that one.” Luke pointed to the t-shirt. Liam chuckled.

“You sure?” Luke looked so adorable as he nodded, holding Teddy on his lap, that Liam felt his heart melt.

“Kindergarten really is good for you.” He murmured as he pulled the shirt over Luke's head. “Now let's go make some tickets!”

Liam smiled as he got Luke situated, marveling at the idea that he had set his older brother to work, teddy bear by his side, to make tickets for his kindergarten concert while dressed in an oversized t-shirt. Even when he had been outside the school, wrapped in a blanket, wearing nothing but his underwear, Liam had never dreamed how easily and naturally Luke would slip into a state of little boyhood. Clearly it was meant to be. Clearly, he needed it.

He sat down a short distance away, smiling as Luke pulled the large shirt back up over one slender shoulder. He looked so cute, it was almost impossible to focus on his homework, but he knew he needed to.

“Oh, we'll have to make sure to tell Luke's morning teachers he'll be absent on Friday.” Liam mused. The concert wasn't until 10, but that was still early enough that it seemed easiest to make Luke a full-day kindergartner, just for that day. “Might have to figure out lunch.” He shrugged. Being a big brother meant thinking of these things. Luke seemed to be having enough trouble deciding between green and blue markers over at the coffee table.

Liam tried to focus on his homework, but his mind kept wandering to Luke. Not so much to the kindergartner making tickets, but to the old Luke, which confused him. He would never see that Luke again. After all, it would be years before Luke was allowed even some aspects of the big boy status he had once had. Even kindergarten seemed almost too mature for him, given that his teacher had mentioned she sometimes just let him keep napping while the class resumed schoolwork. Liam shrugged, figuring that he would forget about big Luke before long. Little Lukey was all that mattered.

He stood up and walked over, smiling as Luke quickly hid his work from him.

"Oh, you want to keep it a surprise?" Luke nodded, but seemed embarrassed. "Ok." Sitting down on the floor by his brother, Liam tapped his cheek and Luke touched his pacifier to it. "Oh, what a nice baby kiss!" He cooed. "You know, maybe you should ask your teacher if you can wear your nightie to the concert. Wouldn't that be cute?"

"No." Luke lisped around his pacifier.

"You're right. It's too close to showtime to change things up, huh?" He gave Luke a kiss. "Are you just wearing your kindergarten uniform for the concert? I hope so." Luke mumbled something under his breath. "What was that? Lukey, is someone being mean to you about your uniform?"

"No." Liam hooked a finger around the handle of Luke's pacifier to pull it out, a sure sign he expected more information. "It's the snowsuit!"

"Is someone teasing you about your snowsuit?"

"No." Luke admitted. "But it's still embarrassing! Even the kindergartners don't wear them!"

"The other kindergartners," Liam said. "Might wear them once it gets colder. They might not have big brothers who love them so much, they want to keep them warm and safe."

"I have a winter coat. That should be enough." Liam teased Luke's lips with the pacifier, figuring he really did not need to know Mom had donated his winter coat almost a month ago. All he had was his snowsuit. Even if he didn't, it was the only thing Liam planned to have him wear.

"You don't get to make those big decisions, Lukey loo." Liam said gently. "That's for grown-ups. Who are the grown-ups?"

"Mommy, daddy, and big brother."

"And who are you?"

"Luke."

"That's right! Little baby Lukey, cutie patootie!" Liam gave him a big hug, smiling as Luke instinctively nuzzled into his shoulder. Even if he didn't always admit it, Luke clearly craved being the baby. “I don't think it's healthy for you to compare yourself to the other kindergartners.” Luke looked up at Liam in surprise.

“Why's that?” He asked. It was never a good sign when Liam, or Mommy or Daddy, talked to him as if he was big. It usually meant he was about to become even littler.

“Well, they're like halfway to first grade, so they're becoming big kids.” Yep, Luke thought. This isn't good.

“Sure?”

“And yeah, you're obviously the smartest little boy in kindergarten, but you're still a little boy. You sleep in a crib, I dress you, you're not a big boy, are you?”

“...no.” Luke admitted after a minute.

“Exactly.” Liam gave Luke another kiss. “Now, focus on your tickets. I'm gonna go put that casserole in the oven. I'm sure you want to be done before Mommy and Daddy get home, right?” Luke returned to work.

“I don't even like casserole.” Luke muttered only after Liam left the room.

Mom and Dad came home not long after Luke finished up the tickets, hiding them. He knew everyone knew the concert was happening on Friday, but they would still feign surprise when he handed out the tickets. Why’d I pick a nightie? He wondered, feeling like comfy clothes would have at least made him look closer to his actual age. He pulled it back up onto his shoulder before running to his arriving parents to give them hugs and kisses, as was expected of him.

From the moment they got home, Luke's feet did not touch the ground. Dad carried him from the entryway into the dining room where he set his small son down on his lap while Mom put his bib on him.

“Thank you, mommy.” Luke lisped around his pacifier.

“And why do you wear that?” Dad asked, bouncing Luke on his lap.

“So my nightie stays clean while big brother feeds me.” That earned him a kiss on the cheek, Dad's face pressed against his feeling scratchier than Liam's. Will I still be a baby when Liam needs to start shaving? Luke wondered, panicked. He was older, but he remained as smooth as the baby he was seen as. I gotta figure out some way to be big again! But how? He had been this way for months! Liam was right, the school year was at least half over and Luke had been a part time kindergartener this whole time!

Once Liam joined them at the table, Luke was handed over to him. His pacifier sat on the table as a forkful of casserole came toward him.

“Can't I feed myself? Just one forkful.”

“No.”

“But why?”

“I let you try last week and what happened?”

“I dropped the fork. It was an accident!”

“But it was at school, so I had to go all the way to get a new fork.”

“So?”

“So I think that means at least five months of being fed before you can try again.”

“Five mmf” the fork silenced him.

“You'll get the hang of it sometime.” Mom said to Luke. “Maybe we can get some play dishes and he can practice.” To Luke, that sounded horribly demeaning, which probably meant it would happen. They love me. He reminded himself. And it wasn't all bad. Kindergarten really was a lot less stressful than a full course load of high school would have been. He just wasn't really sure how he would graduate. Liam sure didn't make it sound like he would be going to first grade next year! And good! Luke thought.

“Time for a sippy of milk.” Liam said, pulling Luke from his thoughts. “Milk makes your bones nice and strong!” Luke dutifully drank his milk.

“It would go quicker if it wasn't in the sippy cup.”

“But then you'd spill.” Liam said. “What do we do when we're done eating?”

“Wipe my messy face.” Liam undid Luke's bib.

“Wipe your messy face,” he sang. “Wipe your messy face! Rub and scrub and rub and scrub, wipe your messy face!” He went through the song one more time before setting Luke down on the floor. “Go get your special surprise.”

“Special surprise?”

“Luke finished his homework early, so” Liam chuckled as Luke came back with the tickets. “How about you start with Mommy?”

“Mommy, would you please come to my concert?” Luke asked, handing her a ticket.

“I'd love to!”

“Daddy, would you please come to my concert?”

“Did you make these all by yourself, Lukey loo?” He pointed to the front of his ticket. “And I assume this is you singing?”

“It was Liam's idea.” Luke said, only then remembering he had made Liam a ticket as well, proof that he had done more than Liam had suggested. “Big brother, would you please come to my concert?”

“Wouldn't miss it for the world.” Liam took the ticket and smiled as he noticed the other surprise Luke had put on them. “Oh, but I gotta pay for this.”

“Oh, that's right. It says they cost two kisses.” Dad said with a chuckle. Liam picked Luke up, planting a kiss on each cheek before passing him on to Dad, who repeated it. Mom took him with a smile.

“I only have a five.” She said, giving him five kisses in rapid succession. “So that means you gotta give me three back.”

“Mommy!” Luke whined. That didn't even make sense.

“I'm waiting on my change.” She said.

“And a certain baby's got an appointment with the tub, I bet.” Dad added. Luke's smile faded. He hated when his parents called him the b word. Liam I get, but when Mommy and Daddy say it… he distracted himself with kisses.

“That was a very cute surprise.” Liam said as he bathed Luke. Even with how babyish he looked most of the time, sitting naked in water that barely reached his waist as Liam washed every inch of him had to be his most babyish state. “I think they really liked it.”

“It was your idea.”

“You know I didn't tell you to do all of that. Humble little Lukey.” Liam kissed the top of his head. Luke did not answer, sitting still as Liam finished bathing him.

After he was dried, Luke was taken out to the living room in his towel, held in Liam's arms to give good night kisses. Then it was up to their room to put on his Pull-ups and get tucked into his crib.

"Just think, Lukey. You used to scream bloody murder if I walked into your room while you were shirtless! And remember that time you were wandering around the house in your undies, so scared of the thunderstorm? Now look at you. Lying in your crib in my room in nothing but your Pull-ups, sucking your pacifier, hugging Teddy. You're such a good baby, aren't you?" Liam leaned in and gave Luke what had to be his hundredth kiss since school. “And I love my baby brother.”

The next day, Liam went with Luke to all of his classes to make sure Luke told them that he would be out of class on Friday for his concert. Well-apprised of Luke's unique situation, they were all smiles and nods. Luke did not understand how Liam was able to escort him to class without being late for his own, but asking Liam would only result in him saying big brothers have their ways.

Friday came and Luke felt nervous as soon as he remembered today was the day of the concert. He knew the songs, but to perform them in front of everyone? Especially the Reindeer Pokey!

“Are you absolutely sure you don't need to wear a special outfit?” Liam asked. “Should we put you in your bow tie and suspenders, just to be safe? Everyone goes crazy for babies in suspenders!”

“Just my uniform.” Luke mumbled, but Liam was already digging through his backpack to find a note.

“Aw, Lukey!” Liam said, holding up a picture Luke had drawn and stuffed into his backpack before Liam came to pick him up a few days ago. “My family.” He admired the three tall figures and then Luke right in the middle. “Which one's me?”

“I wrote your name right there.” Luke pointed. The names were too cleanly written for a kindergartener, though they were still written in green crayon.

“We'll have to flatten that out and put it right on the fridge, Lukey cukey.” Liam said with a chuckle. “But we need to get you dressed first!” He walked over to the dresser and grabbed Luke's uniform. “Uh-uh, leave your Pull-ups on.”

“What? Why?”

“Today's an extra special day. We don't want you running off stage to pee in the middle of your song, do we?”

“But”

“No buts. You'll be back in your super duper cool little boy underpants tomorrow. I'll even let you choose, but today, you're in Pull-ups.”

Though Liam loved to make his formally painfully bashful brother squirm and giggle like a toddler when he was in a state of undress, a pouty Luke was easier to dress. In no time, Luke reclined on the living room floor, feet high in the air for Liam to put his socks and snowsuit on.

“You're gonna sing nice and loud, right?” Liam said.

“Miss Anderson says we need to sing like lions, not mice.”

“Well, you better be the fiercest lion cub up there.” Liam said seriously. Luke, unsure of what else to do, nodded. Liam lifted Luke to his feet and zipped up his snowsuit. “Are you nervous?”

“A little.”

“You'll be fine. Mommy and Daddy and big brother will all be there to see you sing and dance.” He made a silly face until Luke giggled just a bit. “And wiggle your butt!”

“Wow!” Jonny exclaimed almost the second Liam led Luke into the kindergarten classroom. “I forgot you were gonna be here all day today!”

‘It's a very special day.” Liam said, kneeling down to undress Luke. “Do you like Lukey's snowsuit, Jonny?”

“Uh-huh! I think I had one just like it when I was little.” Jonny said. “But I think mine was orange and blue, not green and blue.”

“Uh-huh.” Liam said, extracting Luke from his snowsuit. “Jonny, can you grab Luke's shoes out of his bookbag?” Jonny eagerly zipped it open. “And Lukey, can you go sit down so Jonny can put your shoes on for you?” Liam had time before homeroom, so he was more than happy to watch. “What do you say, Luke?”

“Thank you, Jonny.” Luke said. Jonny threw his arms open wide and Luke bashfully hugged him.

“Alright, you two have fun. I'll be back for your big concert!” He remained just a little bit longer to watch Jonny drag Luke by the hand over to where they all sat in a circle to start the day, explaining every little detail to him since he wasn't normally present for morning circle.

“I could never go back to kindergarten.” Liam murmured. “It's baby stuff.”

Luke felt as if he had been thrown into the deep end. Everyone else was so used to their morning routine while Luke had never done any of this, so he followed Jonny closely. It was almost a relief when it came time for gym class. He knew gym.

He thought he did at least. Funny running was something he had never done before, but how hard was it to run from one end of the gym to the other like a robot or a turtle or whatever the friendly gym teacher called out? He could not help but beam proudly when she gave him a high five for how good he was at bouncing like a kangaroo. Even the obstacle course afterwards involved crawling, hopping, and spinning, all things Luke could do. It was only when he got to the bottom of the blue plastic slide that was the grand finale that he realized his Pull-ups were poking out of his shorts. Had anyone seen? He hoped not.

“Alright, kids.” Miss Anderson said when they were back in the kindergarten classroom. “It's time for our concert. Everyone form two lines. Jonny? I don't think Luke was with us when we went to the auditorium a few days ago, so would you mind holding his hand?”

“All I'd have to do is follow.” Luke mumbled, but he allowed Jonny to take his hand.

“Who's coming to see?” Jonny asked. “My brothers and my mom and dad are coming.”

“My brother Liam and my mom and dad.” Luke answered. He had followed Jonny's example, but it felt very strange to say mom and dad.

“This will be fun.” Mom said for probably the tenth time as they sat in the auditorium.

“Aren't they only doing three songs?” Dad said.

“Hush. They're little.” Mom hit his arm with her program before leaning in and whispering. “And we're pretty lucky to get three kindergarten concerts with two boys.”

Liam grinned and it only grew as the kindergarteners came in. Luke blended in so well that Liam found Jonny and then Luke. Were they holding hands? Very cute!

“Loud like lions.” Miss Anderson whispered loudly enough for the entire audience to hear.

"Thank you for coming to our concert.” The kindergarteners chorused. Liam and his parents waved at Luke, who smiled in spite of himself.

The songs were downright adorable. Liam could hear Luke singing, but his voice was not even slightly out of place amongst the kindergarteners. The first two songs were fairly standard winter fare, but Liam was not the only one who buzzed with excitement when it came time for the Reindeer Pokey. Clearly it was the favorite of kindergarteners and parents alike.

More than once during the 'turn yourself around’ parts, Liam was certain he saw Luke's Pull-ups poking out and wondered if anyone else saw. He could not take his eyes off of Luke, feeling a swell of pride as he did not even hesitate to turn and waggle his bottom at the audience with everyone else amidst chuckles. Liam knew Luke well enough that the fact he was wearing Pull-ups under his uniform was obvious, but he figured it wasn't that noticeable or even out of the ordinary for a five year old to wear them. Adorable regardless, he thought as the song ended.

“That concludes our concert.” Miss Anderson said, stepping out of the way for proud parents to take photos of their kindergarteners bowing. “You are all welcome to come congratulate your little singers before we return to our school day.” Liam did not need to be told twice.

“Thank you, mommy. Thank you, daddy. Thank you, Liam.” Luke said from Liam's arms, planting kisses on every cheek he could reach.

“It was a very nice performance!” Dad said. “You waggled like a champ!” Liam chuckled, having forgotten that Mom and Dad had not been treated to the sneak peek like he had.

“We're very proud.” Mom kissed Luke's cheek and he reciprocated. He was far from the only kindergartener kissing and hugging his family.

“Alright, kids. Let's all go back to school!” Miss Anderson called. Jonny walked over to Liam.

“C'mon, Luke. I'll help you so you don't get lost.”

“That's very helpful.” Liam said, setting Luke down and relinquishing him to Jonny's care. “I'll come get you for lunch, Lukey loo.” He smiled as Jonny led Luke by the hand back over to the gaggle of kindergarteners. “I'd better get back to my day. Got a math test next period.” He said good-bye to his parents and got a final glimpse of the kindergarteners walking back to class, his once big brother among them. He felt so good, he knew he would ace his test.

Luke & Liam: Winter Concert (2024)
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