The first week in December, it snows buckets, and everyone gets cranky. Packages are arriving late or not at all, and Magnus is spending half her time on the phone trying to find out where her shipment of imported beetles for whatever only eats imported beetles is. The front walk has to be shoveled endlessly, and going anywhere means getting cold and soggy, which means that everyone is hanging around the Sanctuary and getting on one another's nerves.
Will is working through some reports of strange goings-on in Toronto that have finally showed up in the morning's mail. He dimly registers that Kate is in the doorway, but tries to block her out and concentrate.
"Hey," she says.
"Hey," he says absently, frowning. "They could have faxed this stuff, you know? It's not like the snow is blocking the phone lines."
"Stand up," Kate says.
Will looks up at that. "Why?"
"Just stand up, okay? Trust me," she says. She has one hand behind her back, and she's smirking, but Will stands up anyway, because apparently he has no better judgment.
The snowball smacks him on the chin, shockingly cold, and snow slides down under his collar. "Why, you--"
"You should see the look on your face," Kate says, and then runs.
He chases her out to the foyer, where she's shrugging on her coat. "Someone had to get you out of your office," Kate said. "You were going to, like, mold in there."
"We are too old to play in the snow," Will says.
"Who's playing? This is war," Kate says, and slips out the door.
He considers going back to his office and locking the door, and then decides he doesn't really want to be that guy. He shrugs on his jacket and opens the front door cautiously, which is a good thing, because snowballs explode against it the moment he does.
They're coming from at least two directions, he registers as he throws himself out the door looking for cover. There really isn't any, and Henry and Kate pelt him with snowballs as he sputters.
"Okay, time out!" he calls. "I'm unarmed, here!"
"Should have gotten out here sooner," Henry says, but he lays off long enough for Will to pack a handful of snow into a snowball that he tests in his hands. Henry grins at him, and Will makes as if to smack him with the snowball, and then turns around and whips it at Kate.
He still doesn't hit her, but he does at least make her yelp in surprise and slide in the snow as she dodges. "Enough time out," she says. "You're going to get it." She's grinning, her hair flying, looking like she's having fun without caring whether she looks cool doing it. He likes the way her eyes light up when she's really having fun.
"Bring it on," Will says, which may be the second most reckless thing he has ever done.
It's probably inevitable that it ends with him on his back in the snow, getting pelted by both of them until he yells for mercy.
"Mercy," Kate says, and lands on him, straddling him and pinning him down under her weight. "I don't know, do we do that?"
"You tell me," Will says, looking up at her while she grins down at him. It registers suddenly that her lips are very close to his. They look like they'd be warm.
Then a snowball smacks into the side of Kate's head, and she sputters and rolls off him, coming up with snow already in her hands. "Lay off, will you?"
"You still need to meet your frosty doom," Henry says. He winds up to throw, Kate runs for the front steps, apparently figuring there's a tactical advantage to higher ground, and it's really just bad luck that the front door opens just as Henry throws the snowball and Kate leaps out of the way.
The snowball smacks Magnus right in the face as she steps out the door, and for a moment everyone freezes. Henry and Kate both look like guilty kids, and Will suspects he probably does too.
Then Magnus smiles, a dangerous gleam in her eyes. "We'll see about that," she says, and bends to scoop up a handful of snow.
"We're in trouble," Henry says.
"No, we can totally take her," Kate says. "Right? Will?" She looks around for allies as Magnus advances on Henry, snowball at the ready.
"I think it's frosty doom time," Will says as Magnus lets the first snowball fly, and he chases Kate through the snow when she runs.