Hey guys! :) Been a while, huh? I've been super busy with school and such, and I haven't had much time to write. So I figured I would get this one down quickly, so you would have something, at least!
Thank you so much for all the reviews and love! I hear you when you beg for more chapters, believe me, and I'm doing what I can. :)
The next chapter should be up soon, I promise, and you'll meet the remaining characters! I'm excited for you all to meet them. I've been writing them in other stories for a few months, and they're so much fun!
Anyways, hope you enjoy the chapter, and don't forget to review!
Warning: There are a few curse words in this chapter, just like always. Don't like, either don't read or skip past them!
Twenty one ogres. Fifteen mountain trolls, eight river trolls, and three trolls of questionable origin. Seventeen forest elves, eight centaurs, a dozen gnomes, and ten elfin knights.
"Twelve elfin knights," Tooth declares over Callen's shoulder, warm breath ghosting past his ear and startling him.
The Irishman jumps, his glasses almost falling down and off his freckled nose. "Tooth! When'd ya get 'ere?" He can't say he isn't unhappy to see her, after about two hours of compiling a list of their allies and organizing battle plans.
The Guardian sets a plate of cookies and eggnog down beside him, before flitting around to his other side to take a closer look at the list. "Since my poor little babies got a headache from the sound of North and Bunny sharpening swords," she explains, gesturing back to the small huddle of fairies around their own plate of cookies.
Callen looks up, for once noticing the rather grating sound of metal on rock – apparently North had found the swords too dull for his liking. He winces as the grating gets louder, before quieting down again. He could see why the little fairies could get a headache, and wonders how the hell he'd managed to block it out.
Tooth peers over his shoulder at the list of names of their allies. "So, we have an army."
Callen nods, running a hand through his hair. "That we do. A big one, at that. But is it powerful enough?"
The small hand on his shoulder does little to comfort him. "Is this stressing you?"
"Yeah," he says, looking down at the page. Tooth sits against the edge of the desk, legs folded elegantly and wings tucked behind her.
"You could ask North to take control," she offers softly. "I'm sure he'd be more than happy to do it."
It's a tempting offer. Very tempting. To surrender power to someone else, hand over the reigns. Bury the strategizing skills he never thought he'd use, keep the swords locked away and watch from the sidelines.
But part of him aches for a taste of the past, for a sense of what he once was.
Callen shakes his head, forcing a small smile. "Nah, it's okay. I'll be fine, don't worry."
Tooth's face tells him that she saw past his bullshit. And he thanks every god he can think of that instead of calling him on it, she merely pushes herself off of the table. She opens her mouth, probably to give some kind of Tooth-wisdom, but a high-pitched yelp and the clang of metal interrupts her. Both Guardians turn towards the closed library door.
"I should-" she starts, but Callen waves her off.
"Go make sure there ain't any limbs missin'," he directs, and she gives him an apologetic look before zooming out of the library and investigating.
He looks back to the page, adding two more names to the list.
"Why is it stressing you?"
This time the pen skids across the paper, the quill splattering ink and making the paper polka-dotted.
"Shit," he manages under his breath, dabbing at the ink splotches before looking up to where Jack's voice had come from.
The frost sprite is perched on top of one of North's bookshelves, a fly on the wall. Callen hadn't even seen him there, the shadows of the dark library concealing him. "Just… worried, ya know? About Pitch."
Jack hops down, landing on his feet and swinging his staff across his shoulder. "That's bullshit. We all are. Why is this bothering you so much?"
Callen fakes a smile. "Never pegged ya as a curser."
Jack shrugs, his fingers dancing across the desk as he sits where Tooth had been. His fingertips leave curls of frost in their wake, before Jack freezes the top of the inkwell. "But seriously, why?"
"Just ain't used t' it," Callen lies easily.
Jack gives an affirmative hum. "Yeah, guess you weren't there the last time we fought him. Why was that?"
Callen shakes his head. "I'll tell ya once this is all over," he says.
Jack raises an eyebrow. "Was it really that bad?"
"A bit. I'll tell ya, I promise. Swear on puppies or somethin'." Callen replies.
"Are you going to tell me what happened that night at the tavern then, too?"
Immediately it feels as if the room's gotten colder. Which, he supposes, is entirely possible when you have Jack Frost in said room. "We got more allies, and we all danced and drank and that was it."
The other Guardian isn't buying it. "I might've been a bit drunk, but I do remember things."
Callen turns and leans on the desk, looking up at Jack. "Do ya know? What do ya remember? North dancin'? Tooth gettin' rowdy? Bunny loosenin' up?"
"And you kissing me, I remember that too."
"Uh uh, ya were the one kissin' me, Frostbite, if I can recall correctly, which I think I can-" His eyes widen as he realized what he just did. Confirming the facts. He could've brushed it off, told Jack that he'd confused him with Tooth and that they should just forget about it. But no, he had to go and open his mouth, didn't he?
Jack tilts his head. "So… it did happen."
Dear MiM, let the ground open and swallow him. "… it did."
"Was it good?"
Callen sputters. "THAT'S the first thin' ya ask?"
Jack's cheeks frost over, turning a shade of violet. It looks out of place on his usually smirking face, and it also looks completely and utterly adorable, in Callen's opinion. "I mean, it was my first kiss."
Callen coughs awkwardly. "Uh, yeah, it was pretty good. I mean, ya could ease up on the slobber, but it was good."
"And for a drunk kiss?"
"Fer a drunk kiss it was really good," Callen replies, corner of his mouth twitching up.
Jack gives a shy smile. "It was?"
Jack coughs, and Callen's amused to see a few flurries produced at the sudden action. "So, I guess you kissed back?"
"Yeah, I did."
"So we danced. And kissed. Anything else?"
He didn't have to be the Boogeyman to sense the fear in Jack's voice. "Nope, nothin' else."
Jack doesn't hide his sigh of relief. "O-okay, good."
"Did ya want somethin' else t' happen?"
"No!" the frost sprite replies immediately. "I-I mean… I wouldn't MIND, but it would be good to be in my right mind, I guess?" His cheeks are practically indigo now.
Callen gives him a smile in an attempt to calm him down. "Yeah, good idea."
The conversation drifts off into silence between them, the quiet filled with the crackling of the fire and the soft snores of the now dozing mini-fairies.
"So…" Jack starts, Callen looking up at him. "Could we try again?"
Callen blinks. "Try again?" he repeats.
Jack's hands are fidgeting with his staff, his embarrassment creating more frost on the wood. "Y-yeah, I mean, I don't really remember the first one and wasn't really trying, I guess, and-"
Callen leans up and covers the frost sprite's lips with his own. It's chaste, and sweet and soft. He pulls back, grinning. "Yeah. Yeah, we can."
The boy's practically glowing, like snow in the sun. "We can?"
Jack leans forward again, before the door slams open and he falls forward, nearly tumbling off the desk. Callen jerks back, yelping as the chair tips over and he ends up on the floor, upside down and looking at North in the doorway. "Care t' knock?!"
"The spirits are here!" North's hands are on his hips, and he's beaming at the two younger Guardians. "Sam Hain and Robin Hood and The April Fool and Lady Luck!"
"Oh, good," Callen says, untangling himself from the chair. "Be right there."
Jack avoids looking at North, instead focusing on the twirling staff in his hands.
North stares at the two of them. "Am I interrupting something?"
"No, nope, all good," Callen replies, brushing himself off. "Let's go meet the others."
Jack stands and walks out of the room with him. It might've been Callen's imagination, but he feels a brush of cold skin on his hand as they walk next to each other. He brushes the cold hand right back, smiling softly.