He didn't open his eyes as he felt morning dawn. He felt her in his arms and held her closer. She let out a soft moan as she tried to stay asleep. He knew they couldn't stay in bed all day though. Without opening his eyes, he pressed a kiss to her temple pressing her back into his chest.

"We have to get up, you know."

"No we don't. I want to sleep. Leave me be."

He chuckled. "Don't you know what day it is?"

"I don't care what day it is. It's five in the morning. Shut up and let me sleep," she said drowsily, her eyes still closed as well.

"They're waiting for us. My guess is that they haven't slept at all."

"They can wait a little longer." She snuggled into the blankets more a bit chilled.

He brushed his knuckles against her cheek. "Come now, Alexis," he purred. "We can always rest later. Besides, we have tonight. And there's always New Year's for celebrating…"

She opened her eyes now and turned to look at him. He smiled down at her with loving eyes. "You're not going to leave me alone are you?"

"Nope. Not a chance."

She sighed. "Fine." She got up out of bed and went to fetch her robe, as did he. Hers was white; his navy blue. Then they strode down the stairs together.

"Daddy! Daddy!" cried a little blonde-haired girl as she ran to him. His arms were outstretched and he caught her and lifted her up into a great, big hug. He kissed her on the cheek.

"Dad! Dad! Look what I got!" called a dark blue feather haired boy as he ran toward them. "It's an air plane! Watch!" The boy threw the tiny plane and began to maneuver it around the living room.

"Wow, that's great, son," he said setting the little girl on her feet.

"Look at this, Dad!" she said racing to the tree and retrieving a stuffed kitty cat. "Isn't she cute?"

"She sure is," he chuckled.


He turned and smiled at his wife. "I was wondering where you'd gone off to," he said taking the cup she offered him. Together they sat and watched as the children opened their Christmas gifts.

A long time ago, he would never have dreamed that any of this was possible. He never imagined such a strong feeling of completion. But he had married the woman of his dreams, built this little home on the Rhodes family estate and had two beautiful children. He couldn't want for anything more.

"Mom. Dad." The kids walked over to them and held out a box. "This is for you."

Their parents exchanged a look, then took the box from their hands. "I wonder what it could be," said Alexis.

"There's only one way to find out, you know," replied the little girl.

Alexis and Sartorius opened the box. They both smiled at the Christmas bulb in their hands. "It's beautiful…" whispered Alexis.

"Yes," her husband agreed. "It is."

The bulb was filled with pink, white and silver glitter, and on the outside, all of their names were engraved on it in green. It said:

There is no greater love beneath the Lord's than the love of a family.

Sartorius Alexis
Alistair Lillian

He and Alexis smiled at each other. Then they put the bulb aside and took the children into their arms. "Thank you," he whispered. "Thank you both so much."

"You're welcome," the two children said.

And they certainly had a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year…

A/N: Well, that's it. I hope you all enjoyed Hills of the Horses. Thank you all for your support! TTFN!!