Author's Note: Hey everybody, Merry (Late) Christmas and a Happy New Year! Thank you so much for reading my story, and I hope you've enjoyed it. I actually wrote this chapter on Christmas Day, but then I lost my motivation and failed to update. Oh well, here it is...on New Year's Eve...better late than never I suppose. Happy 2012 everybody, I hope its the best year yet!

Kate glided down the gold-laden hallway, brightly lit (or at least brightly lit by goblin definition), in search of her overdue son. She creased her brow as she realized dinner was only an hour away. Where was Catspaw?

Kate entered his chambers with a delicate knock on his door, and glanced about. Evidence pointed to a hasty preparation, articles of clothing discarded carelessly in front of his wardrobe, as if the small boy were in a panic to find the suite Kate had made for the occasion. His combs were strewn about his dressing table as well, the tiny bottle of cologne turned on its side, its contents spilled about it in a strongly scented halo.

Kate felt a vein pop in her forehead as she observed the wreckage, 'Surely I didn't raise a slovenly hog such as this?'

A small noise broke her concentration, causing Kate to start. She searched for the cause of the noise, but gave up after a minute, thinking she must have imagined it. But as she strode towards the door, a snapping sound followed by a cry of surprise and tumbling revealed the intruder.

Holding a hand over her still-pounding heart, Kate almost angrily pulled the drape to expose Matilda, her rebellious, mischievous daughter. "Were you trying to stop my heart, dear daughter?"

Matilda shied away, embarrassed at being found out, and self-conscious of her appearance in front of her elven-beautiful mother. "I was, was…just looking for Catspaw. I heard you come in, and….and I, I thought you were him. He hates it when I mess with his stuff, and he…he might've thought that was what I was up to. I wanted to avoid a scolding….that's all."

Kate scrunched her brow while she thought. Matilda was only telling her half of the story she decided. The girl's poorly-hidden guilt was giving her away. Kate sighed heavily. Matlida was telling less and less truth as the years wore on, despite living in a goblin community that abhorred dishonesty. The girl was beginning to worry her. Kate tried many times to dote time on her daughter, but she found it more and more difficult to spend time with the cynical girl as of late. Where had she gone wrong as a parent? Where was the sweet baby that would coo for her? Or the toddler that ran laughing into her arms?

Matilda muttered something about dinner, and Kate snapped back to reality. It was Christmas, after all, time for family and the love to overcome differences and disputes. Her daughter's concerning behavior could be addressed another day, a bountiful feast awaited her family and friends, and there was no room at the table for petty disagreements and arguments.

Kate took her daughters hand and pulled her into an embrace. Kate pressed her nose into Matilda's beautiful brown locks, and breathed deeply; this was her daughter, nothing else mattered.

"Come my darling, the food will get cold otherwise. Oh, your dress was crumpled, let me straighten it." Kate tugged on the stiff material, soothing away the wrinkles that marred the beautiful crimson designs. "There, there, good as new. I'm sure your brother and your father will fuss at us for being late."

Kate and Matilda walked down to the dining hall, decorated with bright red ribbons and dark green wraiths, set alight with sparkling magic, complimenting the delicate long white candles that adorned the ledges. Kate took a little extra time to admire the tree she had coerced her husband into retrieving, a blue spruce from the surface, elegantly decorated and completed with presents beneath its boughs.

Kate smiled at Marak, who rose from his seat to pull out her chair, ever the gentleman. He returned her smile and brushed the golden locks out of his way, whispering a holiday greeting in her ear. She curtsied and reciprocated the greeting, gracefully taking the seat he offered her.

Kate looked around the table at her loved ones, safe and sound, within her reach. "This is the best Christmas I've ever had," she whispered aloud, too pleased to keep it in. She dipped her head for grace, truly anticipating the wonderful meal, but just as much to hide her happy tears.