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~*~ ONE ~*~

“Mmm,” Lizzie moans. Ray had surprised her, showing up early after his ‘business’ trip. He had snuck into the house while Lizzie was making coffee.

He had walked into the house. It is quiet except for a rustling noise coming from the kitchen. He sees Lizzie standing at the counter, making a cup of coffee on the Keurig that is sitting on the counter. He quietly places his hat onto one of the stools at the island, having already discarded his jacket by the front door. He waits until Lizzie places her cup onto the counter before wrapping his arms around her waist and pulling her towards him. She lets out a gasp as Ray spins her around and places her onto the island. She smiles when she realizes Ray was standing in front of her.

“When did you get back?” she asks wrapping her arms around his neck and pulling him toward her.

“This morning,” he tells her pulling her into a kiss.

“Mmm,” she moans feeling his hands starting to wander under her shirt. She moves his hands and tries to push him away. He clamps his hands onto her hips firmly before pulling her even closer to him. “Ray,” she gasps out. “Ray,” she tries again.

“What?” he asks against her lips.

There was a throat clearing behind them and Ray finally breaks the kiss. They both turn to see Mr. Kaplan standing in the entry way of the kitchen. She was in a pair of light blue pajamas and a bathrobe. Her glasses were on and her hair already done. Lizzie blushes, burying her face into Ray’s neck.

“Raymond,” she says walking into the room.

“Kate,” he says finally finding his voice. “What are you doing here?”

Lizzie clears her throat. “I…uh… I called her. Nora’s been fighting a cold. It finally came on full force last night. She was utterly miserable. I called Kate asking if could come and sit with Nora while I ran to the drug store. We were out of baby Tylenol and ibuprofen. She offered to pick it up instead seeing as she was already out. I offered her the guest room since she was willing to come here and drop it off.” Ray looks concerned. He steps back from Lizzie and heads out of the kitchen and up the stairs. “Ray, she’s sleeping.” She follows him up the stairs and into Nora’s bedroom.

“She’s not here. Where is she?” he asks.

“Our room,” Lizzie tells him. He rushes past her and into their room. She follows him and watches as he lifts Nora out of the pack ‘n’ play that was placed next to their bed. She sleepily opens her eyes as Ray sits down onto their bed.

“Hey babygirl,” he coos. She gives him a big smile and lays her head onto his chest, yawning.

“Ray, she’s fine. I called her doctor yesterday, because I was worried. She wasn’t really eating and she didn’t want to nurse. She assured me that because she was stuffed up, she wouldn’t really want to use a bottle or nurse. That I should watch her temp and if it went really high to bring her into the ER. But it didn’t really get high enough to warrant a visit to the ER. She was hot, so I gave her a cool bath and gave her some Tylenol when Kate got here.” she wraps her arm around him, putting her head onto his shoulder. They both look down at their daughter, who brought her fist up to her mouth and was sucking on it. She was still awake, but her eyes were drooping closed.

“Why didn’t you call Ressler, or Aram or Samar?” he asks looking at Lizzie. He looks down at the hand she has on his shoulder and grins when he sees the ring on her finger.

It had taken her awhile to give him and answer, but when she did, he couldn’t have been happier. She told him ‘yes’ in the most spectacular way. The first time they were together since Nora had been born was when she whispered ‘yes’ to him.

“Ressler and Samar were on a stakeout. I was supposed to be with him, but when the daycare at the PO called and said Nora was sick, Cooper told me to go get her and take her home. So, obviously, Samar went in my place. Aram was watching monitors and keeping an eye on things so he couldn’t. I would have gone, but I didn’t want to take her out.”

“Why were they on a stakeout? And how come Ressler didn’t tell me when I saw him this morning?” he asks. Lizzie looks at him questioningly. “I stopped by the see how everything was going with the name I gave you. He told me you weren’t coming in, but that he didn’t know why.” He runs his hand over Nora’s back. She scrunches her legs up and lets out a whine. “Papa’s got you sweet girl,” he whispers dropping a kiss onto her head.

“Come on, let’s get into bed. Let’s have a family snuggle,” Lizzie tells him. She crawls onto the bed first and then watches as he lays down next to her, trying not to jostle their now sleeping daughter. He moves closer to the middle of the bed and places an extra pillow next to him. Lizzie snuggles closer to him, laying her head on his shoulder, an arm across his stomach and a leg over his. She brings a blanket over the three of them and sighs happily. “Glad to have you home. We missed you.”

“I missed you as well sweetheart,” he says yawning.

She giggles before laying a kiss onto his cheek. “Not sleeping?” she asks as he closes his eyes.

“I rarely can when I'm away from you two,” he mutters. “It seems to be a problem. Maybe you two should come with me from now on.” She could tell that he was fighting sleep.

“Sleep Ray. We’re right here,” she whispers into his ear. She could tell when he finally let the sandman come. The arm lying across Nora’s back went slack. The rigidness that his body held disappeared. She slips out of bed and carefully maneuvers the sleeping baby out from under Ray’s arm and slips her back into the pack ‘n’ play. She covers her and then slips back into bed next to Ray. She really was glad that he was back home.

Even though he didn’t stay with them all the time because of security, he stayed when he could. He didn’t want them the end up like his first ‘family’. He cherished Nora and Lizzie. He would set a firing squad upon himself if anything were to happen to either of them.

~*~ TBL ~*~

Ray’s eyes flutter open, blinking against the light filled room. He reaches over to the nightstand, trying to reach for his glasses. He hears a giggle next to him as he fumbles blindly for them. He feels them being put into his other hand. He finally sits up while putting them on. He looks over at Lizzie who was leaning back against the bed while nursing Nora.

“Hello,” he grins at the two.

She smiles softly at him. “Hi,” she says. He runs his hand over Nora’s head before leaning down and giving it a light kiss. “You, Mr. Reddington, are a miracle worker.”

“Sweetheart, I’ve been called a lot of things. ‘Miracle worker’ is not one of them. But do tell, why am I a miracle worker?”

“I think she wanted her Papa. Before you got home, she wouldn’t eat. Didn’t want to nurse. I even tried to give her a bottle. But she didn’t want anything. You get home and she decides she wants to nurse. You can never leave. That’s all there is to it,” she tells him. He smiles and wraps his arm around her, bringing the two of them flush against each other.

“As much as I would love to never leave you two, I have to. Have to keep up appearances. I wish I could have a nine-to-five, but then we most likely wouldn’t have met that way. Besides, where’s the fun in that?” he asks.

“I know,” she says softly. “When do you have to leave again?”

“Few days,” he whispers, wrapping his hand around her head and pulling it toward him. They share a few kisses, not wanting to bother Nora. There would always be time to reconnect later. But this moment was for them as a family.

~*~ TBL ~*~

He was working on something, but rather than tell her he was keeping it close to the vest. He had stopped into the PO the other day, giving them the next name on the list before turning to Lizzie and asking to talk to her in her office. After they walked into the office he had told her he had to leave for a few days to attend to some business.

Ray had given her a quick kiss not caring about Lizzie’s no PDA rule at work. They had gone to see Nora at their little PO day care before Ray had led Lizzie outside to where the car was parked with Dembe sitting in the driver’s seat.

She had gestured to Dembe to roll down the window and as he did she leaned down to look at the bodyguard. “Keep him safe Dembe.”

He grinned at her. “Always, Liz.”

She broke her own rule at that point and throws her arms around him, while burying her face into his neck. She breathes his scent in before stepping away. He takes her hands into his, bringing them up to his mouth and giving them a kiss. “I love you Lizzie.”

“Love you too,” she replied. “Come home to us. You have to come home for Nora. She needs her Papa.”

“This is just a meeting Lizzie. I will be home in a few days,” he gets into the car and she watches as they drive away.

~*~ TBL ~*~

It had been a great few days with Ray. Nora had slowly gotten over her cold and seemed to be in better spirits. She had bonded with her Papa and the two couldn’t have been closer. She had him wrapped around her little finger.

It dawned bright and early on the morning of Ray’s leaving. Lizzie was the first to wake, wanting to spend a little more time with him before he left. She was wrapped around him, not that be minded.

He turns in his sleep, facing her. She takes the time to look at him. She lays her hand onto his cheek. He suddenly wraps his arms around her, pulling her flush against him.

“Oh,” she giggles. “How long have you been awake?”

“Long enough,” he tells her.

“How long will you be gone?” she asks.

He sighs, laying his forehead against hers. “About a week or so. I am doing this to keep you and Nora safe.”

It’s her time to sigh. “I know. I just worry about you.”

He kisses her before pulling back and looking into her eyes. “I know. And I love you all the more for it. No one has loved me as you and Nora do in a long time. And I thank you every day for giving me a chance and for saying yes.” He lifts her hand with the ring on it and gives it a kiss. She wraps her arms around him and starts to kiss him when the baby monitor on the nightstand comes to life with Nora’s cooing. She laughs as they untangle themselves from each other. She sits up while he lays back and watches her. “I’ve been meaning to ask,” he says as she pulls her bathrobe on.

“Yes?” she asks.

“Where did you get the necklace? It’s not something I’ve seen before.”

She smirks at him as she leaves the room. He could hear her talking to Nora. He listens as she changes Nora’s diaper and making their daughter giggle. She was an amazing mother.

They come back into the bedroom with Lizzie handing Nora to Ray. Nora gives him a big smile and a giggle as he tickles her. Lizzie loved to see the two of them together. Loved to see this side that no one really ever gets to see. “So the necklace?” he asks not looking up from Nora.

“Ressler got it for me. He knew how much I hated taking my ring off. So one morning he got this for me. So if I really needed to take my ring off, I could put it on the necklace and still have it on me.” She turns when Ray doesn’t respond. He was staring in her direction with a grin on his face.

“Okay,” he finally responds. He gets up, putting Nora down onto a blanket in the corner of the room that had a few toys on it. The two then start to get ready for the day. They take turns in the shower, but both really wanting to shower together. They moved around each other seamlessly. He stops her briefly after he was dressed, giving her a kiss. “How about when I get back we take a weekend? I'm sure I can talk to Harold. Just the three of us.”

“With Dembe,” she supplies.

“Well, of course.”

“And Kate,” Lizzie says.

“Kate?” he questions.

“Well, yes. Nora just adores her. And the sentiment is mutual.”

“Oh, yes, I'm sure it is. But Kate isn’t really a beach person Lizzie.”

Lizzie shrugs and gives him a quick kiss. “Well, a beach weekend sounds excellent. I'm sick of being cold. It will be nice to be back on the beach again. After spending so much time when I was pregnant, I miss it.”

“Alright, well, talk to Harold when you go in. I'm going downstairs to talk to Dembe.”

“Will you get Nora dressed?” she asks. “I’ve left an outfit on the changing table.”

He wraps his arms around her once again, bringing her flush against him. He pulls her face to his and kisses her. She wraps her arms around him, moaning into his mouth.

“Raymond, we have to get going,” Dembe calls up the stairs.

“I own the jet Dembe. William will wait till we get there,” he yells back. He pushes Lizzie back toward the bed as she laughs. Needless to say they were both late that morning. Lizzie walked into the PO almost an hour late.

Ressler looks at her as she drops her bag and jacket on her desk. He looks at the smile on her face and shakes his head, laughing. “I don’t wanna know,” he tells her.

“You probably don’t,” she says back. The smile wouldn’t leave her face even as she gave Cooper and the rest of the team the name Ray had given her that morning.