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Portrait of a Family: A New Addition

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He made his way through the door and rubbed his fingers against his forehead as he put his keys in his pocket. He surveyed the house and found it unusually quiet. Typically his mother would be watching one of her shows at this point in the day, but all he heard was silence. He saw Fiona’s car parked out on the street and figured she was somewhere in the house.

As he got a glass of iced tea from the fridge, he sighed to himself. It was an unusually long day, and added to it was a briefing with Raines he would have rather not had. It was long and boring, and he figured it must be the exhaustion and the recent lull in CIA briefings and missions he had for the past couple weeks. He knew it wasn’t Raines’s fault, but he was glad to at least be out of that meeting, even though he did have to be at his mother’s house and have dinner with Nate and Ruth tonight.

He gulped his tea down and set it down on the counter as he heard a rustling noise come from the living room. Moving quietly through the kitchen to the living room, he stopped at the sight before him, smiling briefly to himself before straightening up and heading for the couch.

She reclined in the edge of the sofa at Madeline’s house. A small blanket covered her upper body and she felt like a personal heater. It was mid June, which meant outside was hot and humid as usual. Luckily Madeline’s house had a working air conditioner, so the heat wasn’t making her sweat. Her eyes were closed, but she was well aware of her surroundings. Her bare feet were up and resting against the coffee table, her legs crossed below her knees. She felt the couch dip and heard someone sit down beside her and she opened one eye, smiling softly as she found her suspicions confirmed.

He leaned in close and kissed her softly as he rested one of his hands on top of hers, which rested underneath the blanket.

“Hi,” he whispered as he made himself comfortable on the cushions.

“Hi,” she told him without opening her eyes. “Where were you?”

“A briefing with Raines. Sam dropped me off, said he needed to see the lady friend before he came back here for dinner,” he told her, looking at his watch, noting it was almost five pm.

“Ah,” Fiona said, nodding slightly. “Raines is here?”

“No, it was a conference call thing with the computers. Where’s my mom?” he asked, noting her absence.

“She had to run to the store. Apparently there was a miscommunication and she needs to pick up the stuff for dinner. Plus, she was running low on yogurt,” Fiona told him.

“You need anything?” he asked.

“A glass of water, please,” she told him as she opened her eyes slowly, blinking up at him as he moved off the couch.

“All right,” he nodded, moving to his mother’s kitchen and getting her a glass of water, while he refilled his iced tea.

As he went to the kitchen, his mother came back from the store and had a bag of groceries in her hands as she walked through the door, spotting her son in the kitchen.

“A little help here, Michael,” Madeline cried out.

“Ma,” Michael whispered, moving a finger to his lips in a shushing motion.

Madeline looked at the living room and saw Fiona on the couch.

“Oh, sorry,” she whispered to the younger woman as she moved to the kitchen.

Fiona waved her off, but didn’t close her eyes again. She noticed Michael at her side and he handed her the water as he set his iced tea down on a coaster by her feet.

“She awake?” he asked quietly.

Fiona peered down at the little body that was curled up against her chest, the little head resting over her heart and shook her head at Michael. She took a greedy drink of her water as she watched him leave to head out the front door.

“I’ll be back after I help Ma with the groceries,” he told her as she nodded.

He brought all the groceries in with one trip and placed the bags on the counter for his mother.

“Are you sure you’re up to having all of us over for dinner?” Michael asked, watching her unload the bags of groceries.

“I’ll be fine, plus Sam is cooking, not me. You will all be safe from my hazardous meals. He should be here within the hour, at least that’s what he told me when he called,” Madeline said as she looked at the clock. “So should your brother, Ruth, and Charlie, for that matter.”

“I’m going to go check in with Fi now,” Michael said as he moved to the living room.

His mother nodded as she set boxes of food in the pantry.

Michael made his way back into the living room and sat at Fiona’s side again, looping an arm around her as she moved her body from the edge of the couch to his side and leaned against his chest.

“Sam is going to be here soon to start dinner. And my brother is going to be right behind him,” Michael said as his fingers drew patterns on her arm.

Fiona sighed softly.

“We can go into the bedroom, if you want to sleep some more,” he told her.

“No, we’re okay. She’s going to be up soon anyways,” she said as he watched him look down at the bundle that rested against her chest.

His arm that wasn’t wrapped around her, moved under the blanket that rested on top of Fiona. He smiled softly as his finger rubbed against the baby’s soft arm and she opened her eyes, looking grumpily around as her peaceful slumber had been violated. Michael laughed quietly to himself and Fiona smiled softly at the scene before her.

Michael moved his finger out of the blanket and tucked the baby back in the blanket, keeping her nestled against Fiona’s chest and the baby’s eyes closed once again.

“Michael, she is two weeks old, be nice to your daughter,” Madeline told him as she watched the scene play out before her.

Michael looked back at his mother and sighed.

“I had to get her back for all those times she kicked and elbowed me,” he joked as his mother shook her head. He smiled to himself as he watched her reaction.

His mother made her way back into the kitchen, forgetting what she had come to ask her son to do, since she had witnessed him playing with his daughter.

He turned back to Fiona as he heard quiet noises coming from his side. He noticed the baby was up again, her clear blue eyes being rubbed by her tiny fists as she moved around under the blanket. Fiona moved the blanket off and Michael took the baby in his arms.

The baby stared up at him with glassy eyes and he smirked.

“It looks like she’s had one too many mojitos,” he told Fiona.

Fiona leaned against his shoulder and sighed.

“She can tell its you, you know. Even through that glassy, fuzzy look,” she told him. “You just have to put your face really close, even though she can’t focus yet.”

She leaned into the baby’s small body and gently kissed the baby’s forehead.

“She needs a diaper change,” she told him as the baby leaned against her father’s chest, gripping a piece of his shirt with her baby firm grasp. He nodded and stood up slowly, moving towards his old room in the back of his mother’s house.

Fiona slowly sat up on the couch as Madeline came into the room and sat in one of the chairs that were parallel to the couch. She moved the blanket to her waist, knowing the baby would come back from the diaper change and need a feeding, before she would go back to sleep again.

“How are you doing with this whole baby thing?” Madeline asked as she watched Fiona play with the ends of the blanket.

Fiona looked up at the older woman and smiled while she ran a hand through her hair.

“It’s actually been a nice change, despite the lack of sleep and not getting things done around the loft. She’s quite the night owl, so it’s been quite the transition for us. But Michael has actually embraced fatherhood really well. He’s much more adapt at fatherhood than he was with the whole transition of when he asked me to move in almost two years ago,” Fiona smiled.

Madeline nodded and watched as Fiona’s face grew wistful, and she knew the younger woman was lacking sleep. Which made her feel bad for shouting to Michael for help with the groceries.

“We’re still bickering about little things, but we make it work. I’m now his second priority, but I don’t mind when he puts her ahead of me. Better than the job, at least,” Fiona shrugged.

“Well, that’s Michael for you. I know I’ve said this before, but I’m glad you two got your heads out of your asses and did something like make me an adorable grandbaby,” Madeline smiled as Michael came back into the room. “Now, are you going to finally reveal her name tonight? I’d like to stop calling her baby whenever I see her.”

“You’ve only seen her twice, Ma,” Michael pointed out as he came back to the living room. He handed his mother the baby when she stuck her arms out and waited for him to acknowledge her request. He made sure the baby was supported before he moved to the couch and sat down next to Fiona.

“But yes, we have finally agreed on a name, and she’s officially a member of this family,” Fiona smiled, watching as the baby looked at Madeline the same way she did at everyone else, glassy and unfocused.

Madeline set the baby in her lap, watching as the baby frowned. The purple sleeper had built in mittens to help keep her new fingernails from hurting her skin if she rubbed her face. Madeline could see the fingers flexing as the baby moved her arms jerkily. The baby’s eyes drooped and Madeline grinned, fingering the baby’s soft skin on her cheek and she watched as her head turned towards the finger.

Madeline held the baby up to her face and peppered the baby’s cheek with kisses. The baby let out a squeak and protested at all the attention. Madeline then changed the baby’s position, cradling her in her arms. Madeline noticed with a smile on her lips that the baby was currently giving her a look she inherited from her father. Unfortunately the baby didn’t like that position either and arched against her grandmother, her arms out above her head like she was about to sky dive.

Michael stood and moved to his mother’s side before the baby could let out a wail. She rooted around Michael’s shirt while throwing a hand up in the air as she arched back against her father’s arms.

The slight drool that accumulated on Michael’s shirt freaked him out slightly, but he didn’t let anyone in on it. Instead he calmly passed the baby over to Fiona as he sat back down on the couch. He helped Fiona adjust the blanket around their child as Fiona began to feed her in the middle of his mother’s living room. Michael looked to his mother, but she was watching with amusement.

“Its nothing I haven’t seen before, Michael,” she shook her head as the front door opened and they all turned to see Sam walking through the door.

“Hey, Mikey, Fi, Maddie, and my little sugarplum,” Sam greeted as he walked straight for the fridge, intent on getting a beer.

“Sam, you will not refer to my child as one of the nicknames of your lady friends,” Fiona told him as he made his way back to the living room.

“Well, if you two had just decided on a name in the hospital, I wouldn’t have to test out all these nicknames,” Sam said, pointing a beer at Fiona.

Michael and Fiona shared a look, and she nodded subtly at him.

“Her name is Molly,” Michael told his mother and his best friend.

They had debated from the moment she was born, what to name her. They tossed around the name of Claire, in honor of her aunt, but they both decided to not burden their child with the memory of a ghost. Plus, he saw Fiona tear up at the mention of her sister’s name, and he would rather give his daughter a fresh start. They both decided however, on giving their child an Irish name, since that is where their story began.

“Molly Westen,” Madeline said aloud, “I love it.”

“Great choice, Mikey. I would have gone with something like Samantha, but hey, what the hell, she’s your kid,” Sam said as he salute Michael and Fiona with his beer.

Michael shook his head and sighed at Sam, knowing full well they would never name their kids after him. Since Samantha was a former-fiancée of Michael, and Fiona would rather forget that small part of history ever happened.

Molly was finished and Fiona handed her to Michael to hold while she readjusted herself underneath the blanket. She loved Sam like a brother, but he did not need or want to see anything that didn’t need to be shown. Although he had made references to her chest getting bigger when she was pregnant, it was always in jest when she was in a grumpy mood back then. Luckily she was wearing a summer dress that was easily adjustable, so she wouldn’t flash anyone anything they didn’t need to see.

As soon as she put everything back in order, she handed the blanket over to Michael and he put it on his shoulders, patting his daughter’s back, attempting to get any air bubbles she may have swallowed out as a burp rather than deal with spit up later.

“She’s gotten big,” Sam said as he looked over at the baby with fascination.

“Seven pounds, ten ounces,” Fiona recalled, since she and Molly had an appointment earlier this afternoon, when Michael and Sam were finishing up a job.

“Ten ounces in two weeks, what have you been feeding the little monster?” Sam teased.

Fiona shook her head and smiled as she heard a soft baby burp come from her right side on the couch. She looked over to Sam and noticed he was eyeing the baby held in Michael’s arms.

“You want to hold her, Sam?” Michael asked as he noticed the same thing as Fiona.

“Oh, only if you’re tired of holding her,” he said casually. His casual way of speaking was countered by the way he instantly stood up and held out his hands as soon as he reached Michael.

Fiona leaned her head tiredly against Michael’s shoulder and watched as Sam carefully sat back down at his chair. He placed Molly in his lap like Madeline had earlier and examined the baby.

Sam watched as Molly’s crystal blue eyes looked up in fascination at him, blinking a couple times before closing her eyes, not able to keep them open after having just been fed.

“I’m hurt she’s not wearing what I picked out,” Sam said teasingly as he looked between Michael and Fiona.

“I would have needed to put her mittens on, and she doesn’t like them,” Fiona said as she leaned into Michael as she tried to fight off her own sleepiness.

“You could always file her nails, clip them,” Sam said.

“When exactly should I have done that? Between the feeding and the laundry and the changing diapers?” Fiona asked.

“Well I’ve never had one of these things before. I’m new at this, sorry, Fi,” Sam said as he looked down and touched the wispy soft hair on Molly’s head.

“Its okay, Sam. I’m just tired,” Fiona apologised in her own way.

“Well, Mikey’s back from his day jobs and I hear he has some time off. I promise I’ll take easy jobs until you come back,” Sam nodded.

Fiona gave him a smile of thanks and her eyes slowly closed.

“You left her alone with the baby?” Madeline scoffed at her son quietly.

“Its not like I was off in some other country, Ma. It was just a job with Pearce and then lookout duty with Sam this morning,” Michael told her.

“Honestly, Michael,” Madeline said as she shook her head at her son.

“I just can’t stop working, Ma. I need to be in, especially with her,” Michael said as he nodded to Molly sleeping on Sam’s lap.

“Fine,” Madeline said, taking a deep breath. She would never understand how Fiona lived with her son, god help them.

Sam ignored the conversation going on between mother and son and carefully studied the baby before him. She definitely had Fiona’s spunk when she cried, which wasn’t often, that he knew of. But then again, he hadn’t been around the new family lately, letting them have their alone and adjustment time. But she looked for the most part like her father. Save for maybe the little nose and ears, which were all her mother's. He fingered the baby’s soft cheek and smiled to himself as the baby’s head turned in her sleep towards his fingers, making a sucking motion with her lips. He turned to see Fiona watching him, and he wondered briefly why she was up, since she had just been asleep a few minutes ago. Just as he was about to ask her what she was doing, he turned to find the baby watching him again, looking like she was about ready to cry.

“Did you rub your finger against her cheek?” Fiona asked quietly as she slowly moved up from Michael’s side and made her way to Sam’s side.

“Yeah, why?” he asked.

“When she’s asleep, she’s not too fond of it,” Fiona shrugged.

The baby heard her mother's voice and knew enough to recognise she was not in her arms so she began to arch against Sam’s legs and jerk her legs and arms. She looked over and saw the baby watching her with wide eyes, the crystal blue eyes moved around her general form. Fiona took her from Sam before she could protest any further and she moved a finger up to Molly’s. She watched as the baby took it and gripped it firmly, leaning in to give her small fingers a kiss as she closed her eyes once more.

Fiona moved back to the couch and handed the baby over to Michael. He shifted her in his arms and the baby snuggled into his shirt.

Sam looked at the time and nodded to Maddie.

“I guess I should be getting ready to make dinner?” he asked as he drained his beer. “Since Mikey is busy with the kid, and Fi will claim its not good for her to stand for long periods of time, it looks like you’re the sous-chef, Maddie.”

“Great, Sam,” Madeline said as she stood up, following Sam into the kitchen and leaving the three others alone.

“My brother is going to come through that door any minute. Which means Charlie is going to come through at any minute,” Michael said as he looked towards Fiona.

“Which means we should probably let her sleep in your old bedroom, since Charlie is like a loud circus,” Fiona added.

Michael nodded.

“You want me to do it or do you?” he asked.

“I’ll come with you,” she said, standing up slowly from the couch. She followed Michael as he led the way to his bedroom down the hallway, nodding to his mother and Sam in the kitchen as they walked past.

As soon as Fiona and Michael entered the room, Fiona made her way to the bed. It was nice and comfortable, and the sheets were freshly laundered. She leaned in to smell them as Michael put the baby’s car seat on the bed, and she landed in the pillows, sighing softly. She smiled and shook her head against the pillows as Molly’s eyes opened up, looking around and squawking in protest of the missing heat. Michael tried to wrap her blanket around her in the seat, but she was not having any of it. So, he took her out and moved her in his arms, rocking her back and forth slowly as she moved in towards his chest.

“Hmm, daddy’s girl already,” Fiona sighed as Michael put the car seat on the floor again.

“Raines gave me something today,” Michael said, taking papers out of the bag that was on the floor near the diaper bag. He gave her the stack and she placed them on the bed next to her, flipping through them. She noticed they were all Molly’s official papers, her birth certificate, medical records, and a social security number, along with a new passport. As she flipped the papers more, she saw her name on the records, also noticing she now had a social security card and medical records. As she looked up at him, he presented her with a US passport that denoted her citizenship.

“How?” she asked, putting all the papers back in order and looking inside her new passport at her new citizenship. “I thought I had to have a green card and then be here, you know, legally.”

“Technically you do, for five years. Unless of course we got married, then it would be three. But I gave Raines an ultimatum. He wanted to keep Molly on the down low, in case any of our enemies got wind of our new situation, and I told him you were to be included in that package. So, he had them delivered today,” Michael shrugged, noticing Molly had finally gone to sleep again.

“I guess working for the government does have its perks,” she said, watching as he took back her passport and all the papers, placing them on the nightstand beside him.

He sat down on the bed and Fiona patted the pillow next to her head.

“So Raines likes me now?” Fiona asked.

“He likes your style and I think Pearce put in a good word for you,” Michael told her as leaned his head against the headboard.

“Pearce?” Fiona said, her eyebrows rising in surprise.

“She likes you,” Michael shrugged a shoulder.

Fiona nodded slightly and looked at him as he looked down at the baby sleeping comfortably against his chest.

“We’re supposed to rest when she does,” she pointed out through a yawn. “I’ve been up since four o’clock this morning, you’ve been up since six. Aren’t you tired?”

“But Nate, Ruth, and Charlie are about to come in,” Michael said.

“Fine, give her to me and I’ll take a nap with her, and you can entertain your family,” she hid a smirk as he shuffled down to her level.

“They’re your family now too,” Michael pointed out as he moved Molly from his chest to rest on her back between them in the bed.

Fiona was going to point out that technically they were not married, they only had a kid and three years together. But she relented that she was more of a daughter-in-law than Ruth had been, and that woman was married into the family. And she was pretty sure Madeline liked her a lot better than Ruth. But Fiona held her tongue as she watched Michael rest along his side of the bed.

Molly started to open her eyes; feeling the loss of the extra body heat again and he moved his hand over her belly, rubbing it gently as Fiona kissed the wispy chestnut hair of their child. Molly instantly calmed as she was reassured by both of their presence and they looked at each other triumphantly. Michael’s hand still covered Molly’s small form, and Fiona brought her hand to rest over Michael’s. She smiled at him briefly and her eyes slipped closed, her breathing evened out and she let out a content sigh.

He watched over his sleeping family and smiled to himself. He placed a blanket that sat at the end of the bed over Fiona’s form and tucked it in close to her body. But before he could do any deep thinking, he let out a long yawn and his eyes slipped shut on their own accord. The last thing he remembered was Molly’s covered hand gently twitching against his as she moved in her sleep.
--
The other half of the Westen’s made their way into Madeline’s house in a whirlwind. It was Charlie’s second birthday, and he wanted Uncle Sam to cook his favorite meal, spaghetti and meatballs with a chocolate cake for dessert. Hence the reason everyone gathered at Madeline’s for dinner tonight.

Madeline smiled down at her grandson and wished him a happy birthday.

“Baby?” he asked, looking around the kitchen.

Madeline looked to Nate and smiled.

“Its all he would talk about on the way over, Mom,” Nate shrugged. “I saw Fiona’s car, but I don’t see them.”

“That’s because the baby just went to sleep again. The last we saw, they went into Michael’s old room, about ten minutes ago,” Madeline said, pointing to the hallway.

“Baby?” Charlie asked, looking to where Maddie pointed.

“Yeah, Charlie. But baby is sleeping, shh,” Nate said as Ruth walked into the kitchen.

“Like Mama?” Charlie asked.

Nate watched his mother’s and Sam’s eyebrows subtly rise, but they went no further with Charlie’s innocent comment.

“Yes, like Mommy does in the afternoons. So, we need to be extra quiet,” Nate said, raising a finger to his lips, his son copying him.

“I see baby?” Charlie asked as he began to toddle down the hallway.

“Hey, Charlie,” Nate said, taking the boy up into his arms. “We’re going to peek, but you can’t say anything, okay?”

The little boy nodded and placed his hands over his mouth as he looked at his father, and they made their way down the hall to the closed bedroom door.

Madeline and Sam shared a look, wondering what the comment was about with Ruth. They weren’t too fond of the woman, even all these years later, but they put up with her as best as they could.

“He’s been a little love struck with the baby,” Ruth said to Madeline and Sam as she walked into the kitchen. “He thinks she’s his birthday present.”

Madeline smiled and Sam shook his head laughing.

“Oh, be sure to tell Mike and Fi that one,” Sam said as Madeline passed him a beer, holding out a bottle of water for Ruth, knowing the woman hated everything else to drink.

Charlie and Nate came back down the hallway a minute later and Charlie smiled at the adults.

“All sleep,” he announced as he shimmied down from his father’s grasp and onto the floor.

The adults smiled and nodded. Madeline passed him a sippy cup of water and he took it into the living room as he got settled with his toys.

“So, you sure they’ve only been asleep for like ten minutes, Ma?” Nate asked.

“Yes, why?” Madeline asked as she turned towards Nate.

“Well, they were all kind of dead to the world. Mike didn’t even wake up and do that super spy thing he does. And Fiona, well, I can understand that she doesn’t wake up and hold a gun to my face,” Nate shrugged.

“Fiona and the baby have been here since after their appointment this afternoon, she and the baby have been sleeping on and off. I’m sure Michael doesn’t get a lot of sleep, between his job and the baby,” Madeline pointed out.

“He was running on fumes today,” Sam agreed as he started to make the sauce for the spaghetti. “He just finished a job with Pearce and I took him with me for some recon. I would have skipped his help, but Jesse is off in incommunicado land and Fi’s not up for working yet.”

“Fine, fine. I’ll let him slide tonight,” Nate said. “Did you guys know Fiona is now a citizen?”

Sam and Madeline looked at each other and then back to Nate.

“An Irish citizen? Of course,” Sam said.

“When we were looking at the baby, I saw a bunch of papers and a passport. I took a look inside and saw Fiona’s picture and her information,” Nate said.

Sam whistled and both Nate and Madeline looked to him.

“He must have had Raines approve of it, taking it all the way to the Director of Central Intelligence,” Sam said. “I can’t see Agent Pearce agreeing to that, not after everything that went down last year.”

“Well, I guess we can welcome her into the family officially now, since they’re never going to get married,” Madeline said.

“Hey, we never thought they were going to have a kid, heck we never thought they’d officially be together. But look at what’s happened in the last three years. They made it official, moved in together, had a baby, and now Michael’s using his government connections to keep Fiona here,” Sam said.

“Sam’s right, Ma. I mean sure the baby was a big surprise to all of us, but its not like you and I weren't waiting for it to happen. Charlie wanted a cousin, you wanted some grandkids, we all got what we wanted,” Nate said.

“Go get yourself something to drink and go play with your son, but try to keep it down,” Madeline said as she watched her son go for the other beer in the fridge.

About fifteen minutes later, Sam was just starting on the meatballs when Fiona made an appearance.

“Hey sister, good sleep?” he asked as she made her way to the kitchen.

She knotted her hair into a bun at her neck and secured it, nodding to Sam.

“Did Nate and Charlie come into our room?” she asked as he stirred the sauce.

“Guess they weren’t so ninja after all? Where are Mikey and the little monster?” Sam asked.

“Sleeping,” she shrugged. “I’m going to get my water, I’ll be back to help you, since it looks like you’re down an assistant.”

Sam nodded and watched her move slowly to the living room.

“Aun’ Fi,” Charlie greeted as soon as he saw her.

“Hi, Charlie,” she said, moving down to ground level as he came and gave her a hug.

“Baby?” he said, feeling Fiona’s stomach. She cringed slightly as he put a bit too much pressure on her stomach, but held a smile on her face.

“No, the baby is sleeping, you saw her just a bit ago. Remember?” she asked Charlie as she looked at Nate, smiling as his ears turned red.

“Sorry, Fiona. He really wanted to see the baby,” Nate shrugged.

“It’s okay,” she shrugged, moving to the table and pulling herself up slowly. “I’m just here for my water. Sam’s down an assistant and needs a little backup.”

Nate nodded and felt a little sorry, Ruth had wanted to talk to his mother and try to convince her to quit smoking, yet again. They were currently talking outside in the front yard. Charlie waved his goodbye at his aunt as she made her way back to the kitchen.

“You want to sit or something?” Sam asked as he watched her drain her water cup, and refill it again.

“I’m okay for now, Sam,” she shook her head, leaning against the countertop. “Thanks though.”

“So, my American sister. How does it feel?” Sam asked, watching her whip her head around.

“How did you? Nate,” she deduced.

“He snooped, I don’t think he can help himself,” Sam shrugged.

“I’m still Irish, you know. I can just go to the hospital and other stuff legally, sign Molly up for school with Michael, when she finally gets to that age,” Fiona shrugged. “Its more for paperwork than anything else.”

A few minutes later, Fiona was wrangled into helping him undo the boxes of spaghetti noodles when she felt a familiar presence behind her.

“Hi,” she smiled, turning towards the hallway.

“Hey,” Michael greeted her, his voice deep and tinged with sleep. He carried Molly in his arms as the baby cuddled his body, her head resting on his heart, turning in towards his neck as she blinked sleepily.

“That wasn’t a very long nap,” Fiona noted that the baby had only been asleep for 35 minutes.

She moved away from the kitchen area and came to the hallway entrance, rubbing Molly’s back in slow circular motions and talking to her. The baby responded and moved her head around, her eyes searching for the familiar voice.

Michael and Sam shared a look and Sam smiled at the two over Fiona’s head and Michael turned back to Fiona.

“She’s freshly diapered, freshly napped, and looks like she’s ready to join the party now,” he said as he watched her take notice of the outfit he had placed her in.

It was a newborn footie pajama set, with a little cartoon monsters printed as the design. It was the pajamas Sam had given them when they had come back from the hospital. It was the ones he was complaining about earlier, that he had never seen her in. Michael rectified that just now, and it looked like he had even taken the time to clip Molly's nails, since the mittens never stayed on for long. She looked back to Sam and he shrugged innocently. She shook her head, knowing that the printed design on Molly's pajamas was his affectionate term for his favorite “niece”.

“She’s ready to party, all right,” Fiona shook her head, moving back to dump the pasta in the boiling water, while hitting Sam with the empty boxes.

“Hey, sister. You know you love it,” he smiled.

She shook her head.

“Your brother’s here, he’s in playing with Charlie,” Fiona told Michael.

Michael nodded and turned to go to the living room where his brother and Charlie waited.

“Hey, bro,” Nate greeted. “Good nap?”

Michael smiled patiently at his brother and refused to answer as he sat down on the couch. Charlie immediately sat next to him, looking over his uncle to see the baby.

“Baby?” Charlie asked.

“Uh, yeah, this is baby Molly,” Michael said, watching his brother’s reaction.

“You finally named the kid? Wow, I figured it would take at least another month. Nice name, bro,” Nate teased as he moved to sit beside Charlie.

“Me hold baby?” Charlie asked as he held out his hands.

“Uh,” Michael said, looking to Nate for help.

“Just let me help, bro. He’s practiced this for months,” Nate said, taking Charlie’s hands and making them steady enough to hold the baby.

“Now look, Uncle Mike is going to put the baby in your hands. Just hold really still and talk to her, okay?” Nate asked, watching as Charlie nodded.

Michael carefully placed the baby into Charlie’s outstretched arms, making sure Molly’s neck was supported. Charlie beamed up at Michael and as soon as the transfer was complete. Madeline and Ruth came back from the front yard, and took in the scene before them.

Madeline quickly got her camera, while Sam and Fiona briefly made an appearance to see what the commotion was about. Sam nudged Fiona’s arm and they both looked at how focused Michael was with Molly in Charlie’s lap, ready to pick her up at any given moment. But the baby stared up at the ceiling, as Charlie looked down at her.

“Look,” Charlie squeaked as the camera caught the grin. “I big!”

Michael smiled and watched as Molly quickly turned from happy to grumpy.

“Oh no,” Charlie said as she started to cry.

Michael took her back from the little boy, rubbing her back in a soothing motion as she gnawed on her fingers. He realised she was probably hungry, since she didn’t stay up long unless it was for hunger, or playtime at two in the morning, and moved to Fiona’s side, transferring the baby between them.

She placed a hand on his chest and moved back to the bedroom to feed the baby, putting Michael in charge of helping Sam.

Michael and Sam made their way back into the kitchen, leaving Madeline, Nate, Ruth and Charlie in the living room. Michael automatically went to the pot that he had seen Fiona at and watched them as Sam made his way back to his sauce and meatballs.

“So, you made her an official citizen, what’s next, make her an official Westen?” Sam asked causally as he stirred his sauce.

Michael looked up at Sam and gave him one of his patented looks.

“Nate has two eyes and a curious streak. He found her new passport as he and Charlie peeked in on you guys earlier,” Sam shrugged.

“I think my mom has already given Fiona official family status long before Ruth came into the picture. I wouldn’t be surprised if Fiona was made an official Westen when she called her to tell her I was back from Nigeria,” Michael told his friend.

“That didn’t really answer my question,” Sam pointed out.

“I’m not sure. We’re not the white picket fence type. I think we’d like to get a full night of sleep before we even talked about that step, though,” Michael said.

“So, you and Fi have talked about it then?” Sam asked.

“She said she’d want an asscher cut diamond,” Michael shrugged, remembering their conversation from over a year ago, after they had gone on their first alone CIA mission together to retrieve a bad guy.

Sam’s eyes bugged out slightly, but he noticed Michael had turned his back to check on the noodles and missed his reaction. He never thought they had gone that far as to Fiona telling him what type of ring she would want, but he supposed anything was possible, and he should never place bets on what he thought these two would do. Those two had made their own rules, that was for sure.
--
Twenty minutes later, Fiona had fed and burped the baby, and now carried the sleeping baby in her car seat; an oversized blanket was draped around the opening as she set it near her and Michael’s usual spots at Madeline’s table. She knew the baby would wake up, she always knew when she was in her car seat, and she hated that thing. But at least she could get her in the seat once she was asleep, unlike Michael who was powerless to the baby’s cries from the seat. She couldn't keep her in the bedroom because it was too far away and they didn't have any baby monitor with them.

“Just in time,” Michael said as she dropped to sit in the chair beside him. “You need me to get you a plate and some water?”

“If you don’t mind,” Fiona said as she rocked the car seat slightly with her foot in a soothing motion.

A few minutes later everyone was around the table, their plates full, quiet conversation occasionally filling in the silence. Molly didn’t last long in the carrier, as expected, and as soon as Michael had finished his plate, he grabbed his daughter from the carrier, swaddling her tightly in the blanket she had in the carrier, and let her rest against his chest.

“She sure is a little cuddle bug,” Ruth pointed out.

Fiona smiled and nodded at Ruth. She watched as Molly tried to keep her eyes open, listening to the voices of the people around the table.

“It makes getting things done ten time harder,” Fiona said. “But I’ll take all that I can get.”

“If she’s anything like Michael, she’ll start rebelling at age two,” Madeline said from Fiona’s other side.

“I’m sure my mother would say the same thing about me as a child,” Fiona said.

“Remind me to not volunteer for babysitting duty,” Sam laughed at his own joke, watching as Michael and Fiona turned towards him, identical looks on their faces.
--
As soon as the dinner was eaten, the cake was brought out. It had two candles added to it, and Charlie blew them out, the adults clapping quietly as Molly was sleeping soundly against Michael.

Presents were passed around to Charlie from his relative. Michael and Fiona looked at the little boy that sat across from them.

“We couldn’t get you anything yet, so we owe you one,” Fiona told him, watching as Nate leaned and whispered something in Charlie’s ear.

“Thank you baby ‘zin,” Charlie said, trying his best to repeat his father’s words.

“Thank you for my baby cousin,” Nate translated.

Michael shook his head and remembered the day he found out Nate was going to be a father. At the end of the day, Nate had told him he wouldn’t mind if his kid had a cousin to play with. Although Molly was too young now, he was sure they would grow up to be friends.

Madeline smiled brightly at this and clapped her hands together. She watched as Michael and Fiona looked to the baby, watching as Molly opened her eyes for a few seconds, before going back to sleep. Apparently her father’s heartbeat was a greater soother than the brief intrusion of her sleep.

“Although I’m sorry Jesse couldn’t make it, I am glad the rest of my family is now participating in these family events. And I hope my boys give their children better days then they had,” Madeline toasted as she gave a watery smile to both her boys.

Fiona gently grabbed Michael’s free hand under the table, entwining their fingers and squeezing them in support. She leaned against him, facing Molly as she rested her chin on his shoulder. Fiona watched as Molly opened up her eyes, focusing on her mother.

“Ready to go home, little monster?” she asked the baby as she looked at Sam as he smiled at her for using his nickname.

“I believe I need to say goodbye to the little monster,” Sam said as they all stood at the table.

Fiona leaned down slightly to bring the baby car seat to her chair. She smiled to herself as Molly squawked in protest as she was placed in Sam’s arms, arching outwards with her whole body.

“I’m sorry, baby, I won’t call you monster,” Sam tried, which only led to her crying out louder.

“Bro, take her from him,” Nate said as he moved his fingers to his ear.

Madeline intercepted Molly before Michael could move and she calmed the baby slightly, but she still arched away from her grandmother.

“Guess she’s not up to visiting tonight,” Michael said as he took her back from his mother, the adults watching as the baby instantly calmed as she pressed herself into his neck.

He moved around to where Fiona had the baby’s seat all ready to go. He set Molly in it and took the blanket that was wrapped around her body off, and she looked up at the two of them with glassy eyes and her lip began to tremble.

“Faker,” Michael told her, fingering her cheek as Fiona strapped her into the carrier. Michael then placed her blanket around her, tucking her in tightly, and rocking the carriage on the chair slowly.

As Fiona made her goodbyes and then gathered the diaper bag and everything else from his old bedroom, everyone watched as Molly fell asleep to the gentle rocking of the carrier on the seat.

Fiona returned and made her way to his side, placing the oversized blanket on top of the baby carrier.

“I’m sorry we can’t help with dishes, but we’ve got a schedule to stay on top of,” Fiona said as she watched Michael grab the carrier and hold it on one of his arms.

“Don’t worry about it, we’ve got it,” Nate said. “We know how important schedules are to new babies. But you guys are on dish duty as soon as she’s old enough to take care of herself.”

“Thank you for dinner, Sam, Madeline,” Fiona said, nodding her head.

As they made their way to the door, Fiona triumphantly pulled her car keys out of the diaper bag, but Michael snatched them as she opened the door.

“I’m driving,” Michael said as they shut the door to his mother’s house and made their way down the drive and across the street.

“Its my car, Michael,” Fiona countered.

“Tell me you don’t want to sleep right now, and I’ll let you drive,” Michael smirked as he put a sleeping Molly in the backseat as the car seat connected to the semi-permanent car seat base in Fiona’s car.

“Fine, but only because I’m tired,” she said, pointing a finger at him as they both leaned over the roof.

“Okay,” he agreed, moving to the driver’s seat, shutting the door and starting the engine.

Before he made it out of his mother’s neighbourhood, Fiona was fast asleep, her head leaning against the window of the passenger side. He made his way to the loft and woke Fiona up as he got Molly’s car seat out of the car. He waited for Fiona and they made their way up the stairs. As they made their way inside, he set Molly’s car seat down on Fiona’s side of the bed as he made his way downstairs to get the diaper bag and lock everything back up.

As he started to close up the gate, he heard a noise from the trees.

“Don’t shoot,” the familiar voice called out as they stepped out of the shadows.
--
tbc