Written as part of the Secret Santa fic exchange for LadyRegiBoom. The prompt was Cal and Emily building a snowman, but I threw a little Gillian in there too ;-) Hope you enjoy!
Disclaimer: Not mine etc etc
Fun in the Snow
Cal's eyes shot open as he heard his daughter's voice. His semi-asleep state didn't fully allow him to discern excitement from alarm and he jumped up quickly, hurrying to the door and pulling it open as he called out, "Em? What's wrong?"
"Snow!" She came running down the hallway, still dressed in pyjamas, her eyes bright. "It snowed last night! Like, really heavy. There's loads of snow. Loads!" Her grin was infectious, and even though he rolled his eyes, Cal couldn't stop a small smile escaping as he looked at his daughter's glowing face. It was times like these that she didn't seem like she was seventeen; she was still his little girl, who got excited about things like snow.
"And?" he teased her, causing a smack on the arm. "Ow!"
"We have to go outside. And build a snowman!"
"Oh we have to, do we?"
She nodded. "Absolutely. You can't have this much snow and not build a snowman. It's, like, a rule or something."
"I see. And do the rules specify if we must go out in the freezing cold in just our pyjamas? Or are we allowed to get dressed first?"
She poked her tongue out at him. "You can get dressed first."
"Thank you very much."
"You've got five minutes."
"Em," he groaned. "I need a shower first to wake me up. And I'll most definitely need coffee."
"But we'll have hot chocolate when we come in from the snow!" She was practically jumping up and down as she spoke.
"But I don't like hot chocolate."
"What? I don't! That's a Foster drink."
Emily opened her mouth then closed it, a mischievous grin on her face.
"What?" she asked innocently.
"That. That look. That one right there, that one." He pointed at her face, stepping closer. "What are you thinking?"
"Nothing, Dad. Just that I want to go outside in the snow, and you're stalling."
"Whatever." She pushed him backwards towards his bedroom. "Just go. I'll see you downstairs."
"Alright, alright." He chuckled as he returned to the bedroom, listening to his daughter scampering back to her own room to dress. Shaking his head with amusement, he grabbed a towel and headed to the shower, knowing it would only be a matter of minutes before Emily started calling him and telling him to hurry up.
"Fourteen minutes Dad. Fourteen."
"I'm here now, aren't I?" He surveyed his daughter, wrapped up in a warm coat, scarf, hat and gloves. "Warm enough?"
She laughed. "Your stuff's there." He followed her gaze to the chair, where she'd placed his coat and scarf, a hat he hadn't worn in years and a thick pair of gloves. "Hurry up." She ran to the door, and he watched as she stepped outside, her feet sinking into the heavy snow.
A couple of minutes later Cal had pulled on his boots and the clothes Emily had left for him, and he followed his daughter outside. She hadn't been exaggerating when she said there was a lot of snow; it must have fallen very heavily during the night, as the ground was covered with at least six inches.
He looked at his daughter, who was lying down in the snow, moving her arms. "Angel?" he queried. "You haven't been angelic since you were about four."
"Hey!" She stood up, admiring her work. "I'd suggest you do one, but I'm not sure you've ever been angelic in your life."
"Damn right." He laughed as he reached out to brush some snow off her cheek. "So where's this snowman then? You haven't started?"
"No. I need you. First we have to make a ball, and roll it to make it bigger..."
"I do know how to make a snowman, you know, love."
She giggled. "Come on then."
Twenty minutes later they had a considerable sized snowball for the body, and Emily decided it was time they started making the head. Cal stooped to pick up more snow, packing it into a ball in his hands. Glancing around, he saw Emily patting at snow on the body, evening it out, and grinned wickedly as he took aim and threw the snowball at her back.
Her yelp of surprise was quickly followed by a laugh, and she ran behind the snowman.
"No fair!" Cal shouted to her. "I haven't got anything to hide behind!"
"Should have thought of that!" came her reply, accompanied by a snowball that narrowly missed his head as he darted to the side.
"Close, but not close enough!" He made another snowball, running around to the side of the snowman, laughing as she tried to move around to the other side but ending up falling over.
"Cheat!" she shouted as he dropped a snowball on her. "You can't snowball a girl when she's down!"
"I agree, it's not very gentlemanly," came a voice, and Cal and Emily both looked up.
"Gill!" Emily scrambled to her feet, launching herself at Gillian and giving her a hug. "Thanks for coming!"
"Alright Foster?" Cal's eyes travelled from her purple boots, up her legs to her warm coat and scarf, finally alighting on her eyes, which shone just as much as Emily's. "Let me guess. You're just as excited about this cold, white stuff that my daughter is."
She laughed. "Yes, Cal. This 'cold, white stuff' is quite fun. Don't pretend otherwise."
He looked at Emily, who was still grinning as she looked at her father and Gillian. "You called Foster while I was getting ready?"
"Yep. I invited her over to make a snowman with us. And have hot chocolate, of course."
"It was the hot chocolate that sold it for me," Gillian said with a smile, and Cal laughed.
"That doesn't surprise me."
"Okay," Emily interrupted. "Let's get back to Sam!"
"Sam?" Cal asked, and she pointed at the block of snow. "Sam Snowman."
"He's not called Sam. We never agreed he was called Sam. Did we agree he was called Sam?"
She rolled her eyes. "Well, do you have a better suggestion?"
"I've got plenty. Wasn't even asked, was I?" He kicked some snow up at her leg, and she jumped back with a laugh.
"Come on then. We'll discuss names as we make him."
"Or her," Gillian said, causing both Cal and Emily to look at her.
She nodded. "It could be a snowwoman."
"A snowwoman," Cal echoed. "That's the daftest thing I've ever heard."
"No it's not." She giggled. "Why should all snow people be men?"
"Because... because... they just are," he told her.
"Then how do you get snowbabies?"
He laughed. "I'm not even going to answer that. Come on."
They walked over to the snowman, and Emily began giving them instructions. "Right, Gill and I will make the head. Dad, you go and find sticks and stones and stuff for Sam – his – face and buttons and stuff."
"How'd you get to be so bossy? Take after your mother, you do."
"Sticks and stones, Dad. And a carrot."
"And where out here do you suppose I'll find a carrot?"
She put on a mock thoughtful expression. "Gee, I don't know, Dad. I guess you'll have to magic one out of thin air, since getting one from the house is a total impossibility..."
"Bossy and sarcastic. You are your mother's daughter."
"Yeah, 'cause you're never sarcastic." She looked at Gillian, who was trying to hold back a laugh.
"Nope. Never. You just inherited all the good stuff from me."
"Oh really?" She raised her eyebrows at her father. "And what might that be?"
"Brains. Looks. Charm."
"Yep, sure, Dad." She grinned at him. "Now, don't you think you'd better get started on those sticks?"
"How do I put up with her?" he asked Gillian, who just shook her head with a laugh, then bent down to pick up snow.
"Let's get started on Sam's head then," she said, and Cal groaned.
"He's not bloody Sam! I'm being ganged up on here, I am."
"Sam's a good name, it's gender neutral," Gillian informed him, causing another giggle from Emily.
"Gender neutral," Cal repeated. "You're still stuck on this whole 'snowman or snowwoman' thing?"
"Mm hmm," she said, starting to roll the ball, gathering more snow. "Or we could call it Cal. That could be a girl."
"It bloody could not!"
"Short for Calista."
"Or Calinda," Emily joined in.
"Alright, alright!" Cal threw his hands up in the air as he looked between the two women. "Maybe Sam's not such a bad name after all."
Emily grinned. "Knew you'd come to your senses, Dad. Now... sticks."
He made a big show of rolling his eyes and stomping off, leaving Emily and Gillian giggling as they continued rolling the ball.
He trudged into the house, locating a carrot that looked a decent size for a nose, and glanced out the window as he started to head back outside. Emily and Gillian had made the head, and were trying to lift it onto the top of the body, but they kept failing. Both were falling about with laughter, and even from that distance Cal could read the happiness on both their faces. He didn't mind Emily inviting Gillian over; in fact, he was glad she had. And not because he didn't enjoy spending one-to-one time with his daughter, because he did. But somehow Gillian's presence in their lives never detracted from that – he could be with Emily, he could be with Gillian, they could all three of them be together and it always just felt right. It felt – although he'd never said it aloud to either of them – like a family.
Realising he'd spent far too long in the kitchen and was probably going to be berated for it when he got back outside, he put his boots back on and went out to join them, carrot in hand.
"Dad!" Emily ran up to him, snatching the carrot and tossing it quickly to the floor. "We'll do that in a minute. Help us get Sam's head on!"
"Need a strong man, do you girls?" He tried to flex his muscles, but his heavy coat restricted him from moving very much.
"Yeah. But while we wait for one, you'll do," Gillian teased.
"I'm hurt, love, I really am." He bent to pick the large snowball up, and Emily grabbed the other side. Together they lifted it and placed it top of the body, which Emily and Gillian had flattened down somewhat.
"Okay, now we need to pack all the snow around to hold it in place... you and Gill do that, I'll go and get the sticks, since you haven't." She stuck her tongue out at her father again before skipping off in search of sticks, and Gillian laughed.
"If only all teenage girls could be like her."
"Yeah," Cal admitted, "I suppose I'm quite lucky. She's not all that bad."
Gillian laughed, packing the snow around the snowman's head as she did so. After a minute she stopped, looking at Cal as she spoke. "You don't mind me coming round this morning, do you? It's just Emily called, and said she wanted me to come over, and..."
"Of course not," he told her honestly. "I'm glad you came. Roads okay?"
"Not too bad. Bit icy in places, but driveable."
"Evidently." He grinned. "And I'm glad. Insufferable as you two may be when you gang up on me... it's the good kind of insufferable."
"There's a good kind of insufferable?"
"Yeah," he said slowly. "I guess there is." He tossed some snow at her.
"Hey!" She threw some back, but couldn't make snowballs for laughing as Cal threw more and more at her.
Suddenly he felt a snowball hit him from behind, and turned to see Emily grinning at him, holding some small sticks.
"Ganging up on me again?"
"Girls against boys. Boy. Only fair."
"Hmm. In that case... truce?" He gestured to the sticks in her hand. "Gotta give Sam a face, haven't we?"
"Okay. Narrow escape Dad, narrow escape."
He retrieved the carrot, and together he and Emily placed it on Sam's face, along with the sticks she'd gathered, giving him a nose, mouth and arms. "Very small arms," Cal commented, prompting a gentle whack on the arm from his daughter.
"Right, now we need stones for the eyes and buttons..."
"Here." Gillian appeared behind them, holding out her hand with five small, round, black stones.
"Perfect!" Emily took them excitedly, then handed two to her Dad. "I'll do the buttons, you and Gill do his eyes."
"Or her eyes," Gillian reminded them, and Cal rolled his eyes.
"Hers. Yeah. Come on then." He held one of the stones out to Gillian, and she placed it on Sam's face. Cal placed his stone next to it, but Gillian laughed and shook her head.
"Too close together!" He moved it further away, but she shook her head again. "Too far apart!"
He sighed melodramatically. "Women! Now do you see why I don't want another one around?" he asked Emily, gesturing at Sam. She laughed, standing back to admire her work. Three buttons were now on Sam's body, the perfect distance apart and dead centre.
"Lovely," Gillian told her, then looked at Cal. "Eyes, Cal. They need to be the right distance apart."
He shifted the eye until it was about the right distance away from the one Gillian had placed, then deliberately lowered it slightly when he pushed it in.
"He looks... weird."
"He?" he challenged her with a grin.
"He... or she. Gender neutral," Emily defended.
"So we've made a hermaphrodite snowfigure. Lovely."
Giggling, Emily readjusted the eye until it was level with the other one, then reached for Cal's scarf. Unwinding it from his neck she draped it around Sam, ignoring her father's protests.
She whipped his hat off, putting it on Sam's head, and Gillian laughed. "I've got a cold neck now," he grumbled, and his daughter shot him a mischievous look.
"Maybe you'll find someone who can help warm you up," she murmured, out of Gillian's earshot, and Cal gave her a warning look.
"Oi you. None of that. Now, can we go inside seeing as our snowperson is finished?"
"He... er, Sam looks great," Emily said, surveying their work.
"Scarf looks better on me."
"Oh, I don't know." Gillian grinned at him. "I think Sam looks quite becoming."
"Yeah yeah." He grinned at her. "Come on, let's get inside and – if we must – have some of that hot chocolate stuff you two love so much."
"With marshmallows?" Gillian asked hopefully.
"Of course!" Emily replied.
"Darling, we'd never dare to give you hot chocolate without marshmallows," Cal told her seriously, and she laughed.
Emily looped her arm through her father's, then linked her other arm with Gillian's. Still laughing, the three of them trudged through the snow together towards the house, and the warmth, and the hot chocolate that awaited them there.