A/N: Spur of the moment follow up to the first time Casey had to babysit a Charah baby. This time, he has to babysit two Charah kids. If the first time he babysat is any indication, this time, now that Sariah has a partner in crime/ side kick, things sure will get interesting.
Thanks to charahkids for looking it over for me and giving his input. :)
Most days Sarah loved the California sun, and the way it felt on her skin, but right now, as she walked the distance from the car park to CI's head office, she abhorred the sun. With varying degrees of difficulty, she managed to stumble her way up the front steps of the building. She caught the toe of her black peep-toe platform pumps on the top step and hissed as her toe impacted with the concrete. Sarah unconsciously looked around, checking to see if anyone had caught her misstep. None of the passer-bys who were mainly employees seemed to be looking in her direction. She reached for the chubby hand of four year old Sariah who had drifted away in the time that it had taken her to readjust the heavy baby bag on her shoulder. Making her way through the large glass doors, she smiled gratefully at an employee who held it open for her.
"Thank you Tammy." Sarah smiled at the employee from Marketing. She and Chuck knew most if not all of their employees' names, even as the company had expanded to just fewer than one hundred persons.
"You're welcome. Do you need any help?" Tammy questioned, taking in Sarah's heavy load.
Sarah was about to answer but growled as the little boy on her hip tugged at her flowing blonde locks. Levi looked up at her innocently and placed a slobbery kiss on Sarah's cheek. Her frustration with him dissipated because although it felt like he was trying to pull the strands right from her scalp, he was simply fascinated by its length and volume.
Sarah shook her head and turned her attention back to Tammy. She noted that Tammy had her purse with her and concluded that she was heading off to lunch.
"No, it's ok. You look like you're about to go to lunch. Enjoy."
The strawberry blonde shifted her weight uncomfortably. "No really, it's no problem."
Sarah cut her off. "I insist." Tammy opened her mouth to argue again, but Sarah shook her head so with a small smile and a wave to the children, Tammy was off.
"Levi, I told you it's not nice to pull someone's hair." Sarah reprimanded.
The two year old frowned. "Momma hair pretty." He replied, this time patting Sarah's hair gently. His hair was blonde like hers and thick with curls which she adored. He had a cheeky grin that shined lopsidedly and it made her happy every time she saw it. She saw so much of his father in him and that was a welcome influence because if there was anyone she wanted to see reflected in her children, Chuck would always be the one. He was caring. loving, loyal, charming, smart, she could go on, and while he wasn't perfect and did have some bad qualities, the good ones out-shined the bad.
Sarah continued on her way to the elevators, greeting the security personnel and the person at the main desk on her way.
"I tired Mummy." Sariah whined, tugging on her hand.
"We're almost there sweetie." Sarah tried to soother her. "Just a few more steps, can you just hold on a little while longer for Mummy?"
Sariah did not like that response. Her little legs were tired, because after all, she had walked all the way from the car park and by her logic that was far enough. She raised her hands, signalling to her mother that she wanted to be carried.
"Up, Up! Mummy."
Sarah sighed. There was no way she was going to manage carrying both of them. Sariah who seemed to inherit her father's appetite was just too heavy. And Levi at two years old was already giving her quite the workout when it was time for her to carry him. Her arms were already aching. Sighing again, she set Levi down in his feet. Sarah looked down at her little angels. Sariah who had her blonde hair pulled away from her face in a French braid was pouting. Levi was also pouting, displeased at being put down. It seemed as though Sarah couldn't take them anywhere without Levi wanting to be carried and Sariah wanting to break free and when she couldn't, then she wanted to be carried as well.
"Ok sweeties, I know you're tired, but just a bit further. We're gonna get on the elevator. Ok?"
"Lavator!" came Levi's excited reply.
"Okayyy." Sariah muttered.
Sarah smiled at them and took each by the hand. When they reached the elevator, Sarah let go of Sariah's hand and pressed the button, recapturing the little girl's hand as soon as she did. When the elevator reached the ground floor, it dinged and the doors opened to reveal Sarah's assistant April.
"Oh Mrs Bartowski!" The nineteen year old exclaimed, her eyes wide. "I didn't think you would be here so soon. I was gonna meet you in the car park."
"It's ok April," Sarah smiled as she and the children stepped into the elevator.
"I really am sorry," April apologized again.
Sarah shook her head at April. Her regular assistant was on maternity leave and she had hired April who was a college freshman as her replacement. She was incredibly sweet and efficient. Sarah knew that this was her first job and that April really wanted to impress her. A fact which she found endearing but unnecessary. She had liked her within five minutes of the job interview. "Like I said before, it's ok."
Nodding, April smiled at Sarah again before turning her attention to the Bartowski children whom she'd interacted with previously. When they came to the top floor of the CI building, Sarah held Levi's hand while Sariah clung to April. They walked briskly as Sarah had a business lunch meeting to get to soon. They came to Casey's office and Sariah waved bye to April. Seeing his sister do that, Levi followed suit.
"Thanks for the help. When I get back I'm gonna need the reports from this quarter, so please get that from Marketing for me."
"Sure, no problem. It'll be on your desk."
With another wave and a smile, April was gone. Sarah knocked loudly on Casey's door and when she heard him grunt enter, she and the kids strolled in. Casey had been examining his bonsai tree and looked at the new arrivals with surprise.
"Walker? What are you doing here?"
"Uncle Caseyyy!" Sariah squealed, running up to him and hugging his leg.
Levi tottered off to him, smiling. "Uncle Cay! Up!" Grunting, Casey bent down and lifted both children up.
Sarah smiled at Casey's interaction with her children. "You know Sariah's school was closed yesterday for some fungus issue and Levi's recovering from the cold so he's not going to school until tomorrow and his sitter couldn't make it." The sitter had called apologizing that she had a water main break and her house was flooded.
Oh." Casey grunted again.
"And as you know, I have this lunch meeting with some clients in half hour." Casey nodded. "So I need you to watch the kids for me." She set the baby bag on his office couch then turned to him with a wide hopeful smile.
Sarah cut him off with a withering glare.
"Walker no." He said again and Sarah narrowed her eyes.
"Please Casey. My Mom and Mary are on that retreat that Chuck and I gave them for Mother's Day and there was no time to call a sitter." Besides, she didn't trust her children with just anyone. "I shouldn't be too long."
"But Walker," Casey almost whined and he noticed both of the children were staring at him because he had reacted to their mother's request in much the same way as they often did. "I don't have the time. Remember that case that came in a few days ago? I think I've made a break through."
She shook her head at him, slightly annoyed that Casey was making a mountain out of a mole hill. "Casey."
"Why can't Chuck look after them?" Casey grunted. "They're his kids."
"You know full well that the meeting I have to get to requires his presence as well." Sarah crossed her arms over her chest. Casey noted that there was a fire in her eyes and that her jaw was set, indicating that she was near pissed. He knew better than to make her angrier so he kept his mouth shut. "Anyway, they have snacks in the bag, books, juice and everything that they're gonna need." Sarah continued, deciding that she would ignore any of Casey's future interruptions. "Levi might want some formula later. It's not a given because sometimes he wants it and other times he doesn't. I've packed his flask with some hot water and a container with the formula just in case." Sarah explained.
"Ok. Ok." Casey shrugged, well as much as he could with two children in his arms. "I get it."
"Just don't misplace my children." said Sarah, her tone only half playful as there was an underlying threat.
Casey walked over to the couch in his office and sat down with the children, placing one on each knee. Looking down at them, he winced when they grinned up at him with a facade of innocence. "I can make no promises." Casey quipped, remembering the first time he had to babysit Sariah and the trouble she had caused.
"I have a knife holster strapped to my thigh Casey." Sarah warned.
He gulped, knowing that she very well might be serious. It was also possible that she had her Smith and Wesson strapped to the back of her pants suit. Old habits did die hard after all. "They won't leave my sight." He mentally had to stop himself from saluting. Sariah giggled at him.
"Ok babies," Sarah sat down next to them, "Momma has to go meet some people, but your Daddy and I will be back as soon as possible. Ok?" Sariah and Levi nodded in understanding. "You two be good for Uncle Casey."
They nodded again, hugging Sarah tightly around her neck. Even Casey would admit that it was always a sweet sight to see Sarah interacting with her children. She was so loving and tender with them and he felt proud of her. He was glad that she hadn't been broken by the spy world but had managed to find true happiness. He'd never admit that out loud. Levi held on a bit longer, not truly wanting his mother to go. Sure he loved his Uncle Casey, but if he was still overly attached to Sarah.
Sariah released Sarah from the hug and hopped off of Casey's knee, ready to explore his office. Sarah eventually had to pry Levi's tiny arms from around her neck. She kissed him on both cheeks and then got up. Sarah straightened out her business suit just as Sariah ran up to her, hugging her around the legs.
"Bye sweethearts. Love you." Sarah replied.
"Walker, wait. Where are their cages?"
Sarah squinted her eyes at him. "Their cages?"
'You know," he grunted, "the things you put them in so they can't get away."
Sarah shook her head. "You mean a playpen?" Casey nodded. "Sariah is too old for one, and Levi doesn't like to be in his. I think he's outgrown it." Casey huffed. This would make things more difficult. "Now, if there's nothing else," Sarah let the sentence hang, and when Casey didn't say anything, she exited the office and headed down the hallway towards the elevator.
Casey turned to Levi and noticed that as the sounds of Sarah's heels became less noticeable, more tears welled up in the child's eyes.
"Oh for the love of all things Reagan, please don't," he muttered, setting Levi down and searching the diaper bag next to him for something, anything really that would soothe the anxious child. But when he turned around with a toy truck in hand, Levi was already gone.
"Stay right there." Casey ordered Sariah just before he bolted through the door.
Just great he thought to himself, less than five minutes and he's already lost one of them. Levi had meandered his way down the hall, following the way he had come. He barely caught sight of his mother's flowing blonde locks as the elevator doors closed and that was when he let out a long wail. He screamed like a Banshee and his skin began to turn an alarming shade of purple. Thankfully, the top floor of CI only had four offices- Chuck, Sarah's, Morgan's and his and the receptionist for this floor and Sarah's assistant weren't there at the moment so no one was disturbed by the noise.
Casey picked him up and rested him in his hip, trying his best to soothe the boy, but he had no idea how. "Momma will be back soon." He said, in as much a gentle voice as he could manage. Levi was having none of it and cried harder, throwing his head back in sorrow. Even Casey was hard pressed to believe that she would be back soon. He knew some clients liked to drag out meetings before they made up their mind and he hoped the ones Chuck and Sarah were meeting were not like that.
Levi frowned at him. "Me want Momma!" He screeched, tears leaking out of his hazel eyes and streaking his face.
God Lord what has Walker gotten me into?!
Casey carried the still crying child back into his office and shut the door behind him. "Want down!" Levi screamed, pounding his tiny fists against Casey's chest. Casey grunted and let the child down. Levi ran over to his sister, who was busy looking through the glass of the office.
"What are you two looking at?"
"The people look like ants Uncle Casey." Sariah laughed, pointing to the commuting people below her.
"Ants." Levi repeated. "Me like to stomp ants."
"Yea, yea Levi." Sariah said half-heartedly. She felt like he said that all the time. He was like a parrot, but she didn't call him that any more. Not since her father had frowned at her and said it wasn't nice. "You like to stomp ants and then you get bitten and you cry like a little baby!"
"Me not baby," Levi scowled at her. "I a big boy."
"No you're not. You're not even fully potty trained," Sariah shot back.
"Momma said me a big boy."
Sariah scoffed at him. "Whatever." She replied, going back to looking through the glass. Levi didn't take too well to being ignored and poked her in the stomach. "Levi," she chided, "leave me alone." she added forcefully, shoving him slightly.
Levi stumbled back and Casey caught him before the child's back planted with his hard oak desk. "Sariah mean!" Levi wailed, tugging on Casey's leg so he could be lifted up. Casey acquiesced and then turned to his goddaughter.
"Sariah, that wasn't very nice."
Sariah narrowed her eyes at both him and Levi. "You know that he's smaller-"
"No Uncle Cay, me a big boy." Levi cut in, tapping Casey on his cheek.
"He's younger than you." Casey corrected, and Levi smiled satisfied. "Sometimes he'll try stuff like that to get your attention. You can't be so rough with him."
Sariah's face softened. She didn't mean to push him so hard, and she also knew that if their Uncle hadn't caught him, Levi would've hit the table and possibly hurt his back. And then their parents would have been very upset. She really did love Levi and loved having him as a brother. After all, every super hero needed a side kick and he was an excellent one.
"I'm sorry." She apologized.
Levi smiled timidly at her, peeping from the crook of Casey's neck. "Hug 'Riah?"
Casey set him on his feet again and watched as the two young children embraced each other. Sariah bent so that she could hug her baby brother properly. Both were tall for their age, but with the height of their parents, that was no surprise. As he looked at the two blonde children, both wearing red Converse, a small smile graced Casey's face. The Bartowski children were admittedly an adorable pair. Walker's chocolate and Bartowski's peanut butter mixing was not that much of a bad idea.
Casey looked up from his Guns & Ammo magazine when he heard a small thud. His eyes first went to Sariah was busying herself with colouring and then to Levi. There on the couch, sat Levi who was going through the diaper bag, pulling out sippy cups, toys, diapers, and whatever else he could get his hands on and throwing them on the carpeted floor. Casey shook his head and made his way over to the boy, and gave him a look which he had seen Walker giving them which always seemed to stop either child in their tracks. Locking his hands between his knees, Levi smiled up at his uncle as he swung his feet.
"You sure do love making your Uncle Casey work don't you Little Soldier?" Casey asked him as he began picking up the items from the floor. Levi smiled innocently and shrugged.
"Hey!" Sariah cried, offended, "I thought I was your Little Soldier?"
"You are." He placated, "but an army does need more than one soldier doesn't it?"
Sariah cocked her head to the side and then nodded her head. "I guess so."
Casey realized that he hadn't checked the bag to see if anything needed to be refrigerated. Searching it, he found four juices and sliced fruit in a container. Setting them aside, he then shoved everything else which Levi had taken out into the bag.
"Can you two stay here; I have to go put some of your stuff in the fridge in the lunch room. Sariah, keep an eye on your brother."
"Yes Sir!" She saluted, smiling at Casey.
When Casey came back, he was happily surprised to find the children sitting on the carpet and behaving themselves. That pleasantness was fleeting though when he sat down in his office chair and reached for his magazine. He was sure he had left it in the centre of the table, but checked on the floor in case it had fallen. His attention then turned to the Bartowski children. He groaned. Of course one of them probably had it. His suspicions were confirmed when he saw Levi, red crayon in hand scrawling all over the tenth page. He groaned again, that was his favourite page! It was the one that had all the latest models of sniper rifles. And of all the colours he was using, it had to be red! The colour of those commie bastards. He walked quickly over to the child and pried the magazine away from him.
"This magazine is not for little boys." He explained.
Levi, though he was annoyed at being called 'little', was more annoyed with Casey for taking away his 'colouring book'. He pouted and his hazel eyes welled with tears. Not another crying fest. Casey groaned mentally and listed all the things he could do to Walker to make her pay.
"Maybe you should make him a bottle." Sariah suggested.
Casey nodded and handed a red fire truck to Levi which he hoped would keep the floodgates closed. Casey moved over to the small coffee table to make the bottle. "Motherfuc-" Casey cursed, barely stopping himself from saying the full word. The hot water from the flask had trickled onto his hand and the word just slipped out. At least this wasn't as bad as the last time when Gertrude had said 'fuck'.
"Mother what Uncle Casey?" Sariah questioned.
"Momma what?" Levi piped up.
Casey racked his brain for something to tell the two children. "Um," he stuttered, dropping two scoops of formula into the bottle and shaking it. "I was just thinking that your mother is um, a very, um special lady."
"Momma petal?" Levi parroted.
Casey grunted. "Yes she is." He just wanted this current line of the conversation to be dropped.
Sariah looked at him, not entirely convinced. But she couldn't think of anything else that made sense so she decided to go with it. Besides, her father was always telling her mother that she was special, so she guessed it was common knowledge or something.
"Anywayyyy," Casey drawled, glad that they were convinced, "how about we watch a movie?"
"Yea, movie!" Levi squealed, scampering off to Casey's desk.
"Can we watch Frozen?"
Casey grinned. He had something way better for them to watch. He took up the bottle of milk and Sariah's juice box and walked over to the children. After rearranging the furniture slightly, they were all settled in front of the laptop.
"What are we watching?' Sariah asked from her chair as the opening credits rolled.
"A documentary on Ronald Reagan."
Sariah looked at him confused. "Who's Ronald Reagan?"
Casey actually smiled. Now this was one thing he could teach the two of them. Since the moron and the bearded troll would no doubt fill their heads with nerdy nonsense, it was his duty to teach them stuff like this. "Well Sariah, Ronald Reagan is in my view, the best President ever."
She scrunched her nose. This movie sounded very boring. Levi was beginning to grow fussy, so Casey gave him the bottle and let out a victorious sigh when he took it. They settled down again, as Sariah drank her juice and Levi made himself comfortable in Casey's lap. The documentary continued and Sariah seemed fascinated as Casey explained the parts that she didn't understand. It lasted for about twenty minutes as Levi began to fidget, wanting out of his hold. Meanwhile, Sariah had found her way over to a filing cabinet and was aggressively rattling his pen- which he hadn't noticed her grab from her desk- across it.
"Sariah!' He yelled, only causing Levi to whimper and Sariah's rattling to continue. "Stop it!"
"Wanna watch Frozen!" She shouted back and Casey growled. He put Levi into the chair which his sister had vacated and marching over to where she was, he took the pen from her and grabbed her hand, dragging her back over to his desk.
"Sit down." He instructed and Sariah obeyed, if only because the sound of his angry voice seemed to stun her for a moment. The room was silent as Levi munched on his shirt sleeve and Sariah stared at her shoes, fiddling with the edge of her pastel sundress. Casey was grateful for the reprieve.
"Uncle Casey can I watch Frozen please?" she looked up at him with sad pleading eyes.
Casey felt like he couldn't say no. He agreed and loaded it on Netflix. Ten minutes into the movie, Casey was staring at the screen with murder in his eyes. If he never heard Do You Wanna Build a Snowman? ever again it would be too soon. Cold blue eyes glared at the laptop as the character Anna danced across the screen.
"Uncle Casey, sing with me." Sariah begged.
No way in hell! There were just somethings he would not do. He would sing the alphabet or the Sesame Street Song with them, but this is where he drew the line. He cleared his throat. "Sorry, I have to go to the bathroom really quickly." He announced. "I don't want you two to move an inch."
With Casey out of the room, Sariah slipped from her chair and dragged Levi out of the room with her. She made her way down a hall with Levi's hand securely in hers. She found it a little hard to navigate with him in tow, but, like a good soldier, she wasn't going to leave her partner behind and managed to trudge on. She wanted to explore the executive floor, with its pretty paintings and large offices. She had been here a lot of times, usually if her Nana brought her to visit her parents, but right now she couldn't remember where her parents' offices were. She continued on, hoping to find some shiny new toys or something. Her Uncle Morgan had dolls in his office, but he and Daddy never let her play with them. She smirked. Uncle Morgan and Auntie Alex were away finding a baby on a moon or something like that, so if they did find his office, she could finally play with the dolls.
"Come on Levi." She tugged on his hand. She had learnt from an early age that her brother was slow, but she knew that she couldn't lose him or their parents would get mad. Although sometimes she thought it would be nice if he wasn't around. He cried way more than she did, and it was hard to understand him sometimes, and he destroyed some of her old toys. Sure she didn't play with them anymore, but they were still hers and it made her a bit mad when she saw them take their tragic journey towards his mouth. Nevertheless, she liked him. He was her partner in crime.
The two of them usually ran circles around their parents, often getting into mischief. Chuck and Sarah had learnt that the saying of 'silence is golden, unless you have kids; then silence is just suspicious' was very true when it came to Sariah and Levi. They had child proofed the house, yet Sariah and Levi always found ways to outsmart them. Like two months ago when the family of four had returned from the supermarket. Chuck and Sarah had been busy bringing the bags into the house and it required two trips. The two children had opened a bottle of oil and poured it all over themselves and the kitchen floor.
And then there was the time when she took a chocolate pudding from the fridge to share with Levi. The two had sat on the kitchen floor eating it but Levi managed to get most of it smeared all across his face and clothes. When they heard footsteps approaching, they dashed away from the scene, and ran into the closet in her room. In the process of hiding, Levi managed to dirty a few of her clothes. Thier mother had found them easily though, but Levi had looked up at her with wide innocent eyes and she downplayed it by saying they were hungry and didn't want to disturb her workout.
Sometimes, when she was bad, for example throwing her broccoli on the floor so that their dog would eat it, and her Mummy got mad, she'd make her go on a time out or take away her favourite toys. And sometimes, when Mummy thought she was being naughty, but her Daddy thought she was being cute, she'd see him kiss her Mummy and give her a hug and whisper something in her ear which would make her laugh or shove him playfully and then Mummy wouldn't be as mad. She liked it when that happened. It was like Daddy used magic, just like Abby Kadaby on Sesame Street.
But other times, both parents were angry at her when she was naughty. Like that time she pushed Levi into the kiddie pool before Mummy had a chance to undress him. Or when she had taken a Sharpie and drawn all over Mimi's plush white carpet. She hated it when they were like that.
The thought crossed her mind that they- well she- would get in trouble for this, but at the moment, she didn't care. This was a whole world that she had to explore. And if she did, she planned to use her charm. Although the Sariah Bartowski charm did not work on her parents all the time, it never hurt to try.
Sariah didn't have any more time to dwell on it as she heard footsteps coming their way. She pulled Levi against the wall as the person passed them. She was scared that it was Uncle Casey, but she realised the person couldn't be him because it was actually a she.
Levi was about to holler for April, since he recognised her from the elevator ride with his mother, but Sariah placed a hand over his mouth to stop him. Levi bit down on Sraiah's fingers and she removed them, just as he wanted. Satisfied with himself, Levi scampered off down the hall. April didn't notice the two as she was preoccupied with looking at a file in her hands.
"Hey Casey," April greeted the burly man just as he was entering his office. "These are for you." She handed four folders to him.
'Thanks." Casey grunted.
"Would you mind if I came and played with Sariah and Levi for a bit?" She asked nervously. "Not that I'm slacking off or anything. It's just that I'm on my lunch break and I figured you could maybe take a break yourself." She rambled.
Casey snorted. "No, be my guest." He actually liked Sarah's assistant. From what he'd seen, she was very dedicated. They stepped into the room, the strong vocals of Idina Menzel as she sung Let It Go filtering through the room. Casey glanced around the room and his face paled.
Where had they gone? He hit the side of his head with the heel of his palm, muttering a sting of obscenities.
April knitted her brows in confusion but then she pieced it together. "Oh shit."
Casey had just one thought: Walker was gonna kill him.
"Um, let's be rational about this." he said. "They couldn't have gotten too far."
April nodded in agreement and the two decided to split up to find the missing children. Casey had played Hide and Seek with Sariah before and he knew that she had a knack for choosing great hiding spots. He had jokingly commented to Chuck that it reminded him of the days when he had hidden in the walls of a communist dictator's palace for weeks without avoiding detection, but now he wished that she didn't have such skills. On second thought, with Levi in tow, maybe it would be easier. He was sure that Sariah wouldn't split up from her little brother.
Ten minutes later, Casey and April had checked the bathrooms, break room, supply closet, both Chuck's and Sarah's offices and the reception desk.
"Ok, they're small; they have to be around here somewhere." April tried to reason, running a hand through her hair. "Wait, you don't think they could've gotten into the elevator do you?" She asked with wide eyes.
Casey hoped they hadn't. If Sariah had tip toed she would have been able to reach the buttons. And she was observant, very much so. He had no doubt that she watched everything that happened around her. "I think security or someone would've called if they saw them wandering around...But I'll go check just to be sure." Casey nodded and she walked off.
"Oh, April, try to be discreet about it." Casey advised.
Rolling his head from side to side, Casey sighed again. He pulled his phone from his pocket and dialled. The person answered on the second ring. "I need you."
"Look Levi, there's a picture on that desk," Sariah pointed to a large desk with two computer screens on them. "wanna see?"
He looked up at her with wide brown eyes, hugging his now empty bottle to his chest as she pulled him across the room. It had been a bit difficult to get the door to open, but now that she was inside, Sariah thought the effort was well worth it. She left Levi sitting in the middle of the floor, idly rolling his bottle back and forth between his knees. Sariah crawled up into the big office chair and up onto the desk.
"It's a picture of us!" She called back to Levi. His ears perked up at that and his face broke out into a wide toothy smile.
"Us?" He parroted.
"Yea, you, me, Daddy and Mummy."
"Momma, Daddy!" Levi chanted, clapping his chubby hands in glee as he watched his sister manoeuvre her way back down to the ground with the photo frame held tightly against her chest.
"Come on Levi." She instructed, walking over to the big leather couch near the wall. Levi pulled himself to his feet and made his way over to her. Sariah placed the photo frame on a coffee table next to the couch and then helped Levi to climb up. Once he was properly sitting, she climbed up.
"Look," She pointed to their mother, looking out from the photo with a big smile on her face.
"Momma!" Levi squealed, "Daddy." He pointed to Chuck who was smiling just as big as Sarah. "That a baby." Levi added, pointing to an infant around sixteen months who Sarah was holding.
"That's you Levi." Sariah giggled, "and that's me that Daddy has in his arms."
She didn't remember taking that picture, but she liked it a lot. They all looked so happy.
Gertrude's brow creased as she stepped off the elevator to see the executive floor of CI in various states of array. There was no one at the reception desk, but there was a young woman, whom she recognised as Sarah's assistant, who was searching some boxes in a supply closet. Gertrude shrugged, thinking that she was searching at a faster pace than would be required for regular efficient running of the company.
"Hey April." She greeted, causing the younger woman to jump.
With a hand on her palpitating heart, April returned the greeting curtly. Gertrude surmised that she hadn't found what she was looking for, as April dashed across the room, frantically looking through a cabinet. Gertrude shook her head, wondering if working for the Bartowskis had sent the poor girl insane. Making her way to Casey's office, she bumped into him around the corner. She noticed that his face was beet-red, as if he had been running around.
"I'm guessing you didn't call me here for an afternoon quickie?" Gertrude quipped.
He grunted. "I can't find Sariah and Levi."
"What? Chuck and Sarah's kids?" Gertrude asked. "What do you mean you can't find them?"
"I left them in my office and went to the bathroom and when I came back they weren't there."
Gertrude tried not to snicker, but this reminded her of when Casey had to babysit Sariah a few years ago. She knew that two missing children was no laughing matter, even so because they were Charah's very small, possibly ninja like children who could squeeze into crevices and avoid detection if they wanted. There was also the fact that Sarah was likely to kill Casey and anyone else that happened to be associated with him at the time that she found out. It was in her best interest to help him look. Besides, she had a soft spot for the children and didn't want anything to happen to them.
"Ok, we will find them. At least we know that Walker stashes her weapons properly so it's highly unlikely that they can get their hands on those."
"Yea, yea." He nodded glumly.
"I think he's wishing he'd written up his will right about now." Gertrude commented dryly to April.
"I feel like I might as well leave my notice on Mrs Bartowski's desk, y'know, save me some grace from being fired."
A light bulb went off. "Say that again."
"Oh, that Mrs. Bartowski is probably gonna fire me?"
"No, no." She shook her head. "We haven't checked Chuck's nor Sarah's offices!"
April brightened, realising that she was right. They had assumed that those offices would have been locked since neither had been in for the day. "I'll check Mrs. Bartowski's."
Gertrude was relieved when she saw the two Bartowski children curled up asleep on the couch. Levi was wrapped in a ball, chewing on the teet on his bottle in his sleep and on her back behind him, with her little feet hanging off the edge of the couch; Sariah had a photo-frame hugged tightly to her chest, face down.
Searching the closet, she found a blanket and moved towards them, smiling all the way. Sariah squirmed a little and made a small sound as she repositioned her on the couch and she gently eased the bottle from Levi's mouth. He whimpered, but eventually settled down as she pulled him up beside his sister and draped the blanket over them. They were peaceful and fast asleep and with a smirk, she found it remarkably easy to slip the photo-frame out of her hold.
She looked down at the photo of the happy family and smiled before resting the frame on the coffee table. Looking down at them once again, he made sure that they were going nowhere before she made her way out of the office and headed towards April and Casey to give them the good news.
Casey was on his way to the elevator when it dinged and Chuck and Sarah stepped out. He choked on air just a little.
"Casey, good to see you." Chuck greeted. "How are you?"
"I've been better." Casey grunted.
Chuck was about to speak again when the last voice in the universe Casey wanted to hear spoke. "Casey," Sarah smiled, and in that moment Casey hated the way his name seemed to roll off her tongue. "Just the man I wanted to see. How are my babies? They weren't too much trouble, I hope."
Chuck smirked. His children were such troublemakers when they set their minds to it.
Casey let out a nervous laugh and both Chuck and Sarah stared at him. "No," He gulped. "They're great." He lied.
"That's wonderful." She smiled sweetly. "Where are they?"
"Chuck! Sarah!' Gertrude interrupted them with a greeting.
"Casey, every time you have to watch them, you have to call Gertrude for backup." Chuck joked.
"I don't mind." Gertrude laughed. "Levi and Sariah are taking a nap in Chuck's office. Casey thought that to be the best place, because it's quiet and the couch is bigger."
"Great," Sarah practically bounced. "Thanks so much for watching them, Casey."
He stared after her as she strode out of the room, her long blonde hair flitting around her shoulders as she walked. Chuck talked to hem a bit longer but eventually went off to see his children. And it was in that moment when he felt a massive weight just rise up off his shoulders.
"I think you, April and I need a strong drink.'
Chuck and Sarah went back to Chuck's office and saw April guarding the kids as they slept. Sarah put her hush finger on her lips and smiled at April. Chuck smiled too and nodded his thanks. April got up and whispered in Sarah's ear. "They're adorable. You're very lucky, Mrs Bartowski."
Sarah got a lump on her throat. "Thank you, April. I know." Sarah placed her hand on April's arm and said. "Take the rest of the day off."
April's eyes widened. "Oh no, Mrs Bartowski. That's ok. It was my pleasure. I did it because I wanted to. Not to get something out of this."
Sarah was an excellent judge of character. She was as a spy after all and she knew April was sincere. She was a keeper. "No and that's an order. And call me Sarah," smiled Sarah.
April was shocked. The boss wants to be called by her first name! WOW! "Ok...Mrs Bartow..." Sarah narrowed her eyes. "Uh...Sarah."
Sarah's eyes sparkled and she smiled brightly. "Ok. now, shoo." Chuck and Sarah smiled at April and she left.
A few moments later, Sariah woke, rubbed her eyes and squealed. "Mommy! Daddy!"
Sarah put her forefinger on her lips. "Hush, baby. Let's let Levi sleep. Ok?" Sariah nodded and slowly made her way off the couch without disturbing Levi.
Chuck noticed her cat like precision and whispered in Sarah's ear, smiling. "Like mother, like daughter."
Sarah patted Chuck's chest. "Oh, stop it," she said with a toothy grin.
Charah waved Sariah to come over to the other side of the office so not to disturb Levi. Sariah came right up to them. "Yeah, Mommy, Daddy?"
"Come on, give us some love." Sarah smiled and Sariah hugged both of her parents and kissed them in the cheek.
"I missed you," she admitted.
"We missed you too baby," replied Chuck, using his hand to brush back some of her hair which had become loose from her braid.
"But we brought something back for you and Levi."
Sariah's eyes lit up. "Oooh, what did you bring me Mummy? Cake? Cookies? Ice cream?" She was giddy with excitement as she thought about the possibilities.
Sarah sat down in one of the office chairs and pulled her daughter into her lap. "You know baby, all those sweets would give you bad teeth."
"No Mummy, my teeth doctor said my teeth are pretty," Sariah bragged, opening her mouth wide so that she could show off her pearly whites.
"Your dentist baby," Chuck laughed at Sariah's antics. "You don't show that same enthusiasm when it's time to eat your veggies."
Sariah frowned. "Did you bring us veggies Mummy?"
"No baby, we brought chocolate soufflé."
She squealed. Anything with chocolate was golden in her view. "Can I eat it now?"
Chuck shook his head. "No, we'll wait until Levi wakes up."
Sariah huffed. Levi took really long naps. "Okkkk," she grumbled.
"So, how did Uncle Casey treat you guys?" inquired Chuck.
"Oh, he was very nice, Daddy."
"What did you all do?" asked Sarah.
"We played some games and he fed us and Levi was coloring Uncle Casey's book and we watched movies."
"Oh, which movies, baby?" Sarah smiled at Chuck and Sariah, glad that things seemed to have gone well.
"We watched Frozen and I asked Uncle Casey to sing, but he didn't want to do it," frowned Sariah. Charah looked at each other and smiled. They loved when Casey was uncomfortable. "And we watched a movie about a man that Uncle Casey likes a lot." Charah looked at each other again...the smiles were gone.
Chuck cleared his throat. "Uhm...what man Sariah?" Sarah had a good idea what man Casey like and she wasn't happy. She took a deep breath and waited for Sariah's answer.
Squinting her eyes as she looked at the ceiling, Sariah tried to remember the name of the movie. "Rono...uh...Rond Rageen...I think?" She really had stopped paying attention within five minutes of the documentary rolling. She had just tricked her uncle into thinking that she was paying attention. Sarah threw her arms in the air and Chuck put his hand on Sarah's leg to calm her. Sariah cocked her head to the right. "Is something wrong, Mommy?"
Sarah regained her composure. "Oh, nothing's wrong baby. Just a little...excited."
Sariah shrugged her shoulders and thought. 'Excited about what?' From what little she had seen Rond Rageen was nothing to be excited about.
Sarah got up and said to Chuck. "I'm going to see Casey."
Chuck, lovingly grabbed her hand. "Please, Sarah. It's no big deal. Casey's being Casey. He's their Godfather." He smiled down at her and kissed her forehead, hoping she would calm down.
Sarah's eyes softened and she let out a sigh. "Ok, but I still want to talk to him." She then whispered in Chuck's ear. "I promise not to kill him," smirked Sarah. "I'll be right back." Chuck opened his mouth but Sarah was already heading out the door when she heard Sariah running after her.
"Mommy, where are you going?"
"I'll be right back, baby. I have to speak to someone. Daddy will stay. Ok?"
Sariah sighed. She loved her mother so much. "Ok." Sarah kissed and she left. Sarah was power walking towards Casey's office with fire in her eyes. Oh, everybody better be out of her way. She reached Casey's door and knocked.
"Come in." said Casey. He was expecting it to be Gertrude with a nice bottle of Scotch. Sarah walked in and closed the door. Casey looked up. "Hey Walker." Sarah gave him the look of death. Uh oh.
A/N: Hope you all liked it. It's fun having Casey babysit. Feel free to review, even if it's as a guest.
Ps. The Astronaut Wives Club premiers tomorrow with the lovely Yvonne.