AN: Hey! I just wanted to say Merry Christmas!! Hope it's a good one for you all! Note: In the oneshot, Paige isn't born yet. Hope you enjoy this! Please let me know what you think! :) Thanks, and Merry Christmas!


Of Christmas Eve and Stethoscopes

Daddy's passed out on the couch again.

Of course, this isn't any different to any other night. But what is different is Percival's disappointment. Because tonight it's Christmas Eve. It's Christmas so he should be happy, but instead he's sad.

Mommy's in the bathroom, cleaning up the blood on her face. Again. It's not like this is an unusual sight for Perry, but it makes him even sadder because it's Christmas Eve and he was hoping just maybe that tonight could be different. Because it's Christmas Eve.

He stands at the threshold of the bathroom and rocks on his heels. He watches while Mom dabs some antiseptic on a piece of cotton wool and rubs above her eyebrow.

"What that?" He asks with every ounce of a five-year-old's innocence. Percival is innocent, but he's not naïve. He's seen much more than a five-year-old (or any kid for that matter) should have seen.

Mommy smiles at her only child. "It's antiseptic." Mommy speaks so calmly, like it's just any normal thing. Like it's normal that a kid has just watched his father beat the living daylights out of his mother.

"What does it do?"

"It cleans my cuts and makes sure they don't get infected."

Perry nods just slightly. He watches while Mommy puts the cotton wool back to her cheek and dabs it gently down her cheek, wincing every few seconds.

"Does it hurt?"

"Well, it stings a little. But it's okay."

"Okay," he says quietly. "Does it hurt when Daddy hits you too?"

Mommy looks shocked. She stops cleaning her cut and looks at her son with wide, wide eyes. She considers dishonesty, a little white lie to protect her baby's innocence. But it would be useless, because Perry's intuitive and he knows when she's lying. So she sighs sadly. "Yeah. Yeah, it does."

"Oh." Perry looks down at the ground and frowns.

Mommy stops what she's doing. She rests the cotton wool and antiseptic bottle on the counter top and kneels down in front of her son, so her eye line is level with his. "Hey," she says soothingly. "Hey, look at me."

Perry looks up at Mommy and his little eyes are filling up with tears.

"Hey. I don't want you to worry about me, okay? I'm fine." She really isn't, but she can't tell Perry that.

"I wish Daddy wouldn't hurt you though, Mommy," he says sadly.

"I know. I know. I wish he wouldn't hurt me either. But I don't want you to worry about me. I'll take care of everything with your Dad."

"Why does he hurt you, though?"

"He… he doesn't mean it. Sometimes he just has a bad day and he gets mad and he takes his anger out on me. But he doesn't mean it," Mommy says softly. "Give me hug."

Perry hugs Mommy tightly, and for a second Mommy thinks he's not going to let go. When Perry breaks the hug, Mommy sees that his eyes are still filled with tears.

"Come on," she quietly says, taking Perry's hand. "Do you want to open one of your presents now?"

Perry's face breaks out into a huge grin. "Yeah!"

Quietly, they tiptoe to the living room, where Daddy is still unconscious.

"Okay," Mommy whispers. "Pick your present."

Perry chooses the present right at the front of the tree. It's quite small and rectangular shaped. Once Perry picks it up, he and Mommy quickly walk through to the kitchen.

"Can I open it, Mommy?"

"Yeah," Mommy laughs.

Perry tears the wrapping paper off excitedly. When he sees what's inside, his face lights up. "It's the doctor dress up!" Perry says with so much happiness and excitement. He's been eyeing it up in the window of the toy store for weeks now. "Oh, thank you Mommy!" He hugs Mommy tightly.

"You're welcome."

Mommy helps Perry take the toys out of the packet. He puts on the little white coat, and Mommy's relieved that it fits him perfectly. Mommy takes one of the little plastic instruments out and hold it up. "Perry, do you know what this is?"

"It's what the doctor uses to listen to your heartbeat!"

"That's right. It's called a stethoscope."

Perry takes the stethoscope from Mommy and places the diaphragm to his chest as if he's listening for his own heartbeat. "Mommy?" He asks gently. "Could I be a doctor when I grow up?"

"You can be whatever you want to be."

Little Perry smiles. "I want to be a doctor."