The morning sun began to rise over the moutains early one December day. The birds, though most had flown for the winter, were chirping excitedly as the new day dawned. The ground was covered in fresh, white snow that had come down during the night. Even small flakes were drifting down from the sky and landing on the ground below. The weather forecaster had said the temperature would drop in the night and wouldn't be higher until that afternoon. But for one man, asleep in his nice, warm bed, he could really care less. The little house on the street was quiet, for once, as the four occupants were still nessled in their beds.
Maxwell Smart couldn't be happier.
The secret spy extraordinaire sighed contentedly as he looked over at the source of his happiness and warmth. Agent 99, his wife and mother of his children, looked childlike herself as she slept. He was always startled at how much their daughter took on the same angelic look her mother possessed while sleeping. They were going shopping with the kids that morning to get those last minute Christmas gifts. Max smiled at he looked at his wife. He had gotten her the perfect gift this year. After last year's silent treatment for getting her that toaster (she said the old one wasn't working. She was practically begging him to get her another!), he had started his search for the right gift for her in March. By September, he had almost given up until he and the Chief had passed this jewerly store during a stake out. Now, Maxwell Smart was not known for his gift giving talents and giving jewerly was not his strong point.
But even Max knew he had gotten the right gift for the occasion.
He and 99 had celebrated their fifth anniversary last month. Because it was so close to Christmas, they decided to hold off on the gift giving until then. The kids liked the idea, hoping they would get more presents this year, as they had just celebrated their birthdays. They were cute. For their anniversary, they had served their parents with breakfast in bed. If you could call it that. Maxine had said it was pancakes and eggs. Zachary disagreed and said it was cereal and bacon. That started the first argument for the day, assuming that the two hadn't been fighting while making the...breakfast. 99, as always, had to calm the two down and then sent them out to get dressed for the day. Then she had Max try out the...well, the only way it could be discribed would be "concoction". Max, not wanting to make his wife mad on their anniverisary, made the effort at tasting the odd looking disk that was on his plate.
Later that day, he was rushed to the emergency room for food poisoning.
Max shook his head at the memory. For three weeks, his children had tried
to convince him they weren't trying to kill him or harm him in any
way. Maxine he finally believed, but that son of his...he wasn't sure.
He had read about this Opus guy who killed his father in order to marry
his mother and sometimes Max had the distinct feeling Zachary was trying
to get rid of him. The movement next to him caused Max to forget about
his thoughts and look upon the lovelyness that he now saw.
99 stirred, edging closer into Max's embrace. She was rewarded with a kiss on her forehead, causing the lovely agent to smile and open her eyes. She could tell the sun had just come up from the light emitting through the window. She could hear the birds chirping on the branches outside and could hear various neighbors getting into their cars and making a vain attempt at getting to work that morning. Above all, she saw her darling husband. His eyes were closed and he had a contented smile on his face. His arm around her shoulder, she delivered a kiss to his cheek and snuggled deeper in his loving embrace. Max's smile got bigger.
They weren't leaving for at least two hours. They might actually squeeze in some...together time.
In one quick motion, Max's lips met hers in a soft, but lingering kiss. "Mmm..." 99 sighed. "That's certainly a nice way to wake up. What time is it?"
"Morning." Max replied, going in for another kiss. 99 laughed at his attempt and tried to glance at the clock on the nightstand. It read 7:35AM. The kids would be up soon, no doubt about that. But that wasn't going to stop Max at his pursuit of 'together' time.
On cue, Max pinned her to the bed and traced the outline of her face with his finger. "The kids will up by now." she said, linking her fingers behind his head.
"Give or take five or ten minutes."
"We should be getting up ourselves." 99 said, bringing her husband's head down until they were inches apart. "As much as I enjoy this."
Not one to waste an opportunity to make out with his wife, Max went in for another kiss, one 99 was whole heartedly expecting. But before the two could get anything started, there was a knock on the bedroom door. The two stole a glance at the door before Max shouted, "Who is it?"
"It's Max." came the little voice from the other side.
"Hmmm..." Max murmured, more to himself than anyone. "I thought I was Max. And if I'm here in bed..."
"I think it's our daughter, dear." 99 suggested sweetly.
"Oh!" Max said. "Oh yeah." Turning his head to the door, he shouted, "Whadda want?"
"It's snowing outside my window." came the answer. "Is it snowing outside yours?"
Max rolled over slightly in order to see out the window. It was small light snow, but snow no less. "Yes."
"Can I see?"
"No." Max shouted, finally deciding his make out session was completely ruined. Getting out of bed, he headed for the bedroom door. "Was that it?" he asked.
"Is Mommy there?" came the question.
"Can I see her?"
"Aw, Max." 99 cooed, now sitting up in bed. "Let her in."
Max sighed and opened the door. Standing there, dressed in her little pink Barbie nightgown, stood a little girl who was about five years old. She had dark hair that fell about her shoulders and dark green eyes that matched her father's. Maxine Smart was the apple of her parents' eyes. "Hi Mommy." the girl said cheerfully.
"Hi Maxie." 99 replied, smiling at her daughter.
Maxine turned and noticed her father on the other side of the door. "Good morning, Daddy." she said, staring up at her father. Max couldn't be mad at the girl. He could tell right then she had her mother's looks, which made saying no to her especially hard. It was like looking at a little 99 if she had been five. Max kneeled down and he received a kiss on his nose for all the trouble he had to go through. Picking the girl up in his arms, Max carried her to the bed and set her down next to her mother.
"Excited about going shopping today?" 99 asked.
"Uh huh." Maxine said, instantly distracted by the lacy part of her mother's pillow.
"Have any place special you want to go?" Max asked.
"Um..." the girl looked up and around, as though she was about to say something when something else caught her eye at the window. "Ooh!" she said, pointing to the little sparrow that had landed on the window sill. "Look, a bird, Daddy."
99 gave a loving glance at her husband, then turned to her daughter. It was obvious whose attention span the girl got. 99 was about to ask where he brother was when a small wind came through the door and jumped on the bed. Quickly climbing over his sister, Zachary Smart reached the radio on his parents' nightstand and turned it on. The news was already on and the reporter was talking about the recent snowfall.
"...And though it's just the weekend, already reports are coming out from businesses and schools across Washington." the reporter was saying.
"Please, oh please, say Washington Elementary." Zachary said.
"We have now just gotten a list of all major businesses and schools that will be closed at least for Monday of this coming week."
"Hey maybe CONTROL will be closed too, huh 99?" Max asked. Like his son, he was now praying that his Monday would free as well.
"I doubt that very much, Max." 99 said, leaning back on her pillow. This was a normal day occcurance in the Smart house. "I doubt the Chief would actually call the news stations to mention it. CONTROL is a secret organization, after all."
"I know that, 99." Max said.
"He knows that, Mommy." Maxine copied, causing both her parents to smile. For different reasons, of course.
Meanwhile, Zach was still listening to the radio announcer. The man had just gone through a list of businesses that would definitely be closed on Monday. Unfortunately for Max, CONTROL Headquarters was not among them. The man had started on the list of schools, Zachary sitting there, hoping among hope that George Washington Elementary was also be closed. "Please, please, please say Washington Elementary." he repeated. "Just say Washington Elementary."
"Dade Canyon, Carter High School, Fredrick Junior High School, Gorshin High School..."
"Please Mister," Zachary begged, as though the announcer could actually hear him. "Say Washington Elementary."
"Henley Elementary, Johnson Junior High School, Johnson High School, Olsen Elementary and Junior High Schools..."
"For the love of humanity, please say Washington Elementary!"
"Stevenson Elementary and Xavier Junior High."
Zachary hung his head in defeat. He would have to go to school on Monday. Not that he didn't like school. He did, especially all the girls he had met. He may be in kindergarden, but he knew class and beauty when he saw it (after all, he had Agent 99 as a mom!) and those girls in his class were very cute. The boy sighed and resigned that it wasn't the end of the world. Just his glorious weekend. He was about to hop off the bed, when the announcer began to speak again.
"Ladies and gentlemen, I've just gotten an added list with a couple more businesses and schools." he said. Both Zachary and Max perked up. "For businesses, the Lady Day factory will be closed, as will the Sunshine Toy factory. Don't worry, kiddies. It says here Sunshine Toys have already gotten their shipments out, so there will be toys in stock this week." To that, Maxine perked up. "As for schools that will be closed this Monday..."
"Oh please, please..." Zachary was almost on the verge of tears.
"Bankey High School, Devonshire High School, Trenton-Coolidge High School, Valley Junior High and..."
"Please, please, please, please, please, please..."
"YES!" Zachary exclaimed, hopping up and jumping about on the bed. "Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you..."
"Okay," 99 replied, trying to calm her son down. "So the two of you have the day off Monday. But your father and I don't. So what do we plan to do about it?"
The twins looked at their mother pleadingly. 99 knew those looks. They were the "please, let us hang out with you and Dad at work cause it's so much funner than school and we could learn something important, if only you would let us go, oh wonderful and beautiful mother." looks. "They could come to work...with...us..." Max started, only to trail off when he saw the look 99 was giving him. Despite the fact that she had choosen the life for herself, 99 was not about to let her children become spies. She and Max knew first hand what could happen in the business and she refused to let her children go through the horros and dangers. Max, on the other hand, didn't really see the problem in it. He loved being spy and wanted at least one of his children to follow in his footsteps.
And that child looked to be Zachary.
The boy loved hearing stories about his parents' adventuresand the mere thought that he could be a part of that one day trilled him beyond belief. Zachary idolized his father. He would defend him to no end, as defiantly as his mother had and even still did on occasion. He wasn't blind. He knew his father lacked some motor skills, but it didn't matter to him. The man had saved the world no less than 137 times and those were only the stories he had heard. He was still waiting to hear about the stake out Max and the Chief had had a couple months ago.
"We'll think about it." 99 said, giving Max that same look that almost definitely spelled a "no". "Right now, you two should hit the shower and get dressed." the woman continued. "We still have to get breakfast." The two children jumped off the bed excitedly and ran out the door, leaving their parents alone once more. On any other day, Max would've taken this lovely opportunity, but the look on his wife's face told him he shouldn't even be thinking of a possible chance.
"Now, 99, before you say no..."
"No, Max." 99 said, firmly. "And I would totally appreciate it if you wouldn't undermine my thoughts in front of the children."
"Under what?" Max asked. 99 must be mad. She only used really big words when she was really really mad. "99, it's not like we haven't taken them to work before."
"Yeah, but they were also younger before." 99 retorted. "Max, I really don't think we should be leading them on about what we do."
Max looked at her in confusion. Was she suggesting that he was somehow leading his children on? That was just plain sick! And for his wife to think of it... "Whacha talkin' bout, 99?" he asked.
99 sighed and got out of bed. "Max, I'm just saying let's not put the idea in their head that being a spy is fun." she replied, heading for the door.
"But being a spy is fun!" Max proclaimed. "Don't you like being a spy, 99?"
"Of course I do, Love." she said, hand resting on the doorknob. "It doesn't mean I want our children growing up in the business." With one last smile, 99 opened the door and headed downstairs to make breakfast.
The Smarts finished their breakfast and Max and Maxine started to clear away the table. 99 winked at Max as he gave her a debonair smile. At least a potential war had been avoided before breakfast. After 99 had made breakfast and set it out on the table, she went upstairs to discover Max still sitting on the bed, apprently waiting for her. The two discussed their problem, hoping that this was just a phase with Zachary and made up in their own way. They came down together after a shower and found Zachary and Maxine starting their daily routine.
"That was mine!" Zachary was shouting.
"Was not!" Maxine retorted. "Daddy gave me that muffin cause he loves me."
"Liar!" Zachary cried. "This was the muffin Dad picked out for me himself! He gave it to his number one son!"
"What are you arguing about now?" 99 asked, walking up to the table.
"Mommy, Zachary took my muffin." the girl pouted.
"I did not!" Zachary defended. "That was my muffin! Dad got it for me."
"What muffin?" 99 asked, looking at the food she had put out. She didn't remember there being a muffin of any kind.
"The blueberry muffin that..." Zachary pointed to a plate that sat in the middle of the table, only whatever had been on it was now gone.
"Hey!" Maxine cried. "What happened to our muffin?"
They all turned to find Max wiping crumbs off the front of his shirt and
licking his lips. "Mmmm..." he said. "That was a good muffin." 99 smirked
at the irony in the matter. With the problem solved and the dishes being
cleared away, Zachary bounded over to the coat rack to fetch his coat.
99 continuing sitting at the table, admiring her son. What a flirt! The
boy was only five years old and yet he could have any woman he wanted eating
out of his hand. This was definitely the son of Maxwell Smart. And only
his personality could decifer that. Zachary looked more like 99, with his
big baby blue eyes and hansome smile.
Currently, the boy was having trouble getting his buttons on his coat button. The fact was he had put his mittens on before his coat and now couldn't have the use of his hands. He was persistent though, watching as his hands kept slipping over the large blue buttons. The coat had been a gift from his father. A long blue mack, in children's size, was the same as the one Max owned and usually wore whenever out on some sea worthy case. 99 watched as Zachary began to get more frustrated by the minute. She oftened wondered if Max had been like this as a child. Curious, friendly, always asking questions, always getting into trouble...99 could almost picture an identical scene with Max as a child, trying to go outside and play in the snow, but unable to get his jacket buttoned because of persky mittens.
Finally feeling sorry for the lad, 99 ventured over to give him a hand. Just looking at his face, she had been wrong. He did look a bit like Max, especially when he got frustrated about something. His face was scrunched and he looked like he was about to cry out of anger. 99 just smiled and buttoned him up. She then gave him a kiss to his temple and a hug. "I would've gotten it eventually." Zachary said, his head on his mother's shoulder.
"I'm sure you would've, Zachary." 99 replied, pulling the boy back. "You're very persistent, just like your father."
"Really?" The boy beemed at the compliment, even though he wasn't sure what it meant. But if his mother had said it, then it must've been a good thing. As soon as Max and Maxine came out from the kitchen, Zachary ran up to his father. "Hey Dad, guess what?" he said, already excited. "Mom said I was per...perif...peris..." He turned back to his mother, a confused look on his face. "Mom, how did that word go?"
"Persistent, darling." 99 replied, helping Maxine into her jacket. The lovely spy stood up and looked at her two offspring. So innocent, so adoring...how she could she even think of letting these two enter the espionage profession? "All set?" she asked. Both children nodded excitedly.
"Okay," Max said, opening the door. "Let's go."
The family left the apartment and headed out to the car. Not wanting to
go shopping all over town, the best place for shopping was the Washington
Heights shopping department store. It was more than that though. The store
contained at least fifteen different shops inside and every Christmas,
the center was cleared for Jolly Ole St. Nick himself. The Smarts could've
parked up front, but the twins wanted to walk so they could play in the
snow. Majority rules had been set, so Max parked in a nearby parking lot,
where they could walk, but not be too far from the store.
Zachary ran up ahead in front of his parents and was told "not to stray anywhere" by his father. 99 and Max kept a good distance from him, able to let him be independant and still keep an eye on him. Maxine was content with being in Max's arms, little hands wrapped around his neck and head on his shoulder, as he carried her the way. After she made the most protests about walking, she wants me to carry her. Max thought with bemusement. Not that he minded. She was his little girl after all. He'd carry her across a pit of flames if need be. He hoped that would never happen, but he would certainly do it.
Zachary was having fun jumping in the snow. That's how he was making his trip. He was hopping all the way. When he had done at least five hops, he'd look back to see where his parents and sister were. Knowing they were safely behind him, he continued on his jaunt. Right as he got to the front of the store, the boy took a jump, slipped, and landed on his bottom with a sore thud. If Zachary had been alone, this would've been the perfect time for a good cry, but wanting to be a big boy for his parents and little sister, he stood up as though nothing happened.
"Zachary, are you all right?" 99 asked when they reached the boy. The spy's motherly instincts took over when she saw him fall, but a quick glance over told her he was okay.
"Yeah." he breathed, trying to hold back tears. Man, that really hurt! "I'm fine." He ended up hugging 99's leg, though he told himself it was to stop her from shaking, she was so worried about him. "Mommy, did you see that wind come and knock me down?" he asked, rubbing his eye.
"Yes, I did." 99 said, removing the boy's winter cap and running her fingers through his hair.
"That was a strong wind, huh, Mommy?" Zachary asked. "Cause it came and knocked me down like that."
"I think you just tripped and fell." Maxine said, looking down at her brother. This Christmas, she wanted a sister.
"No, I did not trip and fall." Zachary said, disengaging himself from 99 and looking up at the girl. "You have a lot to learn about my sen... senjer..." The boy stopped and looked at his father. "Hey Dad, what was that word you taught me yesterday?"
"I believe the word is 'senority', Zachary." 99 supplied, giving Max a look. Though she adored them both, she could only handle one Maxwell Smart.
Zachary stormed off in the direction of a nearby bench. He was so embarrassed
right now, he didn't want to face anybody. Worse yet, his parents probably
hated him. But it wasn't his fault! That stupid sister of his had egged
him on and now she was crying. Zachary did feel bad about that. He hated
it when his sister cried, even if he had done an act to her himself. He
hated himself for his actions. He had single handedly ruined Christmas.
Max and 99 had quickly followed the boy as he stormed away from the Christmas center. They noticed he had stopped short of a nearby bench and was just standing there. The shopping had been going great. Max and 99 had found a wonderful gift for the Chief and, after protests by Max, had gotten Agent Larabee something as well. The day couldn't have been better...
Until the Santa incident.
It had all started out as normal. The twins had begged and pleaded they get to see Santa and tell them what they wanted for Christmas. The Christmas Center was located on the second floor of the department store and was all decorated in red and green Christmas colors. And in the middle of it all, was Santa Claus. The jolly man sat in a large chair wearing his trade mark red suit with the fluffy white trim. To his right, was a little reindeer with a red nose who stood on a movable cart and a teenage elf who was talking to the photographer's daughter. Max and 99 figured it would be a good idea (after all, they could figure out what the two wanted), so the Smart family stood in the surprisingly short line. As soon as it was their turn, both Zachary and Maxine hopped up on the jolly man's lap. "Ho ho ho!" he laughed, causing the two small children to look at him in awe. "And who do we have here?"
"Zachary Thomas Smart, your Santaness." Zachary piped up, smiling widely at the man in the red suit.
"And who's this little cutey?" Santa asked, looking over at Maxine.
"I just told you." Zachary replied. "Zachary Thomas Smart."
"He wasn't talking to you, you glory hog!" Maxine exclaimed. She really wanted a sister.
"Now, now, children," Santa said, trying to calm down both Smart twins. "Fighting is not the answer." The two calmed, knowing that anything they said or did would be judged by the almighty naughty or nice list.
"My name is Maxine Marie Smart, Mr. Claus." Maxine said in a grown up manner.
"His name is Santa." Zachary whispered to her. If she costed him that new model airplane, so help him...
"Mommy said we should respect our elders." Maxine said, matter of factly. "His name is Mr. Claus. Show a little respect."
"You show a little respect!" Zachary exclaimed, pointing an accusing finger at his sister. "I'm trying to ask Santa for that new model airplane..."
"That's what you want?" Maxine asked. "A stupid, smelling old plane?! You were actually going to waste this good man's time..."
"Children, please..." Santa said, seeing a fight about to break down.
"...with a request some stupid piece of junk!?" Maxine continued.
"Maxine!" 99 hissed. Why oh why couldn't they have gone seperately?
"Junk?!" Zachary cried, nearly standing on Santa's leg. "You were going to ask for some stupid Barbie house!"
"Zachary!" Max called.
"It is not stupid." Maxine said, narrowing her eyes.
Zachary leaned across Santa's lap, so he was face to face with his sister. "It is so." he said, with a smirk. "Only a stupid little kid like you would like a stupid little Barbie house."
"You take that back, Zachary Smart!" Maxine cried.
"You big jerk! I hope you get eaten by a giant bird!"
"Why I outta..."
Zachary had never been so mad. Or insulted. And by his baby sister, too. It was too much. He was going to deck her and he didn't care what Mom said about hitting girls. Maxine needed to be hit. But as he brought his fist back in order to strike, he forgot how far over he was. His elbow ended up hitting Santa in the nose and causing the man's nose to bleed heavily. "Oh!" Zachary said in shock. He was gonna get it now. "Mr. Santa, I'm so sorry...oh no!" He was on the naughty list for life!
"You're on the naughty list for life, Zach!" Maxine said through tears. She couldn't believe her brother, as dumb and dorky as he was, could beat up Santa Claus like that.
Zachary jumped off of Santa's lap and started backing away. Perhaps if he could run away, he could hide and escape without anything...an object behind him cause the boy to stop his thoughts. As he was backing up, he accidently bumped against the little Rudolph, whose cart started moving and picking up speed towards the railing.
To say the next thing was a shock would be an understandment.
So now, the family stood near the food court, where little Zachary Smart had stormed off to. He felt bad enough for having hit Santa, but when he saw Rudolph, good-old-Rudy-who-just-happens-to-be-the-lead-on-Santa's-sled-team, take that dive over the railing...well, he certainly didn't need his sister to start crying and calling him a murderer. He felt so bad, he could cry. But he wasn't. He was going to hone up to his responsibilities.
"This wasn't my fault." he said, turning to face his parents.
"Not your fault!?" Maxine exclaimed. She was a wreck now. Having seen her brother beat up Santa and then..."You killed Rudolph! You're a murderer!"
"I am not!" cried the boy, trying to keep his own tears from falling.
"I think I'll take Max to the Barbie store." Max said, holding the sobbing girl in his arms. "That usually cheers her up."
99 nodded as Max headed towards the Barbie Store, Maxine's favorite place to be. As she watched them go, her attention turned back to Zachary, who had his head down and could be heard whimpering. She knew the boy didn't mean to do anything on purpose. It was that temper of his. Maxine's as well. She wasn't sure which side that come from. True, she and Max could get downright angry at times, but their children's gauges were always 100% higher than theirs. "Zachary..." she called, getting on her knees in front of the boy.
"I didn't mean to kill Rudolph, Mommy. Honest I didn't." the boy said, more a sob than a sentence.
"Sweetheart, you didn't kill Rudolph." 99 said, rubbing the boy's back. "That wasn't the real Rudolph."
The boy looked up at his mother. The tears he had been holding were now escaping. "It wasn't?"
"No." 99 said, wiping away a tear. "The real reindeers are safely at the North Pole getting ready for Christmas."
Zachary started to cry even harder. Well, at least he wasn't going to jail for murder. But he would for assault and battery. 99 gathered the boy in her arms, making soothing noises as he continued to cry. "I didn't mean to beat Santa up." he sobbed. "I'm sorry I ruined Christmas, Mommy. I really am sorry!"
"You didn't ruin Christmas, precious."
"But Maxine said..."
"Your sister is very upset right now." 99 said. She pulled the boy back so she could look at him. "And you owe her an apology and maybe an extra present this year." Zachary nodded, wiping at his eyes. "You really do need to keep your anger in check, Zachary."
"But Maxine makes me so mad." the boy said, his crying starting again. "I wish I had a brother. Mommy, can I have a brother?"
99 chuckled. Maxine had asked for a sister in the same manner. "I don't think that's going to happen, darling." she said. "Even though you and Max fight a lot, it doesn't mean you don't love each other. You'll realize that when you get older."
"Not bloody likely." Zachary muttered.
"I heard that." 99 stood and took the boy's hand. "Come on. Let's go get some ice cream."
After getting ice cream for Zachary and a new Barbie for Maxine, the Smart
family were once again reunited, only to be seperated when both children
walked past Sunshine Toys, the largest toy store in the city. Max and 99
didn't even get a chance to say slow down when Zachary and Maxine took
off for the store. 99 was walking through the aisles. First the twins and
now Max had disappeared. She was sure he was behind her as they were coming
up through the Matchbox cars, but when she got to the dolls and such and
had turned around, he was gone.
Her walk had taken her to a large play area in the middle of the store. Watching the children play, she couldn't help but smile. 99 loved being a mother and she certainly had practice before she ever became one. But she knew from the moment she had laid eyes on Maxwell Smart, she'd be the mother of his children and she certainly never regretted any of it. 99 wasn't sure how long she'd be standing and staring until another woman said, "Adorable aren't they?"
"The children." the woman said, the same look in her eye as in 99's. "They're adorable, aren't they?"
"Yes they are."
"Which ones are yours?" the lady asked.
"The two playing at the Lego table," 99 said, pointing to a large table with Legos on it. Zachary and Maxine, almost having forgotten about the earlier incident, were sitting together trying to build a fort with various different Legos. 99 turned and pointed to something else. "And the one playing in the fort."
The woman turned and saw a large fort, built from the block logs they store had on display. Standing in the middle, holding a Red Rider rifle, was Maxwell Smart. He was looking every which way at a bunch of kids, who seemed to be the Indians in this game, who were trying to take his fort. 99 shook her head. So that's where he had gone. He had helped the kids build a fort, just so he could protect it from them. 99 smiled sweetly. So she had three kids to care for. So what?
Max and 99 made the walk back to their car, each holding a sleeping child
in their arms. True to character, Zachary had over stimulated himself and
was exhausted before they even left the toy store. Maxine had lasted up
until they landed on the first floor. She then begged to be carried by
her mother, who happily complied. Zachary was fast asleep, head on Max's
shoulder and a thumb in his mouth. Maxine was falling asleep, 99 could
tell. Well, it was past their nap times and they did have an exciting day.
The family reached the car and loaded the kids into the backseat, buckled them up, and got in the car themselves. The ride home was fairly quiet, Max and 99 talking in whispers about what presents they had gotten and each checking to make sure their children were truly asleep. They arrived home, took the children upstairs and put them in their beds and closed the door. They then unloaded the car and took care planning on where to hide the gifts. 99 had to make sure they had two special hiding places. One so the twins wouldn't find their presents and one so that Max wouldn't find his presents.
After some quiet wrapping, Max went off to the bedroom to get his present for 99. Of course, when 99 found him later, he was curled up at the end of the bed, fast asleep, holding the little teddy bear she had given him one year. Smiling down at him, she moved a piece of stray hair behind his ear and kissed his forehead. When a yawn escaped her lips, she figured it was nap time for her as well. Carefully sliding beside him, she removed the teddy bear and snuggled next to Max in its place. As she closed her eyes, Max's arm tightened around her and a smile came to his face.
The days grew shorter and finally it was Christmas morn. The day every
parent dreads. Zachary and Maxine were awake at about 4:25 that morning,
each laying in their beds, wondering if it would be okay to open presents.
After last Chirstmas, when they woke their parents up at 2:30 in the morning,
they were forbidden to do that anymore. So each child lay in bed, desperately
wishing it was later. Finally, five o'clock rolled around and they each
figured good time as any. They both left their beds and their room and
headed for their parents' bedroom.
The twins got there and discovered the door locked. Not a problem for a Smart. Zachary quickly got a chair from the hallway and Maxine stood on top of it. Using a bobby pin, the girl proceeded to unlock her parents' door. Despite the fact that 99 didn't want them becoming spies, she and Max certainly made sure they kids knew what to do when in danger. Breaking and entering though had been something Maxine had begged for, so 99, on an "unofficial test" showed Maxine how to unlock a locked door using a variety of different tools, one being a bobby pin. Of course, when the woman had taught her daughter this technique, she never imagined her own children would use it against them.
There was the laser lecture taught by Prof. Carlson. Zachary had then used one to open a candy drawer in the Chief's office.
Secret Messages and You: a class taught by the Spy School. Maxine had used the message paper and sent out a message that Zachary slept in Spiderman underwear, to which Zachary retorted that Maxine ate glue.
The hidden phones and gadgets class wasn't helpful. Both twins raised up a $320 long distance phone bill.
And of course, 99's own breaking and entering technique was going to allow access into their bedroom by their children.
The lovely spy didn't want to think about what would happen during weapons training.
The door popped open and the two crept in quietly. Max and 99 lay asleep in bed, resting peacefully. Zachary helped his sister up on the bed, then struggled to get up himself. The two looked down at their parents. They looked so cute when they slept. The two kids felt bad about waking them, but it was Christmas. "Daddy..." Maxine whispered to her father. Max made an annoyed noise. "Daddy, is it time to open presents yet?" the girl asked.
"Hmmm?" came the tired reply.
"Is it time to open presents yet?" Zachary asked again.
"What time is it?" came their mother's question. Zachary looked at the clock.
"In the morning?!" both tired parents asked.
"Go back to sleep." 99 said. "Wait until it's 8:04"
"But that's a long time, isn't it?" Maxine asked.
"Go to bed!" both parents exclaimed.
"Okay, okay." Zachary said, hopping off the bed, with Maxine behind him. The two went through the door and closed it.
Max and 99 went back to sleep, until Max thought of something. "Didn't I lock that door?"
Eight o'clock finally rolled around and 99 woke up, alert. She looked down at Max, whose eyes were open and staring at the ceiling. "How long have you been awake?" she asked.
"About thirty minutes." he said, looking at her. "I wanted to wait for you to get up. Cause then if you're up, then it's time to open presents."
99 rolled her eyes. Her children! Smiling, both left their bed and ventured downstairs. To their surprise, that's where they found Zachary and Maxine. Both were curled up under the Christmas tree and fast asleep. Aparently, they didn't want to wait upstairs. "Zachary, wake up." 99 said, shaking the boy slightly. The five year old opened his tired eyes and was greeted with the sight of his beautiful mother.
"Is it time to open presents yet?" he asked, clearly still tired.
"Yes," 99 giggled. "It's time to open presents."
"Really?" the boy asked, suddenly very awake and very alert. Turning to his sister, he cried, "Max! Wake up! It's time for presents! It's time for presents!"
The girl was immediately awake and looked to her mother for confirmation. When 99 smiled and nodded, both children shouted with glee and began to search for packages with their names on them. Zachary got his model airplane from Santa, with a note saying he was okay and that his broken nose would heal in a couple of weeks. He also got a box of building Legos. Maxine got a pair of rollerskates and her Barbie house, which surprisingly came from her brother.
"You bought me Barbie's house?" the girl asked.
"Well, Mommy bought the house." Zachary said. "And the stuff in the house, but I picked out the color and I even made the sign above the door. See? Maxine and Barbie's Vacation House."
Maxine didn't know what to say. After all the things she had said to him at the department store, he went and did this. It didn't matter if he didn't buy the house...he did pick the color, a lovely light blue, he favorite color. And he did make the place mat and sign. What could she say? Without saying a word, she ran and gave her brother the biggest hug she had ever given anyone. And he even hugged her back. Despite everything they ever did to each other, Zachary did like being the older brother, even if it was by three and a half minutes. He liked seeing his sister happy and he felt good that he was the one to put a smile on her face. She delivered a kiss to his cheek and he was about to hug her again, when he realize their parents were watching.
Pushing her away her said, "I'll let that slid cause it's Christmas. But don't ever do that again!"
Max waited until both kids had their fun and had tired themselves out. Now both were laying on the floor near their perspective presents. 99 sat down next to him, holding a cup of cocoa in her hands. The two just sat there, listening to the wonderful quiet that now lulled over the room. Max put his arm around his wife and closed his eyes. He was rapidly getting used to the whole married/parent thing. Before, when he was just a bachelor, he celebrated Christmas by himself. Sure 99 would come over and they would exchange presents and stuff (it was the first time since he had been a boy he brought presents for someone else), but it was never like this. She always had to go or they had a case to work on.
But it was different now.
Now, she got to stay. She wouldn't have to get up and go, she could just stay right here with him for the whole day and the night too! And he had kids now. Looking at each one nestled on the floor...Max couldn't explain how great it was to see his kids so happy. Sure, they woke him up at like four in the morning and they had broken into his bedroom (he's have to talk to 99 about that. He certainly didn't teach them that.), but the look on Zachary's face when he opened up his model plane kit or when Maxine saw her doll house...
"One more present." 99 said, holding up a small box.
Max stopped his thinking and held the box. "What's this?" he asked, looking at it. It was a little smaller than the box that held her present and this was the standard black velvet box.
Max didn't need to be told twice. He opened the box slowly and smiled when he saw the contents. Two pairs of cufflinks, both silver and in the shape of the number 86, greeted him. "Happy anniversary, Max." 99 cooed, kissing her husband's cheek.
"Thanks, 99. Really." he said. Looking at this woman, Max could say he fell in love with her everyday. "I think there's one more present under the tree."
99 looked and indeed, there was a meduim sized box left uunder the tree. She looked at Max in confusion. She knew that wasn't there when she left to get cocoa. Walking over to the tree, she picked up the box, and came back to sit next to Max. It was wrapped in music wrapping paper, notes and clefs all over it. Not wanting to destroy the nice wrapping, 99 took her time at opening it. hen the wrapping was off, she opened the box, to find a smaller box inside, this time wrapped in Christmas paper. Giving Max a side glance, she took the smaller box out and started to unwrap it. Inside of that smaller box, was an even smaller box wrapped up in blue paper. 99 unwrapped the box and of course, found an even smaller box hiding inside. "Max..."
"Just open that up." Max said, seeing the look of frustration in her eyes. "You'll like it, I promise."
99 sighed and opened the smaller box to find a small, gold heart shaped key inside. Picking up the key she asked, "What's this?"
"It's a key, 99."
"Well, I know that, Max, but what's it for?"
"You don't know?"
"I have no idea."
"That's a key to my heart." Max said, simply. "Only one exists in the whole world. I've been carrying it with me for years, just waiting to give it to someone. And guess what? I'm giving it to you. Merry Christmas!"
"Oh Max." 99 laughed, kissing him gently on the lips. "That's so sweet."
"Well?" Max asked, a mysterious grin on his face.
"Aren't ya gonna open it?"
"My heart!" Max said, laughing. "You've got the key."
"Oh Max." 99 said, laughing once more. "I hardly doubt that..." she stopped when she saw the small heart shaped box he held in front of her.
"Go on." Max urged. "Open it. You have a key."
Looking at Max, then back at the box, 99 took the little gold key and took the box from Max. Sure enough, there was a small lock on the front and when she placed the key inside, it was a match. Opening up the box, 99 couldn't help but gasp. Inside, was a small heart shape locket, small diamond spits accenting the outline of the heart.
"Now you have my heart." Max said, watching his wife's face. She looked like she was about to cry and Max thought maybe he should've gotten that sweater she wanted instead. "I mean, you've always had it, but...well, I guess now everyone can see, huh?" he rambled. Why wasn't she saying anything? "Happy Anniversary?" Max grew panicked. She didn't like it. Maybe he used too many boxes for the key. Larabee thought it was amusing. That should've been his warning right there.
"It's beautiful, Max." she whispered.
"Really?" Max asked in surprise. He was starting to get freaked out for a moment.
She turned to give him the most passionate kiss on the lips, nearly taking his breath away. "I love it, Max." she said when they parted, her lips brushing against his. "I really do. Thank you." Max could only nod in response. Oh, what that woman did to him! "I have another present for you."
"Really?" Max said, very excited at getting another present. "Where?"
"Upstairs." 99 replied, giving Max one of those looks before heading up the stairs to their bedroom.
Max caught on quickly and draped a blanket over the kids. "Merry Christmas, kids." he said, kissing them each on the forehead and rushing upstairs.
me, my creative mind, and the characters I work for, here's to wishing
you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanakuh, Happy Kwanza, Feliz Navidad,
and what ever tradition you'll be celebrating this year. Get lots of presents!!*