"Four Nights of Hannukah"
First Night of Hannukah
"Christopher Finnegan Hudson, would you please try to calm your body down?" pleaded Rachel as she watched her son run frantic laps around their small apartment.
"It's all the gelt," whispered Finn, "your dads kept letting him win at dreidel. He must have eaten about a dozen chocolate coins."
"Daddy? Papa? How many chocolate coins did Chris have?" asked Rachel, turning to her fathers.
"Oh, who knows, honey?" laughed Leroy, "grandparents don't keep track of that sort of thing. Plus, it's the holidays. Lighten up, Mommy!"
Rachel and Finn shook their heads at one another as Leroy and Hiram played with Faith, oblivious to the fact that their grandson was now spinning wildly in circles shouting, "I'm a dreidel, I'm a dreidel!"
Rachel suddenly had a flash of inspiration.
"Hey, Chris," she said brightly, "why don't you give Pop-Pop and Grandpa their gifts?"
Chris's face lit up with excitement. He loved giving people presents, especially ones he helped to make. He bolted into his room and reappeared with two narrow boxes. He proudly handed one to each of his grandfathers.
"Oh, my, Christopher, this is exciting!" said Hiram as he tore off the blue wrapping paper.
He opened the box to reveal a black tie that was printed in white with a child's drawing of two figures, one slightly bigger than the other, the taller one wearing glasses. Under the drawing, the words, "Grandpa and Chris" were printed carefully. Hiram's mouth hung open in awe.
"I made it!" Chris exclaimed, bursting with joy, "I drew the picture and Mommy had it made into a tie for you!"
"Chris, this is wonderful," marveled Hiram, holding up his tie, "this is the best gift anyone has ever given me."
"Open yours, Pop-Pop!" Chris cried, jumping up and down.
"I certainly will!" grinned Leroy, lifting the lid of the box. He also pulled out a tie, this one dark green with a similar drawing printed on it, except the figures were standing in a boat wearing hats. Under the drawing were the words, "My Favorite Day."
Leroy was speechless as he held up the tie.
"It's a picture of my best day ever. The day you took me fishing at the lake in Ohio," Chris beamed.
Leroy dabbed at his eyes and hugged his grandson mirthfully.
"Chris," said Leroy, shaking his head, "you are the best grandson in the world. Do you know that?"
"Well," Chris began thoughtfully, "Mom and Dad tell me I'm the best son, so I guess that makes sense."
Hiram and Leroy burst out laughing as Chris giggled along, pleased with himself to have said something so entertaining.
Finn and Rachel smiled at each other sweetly, so proud of their boy. It was moments like this when they knew they must be doing something right.
Third Night of Hannukah
"Chris in bed?" Finn asked hopefully as he closed the door to their bedroom where Faith was sleeping.
"Yup," said Rachel brightly, "his holiday party at school really wore him out this afternoon."
"Good," laughed Finn, "they should have one every day. Faith's down for the count."
"Yay!" squealed Rachel, clapping her hands, "it's my night to give you your present!"
"I hope you didn't go crazy, babe," said Finn, sitting down on the couch, "you've got your hands full here, I don't know how you found the time to go shopping."
"Well, I had to get you something special, Finn," smiled Rachel, sitting beside him, "it's one of the few times a year where we get to spend a little time and money on each other. I hope you like it."
She handed him a small box wrapped in gold paper. He opened it to find a beautiful silver watch, just the kind he would choose for himself.
"I know it's not that fancy," apologized Rachel, "but I thought it was perfect."
"It is, Rachel," he said, leaning over to kiss her, "I love it. Thank you, baby."
"Turn it over," she smiled shyly.
Finn unclasped the watch and turned it over in his palm, reading the words carefully engraved on the back.
"Time may pass, but our love never will. Forever yours, Rachel."
Finn placed his hand on her cheek and kissed her softly.
"I love you, Rachel," he whispered, stroking her hair gently, "so much."
She snuggled into his arms contentedly. She was so grateful to him for the beautiful life they had built together, and nothing made her happier than the chance to make him feel special.
The Fifth Night of Hannukah
"Okay, Chris!" said Rachel as she began to clear the dishes from the dinner table, "tonight you get your big gift!"
"YEAHHHHHHHHHHH!" Chris shouted, jumping up from the table.
Faith, covered in pureed squash, giggled in her high chair at the sight of her brother flailing about.
"Buddy, why don't you go get your pajamas on while Mommy and me finish cleaning up, okay?" suggested Finn.
"Okay! Okay!" he cried, running off to his room.
"I cannot wait to see his face," whispered Rachel excitedly, "I'll finish here, you go get it."
After a few moments, Chris flew out of his bedroom in his Star Wars pajamas and Chewbacca slippers, raring to go.
"Okay, Chris," began Finn, "here you go, buddy!"
Chris could barely stay seated on the couch as Finn handed him the large wrapped package. Rachel stood next to Finn, holding Faith and grinning with giddiness.
They watched his face as he tore the paper and realized what was underneath. He looked at the box and then looked up at his parents and sister with eyes the size of dinner plates. He was speechless for a moment, and then...
"THE LEGO MILLENIUM FALCON! THE LEGO MILLENIUM FALCON! I CAN'T BELIEVE IT!" he screeched at the top of his lungs. He leaped on top of the couch and jumped up and down with glee.
"Whoa, easy, buddy!" laughed Finn, trying to coax his son to sit down.
Suddenly, Chris lost his balance and fell off the couch with his new toy, bumping his arm hard on the coffee table on the way down.
"Mommmmmmmmmmmmmmy!" Chris screamed, his cries of joy quickly turning to panic as he clutched his arm.
Finn and Rachel exchanged looks of great concern and rushed over to examine his arm.
"OWWWW!" Chris howled as Finn lightly touched his arm.
"It's okay, baby," Rachel comforted him, "but I think we need to get you to the emergency room to get you checked out, okay?"
"Uh-huh," Chris nodded, sniffling, "but I need my Yoda. He needs to be with me!"
"No problem, buddy," Finn assured him, running to Chris's room to retrieve the stuffed toy.
After a tearful ride to the hospital and a two-hour wait that was only made tolerable by Faith staying asleep in Finn's arms and Chris being occupied by playing one-armed Angry Birds on Rachel's phone, Chris was finally examined by the doctor.
"So, Christopher, you got a little bit too excited about your new toy, huh?" the doctor joked.
"It's a really cool toy," reasoned Chris, clutching his arm.
"Well, I think we'd better get some X-rays just to make sure nothing is broken," smiled the doctor, "and while we're at it, do you want me to check your Midi-chlorian count to see if you're a Jedi?"
"Yeah!" cried Chris, appreciating the Star Wars reference.
Finn and Rachel laughed as Rachel mussed Chris's hair. After the X-rays were taken, they all waited back in the ER for the results. They stood up as they noticed the doctor walking toward them.
"Well, I've got two pieces of good news, guys," grinned the doctor, "One, it looks like the wrist is just bruised. Two, your Midi-chlorian count is off the charts, Chris. Congratulations, you have a bright future as a Jedi."
Finn and Chris burst out into the giggles as Rachel thanked the doctor and received treatment instructions. Their laughter was suddenly interrupted by the loud sobs of a child nearby. The Hudsons all turned around to see a young boy, a few years younger than Chris, crying into his mom's shoulder. He seemed to be gasping for air as his worn-looking mother stroked his hair. Curious and concerned, Chris walked up to the boy and his mother.
"Is he okay?" Chris asked quietly.
"He will be, sweetie," answered the boy's mother kindly, "he gets bad asthma attacks, and sometimes it's hard for him to breathe. The doctors will help him. It's just kind of scary for him."
"Does he like Star Wars?" Chris inquired shyly, pointing at the boy's Han Solo T-shirt.
"It's his favorite," his mom replied with a tired smile.
"He can have this," said Chris, holding out his stuffed Yoda. Finn and Rachel looked at each other in surprise.
"Oh my, are you sure?" asked the boy's mother.
"I'm sure," Chris replied.
The little boy happily took Yoda and hugged him to his chest.
"Thank you, sweetie," his mother said gratefully.
"You're welcome!" cried Chris, running back over to his mom and dad, who caught him with open arms.
"Chris," Rachel began, dabbing at her eyes, "that was so nice of you. What a hero you are!"
"We're so proud of you, Chris," smiled Finn, squeezing his son's shoulder.
Chris nodded his head with a stoic expression, placing his hands on his hips.
"It's what a Jedi would do," he said seriously.
"Yes it is," laughed Rachel, grinning at Finn, "yes it is."
Eighth Night of Hannukah
"Hey, everybody!" called Finn as he entered the apartment, clutching a large, greasy paper bag, "Come sit down, Daddy's got special potato latkes!"
Chris walked over to the table curiously as Finn began to empty the contents of the bag onto the plates that Rachel had set out onto the table. Rachel got up from the floor where she had been playing with Faith.
"Um, Finn, what are you doing?" Rachel asked, confused, "I made homemade macaroni and cheese, it's in the oven...um, are those hash browns from McDonald's?"
"Well, yeah," Finn admitted sheepishly, "it took quite a bit of begging to get them to make them for me at this time of day. They're real sticklers about the whole no-breakfast-after-11:30 am rule."
Rachel was not so sure about this, but she reluctantly sat down at the table, placing Faith on her lap. Everyone dug into the warm "latkes" Finn had dished out.
"Mmmmmmm!" exclaimed Chris loudly, "these are so yummy! These are so much better than the ones you make, Mommy!"
"Oh, really?" asked Rachel, raising an eyebrow in mock annoyance before turning to Finn, "he's right, isn't he?"
Finn and Chris looked at each other and began giggling.
"Rach, you're an awesome cook," Finn began, "and I know your latkes are, like, super healthy and all, but sometimes us guys just need our greasy, nasty, fried potatoes, you know?"
"Sure, sure," said Rachel, rolling her eyes with a smile, "I get it."
The Hudsons gobbled up their hash browns and macaroni and cheese and began their usual evening routine. Before bed, Finn and Rachel gave the kids their last gifts of Hannukah. Before long, Chris and Faith were happily settled into bed, Chris with his new set of Batman Legos sitting on his nightstand for tomorrow's play, Faith with her new musical teddy bear tucked into the corner of her crib.
"Hey, babe," said Finn softly, placing a hand on his wife's shoulder, "you're not made about the latkes, are you?
"Nah," laughed Rachel, "those greasy hash browns were pretty darn good, I have to say."
"Well, you know what time it is, now, don't you?" he asked with a sly grin.
"Well, it's the last night of Hannukah," she smiled, "I guess it's time for my present."
"Hmm, that depends," he mused, taking Rachel in his arms, "have you been a good girl this year?"
"I think so," she giggled, wrapping her arms around his waist.
"Okay, then you wait here and close your eyes while I go get your present from Mr. Henry's van.
"Excuse me?" she asked, puzzled.
"I had no place else to keep your present," he shrugged, "just wait here, and no peeking when you hear me come in."
After a few moments, Finn returned to the apartment and took a moment to set up Rachel's gift.
"Okay, babe," he said excitedly, "you can look now!"
Rachel's jaw dropped as she saw her present sitting in the middle of the living room floor. She covered her mouth with her hands as her eyes filled with tears.
"So I guess you know where these came from?" Finn grinned widely.
"Of course I do!" Rachel sobbed, "they're our chairs from the choir room!"
"Look at the backs," Finn whispered.
Weeping, Rachel walked around to the other side of the chairs to find that each one had a gold plate with an inscription.
"Finn Hudson loves Rachel Berry," read the first.
"Rachel Berry loves Finn Hudson," read the second.
"Finn, I-" Rachel tried to thank him, "I-"
She finally gave up on words and threw herself into Finn's arms, pulled his face to hers, and kissed him hard.
"All these years, I'm still the only guy who can actually leave you speechless," Finn laughed, gently rubbing her back, "I love you, baby. I just wanted to give you something to remind you of where it all began."
"Still no words, Finn," Rachel shook her head, "still no words."
She took her husband's hand as they sat down in the chairs they had sat in so long ago when their love had first began to grow. Her head snuggled into his shoulder, their intertwined hands resting on her knee, they sat in peaceful silence, reflecting on the story of their love.