Happy holidays all! I wrote this a few weeks ago, just got around to writing it up. It isn't particularly Christmassy (probably do one in another two weeks...) but I hope you enjoy it all the same.

"What's with Foster?"




"Dunno, she's just, well, sad. Never seen her like that before."

"What date is it?"


"Date, Torres, date."

"December 18th!"

Without another word, Lightman stalked away. His arms swinging at his side as he slid the files from his hands onto the front desk.

Heidi leant over the counter, watching his retreating strut. "Could you take this for me please, Heidi? Sure, no problem," She muttered under her breath, dropping the manila folders to the lower level of her reception desk. "S'all it takes."

"What's going on?"

"Beats me."

"Come on, you're the fly on these walls. You know it all," she smirked, leaning her elbows on the reception.

"True as that may be, I don't-wait," her eyes flicked to the calendar on her desk. "Oh."

"What 'oh'? What's going on?"

"It's December 18."

"What's the relevance?"

Heidi licked her lips, obviously uncomfortable in revealing anything. "...I shouldn't."


"It's Sophie's birthday."


"Dr Foster's daughter."

"Foster doesn't have a daughter."

"She adopted a baby girl with Alec, her husband? Birth Mom reneged on the contract at the last minute. Three days before the window shut."

"Oh God..."

"She'd be two today."


Her back was to him, but he didn't need to see her face to know what she was feeling. Her shoulders were slumped, slack against the back of her desk chair, each hand gripping an arm rest. She was facing the window, the Christmas tree she loved unlit in the distance but no doubt her focal point.

Her feet were on top of each other, the bottom one on its side. That told him all he needed to know.

"Hiya," he announced, slipping through the glass door.

She looked over her shoulder to him, her eyes red and raw. Like she'd scrubbed away any tear that had threatened to fall.

He sat down opposite her, his posture terrible as usual.

"Don't, Cal."

"What?" he held his hands up in defence.

"I can see your pity. Don't."

"It's not pity, love, it's concern."

"I'm fine."

"No, you're not. I wouldn't expect you to be."

She rubbed heavily under her eyes again, angry at the emotion swirling within her and bubbling to the surface. With a sigh, she said, "She would be two."

He nodded slightly, before leaning his chin in his hand. "D'ya remember Emily's second?"

"The chocolate cake," she smiled lightly.

"Of course you remember the cake. Do you remember how she went 'round and ate everyone's icing?"

"Then threw up for two hours."

"And was in bed before the clown and all that arrived."

"That clown was creepy."

"All clowns are creepy."

She smiled, the smallest chuckle escaping her. Her eyes soon became wistful and misty again.

"What can I do, love?"

She sighed lightly, smiling gratefully. "You're doing it, Cal." She stretched her hand across the desk, Lightman doing the same until their fingers intertwined.