Disclaimer: The end is near! I won't have to write disclaimers anymore.
Chapter Fourteen: Joy Comes in Bundles
Christmas time in Gotham was cold, windy, and snowy but inside Robert Hawkin's living room, it was warm and toasty. Sharon was in the kitchen mixing several mugs of hot chocolate and spiced cider and Virgil was sitting in the living room shaking presents with Devin and Taylor.
"Will you cut that out? You're not six." Daisy scolded him lightly from the couch where she was curled up happily, reading a magazine.
Virgil turned around on the carpet and glared at her, still holding a present to one ear. "Did you get me socks?" He brandished the package at her accusingly.
She shrugged and went back to her reading. "You need some. Look at your feet."
Virgil looked down. True, his big toe was sticking out of his sock but at least they were clean. "They had better be fuzzy socks." Virgil warned.
Taylor shook his arm. "I got my daddy a mug." She showed him the obviously self-wrapped present.
"He'll love it." He assured her and looked at his watch. "When were the others supposed to get here?"
"Right now." Adam said, opening the front door and shaking snow off of his jacket. Behind him Richie stepped into the warm living room, arm laden down with gifts.
"Awesome." Virgil stood up to hug his best friend. Taylor hurriedly hid the present for her father and she and Devin leaped at Adam before he could even get his jacket off.
"Don't knock anything over you three." Sharon warned, emerging from the kitchen with a tray of steaming drinks.
"And the family Stone?" Daisy asked, setting down her magazine to hug Richie.
"Bringing up the rear." Theresa called out from outside the doorway. "Francis! Jesse! Knock it off will you?" A snowball sailed into the room, followed by Jesse's distinctive laughter.
"You can't get your cast wet!" Theresa shouted again, stepping into the warmth. "Like a little kid, I swear." She muttered and then smiled at the people staring at her. "Hi everyone."
"Snowball fight?" Adam asked, pointing out the door and helping her with her jacket.
"More like snowball assault. They unleashed a barrage of snowballs at me from an alley." Theresa complained. Virgil snickered and Daisy hit his arm.
"I wanna play." Devin whined and reached for his jacket.
"No fair!" Francis' shouted from outside and Jesse came tearing into the, by this point, filled room. Well, as fast as tearing into anywhere is on crutches.
He was giggling and immediately hid behind his mother.
Francis stumbled into the room. The occupants of the house looked puzzled at his expression until he unzipped his jacket, and a cascade of snow fell out of his shirt. Francis jumped up and down a few times to loosen the snow sticking to the back of his neck and shivered. "Tricky little guy." He mumbled over everyone's laughter.
"What did you do?" Theresa asked Jesse.
"I don't even know where he got the bucket from." Francis said with a wry grin.
Jesse put a finger to his lips. "Shush. it's a secret." Francis laughed and reached out to take Jesse's coat for him before joining the rest of the room's occupants in sitting around the TV, watching some holiday special.
Francis settled on the floor with his back against the couch and Jesse climbed into his lap to watch the claymation. Over the past few weeks, Jesse and Francis had healed together until all that remained from the Wade incident was the cast on Jesse's leg, which was scheduled to be removed next week.
Sharon reached forward over the couch and handed both of them hot chocolate and a bag of marshmallows. Immediately, Devin and Taylor descended on Francis with their hands outstretched to get some marshmallows. "Easy, easy." Francis tried to calm them but the bag was devoured in seconds.
"Like a pack of wolves." Francis muttered and sipped at his marshmallowless drink.
"Sorry." Sharon apologized. "Should have kept those above their reaching distance.
Jesse laughed through a mouthful of sugar and swallowed, with some effort, wiping his mouth off with the sleeve of his sweater. "When do we eat?"
"It's ready now." Robert called out, sticking his head out of the kitchen.
"Great timing pops, Rudolph just ended." Virgil said and clicked off the TV, much to the annoyance of the children.
Francis lifted Jesse up and set him down facing the kitchen, sending him in the right direction at least.
"Why green by the way?" Daisy flicked his sweatshirt as she walked past the pyro.
Francis groaned. "I told her I'd look like Christmas tree, but she just doesn't listen to me." It was true, the red-hair with the green hoodie gave off a very Christmassy vibe but at least it matched his eyes.
"Can't you pick out your clothes on your own F?" Virgil asked with a teasing grin. "Or does your wife scare you that much?"
"Freakin' terrifies me. Let's eat." Francis clapped his hands together and trotted into the kitchen.
During dinner, the conversation drifted towards skateboarding. "Have the fans revolted since you went public with your real identity?" Richie asked.
Francis shook his head. "Nah, apparently they all think it's the coolest thing ever. Attendance at demos is higher than ever."
"When does Danny get back on the circuit?" Virgil asked, still feeling a little guilty about the Danny Taylor's part in the Wade incident.
"Says he hasn't had enough of Mexico yet. Could be next week or it could be next year. I'm not really sure." Francis said jokingly and looked down at his plate. Then at his wife's plate beside him. "Did you take my roll?"
"Fine." Francis reached for another one, grumbling under his breath.
Have you told him yet?" Daisy whispered to Theresa, who was sitting on the other side of Mrs. Stone.
Theresa flushed. "Not yet. I'm waiting for the opportune moment to arrive."
"Well you'd better tell him soon. He'll notice sooner or later. Probably sooner by this point." Daisy said.
Francis reached for his glass and took a long drink. Theresa grinned. "Okay now. Hey Francis?"
Francis looked at her, still drinking, and rasied an eyebrow. "I'm pregnant."
Francis choked and dropped his glass, coughing and spilling pop across the table. Adam reached forward to clap Francis on the back a few times, stifling his laughter by biting his lip.
Daisy burst into giggles. "Wow, that was good timing."
After a few minutes of coughing and choking, Francis managed to breathe again. "What?" He asked with a hoarse voice.
"I'm pregnant." Theresa said again. "I'm in my third week…about." She looked at Daisy who nodded.
"Around three week yes." The doctor clarified. "When Theresa got hurt a few tests I ran revealed she was pregnant."
"B-but how?" Francis asked.
"Well Francis, when a mommy and a daddy..." Theresa started. The table burst into laughter
"Not that." Francis scowled. "I mean, we always use...y'know." Francis shot a look at Jesse who seemed perplexed by the conversation. Then Francis' expression lightened with realization. "The bathroom."
Theresa nodded. "I think that was it."
Francis smiled dreamily. "That was good."
"Children are listening." Virgil said abruptly.
Francis blushed and then smiled. "Great!" He jumped up and kissed Theresa.
"Am I going to get a brother!" Jesse jumped up in his chair.
"Or sister." Theresa said. "We don't know yet."
"Congratulations you two. How wonderful." Robert said with a huge grin.
Eight and half months later
Francis stuck his head out into the waiting room. Everyone there, Robert, Virgil, Richie, Sharon, Adam, Jesse, Taylor, and Devin stood up expectantly.
"It's a girl." Francis said with a dazed grin.
Jesse ran forward and tugged at his father's arm. "I wanna see! Let's go see!"
"Everyone, c'mon." Francis beckoned for them all to follow him. In Theresa's hospital room, the exhausted woman was sitting up in bed with a happy smile on her face a she stared down at her new daughter. There were wisps of red hair on her head and her eyes were closed tight.
"Awwwwww." Sharon cooed.
"What's her name?" Robert asked.
Francis looked at Theresa and shrugged. "I dunno."
"I kind of want to name her after my mother, Maria." Theresa said softly, careful not to wake the sleeping newborn.
Francis lifted Jesse up to sit by his mother's legs. The six-year-old looked down at his new sister with wide eyes. "She's so little!"
"Yes honey, but shhhhh. You'll wake her." Theresa said with a grin. "But I don't want it to be Maria per se. You know?"
Francis leaned against the far wall and watched his family on the bed. "What about a name that starts with M then?"
"Alright. Any suggestions?"
"Margaret?" Richie offered.
Marissa." Robert said.
"Meghan, Martha, Mary?" Sharon listed a few.
"Marcy, Mallory?" Adam suggested.
"Madeline?" Virgil said suddenly.
Francis looked at Theresa who looked down at the little bundle in her arms. "Madeline. Madeline Stone. Madeline Bennet Stone."
"Stop that." Francis scowled.
Theresa laughed slightly. "I like it. Madeline…"
"Maria." Francis reminded her.
Theresa nodded. "Madeline Maria Stone."
"Very pretty." Daisy said walking into the room with a chart. "Can I record that?"
"Go ahead." Theresa gazed own at her daughter again, and then looked up. "Francis. Come here."
Francis edged around the bed until he was on Theresa' side. "Yes milady?"
"Hold her." Theresa lifted Madeline up and handed her to her father. Francis looked ready to protest but then took his daughter and tried to hold her like Theresa had told him to long ago with Jesse.
Sharon looked around and sighed in frustration. "Where the hell is a camera?!"
"Got it." Adam waved the camera in front of his wife's face.
"I love you." She took it, lifted it to her face, and took a picture of the Stone family.
Virgil inched around to where Francis was standing. "Batman wanted me to ask you about joining the League. What do you think?"
Francis looked at his daughter, who cracked open her bright green eyes and reached one tiny, pudgy hand out of the blanket. Then he looked at his smiling son who was looking up at him expectantly. "I get to be the hero? Count me in."
Aaaaaaaaannnnnnnndddddddd…it's done. Awwwww fluff! Gotta love that stuff. Anyhoo PLEASE REVIEW! ANYONE WHO READ THIS STORY AND LIKED IT SHOULD REVIEW RIGHT NOW TO LET ME KNOW HOW YOU LIKED THE ENDING. I ESPECIALLY LOVE MADDIE (AS I WILL BE CALLING HER) I THINK SHE'S ADORABLE. I'm done with caps now, sorry. There won't be a sequel, just to let any hopefuls know. Bye!