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Stephanie calls after him every couple of minutes, begging him to photograph every little thing she does, as though she's building an entire world in their teeny tiny front yard - and to be honest, he feels like she is, especially once Peggy convinces her to build a castle.

One of their older neighbors, Harvey, comes by and puts a hand on Daniel's shoulder at one point near noon - the sun is high in the sky, but Daniel had left his watch inside. (He was running on small-child-time, and the numbers didn't matter to her.)

"That cannon work, Danny?"

"Like you wouldn't believe!" comes Peggy's muffled response from behind the snow fort, and a moment later, Stephanie pops up above it, successfully chucking snowballs at both of the men. Regardless of his suit, Harvey takes it well, congratulating her on her aim.

"Feel bad fer any boy comin' round here in a few years - all three a ya's are frightenin' good shots, I tell ya," he says quietly before he heads on his way, making sure Peggy can't hear him, clapping his gloved hand on the back of what Stephanie refers to as Daniel's "outside-wheelchair." As in, the only one he has that's able to handle being out in snow, and he's grateful. His crutch wouldn't have done shit for him, what with all the snowball-pelting in his direction.

Daniel sees a peek of his little girl from behind their castle-fort, but it disappears as quickly as it came - she plops face first into the tall snow.

"Oof!" Stephanie yelps dramatically, and when she "sneaks" back over to her mother, Peggy starts fussing over her.

"Oh, you are absolutely covered in snow! We should go change this sweater, shouldn't we? You'll be soaked within the hour!"

"Mommy!" Stephanie whines, and though the snow muffles the sound of it, he can hear her stomp her little feet in protest.

"Daddy! Tell Mommy I'm not gonna freeze to death in just one more hour!"

"Oh, no," he replies, taking an almost-teasing tone. "Remember what I told you? Not smart to take a side against your mother-"

"Because she's always right," Stephanie sneers in a purposely high-pitched voice. Daniel can just picture Peggy's face.

"She doesn't always have to be right! Father Ned says nobody but God is always right!"

"You know what?" Daniel says, pushing himself out of the chair, grabbing the crutch up from the ground next to him in one fell swoop before either of his girls gets a chance to speak.

"How about...I go inside and make some hot cocoa, and we'll all have it together on the porch, and then you'll get thirty more minutes?"

Her little head, cloaked in her little pink hat, peeks up over the top of the edifice.

"Mallows?" she solicits quietly, a smile she doesn't want him to see sneaking across her lips as she proposes the idea.

"Of course!" Daniel replies enthusiastically.

"And you promise I get a whole thirty minutes, Daddy?"

"I'll even put on the kitchen timer."

"Okay," she accedes softly.

As usual, her cocoa ends up more marshmallow than cocoa, but she's content, and she lets Peggy pull her into a bath soon after they've had their own snowball fight and entirely demolished the castle they'd built earlier.

She pleads exhaustion before Peggy's even finished cooking dinner, and collapses on the couch near the front door, curled up with the damned dog (who isn't supposed to be on the furniture anyway, but apparently in dog world, children's opinions carry more weight than those of adults, and every time the little girl sits down anywhere in the house, it's right next to her, no matter how many times Peggy and Daniel try to demand differently).

They get a few good hours of quiet after dinner, leaning against each other in the living room, the radio playing on low so that Stephanie doesn't wake up, and they fall asleep curled up like that, too.

Peggy wakes up before he does, and he can hear her hair dryer running as he's sitting himself up on the couch, so he takes it upon himself to traverse the couple of steps it takes for him to grab the newspaper. It's not usually many, since the paper boy, Charlie, lives up the street and thus is aware of Daniel's trouble walking, and he tries to get it as close to the front stoop as he can - but some days, like this one, the boy's aim was a bit off, so it's rolled down the hill of their yard back to the sidewalk. It's either still snowing, or snowing again, too - Daniel's covered in flurries by the time he's reached the sidewalk.

Charlie is still riding his bike at the end of the road, and Daniel chuckles. He was going to be quite late for school this morning. He's approaching their end of the street again as Daniel's picking up the paper, and calls out.

"Sorry for the miss, Mr Carter! Overslept!"

"Play in the snow with your brothers yesterday?"

"Of course, Mr Carter! Took 'em sledding!"

"Good boy, Charlie. Now, get off to school!"

"Of course, Mr Carter! On my way now!"

"That right? Then where's your schoolbag?"


Daniel whistles, and points back to the boy's house. The bike stops, and though the teenager quite obviously considers continuing on, he heads back home.

Daniel hears a laugh behind him, and turns back up to the door to see Peggy, still wrapped in her bathrobe, but standing on the porch, chuckling. She's getting covered in snow, too, but even though Daniel sees her shiver a bit, she tries not to react.

"We gonna stand here till Charlie comes back by with his books?" she asks in a teasing tone when he reaches her, and he answers with the same one.

"I am, but you can go back in if you want."

He taps her on the nose with the paper, and the chuckle she'd had moments before trades its place with a proper giggle.

He leans in towards their front door and drops the paper on the floor, wrapping his right arm around Peggy as best he can as he stands back up. Leaning much of his weight on his crutch, he pulls her tighter and kisses her, and even as the snow begins to fall more heavily and soaks their clothes through to their bones, she's ensconced in his arms, her lips gentle and warm against his, and he couldn't be happier.