* Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah/Happy Kwanzaa, everyone! I was thinking about the movie 'August Rush' and then I thought I should write a fanfic about what happened after the movie ended. And because Christmas is in the air, I have to write it around Christmas a year after the events in 'August Rush'. Hope you enjoy!

Louis watched as Lyla moved restlessly around their New York apartment. She stopped every few seconds to straighten the glass Nativity set on the mantel over their fake fireplace or to wipe some imaginary speck of dust from the mantel.

Smiling, Louis walked over and pulled Lyla to him in a hug. "Stop fussing. He'll love the place", Louis murmured against her ear.

"I want to make this special", replied Lyla, pulling back so she could look up into Louis's face. Even now, after all these years, his blue eyes, which held so much warmth and intensity, still took her breath away.

"It is going to be special. It's our first Christmas together as a family", Louis reassured Lyla as he took her small, round face between his hands.

Looking down at the woman who he had all at once fallen in love with and conceived a child with, Louis felt as though a great calm was bestowed upon him. He was every bit as nervous as Lyla was. He hadn't seen August since his concert in Central Park a little over a year ago.

It didn't take long for Louis to figure out that the young musical genius was his son. After all, they had the same eye and hair color, though August's had a touch of goldenness to his brown locks. Almost the same shade of gold Lyla's hair was.

"I hope you're right", Lyla murmured, her blue-green eyes alight with both excitement and nervousness at seeing her son again.

Lyla had hoped every day for over twelve years that the baby she thought she had lost was still alive. It was with great joy that she found him, her son, August. And in Central Park, of all places! Conducting a piece he had written for a concert!

It absolutely blew her away that she had given birth to a little Beethoven. Of course, every mother knows that their child is special. In this case, he actually was.

The door opened and Louis and Lyla exchanged an excited glance before going to see who had arrived.

A man with red hair wearing a cowboy hat stood in the foyer, shaking snow from his black overcoat and stamping his boot-clad feet on the mat.

"Who are you?" Louis thought to ask the man.

"Oh, I'm sorry. I just had to come in, you know? To shake the snow off my coat. It's freezing out there", The man said to Lyla and Louis.

"It's winter in New York, what do you expect?" Lyla said.

"Oh, right, right, of course. I get it. I'm not allowed and here I thought with it being Christmas and all that you would lend a helping hand to a poor, homeless man-", The man began to rant.

"I'm sorry. You're right. It is Christmas and it's also freezing out there. Why don't you come in?" Lyla interrupted the man to say.

"You sure?" The man asked.

"As you so kindly put it, we have to lend a helping hand to a poor, homeless man", Louis replied, sarcasm etched in his voice.

"If you would excuse us for a moment…", Lyla said to the man then dragged Louis to the Kitchen.

Once in the Kitchen, Lyla turned to Louis and said, "What the hell was that all about?".

"I don't know. Guess I don't trust strange men just waltzing into our apartment with the excuse that we should open our home to him just because he's a poor, homeless man", retorted Louis.

"Excuse me, but I haven't said that this is our home. I bought this apartment. You were not with me when I decided to move here from Chicago", retorted Lyla.

Louis felt as though he were punched in the gut. Fighting back the urge to throw some punches- he was a very violent man, as his brother could testify-, Louis met Lyla's angry stare and said through clenched teeth, "Then why allow me to live here if it's your home?".

"Because August needs us both", Lyla told Louis.

And there it was. The whole reason for the past eight months. Lyla was only staying with him out of obligation to August that they remain together as his parents.

"Oh. I see", was all Louis could say. A pain he had never experienced before clutched his chest. It was the pain of rejection.

All these eight months, he had loved her with his whole heart and had believed she loved him, too. In all actuality, he was being a fool, believing in something that never existed.

"Louis…don't…", began Lyla.

"Don't what? Feel like I should stay? Fine. I'll move out, if that's what you want", Louis retorted.

"I don't want that", Lyla replied.

"Then what do you want?", Louis asked Lyla.

"I want you to stay", said Lyla.

"Because it's important that August comes home to an united family, right?" Louis said bitterly.

"This has spun way out of control. I didn't want this to happen", Lyla said more to herself than to Louis.

"Well, congratulations, it happened", spat Louis and stormed from the Kitchen.

Lyla could hear the front door slam. She stood there staring down at the tiled floor, berating herself for her idiocy. She never wanted Louis to know that half the reason she kept him around was because she did feel obligated to be with him for August's sake.

She only wanted him to know the other half, the half she wasn't that good at expressing. The half that she did love Louis and wanted him around not because he was the father of her child, but because she needed him in this almost desperate way.

Her life wasn't right without Louis. Or August. Before they both came into her life, she was incomplete, living her life as her father saw she should live it. Then even when she did estrange from her father, her life still didn't feel whole. She had forsaken music because it was what led her to Louis on the rooftop that night they conceived August.

Then when Louis came back into her life, as did August, she was finally whole again. She felt liberated after years of misery and she loved Louis so much that she became afraid.

Afraid that he would leave her, if given the chance. Afraid that this whole relationship thing was just a wonderful dream she would wake up from at any moment.

Then in thinking her fears, she also wondered if she kept Louis around out of obligation that they remain together for August and she realized that was half the reason why. When she discovered the other half, she again became afraid. Afraid because she had never been in love before and that this love she had for Louis was all the love she could ever want.

It was absolutely terrifying to realize she felt this strongly about a singular person, who wasn't even married to her. Not that she would want him to marry her.

Marriage, as Lyla saw it, was a lifelong thing. And she didn't feel ready to bind herself to someone, especially Louis, who was so angry and brooding.

That was another thing. Lyla wasn't so sure of his anger problems. There were times she feared getting in the way of his punches. And she had seen how he was with his brother at Thanksgiving. They had broken the table, fighting as much as they were.

Lyla had apologized to his mother but all she did was wave her off and say, "Boys will be boys"!

"Excuse me, but where is the bathroom?" The man from the foyer asked, interrupting Lyla's thoughts.

"Oh, I'm sorry. What a hostess I've been", Lyla commented to the man, who had joined her in the Kitchen.

"Oh, no, it's alright. I understand. Hotheaded boyfriends tend to distract most women", The man reassured her.

"What a night this has been", groaned Lyla.

"I see you have some scotch up on the fridge there. Maybe we'll indulge ourselves in a nightcap after I get back from the bathroom", The man told Lyla.

"Oh, right! Down the hall and to your left", Lyla told the man.

"Thank you", he said to her.

"Oh, wait. What's your name?", asked Lyla.

"You can call me 'Wizard'", The man answered, turning back to look at her from the doorway.

"You don't look so magical", commented Lyla with a laugh.

"Oh, just wait 'til you hear me on my harmonica", said Wizard with a chuckle.

"Can't wait", Lyla said then turned to get the scotch from off the top of the fridge.

As she turned around, the man was suddenly right there behind her. He grabbed her by the neck and smashed her into the refrigerator. Lyla let go of the scotch and it fell to the floor, where it smashed into a million tiny pieces.

Lyla only heard the scotch hit the floor and felt something warm fall down her neck from the spot where her head hit the edge of the refrigerator before being engulfed in black.

Louis was sitting alone at the arch, mulling over everything that had happened in Lyla's Kitchen. He had never felt more stupid.

Here he was, reveling in newfound love, or rather love found again, only to find that it was all fake. As fake as that fireplace was, even though it emanated so much warmth and was so enticing.

Sighing, Louis had to admit that Lyla, for all that she was, was right in some aspect. They had to cooperate for the sake of August.

It was a good thing they weren't married, Louis thought with a snort. It would be easier this way, to break up and not have to call a lawyer. It would've been a huge mess, with them being such renowned musicians. Not to mention that they're also sharing custody of the boy musical genius, August Rush.

Louis could just see the headlines now: PARENTS OF BOY MUSICAL GENIUS AUGUST RUSH ARE DIVORCING!

Louis shook his head as he let out a bitter laugh. So much easier, he thought again.

Getting to his feet, he stomped them for a bit to get blood flowing back into them. He had been sitting at the arch for little over an hour now. He figured August was home from Juilliard by now.

Louis still couldn't believe it that his twelve-year-old son, who didn't have much of an education, was going to Juilliard on a full scholarship.

Louis felt jealous in some way. What he wouldn't give to go to Juilliard. Of course, he didn't need Juilliard now, as successful as he was.

His band had performed sold out concert after sold out concert for a couple months back when. Of course, Louis was half out of it for most of the tour. He was so busy thinking about his son and the woman he conceived his son with.

As soon as the tour ended, he went back to New York. To Lyla and August. To be there for both of them.

Damn Irish honor. It was the reason why he now had his heart hurt.

Hailing a taxi, he took it back to Lyla's apartment building, where he found police cars and ambulances outside.

Getting out, Louis walked up to an officer and kindly asked him, "What's going on here?".

"That cellist from the New York Philharmonic Orchestra was raped", The officer told him.

Even though Louis had just returned to the cold air for only a minute, he became instantly numb with cold as though he'd been standing out there on the street for days.

"What?" gasped Louis.

"Yeah, her son there, the genius, you know? Came home from Juilliard to find this bozo raping his mom. And you know the first thing he did?" The officer went on to say.

Louis shook his head to show he didn't know.

"He pulled that motherfucker off of his mother and then shouted at his friend who came home with him to hit the guy over the head with a frying pan! Twelve years old and he saved his mother. And I thought he was amazing before, but now…wow", The officer continued.

"Where are they?" Louis asked the officer.

"Over there with the paramedics. Hey, don't I know you?" The officer asked Louis, but Louis ignored the officer's question and ran over to where the officer indicated.

"Dad!" August cried out, jumping out of the back of an ambulance.

"August!" Louis exclaimed, grabbing his son and pulling him into a fierce hug.

Pulling back, August looked up at his father with tears swimming in his blue eyes.

"I'm so glad you're here right now", August told his dad, his voice wavering with his tears.

"Where's your mother?" Louis asked the boy.

"In there. He beat her up pretty bad", August answered, indicating inside the ambulance.

Louis looked from inside the ambulance to his son and asked, "Are you okay enough to stay out here?".

"Yeah, I think so. Arthur is over there talking to the police. I should probably go check on him", August told his father and pointed over to where a small African-American boy around August's age was talking with a police officer.

"Yeah, you do that while I check on your mother", Louis said to his son.

"Okay. And Dad?" August then said.

Louis turned to look back at his son. "You're welcome", was what August then said.

The tears finally spilled over. Louis just looked at his son as tears fell down his face and choked out, "Thank you".

"I know", August said very wisely.

With that, the boy went to go check on his friend. Louis turned back to the ambulance and climbed inside to see Lyla sitting up on a bed with a blue cotton blanket wrapped around her thin frame.

She looked toward him and Louis felt more tears slide down his face.

Her face, her small, round, pretty face was mottled with bruises. She had a split lip and a black eye. Her golden hair, which was held back in a ponytail an hour ago, was loose and matted with crimson blood in the back.

Despite how horrible she looked, Lyla gave Louis a small smile and said to him, "Come to say 'I told you so'?".

"Oh, my god, oh, my god, oh, my god. Lyla. My Lyla. My beautiful Lyla", Louis began to sob as he went over to her and enfolded her into his arms.

"I take it that you're no longer mad", Lyla said when Louis finally let go of her.

"I was stupid. I was reckless. I left you alone with…with him…Oh, God, Lyla, I'm so sorry", Louis replied, still crying.

"August saved me, you know?" Lyla then said, looking at Louis with tears in her eyes.

"I heard. And I don't think we gave him enough presents so he can expect another one here soon", answered Louis, making Lyla laugh.

With laughing, her split lip began to bleed again. Once the blood was staunched, Lyla looked at Louis and said, "I was stupid, too".

"Why do you say that?" asked Louis, eyebrows knitting together in confusion.

"I told you the one half of the reason why I keep you around, without telling you the other half", explained Lyla.

"Oh? And what's the other half?" Louis asked almost hopefully.

"That I have fallen in love with you and that because I've fallen in love with you, I've been afraid to let you know that because I've never been in love before and you're the only person I want to love", answered Lyla, tears falling down her beautifully damaged face.

Louis looked into Lyla's eyes and seeing the depth of emotion there, he took her face gently in his hands and gave her a short, sweet kiss.

"Lyla Ann Novacek, I had fallen in love with you that first night we met and I spent years trying to find you again, only to come to find I had a child with you, too, which to me was an added bonus, because I wouldn't want a child with anyone else but you. And you're the only girl I want to marry", Louis told Lyla, but at the word 'marry' her eyes got wide.

"Don't you want to marry me?" Louis asked Lyla, seeing her wide-eyed look.

"We've only been together eight months", Lyla reminded Louis.

"I think that's been enough time", Louis objected.

"Also, don't you think asking me this right now is just a little weird, after what happened?" Lyla then said.

Louis thought about that then said, "True. Forget I said anything. It really isn't the right time, if you think about it".

Lyla took Louis's hand in hers' and said to him, gently, "It isn't like I don't want to marry you. I do. Honestly, I do want to marry you, but just not right now. Ask me again in a few more months and I'm certain I'll say 'yes'".

"And I'll be certain to have a ring then", Louis added.

"You didn't even have a ring and you tried asking to marry me!" cried Lyla, absolutely appalled at this revelation.

"I wasn't planning to ask you! I was certain you didn't love me a few minutes ago", retorted Louis.

"Well, now you know how I feel. That should make you feel a whole lot better", Lyla said to Louis.

"It does, actually", Louis said and gave Lyla a wide smile, showing off his perfectly white, straight teeth.

"Merry Christmas, Louis".

"Merry Christmas, Lyla".

* Okay, I wasn't planning for Lyla to get raped. It just happened! But I do like that August and Arthur saved her. I thought that was brilliant. A really great story. Not your typical gushy Christmas story, but a Christmas story nonetheless. Please review!