Bass stares out of the window into the darkness of the night. Snow is softly finding its way down from the sky. It's cold in the living room around him, but he doesn't feel it. Or maybe he does, but a part of him welcomes it. He just stands there and stares without truly seeing, while the night outside of the window decorated with ice flowers moves on.

Memories of Independence Hall and him standing in front of the window of his former office countless times with a glass of whiskey in his hand, torture him before they disappear again like a candle that has been blown out.

It's more quiet and soft around him than it has been in a very long time and it remembers him of home. It remembers him of his mother who knew how to fill their house with Christmas, warmth and her love. It makes him remember the gentle eyes of his dad and the firm shake of his hand when he had wished him a Merry Christmas. It makes him remember the soft giggles and young innocent smiles on the faces of his sisters and knowing he would catch a beer with Miles later when life had been so young and not forever changed by loss and a blackout that had shaken what was left of his life to its core.

When Charlie wakes up, Bass is not lying next to her. It's still dark outside. Even now it's dark, Charlie can see and feel the snow as pale light that covers the world outside and streams through the windows. The cold nightly air moves around her when she leaves their bed behind. Her bare feet touch the wooden floor beneath her.

She finds him standing in front of one of the big living room windows. He's staring and lost in his own thoughts. She soaks up his tall body, hardened through time and battles, many of which they have fought together. His tall silhouette standing in front of the living room window feels strangely safe.

She has found more inside of him than she ever thought was possible. And that, that has saved her from the path she had been on after the Tower and then again, after what she had to do to save her life in Austin one day. Being able to see that, to see all of the man Bass is, had brought her back to herself and everything she believes is true in life.

Charlie walks over to him. She stops right behind him. She wraps her arms around him, her hand finding its way to his chest while her head rests against his back. She knows. She knows how much this time of the year can hurt. She knows the war behind them and a blackout world have left their scars inside of him, inside of her, inside of them both.

It's what they hold on together, it's what makes them work.

Snow is softly falling. Bass tries to swallow all of his tension away. Her being here and giving a shit, finding him, like she always does, finally starts to break through his endless cold misery inside of him. Bass soaks up the way she feels against his body. The palm of her warm hand is resting on his wide chest. Snow is softly falling outside. The world around them is quiet.

'Come back to bed, Bass.' Her voice is soft in the gentle darkness of a snowy night. There is a gentle strength in her voice she did not know she had in herself.

He looks back, without meeting her eyes. She knows he will take her to bed and wrap her in his arms. But right now, they just stand there, while she feels safe close to the shadow of the wall that are his wide shoulders, shoulders she knows so well, soaking up the soft pace of time and this winter night while snow finds its path from the sky to their world.

Bass moves his hand over her hand on his chest. Knowing she is here, all of her, after everything they have been through, knowing she lets him love her, accepting the man he is, almost brings him through his knees. But then again, her being here the way she is now, and she always is and always has been from the very first day she walked into his life, knowing she won't walk away from him, breaks and heals him at the same time. Because he knows the truth. He will go to hell and back for her. And she, Charlie Matheson, will fight for him and their life together in the same way she fights for everything she keeps locked and safe inside her heart. He knows he will take her to their bed to wrap her in his arms and keep her warm and close. But right now, they just stand there, soaking up the silence and the snow, while they watch the night sky and the snow falling down together.

Merry Christmas to all of you, I am wishing a lot of love, kindness, inspiration, friendship and love for all of you. Thank you for being there, for reading, for loving stories, for loving fanfiction, for your support and kindness, kudo's and messages. Love and gratitude for all of you out there, Love