iii.

"What are you doing out here?"

It's freezing cold, in the middle of winter, and she wraps the coat tighter around herself as she looks out the door with narrowed eyes. She can barely make his shape out in the darkness, but there's the telltale flickering of a fireball in one hand that casts eerie shadows over the grounds.

When he turns around she makes her way down the stairs and walks over to him. The diamond on her finger (not big but certainly more beautiful than Marie's, that's for sure) glints in the light he's created and the rainbow colored light reflecting off it has her smiling. It's a new investment and every time she looks down she's somewhat surprised to see it there.

"I just had to get away for a while," he says as he closes his fist and effectively kills the light.

It takes a couple of seconds before her eyes adjust again and she wraps her arms around his waist. "I get what you're saying. Chuck's a handful."

Chuck is Marie and Bobby's firstborn, named for their old professor who taught them so much. Most of the time the boy's a joy to be around – the mansion always seems brighter when he's there: it may be the sound of a child's laughter filling the corridors – but he's just hit the terrible twos and he's incredibly spoiled by his parents.

Not that he isn't by the two of them, but they play the role of aunt and uncle, and aunts and uncles are supposed to spoil their nephews. Parents aren't, and she's standing firm on that point.

He nuzzles her neck and presses a gentle kiss there. "Love you," he mumbles lazily, smirking against her skin when she shudders.

"Mhmm," she mumbles back. "Good for you."

She'll bet anything that he's rolling his eyes at her.

"Why don't you come back inside?" she asks, running her hands up and down his arms. He doesn't seem cold, but she doesn't like the darkness and he knows this.

"Okay."

They head back inside together.


AN: Done and done. Thank God. I'd appreciate it if you left words of any kind – did you like it? Hate it? What could've been done better? Was the present tense alright? (I find I'm struggling with it, sometimes. This was an excellent exercise, but I'm not sure if I got it 100% right.) Anything you're thinking right now, don't hesitate to send it in. In any case, thanks for reading.