Title: All Through the House

Author: Soleil

Author Email: soliel9708@aol.com

Disclaimer: Go, characters. I release you. Title comes from the poem "The Night Before Christmas."

Summary: Well, I decided that I wanted to write about the baby deal too. So, if you're sick of those stories, here's your out. Hopefully, I've taken a slightly different approach.

Pairings: H/M

Spoilers: Sure, what the heck. Let's just say everything.

Rating: PG-13

A/N: I feel really badly about posting this story right now. I have a not so minor family medical crisis that I'm dealing with at the moment. So my time is not really my own. But I'm stressed and this de-stresses me. So thank you in advance for putting up with me!


The house is quiet now. Outside, the snow has been falling steadily and it's drifting in heaps and piles around the yard. Everyone is home so she doesn't have to worry about her family. She can watch the snow as it coats the trees and the yard. Tomorrow, the schools will close and the children will trample over the yard. Leaving footprints and criss-crossing trails across the lawn. There will be snowmen and angels, forts and small mountains of snow. The silent, white and blue landscape will be transformed by red and green boots and noisy shouts. But, for now, the streets are still and the snow is an even blanket on the ground.

In the family room, the fire has gone low and cold. A log crackles as it caves in on itself. An ember hisses when a snowflake falls through the chimney. She can hear his occasional snore as he sleeps on the couch. Later, when she goes to wake him up and pull him to bed, he will deny ever having slept. He will grumble his way up the steps and into the bedroom, where he will turn on the television just to prove he wasn't asleep.

Upstairs, the children are playing quietly. They know they won't have classes tomorrow but they haven't heard the official announcement so they muffle their sounds. She hears giggles and soft hushes as they think they are fooling their parents into believing they are asleep. She knows that if she were to walk upstairs, her footsteps heavy against the treads, she would hear the sudden rush of feet as they hurry to turn off lights and dive under their covers. If she were to open their doors, she would see two heads, barely visible above the blankets, and hear the heavy sounds of faked sleep breathing.

It seems so simple now. She wraps her arms around her waist and leans against the wall. Her fingers trace a light pattern over her ribs. Beneath her fingertips, her ribs contract and expand as she sighs softly. It really was so simple; it makes her wonder why they never saw it. Although it made no sense, less now that time has passed, they approached their problems from the middle and worked their way to the beginning.

She is older now and somewhere in the years between the woman she once was and the woman she has become, she grew quiet. Not silent, but the things that swirled insider her have settled, disappearing somewhere into the dark. She knows what love is now. It's apples, sugar, and cinnamon. It's simple, sweet, and a little spicy. It's stirred carefully in a heavy bowl with a wooden spoon to form an easy recipe for happiness. An easy list of ingredients, but harder to learn the technique of coating each apple slice so that there is just the right amount of cinnamon and sugar. But like everything else, it gets easier with time, patience, and practice.