The Forgotten Heir

Summary: Sequel to "Three Words". Eight years after the finding of the Jesse James treasure, there is a lasting peace in the Gates family. But they are soon dragged into another treasure hunt that threatens the world they know and will ultimately determine the fate of all humanity.

Disclaimer: No one from the movies are mine, and neither is the Christmas holiday and Batman. Clara, however, is mine.

A/N: Hey, everyone! I'm glad that you liked "Three Words" so much! I hope you like this one as well. But I would like to take this time to remind you that if you're just stumbling upon this story for the first time, please read "Three Words" first. Otherwise, enjoy this first chapter (I wasn't planning on having this up for about another week yet, but I decided that now would be a good time)! I also want to note that I'm not used to writing like this, but the first couple of chapters feel like (at least to me) that they aren't going anywhere. But that's because I have to establish the fact that this is a peaceful time for our favorite family, and this was the only way to do it. Just keep in mind that trailer that I wrote because everything there (and more!) will be happening soon. No flames please! So, let's get this story started!

Chapter 1

The eight-year-old girl's eyes snapped open, and she sat up quickly in bed. Throwing off the covers, she jumped to the floor and ran out of her room as quickly as she could. She hurried down the stairs and rushed into the living room where her family's giant Christmas tree stood, beautifully lit. Her eyes lit up like the strands of lights when she saw the presents beneath the tree and that her stocking hanging over the fireplace was filled. Squealing with excitement, she turned back around and ran back the way she had come, but instead of going into her own room, she went into the room next to hers.

"Daddy, wake up!" Clara Gates exclaimed, not minding that it was only four in the morning as she jumped up on the bed. "Come on, Daddy!"

Ben groaned tiredly as he was brought out of sleep and rolled over on to his back, stopping his bouncing daughter. "Clara, what are you doing?" he muttered, holding on to her arms as he groggily looked at the electric clock beside him. "It's only four…"

"But it's Christmas!" Clara continued brightly, wiggling out of her dad's hands. "Santa's been here! Santa's been here! When can we open presents?"

"Not for a couple of hours yet so we're not falling asleep," Abigail said sleepily, having been wakened by her excited daughter also. "But for now, you may go see which ones are yours and then go through your stocking when we come down."

Clara smiled broadly. "Thank you, Mommy!" she cried, hugging both of her parents before jumping off the bed and running back downstairs.

"Remember, Clara, stocking only when we come down!" Abigail shouted after her, but then she sighed and lay back against her pillow.

Ben smirked. "She's just full of energy, isn't she?" he muttered, his voice thick with sleep.

"Yes. You would think that we'd be used to this whole being parents on Christmas morning thing by now," Abigail replied, moving closer to her husband.

"I know." Ben smiled, looking down at his wife. "You know, those cookies you made and put out last night were really good this year."

Abigail slowly raised her head, a quizzical expression on her face. But then, she returned the smile. "You're welcome, Santa."

Ben laughed a little. "Should we go down before Clara demolishes the house in her excitement?" he asked.

"That would probably be a good idea," Abigail answered, kissing Ben quickly before climbing out of bed and putting on her robe to shield herself from the damp air. Ben followed her, stretching as he grabbed his robe. He was just relieved that their already hyper daughter wasn't going to have any sugar until later that morning.

Time seemed to pass by slowly that morning, though it really went by quickly. After going through her stocking and opening presents from her parents and Santa, getting things such as a diary with pages that looked like the Declaration of Independence, a small history joke book, and a history version of Stratego, Clara spent a lot of time watching Christmas-based cartoons on television to pass the time. Abigail spent all of her morning in the kitchen, baking more cookies and cooking the ham and scalloped potatoes. Ben helped Abigail for the first part of his morning, but then he went into the living room and watched television with his daughter after his wife kicked him out.

Then, around nine, the doorbell rang. "I'll get it!" Clara exclaimed, jumping to her feet before Ben could. She ran into the large hall and unlocked the door, pulling it open.

"Oh, I'm sorry. I must have the wrong house," the man at the door said. "You look too cool to live here."

Clara smiled broadly. "Uncle Riley!" she cried, hugging him tightly.

Riley smiled as he hugged her back. "Hey, my little bundle of joy," he said, kissing her on top of her now-blonde head.

"I'm eight, Uncle Riley," Clara muttered in an embarrassed way.

"I know that, but you'll always be my little bundle of joy," Riley smiled. "So, how early were you up this morning?"

"Four," Clara told him proudly, crossing her arms in front of her.

"Good. Good. But you still can't beat the master," Riley replied. "Three-thirty."

"Aw, man!"

"Don't give her any ideas, Riley, please."

Riley and Clara both watched as Ben entered the hall. "Me? Corrupting your youth?" the younger man asked innocently. "Never."

Ben smiled as he hugged his best friend. "Merry Christmas, Riley."

"Merry Christmas, Ben."

"Come on, Uncle Riley!" Clara said with excitement, grabbing his hand and pulling him into the living room. "Come see what Santa brought!"

"All right. Let me just say hello to your mother first. Then, you can show me all your neat stuff." Riley set a bag that he had brought with him on the couch before walking into the kitchen. "Hey, Abi."

Abigail quickly turned away from the cookies she was putting into a bowl, and she smiled when she saw him. "Hey, Riley! Merry Christmas!" she said, hugging him when he approached.

"Merry Christmas to you too," Riley replied. Then, he snatched a cookie from the bowl. "You know, they are the best when they're warm."

"Riley!" Abigail yelled as he ran to the safety of the living room. Then, Clara snuck into the kitchen from the other entrance and took a cookie from behind her mother. Abigail whirled around, but her daughter was already out of the kitchen. "Clara!"

Abigail sighed, making sure that the rest of the cookies she had made were protected. "Note to self- no more sleepovers at Uncle Riley's for her."

Riley high-fived Clara when she sat on the couch beside him with a cookie in her hand. "Great job, girl!" he praised. "I have taught you well."

Clara nodded, snuggling up to him as they began watching the Batman Christmas special as they ate the cookies they had taken. Ben shook his head and laughed, but then he went into the hall when the doorbell rang again. "Hey, Mom. Hey, Dad," the treasure hunter greeted when he opened the door.

"Merry Christmas, Ben," Emily said, hugging her son tightly. "How are you?"

"Fine, Mom," Ben told her as Patrick gave him a one-armed hug. "Everyone is either in the living room or kitchen. Come on in."

Emily led the way into the living room, smiling when she saw her granddaughter and Riley watching television together. "There's my little Clara."

Clara looked over her shoulder when she heard her name, and she smiled brightly when she saw Emily. "Grandma!" she shouted excitedly, jumping off the couch and hugging her tightly.

"Merry Christmas, dear," Emily said after she released her. "And Riley too. Come here, honey."

Riley smiled as he got up from the couch and was pulled into a hug by the woman he had begun to consider a mother. "Merry Christmas, Emily."

"Grandpa!" Clara exclaimed, running over to him as soon as Patrick entered the room.

"Ah, there's my girl," Patrick said cheerfully, picking her up and kissing her cheek before setting her back down. "Have you been good this year?"

"Very good, Grandpa," Clara answered with a sweet smile.

"That's good because our own personal Santa should be arriving shortly," Patrick told her with a smile of his own. Then, he turned to Ben nervously, who was standing next to him. "It wasn't supposed to be me this year, was it?" he asked.

"No, Dad. Riley's next year, and you're after him," Ben told him.

Patrick sighed with relief, giving Riley a one-armed hug when he approached. "That's good."

Then, Abigail came out of the kitchen, carrying the bowl of cookies that she had made. "Merry Christmas, everybody!" she exclaimed, setting them on a small table in the living room before getting hugs from both Patrick and Emily. "Help yourselves to some cookies, but not too many because the ham and potatoes will be ready soon."

"Mmm. It smells wonderful, dear," Emily commented, following Abigail back into the kitchen to see if she could help with anything. "You've been busy, I see."

Patrick sat down on the couch while Riley and Clara spread out on the floor, all watching as the cartoon Batman kicked The Penguin's, who was wearing a Santa suit, butt and giving all of the orphan children back their presents. Ben grabbed a cookie, preparing to join them, but then left the room again when the doorbell rang for the third time. He opened the door, smiling when he saw a man in a Santa suit standing outside with a bag in his hands.

"Happy Holidays!"

"Hey, Sadusky," Ben said with a smile. "Come on in."

The FBI agent stepped inside, giving him a small smile. He had joined the Gates tradition of each male in the family taking turns dressing up as Santa since he had become a close friend to the family. "I can only stay for a little while," he told the treasure hunter. "My wife and sons have already opened all of our presents with me, but Susanna's parents are coming over later this afternoon, and she wants me home for that, especially since Matt's home as well. We want to spend as much time with him as possible."

Ben returned the smile. "Perfectly understandable," he replied, knowing that the agent's oldest son was visiting home from college for the holidays. "But I'm sure Abigail will want to send some of our food home with you also. But for now, come join the party."

As Peter Sadusky entered the living room with a cry of, "Ho ho ho!" and hearing Clara's shout of excitement, Ben felt an overpowering feeling of relief come over him. This was his favorite time of year since nothing ever went wrong with the Gates family. The day was going to be perfect.

A/N: As I said before, not much going on now except for all the fluffy, happy stuff. But don't worry. You know me; that will change later. I forgot to mention that I have invented a family for Sadusky. Matthew, his oldest son, is a freshman in college and Jacob, the younger, is in eighth grade. Credit for the names goes to my mother, since she found them for me because she considers Peter to be a Biblical name. But thanks for reading! I hope you liked the start of it. Your reviews are much appreciated. Thank you!