A/N: This fluffy little piece has been ready for a while. Thanks to Lily for reading this through. Happy Holidays to Smacked fans!:)

Disclaimer: I own nothing.

A Haven of Tranquility

Joy To The World

She walks down the stairs. Knowing her house, having lived in it most of her life, she doesn't need any light on her journey. The night is at its coldest, so it's probably half three in the morning. Soon, the grownups will be awake. The smell of coffee lingers in the house, and the fresh baked breads, brownies, cakes will wake their appetite. By the end of the day they all have their stomach full of Christmas food.

She pulls her robe tighter around her as she feels the bite of coldness reaching her old body. She reaches the hallway where the wide corridor leads her into the living room. She sees the light of the Christmas tree, the amount of presents waiting under the tree on the floor. So much happiness and joy slumber under the roof, and for a moment she feels blessed to have so many loved ones here. If only he could see this, she blinks her tears. She tilts her head a bit and brushes few straps of her silver hair, escaped from the knot, behind the back of her ear and admires the sight before she makes her way toward the kitchen.

A warm smile spreads over her face. The wrinkles around her eyes dignify the fact of her being a grandmother. She sees her, the mother of her latest grandchild, sitting by the kitchen table watching out from the window.

Waiting.

She has a cup of tea in front of her, untouched, a light steam dancing with the shadows of the candle lights. The younger woman is worried, she can tell for her hand is unsteady when she reaches for her phone. She doesn't call anywhere, but seems to make sure the phone is on. The three diamonds in the curly haired woman's wedding ring glimmer from the faint light of the candles adorning the walls as well. She can't help but wonder if there will be a fourth one, too. She sure wishes so. It causes her smile to spread even wider and the love she feels for her son's family keeps growing day by day.

xxx

It was only a one year ago when she met her for the first time though she had heard him talking about her over the years of their companionship. She was always that stubborn, passionate friend and co-worker, who apparently was his perfect match in the field of protecting their city. She was his right hand as Claire said it once, God bless her soul. Oh Claire, she recalls her late daughter in law. After the unexpected attack, after losing her, she lost a part of her son, too. It devastated her to see her son in pain and sorrow. He lived only for his job, driven by the ghost who he loved very much. She didn't know what or who helped him but bit by bit she witnessed him becoming alive again after the suffocating sorrow which he had almost drowned in. She began to be more in his talk. He didn't often say her name, but he didn't have to. Oh, those mother instincts, the older woman smirks. Knowing her son, she let him have his privacy. She is grateful of him having his strength back in his voice and seeing the light sparkling from the blue eyes more and more. She just knew there was someone in her son's life giving him the strength and joy of life he seemed to lose after Claire. As she watches her daughter in law now, she loves the fact, knowing how much she gave him her own strength. Love is not the right word to describe their commitment, there seems to be so much more between two of them.

Maybe it is written in the stars.

She is grateful of her giving him the support. She is grateful, too, her giving him the gravity and love, a family they both deserve. It isn't any surprise that she is her daughter in law. She should have guessed by the way her son had looked at her that there was more than just deep caring and loyal friendship between them, the last Christmas they were here. And reading the wedding invitation later on… Oh, she was a family member.

The woman's curls fall along her slender shoulders as she moves a bit to see out from the window. She has a deep, worried frown in her face. She sees the reflection of her face. It's dark out there, snow whitening the windy city. It falls slowly on the ground, they both witness that. It's freezing, too, but the coldness doesn't reach inside the house.

The older woman walks closer, gently placing her hand on the younger woman's shoulder. She looks over her shoulder a tentative smile playing her face.

"I'm sorry. I hope I didn't wake you. I just couldn't—"

"Sleep?" She laughs, sharing the same feeling with the younger woman. She nods and turns to look out of the window again.

"He should be here by now." She hears her mumbling and she catches the nervous tone in her gentle voice. She sits opposite her. The baby monitor is on the table, but as it is the silent night, the newest member of the family is sleeping in the crib. She doesn't need to think twice to ponder when she will be awake, when the cry of the baby cuts the silence. Both grin, and the mother rises up from her seat.

"She is a hungry little beast."

It causes a deep laugh from her throat as sees her making her way to the baby. She chuckles and turns her head toward the window.

xxx

She walks from the kitchen through the hall and begins to climb the stairs. Peering in, she sees her child, eyes closed, crying and flailing her small limbs. She cradles the baby in her lap as soon as she reaches the crib. She soothes the baby's upset by kissing her forehead.

"I know, I know. I miss your daddy, too."

xxx

He sees the faint light in the kitchen and he glances at the clock. It's not even four in the morning. The cab pulls aside on the pavement and he pays for the ride. The cabbie helps his luggage, and he makes his way across the snowy yard. He fumbles with the key which gives him access to the house he grew up in, but the door is opened by a woman who looks slightly irritated but has a warm smile on her face.

"Mac Taylor…" She begins and there is that certain tone in her voice he heard always when there was a scold to hear. He frowns.

"I know, the flight was late and…"

"At least you could have called…" She interrupts him.

"You're not allowed to use a phone…"

"There is always the satellite phone, detective Taylor."

"It's for the emergencies only." He tries to explain.

"It's Christmas time." She gives him a look and continues. "If that isn't an emergency I don't what is. She is worried sick about you…" She stops short and rolls her eyes."Well don't you just stand there, come in for heaven's sake."

He bows his head a bit, sighing, before he walks in carrying his luggage. He places his jacket on the rack and leaves his belongings in the hallway. He runs his fingers through his hair, wiping away the snowflakes wetting his head. He shivers slightly as the change of temperature, but he welcomes the warmth of the house. She guides him into the kitchen and he sees a cup of tea on the table.

"Where is she?"

She doesn't have time to answer when her voice fills the air through the baby monitor.

"Mommy is here. Don't cry, baby."

Before he disappears around the corner, walks up the stairs, he places a soft kiss on his mother's forehead, whispering: "Merry Christmas."

"Merry Christmas." Her eyes twinkle with joy and affection.

xxx

Her tiny feet are at one end of Stella's lap, and her head in the bend of her arm. Pulling up her loose t-shirt, she brings the baby's mouth to her breast and lets her latch on. She was born a month too early, but otherwise everything went well. The girl starts to feed and Stella brings her hand to the baby's face. She runs her fingers down the baby's chubby cheek and smiles. The baby opens her eyes and looks up at her mother.

"Hi, Noelle." Stella coos with a large smile. She runs her fingers on the baby's soft hair. She blinks her dark blue eyes, bringing her tiny hand to the side of her face. Her eyes start to shut as she drinks more of her mother's milk. Her heavy breathing can be heard, as well as the sucking sound her mouth makes.

"You must be hungry, huh?" She murmurs, humming softly. She sits still until she stops feeding. She moves slightly on the bed and before her brain progress what she catches in the corner of her eye, her head snaps towards the direction of the doorframe.

She doesn't say anything, never had felt to fill the air with words, because she catches his gaze, and her lips curl into a wide smile. His gaze doesn't lower, because he had witnessed her breastfeeding his daughter many times before and it still amazes him. She sits up and positions the baby on her shoulder, rocking her gently, and the hem of her t-shirt falls. He walks across the room and reaches the two most important persons in his life. He runs his fingers along the soft hair of his daughter.

"Hi." He leans to kiss his wife and rests his forehead against hers. "I'm sorry. Sinclair…"

And that explains everything.

"Please, I don't want to think about him." She shakes her head and pulls away to see his eyes. She asks in curiosity. "What did you say to your mother?"

"That my flight was late." He states.

"You saved Sinclair's butt?" She arches her brows.

"I think I did." He chuckles.

"I'm just glad you are here."

"I am too. Love you." They kiss longer this time, but when the baby begins to flail her limbs he pulls away laughing.

"Love you too baby girl."

She laughs, too, giving Noelle into his arms. He rocks her gently and watches his wife adjusting the bedclothes. They are able to catch a few hours' sleep. He can't wait to have her close. She looks so different in so many good ways. Pregnancy has left the woman curvier and fuller and he can't help but think how much healthier and sexier she looks. Though there are hints of tiredness on her feature, being a mother suits her better than anything else. The baby's tiny fingers curl around the collar of his shirt not wanting to let go. And he doesn't want to let go of them either. She walks closer placing a hand on the baby's back soothing her and her eyes close. He stands still Noelle sleeping in his arms, his wife in front of him. They gazes meet. He wraps his free hand around her waist placing his palm against her warm skin under her loosened t-shirt, and she buries her face in the crook of his neck and sighs.

"Merry Christmas."

He fights really hard against tears.

"Merry Christmas."

xxx

She turns off the baby monitor before she makes her way to her bedroom. She blows out the candles and darkness settles the house. She listens to the silence of the night as she walks along the hallway. Step by step she is closer to her own room which she shared so many loving years with her husband. God bless his soul. She closes the door and slips into the bed beneath the warm blanket. She looks at the wedding photo on her night table. Tears forms in her eyes as she still feels the weight of loss in her heart. Years have slipped away far too fast, but so much has been gained during the years of gold – a future. She still wears the golden band she was given over forty years ago. She will meet him soon, first in her dreams, but inevitably in a place he waits for her. The last years have whispered to her that soon it's her time to go.

By the hours of the new dawn, the house is full of life, laugh, love and joy. She closes her eyes and drifts into dreams wrapped around the memory of the first noel when her children were small and she was wrapped into her husband's arms.

The End


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