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A pair of hand's covered Jo Maynards dark eyes with a soft, "Guess who?"

"Jack!!" screeched Jo excitedly as she swung around to face her husband. "What are you doing here?"

"Well the San was quiet, and I found myself missing my wife, and the peacefulness of home so I came."

Jo grinned but all she said was, "Well if you're looking for peace you have come to the wrong place."

This was proved a moment later when there was a loud scream of, "THAT'S MINE." followed by a small crash and a loud thud.

Jo winced. "I suppose we should check that out." she said resignedly and started to hare up the stairs.

On the first floor landing, Felix was lying full length on the floor, his feet flailing wildly, with Cecil calmly sitting on his back, effectively pinning him to the ground. His hands and Marie-claires were tangled together, both fighting for control of a book of some sort.

A quiet , "Het hmmm", momentarily caused them to pause in the midst of their squabble.

Jo eyed them dispassionately, "No one hurt?" she asked, "Alright then well me and your Father are going out for a walk, try not to kill each other please oh and make sure the house is still tidy for the teenage invasion this afternoon." and with a final glance back she left them to it.

The children had barely gotten in a "Hello Pappa!" before they had retreated back down the stairs.

"I'm stealing you for myself today" said Jo with a grin, grabbing Jack's hand.

"Roddy" she yelled back suddenly, with little regard for her image as a wife and mother, "Make sure everyone is still in one piece when we get back. You're in charge."

"Come," she continued to Jack, now in her normal tones, "Let's have a little time to ourselves."

Jack grinned down at his wife, and grabbed both her hands in his. "You're as much of a scaramouche as you always were" ,he said fondly, "and I love you for it."

Jo reached up and kissed Jack tenderly on the cheek, "I love you too." then with a quick pat on the shoulder, "Last one to the gate is a rotten egg!" before she dashed off.

Jack laughed and chased after her, grabbing and tickling her just before she reached the door. With a soft kiss, and a little push, he raced past her down the lawn.

"Jack, Jack, JACK!" she squealed as she slid down towards him across the icy grass.

"What's that rotten egg?" he asked from where he was standing, slightly out of breath at the gate.

Jo burst out giggling as she reached him, "Thank goodness the School is on holiday just now. Can you imagine what they would think if they could see the way the respectable head doctor of the Sanatorium was acting?"

"And what about you, esteemed authoress and Mother of twelve?" asked Jack teasingly, as he scraped together some snow and threw it at her.

"Ughh Jack." was Jo's response as she ducked out of the way, before pelting him back, "You make me sound so old!"

"Well by golly Jo my lass, we are rather getting on a bit." said Jack placidly.

"JAAAACKK" wailed Jo rising completely.

Jack ignored her temper, "Let's go for a stroll" he said, grabbing her arm, "I never do seem to get to see you."

Jo grinned at him cheekily. "We should soon get tired of each other I expect. We'll have plenty of time together once we are both firmly established in rocking-chairs on the front porch, and your sandy hair will have turned a whiter shade of grey than it is now."

"My gray hair indeed." said Jack indignantly, "You stop wittering on and let me kiss you before we are so far emaciated that we can no longer move without the assistance of our canes."

And before his wife could protest he gathered her into his arms.




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