Stunning cover art belongs to deviantart ©~xxMeMoRiEzxx.
This ship is so charming.
Jack flipped on the kitchen light switch to see whose shadow was poking around in the dark. Who it turned out to be was the last person he'd expect, but it made him grin anyways. Tooth's purple, gem-like eyes blinked rapidly in the adjusting light of North's guest kitchen. Her expression was priceless as Jack crossed his arms over his chest.
"And here I thought I was the only one who liked midnight snacks," he whispered loudly. "What are you eating?"
The winter sprite hoped she hadn't touched the leftover chocolate chip cookies he tried to salvage for himself. So curiously he padded across the cold tiles on his bare feet, wanting to peek into her bowl. But he didn't need to when he saw what she was eating all over her face. Jack covered his mouth to muffle a snicker while Tooth smiled bashfully as white rice grains still stuck to the sides of her lips. She poked out her tongue to flick them into her mouth.
"I'm Asian," she whispered back teasingly. "What did you expect?"
The boy only half-wondered where she'd gotten the rice from as the other half of his mind was still stuck on the thought that Tooth, the tooth fairy, was a midnight muncher.
He waved a finger at her accusingly but she thought nothing of it, seeing as his playful smirk was still on his handsome face.
The first time she flung her petite feathered form against his, he thought the front of his hoodie was being attacked by a small jackhammer. It took a while before he came to the conclusion...Tooth's heartbeat was erratic.
He pressed a hand to his own sometime later and reveled in the steady drumming. ...Lub-dub...lub-dub. It was there. Strong and constant, unlike the fairy's unnatural ...dib-dib-dib-dib-dib-dib.
He thought she might've been ill-ridden, suddenly afraid for her health from all the stress and anxiety that no doubt came with tooth collecting and leading her little selfies. He was even about to shoot himself up through the troposphere towards her palace until another thought hit him like a softball to the head.
She's got a heart like...a hummingbird.
Small, beautiful, and pumping faster than any other creature ...just to keep its tiny little body alive. Every second, every moment it carries itself on the air.
Tooth was small, and though her heart was large and full of love, Jack wondered how much her feathered little body pushed to live each day.
So the next time she rushed to hug him, he decided he would squeeze her tight. Not just to cherish his long overdue need for physical contact and companionship...but to feel her heart thump with energy against him and remember just how remarkable she truly was.
3. Tooth's Inspiration
Tooth lifted her hand away from her beautiful mural, wiping her forehead of sweat while being careful not to get any paint on her face. She was in her Tooth Palace and had just finished retouching the symbolic painting of her and the children. With a big smile, she stroked her fingers against one of the drier areas where a little boy was stretching his hand to her with his tooth. She was suddenly reminded of how fulfilling it was to paint like this.
Maybe she'd paint more, perhaps for the others too. She suspected lots of red paint wasted on North's mural, golden glitter staining her fingers just for Sandy, lovely green for Bunny, and never-ending cans of blue for Jack.
That's when the very thought of painting for Jack accidentally leaked out into her main telepathic channel with her mini fairies.
Tooth watched embarrassingly as hundreds of them swooned or fainted at their work stations.
His birthplace was a humble pioneer settlement where the excitement was little but treasured in the forests where the cold was always near, just beneath the trees, clouded skies, and across the vast grassy plains.
She was born on a majestic island country where the colorful rain forests were filled with life and a never ending sunshine that lit the tiny, humid world in mystery and wonder.
Tooth and Jack sat side by side on a rooftop watching a row of pigeons on a nearby telephone line, mildly interested in their social behaviour. It didn't take Jack long to notice how many were madly pecking at their feathers with their beaks to clean themselves of dirt or food.
He raised an eyebrow and glanced over curiously at Tooth, while pointing at the birds. "Do you do that?"
"Bien bien! ¿Y tú?"
Jack snapped his head back to Tooth, eyes wide with surprise. Bunnymund had just stalked up to him when he caught the boy's strange expression.
"What's wrong with you?" Not waiting for an answer he followed the winter sprite's gaze over to where the iridescent social butterfly was chatting it up with some fellow spirits.
Jack blinked. "She speaks Spanish?" Bunnymund shrugged as he watched the animated group, mildly listening.
"Todo está bien, gracias Toothiana!"
"Me alegra, Rosalina."
"¿Podrías hacer una foto para nosotros, por favor?"
"Si, si!" Jack watched as Tooth was handed a camera and laughed as she peeked at them through the lens.
Jack felt a little left out of the loop for not knowing this new information about Tooth but smiled pleasantly as she flew back over to them after the quick reunion had ended. A guilty look washed over her face, selfless as always.
"Sorry I just left in the middle of our conversation, Jack! I hadn't seen those two in ages!"
He smirked. "You never told me you speak Spanish."
She let her shoulders rise bashfully while hovering a little less gracefully off the ground than she intended.
"Haha! Yeah well, you never ask-"
"Tooth! Kayfa haluk?"
Tooth spun in the air and a grin split across her mouth as a new spirit waved at her from across the room.
"Alam! Salam wa aleikum!" And with a quick breeze she flew away from Jack and Bunny to meet an old friend. Jack's mouth opened slightly as he scratched his head.
"Was...was that Arabic?" And the pooka shook his head amusedly.
"Don't get anymore flustered, mate. It doesn't look good on you," he chuckled. "Besides, the shock's gonna wear off soon when you realise she speaks just about everything else."
And Bunny proved Jack right as he spent about the next three hours listening to Toothiana speak every human dialect from Italian, Haitain Creole, to Gheg and Hakka...and every animal language from chirping to hissing. He smiled, looking onward and enjoying this new tidbit about her.
It was a wonder to him now that he never picked up on her conversations with North's yetis. Now he understood why they never really seemed to pester her like they did him.
7. The Circus Act
Jack was crouched at the end of the telephone line with a handsome, devilish smirk on his face. Tooth failed to see it as her back was to him, deeply concentrating on her feet as she walked delicately across the long, black rope.
"You're doing great, Tooth! Don't stop!"
She answered with an unsteady huff while her feathers ruffled a little in the strong breeze that suddenly hit her side. She sucked in a breath before speaking over the whistling of the air around her.
"W-was that you?" It took him a moment to understand that she was talking about the wind.
"Nope! Musta been some other spirit trying to blow you off!"
She laughed nervously as she continued to tightrope across the line, desperately wishing she could unfold her pink, translucent wings and safely hover away. But she had promised Jack that she would do it, and when it came to Jack...there was no such thing as no in her pathetic vocabulary.
"D-Don't say that!" She was trying really hard to prove to him that he wasn't the only one with good balance and so far, she was passing with flying colours.
"Tooth, remember what I said? I'm right here, even if those wings of yours forget how to fly. I'll catch you."
Tooth sighed, feeling a little more relaxed before focusing her thoughts on the final two metres of the walk. "I know..."
He gave Tooth a quick glance before tapping the cable with his sheppard staff then watched gleefully as an ample amount of ice wrapped itself like a helix around the artificial vine. When it reached Tooth's feathered feet, she yelped at the sudden drop in temperature and the way the frost crawled into her feathers like sticky honey. Her ankle twitched and her foot slipped at its next touchdown.
Her wings fluttered back to life alarmingly and she immediately began lifting herself up and away from the telephone line...until a particularly strong gust of wind blew her off to the side. Her wings not ready for the push caused her to tumble slightly in the air current but before she could right herself against it, Jack caught her around the waist. When the whistling stopped and she was glaring slightly up at him, he rolled his eyes and smirked playfully.
"See? I told you I'd catch you."
With her wings, Tooth was the fastest of the five so she shot like a bullet to Jamie and gripped his arms tightly. Then lifting him forcefully, she spun erratically and propelled him back to the boys away from Pitch's shadows. North jumped and caught the boy effortlessly in his large arms and nodded to her. "I got him!" he reassured her and she was slightly relieved. Pitch's return would not mean the end of the Guardians' strongest believer and she would make sure of it.
But before she could fly back to the safety of the group, the corridor she had saved Jamie from being trapped in sealed her off from them with an impenetrable glass. Frightened, she zoomed on her pink wings up to them trying to smack the glass. Jamie and four boys cried out. But no matter what sword swipe North could slash, what eggs Bunnymund threw, what sand Sandy could smack it with, or ice block Jack could hit, they couldn't break it.
Tooth placed her hands on the cold transparent barrier and visibly shook with fear at the thought of being alone. It was Jack who filled her vision as he pressed his own hands to the glass in front of her, ice blue eyes wide with desperation. 'Tooth! Don't worry we'll get you out!' he seemed to mouth but she heard it in a muffled voice. Suddenly a long, black trail of sand encircled her waist and yanked her back, ripping a terrified cry from her lips.
9. Chasin' the Ladies
There were so many pretty girls over the years that Jack eventually lost count and ended up giving them labels to remember them.
There was a curly redhead from the colonial period who had could whistle like a "cute birdie"...that attractive Parisian blonde who had "good taste in red lipstick"...a sweet Tibetan farm girl who herded sheep with "a staff just like his"...the "clumsy Canadian" who fell enough times on the ice to shame the same country that invented hockey...and the quiet brunette from Colorado who "sketched his work on her window when the fern-like designs appeared"...yeah, there were those and a lot more girls over three hundred years that Jack had the pleasure of encountering.
But it didn't help that whenever he tried to get near them or send them a little more 'winter magic', he couldn't stick around for too long because they'd get cold. If Jack stuck around long enough for their body temperatures to fall pretty low, then he'd have to leave and think about finding another girl (or anyone really) to enchant.
But nowadays, when Jack tries to get close to a mortal and they start to show signs of being cold he can't help but grin. He grins because he sees the way he leaves them shaking, with their teeth chattering beyond control and how Tooth will no doubt give him an earful about bringing harm to what she loves most.
When she confronts him, Jack likes to delight in the thought that at least one pretty girl, the one he's affectionately dubbed "glitter gums" (much to her chagrin) can see him for his magic...even if it does mean that he's wreaking havoc on a couple of mouths.
Jack slapped a hand over his mouth while the others whipped their heads at him and gave him the same wide-eyed look he was giving himself. Sandy stopped doing his magic trick to give the boy a silent laugh. It was Tooth who giggled first and threw him a great big, cheeky grin.
"Gee whiz? Haha I haven't heard that in a while!"
Jack rubbed his forehead and gave her a shy grin. "What can I say? The thirties was a fun decade."
Bunnymund smirked. "Tooth would probably like to differ. Eh Tooth?"
With a deep blush she flew up to the rabbit's face and pressed a finger to her lips. "SHH!"
Jack's interest piqued and he gave her a playful quirk of his brow. "Oh yeah?"
North laughed heartily ignoring the girl's frantic halts behind Jack. "Yes, Tooth is so funny! Saying 'groovy' long after the seventies were over!"
Jack whipped around to grin cheekily at her. "Haha, groovy?!" He thought the deep pink blush blossoming across her cheeks was adorable ...and so easy to save away for future blackmail. She ran both hands down her face before laughing good-naturedly.
"What! That was the most colorful decade! Hehe, there's nothing wrong with that!"
Keep it kind...
She remembered the time she innocently brushed his snowy white bangs away from his eyes for him and how he smiled gratefully.
Keep it good...
He thought back to the time he poked her nose playfully when he teased her about her obvious crush on him and how she blushed wonderfully under his appreciative gaze.
Keep it right...
They both remembered the first time they held each other's hands - him, feeling self-conscious about the way he felt her shiver under his palm and her, fluttering with nervousness at how small she felt in his grip - and how nothing was better than the feeling of being special like that to someone.
Her eyes are an impossible shade of violet that Jack is sure that they were once two sets of amethyst jewels someone had fashioned out just for her. Indeed on Tooth, what with her beautiful teal-to-sunshine golden feathers, her mauve colored lips and her rosy cheeks, her eyes makes her all the more stunning. Like a jewel-encrusted bird.
But Jack isn't much of a talker, so he keeps the thoughts to himself. Like all winter spirits do.
13. When the Heroine Falls
It was like Jack was seeing himself again, propelling his sister away from the cracked ice but only to be pulled down from the place where he once stood. He, the three other Guardians, and Jamie yelled and watched horrifically as Tooth was dragged by the black sand to the center of the corridor. Her cries were loud but muffled behind the unbreakable glass that separated them from her.
She fluttered her wings furiously, beating them at their fastest to fly against the pull. But she wasn't strong enough and before she could realise, the sand had her hanging over a small dark pit. Suddenly another black tendril of sand shot out from the pit beneath her and latched onto her feathered wrist.
"Let's try this again, shall we?"
The dark, familiar English whisper echoed through the room. Tooth's body shivered violently and when more black sand shot up from the pit to restrain her movements. She whimpered loudly.
The boys tried more frantically to break the glass. "No no no no! Stop please!" her cries rang suddenly loud in their ears. Jamie looked up at Jack urgently. "Jack, you gotta save her!"
About five ropes of black sand had latched onto Toothiana's wrists, feet, and neck. The cold was unbearable and her shivers didn't cease. Then Pitch's voice drifted through the air again, with more finality as she was yanked back by her neck, facing the ceiling.
"Instead of putting the fear in the children, let's put the fear in you."
The sand rose in columns from the pit and circled around her. She shook her head with tears in her eyes before finally, one long tendril of black sand curled around her face and slipped itself into her mouth. It was like swallowing black oil and dry salt. Then a numbing feeling spread through her.
Tooth made a bloodcurdling scream as the fear racked her entire body to a point of defeat. The sand quickly began to swallow her while Pitch laughed all around them.
Jack punched the glass, sending an erratic wave of frost spreading across the barrier before it melted instantly. His eyes were wide with fear. "TOOTH!"
But all they could do was watch as Tooth's screams died in her throat and she began to sink into the pit. Before she vanished from view, Jack and others watched as her beautiful, amethyst eyes turned inky black and her skin grow pale. Then she was gone.
14. Fall to Winter
Jack's hair is snowy, white, and wild like a blizzard wind swirling up into the upper atmospheres of the earth. She remembers a time when he told her it used to be brown and she imagines the change like a transition of the seasons.
The brown that once signified the earthy glow of a warm autumn's day drifted away, and made room for a beautiful white wonderland where the winter frolicked in erratic merriment.
She sometimes wondered if his hair was also cold to the touch, like the rest of the snowflake that he was.
Jack said nothing because he was frozen (no pun intended) with awkwardness as he watched Tooth. He knew she had an...obsessive personality when it came certain things, but he wasn't sure he could handle anymore of her weird quirks when the obsession came to him.
Unless...she had done this with the other Guardians before him...?
But he found he couldn't ask her. Despite knowing that he would be relieved of her strange attention on him if he asked (you know, after she realised she was embarrassing both him and herself) ...he was genuinely curious. And some small, miniscule, absolutely teeny-little part of him ...wanted her to keep playing with his fingers.
Why? Why would he continue to let Tooth grasping his hand in deep curiosity? He should have stopped her when she first lifted his hand...He could've pulled away when she pressed her tiny palm against his...He would've told her to back off and stop being weird when she began lifting each of his fingers and squeezing his skin to feel the excess cool temperature that seemed always radiate off of him...
But he didn't. Because as curious as he was with her probing on him, he wondered why her hands were so much smaller compared to his (how did she manage to punch out Pitch's tooth with a tiny fist like that?)...Because he appreciated the way her tanned skin was a stark contrast against his pale, white colour...and because he enjoyed the warmth she transferred back onto him when she held his hand.
It reminded him of what it was like to be a real human again. All of it...even the way her cheeks heated up when she finally realised how much of a creep she was being with him and jerked away from him entirely.
16. Why A Hoodie?
Tooth watched Jack as he chatted with North, mindlessly shoving a hand into the pocket of his hoodie as he was explaining something about the effects of global warming on some tundra up in Canada. She often wondered how he managed to keep warm in sub-zero temperature like that (and without shoes no doubt!) before she realized that was a dumb question.
So she switch to thinking about Jack's hoodie instead. The royal blue fabric really brought out his eyes and was a perfect complement to his white hair and pale skin, and the creeping of frost that danced across the hood, neckline, and sleeves was something only she could only describe as being 'Jack'.
Yes, the hoodie suited him but it would lead her to thoughts like... Where had he got it? No doubt he had changed his attire after several decades to keep up with the trend – North and Sandy sometimes did (Bunnymund was a whole other topic entirely). So where and how? Did he buy it? What made him choose if it had even been him who chose to wear the hoodie? Was it because it had sleeves to keep you warm? A hood that covered your face when you wanted it to? ...And that's where Tooth's thoughts took a more melancholy turn.
She'd forgotten what it was like to wear clothes. Having your own full body of feathers for several hundreds of years, made you forget that you weren't in need of any kind of cover like clothes. What was it like to have pockets? She couldn't wear a hood if she wanted to – her crowned plume atop her head would get bent! Were shoes comfy? A jacket would cover her wings...or worse!
With all these thoughts, Tooth was grimly reminded once more that she would never really fit in with anyone.
17. Hollow Heart
They all laughed when Tooth was done retelling her story about Vlad, a Halloween spirit who had tried asking her numerous times to 'take a closer look at his teeth' or join him on his 'nightly journeys'. She giggled shamefully.
"He always used to say it was because we were nocturnal by nature and had a fetish for teeth that made us such kindred spirits!" she finished, making a gagging noise and the other Guardians laughed. "Can you believe him?! Haha like I would fall for that!"
Jack smirked from where he sat. "Mmm I don't know, Tooth," he interjected. "I remember you trying to show Sophie your fondness for blood on baby teeth...maybe he really is your kindred spirit!"
Tooth shot up from her cushiony armchair and hovered in the air just above it. "No! Not even in the slightest!" she argued with a shudder. "And it was blood and gums, Jack!"
He raised both his eyebrows. "How is that any better?!"And the other three men laughed (or well, Sandy jingled silently) while Tooth sighed playfully and drifted back down into the chair. As she began to share another story, Jack's mind drifted off.
He didn't know the Guardians encountered other spirits like that...they had all these weird, funny, and nice tales to share while he'd been missing out. Who knew Tooth almost had a boyfriend! Not that she would ever call him that with the way she talked about him but still...it sounded almost unnatural to him. Spirits could have crushes like anyone else? Like...normal people? It almost made Jack laugh. Of course they could! They were people too! And they could be attracted to whomever they wanted! To think this Vlad-vampire cliché had a thing for Tooth. Jack smiled. He could see where the guy thought the connection clicked. And yet...
Suddenly Jack felt empty... When was the last time he felt like that about anyone? He had never really liked anyone long enough for it be a crush since...
Well, now that he knows he used to be someone before he was Jack Frost, it was pretty much where he guessed he couldn't remember up to. Did he like someone before he became all this? Was there a girl he left behind? Even if...how was he supposed to feel about anything anymore? Jack frowned, completely tuned out of the conversation and wilted under the sound of Toothiana's voice. It was like he couldn't remember what it was like to fall in love.
18. Choose Your Weapon
"Nyet, Tooth! Again! You must hit my side at this angle. Like so!"
And before she could get her sword up properly, North was already bringing down his own at the correct position. He stopped just in time before it cut her in the side. Tooth gasped and flew up off the ground, away in fear. North glared softly.
"No flying!" he reminded her and she immediately dropped her feet onto the dirt floor of the practice arena. She smiled up slightly as she took a deep breath out of exhaustion.
"Sorry!" she apologized and North rubbed his sweaty, furry brows with a knuckle. "Is alright, Tooth. Shall we try again?" he asked and she nodded determinedly as she raised both her twin swords again. Then with a small cry, she launched forward and they were on for round eight.
Jack watched on the sidelines with Bunnymund and Sandy, one hand in his hoodie's pocket and the other grasping his staff beside him. He was impressed. He didn't know Tooth could fight with two swords simultaneously! When they'd fought Pitch, all she was using was her wings to deflect the barrage of attacks and her hands to pierce through the nightmarish horses. He guessed this was her choice weapon like North, long before he had known her. He could see it in the way she effortlessly held the hilts and predicted the movements where the Russian was going to swing and not swing.
In two minutes, she had one of North's swords out of his hand and the other behind his back. Her right sword was poised against his neck from behind as she grinned. North blinked in shock before smiling warmly. "Well done, very good!" he cheered as she pulled away. Tooth beamed a smile up at him shyly, rubbing an arm self-consciously as the other boys applauded her show.
"You may be stronger, North! But remember, I'm quicker!" she teased warmly as she hovered off the ground finally free of being earthbound. He nodded approvingly like a teacher to a student, or a father to his child. "I will remember that next time!" he pointed out good-naturedly as they both headed back to the others.
Jack smiled at her approaching form. "Nice job," he complimented and she blushed lightly. "I didn't know you could swordfight!" It was like something out of every boy's dream – to be a swashbuckling pirate with mad sword skills as they battled evil monsters and searched for treasure! Jack was not an exception, so seeing the actual twin swords she grasped in both her tiny hands made him all giddy. Tooth took the compliment less than humble and twirled a sword in one hand to showcase her skill.
"Yeah well, swords are my specialty!" she flashed him a smirk. "Along with the dagger, and I'm handy with a bow and arrow!" He nodded, more impressed that someone as sweet and gentle as Tooth would be more than capable in a fight should she call for it. But he knew that already, so he smiled back expectantly.
"What, no staff?" he feigned hurtfully and she blinked almost afraid that she'd actually hurt his feelings...until she saw the mischievous glint in his eyes. She shook her head with a meek smile.
"Sorry, Jack," she replied with a tiny shrug. "It's the only weapon I can't use. So lucky you! You get to be the master!" But he rolled his eyes at her fleeting around the reason.
It took her a second to bite her lip and look down at the ground. "I can't hold it properly. It throws me off balance, being too long, you know?" Jack's mouth fell open in surprise. That was her reason? She fell over when she used it so that's why she didn't like it? He shook his head a little before giving her a coy smile. With Tooth looking down, Jack tapped on her the head with the end of his staff. She yelped when a sudden chill erupted on her plumage and she jerked away.
"Jack!" she cried but he was already walking around her toward the centre of the arena. His staff lying across one shoulder, the other hand in his pocket again. "Come on!" he beckoned her over with a tilt of his head. She swooned a little at the sight of his posture and his lop-sided grin before she flew over to him.
"What are we doing?" she asked although already having a sinking feeling about where this was headed. He rolled his eyes. "I'm gonna teach you to hold a staff the right way!" he answered as they stopped at the centre. She hovered in front of him. "Why?" she prodded but Jack only made a gesture at her with his finger. She immediately touched her feet to the ground and stopped her wings from beating. "Sorry," she mumbled with a smile to which he returned.
"I can't have you bad-mouthing my favourite choice of weapon, now can I?" he answered to her earlier question before he extended his most prized possession for her to take. Tooth's eyes widened thoughtfully. He's letting me take his staff? Catching her surprise, he gave a reassuring smile and nodded, urging her.
"Go on," he said. "It's not gonna turn you into a popsicle, I swear!" And after a pause, she reached out and grasped it. She rubbed it under her palm, enjoying the feeling of the smooth, gnarling bark that stretched about as tall as Bunny. She smiled up at Jack and he nodded with a small grin. "Okay, let's get started."
Tooth honestly couldn't tell you every detail of what happened over the next hour with Jack teaching her how to wield a staff. All she could really remember were the many trip-ups she made, the sore pain in her arms from having to hold it up for too long (so that's why Jack's arms were so strong!) and even more so...the feeling of blood rushing to her cheeks every time he pressed his cool form behind her when he tried to fix her stance.
19. Tooth's Remedy
When birds get stressed, they either grow worn out or fatigued, sometimes even plucking out a few feathers to deal with the anxiety. For Tooth, she only had to meet those requirements halfway, but also being half-human meant she also got a few extra symptoms.
A high fever was one of them.
Good thing, Baby Tooth was always so resilient because next thing the fairy queen knew, four distinct males were all crowding her bedside with concern etched on deep into their faces. Tooth, covered in sweat and a couple molted feathers around her pillows, smiled up at them softly.
It took them less than twenty seconds to frantically usher themselves and her worker fairies out of the room to let her rest while they went off in search of remedies. Jack was last to go, having never seen Toothiana so weak, and unsure if he wanted to leave her just yet. He was almost out of her reach when her shaky, extremely warm hand shot out and grasped his wrist.
He snapped his head back down to her worriedly but she wasn't looking at him.
"N-No, Jack," she said softly as she lifted his right hand up to her forehead and placed it gently on her skin. She sighed greatly relieved and peeked up at him with tired eyes. "Cold...Can you stay with me?"
And after the initial shock of how hot her skin was under his unnaturally frigid fingertips, he nodded firmly. Who was he to deny a friend's wishes when they were in pain? "Of course, Tooth," he answered back softly and readjusted his cold, white palm on her forehead. When she sighed again, her eyes fell shut with the rise and fall of her shuttered breaths.
She didn't remember any of that moment (having Jack Frost's hand...on her face!), once the fever went away.
"We're immortal. We're timeless...so I will always be around. Don't worry."
She heaved in a deep, shaky breath and looked at him sideways, eyes glistening with tears.
"But what if it stopped?"
He said nothing as a tight line formed on his lips. She continued.
"What if we can't?"
A long silence followed.
But it was enough of an answer for her. She turned to face him fully with a determined look on her beautiful face. He paled slightly, knowing that look meant she felt defeated. Her lips parted in an unsteady exhale,
"But if you could..."
His blue eyes widened at the thoughts floating around in her head. What did she mean by, what if he could...? What? Be...be mortal again?
She breathed deeply again, this time with more courage. She didn't want to break under all the pressure.
"If you could...I'd want you to tell me that you'll never see me again...that you will move on, and you will forget about me."
His eyebrows rose impossibly high, up into his snowy, white bangs. Was she serious? How could she even tell him to do that? She knew it was impossi...
But her beautiful, violet eyes could never lie.
She was serious, dead serious. She was willing to let him leave her, all so he wouldn't continue hurting. Or, so that she wouldn't either. He furrowed his eyebrows. It made sense, she would want him to be happy without her, and no matter how much her heart ached ...that's why she wouldn't, couldn't take no for an answer.
He sucked in a breath and stared down at her with the same determined look in his eyes for her. He repeated it for her reassurance.
"I'll... never see you again...I'll move on and I...I will forget about you. I promise."
The last part was like acid on his tongue, a stake to his heart, a statement he wanted to take back with every fibre of himself. But she nodded reassuringly with tears streaming down her face. It was enough for Jack to cup her face then pull her into a deeply felt hug.
21. One Eye Open at Night
Jack said nothing as he looked over his shoulder to where Tooth was sitting on a rock far away from the him and others. He frowned deeply when he watched the way she began to curl in on herself, her pink wings pressed tightly to her back in deep shame.
A part of her had been shattered in a way neither he nor anyone else could heal...after Pitch's kidnapping once the sand swallowed her whole.
The nightmare he had turned her into...a malevolent black-feathered imp who forcibly stole children's teeth and erased their memories...was what they had found when they returned to save her. It took a lot of fighting, crying, and an incredible strength and willpower from her centre to drive out the darkness in her heart.
'I a-am the Guardian...of Memories! And you c-cannot make me forget who I was,...and who I always will be!'
Tooth had ultimately saved herself and the others once she freed herself from Pitch's hold. They were grateful and glad to have her back.
But deep down they all knew...Tooth wouldn't feel the same for a very long time. It was one thing to be bad, but something else entirely to let something bad take you over then allow it destroy everything you vowed to protect and fight for. Innocence, love, joy. After Tooth realised she had stomped out that light herself, and nearly killed everyone she held dear because of it, she became reclusive and afraid...afraid now of what she was capable of and what she couldn't do to help it. She was like a bird with a broken wing.
And all Jack could do was look on as she inwardly punished herself. When he noticed her shoulders jerk as she silently cried to herself, he begged to some unknown grace that she would let him in again, sooner rather than later.
Tooth was so pure. She didn't deserve to be so broken.
22. More Than He Needed To Know
Jack walks along a lonely sidewalk, loving the sound of the ice pop and crack beneath the weight of his bare feet. Baby Tooth flies leisurely beside him, squeaking animatedly about something he can never translate. He grins softly regardless, enjoying the company.
He watches how her teal colored feathers shine in the early morning sunlight and silently adores how much more color and life she brings to his life. Just like Tooth...?
"Baby Tooth, is Tooth like...your mom or something?" He asks awkwardly with a small smirk. Baby Tooth squeaks and laughs in a high-pitched tweet. If only he knew.
Later, Toothiana answers Jack's question and explains that Baby Tooth and all her mini fairies are actually extensions of herself so they are, in part, actually her. Jack is clever though and quick as a hummingbird wing flap. He is soon smiling mischievously like a cat on its prey.
"So...when they, you know," he snickers when he watches her regalia suddenly crack under her nervous smile, "faint or cheer my name...or, oh! Let's not forget the little hearts they form in the air when I'm aroun-"
"I-It's your teeth!" She practically squeals before she pulls herself back from embarrassment. Jack is nothing but a calm, cool cucumber she wants to knock in the head. She coughs nervously. "They just l-love your teeth. That's all!"
He smiles up at her with a curt nod. "Right, okay Tooth."
After that, Tooth felt it wasn't necessary anymore to hide her apparent liking for his...teeth.
23. Storm Within
Tooth remembered looking on in terrified silence at Jack's angry expression during the battle with Pitch.
She had never seen his face so laced with dark emotions, running an undercurrent of cold yet controlled rage. It was scary to her, watching his jaw was set rigidly and his eyes, intended to be filled with joy and warmth, narrowed to a reveal a young man bruised and bitter, unleashed after hundreds of years of isolation.
Those were the moments she feared most about him but would never say...the moments when he lost himself in the dark edges of his heart where the anger or frustration still lingered.
24. A Knight in the Night
Jack watched her sleep with his dark eyebrows knitted together in concern as she mumbled fitfully with a frown.
He thought she was having a crazy nightmare about flying elephants and was going to wake her but...
What was a rashmi? Who was Haroom, some apparent guy she kept calling for in her sleep? He was going to rise up and leave her be until he heard it.
It was impossible to move away from her afterwards. He felt a sudden protectiveness over her.
Bunnymund sauntered up to Jack, looking down at the shorter man from his 6'1"post with accusing, emerald eyes.
"Lay off the sheila, Jack," he grunted at the new Guardian threateningly after having just about enough of his teasing on Tooth's dental obsession. Jack leered up at him, slightly annoyed by the sudden change in atmosphere on the room.
"What? I'm just making a little fun, Bunny. Jeez, what hopped into your garden?" He threw back. Jack hated when things got serious while he was trying to have a good time.
"Well when it comes to Tooth or any of us, you need to watch where that mouth of yours goes," he said slowly. Jack narrowed his eyes suspiciously. What was Bunny's deal? He would never intentionally hurt Tooth or North, Sandy, or even he... And if the Easter Bunny didn't know that by now, then Jack wouldn't have it.
"Take your own advice," Jack shot back just as deep, glaring threateningly as frost started to crackle along his staff under his tight fist.
26. Dizzy, Thundering Beauty
Sandy's spirit celebration brought pushed away all of Tooth's inhibitions as the old yet familiar medieval renaissance music (played for the much older spirits) rang through her ears.
She was gripping hands with a chubby leprechaun and a Grecian nymph as they, and several others, went around in a large circle on the dance floor. Then they broke into solos and she twirled in her own happy, little spin. With her eyes closed, she was blissfully unaware of Jack's appreciative gaze on her from the onlooking, non-participating, crowd.
"Wonderful! Look at Tooth go!" North cheered happily beside him and Jack clapped for her.
He had never seen the tooth fairy so stress free. No thoughts about teeth, collection deadlines or concerns about the children or the others. Selfless, hardworking Tooth was just enjoying the dance for herself ...and that's what he enjoyed.
27. Assault and Pepper
"Bye, Jack!" She exclaimed happily and she flew right up to his handsome face and pecked him on the cheek...before pulling back just as quickly.
"Eep! Cold!" She cried excitedly as she covered her mouth to hide her blushing grin. She wasn't just embarrassed that she'd pounced on him like that, but also for her reaction to something she knew he was already touchy with, his cold skin. She was about to open her mouth and apologize when his husky laugh stopped her.
"THAT was cold for you?" He said with less surprise and more with a tease in his voice. He smirked cheekily and turned back to fully face her. Honestly, a tiny kiss like that gave her the shivers? He narrowed his eyes playfully and raised his hands to hold her face.
"Come on, Tooth! That's nothing compared to this!" And before she could pull back or even speak, he peppered her cheeks and forehead with longer smooches. The feeling of his pale skin and cool lips showering her in an icy touch sent her into hysterics.
"NO!" She laughed and cried as she tried to pull away. "N-No Jack! Stop, I'm freezing!" But he only gripped her tighter and laughed between each kiss.
28. Less Is More
"If you weren't a guardian...what would you have done with your life?"
Jack looked at her with a real, genuinely heartfelt smile. Her answer was ambiguous and impossible...but it was perfect.
29. Unexpected Surprises
Tooth shrieked at Jack's disheveled, shaking form before going to catch him. He collapsed immediately into her arms as he let her take all his weight. She lifted his head slightly and frowned in fear.
"What happened?! North said you just vanished for days! Bunny's furious, and Sandy's been searching all the continents for you! He said he saw you near Chennai-"
"S-bi 'cus," he wheezed out and tried to sit up with her help. Tooth's large eyes grew wider. She shook her head.
Before she could ask again, he took out something from his hoodie and presented it to her. The jewel-coloured flower was already half-shriveled up and encrusted with ice beneath his pale, white fingertips. He sighed dramatically with a sad smile on his tired face.
"They're in season...find the prettiest one...tried to race here before that happened... Too bad," he mumbled fretfully referring to the icy, dying orchid he let Tooth take from his hand. She gazed down at it in adoration before smacking him in the gut. He jumped slightly in pain.
"Ow! Is that the way you treat the guy who gets you your birthday present?" He laughed breathily before she ruffled his hair playfully.
"When he ends up a walking corpse because of it...yes!"
She would personally thank Sandy later for sending Jack on a whirlwind journey that nearly sent him into comatose. All this, because it happened to be that the hibiscus was her favourite flower.
30. Drums of War
Jack was poised ready with his staff as he and the other four gazed onto the ominous storm approaching them from the sky. Tooth hovered nearby with a wide-eyed look of fear for the impending battle to come. Someone was bound to get hurt or worse...but it was their job, their obligation to the children and what was good in the world. None of them would give those up for anything.
She glanced down at Jack's stiff form and delicately placed a hand on his shoulder, reminding him that this time, he wasn't alone in this fight. Subconsciously, he raised his left hand to clutch hers.
They were all in this together.
"Haha, Jack you done yet?" she cried over the sound of the loud ice shaving he was currently engrossed in. He chuckled and threw a handsome grin. "Yeah, yeah! Slow your roll!"
She rolled her eyes excitedly before he got up and handed her two of the four paper cups filled with finely crushed ice. She beamed down at them while Jamie and Sophie cheered. With a wink to the winter sprite, she flew over to where Jamie had the candied flavoured sauces ready in an assortment of squeeze bottles.
"You know, too many sweets isn't good for your teeth!" she had to point out acutely. Jamie and Jack groaned beside her with a laugh. "Aw come on!" the ten-year-old clamoured ...with a cheeky grin he couldn't have learned from anyone other than the taller boy behind her. "I'll brush my teeth really good after this one time! Promise! A-And Sophie too! Right, Soph?"
His pleading brown eyes were understood by his now three-year-old sister and she hopped closer to the two guardians, clutching Jamie's arm. "Promise! Promise!"
Jack chuckled and bent down to Jamie's eye level and surveyed the different squirt bottles with his icy blue eyes. "Okay kiddo, which one? Cherry?" he asked as he flickered his gaze up at the boy. Tooth waited patiently beside them with the unflavoured snowcones in her hands, a warm smile on her face. God forbid these kids get cavities for not listening to her ...but this was so much fun! A little toothache, just this once, was worth it to see the joy on their faces. Jamie nodded at Jack's suggestion before another bottle piqued his interest.
"No wait! How about grape?" he wondered out loud as he lifted the bottle for Tooth to see. She tilted her head and shrugged before grinning. "You want a purple tongue?" she teased and Jamie's chocolate brown eyes got so big at the thought that it was enough to let a laugh escape her mouth. Jack looked up at her with a warm smirk. Jamie shook his head, crushing the thought. Sophie bent down and grabbed two bottles.
"No Jamie! Lemonade and orange!" she offered with cute pronunciation. She was getting so big! Jamie eyed the bottles and furrowed his eyebrows thoughtfully before rolling them up to stare at the sky. "Ooh! Sophie's right! Those taste good too!"
Jack laughed at the boy's distress over something as easy as snowcone flavours. He smiled when an idea came to him. "...Why not all of them?"
Jamie paused his internal war with himself to look at the older Guardian. He widened his eyes cautiously. "C-Can we do that?" he asked timidly, afraid that that great idea was in actuality not great. But Jack proved him wrong and grinned widely.
"Sure, why not! We can eat a rainbow! That's gotta be fun, right?" he said and the light that suddenly went on in Jamie's eyes was enough of a confirmation for the winter spirit. "Hey yeah! You're right, Jack!" Jamie cried happily and leaned down to Sophie. "How bout it, Soph? You wanna use all the flavours and make a rainbow snowcone?"
Sophie's green eyes lit up and she jumped on her two, little feet at the idea of eating something so colourful. "Yeah, rainbow! I want to eat a rainbow!"
And that was enough for Jack. He laughed again and extended his hands out for Jamie and Sophie to take the two snowcones he was holding before standing up to his full height and taking one from Tooth. She smiled cheekily.
"Rainbow snowcone huh?" she teased and he smirked.
"I know, I'm a genius," he shot back with a wink and bent down to help the kids, completely missing the blush that spread across the tooth fairy's cheeks and the way she smoothed down the feathers on her head timidly. The resulting snowcones were sloppy paintings of reds, yellows, blues, orange and greens, before the flavours melted together into a muddy brown...but the taste was worth it.
The rest of the afternoon was spent laughing and getting brain freeze, but both Guardians didn't care as they sneaked warm glances at each other. In those rare moments, it was nice to slow down, enjoy the sun, and spend time with those they cherished dearly.
That was fun lol. Some of them I'd like to turn into a full story but we'll see!
And did you know hibiscus flowers attract hummingbirds? Mmmhmm! :)
If I think up anymore ideas, I'll be sure to post them for you guys.
Thanks for reading!
Which ones did ya like? ;)