Chapter Notes: Written for the schmoop_bingo prompt Winter holiday/festival".

Chapter 25 :: Dancing in Their Heads
By A. Magiluna Stormwriter

++ Monica ++


"Why is it that Christmas gets harder and more exhausting as you get older?" Dana grumbles as she shuffles into the bedroom.

Her question makes me chuckle, and I bite back the retort about her being older than me; I'd like to sleep in my own bed tonight instead of the couch in the Great Room. Shifting up a bit, I set my book aside and pat the mattress next to me. "You're only exhausted because William is finally starting to get the holidays and wants to keep up with the older kids."

She snorts softly and walks into the bathroom to brush her teeth. Moving again, I rest my chin on my hands and watch her go through her nightly ablutions. Teeth brushed, she works on removing her makeup before running a brush through her hair. Dana smiles at me as she comes back into the bedroom and works on stripping off her clothes. I am completely mesmerized by what I consider to be the flawless beauty of her naked body. Her amused chuckle warms me in less than innocent ways as I groan when she slips into her pajama bottoms and tank top.

"Your arousal's showing," she teases, removing her jewelry and setting it on the dresser.

"So? You're drop dead gorgeous, babe."

She snorts again and crawls into bed. Obviously, I need to prove that I mean what I say, regardless of the fact that I say it to her all the time. Without hesitation, I lean over to press a kiss to her lips, utterly delighted when she parts her lips to accept my questing tongue. Exhausted, my ass. Dana moans softly, one hand moving up to cup the back of my head, keeping me close. She tastes of wintergreen, fennel, and cloves. This is a very strange combination that should not work in nature, but is surprisingly tasty in Dana.


The sound of William's voice over the monitor effectively halts any amorous thoughts I'm having. Sighing at the loss of Dana's lips against mine, I move to get out of bed to check on our son. This is his first night in his new big boy bed, and I really shouldn't be surprised that he's having some adjustment issues.

"I'll go, Mon," Dana says, gently touching my arm. "He's calling for me, after all."

"We'll both go," I reply, grabbing her hand to guide her out of the bedroom. We walk to William's room in silence, listening for any signs of him being more upset than he came across on the monitor. Thankfully, he's pretty quiet. Slipping the door open, we can see him sitting up in his bed, scrubbing at his eyes with one hand. "Hey, mi hijo," I say softly. "Que pasa?"

"No sleep, Mami," he grumbles.

Dana moves into the room, settling on the bed next to him. "What's wrong, handsome? Did you have a bad dream?" He shakes his head and snuggles in next to her side. "Are you feeling sick?" He shakes his head again. "Then what's wrong, William?"

"Bed wrong," is all he'll say as I head to the rocking chair to be near them.

"It is?" She shifts him into her lap and presses a kiss to the top of his head. "What's wrong about it?"

"No bars," he finally whispers.

Dana glances up at me, and that old worry about this bed has crept back into her eyes. She has been fighting herself over whether William's old enough for a big boy bed, or if we should have just done the modification to convert his crib into a toddler bed. She's agonized over this decision for the last six months since William turned two. Everyone here at the Ranch has given us advice on this situation, and I finally thought she'd resolved her issues when she finally put the money down on the twin bed she's now sitting on with our son.

Apparently, I was wrong.

"Mi hijo, don't you want to be a big boy like Jimmy and Cubby? They don't sleep in cribs."

"Am a big boy," he says stubbornly, "but afraid to fall."

Nodding slowly, I study William for a moment before standing up. "Be right back."

Heading out into the living room, I rummage through the linen closet until I find the air mattress and its pump. A fitted sheet is tossed on top of the bin they're stored in and I make my way back into the bedroom. Dana has moved to the rocking chair, holding William close and crooning softly to him. His eyelids are heavily drooping with exhaustion, but he and his mother watch me avidly as I set up the air mattress on the floor and plug in the pump to inflate it. Once the mattress is fully inflated, I put the sheet on it before moving to stand in front of my two dearest loves. Leaning over, I pull William up into my arms and sit on his bed.

"Sleepover, Mami?" William asks sleepily.

"Not quite, Billy Bear. But I have made you a safety net for your big boy bed."


"Mm-hmm. You can sleep in your big boy bed, and we'll put the air mattress right up next to it. That way, if you roll over and fall by accident, you'll land on the mattress and not get hurt. Will that make your bed less scary?"

William nods as enthusiastically as he can, considering how worn out he is, and lets me settle him in his bed again. He reaches for Thomas and curls up on his side, facing the door. I lean over and press a quick kiss to his sleep-warmed cheek.

"Music, Mami?" he asks, slurring the words around a yawn.

Dana turns on the CD of ocean sounds that William loves to fall asleep to, then comes over to kiss him goodnight again. He sighs happily and snuggles Thomas closer. We step back from the bed to push the air mattress up tight against his bed.

"There we go, Billy Bear. Now if you get restless in your sleep and roll out of bed, you have this whole air mattress to land on. Isn't that better than bars?"

"Fank you, Mami," he murmurs.

We watch William sleep for a moment or two before I motion for Dana to precede me out of the bedroom. Dana pauses in the doorway to glance back at William, but continues on toward our bedroom. Once in our room, she grabs the monitor and puts it on her nightstand. I don't fight this protective streak of hers, knowing it will only make her fretting worse. She crawls into bed and turns to curl up against my side.

"I'm being one of those mothers again, aren't I?"

"No, you're being a good mother," I reply with a grin and press a kiss to her temple. "I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little worried about him getting hurt in his new bed, but I know he'll be fine. And if we really need to, we can rig up the side bars from his crib onto his new bed, but I don't think we'll need to. The air mattress is going to be his bed version of training wheels."

Dana leans up on one elbow to study my face. "You think so?"

"I know so. And we'll give him a month or so to get used to his new bed, then we'll work on fully potty training him. If he's got a real bed, he won't need his pull-ups at night anymore either."

With a tremulous grin, Dana leans over to press a grateful kiss to my lips. "How do you always know exactly what to say to make me feel better?"

"It's what I do," I reply with a nonchalant shrug.

Dana strokes my cheek and cuddles down next to me again with a sigh. Her fingers trail down my sternum to rest against my stomach. "I'm sorry that we got interrupted earlier. I was kind of hoping to have our own little Christmas celebration now that the main festivities are over with."

"It's okay. William needed to be taken care of. Besides, it's not like we'll never get the chance to make love again, baby." I grin and waggle my eyebrows at her. "I was planning on taking advantage of you on New Year's Eve, anyway."

She lets out a coquettish giggle, the sound sending a warm jolt down into my groin. "I'm going to keep you to that promise, you know."

"Good. I have all sorts of naughty, dirty things planned for you."

Dana grins and leans up to brand me with a tired, but heady kiss. "You spoil me, Monica Reyes."

"Not in the slightest!" I reply, turning more serious as I caress her cheek. "I do love you, though, Dana, with every fiber of my being."

"I love you, too, Mon. Merry Christmas."

"Merry Christmas, baby."

Sleep comes quickly after our declarations of love, and the Ghost of Christmas Present seems appeased for another year.