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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.