A/N: Happy Mother's Day to everyone in the fandom and beyond, but especially to my beloved wenches!

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He had been estranged from his family for so many years he could barely remember when the holiday meant to him something other than a perfunctory greeting. Since his days in the Marines, choice his parents had frowned upon. Why couldn't he stay in Chicago and help around in his father's law firm? But to war he'd gone, and upon his return he'd stay in New York instead of coming back home to uphold law in a different way. His parent hadn't shown up for his wedding, merely sending a gift certificate by courier… a gift certificate they had never redeemed. Then Claire had died and his father soon after, and mother and son, both widowers now, had kept their distance. He'd heard through the grapevine that she had passed away sometime the past year, but he had been too busy to even check if his sources were correct. If so then, technically, this would be his first Mother's Day as an orphan. Truth was, he'd been one for a long time.

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She had always felt ambivalent about the date. When she was young, she had kept the romantic notion that her real mother would return to pick her up on such holiday… or Christmas. As she grew older and wiser, she began dreading the start of May, for she'd certainly be forced to do a silly present which she'd have no one to give to. Then she'd gone to live with the nuns and they seemed to have vanished the date from the calendar. The first time she had fallen in love and started thinking kids she had promised herself she'd do the best Mother's Day parties ever, just to make up for the previous years. But as time passed and neither kids nor missing mother had happened in her life, she begun to first dread and then ignore the date. In the last years, however, she saw it as a way to help others, taking over shifts from those coworkers whose own mother's were ill or far away, or even the few who were actually mothers themselves. But it had never stopped making her sad.

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AS a child, he had always looked forward to celebrating Mother's Day. Because Mother's Day at his home meant food. Tons of food. His Ma and his Nona and his aunts will come and invade every single free space in the kitchen with ingredients and all sorts of smells he related to love filled his home. But that had been before. Before his Pa had been forced to take protection from the Gambetti family. Before his Nona had passed away suddenly, and the family had started drifting apart, broken at its center. Before he decided to walk on the right side of the law. Before his brother… before his life had become one huge mess after another. And still, he'd find time to go to Staten Island and visit his Ma, and he'd sit quietly at the family table and listen to her accusations in a mix of broken English and fierce Italian, blaming him for breaking his father's heart, for breaking his brother's life, for not giving her any grandchildren to raise. Because he loved his Ma. And because everything she said was true.



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She remembered how bad she'd felt the first Mother's Day she had spent away from home. No matter how much her mother had denied it bothered her that she wasn't home for the holiday, she could hear the disappointment in her voice. And if there was something she simply couldn't stand was disappointing her mother. The next year she had bribed, cajoled, blackmailed and virtually sold her soul to the devil in order to be able to spend a few hours back home, and her mother had been happy. But then her past caught up with her and she had made a visit home she hadn't expected to make. And she had a visitor she hadn't expected to have. And she could FEEL her mother's disappointment in every single interaction after that. Why did she have to stay a hotel? Wasn't her old room good enough for her anymore? Why couldn't she fly home again for Thanksgiving? Or Christmas? Maybe it was true; her past life wasn't good enough for her anymore. But come Sunday she'll make her long distance phone call and pretend not to listen to the disappointment in her mother0s voice and the suspicion in her questions when she asked what was wrong. Plausible deniability. If she had learned anything from her mother it was that.

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The trip top Boston wasn't really that far. He could afford to go and be back home in time for his next shift if he felt like it. Problem was, he didn't. He'd much rather call her on Friday and invite her to a shopping spree in New York as a present. Just the two of them. His sisters had her all to themselves almost 24/7 and he wanted her for himself for just a few hours. His father had passed away soon after he started college, and his sisters had always made a point of not leaving her alone at any time, which was fine by him, except his sisters, God bless them 4, were too much sometimes. Too demanding, too overbearing, too sarcastic, too well-intentioned, too nosey… On the one hand, he loved his job and he loved his bachelor life. On the other, he loved his mother and he loved his sisters. If he could only manage for the two hands to come together quietly, he'd be in Heaven. But work did not leave much time for family and family was not too happy about job. Or lifestyle, for that matter. And they were quite vocal about it, those five women in his life. One at a time he could take, and he would. He placed the call and made his plans and went back to his job pleased that, for once, he might manage to combine the loves of his life.

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His first stop on Mother's Day was usually Mass and then the cemetery. He brought her lilies (his mother had never liked roses) and he did it 4 times a year: her birthday, her death anniversary, Christmas and Mother's Day. The first years, he had made an attempt to contact his father and try to turn these visits into an excuse for them to spend some time together. But as time progressed and his father's excuses were less and less believable, he had stopped asking altogether. Nowadays, he wasn't even sure if his father ever visited his mother's grave, not that he really cared. His brothers had long ago left New York in search for other lives and other memories, and he was fine with that as well. He had been his mother's favorite and she had been the light of his life until disease had taken over. Her last few months had been very painful to bear, her body 

seemingly perfect, but her mind too far gone to even remember who he was. In his mind, however, the mental image of her would always be a perfect one.

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She hated the commercial hoopla of the festivity, but she loved any excuse to be with her mother. The only girl in the family, it was the only day of the year where her brothers were almost completely excluded from the agenda. This year, it seemed, would be no different, as she had already booked a whole day at a spa for just the two of them. Her mom had always been a very simple woman, but she knew of the pleasure of pampering herself every now and then, pleasure she had shared with her only daughter as soon as she was old enough to appreciate it. Perhaps she wasn't one to spend her allowance of make-up, but she'd reaped the benefit of shop-o-therapy, her ever increasing boot collection a mute witness to that. She just prayed her day off was indeed a day off, for she was not looking forward to leaving the hair salon mid manicure. Or being at the receiving end of her mother's tongue lashing once she had rejoined the whole family for dinner and a Broadway show…

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He sat in the lab trying to keep himself busy and avoid all sorts of memories. Focusing on the people around him had not helped much: Sarah, the residue technician, had a huge bouquet on her desk; Joe, over at fire arms, had asked his opinion on the charm bracelet he had gotten for his very pregnant wife, his first ever Mother's Day gift to her. Even Kendall had asked if he felt like joining her for dinner with her folks, who seem to believe that if Mohamed couldn't go to the mountain, than they'd make darn sure the Tennessee mountains would come to New York. He had kindly declined, not too graciously given his predisposition to stuttering, repeating himself, and overall saying way too much, but she had understood his point. Later that day, when he got home, he'd take out the only picture he had of his mom, and he'd get reacquainted with her smile, cause in his memories she never wore one. But he guesses victims of abuse never did, so that was okay. He guessed.

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There was bound to be a punishment for it, but truth was, he loved his mother-in-law more than he had ever loved his own mother. God forgive him but it was true. His mother had never understood him or his career choice, nor his macabre sense of humor. His mother-in-law, on the other hand, simply adored him and couldn't wait for their Sunday ritual dinner to hear all his morgue anecdotes. And a sharp woman, mother Abigail she was. In many occasions it had been her insights that had lead to him solving cases that had been keeping him baffled or simply made no sense. His wife once accused her mother of loving him more that she loved her, and mother Abigail had just smiled. But wasn't it nice, he thought, that being one of the few men in town who knew how to get rid of his mother-in-law and never be found out, he didn't feel inclined to do so?

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A/N: Once again, hope you all had a happy day. I did! Please don't forget to check the Fancfiction awards at the forum section and vote for your favorite writers and fics.