So, I'm snowed in today, and what thought came into my head? Why, to write a snowed in Callian fic, of course! Was originally going to be a one-shot but it would have ended up being really long, so I've stopped at a convenient point, and more will come soon!
Disclaimer: None of these wonderful characters belong to me.
Gillian Foster loved snow. Watching snowflakes flutter down from the snow-laden sky; the sight of trees, bare from winter but with snow clinging to their branches; looking out at streets and lawns all covered with a thick blanket of fluffy white goodness - all these things gave her a happy warm glow. True, snow could sometimes cause problems – transport issues, accidents, inconveniences. Of course, Gillian didn't like that side of it – she wanted everyone to stay safe. But there was something almost magical about the way the city would just shut down if there was heavy snow; cars stayed in driveways, lights were on in more houses, and instead of the roads being filled with drivers on their way to work or scurrying from errand to errand, you could look out and see children building snowmen, parents having snowball fights with their children, couples walking hand in hand, crunching through the snow. Yes, Gillian thought, as she looked out at the falling snow with a contented smile, wrapping her hands around her mug of steaming hot chocolate. Snow really was magical.
A sharp knocking at the door interrupted her thoughts. Startled, Gillian turned, wondering who had ventured out when the snow was falling this heavily; it had just started to settle, and forecasters were recommending people not go too far from home in case they couldn't get back. Placing her cup down on the coffee table, she headed towards the door, thinking perhaps it was a neighbour wanting to borrow something.
"About bloody time," her visitor said as soon as she wrenched the door open. "Bloody freezing out here. Literally. Going to invite me in, then? In case you haven't noticed, it's snowing."
"Hello Cal," she said, smiling as she stood aside to let him in. He strode in, pulling off his coat and hanging it up on her coat rack. He then proceeded to try and shake the snow out of his hair, and Gillian laughed, reaching up to help him. "What are you doing here?"
"I've closed down the office, remember?"
"Yes…" she said slowly. "So… what? You couldn't get through a Tuesday without seeing me?" she teased.
"More like I was bored to tears at home, and the prospect of being stuck there with nothing to do and no one to talk to was a bit depressing. Em's at Zoe's, so…" He shrugged. "Where else was I going to go? Loker's?" She smiled. "Besides," he continued, "if I'm going to spend the day snowed in with someone…"
He didn't finish his sentence, but he didn't have to. Gillian smiled, feeling a warmth spread through her body that wasn't to do with the joy of snow or her hot chocolate. She followed Cal as he walked into the living room and sat herself down in the armchair, picking up her hot chocolate and taking another sip. "Hot chocolate?" he guessed, sitting down on the sofa, and she nodded with a smile.
The smile slipped from her face. "No marshmallows, actually," she said, and Cal suppressed a laugh at the look of genuine sadness on her face. Only Gill could be sad about bloody marshmallows, he thought with amusement. "I ran out," she said sadly. "Still, hot chocolate on its own is good." She took another sip.
"Don't want these, then?" he asked casually, reaching into his pocket and pulling out a large bag of mini marshmallows. He watched Gillian's eyes widen in surprise and saw the delight cross her face.
"Where did you get those?"
"Passed a shop on the way, thought you might need your supplies replenished." He was being nonchalant, but was secretly thrilled that he'd been able to make her face light up like that with such a simple gesture.
"Thank you," she said, feeling ridiculously touched. She reached for the packet and ripped it open carefully, then tipped a handful into the top of her mug. Sitting back in her chair, she swirled the marshmallows around with her spoon, allowing them to melt into the hot liquid. Lifting the mug to her lips she drank deeply, closing her eyes and allowing a look of pure pleasure to cross her face.
Cal watched, intrigued. He'd seen the way she'd eaten food before, and the pleasure she took from things like chocolate, but he always underestimated the effect it had on him. At last she opened her eyes, laughing when she saw him watching her. "Sorry," she giggled. "Mmm. That's good. Definitely better with marshmallows."
"I gathered that," he commented, unable to draw his eyes away from her lips, and the thin layer of melted marshmallow there. Noticing where his gaze lay she licked her lips, removing the marshmallow, and laughed again.
"Sorry, I'm being a bad hostess. Would you like something? I have more than just hot chocolate, you know," she added, seeing him wrinkle his nose in disgust. Cal wasn't a fan of hot chocolate; "why would you want something you eat as a snack melted into a sickening, milky drink?" he always said.
"Don't suppose you've got any…"
"I have, as it happens," she said, without letting him finish his sentence, and he raised an eyebrow at her.
"How d'you know what I was going to say? I might have been going to ask if you had any lavender and honey tea or something."
She laughed. "You want cider. Dr Foster's special hot apple cider, to be precise. Yes?"
"If there's any on offer," he said, both amused and pleased that she knew him so well.
"I made a fresh batch this morning."
"Really?" That did surprise him. "You're not such a fan of it though." The question was implied, and Gillian answered it, blushing slightly.
"I made some this morning… you know. Just in case."
"Just in case," he repeated, nodding. "Smashing. Let's have some then."
Gillian put her hot chocolate down and dutifully headed towards the kitchen. Cal stayed on the sofa for a minute, then leapt up and followed her. There never seemed much point staying in a room once Gillian Foster had left it.
"You're a saint," he remarked a few minutes later as she handed him a steaming mug of hot spiced cider. The aroma was fantastic, and added to the fact that she'd made it especially for him before he even arrived on her doorstep made it even better.
"Careful you don't burn your mouth," she warned, and he smiled. Typical Gillian.
"I won't," he said, huffing at his drink to make a point. When it was cool enough to drink he took a sip, feeling the delicious warm liquid slide down his throat with wonderful ease.
"How is it?" she asked.
He smiled at her. "Perfection, Dr Foster. As always."
"Good," she said with a satisfied nod. "Want a snack to go with it?"
"Don't tell me you've been baking as well?" He chuckled, expecting her to say no and offer him a shop-bought snack, but she just smiled and reached behind her for a tin.
"Gingerbread," she confessed, lifting the lid to reveal perfectly shaped gingerbread men, complete with icing faces and buttons.
"You're mad," he said, a grin stretching across his face as he examined the details on the little confectionary figures. "A bow tie, Foster? Really?"
She giggled. "I was just experimenting with the icing. I think it's kind of cute though."
Cal reached for one of the gingerbread men with the bow tie, wondering briefly whether her baking session that morning had also been 'just in case' he paid her a visit. "Head first or feet first?"
"Whichever you like." She laughed.
"Well, it seems a bit cruel to just bite his head off."
"Because you never bite people's heads off," she teased, and her shot her a lock of mock annoyance.
"Hey! I'm a pussycat, me. You trying to suggest otherwise?"
"Wouldn't dream of it," she said smoothly as he continued to examine the gingerbread man he held between his fingers.
"On the other hand," he continued, "if I leave his head til last, he's got to bear witness to the ripping apart of the rest of his body. That's just sadistic."
"So you're not going to eat it at all?"
"Don't be daft." He swiftly bit the head off. "Mm," he said, munching on it happily. "You're right, biting the head off isn't so bad."
She smiled and reached for one of her own, although she started nibbling one of the feet first.
"Sadist!" he said, pointing an accusatory finger, and she laughed.
"Don't tell anyone. I'll never be able to keep up my nice girl image once word of this gets out."
"My lips are sealed." He devoured the rest of the gingerbread, brushing the crumbs off his hands. "Mm. Delicious. You know, coming here today really was the best decision I ever made," he joked, although there was a truth behind his words that he guessed she could see.
Gillian crossed to the window, gazing out at the snow which was now falling thicker and faster, a childlike smile of euphoria lighting up her face. "I'd forgotten how much you love snow," he said, although he hadn't. Five times since he'd known her had snow made an appearance in their lives, and each time had been accompanied by wistful looks out the window if she was stuck inside, a happy glow on her cheeks as she crunched through the snow by his side, and a blissful smile as snowflakes fell from the sky, landing in her hair and on her delicate cheeks and eyelashes. Not that Cal had noticed, really. Much.
"Let's go outside," she said suddenly, jolting him from his thoughts. He tore the mug away from his lips just as he was about to take another sip.
"Go outside," Gillian repeated slowly, as if talking to a four year old. She grinned at him. "Come on, it'll be fun. I always go outside when it snows. We'll wrap up warm, and make a snowman and snow angels, and then when we come back we can sit in front of the fire with hot choc- well, hot anything you want, really," she said, glancing at the mug of cider in Cal's hands. Her eyes sparkled, and there was such fervent excitement on her face, Cal couldn't say no to her. Although when can you ever say no to this woman? he found himself thinking idly as he made a big show of throwing up his hands in defeat and sighing dramatically.
"Fine, if we must. But I have rules, Foster."
"Yep. One: If my fingers start turning blue, I'm coming in. Two: You keep me well supplied with both hot spiced cider and gingerbread men for the duration of my stay. Three: I'm not making a snow angel. Deal?"
She grinned at him. "Yes to one and two. Maybe to three."
He opened him mouth to protest, but Gillian was already heading for the hall to retrieve her coat, hat, scarf and gloves, practically skipping as she went, and Cal followed her, his shoulders shaking with silent laughter.
A few minutes later they were both wrapped up warm (although Cal was still complaining he was cold) and ready to go. As Gillian's gloved hand reached for the door handle, Cal's closed over hers momentarily.
"Foster," he murmured, and she turned. "There's something I ought to warn you about before we go outside." She raised her eyebrows at him questioningly and he responded by leaning towards her so his mouth was close to her ear. Grinning, he whispered, "I'm a pretty good shot with a snowball."
Gillian let out a soft laugh, and focussed her gaze squarely on him. "Don't worry, Cal," she assured him, one hand coming to rest lightly on her hip, "so am I."