A/N: Wow. You guys are wonderful! :) Sadly, I must call this the final chapter of "Cold Outside." I hope you guys enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it! Cheers!
Chapter Three: Cold Outside
There's bound to be talk tomorrow. (Think of my lifelong sorrow)
At least there will be plenty implied. (If you caught pneumonia and died.)
I really can't stay…
Ah! But it's cold outside.
- "Baby, It's Cold Outside" Frank Loesser
"It's really blowing, isn't it? Tooth, if I was you, I definitely wouldn't go out in that tonight. You'll freeze."
"We should put another log on the fire. It's chilly in here."
"And maybe I can convince an elf to make us more hot chocolate. On second thought, maybe not. I don't even want to know how they'd mess it up—"
He looked at her innocently, his eyes wide, childlike, and sparkling in a way that made her knees go weak. She hovered an inch or two above the carpet, crossing her arms over her feathered chest, and tried to look as stern as possible. Quite a feat, she found. She couldn't tell if the slight squint she put in her eyes, the small wrinkle at the bridge of her nose, and the narrow tilt of her brow made her look angry or just in pain. All Jack Frost looked was amused.
She buzzed closer, close enough to admire the little tuft of out-of-place hair on his head, close enough to feel the constant chill that seemed to fill the air around him, and involuntarily she shivered. From cold, she told herself. From cold. Remember, stern. Firm. Your fairies need you.
Besides, he knew very well what she wanted. She narrowed her eyes, hovering a few feet above him on the couch which she hoped lent her an intimidating atmosphere. She couldn't melt. She wouldn't melt. Not even when his mischievous, lopsided grin stretched wider at her nearness, and his eyes sparkled like fresh frost on the mountains. And those teeth, those teeth!
He smirked, shrugged, and cast a cursory glance at the window. "I can't stop it, you know that."
"Oh, yes, you can, Jack Frost, you're the spirit of winter for goodness' sake! You control it!"
"Uh, Tooth, winter was around long before I was. I can wave my stick and bend it a little bit, but this far north?" Jack held up his long, pale hands in surrender. "The weather doesn't exactly pay attention to me up here. It kind of does what it wants to do."
A beat of silence followed in which Tooth's eyes narrowed to near slits, and she hovered inches from the tip of Jack's nose, searching for any miniscule sign, any minute twitch of his lips that indicated a prank, a joke, one of his infernal schemes. He met her gaze evenly, his head tilted slightly to the side, his dark eyebrows almost hidden beneath his bangs, but his eyes deep and shining with some kind of hidden laughter that made Tooth's hummingbird heart skip unevenly in her chest. Quickly, she pulled away, furiously fighting the blush in her cheeks. She had to hand it to him: Jack Frost was an excellent liar.
Fast as a flash, Tooth lunged and snatched hold of Jack's staff before he could even blink.
"Hey!" He scrambled after her, but she was already out of reach, perched on the mantle with the staff clutched triumphantly in her fist. She beamed at him as he stood derelict on the carpet, his eyes flashing fire and his hands tight fists by his sides. He hissed out a sigh, shaking his head, and extended a hand. "Ha ha, very funny, the Tooth Fairy triumphant, yay. C'mon, give it back."
"I don't think so," she sniffed, examining the old tree limb curiously. It was cold to the touch, hard and rigid like stone, and intricate patterns of blue ice feathered and swirled their way over the gnarled wood. Very beautiful. "Not yet, at least."
She glanced out the window. Already the wind had died considerably and the snowflakes weren't throwing themselves quite as hard against the glass. She smirked. "No control over the weather, eh, Jack?"
The boy gave what could only be described as a distinct growl and paced in front of the fireplace. "Tooth, this isn't funny. Give it back."
Nope. She refused. At least, not until she finished with it. Slowly, she stood on the fireplace, wielding the staff like a battering ram in both hands, and bellowed in her most commanding Queen-of-the-Fairies voice. "I command you to stop!"
She didn't quite know what she was expecting. A bright flash of light, a rush of power, something bursting from the tip of the staff and calming the storm instantaneously, anything would have been good. What she got was less overwhelming.
Except that Jack Frost gave a distinct snort that he covered with a cough, and a feeling of utter stupidity washed over the Tooth Fairy with a warm blush. The storm continued to rage outside, sleet pelting the windows like nails, and the wind howled insistently. Shaking herself, she brandished the staff once more.
Again, no result. Jack, apparently relieved at the turn of events, clucked his tongue and collapsed back into the couch, casually examining a fingernail. "Maybe you could try being polite?"
The infernal…! Half the time she wasn't sure whether she wanted to laugh at his jokes or kill him. But, at this point, she was willing to try anything. She swallowed.
Nothing. The wind seemed to blow even harder, taunting her, laughing at her, and making passage home by flight impossible. Tooth began to panic. What if something went wrong? What if something happened? What if her fairies needed her and she couldn't make it home all because of a stupid blizzard and oh, how had she forgotten about that hockey match in Manitoba and how could she have thought letting Baby Tooth run things by herself was a good idea and why couldn't she stop thinking about Jack Frost?!
"Oh!" she cried, buzzing frantically about the room and dropping Jack's staff back to his waiting hands. "I need to get home to the fairies and make sure everything is alright! I don't know how I ever thought leaving them alone was a good idea. What am I going to do? I can't get home with a blizzard outside, North's asleep and I don't want to wake him up for a snow globe, he's so terribly cranky when he wakes up…"
She rambled on and on, overwhelmed and beginning to feel too physically ill to take any more notice of the Guardian on the sofa. If she had, she might have noticed something strange. Jack Frost's lively eyes dimmed slightly. His gaze fell to the stick in his lap, a pale finger tracing the wood thoughtfully, before his grip on the weapon tightened.
Tooth did notice when her companion stood suddenly, shooting up from his sofa cushions as though he'd suddenly resolved to save the world, and strode forward to the window. She fell silent at the sight, drying the few helpless tears squeezed from the corners of the eyes, and then stared openly.
He looked beautiful. Like a statue carved from marble. His entire form seemed to flicker with the dim moonlight whipped from behind the blizzard's clouds, his gaze hard and blue as the purest iceberg, and, slowly, he raised his arms and the staff. Closing his eyes, he bowed his head, straightened his legs, and concentrated. Tooth didn't dare move. She didn't breathe.
As quickly as the storm had come, it calmed. Snowflakes stopped in the middle of their whirlwind paths, frozen as if in time, and then gently floated to the ground. The wind died, blew away over the mountains from where it had come, and the clouds cleared from the sky. The stars shone once more, lighting the fresh snow on the ground with millions of tiny diamonds, a blanket of white in the blackness, and Tooth's breath caught at the sight.
"But…But I thought you said you couldn't…" she stammered. Blinking in shock, she gazed at her fellow Guardian's face, which was sad yet sheepish as he leaned on his staff and looked back at her. His eyes were deep and bottomless, swallowing. She gulped. "D-Did you call this storm up in the first place?"
A deep blue settled in his cheeks, and his ears turned a most curious color. Blushing. Jack Frost was blushing.
He didn't look at her, but then again, he didn't have to. Tooth was able to read his answer in his face.
"C'mon, princess, do I have to say it?" Jack chuckled wryly, casting her another gaze with his beautiful crystal blue eyes, and Tooth lost the fight to stay airborne. She sank to the floor, motionless, her eyes dry from being so wide, and her feathers in all sorts of interesting positions. Jack Frost had wanted her to stay. Wanted her to stay, and had whistled up a winter to keep her there.
Honestly, she should have been furious. Irate. She should have chastised him terrifically, shouted, snarled, growled, and then flown out the window as quickly as she could, never to see him again for at least another week. Maybe then the irritating feelings would cease. Maybe then she'd be able to think straight again for the first time since meeting him, since hearing about Jack Frost and his white, pure, beautiful teeth, and finding out his soul, his heart, his smile matched perfectly. Finding out he was the kindest, sweetest boy she could remember meeting. Finding out how it felt for someone to touch her heart like he had.
She should have been furious. But all she could feel was awed. Giddy. Like someone had filled her chest with marshmallow crème and the finest hot chocolate.
He sighed, mistaking her silence for anger, and began to speak again. "Look, Tooth, I just—"
And then his words vanished. His world vanished. Everything in the entire universe vanished except the Tooth Fairy who he somehow managed to find in his arms, warm, beautiful, and kissing him with all the gentleness of a—
His two last coherent thoughts before everything in his mind switched off. Too stunned to laugh, cry, gasp, anything, he settled for closing his eyes, tilting his head like he'd seen in a thousand drive-in movies, and cupping her beautiful, soft, warm, wonderful cheeks in both palms. His staff clattered to the floor. Never had he known he could feel like this, all light and floating and weightless, his heart swollen and hot and melting to his kneecaps and pounding against his ribs like a winter thunderstorm…
It was an innocent kiss, soft, gentle, light, and he couldn't have imagined a kiss from the Tooth Fairy any other way. Any other way but perfect. And it was making all sorts of feelings rush through his chest, feelings like he could sprint to the top of the mountains, soar through the sky forever, fly as fast and as far as he could for all time…!
As it was, a harsh noise against the window jerked Tooth back to Earth.
She pulled away sharply, attempting to shake the dizzying cobwebs from her mind, and jumped. A blizzard, even more vicious and violent than before raged outside, spinning sheets of snow and sleet into the wind which howled madly, wildly, uncontrollably.
Blinking, she turned back to the winter sprite who wore a delicious, dazed, goofy grin and whose arms had migrated to her waist, holding her tight and firm against his cold body, and somehow, for the first time, the chill didn't bother her. It didn't bother her in the slightest.
"But…I thought you'd—"
He didn't say anything, choosing instead to silence her with another kiss, and in answer to her unspoken question, the wind outside swirled higher and higher, and the snowflakes slapped the glass with greater insistency. She smiled against his lips and wrapped him more tightly in her arms, and the blizzard mirrored his reaction perfectly.
It could have been hours or days or months or years after when Bunnymund stumbled from his bedroom, grumbling about the storm that had awoken him, on his way to fetch a cup of warm milk from the kitchen. In his sleep-deprived state, he didn't notice the two young Guardians sitting side-by-side on the couch, foreheads resting together and noses touching like puzzle pieces finally meshing after thousands of years of separation.
"Still need to go home?" Jack Frost whispered conspiratorially, his eyes shining at her in the firelight.
She grinned. "I suppose Baby Tooth can take care of things. Besides." She cast a glance at the window where Jack's blizzard continued to roar uncontrollably outside, and, experimentally, she kissed him gently once more at the corner of his frozen mouth. An answering gust of wind shook the glass in its pane, forcing a satisfied grin from Tooth and a sheepish smile from Jack.
And quietly, between a few more scattered, feather-light kisses that left the Spirit of Winter with delicious breathing issues, the Tooth Fairy finished her sentence. "It's cold outside."
~* THE END *~
A/N: Well, there it is! The final chapter of "Cold Outside" and my initiation into the world of Frostbite fic. Personally, I don't think there's enough of this lovely stuff out there, and I think I've become a little too obsessed with this pairing so...more stories to come? Hopefully? ^^ A GINORMOUS thank you to all my reviewers (account-users and anonymous alike), followers, and favorites. Without you, this wouldn't have been possible. I love you guys immensely!