A/N 1: I made a terrible mistake when I first published this, I put down Christmas as the song Sarah was listening to, not All Alone on Christmas Both are sung by Darlene Love, so I do hope you'll forgive the error, it has been corrected. I also made an even bigger mistake with Buggs Bunny. Let's blame it on too much eggnog, as in I tasted some. (I don't get the eggnog crowd, but that's okay, most don't get me.)
A/N 2: Warning, contains slight spoilers for the main fic, Sarah vs The Life Unexpected. This story begin approximately 8 months after that fic begins. But let's be honest, if you've read any of Sarah vs The Life Unexpected, what you're about to read should be nothing you don't expect. Warning, due to Christmasy goodness, this fic might give you dieabiteeeess. Put your Santa hat on, and join in for Chapter 1,
Disclaimer: I don't own Chuck, or Christmas, but I love both
Sarah sat in her office, bouncing her head slightly to All Alone on Christmas by Darlene Love featuring the E Street Band. She looked up from her computer, having finished the financials. Both companies, Burton Industries, and Intersect Games were doing well financially. She smiled and sighed, taking a sip from her cup of hot chocolate. Yes, it was California, and it was still warmish, but it was Christmas time. Sarah had never cared for Christmas before Molly. There were too many memories of scamming people for money around the holidays. Funny how raising a child could heartwarm the Ice Queen.
She looked down the hallway at all the Christmas decorations and a slight frown made it's way onto her face. It was Friday, December 8th, and there were no decorations up in her home. Her home…the thought made her smile. It was just over eight months ago she met the love of her life, one Chuck Bartowski. There romance was a whirlwind that made most dizzy, but in that time, their love had done nothing but grow. Sarah and her family had moved out of her home in Echo park, and now lived with Chuck and Clara in a beautiful white house, with a picket fence, and a red door. It was her home. She sat for a second before she made her decision. It was her home, and it was time she said something.
She got up, walked down the hall of Burton Industries, and entered the front lobby where Alex was. She wasn't at her desk, but instead was decorating the Christmas tree in the lobby with her boyfriend Morgan.
"Hey, Sarah, want to help us?" Morgan asked.
"I would be happy to," Sarah said smiling. "I just need to have a word with Chuck." Morgan's smile fell.
"Ebenezer is in his hole," Morgan answered.
"Morgan!" Alex said, shocked at the way he talked about his best friend.
"What?" Morgan asked. "He's been a scrooge all week."
"He hasn't been a scrooge," Alex argued. "He may not be in the Christmas spirit, but he hasn't bah humbugged a soul."
"He better not bah humbug anyone," Sarah said, grinning. "Or, I'll go ghost of Christmas Past, Present, and Future on him."
"Sarah, you do enjoy Christmas, don't you?" Alex asked.
"Molly doesn't really give you a choice," Sarah answered grinning.
"Maybe you should turn her lose on Chuck," Morgan suggested.
"I'm going to give him a few more chance, but trust me, that's in my bag if I need it," Sarah said winking. "Now I'm off to the Land Where Christmas Died," Sarah said, shaking her head. She opened the door to Intersect Games and headed down the hall. The two companies both worked in the same building, but down different hallways. The break room, conference room, and lounge, all were accessible from both sides, and employees were often found in each other's hallways. Both companies were "owned" by Carmichael Industries, a fake holding company, with a fake CEO, Charles Carmichael. It protected Chuck from being found out as a world-famous hacker, and it allowed all of Sarah's family to work together, which she found more important as the years went by.
Christmas music and decorations were everywhere on this side of the building. As Alex said, it looked like Christmas had exploded in the hallway, and then it just ended, right in front of Chuck's office. No music was playing on the speaker in his office. Each office had a speaker, and even Casey left his on during Chuck's and Morgan's 80s week. Sarah looked in, and Chuck's desk look like a cyclone had hit it. There were papers everywhere. He would write a bit, and then go back to his computer and type. As he typed, he held the pencil in his mouth with his teeth. Sarah thought he looked adorable. Her nerd.
"Hey, good looking," Sarah said softly from the doorway. Chuck looked up, a grin on his face. He pulled the pencil out of his mouth, and noticed a trail of drool follow it. Sarah couldn't help but laugh.
"Nerd sexy right there," Chuck said. "What's up?"
"Can't a girl come see her guy?" she asked, walking slowly in. Chuck's grin began to grow.
"You know you're always welcome in my office, or anywhere else I am," he said.
"What are you working on?"
"Morgan and I have been spitballing a new RPG, but he get's mad about how 'easy' the new ones are." Sarah gave him a questioning look. "When you get poisoned in battle in these new RPGs, after the battle the effects go away, but Morgan hates that, so I'm trying to make it old school, say Final Fantasy III, well here in America, in Japan it was VI, and you are sorry you asked," Chuck said trailing off, grinning at the look on her face.
"No, it's not that," she insisted. "But, you went down two or three different rabbit holes and I got lost."
"So, you should have turned left at Albuquerque and didn't?" Sarah was beyond confused. "Buggs Bunny was always trying to get to somewhere, but never turned left at Albuquerque, and didn't get to his destination, kinda like this conversation we are currently having," he said as that explained everything.
"You're in a special mood today," she said laughing. She came around his desk, and he scooted his chair back. She sat in his lap, and gave him a kiss. After a minute or so, they came up for air.
"Well, my brain is melted, and I'm probably done for the day," Chuck said, ginning and shaking his head. Sarah laughed and ran her hand down his chest.
"Chuck, we need to chat," she said.
"I'm sure there are worse lines guys would want to hear from the love of their life, but off the top of my head, I'm not sure what they are."
"It's not bad."
"So, it's more a fireside chat?" She gave him a look and he shut up, but it was obvious he had more to say.
"Molly would like to decorate for Christmas," Sarah said. Chuck nodded.
"Okay," he said, but he looked a little uncomfortable.
"We know this Christmas is hard on you, but we wondered if you would be okay if we decorate the house. You don't have to help."
"I should," Chuck began.
"Chuck, this is about Ellie, and we both know it. It was her favorite holiday, and I know how hard this is for you. Just be okay with us doing it, is all I ask." Chuck smiled.
"It's your house," he replied.
"It's our home," Sarah said leaning in for a kiss. "Because you're there. Never forget that."
"I need to cheer up. Molly deserves better, so does Clara," he said, looking down. He looked up. "So do you." Sarah smiled.
"You get through it however you need to," Sarah replied. "Although if there were mistletoe and I were under it, I would appreciate it if you could try and kiss me."
"I could struggle through it," Chuck replied.
"Struggle?" she asked raising an eyebrow. "Really?" Chuck laughed.
"Woman, each time you kiss me, my brain nearly short circuits. It's a struggle to remember to breathe sometimes."
"Maybe we should kiss less," she offered.
"Nope, what you don't know is they are addictive, and if I don't get the recommend daily allowance I could die from withdrawl." Sarah burst out laughing. She patted his chest, and got up. "I'm going to go out in the front room and decorate the Christmas tree. You're welcome to join us, but if you want to sit in here and work on your game, we all understand."
"Thank you, Sarah," Chuck said, gratefully. "I love you."
"Love you," she replied and started down the hallway.
"Sarah," Chuck said softly. She came back to the door and looked in. Chuck looked very unsure of himself. "I don't have the right to ask this," he began, and stopped.
"Just ask it, Chuck," she said grinning. "You know I hardly ever say no." Chuck made a noise between cough and a grunt like he was choking. Sarah grinned.
"Do you think you could put up some of Ellie's stuff…" he trailed off.
"Absolutely," she beamed. "Are there any other boxes besides the ones up in the attic?"
"Not that I'm aware of," he replied. She nodded, winked at him, and headed to join the others. She came in the lobby, and Casey, Carina, Skip, and Manoosh had joined Alex and Morgan decorating.
"Did it work?" Morgan asked, clearly expecting it not to.
"Kind of," Sarah answered. Morgan looked at her. "It's not really fair," she said, grinning at him.
"Nothing's fair in love and war," Morgan replied. Casey grunted his agreement.
"Molly?" Sarah asked.
"Molly," they all answered. Sarah nodded.
"Merry Christmas, Chuck Bartowski, whether you want it to be or not."
"So are you going to help us decorate, Daddy?" Molly asked on the way home when Sarah shared the news.
"Daddy, decrate?" Clara asked.
"Probably not, Pumpkin," Chuck answered. "Clara do you want to help."
"Will you listen to Molly?"
"Yep, I do what sis tell me," Clara replied.
"Can we listen to Christmas music?" Molly asked.
"I don't know-" Sarah began.
"It's fine," Chuck said softly, with a smile on his face that didn't reach his eyes. Sarah turned on the radio, and found Christmas Time is Here by Vince Guaraldi Trio. "Ah, the Charlie Brown classic," Chuck said.
"Can we watch that?" Molly asked. Chuck looked shocked.
"When have I EVER said no to Charlie Brown?" he asked, smiling.
"How about you watch that, while I go up in the attic and see what all I need to get down," Sarah said. The two girls readily agreed.
"Do you need my help?" Chuck asked. Sarah patted his leg.
"I've got it."
They arrived at their destination, and Sarah unloaded Clara, who wanted to be carried, and Chuck opened the door for Molly. Molly had already shed her carseat belt and was skipping beside Chuck as they went inside. Clara grinned at Chuck and Molly the entire way in.
"There's my beautiful girls and handsome guy," Emma said when they came in. The girls took turns giving her a hug, and then Chuck caught her in a bear hug.
"What smells so good?"
"Fudge," she answered, watching Chuck's face light up.
"I'm headed to the attic, take care of the girls?" Sarah asked.
"If you're sure," Chuck replied. Sarah nodded, and Chuck took the girls into the living room, marching like the nutcrackers to watch the DVD of Charlie Brown Christmas. Sarah made her way upstairs and to the attic. She found her decorations and a few minutes later found Ellie's. Even though Chuck insisted it, and Sarah knew it was her house, Sarah was always a little tentative of looking through or touching any of Ellie's stuff without him there. She knew how he'd react about it and say was fine, so she decided she would just open up the box to see what was there. Besides, she really needed to know what was in there to ready herself for any emotions they might trigger in Chuck. She opened the box, which was taped shut. As she pulled open the lid, she was surprised to see an envelope taped to the lid. It read "To Chuck's significant other". Sarah stared at it for a second, and since it was addressed to her she opened it. She unfolded the letter and began to read.
To the person who captured my brother's heart,
If you're reading this, something happened, something I hoped never would, but I had to be prepared for. For the past nine years I have written a new letter and put in this Christmas box in case something ever happened to me. I don't know how much my brother has told you, but he has never really gotten over what happened to him at Stanford. His then girlfriend cheated on him, and his best friend turned this back on him and got him thrown out of school. Both of our parents left us, and I have been the only constant in Chuck's life. If you're reading this, then that means I'm not in his life anymore, and I'm sorry.
I have no idea how close you are, but if you're reading this, that means he trusted you enough to get into the Christmas ornaments. That's huge if you're wondering. Christmas was our holiday. There are other letters for you, in my closet, in my lockbox. I know, I seem like I'm interfering in his life from beyond the grave, but you have to understand, to some extent I've been that boy's mother, and I've watched him struggle for so long. If you get this, then I am truly worried, because that means not only is he trying to find his place, but he's raising Clara and he's worried that he's not doing right by her.
Okay, enough, I'm crying just writing this. Here's what you have to do, and I'm not sure how. Chuck has to enjoy life again, and Christmas. IF you love him, and I think you do, or you wouldn't be reading this, then know you can't go far enough to remind him of the good of Christmas. Your mission, Chuck's SO, is to make Chuck smile about Christmas again. Attached is the list of everything we used to do and how we decorated the house. Feel free to use it or toss it. You're choice. If you chose not to accept the mission, do me a favor, put this back where you found it, because you're not the one, and we both know it. Sorry if that's harsh, but I'm dead, so I don't have to worry about being called snarky.
Since you're still reading, you love him, and I am so thankful for you. I hope you're a part of Clara's life, and for the love of God, if she wants to call him Daddy and you Mommy, tell him I'm fine with it. He can be so stubborn about things sometimes. I am so thankful for you, and I'm truly sorry we never got to meet. I bet we would have been the best of friends. Thank you. Know that he loves you, and so do I. Take care of my family, I can never thank you enough. I love you.
Eleanor Faye Bartowski Woodcomb
"Oh, Ellie," Sarah said, wiping tears from her eyes. She folded the letter, put it back in the envelope, went down to the second floor, and put the letter in her dresser. She knew what to do, she was going to have to use everything she had, but she had something Chuck Bartowski had no defense for…Molly.
Chuck felt someone starting at him. He opened his eyes and saw Sarah laying on his chest, her eyes closed. He turned his head slowly to the right and there were two eyes boring into him.
"Is something wrong?" Chuck asked. Molly just stared at him. "You know kid, you kinda scare me sometimes, the same way your mom does."
"I'm adopted, remember."
"Maybe it's environmental," Chuck replied, still trying to sleep.
"It's very hard to sleep with you two talking, take it outside," Sarah mumbled from Chuck's chest.
"You heard your mom," Chuck said, shutting his eyes. He felt another pair staring at him. He opened his eyes to see two blue eyes looking right back. Chuck didn't know how, but Sarah's eyes changed by her mood. The best way to describe them currently was stormy. "You want me to get up?"
"You're the one she's staring at," Sarah said, and with that she rolled over, with her back towards him. Chuck felt a hand grab his arm.
"Come on," Molly whined pulling Chuck out of bed. There was a crashing noise, and Sarah had to hold in her laughter. It almost wasn't fair what was being done to him. Almost. Chuck went with Molly, and Sarah crept out of bed to get ready. Chuck came out of the bedroom, and saw the Christmas tree that was on the second floor landing.
"What's this?" Chuck asked.
"We call it a Christmas Tree," Molly answered. Chuck looked down at her, and she looked up at him, innocently. "What? I was just answering your question."
"I mean I've never seen this before," Chuck replied.
"It's mine and Mommy's, and Emma's," Molly replied. Her face fell. "Do you not like it? Do I need to take it down?" she asked softly. Chuck knew he had to move quickly. Sarah watched it all from the bedroom doorway.
"No, Pumpkin, it's great. I just never had one up here before, and it's a shame. It's very pretty."
"Do you think Ellie would like it?" Molly asked. "I would want her to like it." Chuck looked at the tree and the decorations. He wanted to be sad, but he saw her in his mind watching him and his family, and he couldn't help but smile a little.
"She would love it, in fact, if she had walked up those stairs and seen you decorate it, she'd probably squeal." Chuck thought for a second. "Wait a minute, when did you decorate it?"
"Last night after you went to bed," Molly answered. "You were really sleepy."
"Did you mother use some of her spy medicine again?" Molly shook her head. Chuck turned toward his room, but no one was there. Chuck snuck back towards the room and was about to jump into the doorway to catch her, when she came out of the doorway and crashed into him. They fell backwards, Sarah landing on top of him.
"We don't have time for you two to be kissing and rolling around on the floor," Molly said. "We have to go to the mall, and let me buy presents for everyone, plus I need to see Santa."
"What about Clara seeing Santa," Sarah asked, laying on top of Chuck, who may have been wheezing just a bit.
"Granny said see would meet us there later with her." Sarah looked down at Chuck and then back to Molly.
"Do I have time to kiss him once?" Molly rolled her eyes, nodded, and walked off. Sarah leaned down and kissed him.
"Why do I feel like I'm being bamboozled?" Chuck asked. Sarah shrugged and grinned. "I love you, but I can't breathe."
"Are you calling me heavy?"
"I'm not calling you anything, I'm just in pain."
"Tell me about it."
Chuck, Sarah, and Molly loaded up and went to the local mall to find presents. Sarah and Molly were singing along to the Christmas songs as Chuck sat there.
"Maybe we should turn it off, Mommy," Molly said. "We don't want to upset Daddy."
"I'm not upset, Pumpkin."
"But you sing to everything," Molly said. "The only time you don't sing is when it bothers you, and Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, and I want you to be happy." Sarah looked at Chuck.
"FINE. I'll sing. Jingle Bells, Batman smells, Robin laid an egg." Sarah started laughing.
"No, no, no!" Molly yelled. "Now sing it right."
"Well you start it," Chuck replied.
"Dashing through the snow," she began, and Sarah and Chuck joined in. They reached the mall, and shopped until Chuck thought he would drop. He found a bench, Molly climbed up in his lap, and Sarah laughed at the two of them.
"I'm going to call Mom to bring Clara and we'll get our pictures taken," she said walking toward a door to get better coverage. A mall Santa sat down beside Chuck.
"I hope you don't mind, I just need a break for a second," Santa said. Chuck smiled at him and nodded. "What's your name young lady?" he asked. "Wait a second, is it Molly?" Molly beamed. Chuck was surprised at how good this guy was. "Do you want to tell me what you want for Christmas?" Molly looked at Chuck who nodded. She leaned over and whispered in his ear. When she finished, Santa looked at her, and chuckled. "Are you sure?" She smiled and nodded.
"Daddy, I need to pee," Molly said. Chuck and Santa both chuckled. Chuck saw Sarah and the two went to meet her. Sarah offered to take her, to which Chuck thanked her profusely. As he waited, he noticed the mall Santa.
"Young man," Santa said. Chuck pointed to himself. "May I have a second of your time?"
"Sure Nick, what's up?" Chuck said grinning. Santa got very close and leaned to tell him something in his ear.
"Your daughter," Santa began. "All she wants for Christmas is for you to enjoy Christmas again." Chuck looked at man, tears in his eyes. "She said you mean the world to her, and she wants you to be happy. She doesn't want anything for herself."
"My sister, she died in January. Christmas was our holiday," Chuck said softly through the tears. "It's just so hard. I mean Sarah and Molly have been great, but I obviously have some Christmas issues. Like pouring my heart out to a guy I barely know. I'm sorry, sir." Santa waved him off.
"I enjoy this job for many reasons but the main is to see families that love each other. If you'll take an old mall Santa's advice, how about you think about what you have, instead of what you lost. Also, I don't know your sister, but how would she feel about you acting this way around Christmas?" Santa asked. Chuck winced. Santa laughed. "That's what I thought. You have a beautiful family, love them, remember the good times of the ones you lost, but don't dwell on what you don't have." Chuck nodded.
"Thanks, Santa," Chuck said, and shook his hand.
"Now, I have to get back to work," Santa said. "Good to see you, Charles," he said and walked off. Chuck cocked his head to the side like he did when he was confused. Sarah walked up to him with Molly.
"Everything okay?" Sarah asked.
"Yeah," Chuck said. "Somehow that mall Santa knew both our names."
"That's weird," Sarah said. She was sending a text in her jacket pocket, a trick from spy days. She was thanking the "mall santa". They walked to where Santa was taking pictures with the kids, and Chuck noticed something.
"Sarah, that's not the Santa we saw earlier," Chuck said. Sarah looked at Chuck like he was crazy.
"Of course not," Molly said. "That was the real Santa." Chuck looked down at her, then back to Sarah, who shrugged. They met Emma and Clara, got in line and soon, they had their picture taken with Santa, all of them. Emma holding Clara, Molly sitting in Santa's lap, and Chuck and Sarah standing together, with Chuck's arm over her shoulders. For the first time in several weeks, Chuck wasn't forcing a smile because of Christmas. As they headed back to their vehicles, Chuck had Clara, giving her raspberries and making her laugh. Sarah and Molly hung back.
"How'd it go?" Molly asked.
"Good, I think that really got to him."
"What's next?" Molly asked.
"Wrapping presents and making cookies," Sarah said smiling. "Don't worry, Molly. We'll get him to smile and be happy."
"He deserves it."
"Yeah he does."
A/N: Chuck against Sarah, Molly, and Ellie…poor guy doesn't stand a chance.