Peace on Earth, to men of good will...

I had hesitated this year, not sure if it was appropriate. I mean, all things considered. But Murdock, God bless him, had started in anyway, taking the decision out of my hands.

"I remember the Christmas I was ten..."

And so it started, the traditional trek down memory lane, each of us talking about favorite Christmas's, some not-so favorites, laughing or sometimes just gently smiling. Enjoying the sharing of our memories.

Sharing. I hadn't thought it possible this year. But Face seemed himself, bringing the guys to tears of laughter at the antics he and his cohorts had pulled at the orphanage.

But for me, those stories weren't as carefree as they sounded. Not now. Now I saw in them something maybe even Face didn't see.

Over a year now since my lieutenant had met and lost his father, and it had taken me that long to realize just how badly he needed to find his family. Yeah, I know. I can be pretty damn stupid sometimes. My anger hadn't been at his so-called treachery, or his imagined insubordination. I was angry because no matter how many of his family he found, he still wouldn't get what he was really after. Angry because he didn't see it, angry because I couldn't prevent what was coming.

But still...

The others had gone to bed, and Face was putting away the last of the dirty dishes. I stepped into the kitchen, hesitating again. He looked over his shoulder, a tired smile, questioning. I smiled back, hoping I wouldn't make promises I couldn't keep.