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Love is...

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It’s a quiet Sunday morning in the Knope-Wyatt household, which in itself is a miracle given the fact that they have three ten year old monsters and their mother living in it.

But today it’s quiet. 


The triplets are all sitting at the kitchen island, each of them busy with their own iPads. They’re allowed to have screen time while Ben and Leslie finish making breakfast, their usual waffles, bacon and coffee (for the adults) and orange juice for the kids. Then it’s family breakfast time and no distractions are allowed.


Stephen is almost done with the second chapter of the Professor Layton game series and he plays it on the lowest volume possible, enough for him and everybody to hear it, but not loud that it would bother Sonia’s reading of her Agatha Christie book or Westley’s streaming of the Sunday morning news. He plays it for their parents to hear it but does not look at the screen, instead he is watching the magic dance that always happens when his parents cook together.


Ben and Leslie know how to fit together in the space of their kitchen, they anticipate what the other needs in order to perform their task and wordlessly help, they never bump into each other and they warn the other when one of them is dealing with something hot because one can never be too careful. Today is a lazy dance.


Leslie is running the double waffle iron, adding chocolate chips in the mix only halfway through for her and Westley, knowing how each member of her family takes their breakfast and cooks them to perfection. She is not much of a cook, but Leslie Knope’s breakfast making skills are unmatched.


Ben is picking stuff from the fridge when the coffee maker brews, he brings orange juice and pours it for their kids before grabbing butter, maple syrup, and chopped fruit for the table as well as the can of whipped cream for his wife  - of which he takes to the kitchen counter with the carton of half and half. The coffee maker goes off and he pours a full, plain mug for himself  before pouring half a cup in his wife’s cup. He adds some half and half to the mug and grabs the chocolate syrup from the cupboard and adds a big squeeze into her cup, giving it a big stir with a spoon before taking the cup to his lips and adding a dollop of whipped cream and handing the cup to his wife.


He does this every morning, even when they’re late for work and his tie is still undone or she’s not wearing any shoes. He makes his and her coffee and always takes a sip of hers before giving it to her, even though he doesn’t like the taste and usually grimaces after taking a sip, but he knows how his wife likes it. Then he watches her take her first drink and he knows he did a good job. He just likes watching her and seeing her contented face. Leslie takes the cup and holds it with both hands, enjoying the warm mug on her fingers and taking a big drink of her sugar filled caffeine deliciousness, knowing it will be completely up to her standards of perfection. She closes her eyes and hums and looks up at her husband with loving eyes.


“Perfect, thank you,” Leslie says and leans in to give her husband a small peck on his lips.


“You're welcome, my dear,” Ben replies with a sweet smile.


This simple gesture of making her coffee perfect is just as enjoyable for him as it is for her. Maybe more.

Chapter Text

It’s a chilly Christmas morning - way too early for even Leslie to be awake. She and her husband were exhausted from staying up late after their five year old monsters went to bed so they could set up the presents under the tree and eat almost all of the cookies and drink the milk they had left for Santa. Ben even cut the leafy end of a carrot and munched on it until it looked like it had been eaten by a reindeer and left it near the cookies. They were really going for the full effect here. They were also exhausted because they were giving each other their own Christmas presents, which involved a sexy Santa outfit and a ridiculous dance to Jingle Bell Rock that should have been more silly than sexy, but because it’s Leslie, she always manages a perfect balance.


They’re awoken by little feet on the hardwood floors and creaky doors and hushed voices.


“Mommy…” whispered Sonia, the eldest of the triplets by a couple minutes. Leslie kept her eyes closed. Sonia shook her mothers shoulder and tried again a little louder. “Mommy, wake up!”


Leslie finally opened her eyes and saw her three little monsters in their Christmas onesies all looking at her with such excitement in their eyes she couldn’t help but smile a little.


"What 's going on?” She asked, feigning confusion.


Stephen stepped closer and hopped on the bed “Mommy, it’s Christmas! We have to open the presents Santa left for us!”


Leslie wrapped her arm around the little boy's waist “It’s too early and Daddy’s still sleeping. Can’t we wait until the sun is up?”


Westley, who had been listening wordlessly to the whole thing and was maybe still a little bit asleep, yawned and said, “No Mommy, we have to go see now.” He goes around the bed and shakes his father's shoulder stronger than Sonia shook Leslie because Ben was a heavy sleeper. “Daddy! Wake up wake up wake up!”


The triplets were losing patience quickly and Ben and Leslie didn’t need a triplet breakdown first thing on Christmas morning.


Ben woke up, a little startled. “What? What’s happening?”


Leslie, who was now laying on her back, looked over to her husband and rubbed his bed head in an effort to help him wake up. “Daddy, we have to go down and open the presents with the kids.”


They had gotten used to calling each other Mommy and Daddy in front of the triplets when the kids were starting to talk and it had stuck. She gave his neck a little squeeze and looked at him with a knowing eye that indicated that she’d tried to convince the children to wait until a more acceptable hour. Ben rubbed his eyes quickly and sat down on the bed with his feet on the ground. “Do you want to go open some presents, buddy?” He asked while looking at Westley’s tired, shiny eyes.


All three triplets answered like the question was intended for all of them. “YEAHHH!!”


Leslie got up and tapped Sonia and Stephen on their backs to move them out of the room and down the stairs. Westley ran to catch up with them and they heard them running down the stairs. How could three five-year olds make so much noise even when they had socks on their feet?


Ben hugged her from behind and kissed her cheek. “Merry Christmas, my love.”


Lesie put her hands on top of his and leaned into his embrace. “Merry Christmas, handsome.”


They followed the kids downstairs, never losing contact with each other. They sat down behind the triplets on the floor and leaned on the sofa for support, the triplets already grabbing the boxes and shaking them, each child knowing which presents were for each of them because Santa (their mother) always wrapped the gifts with their favorite colour - purple for Sonia, yellow for Stephen, and green for Westley (because it’s the colour of broccoli).


Westley looked back at his parents. “Can we open them?”


Ben is surprised they hadn’t yet. “Of course you can!”


And then there’s total madness, paper being torn and boxes being open, complete with gasps, giggles and happy squeals.


“Mommy, look it’s a science kit!”


“Daddy, it’s the dinosaur puzzle I asked for!”


“Oh my gosh, it’s the Star Wars Lego set I saw at the shopping mall!!”


Sonia turned back and handed Leslie a box with red wrapping paper that she didn’t recognize. “Mommy, I think Santa left this for you.”


And, yes, it said “Mommy” in big letters on the front of the box. Leslie took the box and looked at her husband with wide eyes.


“Babe, you already gave me my many presents last night.” Of course besides all the sex, he has given her the books ‘Women Talking’ and ‘The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls’ amongst stocking stuffers. In return, Leslie had given him a 50 year anniversary edition of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (she thought it was hilarious given his nickname with Chris) and a new jacket because his windbreaker had to go. (Yes, he still wore it.)


Leslie unwrapped the box and opened it to see a couple of smaller jewelry boxes and an envelope inside. Ben watched her, excited to see her reaction to unboxing her new Pandora bracelet (because her other one was already full), complete with a couple charms from the new Frozen 2 collection and a beautiful pair of white gold snowflake earrings with small light blue and purple gems on them to match.


She went for the envelope first, opening a beautiful card with his handwriting and a gift card for her favorite office supply shop. Gift cards were impersonal, but Leslie didn’t agree with the sentiment because she got to buy all the stuff that she liked. She read the card and hugged it to her chest, being careful to not bend or ruin it.


Ben heard her sigh and after a bit without her moving, he looked at her. “Aren’t you going to open your presents?” He asked her, giving her shoulder a kiss.


Leslie rested her head on his cheek. “Yeah, in a minute… Just… Shh, just listen.”


They looked at their kids still opening presents but talking more calmly now that the excitement was a little lower. They basked in each other's warmth and felt each other's breathing.


Just listening to the love in the room.

Chapter Text

“You’re Benji Wyatt?” Leslie says with that knowing yet surprised smile on her face.


Ben makes a face, he usually gets a chill down his spine for being called by his teenage failed mayor name. But this time he…didn’t. Maybe because he was expecting her to remember him. “I am.”



Leslie was so feverish, he could feel the heat emanating from her as he tried to steer and guide her while she thought the floor and wall had switched places.

He felt a little sad that she didn’t trust him with this task. Ok, up until maybe two weeks ago she was still really mad at him, but he thought she was coming around. I guess not.


“Leslie, please let me take you to the hospital, I can do this.” He pleaded with her, looking into her glassy eyes.


“Listen, it’s very nice that you are trying to help me, but I just need to do this by myself,” she said, looking like she couldn’t focus on his face, looking beyond him.


“If you can’t do this it’s gonna be a disaster and then we’ll be worse than we could’ve been if I had done it.” It’s not that he didn’t believe her, but he was just worried, she wasn’t stringing a lot of coherent sentences together for a long period of time.


Leslie placed her overheated hand on his forearm, finally focusing on his eyes like a streak of consciousness had hit her.


“Benji, I can do this.”


Somehow at the mention of his hated nickname he gave a big sigh and melted a little at her touch, he knew she was serious and decided to give in, if all hell broke loose he could always say she was bitten by a rabid raccoon or something.


Only after she finished her speech and he had to step in for the Q&A portion of the meeting that he noticed he never got that chill down his spine when she called him Benji.



Ben woke up around 3am to use the bathroom, carefully walking in this house he had recently moved into, holding his hands out and hoping not to step on any legos or used condoms, it was worse than a frat house…

When he came back to his room he grabbed his phone out of habit and noticed a voice message.


He pressed play and placed the phone on his ear to listen.


A distant sound of music, chatter and laughter started playing before he heard her voice. “BENJIIIIIIIIIIIIII!!!!” That was a slurred voice if he ever heard one. “We did it! I mean they didn’t take down the fence but now our side of the park is awesome and even Eagleton kids want to play there and I have smoothed things out with Lindsey and it's awesome! I just wanted to thank you for your help and I can’t wait to kick your ass at Wiffle Ball! You think you’re a big shot, shortstop? I’m a killer pitcher you won’t hit off of me!” Wow, Leslie got even more competitive when she was drunk. “Anyway, I’m drunk but I got a cab here that I’m taking home so don’t you worry, I already checked my chart.” And then the message ended.


Ben laughed to himself, Leslie was drunk and called him just to thank him, she probably called every other person in city hall too, but she still called him.


And she called him Benji.



Ben woke up with her stirring in bed. The sun was still sleeping but Leslie was already waking up. He couldn’t believe he was in Leslie Knope’s bed! Last night’s events came to him and he couldn’t help but smile at her stretching form. When she looked at him with those big endless blue eyes, she gave him a beautiful sleepy smile and said: “Morning, Benji.”


Yeah, he could get used to this, both the waking up next to Leslie and the name.



It’s stupid. Dumb, really.


He always hated that name, but after Leslie started occasionally calling him Benji, he took a liking to it again.


And now they were broken up and he fucking missed it. Missed her silly early morning and late night ramblings -- that’s usually when the name Benji would escape her lips, when she was drunk, sleepy, or really really happy.


He missed the way his name sounded when she said it. She wasn’t mocking him. He didn’t feel less of a person when she called him that. Didn’t shrink back to his 18 year old boy mayor failure.


But he doesn't think he'll hear her call him that again.



They were still breathing heavily after their emotionally charged reconciliation sex. But the release brought them both tears, not sad ones, but tears of relief for being in each other's arms again, knowing now that whatever came at them, they would fight it together. Ben held her while she silently cried and he also let some tears slip away. Leslie looked up at him with bloodshot eyes and held his face between her hands, brushing his tears away. “I missed you so much… my Benji.” He captured her lips in a slow kiss and they both felt like they could breathe again.



They were driving back home from City Hall, where they had just gotten married. You’d think Leslie would be bouncing off the windows of the car, but she had gone through so much today, she was almost dozing off on her seat. They kept their hands linked on the top of the gear and Leslie had her head resting sideways looking at him through sleepy eyes and a goofy smile. 


“Can you believe we are married? MARRIED, BENJI!” She said a little more emphatically. 


“I know, I haven’t felt better in my entire life. We’ve been married for only a couple of hours and I can’t even begin to fathom how I lived so long without being married to you.” Wow that was so sappy, but she was very tired so he might get away with it. He looked at her when they reached a red light and she had her eyes closed but the smile was still on her face.


He couldn’t say if she had listened to him or not, didn’t really matter, he’ll say he loves her every day of their lives now. He brings her hand up to his lips and kisses her knuckles before stepping on the accelerator again.


He gets to be her Benji, forever.