Author Note: Well, seeing as I'm on break, I decided I'd go ahead and write another chapter in my free time. Hope you all enjoy!
Weathered from the bitter cold, Angel had slowed significantly in her journey. The sleigh bearing what she believed to be her best friend's body had long since passed her and she was finding it harder and harder to track its whereabouts. All she was going off of now was instinct, and instinct told her to head due south until she could finally set things right. She would find her friend and she would see him smile yet again, even if it killed her.
Pulling her scarf ever tighter, Angel silently cursed the fact that she'd worn nothing more than her measly work uniform. Although it looked weather-repellent, it was actually nothing more than a thin layer of cloth that provided her little relief from the elements. She was vaguely aware of the fact that most of her limbs had grown to a heavy numbness and reason led her to believe that she'd probably lose one or two of them in the long run, if not more. Although she was a very sheltered girl, she wasn't an imbecile and she was perfectly aware of the effects of frostbite. It'll mean nothing to me if I can never see Jack again.
Every step was a struggle, but she persevered against the elements as best as she could, her eyes sharp and her mind determined. Her auburn hair was now haphazardly strewn about her face, a layer of thin ice engulfing the tangled knots, giving her a fierce, crazed look. The wind caused tears to form in the corners of her eyes, which left small icicles hanging off the soft curve of her cheekbone. To anyone else, she'd surely look like a feral beast stalking its next prey. It seemed that most of her body was not functioning properly and her pace slowed drastically. She felt nothing but fatigue now and the ability to breathe was quickly starting to leave her.
She had trudged through the snow for hours, or so it seemed, until exhaustion and sickness finally began to overtake her. Weakly, she clutched at her chest, heaving with all of her might to catch her breath – it was no such use. Whimpering, Angel collapsed into the thick layer of snow below, her vision clouding and her head spinning. Was this how it was going to end? Was she to die here, in the middle of nowhere, with no one but the wind and snow to carry her to her death? No warm embraces or tear-jerking goodbyes? Just a vast, howling loneliness?
Trembling, Angel coughed so vehemently that it brought forth a fresh river of tears to her eyes. It was inevitable – she was to die here, unable to help her dearest friend. The man she'd always dreamt of – the man she'd loved. Yes, she could admit that to herself now. Despite years of trying to keep her feelings at bay, she'd truly loved the man who had been her only companion. Although she'd always told herself that her feelings stemmed solely from the bitter loneliness she'd felt all of her life, she knew that to be untrue. It was his undeniable warmth and tender kindness that had drawn her to him – and now she was to die, alone, and he would never know her secret. It would be better this way.
Taking her last shaking breath, Angel closed her eyes, a single tear sliding down her ashen cheek.
The sleigh landed with a heavy thud onto the tightly packed snow. Its cargo shuddered slightly at the impact, causing the mousey little elf to jump in surprise. "Darn coffin," he muttered aloud, his discontent completely apparent on his face. He knew he'd have to make quick work of this burial. Although all forms of precaution had been taken, there was always a chance that things would slip up.
As he, Hubert, was unaware, things already had.
Dismounting his bench, Hubert added a pinch of magic dust onto the lid of the coffin, causing it to levitate slowly from the back of the sleigh and land delicately on the mound of snow below. Content with his work, Hubert retreated to the front of the sleigh to collect his snow shovel and moved to the unmarked grave where Jack Frost would be buried. To Hubert, this was a very special privilege. Frowning, the little elf began to shovel the layers of snow out of the freshly made grave, which had been dug out not too many hours ago. This had been planned for quite a while, after all.
Several minutes of silence passed, save for the tumultuous winds and the crunching of the shovel in the layers of snow. It was almost calming for Hubert, unlike the usual hustle and bustle at the North Pole. He supposed that's why he applied for this usually abhorrent post. He'd rather spend time in the silence of the deceased than in the company of the abysmally cheerful.
Except this time, he wasn't in the company of the deceased.
Just as he'd finished removing the thick layer of snow from the grave, a sudden, loud clang echoed around him. Startled, Hubert clambered out of the grave and looked around him. There was nothing in his line of sight, save for the sleigh and uncovered coffin.
"What?!" he shouted, now frightened beyond reason. Who was doing this? Was someone playing a prank on him?
"Who-who's there?" he muttered, his voice beginning to leave him. Slowly, he inched toward the disturbed coffin, afraid of what he might find within. Despite the frigid air, beads of sweat began to form on his forehead, a lump caught in his throat. "He-Hello?" Shaking, he continued forward. With a great gasp, he looked inside the coffin and found….absolutely nothing.
"How can this be?" he uttered, now truly alarmed. Had the coffin perhaps been empty all along? No, it couldn't have been. He'd seen the body. He'd watched as Santa himself had personally laid the lid upon the coffin with a half-heartedly somber frown. It was not Hubert's job to ask questions, though – merely to follow orders.
Lost in his thoughts, Hubert did not hear the crunching of footsteps behind him. Even if he had, it would not have been able to save him.
"You really shouldn't have done this," a foreign voice slurred, a strong sense of severity in the tone. Before Hubert could turn around and see who had confronted him, he was completely engulfed in a barrage of sharp ice crystals. His death was instantaneous – therefore, he did not see the flash of a blue coat, covered in ice crystals, as its wearer headed north…north to where Angel's body lay.