A/N : Happy Christmas to TheCrownedLioness, who requested a fluffy Christmas story for her Secret Santa :) Since I've had little to no inspiration on the subject, and suffered from insomnia for the last two to three weeks, I'm afraid I took a rather long time to come up with a somewhat decent idea… which is why I find myself grovelling with apologies for my tardiness….

It ended up as something between angst and fluff, but I hope that you'll still like it

A Twig of Evergreen

It was pathetic, really, thought C. C. Babcock, the effect that such small actions could have on her. To think, that she would find herself crying in front of a Pizza Hut over it! She blamed her pregnancy, and the hormones that made her so sensitive to anything he said.

Waddling away, she shook her head, and brushed the tears away, sniffling. She got into a taxi, and made her voyage home. C. C. sighed as she opened the door. She mawkishly threw her light coat on the chair, and sat on the couch, nearly falling on it. God! But her back hurt like a bitch! And she wanted chocolate, and marshmallows, and… her eyes fell on the undecorated pine tree adorning the room with its strangely ominous presence. Then, on the boxes of Christmas decorations, and the urge to cry came back in earnest. Thank God, the maids were on holiday! Frankly, she would not have wanted anyone to see her reduced to tears because Niles was not here to decorate the tree with her.

With a heavy sigh, C. C. made her way to the kitchen of their big LA house. When the Christmas season had begun, C. C. had felt just a twinge of nostalgia for New York: the snow, the atmosphere of the mansion, her tradition with Niles, … She had not been sure how it would all translate here, where there was no snow, where palm trees were most likely to be found than pines, and… well, it was their first year together, and their first Christmas as a couple. She had been a little scared of what it would mean for them both. After all, she had seen the many fights of her parents, and other people at Christmas. And she was scared that it would, well- that something happened that would result in horrible fights. God, she really was pathetic! When had she put that much importance in a relationship? Scratch that. When had she become so dependent on their time together?!

Sipping her tea – her favourite blend – a wistful smile on her lips, she was reminded of their time in Christmas preparation. Where she had been scared, Niles had been enthusiastic, well elated. Like an overgrown child who just had t make you discover the great joys of the Christmas season, he had suggested that they make their own new Christmas tradition. They had shopped for a tree, they had shopped for the decorations, they had made gingerbread, and all sorts of cookies and sweets… Her smile grew into a silly grin as she remembered how he'd brushed off a smudge of cookie dough with his thumb, then how she had licked and nibbled it clean. And then, he had pulled her towards him, and kissed her. She remembered how strong his body had felt against her flushed one, how one of his hand had wound up in her hair, massaging her scalp, while the other had a firm grip on her neck, his leg, between hers, her own hands, tangled in his hair, keeping him close to her… Then the blasted timer had interrupted them! They had laughed, then, and she still smiled as she remembered how he had chuckled at her frustration, how he had given her Christmas themed oven mitts and told her she looked adorable when taking the cookies out.

And now, she wanted gingerbread cookies and Niles!

"Why did your idiot of a father have to work today of all days?" she whispered, a hand on her belly.

To say that Niles Brightmore was in a bad mood, would be quite the understatement. In fact, he was in a rather foul mood. He had taken a holiday from his catering business, leaving his very competent employees deal with the obviously high amount of commands, so that he and C. C. could spend their first Christmas together making new traditions. She had been scared of it, not wanting to be bitter together, exactly, but not trusting anything that came out as sugary sweet. And she missed New York, he knew. At least, the way New York looked and felt at Christmas: the atmosphere, the decorations, the lights, the snow… That was why he had wanted to spend the Christmas season with her, they had new traditions to create (oh, the oxymoron!) and he wanted to… well, not "make her discover the meaning of Christmas", but perhaps discover that there was more to it than just her mother's never-ending dinners, booze, and being bitter together.

He could remember taking her shopping: he had been the overenthusiastic one, but she had soon become quite giddy herself. And a giddy C. C. was absolutely adorable. Which is why he was in such a foul mood. She had always been alone at Christmas, and to have to leave her those last few days before the 24th was killing him. Blasted Ben and his flu! He could still see the unshed tears in her eyes that morning when he had left for work. She would blame it on the hormones, and that much was true, but he also knew that his wife, well C. C. was sometimes scared that he would leave her still. It was something that he was working on. With a sigh, he put his mind back to his work: the sooner he'd finish, the sooner he'd be home to help her decorate the tree.

Damn, but being eight-months pregnant could take its toll on you! C. C. thought as she woke up from a not so restful nap on the couch. She looked outside, and saw that it was already darkening. The door opened, and here he was, her Niles.

As he saw her, hair mussed, and eyes glazed over by remnants of sleepiness, Niles could not help a chuckle. He went over to her, and kissed her softly on the lips.

"Well, witch, shall we start decorating?"