;abe welcome to the final chapter of Snow-Covered Comfort! I'm truly surprised at how many of you liked this story. It was definitely fun to write. Thank you all for your support and reviews/favorties/follows. I hope you all enjoyed reading my story and please leave a final review! *warning ending contains spoilers for Katherine's story 'Mind Games'*;
"Pepper, I seriously think you're overreacting to this whole 'Jack Frost' phase that's going on with Kat." Tony said as he stood at the stove cooking the three if them dinner. The PA set her papers down and gave Iron Man an annoyed expression. "I am not overreacting. I'm concerned that your niece has a mental problem." She replied.
"She's just a kid, Peps." Tony said while flipping the steaks. "She's not a child anymore, Tony! She's going to be thirteen!" Pepper exclaimed putting emphasis on the 'thirteen'. "She's a week away from being a teenager!" The Avenger rolled his eyes before turning and looking at his girlfriend. "Didn't Charles tell you this was just a stage helping Kat grow out of her traumatization? And that it was perfectly normal for her?" The PA huffed. "She's not a child anymore Tony. She needs to grow up an accept the fact she doesn't need Jack Frost anymore."
Meanwhile, outside of Stark Tower, Jack Frost stood leaning against the building while listening to their conversation. Reality seemed to slap him hard across the face. Kat was going to be a teenager in a week. She already went up to his chest in height. Soon she'll be as tall as him and in high school and dating boys and moving on from him.
It was hard to rap his mind around this. He still saw Kat as the outgoing, enthusiastic, yet shy four-year-old he had met nine years ago. The same four-year-old that loved to build giant blanket forts and have snowball fights and would rather suffer than take medicine. And the same four year old that would have mind bending nightmares and that needed someone to calm her down and tell her everything was alright.
Jack Frost had been slapped with the pure reality of it: Katherine isn't a child anymore. And she doesn't need him anymore.
XXXXXXXX time skip XXXXXXXXX
Jack spent as much time as he could with Kat. Whenever she had free time, they'd play all the old games they used to. He even sat through 2 hours of constant defeat in Pokemon (though he ended up rage quitting again). Days went past faster than his liking and soon enough it was June 20th aka Kat's 13th birthday.
The Winter Spirit waited until that afternoon to go to Stark tower. He had planned something special for the birthday girl. Kat was laying on her bed looking through her old photo album her uncle had given her for Christmas a couple years back. She had a blank expression as she quietly flipped through the pages. He knew she'd be down today because of the horrible anniversary of what took place nine years ago.
He tapped on the window trying to get her attention. Katherine looked up from the book and smiled when she saw him. She tossed the album aside and ran to the window. "Hi, Jack." She greeted while opening the large window. "Hey, kiddo. Happy Birthday." He said giving her a hug. "Thanks. So what do you want to do today?" She asked her famous crooked grin etched on her face. "Uncle Tony expanded the boxing ring-" "Na I got something better planned." Jack replied holding out his hand to her. "That is, if you want to go." Kat took his hand without a second thought and he helped her climb out the window. "I can fly by myself." She said as Jack picked her up for another piggy-back-ride-styled fly. "I know but I want it to be a surprise." He replied taking off into the air.
After a decently long flight, by the time Jack finally landed on top of a frozen lake in a large forest the sun had set and the moon was coming out. Kat looked around curiously wondering what a lake would have to do with anything. "So... what are we doing here?" She asked curiously while Jack set her down. "I came here to tell you a story." He said. The thirteen year old furrowed her eyebrows. "Why on a frozen lake?" She asked. Jack laughed a little. "The lake ties into the story." He said raising and hitting the butt of his staff on the ground. "This is the story of Jack Frost."
Ice spread from Jack's staff to all over the lake covering it with his patterned ice. Kat watched quietly as Jack drew figures in the ice using the end of his staff. Finally, he set his weapon down beside him and held up his pointer finger at question prone Kat telling her to wait. Using both hands, Jack made a scooping motion making the three pieces he had drawn turn into glowing 3D figures. He smiled when he heard Kat's gasp of awe. Standing back up, Jack walked over to the jaw-dropped red head and started:
"These are the Overland siblings. The brother is named Jack and the sister is named Emma. They're from the earlier colonial times in America. They spent their days playing hopscotch and climbing trees and having the most fun they could." As Jack spoke the figures moved to go with his story from where they where playing hopscotch to running around chasing one another.
"One winter day, Emma wanted to go ice skating. So of course, Jack took her. What they didn't know was that the ice was to thin and Emma got trapped." The ice figure representing Emma went suddenly still and looked scared out of her mind. The Jack figure took off his ice skates and kneeled a few feet away from her. "Emma was scared but Jack told her everything would be alright. He said they weren't going to fall in and that they where going to have a little fun instead. Using quick thinking he came up with a less scary way to get her off the ice. He said they where going to play hopscotch." The Jack figure started to hop from one foot onto another as Jack Frost counted aloud to go next to a large staff with a 'G' curve at its end. "One... Two- woaaaah!" The jack figure hobbled on the count of two causing Kat and the Emma figure to laugh.
"-three. Now Jack had to get Emma off the ice. So he told her it was her turn. So he counted again, one...two... Three!" Jack hooked Emma using the 'G' end of the staff and threw her onto thicker and more sturdy ice. They both looked excited with their success. "They thought everything was over until..." The Jack figure moved to hug his sister till the ice underneath him broke and he fell in.
Katherine gasped and stared wide eyed at the figures as Jack continued. "Darkness. That's the first thing I remembered. It was dark and it was cold and I was scared." the Emma figure disappeared and the Jack figure started to float back up. "Then I saw the moon. It was so big and so bright. It seemed to chase the darkness way. And when I saw it, I wasn't scared anymore." Kat looked above them at the moon. It did look large and bright from here. "Why I was there, what I was meant to do, that I had never known. Part of me wondered if I ever would."
The Jack Frost figure walked a few steps across the lake till he found the staff he had used earlier. He picked it up and the 'G' end hit the surface of the lake causing more ice to form. He then went to a pair of trees and tested it again. Once he confirmed the staffs abilities, ice Jack ran around the lake slipping and sliding and twirling around as he created more ice on the already frozen. Kat laughed and joined him in the running. The real Jack Frost laughed as well and skated around the lake with her. The ice jack sudden spiraled up into the air. Kat skated underneath him and flew up after. Just as she caught up to him, ice Jack fell down into the trees and disbursed into snow on impact.
Katherine laughed flew back down to the ground. She made a snowball and chucked it at Jack's head. He turned around just as the ball of ice spiked him in the face. "Ha!" She chanted laughing victoriously. Jack shook his head and grinned evilly. "You asked for it, kiddo!" He yelled grabbing two handfuls of snow and running after the red head. Kat laughed and ran away, grabbing more snow for snowballs as she went. "You won't beat me, kiddo! I'm the king of snowball fights!" Jack yelled throwing another snowball at the red head. The mutant caught it telepathically and sent it flying back after its thrower. "Ah! Kat that's cheating!" Jack yelled as the snowball continued to follow him. The mutant only laughed. "All is fair in love and war!" She yelled flying after him. Jack grabbed his staff and swiftly spun around while swishing a giant wall of snow at the red head. Kat covered her face with her arms as she got covered in layers of snow and fell onto the ice.
"That was awesome!" Kat exclaimed fist pumping the air after shaking her head causing the snow to fall off her. "How did you do that?!" Jack grinned proudly while spinning his staff in his hand. "An old trick I learned a couple hundred years ago." He replied.
Kat grinned before they where interrupted by a loud beeping. The red head looked down at her watch and turned into on. "Miss. Peterson?"JARVIS's voice asked. " is demanding your return to Stark tower at once before she sends the military after you." Katherine swore under her breath. "Right JARVIS, tell her I'm coming home now." She said. After turning off her watch she looked up at Jack. "Race you back?" She asked. "Only if you can keep air born." He replied, a little upset they didn't get to do all the things he wanted to. "I've worked that out since I was 12!" She snapped angrily. Jack only laughed and they both shot up into the air.
Kat instantly flew off but Jack lagged behind. "You do know New York is that way, right?" He asked pointing behind him. "I knew that!" Kat yelled flying passed him.
Jack's heart when into his throat as he landed back on top Stark Tower. Kat excitedly landed next to him and continued to grin at him. "That was amazing!" She exclaimed again happily. "Can we do it again tomorrow?" The winter spirit took a deep breath and finally got the courage to look the 13 year old in the eye.
"That... That's not going to happen, kiddo." He said. "That's ok. We can do it some other time, right?" She asked. "No. neither is that..." he said dropping his gaze. "We can still hang out here though right?" she asked, this time sounding a little confused. Jack shook his head. You could literally see the moment Kat hit realization. Her face dropped and her shoulders slumped. She stared at him with an expression that let you believe she was destroyed inside.
"You... you're leaving?" She asked almost afraid to speak. Jack nodded. "A-and you're not coming back?" He nodded again.
"Kiddo-" he started but Kat cut him off by hugging Jack around the waist and hiding her face in his hoodie. The winter spirit stopped mid sentence and sighed while gently rubbing her back. "Please don't go." She mumbled into the fabric. Jack ruffled her red hair, then squatted down so they where eye level. "Hey, don't cry." Jack said noticing Kat's reddening eyes. "I'm not really going to be gone." "But you're not going to be here anymore." She exclaimed. "Who am I going to build forts with and who's going to have snowball fights with me and What happens if I start having nightmares again? A-and...and you have to stay! You're my Guardian!" She exclaimed as small tears rolled down her cheeks.
"Hey, hey. Easy, kiddo." Jack said gently while resting a hand on her shoulder. "The reason I'm leaving is because you don't need me anymore. You have Dan, Jason, Eri and the others to play with now and as for your nightmares you have your Uncle Tony and Pepper to take care of you. And lets face it... You're not a kid anymore. You haven't had a nightmare since you where eight, you're going to be in high school soon, and moving on from me. My job was to help you get back to a normal life. And I feel like I succeeded." Kat had stopped crying but she still looked upset so he continued. "And don't think I'm going to be gone forever. I'll come back. And even if you forget about me and can't see me anymore I'll still watch over you." Katherine chewed her lip a bit before saying: "I won't forget you. I remember everyone I meet."
Jack smiled and held out his arms for one last hug. Kat instantly accepted. The hug lasted a long time till Jack sadly pulled away. He stood back up and ruffled Kat's hair again. "You take care of yourself, Kiddo, Alright?." He said. "And you better not die on me. I know how reckless you are." Kat laughed a little but it sounded more like a hiccup. "You take care too. And you better come back." She said. "I know how forgetful you are." Jack smiled weakly. "I won't forget you, I promise." With that he started floating off the ground. "See you around, Kiddo." He said waving goodbye. "Bye, Jack." She said while waving back.
Katherine watched as her best friend-practically her brother- fly off. She watched even long after he disappeared, hoping that'd he'd come back even though she knew he wouldn't. Finally, the thirteen year old turned her back to the sky and went inside.
"Then what happened!?" The red-headed-seven-year-old exclaimed jumping up and down on his bed. "Yeah!" The six-year-old-blonde exclaimed with his brother jumping up and down as well. "What happened?" Their mother shook her head from her seat on the stool next to the bunk beds. "I've told you all I know about the ending a million times, John. And you too Steve." She said picking up her four year old daughter from Steve's bed and setting her on her lap.
The 7 year old groaned loudly because the resolution always ended in the same way: a mystery with no answer.
Their mother shook her head. John sure reminded her of his name sake. His freckled covered face matched with bright brown eyes made look just like him too. And unlike his red headed siblings, Steve's wavy blonde hair and ocean blue eyes made him not even look related to them. You could only tell by his face full of freckles that they all shared in common.
"Time for bed." The mother said standing up and carrying her daughter. "Awwwww..." The boys moaned from each of their bunks of their bunk-bed. "No complaining it's already past ten. Good night." She said turning off the lights. "Good Night." The boys chimed as their mother closed the door.
"Momma?" The four year old asked sleepily. "Yes, Lindsey?" Her mother asked. Lindsey looked up at her mother with her bright moss green eyes, almost like a puppy dog pout. "Did the boy ever go back to the little girl?" Of course she'd use the puppy face to try to get more of the story. Her mother smiled softy. "I don't know, sweetie." She replied walking into Lindsey's bedroom. She laid the four year old down and pulled the blankets to her chin. "Maybe someday he will." After kissing her daughter's forehead, Lindsey asked: "do you think he'll come back to her?" The woman sighed. "I don't know, honey. I really don't." The 32 year old wished her goodnight and closed the door.
No, she didn't know if the boy would return. Part of her wondered if he even remembered the girl. It made her heart ache just thinking about him forgetting her. No, He wasn't a past lover, that'd just be gross. He was basically the loving, fun brother the girl never got a chance to have. And who she missed dearly.
But after 20 years... The odds weren't likely.
The mother walked onto the back porch of her and her husbands second house in Brooklyn. Most people think its crazy to go out during the middle of the night during winter, especially in The north east, but she couldn't help but love it.
The 32 year old took a deep breath as a cold blast of wind blew past her, causing her noes to instantly chill. Her eyes shot open with excitement and looked around. Nothing.
Feeling the small bit of hope she had gotten vanish, the 32 year old moved to walk inside. She stopped abruptly when she felt her foot tap something. Looking down she found a dolphin, a mini-iron man, a small snowman and an Easter egg all entirely made out of ice. On top of these was a action figure made entirely of wood.
Squatting, the woman reached down and picked up the wood ironman toy before returning to how she was originally standing. It couldn't be...
It was a mini wooden ironman. Setting the book down Jack turned the toy over in his hands a few times. He noticed a button on the back. When he pressed it, the iron toy's limbs started to move and it actually walked around on the Winter Spirits palm. "It's for you." Kat said as the toy stopped moving. "I made it in the lab. Pepper wouldn't let me use metal so I had to use the next best thing."
The mother grinned. She closed her fingers around the toy and turned around, already knowing who was standing on the other end of her porch.
"Hey, kiddo. You've grown up."