In the Snow

Small expansion of the Dec. 24th "Sledging" scene mentioned on Rose's Blog, slightly AUish. Tom/Rose.

One question (for all the English people on here), by "sledge" Rose is referring to sleds, right, and not sleighs? The context seems to agree with sleds. I hope I have it right… Hey all, sorry that this isn't Three O'Clock in the Morning, but I got the inspiration for this idea while daydreaming in church :S and just had to write it up! Hope you all like! This was originally going to be in the above, but I've cut it to here because of the length of that story.

Disclaimer: Don't own. All characters and references belong to Hilary McKay.

This evening, my family and Tom and David went sledging at the park amongst all the indigo blue shadows as night began to fall duskily over the world. For a while, everyone went in pairs together, Caddy and Saffron, Michael and Buttercup, Indigo and Sarah, David and Tom and me. Oh, and Sarah's father, my mother, and Molly and Kiran. The sleds looked amazing in the sparkling snowy wonderland we were playing in, all brightly moulded red plastic, making vivid colour through the snow.

After Tom and David and I had one final circuit down the hill, David took himself up to the house for hot chocolate, leaving Tom and I alone with the sled. Nearby, Indigo held Sarah in his arms, about to replace her into the sledge so that they could go again; she looked like a beautiful ice fairy in the fading light and Indy like her noble, tall dark knight. Tom glanced up at me and caught my eyes, and then extended his hand to me, although I couldn't help noticing the hugely significant looks Sarah and Saffron were darting at each other. Caddy, bending her yellow head over Michael's black one, with Buttercup between them, shot an inquisitive glance in my direction, and then gave me an encouraging smile.

"Hey, P Rose," Tom spoke up, ignoring the stares from everyone else – including Kiran and Molly – around us. "Come on, let's take a ride together."

Bubbles of happiness began to float through my body, and my heart felt like it was racing, although I kept my voice steady as I replied (eagerly).

"Oh yes, yes, Tom!"

Getting into the sledge, I sat in the front, while Tom placed himself in the back to push us off the hill. Putting his arms outside of the sledge, he gave us a strong push so that we went flying over the snow crystal-encrusted ground. After Tom had pushed us off, he enfolded his arms over me in the manner of a person not trying to keep another person on a sledge, but in the manner of an embrace. Leaning against him, I felt sure there nowhere else on earth that I would rather be than in his arms for always, and a small smile slipped through the corners of my mouth. All at once, the sledge jerked crazily – we had hit a large rock. Tom's strong arms gripped me around my chest as he attempted to help me keep my balance, but it was to no avail and we both catapulted out of the sledge and into the freshly drive snow, slamming into the rather hard earth together.

I noticed though at the back of my mind that I had sensed an arm wind itself under me to break my fall as I laughed and gasped for breath. Raising my head, I saw Tom looking down into my face, his brown eyes anxious. He lay on the side next to me, squashed a bit on my upper chest. His arm was still under my back, I noticed. His face was directly over my head and the distance between the two of us seemed to be shrinking as he looked and looked into my eyes, looked so deeply that I couldn't look away.

"Permanent Rose?" he whispered, inclining his head even closer to mine. "Are you okay?"

Having finally recovered my breath (but still gasping a little from having the air knocked out of me) I gazed into Tom's eyes, seeing myself in my bright red snowsuit reflected back in his brown ones, and I'm sure that Tom, in his translucent red snowsuit, were reflected in my own blue eyes.

"Yes," I replied. "I'm okay… thank you for breaking my fall, Tom."

And I graced him with my best Casson smile that starts out as if I don't want to smile, and then it comes slow, then it's suddenly there, tinged with a bit of guilt. A devastating smile, at least according to Sarah. And apparently it worked on Tom, because he bent his head even closer to mine, his lips just ever so faintly brushing my own.

"Aw... it was nothing," he murmured in response.

At that moment, time seemed to slow. In the midst of the fairy world of the snow with the trees glistening like diamonds, Tom and I were the only people in existence, in that world –All Our Own. Suddenly, the scraping of a sledge nearby brought both of us out of that delightful place. It was Indy and Sarah riding together.

"You just had a massive fall," Indigo exclaimed matter-of-factly as Sarah quirked an eyebrow at me as she asked if I was all right.

Tom helped me to my feet and we stared into each other's eyes for one lingering moment, attempting to find ourselves alone in that magical world again. Finally, with a sigh, Tom broke my gaze, turning to chat with Indigo and Sarah. I began to climb the hill, but at the top I turned and glanced back. Tom looked up, met my eyes, and it was like we were back in that magical world of our own again.