Title: Winter Wonderland
Author: Jinni (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Disclaimer: All things BtVS belong to Joss Whedon, et al. All things XMen belong to Marvel Comics, et al.
Distribution: The normal places.
Summary: Fred's first winter at the school proves memorable in many ways.
There was snow on the ground.
Oh, she'd heard that snow was possible. It had been on the weather the night before. And Storm, who knew about that kind of thing, had indicated that it was more than just a possibility. But her poor Texan mind hadn't really thought it through. Oh, she'd seen snow before. On television, that was. Pylea didn't get snow and neither did her hometown.
And now --
Winifred Burkle, known to her friends as Fred, pressed her nose to the window, her breath making little clouds of fog on the glass pane. It looked so beautiful. So pristine. All that white fluffliness, unspoiled and serene. Like something from a painting. The sun was still rising, and the whiteness was tinged with a pale orange glow.
But it was still beautiful. Like fire on the ice covering that protected the delicate flakes beneath. She smiled, running her fingers down the windowpane.
"You could go out there, you know."
Fred jumped, a startled screech bubbling from her mouth before she could stop it. She turned, stomping one foot angrily at the man standing behind her.
"Fred!" he mimicked with a playful roll of his eyes.
"Don't sneak up on me!"
"I don't think it counts as sneaking if I wasn't even trying to hide the fact I was coming. Hardly my fault if you were so busy staring outside you lost track of the rest of the world."
He'd been like that since she met him. All blinding smiles and sweet words. And the light teasing, she couldn't forget that. Fred felt herself smile.
"I've never seen it before, in person," she tilted her head towards the window.
"Snow?" He frowned. "You've never seen snow before?"
She stuck her tongue out at him, turning back to the window. Couldn't he see that she just wanted to stand here and admire it? You'd think he was still one of the school's students, instead of a full teacher.
"Hank let you off for the day?"
Fred snickered, but didn't turn back to look at Bobby. "He's not my keeper, you know."
"I know," he was smirking, she could just tell, even without looking his way. "But that doesn't mean you get time out of the lab, either."
Fred snorted. "I get more time off than you do."
"No you don't."
She shrugged. He was right. She didn't get that much time off. Her work with Hank McCoy kept her busy. It had been an honor to get chosen to assist with his research. Someone, somewhere, had put in a good word for her. The fact that he was a large, furry, blue mutant didn't even phase her. After all, lorne was a tall, green demon.
The entire school was filled with mutants, for that matter. She was the only non-mutant in residence. From the students to the staff, everyone had something special going on for them. Some more special than others, but still - a little gift of some kind.
All she had going for her was her brains - nothing to scoff at, but not up there with the ability to read minds, either.
"Let's go outside."
"Don't you have classes?" She prompted with a small smile. She put her forehead on the window, puffing little hot breaths onto the glass. It fogged up, obscuring the snow beyond, and she reached up to wipe it away with her sleeve.
"Not until later. C'mon - me and you, outside."
She glanced outside, at the unblemished whiteness, and then at the hand that Bobby was holding out to her. It seemed a shame to put footprints through it, but the students would be doing it soon enough, she supposed.
"Just for a little while," she warned, taking his hand. Her sweater would have to be enough, there was no way she was running all the way back to her rooms to grab a jacket.
The air was still as they exited the mansion, no biting wind to create more chill than was already present. She glanced around from the top of the porch, taking in the sight before her. Beautiful.
"You have to actually go out in it," Bobby laughed, pulling on her hand until she took a tumbling step forward. Her foot hit an icy spot and she slipped forward, falling . . . straight into Bobby's arms.
"Really?" he glanced down at the step. "Huh. Ice. Who would've guessed?"
Fred narrowed her eyes, allowing him to help her back into a more stable, standing position.
"Thanks for catching me, though," she offered.
She was sure it was, too. Ice on the steps. That wasn't fishy at all when you were outside with a mutant who's sole power lied in. . .ice. Was it?
The petite, dark haired scientist took the hand he offered, surprised to find it still quite warm despite the fact that it was so cold out and he, too, was without a coat.
"Did you ice that step on purpose?" she found herself accusing before she could tell her mouth to just stop. A blush spread over her face as Bobby turned her way, eyebrow raised.
"Why would I do something like that?"
Fred shrugged. "Haven't quite thought that far yet."
He grinned, white teeth flashing. Lord, but the boy was handsome. She'd noticed it before, but he was turnin' on the charm today, making her stomach do little flips. Did he realize the effect he had on women with just the power of that smile alone? Much less when he was holding their hand, rubbing the back in these little circles.
"Okay, I did it," he admitted with a shrug. "Wanna know why?"
"So that I could fall on you?"
"Well, yeah," he smirked. "Though, I was aiming more towards the idea of me catching you than you falling on me. Good thing that worked out, huh?"
She felt her face heat up in a blush. Why was he standing so close. And he was still holding her hand, but up higher now, playing with her fingers right there, in front of his heart, so that their hands were all that separated them from touching front to front.
"You wanted to catch me?"
"Uh huh," he nodded, licking his lips. His eyes were sparkling, though whether it was amusement or something else, Fred couldn't say. All she really could think about were those lips. "So did I?"
"Did you what?" She frowned, confused.
Before she could open her mouth, he was kissing her. Lips to hers. Gentle, soft. Everything a good little kiss should be. She giggled as he pulled away.
"All that for a kiss?"
"It was a pretty good kiss," he argued, the smile never leaving his lips.
"It was alright, I guess."
"You've had better?"
"I don't kiss and tell," she shot back with a little smirk of her own. She didn't even feel the cold now, that snow at her feet could have been plain old grass.
"Guess we'll have to work on the kissing, then."
He leaned in again, mouth touching hers. It was so soft. . . she wanted to melt into his arms. Let the world end in a rain of fire, so long as it didn't disturb her little world of ice, right here and now. She smiled into his mouth, tentatively opening up to the gentle probing of his tongue.
He'd caught her in more ways than one that day - and it was only just beginning.