Eventually, Jack got tired of waiting. They had time, but they also needed time, and, moon above, they couldn't stay busy forever!
"Come on, we're getting out of here," he said as he gently took her wrist. Tooth resisted.
"Jack, please, I've got a lot of–"
"No, you don't, this is unhealthy."
"Jack. I need to take care of these teeth."
"What you need to do is come have fun with me! Come on, Tooth!"
He managed to tug her out of the nest before she slipped out of his grip and gave him a stern glare. Jack made a face.
"Hey, Wind!" he called out, and the resulting gust pushed her toward him. He readied himself to catch her, but Tooth fanned her wings and stopped on her own. She flitted out of the way; the remaining gust buffeted Jack up.
They floated as the wind died down. Tooth glared hard at his shocked expression.
"Don't try to use the wind on me, Jack."
"Oh come on, Tooth, I just thought I'd give you a little nudge."
"Well I think that's a little rude, don't you? My wings are delicate, you know!"
"I'm sorry, your highness," Jack said sheepishly. "You look okay to me, though."
"Honestly, Jack, I ought to teach you a lesson!" Tooth lifted her chin, posing regally. Jack just then took note of the twinkle of mischief in her eyes. "Wind," she asked gently, "if you please."
A fierce gust threw him outward and upward.
Tooth's laughter followed him as the gust reduced to a breeze. She navigated around it, wings humming, tail fanning, meeting him in the sky. It was Jack's turn to glare. Tooth smirked and made a show of brushing the dust off her feathers.
"What? You weren't the first to be friends with the wind, kid," she teased. Jack wrinkled his nose and smirked right back.
"Whatever, your royal highness," he retorted, and then, just when she was fluttering toward him: "Wind!"
She cried out as the gust carried her. When Jack followed her up, Tooth's wings spun the breeze into a cyclone right back at him, sending him even higher.
They continued this game, trying to out-fly one another, until they had to pause in the clouds to catch their breath. Tooth gazed down at the mountain peaks of her jungle.
"Wow," she said. "We got a lot higher than I thought. Congratulations, Jack, you managed to get me away from work."
"Not nearly far enough," he responded as he darted for her.
Toothiana laughed and sped away. They chased until they could see the stars, and the moon glowed large and bright close by, almost within touching distance.
"I've never been this high before," Jack said reverently, watching the clouds of the upper atmosphere far below them.
Tooth's wings fluttered to a halt. They reached for each other's hand, linking their fingers together to keep from floating away. Up here, there was no wind to carry them.
"It's been a long time since I've seen stars like this," Tooth murmured, looking up in wonder at the galaxies winking down at them. Jack watched her for a long moment before turning to the stars. Watching them reminded him of his earliest days, when the world was new, and he was all alone in it.
"Did you ever..." he trailed off. Tooth looked at him curiously.
"I dunno, did you ever get lonely?" He chewed his lip after he asked, feeling a little foolish.
Tooth considered him for a long moment. Her eyes grew distant.
"I think... there were times, yes," she said slowly. "Not that I was ever alone, truly–I could always speak with the animals. And the fairies were company, eventually." Her expression became sad, and cold. "I did miss people, though."
"People?" Jack prompted, watching the way she tensed, feathers ruffling.
"I wasn't always this way and the... circumstances of my transformation..."
Tooth's lips thinned. Her eyes fluttered shut briefly as she remembered. Jack unconsciously squeezed her hand.
"I grew up among humans, Jack. I was human, for a while. But then I changed, and they changed. They wanted to... to catch me. They wanted to put me in a cage. Like a circus animal."
Jack frowned at the anger in her words and the anger that swelled inside of him. People did not belong in cages, least of all Toothiana. She sighed through her nose. Jack watched as the coldness in her eyes faded to a deep hurt so familiar that his heart ached in response.
"Because of this, I lost everyone I loved," she said, and her voice was very small. Jack squeezed her hand again, and she squeezed back. "It was many, many years before I learned to love again." She gazed to the moon, and her sudden warm smile was disarming. "And that was a long time ago. I like to think I'm not that person anymore." She blushed and fell silent, focusing on their intertwined hands.
The silence above the world was deafening. Without the hum of Tooth's wings, Jack could almost hear the quick-gentle thrum of her heartbeat over his own erratic lub-dub.
"Thank you for chasing me," Tooth said.
"For... chasing you?"
She smiled at him.
"Yes. I forget to have fun sometimes." She nudged his shoulder. "You bring that back to me."
Jack's heart swelled with pride and something else, as well, that he couldn't name. He felt his face grow a little warmer.
"I used to go tearing around the jungle all the time, you know. The wind at my side, the animals calling to me..." she trailed off. Jack grinned as he pictured her elegant figure, darting through the trees and racing along the local wildlife.
"I used to be free, like that. Wild, even. I think that's why I lov–like being with you so much," she said at length, blushing at her slip of the tongue. "You remind me of that."
Tooth turned toward him fully. Jack reached for her other hand, and they moved as if through water in the lower gravity. His thumbs caressed the feathers at her wrists.
"I'm not very good with words," he said. "But I've always liked... how warm you are. You're like..." He paused to bite back a grin. "You're like summer."
Tooth tilted her head at him and slipped her arms around his neck. They twirled idly for a long moment.
"I guess I should head back soon," she sighed.
Jack threw his head back in defeat.
"Oh, come on."
"No, you come on," she laughed, taking his hands and tugging him down with a few steady wing beats.
As they descended, she picked up speed. Jack let go and angled his body for the free fall. He squinted against the wind as he realized he was accelerating much faster than usual, and when he tried to use his staff to slow down–Jack noticed that his hands were empty.
He plummeted toward the earth screaming. Tooth gave a wordless shout and dove after him.
"Wind!" she commanded, and the breeze halted his descent long enough for her to catch him. Jack scrambled to right himself in her arms and snaked an arm around her neck for support.
"Where did I drop my staff?" he cried in alarm when his breath had finally returned. Tooth smirked
"You must have gotten distracted."
"You're really strong," he observed, blushing as Tooth carried him down through the clouds bridal style.
"Strong?" she scoffed, poking him in the ribs. "An elf could lift you! Look at how skinny you are!"
Jack laughed loudly as she set him down. They stood on a platform at the very top of her mountain, just above the mist of the jungle. The wind here blew wildly around the peak. Below them, he knew, was the Tooth Palace, and beside them was a gilded enclosure. Silk curtains billowed out of its windows. Jack peeked in, curious, when Tooth coughed politely.
"Wind?" she called. "Jack's staff?"
The breeze whistled away at her command.
"Is that your room?"
"It's the only place in the palace the fairies don't go. So it's just you, me, and the breeze!" she chirped. Jack smiled shyly as she pulled him close again while they waited.
For a long moment, Jack studied the features of her face. He sighed gently and jerked back to his senses. Was he staring at her...lips? His eyes refocused quickly on hers, hoping she hadn't noticed.
There was a little twinkle, and an unidentifiable motion in her feathered brow that told him she had. Her blush deepened, but her smile was one of confidence. Not at all like that first embrace. Not at all unlike it either, the way she tilted her head and leaned almost imperceptibly forward. This time, however, there were no tiny tooth fairies to interrupt, and the motion continued until he could feel her warm breath against his face. It made him shiver. In fact, his whole body tensed up and before their lips could meet, he ducked to the side, pressing a clumsy kiss to her cheek.
Tooth sighed quietly into his ear–contented or disappointed, he couldn't tell–but she still pressed their cheeks together and affectionately toyed with the hair at the back of his neck.
Moon what was his problem? They were finally, completely alone, and all he had to do was kiss her–but what if he disappointed her in his inexperience? Was he disappointing her already with his shyness? Jack chuckled suddenly, and it must have been a little too loud, the way Tooth jumped. Her fingers gripped at his when he pulled away.
"I'm sorry," he mumbled. She looked confused.
"Uhh... I don't know." His free hand tousled his hair. For being apparently really bad at trying to kiss you. "Don't you get cold, when I'm around?"
She made a face.
"Not... really? You're not that bad, Jack." She laughed at him lightly. "Besides, my temperature runs a little hot anyway. I feel like I should be asking you."
"If I warm you up too much. I mean you don't seem that sensitive to temperature, seeing as you've visited the Palace in high summer, and the Warren of all places, but still, as close and as often as we are, I have to wonder." She shook her head, likely chiding herself for talking so much, and did the most adorable thing with her feathers. Jack smiled.
"Uh, no, not really. I mean, I miss being warm sometimes. Warm is... nice."
She smiled in a way that could only be described as warm. It made his toes curl a little.
"What I mean is uh," he cleared his throat. "Warm is the natural state of-of people, so. And it has been a long time. Since. But I can't imagine being cold is like that. Having to brush ice crystals out of your feathers isn't all that fun."
She was doing exactly that, idly smoothing back the frosty feathers around her neck. Tooth shrugged at him, rolling her eyes around innocently.
"No, no it's kind of... I mean, like I said, I run hot, so cold is really really nice," she said, a little too enthusiastically.
"As nice as perfect teeth?" Jack asked, catching on with a smirk. She looked upwards, deliberating.
"Well, perfect teeth are pretty great, but you know, at the end of a long day, I don't think I'd mind a little ice in my feathers..." She trailed off and blinked at him. She was tomato red, and Jack wondered how rosy his own face was.
Just then, the wind dropped his staff, nearly clocking him in the head. Jack fumbled to catch it while Tooth jumped into the air lightning-quick.
"Well you know, it's probably time to check back in–" she babbled.
"Yeah, I've got, uh... snow and. And stuff," Jack stammered. "Bye, Tooth!"
"Bye!" she chirped, and dove down the mountain with her hands on her flaming cheeks.
Been a while, so this one's a bit longer than usual. I sort of stuck two drabbles together, but I'm hoping it's a smooth enough transition. Thank you all so so so much for being patient, and for reviewing, love you lots!
I promise I've got lots more fluff coming.