phil hears the laughter, yelling and muffled screaming as soon as the front door opens. he turns to the stove, giving a quick nod before heading towards the hallway. he lingers in the doorframe, smiling warmly at his kids. their cheeks and noses are red, eyes gleaming with life and mischief.
he’s thankful the scarves, gloves, boots and warm jackets keep them safe, considering the harsh, bitter wind and freshly fallen snow. the weather shows no mercy. he mumbles to himself while counting their presence, frowning when he realizes there’s only three out of four. he immediately turns to techno, sighing.
”where is he?”
techno clears his throat. ”as you can see, both tubbo and wilbur are present”
”i’m referring to the child, techno”
techno merely folds his arms, remaining perfectly placed in front of the door. phil slightly tilts his head, a small smile on his lips. techno is trying to be subtle, but he can recognize the jacket he’s holding anywhere. it only takes one look from phil and he moves to the other side of the hallway, revealing tommy.
standing outside, no less, with no jacket on. phil groans, running a hand through his hair. despite the longing expression in his eyes, he knows that as soon as he unlocks the door, the child will unleash his fury. he strides towards the front door, mentally preparing himself. 3, 2, 1 –
it unlocks with a click; tommy barges in, slamming the door behind him. he tackles techno to the ground, yelling profanities of all kinds while doing so. tubbo whoops and cheers them on, and phil returns to the kitchen. there was one time he interfered, and it was the first and last time.
he shudders at the memory, shaking his head in disbelief. it’s easier to tune it out, and besides, he knows it’s all in good fun. they all love each other and if someone were to hurt one of them, the others would step in. they’re protective and keep each other safe like that.
wilbur enters the kitchen, humming in delight at the sweet, faint scent of cinnamon and mandarins lingering in the air. phil stirs the pot, smiling when the hot cocoa reaches the perfect temperature. as he looks out of the window, it’s pitch black and the snow is falling in a hypnotic, mesmerizing rhythm.
he supposes it’s one of those nights; bundled up in the living room, drinking hot cocoa with marshmallows and watching movies with the kids, while the flickering candle lights give the room an earthly, homey glow. he faintly hears techno exclaim in victory and he chuckles to himself, knowing it’s no surprise.
”wil, would you mind lighting the candles in the living room?”
his eyes light up. ”yes. can i pick a movie? please pleaseplease”
”that’s not fair, you picked the last time,” tommy whines, emerging with the others.
wilbur grimaces and mischievously sticks his tongue out at tommy while passing him by. tommy folds his arms and meets phil’z gaze, his eyes wide and pleading. he sighs, reluctantly nodding. he does have a point, after all. out of the corner of his eye, he’s aware of techno silently retrieving mugs and marshmallows.
”sure, you and tubbo pick a movie each,” the two boys whoop and disappear.
he turns the stove off and pours the hot cocoa into a pitcher, humming a quiet tune. just as he flicks off of the kitchen lights and heads for the living room, techno makes a sound and falters. his body tenses, worry surging in the pit of his stomach. their eyes meet.
”father. must i partake in this social event?”
”you don’t have to stay for long. but we appreciate your presence”
techno hums and bites the inside of his cheek, clearly mulling over the answer. he doesn’t budge for a moment, but then gives a slight nod in the direction of the living room. he leads the way, with phil hot on his heels. when they arrive, the others are already spread out.
wilbur is placed in a chair, whereas tommy and tubbo are seated on the part that is connected to the couch. there’s absolute silence, safe for the current movie playing. warmth fills him at the sight of just how content and happy they look, and they both pick their spot on the couch.
”we’re watching rise of the guardians,” tubbo mumbles excitedly, his gaze fixed on the screen.
he gives a thumbs up and fills the mugs with hot cocoa and marshmallows, deliberately handing them out among the five of them. they hum in appreciation, settling down for good in the warmth, silence and comfort of each other's company. floof appears, jumping up to technoblade and curling up by his side.
by the time the second movie is finished, they’re already fast asleep. wilbur is curled up in a ball, blanket wrapped tightly around him. tubbo and tommy are nestled beside each other, with tubbo’s head resting on tommy’s shoulder. techno, on the other hand, is stretched out, messy hair sprawled everywhere.
floof is resting by the end of the couch, close to techno as always. he silently stands up, floorboards creaking underneath the weight. reaching out for the mugs, they clink against one another, despite his attempt at being quiet. wilbur stirs in his sleep, eyes fluttering open and slowly stretching his body.
he drowsily looks around to locate the source of the sound, rubbing sleep out of his eyes. he blinks up at phil when he does so, all bleary eyed and groggy. wilbur can just make out his silhouette in the dark, cleaning up the mugs, pitcher and leftover items. a yawn escapes his lips.
”dad?” he croaks.
phil shushes softly, when a sudden idea hits him. he hums a lullaby; a hushed, familiar tune he always used to lull him back to sleep when he was younger. it seems to do the trick, wilbur’s breathing even out and a peaceful expression replacing the tired exhaustion that used to linger.
he loves his kids, he really does.