It's a Wonderful Family Life
A/N: Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you and your loved ones are sharing some extra special time together.
I just popped by to share this short future one shot with you. The reason I'm not updating a full chapter of the main story is because that is not very Christmassy, but I am still weaving the journey to get from there to here. I suppose I should say "spoiler alert", but I don't think this gives away anything you weren't expecting already. All other major plot points are still securely guarded under my Santa hat. This is actually an epilogue idea that got axed, so consider it a deleted scene.
This is unbeta'd, but the newest member of Team Cover Life, michaelfmx, will do his magic in due course and I'll replace the chapter once it's fine tuned. For now, in the spirit of the holidays, please pardon any errors. My brain is a little fried from all the sun and sugar I got today.
Beta'd as at 5 January. Thanks Michael!
Disclaimer: I don't own Chuck.
Sarah pried her eyes open and blinked a couple of times until the LED numbers came into focus. According to the clock on the bedside table it was nearing four in the morning. With Chuck's arm draped across her waist, their fingers intertwined against her stomach, she seriously reconsidered leaving the coziness of their bed, but she had something important to do before the entire household woke up. She inhaled a deep breath, letting it out slowly to jar her brain awake. Once lucid, she squeezed Chuck's hand before lifting it and wiggling out of his embrace, careful not to wake him. She turned around to face her husband.
"Chuck," she whispered.
When she got no response, she tucked her hand beneath her pillow, and just lay there for a moment, watching him. She did that sometimes, wondering just how she got this lucky. Satisfied that he didn't show any signs of waking up, she lifted herself up on one elbow.
"Chuck," she whispered again. Talking to him while he was asleep was something else she did from time to time. Tonight, she didn't have any confessions, just a giddiness that had threatened to slip out for the past couple of days. "I have a surprise for you and I want you to promise that you won't freak out."
He simply burrowed further into the covers, pulling them up to over his shoulders. A smile tucked at her lips. Some things never changed.
Quietly, she slipped out of bed and pulled on her robe before padding over to the dresser. She opened the middle drawer, feeling blindly for the envelope she'd taped to the bottom earlier in the day. Locating it, she peeled the tape away and, with her prize in hand, hurried to the door. It creaked when she pulled it open. Instinctively she held her breath, glancing over her shoulder to confirm that her actions had gone unnoticed. Chuck was in the exact position she'd left him. She snuck out of the room, feeling her way to the banister and down the stairs.
She made it to the living room without incident, grateful for the Christmas lights guiding her through the big room. It looked like Santa's workshop had exploded, with gifts spilling from under the tree over a good portion of the floor. She and Chuck had been up until one making sure everything was perfect for Christmas morning.
A double row of stockings hung above the fireplace and she unhooked the one she was looking for before making herself comfortable on the carpet. She carefully shook the contents out in front of her so she could rearrange it once she'd added the item she'd brought with her. Then she took the picture from the envelope, tracing a finger over the image.
A shadow fell over her, causing Sarah to yelp. She tilted her head back, her heart still in her throat, and was met with a giant grin.
"Do I need to have the birds and bees talk with you and Dad again?" Maggie sat down beside her, taking the sonogram photo from her.
"Don't be a wiseass," Sarah said, bumping shoulders with her daughter.
"You owe the swear jar a dollar, Mom."
"I won't tell if you won't."
Maggie thought about it for a moment before holding up a pinky. Sarah wrapped hers around it, watching Maggie study the sonogram, trying to gauge her reaction, but she gave nothing away as she handed it back.
"Dad doesn't know yet?"
Sarah shook her head. This wasn't exactly how she planned for the announcement to go, but by now she'd learned to just roll with whatever life threw at them. They'd had their share of surprises over the years.
"I can't wait to see his face."
"Are you okay with this?" Sarah asked.
Maggie shrugged. "I asked for a baby brother when I was four. It just never occurred to me that I had to put a limit on how many."
Sarah gaped at her, but relaxed when Maggie's face lit up. She still had the uncanny ability to keep her on her toes, even more so now that she was a teenager. An unexpected lump lodged in her throat. She often still thought of Maggie as that little girl who had wormed her way into her heart during a late night sugar rush. It was hard to believe some days that she was sixteen already and quickly turning into a young adult.
Maggie pulled her from her thoughts. "Is it too late to ask for a sister? Clara and I are seriously outnumbered."
Sarah smiled at the mention of her awesome niece, and by implication the two awesome nephews that followed. "There's a fifty-fifty chance, but you might want to drop a hint to aunt Ellie too if you want to even out the balance."
"Maybe uncle Morgan and aunt Alex will have a few, now that uncle John has finally forgiven him for the whole eloping thing."
"I don't think uncle Morgan is going to rock the Casey boat again anytime soon." Neither was she, as she was still not confident that Casey had forgiven her for indirectly bringing Morgan into their lives. Alex was happy though, and Sarah knew that that was all any parent ever wanted for their child.
"That's probably smart."
Sarah hummed in agreement as she slid the picture back into the envelope and slipped it into the bottom of Chuck's stocking. Maggie passed her the knickknacks to be stuffed back in.
"Why are you up?" Sarah asked.
"I heard a noise and thought I'd try to catch Santa in the act."
"You and Stephen don't believe in Santa anymore."
Maggie sighed. "I have some bad news. Jack is starting to have his doubts. He says the math doesn't add up."
Sarah swallowed hard. "He's almost nine. We had a good run." She leaned over and ruffled Maggie's fringe. "Why do you have to grow up so fast?"
"To make room for the new ones."
"One." Sarah held a finger to emphasize the point. She loved her children with an intensity that scared her sometimes, and she was excited about the baby, but at almost forty, she and Chuck were getting a little too old for two a.m. feedings. It had been three years since they last had to, but the memories of stumbling around in the dark, half asleep, were still fresh.
"Unless it's twins." Maggie smirked at her. "Again."
"That's not even remotely funny," Sarah said as they both pushed to their feet. She hung the stocking back before wrapping an arm around Maggie's shoulders. "We should get back to bed. Ethan and Levi are going to be up at the crack of dawn."
She took a step in the direction of the stairs, but had to stop when Maggie didn't move. Turning her head, Sarah raised a questioning eyebrow. The lanky teen's head was tilted to the side, her big baby blues fixed on Sarah, giving her a fake pout.
"But I'm not sleepy anymore."
A familiar warmth spread through Sarah's chest. She was starting to think that Maggie was getting too old for certain mother-daughter traditions. She reeled her in for a hug, grinning when she pulled away.
"Cue up the movie, I'll grab the Rocky Road."
A/N: I may be a little rusty, and definitely a little sleepy, but I hope that hit the spot. Happy holidays!