Summary: AU. Her sweater holds the unmistakable scent of brandy, mixed with his cologne, and she can see her latest copy of Vogue lying open on the coffee table as they round the corner. Oneshot.

Disclaimer: I don't own anything … well, with the exception of Sara.

A/N: My uncle said something to me at Thanksgiving dinner that put this idea in my head. It got to be annoying so I decided to write it. A little holiday fluff, because if Rory and Jess (or Alexis and Milo) ever reproduced their children would be utterly fucking beautiful.

--

She stands in the doorway and nibbles on her small thumb, trying to decide if she should. She can't see her parents in the darkness, but a soft breathing fills her ears and she knows they're there, twined together under the covers, oblivious to her.

It's normally daylight when she crosses the threshold to their bedroom. And they're whispering to each other and laughing quietly and she has no qualms about jumping onto the bed to join them. But tonight it's late and she knows they're asleep and she feels guilty about interrupting the quiet.

She sighs softly and pads over to the bed, climbing onto her mother's side and sitting on her knees.

"Mommy," she whispers delicately, poking at the figure in front of her. She hears her mother groan softly and feels the bed shift as she turns to look at her, eyes half open.

"What's wrong?"

She plucks at the comforter and sighs again. "I had a bad dream," she whispers softly. Rory smiles reassuringly and turns over, lifting up the corner of the blanket for her to climb in. She smiles brightly and snuggles into her arms, closing her eyes and allowing Rory's familiar scent fight off the demons for the night.

--

She perches on the edge of the couch, swinging her legs back and forth as she watches him type. His fingers fly over the keys, soft clicking noises accompanied by the Clash album he has playing from the stereo filtering through the house, his brow furrowed in concentration.

The clicking is one of her favorite sounds in the world.

He sighs and sinks back into the cushions, staring at his laptop. She frowns slightly.

"Daddy?" she asks softly. He looks over at her and smirks a little.

"Sara?"

She crawls across the couch and sits next to him, legs crossed and hands folded innocently in her lap. "Will you read me one of your books some time?"

Jess smiles a little and nods, pulling her into a hug. "Yeah," he whispers, "I will." He kisses the top of her head and she grins at him, snuggling into the end of the couch. He laughs softly and sits up again, returning to his laptop.

His wife walks into the room a moment later and sits next to him, resting her head on his shoulder as she watches him work and sipping from the glass of brandy in her hand. He closes his eyes for a moment and stops typing, kissing the top of her head with a soft sigh. She giggles slightly when his breath tickles her scalp and he lifts her chin and kisses her.

Sara watches from her position in the cushions and smiles when Rory looks over at her.

"Bed time," she says quietly, setting down the glass and walking over to pick up her daughter. The five year old pouts and she rolls her eyes, pulling her into her arms.

"Goodnight Daddy," Sara sighs resignedly as her mother adjusts her hold on her and starts walking toward her room. Jess smirks and gives a little wave. She smiles a little and buries her face in Rory's shoulder. Her sweater holds the unmistakable scent of brandy, mixed with his cologne, and she can see her latest copy of Vogue lying open on the coffee table as they round the corner.

--

She smiles when she walks out of her room on Christmas Eve and finds them curled up on the couch together. His forehead is pressed against hers and she's in his lap, arms around his neck. They're whispering to each other and she's blushing, rolling her eyes every couple of minutes. Rory kisses him gently and looks up, spotting their daughter in the hallway.

Rory winks at her and she smiles, running over and jumping onto the couch next to her parents.

"Whoa there," Jess laughs lightly and reaches up to wrap a hand around her waist, forcing her to stop bouncing. Sara frowns a little and he sighs, taking her hand and tugging her down onto the couch with them.

"Can I stay up and wait for Santa?"

Rory smiles at her and looks at her husband. He shakes his head and she pouts, gesturing to their daughter. "It's only one night, Jess," she says softly. He shakes his head again and she frowns more. "She's five! Let her stay up."

"She's going to be way too difficult to deal with tomorrow if she does."

"I promise I'll be good!" Jess raises an eyebrow at her and she raises her pinky finger in the air, sticking out her bottom lip for effect. "Pinky swear," she says firmly. Jess stares at her for a second and then sighs, reaching over and locking pinkies with her.

"No whining about being tired tomorrow," he warns. She shakes her head vigorously and he smiles a little, telling her to go and get blankets so they can set up the couch. He turns to his wife once she's gone and she grins at him.

"You're such a softie," she teases.

"She learned how to pout from you," he returns. She nods and giggles. He rolls his eyes.

--

She feels someone lifting her into the air and opens her eyes, moaning tiredly. She inhales her father's cologne and sighs softly, snuggling into his arms.

"Where's Santa?" she slurs out quietly. Jess sighs as he carries her into her room, kissing her forehead lightly.

"I guess you missed him," he whispers. She yawns and he tucks her into her bed while brushing her hair away from her face. She looks at him tiredly, her blue eyes clouded over in exhaustion.

"Will he come back?"

"Next year," he nods. "Goodnight, Sara."

"Goodnight, Daddy," she yawns again and sinks further into her mattress. "I love you."

"Love you too," he tells her, closing the door softly behind him. He turns and finds his wife wrapping her arms around herself, hugging the t-shirt she stole from him tightly to her.

"She missed Santa," she whispers softly. Jess rolls his eyes and nods, walking forward and wrapping his arms around her waist. Rory reaches up and kisses him softly, taking his hand and leading him back to bed.

When the door clicks shut behind them, Sara Mariano finally lets the temptation of sleep take over, already looking forward to next year.

--End--