(Chance is 15, Chase is 5)
Snow had started falling about ten hours ago. Now there was several feet of it.
"CHRISTMAS!" Chase had given a war-cry and landed heavily upon his older brother's chest, first thing in the morning. The teenager grunted, got his arms around the little boy and rolled with him off the bed in such a way to land flat on his back, which made the little boy laugh with a great amount of glee.
Chance tried to hide under his bed, and Chase just giggled, clinging to his brother's band T-shirt and not letting him weasel away. Not that Chance was trying too hard, of course.
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He smiled a bit, as Chase grabbed him by the hand and tried to pull him towards the door. "CHAAAANCE! It's CHRISTMAS! Get up, get up, GET UP!" He insisted.
"Nooooooâ€¦." the teenager whined (but only to toy with the toddler, of course), sort of scooting his body along for the kid, all the way, slowly, steadilyâ€¦ to the doorway.
Chase sighed, and plopped heavily down on his brother's chest, "You're too heavy! Don't you know! Santa's been here!"
Chance crooked his arm under his head to tilt it up to look at his little brother, "You don't say? Fat man, red suit?"
"Fat isn't nice to call people."
"Okay. Big man. Red suit. Eight tiny reindeer. Sleigh."
"Yes! Don't you know!!! He's supposed to have COME HERE last night!"
"Oh yeah? Why's that?"
"To bring presents, DUH!"
"Ohhhâ€¦ I see." Chance rubbed his chin, thoughtfully. "Presents. Huh."
"Yeah! Can you hurry up! You're FAT like SANTA!" Chase whined, trying to push Chance, this time, and the older boy did his best to suppress a chuckle. He scooped his little brother up and slung him over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes.
Chase gave a squeal of glee, and cackled madly as Chance made a bit of a show of how he made his way down the stairs. The smell of bacon, eggs, and coffee carried towards them with the hint of peppermint light on the air. The windows were dark, still; it was hardly morning, and snow had filled every bit of the windowpanes. There was no looking out to the early morning today. It was Christmas.
Two weeks ago, they'd put up a tree, decorated the house with lights and wreaths and bows. It was practically a gingerbread cottage with all they put into it. The Lerwicks did Christmas right.
The tree glittered; the day before the base had been clear of all but Ivan's old train set, which was puffing away around the intense little track that he and the boys had set up, but now everything within the train tracks was stacked with colorfully wrapped boxes. There wasn't a lot, but what little there was had been made to look like more.
Sarah smiled as she heard the boys on the stairs, heard Chase's gleeful laughter and shouting as he was carried by his big brother past the glorious living room to the dining room (more a nook than an actual room, but all the same). She stepped from the stove and moved to shower her boys with kisses. Chance good-naturedly complained ("Aw, Ma, c'mon...") and Chase squealed something about Christmas Cooties, clearly repeating something from someone at school.
Ivan grinned and moved to take his youngest son from his oldest, and he sat the child in his seat for breakfast. "Settled down, fireball, or you won't have any energy left for presents," he teased, "Santa will have to come back and take everything back. You have to sit through breakfast like a sane human being."
"Pop, he doesn't understand what a 'sane human being' entails; he's five," Chance smirked and shook his head.
Sarah just grinned to her youngest as she put his plate of bacon and eggs in front of him, "I think you're a sane human being, Chase, don't listen to your father."
"What's a sane being mean?"
"That you're not crazy," Chance informed the boy, accepting a cup of coffee (half coffee, half cocoa) from his father with a smile and a nod.
"Yeah. Why 'what'?"
"I don't want to be not crazy. That's not fun!"
Chance couldn't help it, he snickered with laughter at his brother's commentary. "That... Yes, you're very right." He agreed finally, thankful he hadn't gotten his coffee/cocoa up his nose when he'd been stricken by the boy's silliness.
It didn't take long for breakfast to be over with; the men of the house made quick work of Sarah's wonderful home cooking. They trekked as a family over to the living room, and a picture was taken of the boys together by the tree. Chance held Chase up; his arms around the boy's middle, the boy leaning forward, being quite silly and making faces at the camera. Sarah got several shots, but the best one was Chance laughing while Chase pulled a silly face. It was one of her favorite pictures of the boys growing up; it adorned the wall year-round, despite being a holiday photo. Chance also had a copy of this photo in his quarters, and had always had such.
Presents were exchanged; from "Santa", from friends, from family--sweaters and socks were common, as were books on data-discs. Chase was given his first "big boy" fishing pole and tackle box set (with barbless hooks, still; to tide him until he was six and would get real hooks for the first time). Chance received a new tablet computer to replace his old one, which didn't work very well. Practical but gracious gifts.
Family began to arrive by one, and dinner was served at four. Aunts and uncles and cousins filled the house with laughter and great cheer. At the end of the night, Chance picked up his little brother, and a bowl of ice cream, and carried the toddler off to his room. Chance made a blanket fort, and they sat under it together, shared the ice cream, and watched a couple of old classic Disney movies that Chase had been given while the rest of the family continued to after-dinner drinks. This was brother-time.
Chance fell asleep with his little brother curled up next to him that night. It was one of the best Christmas's. It was Chance's favorite Christmas. The next year Chase would learn from a kid at school there was no such thing as Santa, and much of the mystery and magic of the holiday would be lost forever. Chance loved his little brother, and it was important to him that they shared this time together.
He woke up the next morning and rather than wake his little brother, he just watched him sleep, cherishing the little terror for the sweet kid he truly was. To him, his little brother could do no wrong for the most part. Especially at times such as these. The best days of his life.
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