A/N: Feels funny to write Christmas during summer, but oh well! This chapter contains some implied Finchel, jsyk. As well as other surprises! Enjoy!
There was a lot of commotion initially, but it quickly and easily settled into a comfortable routine. Evangeline had indeed brought presents with her from the city. Immediately upon arrival, Zane and Laramie received coordinating Christmas elf figures with bendable limbs and magnetic hands and feet. The twins spent inordinate amounts of time making the elves climb from magnetic letter to magnetic letter across the refrigerator doors.
"I can't believe you have those," Eva remarked, "It's been ages since they made those. I guess they figure kids'd rather play with vid-screens... I remember my grandmother had an ancient set at her house we'd play with when we were little, Marilyn and I." She referred to her sister in wistful tones, and Kurt wrapped an arm around her waif-thin waste.
"Never underestimate the saving-power of a sentimental grandmother. Carole had those magnets saved from her childhood, just for her imaginary future grandchildren. And a whole lot of other things, too. She was thrilled we finally had kids when Finn and Rachel didn't work out..."
The children loved the attention Evangeline showered upon them, and Eva enjoyed being able to let her stress and worries take a back burner. Her down-to-business suits remained in her suitcase, and she relished crawling about the floors in her jeans and soft cotton tees while the mother-offspring trio rampaged as dinosaurs, galloped as ponies, and generally turned every room in the house into a new adventure. And when Laramie and Zane began to tucker, so did Evangeline. She'd piggy-back the two up the stairs and lay with them in a magnificent pile for naps.
With the semester over and his grading finished, Blaine, too, would join the epic rounds of make-believe. For Kurt, though, the Holiday Season brought with it a slew of fundraisers and events, and appearances to be made at countless parties. There were brunches and luncheons and cocktails and concerts, and it became common place to arrive home for a costume change and find Blaine-the-tamed-elephant carrying Laramie-the-lovely-lady about on his back while Eva-the-ringmaster fended off Zane-the-not-so-tame-lion.
And in the evenings, when Blaine was obliged to accompany Kurt to his myriad functions, the dual-fathers were secure in the knowledge that Eva was caring for their children, because they were her children, too. And, in her turn, Eva was thankful to the couple for allowing her a space where she could be free of her showbiz burdens and taste the motherhood she had abdicated to their capable hands.
Soon enough, Christmas Day came and the family swelled once more to include Kurt's step-brother, the twins' Uncle Finn, Kurt's parents, and Auntie Tina around the dining room table. The living room was in a shambles of wrapping paper and toys, with a few odd curios scattered about for adult flavor. Somehow, despite the chaotic schedule of appearances, Kurt had managed to plan and execute a fantastically elaborate Christmas Dinner without giving Evangeline – or anyone, for that matter – the opportunity to attempt to help. It was left to Blaine and Eva to wrangle the twins into their holiday finery, and Finn and Burt chatted as they halfheartedly straightened the living room. Carole and Tina also chatted while they sat upon the sofa and watched Finn and Burt tidy up.
Then, the large and unusual family were delivered upon the dining room, and jaws dropped. Kurt's fine white wedding china was laid out upon the reddest of red table linens and accompanied by silverware so shiny you could see every detail of the chandelier (equally shiny) reflected upon them. Amongst the place settings lay roasts and souffles, golden rolls and lush sauces, the most decadent looking casserole ever, and a fluffy, white coconut cream cake.
Unhesitatingly, the twins dashed in and climbed onto their riser seats. The adults, however, were bottle-necked in the doorway, afraid to breathe lest the perfect table before them crumble away.
"Please! It won't bite. I promise," Kurt encouraged from his position at the foot of the table.
Gingerly, they all filed in and found their places. Warmth and chatter re-erupted soon after as everyone savored the delectable feast Kurt had prepared.
"No, but really, Kurt," Tina enthused, "You've outdone yourself. Don't ask me how, but you have..."
"Martha Stewart, eat your heart out!" Kurt beamed, and Blaine squeezed his hand under the table.
"Have I missed it?" A shrill yet lyrical voice called from the front door, accompanied by a cold breeze. Kurt glanced about, confused, while his step-brother across from him stiffened at the sound. Blaine merely squeezed Kurt's hand tighter.
"I hope you don't mind, Kurt. I asked Rachel to help deliver my surprise gift," Eva smiled down the table at him.
"I told her it was alright," Blaine added as Rachel Berry's wind-pinked cheeks appeared in the doorway.
"I come bearing gifts!" Rachel announced exuberantly. Her million dollar smile faltered imperceptibly as her eyes swept the room and fell upon Finn.
"Presents!" squealed the twins, and they rushed the petite brunette where she stood.
"We should probably take this to the living room," Eva spoke as she rose from her chair.
"Yes. Perfect! I'll clear the table while -"
"No, Kurt. You have to come with us," his baby-momma interrupted.
"I'll take care of the dishes, Kurt," Finn offered with a sidelong glance in Rachel's direction.
The ever-growing group shifted back towards the living room, where Finn and Burt's bag of ribbon and wrapping paper still remained in the middle of the room.
On the coffee table stood three new packages: two smaller box-shapes draped in dark-blue satin with gold stars, and one tall, oddly shaped package swathed in deep green with a gold bow atop it.
"I hope the stars are okay, Ev. They didn't have the ones like the photo you gave me, but I thought the stars were so lovely -"
"I know, Rachel. It's perfect. Thank you for your help." Eva quickly pecked the actress's cheek before intercepting the twins. It was imperative that these boxes not be shaken before opening.
"Okay, guys. This has to be done carefully, okay?... Zane, this is for you," she gently positioned the gangly boy in front of a smaller shape. "And this is for you, Laramie." The curly-haired girl mirrored her brother beside her.
Evangeline circled the table and stood before the awkward shape. Gingerly, she pinched at the bow atop the package and instructed the children to do as she had. "See how I've got the bow in my fingers? You do the same at the corners of your gift, okay?" They did, and looked up eagerly for permission to lift the veils.
"Alright, on the count of three, we'll uncover them together. Ready?"
"Yes!" Zane shouted.
"Uh-huh," Laramie nodded, wide-eyed and excited.
Eva glanced at the two men seated together in the middle of the sofa, the fathers of these children she had brought into the world. Her eyes were nervous and hopeful, and Kurt caught Blaine give her a reassuring nod. Was his husband in on this surprise?
"One... Two... Three!"
Laramie's hand withdrew to reveal a sleeping canary with pale yellow feathers. Zane's exuberant jerk had startled awake his canary, who sported a downy white belly, and in turn woke Laramie's feathered friend. And Eva's hand fell back revealing an ornate and gilded birdcage.
"Oh," Kurt inhaled, "birds."
Blaine wrapped a comforting arm around his husband and squeezed affectionately. A tear was threatening to escape Kurt's lovely sea-green eyes, but Blaine kissed it away.
"And this is for you," Rachel handed a forth surprise gift to Kurt. A book.
"Pavarotti!" squealed the twins, and a startled smile formed through Kurt's tears.
Kurt and Blaine had each been telling their children stories of Pavarotti, the magical super-canary since their children had first begun to request bedtime stories. They had discussed the idea of keeping a canary as a pet many times, but had generally come to the conclusion that the twins weren't ready for the responsibility of a pet and that they didn't have the time to provide behind the scenes care for an animal.
"The kids kept asking Eva for Pavarotti stories, so I gave her the background. It was her idea, but I thought it was perfect." Blaine quietly spoke into his husband's ear before kissing his cheek.
Kurt turned the book over in his hands to reveal a vivid image of a canary in flight, the words "Pavarotti, the Magic Bird" printed across it.
"I helped with that!" Zane declared as he unceremoniously flopped into his Poppa's lap, having quickly lost interest in Eva's careful instructions for placing the yellow birds into the larger cage. "I drew pictures!"
The birds now securely moved into their new cohabitation, Laramie joined her family on the sofa. "So did I! And some words! Just... not writing them."
"We took care of that," Eva nodded toward the book before giving Rachel another cheek peck of approval. The petite brunette beamed. "You guys did a great job keeping the secret!" she acknowledged the twins.
"Quick! Where is my camera?" Eva flustered and dashed about the room before finding her camera on the mantle of the fireplace.
The Anderson-Hummel/Hummel-Andersons sat together in the deep cushions of the sofa. Kurt and Blaine couldn't keep there arms from each other, and intertwined themselves as they cradled their children. Zane and Laramie held the Pavarotti book between them and pointed proudly to the pictures they had contributed to the project, describing every detail so their fathers were sure to be just as proud. It was one of those picturesque moments that made hearts swell and eyes dampen.
It was also probably one of the best dressed picture-postcard moments ever witnessed in history.
Eva shooed the rest of the party out of her frame and quietly snapped a few photos of the strikingly beautiful family. Then she shooed them all back into the frame and took a few more.
Somehow, having rejoined the group after clearing the dining room table, Finn found himself hunched over Rachel to fit his lofty frame into a photograph.
"Hi, Finn," Rachel whispered, turning to address him with a blush on her face.
"Hey, Rachel," he replied in a voice he hoped wouldn't betray his discomfort at her presence, let alone being pressed over her. But it totally did.
"Finn, can we please leave the past behind? It's Christmas..."
"Would you two stop wiggling, please? You're more fidgety than the kids!" Eva admonished the pair.
Both faces blushed a deeper shade of red, but Finn's also spread in a smile. "Yeah, Rachel. I think we can..."
As evening fell, the gathering happily melted into comfortable perches upon the sofa, in armchairs, on ottomans, and even, in the twins case, upon the lushly carpeted floor. Laramie lay in the nest of her party dress, half-asleep, but alert enough to veto every bird-name her brother thought up. It had quickly been decided that the pure yellow canary was Pavarotti Jr, but his companion required a moniker. Zane knelt before the bird palace thinking of the most imaginative names he could, bow tie only slightly askew.
Finn and Rachel sat uncharacteristically close, speaking in fast, quiet tones, sometimes harsh, but more often accompanied by bashful smiles.
Evangeline had established her role as Christmas Day documentarian, snapping photographs and videos of everyone in their party best.
Tina and Carole each made the rounds of the room, chatting animatedly with everyone, while Burt was content to nap or contribute ideas to the bird-naming think tank.
And Kurt and Blaine were gracious hosts, but couldn't bring themselves to be farther than a hand-hold away from each other at any given time.
"Oh my god! Tell them!" Carole suddenly squealed, bringing all the attention in the room to where she and Tina had once again been gossiping.
"Carole!" Tina covered her face and turned away from the sudden attention.
"Come on, Tina, this is important!"
"What's going on?" Finn asked the obvious question. "Mom?"
Carole smiled a bright and triumphant smile. "Tina has a toast to make. And an announcement!" She quickly pressed a glass of champagne into the petite Asian's hand, then thought better of it and replaced the glass with one of the kid's cups of cider.
"Oh man. Okay..." Tina stumbled up from her seat and addressed the smiling and curious room. "Uhm... Here's to... Family! Because you guys make the greatest family," she motioned to Kurt and Blaine. "And because I consider all of you family."
Around the room anyone within reach of a drink raised their glass with Tina's awkward upraised juice. She paused to wait until everyone had a mouthful before quickly squeaking out, "I'm pregnant."
The room simultaneously choked, each person knowing Kurt would kill anyone daring to spit-take in his beautifully furnished living room.
A/N: Sort of cliff-hanger end, there, but I was having such trouble rounding off this chapter, I figured this was a fun place to stop. Next chapt will pick up immediately where this left off. I think.
As always, reviews, feedback, concrit, etc, is much appreciated! Thanks for reading!