A/N: Hey guys! Sorry about the delay! I'm in the middle of exams and it's getting pretty busy for me (note: has been very busy since March)! But the wealth of feedback has been incredible! Wow! Thanks so much for entertaining me with this idea ;) I apologize this chapter isn't as long as the others, you'll have to forgive me. It cut off nicely in terms of what I have planned (I know when there is a month wait, most people expect a longer chapter, I feel you). Anyways, before I bore you here, thank you, thank you for the positivity! You have no idea how much it means to me! And onwards!
Disclaimer: I do not own rotg. However, I'm sure a good percentage of the fandom would love to see them in concert though (or at least I would tbh - I expect 'my shiny teeth and me' to be on the listing)
After a lengthy discussion about whether or not pizza could be delivered to the arena (it could), the boys decided it was in their best interest to tag along. This was mostly due to the fact the wait was going to be about forty five minutes, although they argued it wasn't primarily because of that (Tooth was fairly sure it was). Phil, who had been waiting outside and finishing what looked to be a Sudoku puzzle, looked up wearily as they piled into the hallway. At this point, Tooth imagined he'd seen a lot of orchestrated chaos from these four and was always suspicious.
Jack was the last to emerge, closing the door with a click and looking rather smug. He had thrown on a worn blue hoodie over his head, and the white shirt from before poked out like a ducktail. On his head was an askew beanie, something he undoubtedly grabbed at the last minute as they were all shuffling out.
As soon as Aster's eyes fell on his tuff of brown hair, he made a swipe for it the hat. "How many times do I have to tell you, get your own Frost."
Jack easily moved out of the way, sending Aster an amused smirk. "I'm guessing upwards two hundred at this point."
"This is revenge for the moon thing, isn't it?" The Aussie inquired, crossing his arms over his broad chest.
"Well you can't argue this looks rather fabulous on me, can you?" Jack deadpanned. He looked over at Baby Tooth with a sly grin. "Dont you think so?" He had leaned carelessly on Nic as he said it, and Nic eyed him; he was promptly pushed off.
"Oh rack off, you bloody show pony." Aster murmured, but there was a hint of a smile ghosting his face.
Tooth, who had been watching it all with an amused expression, glanced over at Sandy. Without a word, he shrugged, as if he could not explain the behaviour of his bandmates.
"Shall we?" Jack was suddenly in between them, addressing Tooth with a wiggle of his brow. He then quickly manoeuvred around Aster before catching up with Baby Tooth, who pushed herself to the lead. She blinked, startled, before she begun to follow. Phil reluctantly joined them, his feet dragging slightly on the floor.
"So," Tooth began as she pulled up alongside Aster, with Sandy to her right. "Am I to believe we've gained three extra guides during this leg of the tour?" She said to no one in particular.
"Oh is that what Jack has been doing?" Aster raised his eyebrows, shooting a look over at the other boy. He was currently hoisting Baby Tooth up for a piggyback, laughing as he did so. She had seemed dubious at first. "Probably a total natter at it, I bet. Did he try and convince you that the building was actually an architectural gold mine?"
Tooth laughed, "No, he hasn't pointed out anything like that just yet. Mostly the bigger things like the dressing room and, that ah, signing wall. And you guys - the band - obviously."
"Crikey, he didn't even tell you about the sound stage, did he? What a terrible guide." He grinned, raising his voice loud enough for Jack to hear. From his smile, Tooth saw that his teeth were squared off, admittedly just like buckteeth. Somehow it seemed to fit him; if anyone could pull off teeth like that, Aster's strong jawline seemed to do the trick.
Jack, who had been pretending that he wasn't eavesdropping - rather horribly - rounded on the two of them, swinging Baby Tooth in his movement. "Hey, ho, I take great offense to that, buns." He lifted his chin just enough to appear offended. "In fact, I was thinking about adding tour guide next to stagehand on my resume."
"Resume?" Aster echoed confused.
He didn't respond, but flicked his brown eyes over to Tooth in a secretive look, his mouth quirked upwards.
"Oh really? Well then, Mr. Tour guide, where exactly are we going?" She hedged.
"Ah, the glorious tour bus." He made a sweeping gesture, before quickly pulling Baby Tooth back up again. "As for the rest? All in good time, m'lady." He grinned that familiar cheeky smile, the one that made her want to be cheeky right back.
Tooth frowned, "Sooner or later I'll be left to think this 'Jamie' is an alpaca you've stolen from Spain, Jack."
He perked up at this, "An alpaca," He mused. "I could use an alpaca." She gave him an incredulous look.
"Are there alpacas even in Spain?" Aster questioned. "Maybe Argentina?"
"I wasn't being serious!"
"No, but I was." Jack paused, as if seriously considering it. "I do have a shepherds crook at home - hey Sandy, do Alpca's herd like sheep?" He swivelled to regard the short blonde. Sandy looked as if he was debating on rolling his eyes or humouring him.
"Oooh, aren't they like llamas?" Baby Tooth joined in, and Tooth shot her a placating look.
"We could name it Googie." Aster cut in.
"What? No! You need to stop with the googies, alright? It's embarrassing " Jack said in a teasing lilt. He peered up at Baby Tooth. "He thinks it's adorable, but it's not." Aster gave him shove, knocking him off balance. Baby Tooth's grip tightened.
Nic's laughter interrupted Tooth's skeptical retort. "Reindeer would be better, Jack. Reindeer."
After he had readjusted Baby Tooth, the browned haired boy waved Nic off with a smile. "Aster here would have a heart attack. Remember that one time we went to the zoo in Maine? Nearly bolted when he saw them."
Aster turned a shade of red. "I did not!"
"I have it on my phone if you want me to refresh your memory," He fished out a phone from his pocket with some difficulty. "Ah, here they are. I meant to put it as my background.. hey guys look at -" Before he could finish, Aster was already on him and making a grab for the phone. Baby Tooth cried out as Jack flung himself in the opposite direction at the last second, narrowly missing Aster.
"Baby Tooth, catch!" Jack flipped the phone up to her and she caught it neatly, just before Aster dove for them again. Then the three of them were running down the hall, Jack's laughter and hollering mixing with Aster's accent.
"Are they always like this?" Tooth asked with wide eyes.
"Sometimes worse." Nic gravely admitted. "Very worse."
Quiet descended on them as they watched Sandy join the chaos, helping Jack evade Aster's lighthearted punches. Baby Tooth hung on tightly, shrieking as Aster managed to poke her in the ribs.
She would have been concerned for Baby Tooth's welfare – she was on top of Jack after all and holding the phone– but the three guys seemed to be fairly careful. In fact, most of their playfulness seemed directed at her.
She diverted her attention, and decided to see if she could worm an answer from the Russian beside her.
"So," She began casually, "Jamie tours with you?" She asked innocently.
Nic's eyes slowly flickered to hers, unreadable under the bright fluorescents.
"He is really good friend of Jack's." He said simply, much to Tooth's chagrin. It seemed that the entire band was all too keen to keep her in the dark.
"And he's here?" Tooth tried again, leaning in conspicuously.
Nic shook his head with a short laugh, obviously - and painfully so - aware of what she was doing. "You are very curious, do you know? Patience, Toothie. You shall see. I do not want to ruin Jack's surprise!" Tooth was about to protest that it wasn't really a surprise, as she was half convinced it was just a little thing to goad her with – why she was presuming he wanted to tease her made her stomach flutter – but before she could speak, Nic cut her off. "I am sure you will like him!"
"You're enjoying this, aren't you?" She pointed out with a smile.
"I like surprises," He shrugged, then winked. "Plus this is special to Jack – he must really like you." He shot Tooth a look from under his thick brows, as if she might be able to explain to him how that might be the case. Unable to look at him directly, Tooth shrugged, and hoped he wouldn't see the slight blush across the bridge of her nose.
She was saved replying as they had reached the end of the corridor, and Phil held up a large hand to stop them. The boys ahead jerked back, slamming into each other as they skided to a full stop. Ahead of them was a set of large steel doors, in which Phil blocked the majority of it with his tall frame.
He grumbled loudly, and if Nic hadn't nodded in response, she would have thought he was saying nonsense.
"What's going on?" She turned to Nic, her brows knitting together.
"Before we go, Phil needs to clear with men outside." He said without worry. Tooth looked back to see Phil slip through the door, and the sharp scent of night lifted through the corridor after his departure. Ahead of them, Jack let go of Baby Tooth, and she slowly slid to the ground. By the time she was at Tooth's side, Phil was back, and white stuck to his dark hair in flakes.
Fluttering wisps of snow spilled into the corridor, and from her position she could just make out a black sky and the pinpricks of starlight. Beyond that, the harsh brightness of an outside light burned away at the shadows.
Phil made some garbled noise, gesturing outside the doors, just as they banged shut. Instinctively she looked over at Jack, whose eyes narrowed as Phil continued to speak. She slung an arm around her little sister and gave her a small squeeze, before they walked over to him.
"What's wrong? Are we not allowed outside?"
He turned to her, and there seemed to be a weary vulnerability about him. It surprised her, and she felt her heart quicken in her chest.
"We're going to have to make a bit of a run for it – Phil says he spotted some paparazzi behind the gated area." He paused, searching her eyes for a moment. "It's not that bad, but they can heckle you a bit, especially when it's cold; they're a bit cranky." He said carefully, gauging her reaction.
"Oh." She tried to ignore the anxiety that came with the word paparazzi.
"They moved the bus farther from the crowd, so we'll have to get in a car to get there. Phil says he's bringing it around." He seemed tense, his whole body tightly wound under the hoodie he wore. And although Tooth saw he was making an effort to appear nonchalant, he was eying her as if she would bolt.
Tooth didn't quite know what to say. Should she say it wasn't a good idea? Perhaps she should suggest staying within the walls of the arena? There was probably endless list of things to see – plus Baby Tooth still needed their signatures. Not to mention the time…
But she couldn't quite bring herself to say it, especially when Baby Tooth was squeezing her hand.
"We'll still go though, right Tooth?" Her little sister looked up at her expectantly, worried that her sister would deny her the treat to see their bus and meet the elusive Jamie. She didn't seem too phased by the fact there was a crowd outside waiting for the boys exit.
"Sure," She said after a pause. The rewarding look she got from both Baby Tooth and Jack made her hope she had made the right decision.
As they waited, it was decided that Baby Tooth would stick close to both Phil and Nic, with Tooth trailing not far behind. Jack would bring up the rear, as Aster and Sandy would move on ahead. At the time, Tooth didn't quite understand the formation Phil had requested, but decided she wasn't exactly a pro at navigating through a crowd of photographers and fans. They had also had to acknowledge that their photo may be taken, and Phil had asked her and Baby Tooth twice if they were okay with this; Nic had quietly translated for her when she had stared up at him blankly.
"Nervous?" Jack appeared at her elbow, jerking her from her thoughts.
With a start, she looked up at him. "Oh! Me?" She tugged on a strand of dark hair. "I'm a little, little bit apprehensive, yeah." She made a face. "First time and all, not a pro like you guys." She added with a nervous chuckle.
"It's going be okay, I promise." He looked over at Baby Tooth who was already pressed against the door, ready to move. "You're sister seems pretty determined."He smiled.
She laughed despite herself. "She really is." After a moments pause, she crossed her arms over her chest to break off the chill. "This must be pretty natural for you, huh?"
Jack ran a hand over his hair, ruffling the edges around the beanie that now sat lopsided. He shrugged. "You get used to it after a while." His eyes drifted down to her bare arms. "Where's your coat?"
She ducked her head away from him. "I accidently left it in the dressing room." She had hoped she'd make it to the bus without getting too chilled.
"Are you cold?" Before Tooth could reply, he was already pulling up the blue hoodie, the fabric gathering and giving an extensive look at his mid section. With a muffled noise of surprise, she glanced away.
He handed it to her in an offering. "Here, take this." When she hesitated, he looked down at it then back up at her, misjudging her silence for something else. "Don't worry it's clean – I know it looks pretty worn, but it's clean, I swear." He gave her a crooked smile. "It's my lucky blue sweater; incredibly warm and blessed by leprechauns."
"Leprechauns?" Tooth asked, gently taking it from his hands and feeling the blue material under her fingers. It was worn and incredibly soft.
"Wore it during a Dublin gig, during our first tour." He shrugged. "Some guy threw some sparkly bits –" He gestured to the flecks of silver that seemed embedded in the collar and front. "And they've never come off. Therefore I have deemed it lucky."
Tooth looked up at him from underneath her lashes, an eyebrow raised. "That's a bit stereotypical." Her fingers brushed along the collar. "You sure someone didn't just splatter some sort of sticky glitter on you?" She lifted the hoodie over her head, and smelt a mixture of pine needles and detergent fill her nostrils.
The sweater was freezing, but she decided to say nothing.
"Well it was a bit of a blur, to be honest." Jack scrunched his nose thoughtfully, before eying her. "There, look at you. Blue looks good on you." Tooth blushed.
Clearing her throat, she wrapped her arms around herself once more, hoping to get some heat going.
"I'm guessing you're practically immune to the cold?"
His eyes danced. "You could say that."
"It comes with the whole winter thing, doesn't it?" She teased, regarding him with a tilt to her head. "So tell me, is bearing the last name Frost a curse or a cleverly used pun to be used whenever the moment feels right?"
"You've been waiting to say that all night, haven't you?"
"No," He continued to eye her. When she didn't crack, he quirked a slender eyebrow at her.
"Actually it's wonderful at dinner parties; it breaks the ice." Just as soon as he said it, he winced.
"That was awful!"
He raked a hand over his face as if he couldn't quite believe it himself. "I can't believe you've managed to get a winter pun out of me; it's been the bane of my existence for years now." He said with an amount of incredulity, but he was grinning.
"Suppose I should feel rather proud of myself." She said with a triumphant smile.
"But never again."
"You should know this gives you full permission to say something tooth related."
She made a face. "Oh no mister, I think we've heard enough puns for the night." And she had caught herself too many times trying to get a better look at those teeth.
Phil's low voice cut through the tight space, and the two of them turned around to see him motioning for them to get ready. Apparently they really were going to make a break for it. She wondered briefly it was really worth it, just to see this mysterious Jamie figure.
Looking up at Jack beside her, flushed with some sort of adrenaline, she felt her own heartbeat start to speed up.
The door was opened and Tooth braced herself for the onslaught of flashes and yelling. Nothing came however, and Aster, Nic, Sandy and Baby Tooth quickly launched themselves through the doors. She was happy to see Nic beside her sister, protectively shielding her from the wind and whatever lay ahead.
Jack held open the door for her, hesitating as they passed through. "Ready?"
Tooth let out a breath she hadn't realized she'd been holding. "As I ever will be."
Cold hair hit Tooth as she stumbled out of the doorway, instantly wrapping the sweater more tightly around her self. After a moment's pause, she was hurrying after Baby Tooth up ahead, her pigtails swirling in the wind. Everything was white, and the snow continued to fall in lazy spirals. It was the type of heavy flakes that clung to coats and hair, much larger than your average snowflake. She peeked behind her shoulder and saw Jack give her a grin, white stuck to his eyelashes and beanie. In the light his brown eyes seemed to glow, and something caught in her throat.
Turning around quickly, she followed the group, and the figures clumped around the gates started to become well defined. Two other security guards had materialized from the shadows of the building and were now walking alongside of them, eying the photographers up ahead. Although she hated to admit it, she couldn't help but describe them as, well, elfish. They could have been brothers, with their pointed ears and narrow features.
The first camera went off, and so close now, Tooth could see their faces. Aster and Sandy were already in the thick of it now, having to slink through a narrow path between the gates, another body guard already at the helm.
Baby Tooth looked back at Tooth for reassurance, but there was an excited flush to her cheeks. She picked up her hand so not to lose her.
"Just ignore them," Jack whispered in her ear before they were in the mele.
"Jack, Jack! Can you look this way please?"
"Sandy! Over here! Sandy! Hey!"
"Aster, where's the new tattoo? C'mon buddy!"
"Nic, give us a smile!"
Tooth felt her face flush just as a photographer snapped a picture of her.
"And who are you, darling? Over here!"
She ducked her head and instinctively reached out to grab Jack's arm. Tooth felt the tense muscles under her fingers, but when she looked up at him he appeared contained and confident. Baby Tooth tugged on her other hand.
"Jack, who is she? Jack! Who's the girl!"
"Not today, fellas." And with that, they had emerged the worst of it, the entire crew leaping into a black car that had driven up.
They clambered in with a propelling force, awkwardly falling over top of each other. It was a tight space, and they fumbled over one another. Jack was last to jump into the car, and he awkwardly landed on Tooth, the door swinging shut behind him with a clang. The flashes of cameras lit up the inside of the car as they sped off, wet and half crumpled on top of each other. Tooth's face was unfortunately smushed against the seat and she tried wiggling into a better position. Sandy winced as she knocked her knee into him by accident.
"Wait, where are the bloody seat belts!" Aster cried, just as the driver accelerated faster.
They were literally sprawled throughout the backseat, with Nic and Sandy pushed off the seat by Aster, and were currently half on the floor. Jack stared at the disembodied group, taking in Nic's entagled feet in Aster's face, Tooth awkwardly crouched with half of her hair over Sandy's nose - he looked ready to sneeze at any moment - and Baby Tooth merrily watching with an expression of contentment.
"Nic, your foot is in my face, mate!" Amused, Nic wiggled his foot for Aster's benefit. He batted it away with an annoyed hand.
Jack burst into a fit of laughter "Oh if only I had a camera right now!"
One by one everyone followed suit, the nervous energy that had carried in from outside evaporating. Nic rumbled under Baby Tooth, who had miraculously managed to perch on top of him. Fitting six people into three seats was a bit impractical, even if it was fairly roomy for a car; thank goodness Phil hadn't squeezed in himself.
"Dingle, they didn't tell you to get a bigger car?" Jack called to the driver. He twisted around in his seat, his face jutting into the chin; he looked positively horrified.
Tooth tried to wiggle her way out from under Aster's elbow, which was a little too close to her face for comfort. While attempting to gain some space the driver - Dingle - hit a hard left, and she was thrown back.
Right up against Jack.
He tensed beneath her, and she heard his quick intake of breath as she scrambled to get up. He flinched when one of her nails scraped against his stomach.
"Oh! Sorry, sorry!" Tooth cringed, pulling her hand back.
"It's okay," He gripped the door as the car veered again, and she was pushed up against him. Sandy's head bumped against her legs.
"Does he usually drive like this?" She braced herself as they left the parking lot, and was forced to reach out against the door to right herself. A strand of black hair brushed across her face, and she blinked to find herself a few inches from Jack's teeth. Mouth. Face.
He seemed as startled as her, effectively caged in from her arm and the back of the seat. She could see his rapid pulse at the base of his throat, and the curve of his collar bone against his shirt. The car's noise - or was it her own heart beat? - filled her ears.
He sounded rather breathless, "He's being particularly devilish today."
Tooth jerked her hand away, brushing his arm as she did so. Dingle took another hard turn, and they were thrown towards the other side of the cab. She landed squarely against Aster's shoulder, and she winced upon impact. Jack landed on her stomach.
"You wouldn't mind being a bit more careful, would you?" Jack groaned, looking pointedly at the drivers seat. He attempted to right himself off of Tooth and she hoped he wouldn't feel her heart hammering alarmingly against her chest. His hair tickled her nose.
"Sorry," He apologized, and there was a slight blush across his cheeks.
"When was the last time you washed your feet, sheesh!" Aster complained, shooting Nic a dirty look as the car went over a bump.
There was the sound of skidding tires, and then they were pushed back as the car came to a sudden stop.
"We're here!' Baby Tooth cried, scrambling over all of them to get a better look. Nic made a noise as her foot struck his ribs, unprepared. She closed her eyes for a moment, trying to steady her heartbeat. When she was unable to hide her curiosity anymore, Tooth craned her neck around Aster to peek out the window. Outside in the dim light stood the glossy, enormous tour bus, half hidden in shadow. Lights blazed under the blinds that covered the tinted windows, the glow sparking off the interior of the car.
Jack's head was close enough so that she could see the faint freckles that peppered his upper cheekbones. She swallowed, diverting her attention back outside. He still was pressed up against her, his weight pinning her against the back seat and Aster.
"For a second I was pretty sure we'd run right into it." He admitted.
"I hate to be the one to tell you this, but your driver is a mad man."
Not a second later, Dingle had opened the door for them. The gesture was nice enough, but Aster had been heavily braced against the door ever since Jack and Tooth had been thrown onto him. With a shriek, the three of them fell out onto the pavement.