A/N Thanks to PJ for doing a quick but needed beta on this yesterday. Not only is he a great guy, but I am amazed at how unselfish his time is when it comes to the fandom. Merry Christmas everyone!
25th December, 2023
Sarah and Chuck sat on the loveseat in their living room as they looked over the carnage the five children left behind. Over on the couch, Ellie and Devon were snuggled up together, with their two children, Clara and Edward, napping quietly in their arms.
Sarah had no problem with that. I prefer to be that close to Chuck, she thought with a smile. Between Ellie and Devon's two kids and the damage Stephen, Jonathan, and Lyndsey left behind, it was as if Santa Claus' bag exploded inside of their house. There was a lot of cleaning up to do, but nobody felt like lifting a finger right now.
Ellie looked at her hosts. "So what is your favorite Christmas memory before the kids came?"
Chuck sighed as he looked at his watch, digging into his wallet and handing Sarah the five bucks he owed her and a bonus kiss on the lips. "You were right. She didn't even wait five minutes after we were done with the presents before she started reminiscing."
Devon's head fell back as he gave a belly laugh that would make Santa proud, cut off quickly by an elbow in his side. "So what exactly is wrong with reminiscing about past stories if they're happy ones?" Ellie grumbled while giving Chuck the eye.
"OK. OK. I'm sorry Ellie. I'll be nice and tell you one you don't know about."
Sarah looked at him for a second before her face erupted into a huge smile. Devon was frozen in surprise. "A memorable event happened to a Bartowski that hasn't been shared? Oh, this I gotta hear."
Chuck sat back on the love seat and Sarah held onto him tightly as she rested her head against his shoulder.
"As I recall it was Christmas Eve 2010…."
"Morgan, I am the worst...boyfriend...ever! Once we got back from Thailand it seems like we haven't had any memorable time together. I keep setting up these romantic dates. We have a great time, but I just don't know if she would think they were romantic."
Morgan let out a derisive laugh that almost sounded like a grunt. "OK let me get this straight. You bag that leggy Valkyrie, who basically thinks the sun rises because you make it so, who traveled across halfway across a planet and kicked the ass of anybody who stood in her way of getting to you, and you don't have an epic romance?" Morgan shook his head when he did not see understanding in his friend's eyes. "I do believe Ellie would say you are a Bartowski. Just don't over think it, Chuck. Romance will happen."
"I guess you are right, little buddy. I just want Sarah to be happy. It took so long to get here…" Chuck took a deep breath and a wry smile set on his face. "Besides, I need to have some sort of moment so that years from now, when my sister asks about it, I have something to tell her."
"There is no way you said that and never told me," Ellie said as her eyes narrowed and a small smile crossed her lips.
"Hey, if you don't believe me, ask Morgan, or even better, if you remember Sarah and I were just starting to get serious then." Ellie remained silent. "Now where was I before my sister's disbelief interrupted me?"
Chuck looked down when he heard his phone going off. "Morgan, it's Ellie, I'll talk with you later." Chuck pressed the answer button on his phone and put it next to his ear. "Hey, sis."
"Chuck, we want you and Sarah to come look at Christmas lights with us tonight."
I am thirty minutes away from finishing an eleven hour shift, after spending most of last night looking at intelligence reports. "I will ask Sarah and see if we can go."
"Oh that's OK, Chuck. I asked her when I talked to her about the plans for tomorrow."
Chuck couldn't stop himself from a small bit of laughter. "So you weren't asking if I wanted to go; you were telling me that I was going."
"Exactly, Chuck. One of these days you will learn these are not questions."
Chuck laughed at his sister. "Yes ma'am."
"Better little brother, better."
"So in conclusion…sure, I want to go look at Christmas lights. I will go home and shower and change, and then we will give you a call."
Chuck hit the 'end' button on the phone and used lay his head inelegantly down on the Nerd Herd counter. When Chuck closed his eyes he could see him and Sarah lying on the couch watching a movie. His right arm draped over her side. He could feel the warmth of her body on his, just lying there watching…
"Chuck, Chuck! Yo, Chuck!"
Chuck gave a growl. "Morgan, unless you see Sarah entering this store, I do not want to hear it."
When he looked at Morgan, he was pointing toward the entrance to the Buy More. His head swiveled around and saw her. As soon as he did, the corners of his mouth shot up from frown to megawatt smile in less than a nanosecond. She was wearing blue jeans and a royal purple top. He laughed at himself; no matter what she was wearing it made him smile.
She walked around the counter and rose up and planted a small but intense kiss on his lips.
Chuck looked at his girlfriend. "So is that a real kiss or a cover kiss?"
Sarah flashed her crystal blue eyes at him. "That is an 'Ellie wants us to go look at Christmas lights, and I have trouble saying no' kiss."
"Not that I am complaining mind you, but what brings you here today? I thought you were staying home?"
"I figured you could get cleaned up in Castle and maybe take a nap before we go."
Chuck put his arms around Sarah and smiled. "I do not deserve you, Sarah Walker."
She planted several kisses along his cheek. "I think the same thing all the time, Charles Bartowski."
Sarah handed him an overnight bag and nudged him toward the door. "Now go take a nap."
Chuck took a few steps toward the break room before pausing and turning around. "I have a better idea. Why don't you come with me?"
Sarah chuckled and waved a cautionary finger at him. "We both know what will happen if I go down there, and I don't want Ellie mad at us. So no, I think I'll stay up here until you get to sleep."
Chuck shrugged his shoulders and nodded. He then looked around to see if there was anyone looking. Seeing the coast was clear, he pressed a remote, and a trapdoor opened to reveal the slide leading to Castle.
Sarah just shook her head and smiled. I am so glad I convinced Beckman that we needed an emergency escape to Castle. Chuck loves that slide.
A few hours later, Sarah went downstairs to Castle to find Chuck cleaned up and looking refreshed. As they walked toward the stairwell to exit Castle, Chuck stopped and held onto her arm.
"Hey, I wanted to apologize. It doesn't seem like there has been much of a chance for us to be…just us."
Sarah smiled and placed her palm on his cheek. "Don't worry about it, Chuck. There will be time."
Sarah's other hand glided along his face as she pulled him into a peck on the lips. That peck was turning into something entirely different when his phone went off. Chucks forehead dropped to Sarah's shoulder as he put the phone to his ear.
"Hi, sis. Sarah is with me at the Buy More. Yes, we are leaving right now."
After Chuck hung up the phone his head did not leave her shoulder. "I really don't know who has the worst timing, Beckman or Ellie."
It took an hour to get everyone together and out to Woodland Hills. It had been a few years since Chuck had visited this area. In past years, Ellie had always been too busy with all of her preparing, but Devon had been able to convince her to dial it down this year because of her pregnancy. By the time they got to the displays, Chuck was actually looking forward to the evening.
Once they were at Candy Cane Lane, Sarah spent as much time "Chuck watching" as she did "light watching." His eyes seemed to sparkle as they walked from house to house. Her training enabled her to read the expressions of assets and enemies alike, but it did not take any training to see the joy on Chuck's face.
Sarah nudged Chuck with her shoulder. "I thought you didn't wanna come to look at lights," she teased.
Chuck looked at his girlfriend and smiled as he nudged her back. "I thought you didn't like Christmas."
Sarah smiled and Chuck thought he could see a faint blush on her neck before she shifted her weight and bit her lower lip. "That's before I met a Bartowski."
Chuck smiled at Sarah and grabbed her hand, dragging her to the next set of lights.
Ten minutes later they found themselves in front of a two story home with a large window which held a huge Christmas tree. For most homes the window would have barely held what looked like an eight-foot tree. It was simply decorated with white lights, red bows, and ornaments. After looking for several seconds you could make out on the other side of the room a fireplace with several stockings hanging from the mantle.
Chuck slid behind Sarah and put his arms around her. When he placed his hands over hers around her abdomen he immediately became concerned. "Sarah, you're hands are freezing."
"It appears L.A. was moved a hundred miles closer to the Arctic Circle. I'm fine, Chuck."
Chuck was about to say OK as a gust of wind whipped past them. Chuck's grip tightened around Sarah, and she rested her head on his shoulder. When they looked back at the house the light in the room was on, and they could see several kids moving back and forth in the room. Once the wind had died down and a couple moments passed without Sarah moving, Chuck whispered in Sarah's ear, "Are you ready to see some more lights?"
Sarah silently nodded, and they continued to walk down the street. Although now, Sarah's hand was holding Chuck's inside his jacket. By the time they reached someone who had the bright idea to sell hot chocolate, price was not an issue. He gladly pulled a ten out of his wallet for the cocoa. Using both hands they grabbed their cups, letting the steam rise into the air as they drank the warmth-inducing mixture. They continued to walk, but their motions became more fluid and Chuck stood tall; no longer looking like a turtle trying to get back in his shell.
The couple walked a little further until Chuck stopped in his tracks. "Sarah, remember that movie that Ellie likes so much…Father of the Bride?"
Sarah furrowed her brow in confusion. "That's the movie with Steve Martin and Diane Keaton," Chuck added.
When recognition still had not hit Sarah, Chuck had a moment of clarity. "Remember Martin Short singing that song we used to mess with Casey about. "Every party has a pooper, that's why we invited you…Party Poop-er…Party Poop-er"
Sarah's eyes shot up in recognition when she heard the lyrics. "Oh yeah, that's the one that made me think what a great dad you'd…" She stopped herself and took another sip of her cocoa. "So how much longer is this little trip going to be?"
"Uh, uh, Mrs. Walker, you..." Chuck said with a mischievous gleam in his eyes as his arms flailed animatedly. "…think I would make a great father."
"Yes, I do," Sarah replied as she turned around and looked back at the house. The lights went up the two columns by the front door in a spiral, and in every window there was an electronic candle. A huge wreath sat on the door with a strip of gold bells in the center. On the lawn was an image of two Cherubs kissing. In the driveway on the right they could see a basketball hoop, a bike, and tricycle sitting next to the gate.
At that moment, Sarah was no longer standing next to Chuck: she was warm inside of a home, her face aglow from the reflection of the flames in the wood fireplace. She could see her eyes twinkling from the reflections of the light from the glass bulbs around the Christmas tree. Sarah could see the presents for her children under the tree, and then she felt Chuck under her, around her, holding her tightly as they lay on the couch waiting to help Santa on his nightly rounds. When she looked to the other side of the room, it was covered with the pictures of herfamily.
Sarah had to force herself to breathe, and when the breath left her lips again she was back on the other side of the house. She wasn't as warm, but the feeling of utter peace had not left her. She quickly turned around and looked into those gorgeous brown eyes.
"Chuck, do you…." Sarah started to ask.
"Yes, Sarah. You will make a fantastic mother."
"How did you know…?"
Sarah didn't finish her statement she just snuggled into her boyfriend. She never felt more content than she did right now, enveloped in Chuck's arms. "Thank you."
"What did you say?" Chuck whispered.
Sarah backed up just a bit and placed an urgent kiss on his lips. "I want it all, Chuck. The white picket fence, the wedding, the kids. Chuck, I want to be the mother of your children."
Chuck looked at Sarah…his girlfriend…his love…his future…and bent down, preparing to give her the mother of all kisses.
"Chuck, aren't the lights beautiful?" Ellie asked as she seemingly came from out of nowhere.
"Yeah, bro. These lights are awesome!" Devon added with a huge grin.
Chuck smiled and nodded, but as soon as Ellie turned away, his head lowered onto Sarah's shoulder. "It's Ellie," he whispered to her. "She, without a doubt, has the worst timing."
"Chuck, I wasn't that bad. Not to be picky, but the contest was for a Christmas story, not a Christmas Eve story."
"Well, see sis, by the time we got home and got settled in, it was well after midnight. So when we went to bed it was Christmas Day. After our conversation, we decided to act on it. THAT, however, is a story you do not need to know."