Notes: My first time writing for this fandom. Just a little one-shot that got stuck in my brain.
WINGS AND WINDOWPANES
Darting underneath a snow-laden oak branch, Toothiana skimmed over the surface of the frozen lake, catching a distorted glimpse of herself in the mirror-like ice beneath her. Wings fluttering like a hummingbird's, she slid through the air, turning her head to glance across the landscape. She had thought she might see Jack – the lake was one of his many haunts – but the night was quiet and still, frozen underneath a pale crescent moon. She huffed a little in disappointment, her breath misting in the air.
It was not often she got away from the Tooth Palace, though she did manage to do more field work these days than she had prior to Pitch. She'd hoped, on this rare night out, that she would run into Jack Frost, especially considering where she was headed. Jack had become a good friend after the battle with the Boogeyman, all of the Guardians becoming closer after the trails they'd faced. The five of them got together more now, helping each other when they could and generally learning to work together as a team. Tooth loved them all and cherished even their differences, as was her nature, but Jack… Jack was special to her. He'd wanted a family for so long and she knew that their band of friends had become that for him, so much so that she couldn't bear to let him down. She tried to show him in little ways that he was loved – a hug in greeting, looking in on him when she was out in the world, sending Baby Tooth to keep him company as he traveled across the globe. She wanted him to know that he was no longer alone. None of them were. And if she got a flash of that perfect smile in return, a crinkle of blue eyes, well, what was the harm? It was in her nature to look after people.
If perhaps she gave Jack a little more attention than most, it was only her job. Someone had to look after those gleaming molars. Right?
Zipping away from the lake, she flew into the heart of the nearby town, admiring the twinkling lights of the sleeping city. Central incisor on the corner of First and River. But it was the first molar on 241 Chambers that she was after.
Flitting like quicksilver up to the quaint, two-story house, Tooth hovered outside of the open window, glimpsing Jaime asleep in his bed, arms and legs akimbo in the boneless way only children could sleep. She smiled at the sight of it.
"He stayed up for hours, you know, waiting for you."
Startled, she whirled, wings buzzing, to find Jack sitting lazily on a nearby tree branch, staff in hand, a grin on his face. With a sigh she put a hand to her chest, feeling her heart fluttering wildly beneath her palm.
"Jack!" She couldn't help the small laugh that winged its way out of her. "You scared me."
He gave her a devilish smile and got to his feet, walking lightly down the tree branch as if he were weightless. Gleaming silver whorls of frost curled around the wood where he stepped. "My apologies," he said, perfectly contrite, though the gleam in his eye gave him away. "I wasn't sure you'd come yourself."
"I wanted to see Jaime again," she said warmly, glancing towards the window. "It's been awhile." She didn't have to ask what Jack was doing there. She knew how important Jaime was to Jack, the first to truly believe in him, to see him. That he was there on that specific night though, a night when Jaime slept with a tooth under his pillow, that was puzzling. Had he…been waiting for her too?
"He wanted to see you too," Jack told her, leaning against his staff, a gentle smile on his face as he looked at her. "He fell asleep about an hour ago though. Poor kid. He almost made it this time." He took a long, graceful jump from the tree branch through Jaime's open window, landing soundlessly on his feet. She followed him inside, ducking through the window to glide over to Jaime's side, looking down at his peacefully slumbering face.
Though more than a year had passed, he still had the same baby-faced boyish look about him, though his hair was a bit shorter. The sleeves of his pajamas were covered in little starships and a flashlight rested loosely in his right hand. She hummed a laugh and drew a blanket up from the bottom of his bed, covering him as best she could, watching as the gentle wind of her wings ruffled his hair.
"He's precious," she murmured. All children were of course, but Jaime… well, he had a special place in all their hearts. Reaching carefully underneath his pillow, she pulled out the small tooth he'd left there for her, lifting it up to inspect it and assimilating the knowledge – the memories – that came with it. She blinked over at Jack, awe-struck. "He used a string and the door? Really?"
Jack laughed softly. "I told you he wanted to see you." He jumped up to crouch on top of his staff, perfectly balanced. "It was about to fall out anyway. I may have accidentally given him the idea."
She eyed him wryly before turning her attention back to Jaime's tooth. "Awwww, he's brushing so well! It's adorable," she cooed. Rolling a magically-appearing coin across her knuckles, she slipped the quarter underneath his pillow, content. His memories would be safe with her.
A soft noise from the hall was the only warning they had before Jaime's mom came into the room, pausing in the doorway to smile softly at the sight of her sleeping son. Jack did not move but Tooth fluttered back, closer to the window. Jaime's mother did not see them, of course, she had grown out of her belief, as most adults did. She still encouraged it in her children however, perhaps retaining just enough faith to know that sometime, somewhere long ago, she'd waiting up for the Tooth Fairy too.
Jamie's mom tucked his blanket around him more securely and then brushed through Tooth to promptly shut the windowsill with a firm downward movement. Immediate pain ran up one of her wings and Tooth awkwardly toppled to the floor, almost knocking over a lamp. A miserable squeak escaped her throat. Jamie's mom left the room without a glance back.
Jack was suddenly in front of her, one hand reaching out towards her. She looked up at him, a bit teary-eyed and shaking. "Jack, my wing… can you…?"
He looked over her shoulder and saw what she felt – the tip of one wing caught in the now closed window. He moved to the window quickly, dropping his staff in order to quickly pull up the sill again. She grimaced, looking back to assess the damage. It hurt but she didn't think it'd been broken.
"Are you alright? How bad is it?" Jack asked, one hand on her shoulder. He was watching her injured wing with concern.
"I…think it's okay. Sorry," she said, somewhat sheepishly, "I wasn't paying attention."
"There's no need to apologize," he said, exasperated. "You're the one who's hurt." His eyebrows drew together as he helped her to her feet again. "Are you sure you can fly?"
Her wings buzzed into rapid movement and she floated off the ground with only a wince. "I'll be fine!" she said, brightly. "This isn't nearly so bad as the time I ran into that billboard, or the time I hit that big bay window in Michigan, or when I almost got caught in the turbine of that 747. I mean, compared to that this is—"
Jack held up a hand to interrupt. "Wait, wait, wait. This sort of thing happens every time you go into the field?"
"Well, not every time, I just…" she felt herself blush in embarrassment, "I get distracted. There's so much to see and experience!"
Jack was shaking his head but the look he gave her was fond. "Alright, come on. How many more stops do you have tonight?"
"37 teeth, 3 countries, 5 time zones—"
Jack chortled. "Okay, we'd better get going then." He hefted up his staff again with his foot, glancing over his shoulder at her. She blinked.
"You're going with me, Jack?" She felt foolish suddenly. "You really don't have to worry. I mean, this was just an accident, I'm sure I'll be fi—"
She stopped, watching him wide-eyed.
"Come on," he said, beckoning her with a grin and an open hand. "It'll be fun."
And, of course, he was right. It was.
Perhaps it had only been his Guardian instincts, but Jack felt no remorse for volunteering to help escort Tooth while she was out and about. Flying with her was always a rush, even the north wind was hard pressed to help him keep up with her hummingbird-on-caffeine speed. The two of them laughed as they flew, his snowflakes swirling around them, their good spirits too high to be dampened even when Tooth almost flew head first into a cell phone tower. She swore she hadn't seen it and Jack knew it was true. The Fairy Queen loved her job and when she was out in the field as she was tonight, it was all that occupied her thoughts. She saw teeth everywhere and for each one there was a bright coin and a sweet look. That was part of the reason Jack had wanted to come along. Watching her with the children, even when they were unaware of her, was something special. She just cared so much, even for him. Of all the Guardians, hers was the lightest touch, the most kind. Jack could not properly explain it but, when he looked at her, he wanted to protect that gentle spirit. He wanted to protect her.
And he knew, strangest of all, that she felt the same way about him. It warmed something long empty inside of him, a space that was slowly being filled by his new-found Guardian family and the soft touch of a beautiful fairy.
"Jack!" she exclaiming, winging up to him and then zipping back and forth, unable to hold still, a tooth in her hand. "Look how perfect it is! Amelia's growing up so fast!"
He chuckled, amused by her enthusiasm. As always he had no idea what she was so excited about but her happiness was infectious. You couldn't help but smile in the face of it.
He ranged alongside her for hours, listening as she babbled about each tooth and praised each child. When she'd finished her route he went back with her to the Tooth Palace, the sunlight gleaming over the gold spires and creating rainbows in the mists of the waterfalls. As they neared, Baby Tooth came zipping out to greet them, flying circles around Tooth before flitting up to him, chirping excitedly.
"Hey Baby Tooth, how've you been?" he asked, as she settled into the crook of his shoulder. A happy squeak answered him. When he looked up again, Tooth was smiling at him.
"Jack, thanks for going with me. You were right. It was fun!" she said, her eyes sparkling.
"Of course I was right," he answered, winking at her, and watching in fascination as a blush tinted her cheeks pink. Unable to help himself, he darted forward and left a quick, cool kiss on her cheek before flying backward on a gust of wind. He took in her surprised look with a grin. "See ya later, Tooth."
It took her a moment but she called after him softly, the breeze bringing her words to him. "See you soon, Jack."
Yes. Soon. For though the children of the world were his to protect, who was to say that a Guardian didn't need someone to look after them as well? Protecting each other, maybe that was what it was really all about.
"Come on, Baby Tooth," he told the tiny fairy on his shoulder. "Let's hurry and get back. We've got someone waiting for us."