"Hurry up girls. We wanna be done before dark."
Blake Shepard trudges up the snow covered hill, his feet buried up a few inches with every step. He glances over his shoulder, watching his little girl following in his footsteps. Hikari Shepard, her dark hair pulled back into a ponytail, her dark blue winter jacket zipped up tightly against the cold, a pair of fluffy blue earmuffs covering her ears. Blake looks over at his companion, the stalwart Garrus Vakarian, clad in a hand-knitted sweater with patterns of sniper rifles on it, "You sure they're this way?"
Garrus glances at Blake from the corner of his eye, a small smile playing about his features, "The others told me that they were just over this hill. They said they had found the perfect one."
He turns and lifts Hikari onto his shoulder in a swift motion, causing the little Shepard girl to squeal with delight, clutching her uncle's neck with both hands. "How about you little Kari? Can you see the rest of the family?"
Hikari's dark eyes narrow as she searches over the white-blanketed landscape, her gaze constantly moving until she notices something odd. "Daddy?"
Blake turns to his daughter, "Yeah sweetie?"
"There's a lot of footprints ahead........all leading to that big tree."
Garrus' visor suddenly sparks to life, stopping him in his tracks. "I get what she's trying to say Blake. The footprints are there.....but where are the people?"
In the blink of an eye, movement registers all around them, projectiles of white hurtling through the air. Garrus reacts on instinct, dropping little Hikari off his shoulder gently into the snowbank, before *splat*. A snowball hits him right between the eyes, obscuring his vision temporarily. Blake throws himself to one side, his omni-tool activating on impulse, unleashing a pair of incineration orbs, vaporizing at least four snowballs in their path. He notices the figures facing them, groaning at the sight. Urdnot Wrex and Grunt hold a massive ball of snow in their arms, Liara T'soni-Vakarian behind them, her fists glowing with biotic light. She winks at him, causing Blake's eyes to widen in surprise. "Oh...don't you dare."
Liara unleashes her force at the globe, turning the large ball into dozens of projectiles, each hurtling towards the pair. He turns to Garrus, "Take cover!"
"From what, Shep.........oh crap."
Snowballs fall like rain, pelting the pair, leaving them looking like oddly made snowmen. Blake hears his daughter giggle from her spot in the snow. He turns his gaze, wiping the snow from his eyes, a small blue asari sits next to Hikari, the pair rolling around in fits of laughter at the sight of their fathers. "Did you know about this, Hikari?"
His daughter gives him a innocent expression, but the sparkle in her eyes gives her away. Blake's false expression of disapproval changing to a warm smile, spreading his snow covered arms wide, "Come here you."
Hikari giggles as she dashes towards her father, wrapping her arms tightly around his waist, hugging him tightly. He envelops her in his arms, bringing a squeak from her, "You're snowy daddy, it's cold."
"Consider it payback for your devious snowball plot."
"What about Uncle Gawwus?"
Blake lifts her into his arms, as they look in the direction of the Turian Primarch. Garrus stands perfectly still as his daughter, Raelene, carefully packs snow carefully around his legs. "Garrus? What are you doing?"
"I can see that.......why?"
"Your wife's idea. She figured it would make a good picture."
"She can be quite persuasive."
"Tell me about it.........spirits that's cold, Rae."
Garrus puts a hand on her head, gently rubbing it, "It's okay. No one else would be able to get me to do this."
Blake feels his daughter poking his cheek softly, "Daddy......Picture."
Hikari points behind him. Blake turns to come face to face with the woman of his dreams. A long, dark green winter coat covering her light purple skin with a matching winter hat (complete with pom-pom on top), a holo-camera in one hand. Her eyes glitter as their gazes lock, bringing a slight flush to her cheeks. She quickly snaps a photo, Hikari hugging her daddy's neck, the smile befitting an angel on her face. "You two look adorable, Blake."
Her omni-tool beeps quietly, "Blake, we gotta start heading back. The others will be arriving shortly."
"What about the tree?"
A loud crack, followed by a heavy thump reaches their ears. Looking over her father's shoulder, Hikari watches her Krogan uncles attach large cables to the base of the felled tree and begin to drag it up the hill. She waves energetically at them both. Grunt looks sullen at having to do such a menial task, while Wrex smiles and returns the wave. Liara T'Soni-Vakarian uses her biotics to make a "cushion" under the tree, making the Krogans' task easier. Hikari turns her head back around to find her parents locked in a passionate kiss. A mischievous smile grows on Hikari's lips, as she hops up onto her father's shoulders, her hands on his head. She taps her fingers lightly on his scalp, "Daddy......Let's go! The twee is getting away."
Her parents part, her mother's expression almost blissful. Blake wraps his hands on Hikari's ankles, "Okay kiddo."
He turns to Garrus, "What do you think Rae? Think we can beat the pair of you back to the house?"
Rae grins as Garrus puts her on his shoulders to match Blake. "We can beat you.....can't we daddy?"
Garrus braces himself, "Absolutely."
Both Blake and Garrus take off at a full sprint, their daughters squealing with joy on their shoulders, making their way back home. Tali falls into step with Liara, both bringing up the rear behind the Krogan. "Boys will be boys, won't they?"
Liara smiles at her friend, her eyes still glowing from her biotics, "That's why we fell in love with them....isn't it?"
"Very true.......Merry Christmas Liara."
"You too Tali.......you too."