Spoilers: Through Season 2 "In Sickness"

Author's note: I realized the extent of my obsession with the series The Good Wife when, on Mother's Day, I thought, "Oh sad! If Alicia were real, she'd probably be completely alone today!" It would have been funny if it were not so pathetic; however, I did get this story idea out of it!

This is my first piece of fiction, so please be kind. I don't own the characters, etc., but I'm very glad the Kings created them!

Huge thanks to happilyshort and badfluffy for your beta help, encouragement, and friendship! Without you this story would, like so many other ideas, still only be in my head.

Mother's Day

It was Mother's Day, but Alicia sat alone in her too quiet apartment. She tried distracting herself, pretending not to notice. She considered going out but couldn't bear the sight of other families reminding her of what she was missing. Instead, she listened to NPR and made coffee and toast that mostly sat untouched. She reasoned with herself, her mind trying to convince her heart that it was just another day on the calendar, but it wasn't working. Alicia missed her kids.

Zach and Grace had asked if they could stay with Peter for the weekend, and - special day or not - Alicia could not deny them that request. They had each only spoken once with their father in the past four days, and that was a brief phone call. She knew the kids needed this time with him.

Keeping in mind the events of the past week, Alicia convinced herself not to be too disappointed that neither Zach nor Grace seemed to notice it was Mother's Day weekend. They had a lot on their minds already. Alicia blamed herself for that. After all, had she not moved Peter out of the apartment on election night, they would all be home together today, enjoying a family weekend.

Alicia started to change out of her pajamas but decided against it in the end. She was feeling rather blue and concluded that the slouchy look suited her mood better. Grabbing a bottle of wine and her phone, Alicia plopped down on the couch. She curled up in a fetal position to call Owen. "He'll be sympathetic, " she thought. When his voice mail picked up, Alicia hesitated but decided against leaving a message. He was out too. Even Owen probably assumed she was enjoying the day with her kids.

She stared at her phone blankly. "I can't call Will. I won't call Kalinda," Alicia told herself resolutely. With that declaration came the recognition of how isolated her life had become. It was then that she reached for the wine, her most reliable companion in the past couple of years. Draining the bottle over the next couple of hours, Alicia allowed herself to recall some of her favorite Mother's Day memories with her family.

There was the breakfast in bed the kids helped Peter make when Zach was six. Alicia smiled, remembering how horrible the food was-slimy eggs, burned toast. Peter never had been very good in the kitchen, but seeing all three of their beaming faces gave her the necessary courage to clean her plate with rave reviews. (The coffee helped. Peter did, at least, know how to make that well!)

A sip. A swallow. Alicia thought of the time Peter took them all to the lake shore for the day. Four-year-old Grace raced her brother, both of them shrieking with laughter, to see who could bury Peter and Alicia in sand the fastest. As they sat in a family cuddle to watch the sun set that evening, Zach spontaneously looked up from her lap and said, "You're the best mom in the whole world!" Alicia remembered feeling like she might burst at the seams with sheer love.

Another sip, another memory. This time Zach and Grace surprised her with scribbled drawings and toddler-sized handfuls of flowers that looked suspiciously familiar. She smiled then, remembering how much she and Peter had laughed privately when they realized the kids had picked them from a nearby yard.

Still, Alicia had apologized profusely when their grouchy neighbor promptly called her. "Yes, Ruth. I understand how hard you worked to nurture those plants along your driveway. No, my children will not pick your flowers again without asking...and never every last one!"

A sip, a swallow, and some more wallowing. In another memory, Alicia giggled contentedly as Peter grabbed her from behind in the kitchen and twisted her in his arms. "Happy Mother's Day, Babe," he said before kissing her softly. Alicia draped her arms across his shoulders, and - holding her closely - Peter began to slow dance with her to music only he heard.

Grace ran in then and wanted to dance with her daddy too. Alicia stepped aside, allowing the little girl to take her place. She watched in wonder as Peter gently twirled "Gracie" around the kitchen, her small bare feet resting on top of his shoes. The delight they took in each other was palpable, and it made Alicia's heart hurt with pride and tenderness.

One lone tear escaped Alicia's eyes as she breathed in deeply. A final sip. An empty bottle. Alicia's stroll through happier times was taking its toll on her, but she couldn't ignore the memories that came to her mind, unbidden, like movie clips playing behind her closed eyelids.

As emotionally drained as she felt, she remembered one other time when she had felt sapped of her last ounce of strength. Alicia set down her empty glass, wiping away tears as she relived the cherished - but now painful - memory.

Zach was almost a year old. Peter and Alicia were still amazed by the demands this "new baby" gig made on every moment of their time. It was a million times harder than either of them had ever expected, and they were both completely wiped out.

Peter had taken Zach to Jackie's house for the evening, had food delivered, and then brought Alicia blindfolded into the bathroom that he had decorated for her first Mother's Day. He thought of everything - tea light candles, flowers in vases, a jacuzzi tub full of inviting bubbles, soft music, and sparkling cider in champagne flutes because she was still nursing Zach.

When she saw what Peter had done, Alicia wept from exhaustion and happiness at the time. Now she wept from exhaustion and sadness, remembering how close they had once been. Peter had climbed into the tub behind her, massaging her neck and shoulders gently before wrapping her in his arms. Alicia remembered just lying back on his chest in the warm water, feeling their breathing begin to match, and relaxing there together until the water turned cold and their skin got wrinkly. She remembered wishing at the time that the peaceful, cherished closeness of that moment would never end.

Suddenly, the doorbell rang out of the blue, and Alicia was jolted back to the present. She quickly got her bearings and made her way to the door, using the back of her hand to wipe at the tear streaks and her runny nose before opening it.

Confusion and panic washed over Alicia's face as she saw Peter standing there with both kids' overnight bags - but no kids in sight. "Peter? What are you doing here? Where are Zach and Grace? Are they alright?" Aware of her obvious concern, Peter tried to reassure her. "Don't worry. The kids are fine, Alicia." She visibly relaxed some then, leaning her back against the door frame. "They're getting some things out of the car. They'll be up in a minute, but I wanted a moment alone with you first."

Alicia stiffened again as she heard this, wariness clouding her expression. It physically hurt Peter to see her react to him this way. He could tell that she had been crying, but he saw a curtain fall over her eyes just then and knew she had no intention of giving him access.

He stepped past her and into the entry way just far enough to set the bags down. Then he leaned against the opposite side of the door frame, saying, "Listen. The kids and I had a long talk last night. In the process, we decided that you should get to spend time with them today. Zach and Grace wanted to do something special for you, so we went shopping and put some things together for you."

"Peter, I..." Alicia began before she even knew what she wanted to say. She finally settled on, "They wanted to see you so badly on Friday. Are you sure?"

Peter waved his hand dismissively. "I had them Friday night and all day yesterday. It was good for us. We needed to talk, but this is right. They should be with you on Mother's Day. Besides," Peter stated as he pulled a navy blue envelope from his coat pocket and directed it towards her, "I wanted to give you this."

Alicia crossed her arms, unreceptive. "Peter, I can't..."

"Alicia, please. I got this for you a couple of months ago. I met this really great photographer at one of the campaign events. We got to talking, and it made me realize how long it had been since we had a family portrait taken."

Alicia shifted, uncomfortably, from one foot to the other, avoiding Peter's eyes by staring at the woven texture of the envelope in his hand. He continued, "I was thinking it would be a good time, after the election, to get a new portrait. You know...new season, new direction...to celebrate our transition as a family out of a difficult period and into a new phase together."

The reality of their current situation made his words sound ironic to both their ears, and Peter shrugged slightly as Alicia finally met his eyes. "Anyway, I intended all along to give it to you today." Even though Peter didn't say "before you kicked me out," the phrase dangled there between them. "I still want you to have it...use it with the kids. Enjoy it, because it still applies." He thought, but didn't say, "Just not in the way that I had hoped."

Alicia looked hesitant, but not unmoved. "Please?" Peter asked. The sadness on his face mirroring Alicia's. Then, quietly, he added, "All I ask is that I get some of the kids to put in my office and the apartment."

"Okay," Alicia said after a pregnant pause. "I'll make sure you get some. It's a nice idea, Peter." As she took the envelope from him, Peter decided to take another chance. He said, "Alicia, regardless of the issues between us, you deserve a wonderful Mother's Day. You are a fantastic mom. No matter what happens going forward, you will always be the mother of our children. I wouldn't ever change that even if I could. I will always love you, and be grateful to you, for that."

As he spoke, Alicia's emotional resolve started to crumble, making cracks in the wall she routinely put up between herself and Peter now. Seeing this, his determination grew. "I know you don't feel like you can trust me, and - I admit - with good reason. I know this doesn't change anything. I hope you believe me, though, when I say I am so proud of you and the way you are with our kids." Catching her eyes, he said, "Zach and Grace are truly fortunate to have you for their mom, Alicia." Then, with added emphasis, he said, "Thank you for everything you have done...especially these past couple of years."

Tears clouded Alicia's eyes. Peter caught her off guard with these words that she knew, in her core, he meant. Seeing her facade give way, Peter stepped forward and gently put his hands on either side of Alicia's face, kissing her forehead without giving her time to object.

Alicia was undone. She closed her eyes as tears of sadness and gratitude mingled and streaked down her cheeks. Peter's touch was soft and tender...his lips staying on her skin for a few beats longer than seemed natural, because he didn't want the moment to end. Alicia slowly reached for his wrists and squeezed them, leaning into his touch. A mix of emotions enveloped them both, and her, "Thank you, Peter," came out quietly, sounding broken and raspy.

He drew Alicia into his arms then, and she returned his embrace, sharing the burden of sadness and regret they both felt for all that they sensed now would no longer be between them.

Just then, the elevator door chimed. Alicia pulled away quickly, a practiced smile in place, ready to greet her kids. They stumbled out of the elevator, laughing together. Zach held a cake and take-out bag from one of Alicia's preferred restaurants. Grace had a bottle of Alicia's favorite wine and some flowers.

"Hey!" Alicia said, stepping into the hallway to greet each one with a kiss before they disappeared into the apartment to unload their goodies. If they saw the glisten in her eyes, they pretended not to notice. "Happy Mother's Day, Mom," they each answered, followed by, "Thanks, Dad." Peter ruffled Zach's hair and patted Grace's back as they passed him in the doorway. He called after them, "You're welcome. Love you guys. Have a good week, and I'll see you next weekend."

Alicia smiled as she walked back to where Peter was standing. It was a smile lined with sadness, but he realized it was the first honest smile she'd given him in months. That was worth more than the words themselves, but Peter got a satisfied expression when Alicia said, "Thank you, Peter. This means a lot to me." His voice cracked as he responded, "Happy Mother's Day, Babe."

He squeezed her shoulder and walked towards the elevator. As Alicia closed the apartment door behind her, Peter listened wistfully to the happy, though muffled, chatter of those he loved. Then he stepped into the elevator and waited for the doors to box him in, alone, with his thoughts.